Random Firings from My Brain

April 15, 2008

John Scalzi, Redux

Filed under: Uncategorized — Daniel @ 7:19 am

When last we encountered that name, I called John Scalzi a hack and he descended from the A-List heavens to call me out on it. He’s a cool guy though and suggested that if I’m tired of the same old thing from the Old Man’s War universe then perhaps I should try The Sagan Diary since it is a complete departure from his usual form. It is, but I still didn’t like it.

Let me establish my credentials here. I have almost every novel John Scalzi has written in hardback. Normally I buy mass market paperbacks (used ones at that) because I don’t see the value in paying that much for something I will read once. However, I have all three OMW books, The Sagan Diary, The Androids dream, and even You’re Not Fooling Anyone … which I preorderded when the second edition was announced. I thought Old Man’s War was a really awesome book. So, its safe to say I am a fan.

However, I am not a literary critic. I’m not even qualified to write a review. I’m not even a very good writer. My background is in computers and while I have read a lot of science fiction in my life, I feel completely unqualified to comment on it. So, is the Sagan Diary a good book? Not a damn clue. I just didn’t like it. I think the diary format just didn’t work for me.

I wanted to like it. I wanted to write a fawning, sycophantic review, channeling Chris Farley in all his glory. Then John would have to love me, right? Well, no, but I did want to like this book. I like his blog. I like him as a person, or at least the person I perceive from having read his blog for the last 4 years. That’s why I buy all his books as soon as they are released, because I like him. I didn’t want his only impression of me to be that one guy he forgot about almost immediately who called him a hack. I’m sure lots of people call him a hack and hell, at one point I was the number six hit for the phrase John Scalzi is a one trick pony(sadly this is no longer true) and interestingly his own entry on the futility of starfucking a-list bloggers is the number one hit.

The Sagan Diary was boring. I read it in one evening, I probably won’t read it again. It was an interesting experiment. It was the first time I read something of his that didn’t sound like John Scalzi was all the characters. I hope he keeps that up. I hope that once he moves past Zoe’s Tale and The High Castle his publishers and bank account give him breathing room to grow as an artist. In the meatime something I am good at: John, if you are reading this, you keep asking for a wordpress plugin that will cache your blog to static html, I don’t know if this is exactly what you are looking for but check out WP Super Cache.

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