Jan. 1st, 2017

sawyl: (A self portrait)
Very gentle end to the year: exhausted, I was in bed by half-past nine and despite intending to stay up late enough to send out some new year texts, I was asleep well before midnight and barely even registered the fireworks at midnight. Even after getting up this morning, I still felt tired, dozed my way through the morning, and didn't really do much with the rest of my day other than reading and, eventually, going out for a series of interval runs.


Jan. 1st, 2017 07:58 pm
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Having done very little reading over the last couple of months, I wanted to ease my way back in with something gentle. Happily John Scalzi's Miniatures, a collection of very short, comic stories proved just the thing.

One of the principal sources of the humour is the idea of taking the exotic — aliens, superheros, Star Trek — and turning it into yet another source of everyday annoyance. Thus the aliens are viewed through the filter of a newspaper advice column or a set of supermarket guidelines intended to improve customer experience. The superheroes are treated like celebrities, with their own bookers and with amoral analysts at financial institutions analysing their impact on the markets.

The dialogue To Sue the World is a funny extension of the basic premise of Redshirts where Scalzi imagines a lawyer seeking to take a thinly-disguised United Federation of Planets to court to obtain compensation for all the low-level crew killed in preventable lapses of health and safety culture aboard the organisation's starships. What makes this even funnier is that during Scalzi's tour to promote Redshirts, he performed the piece with Wil Wheaton, giving extra depth to the lawyer's critical comments about one particular starship captain putting a 13 year-old in charge of various things.

While obviously not an earth-shatteringly profound read, Miniatures is good fun while the brevity of the stories makes it easy to dip in and out. Plus, as a bonus, each of the stories is prefaced by an adorably little drawing by Natalie Metzger. What's not to like?


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