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review 2018-09-15 14:07
Let us Violate Cakes Together: "Redshirts" by John Scalzi
Redshirts - John Scalzi

"Let us violate cakes together"


In "Redshirts" by John Scalzi



(*day dreaming*)

I applied for a job to be a licensed fiction writer of sorts last year - it was working on flavour text and copy for the Star Trek Franchise. The interview was heavily focused on my ability to write within the constraints of their authorial voice and existing publications - as stringent as working for any publication with a house style. That's not quite, I admit, the same thing as writing tie-in novels - but the attitude of IP holders to how licensed authors should write I experienced seems very much to be more like writing for a journal or newspaper than writing fiction - the job I applied for would very much have been technical or copy-writing about subjects that were fictional. Definitely a "specific skillset" as this Scalzi’s novel shows once again - but in retrospect I'm quite glad I didn't get the job.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.



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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-24 14:12
Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — May Edition

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on August 24, 2018. 

 

2017

 

18665033

 

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

 

My review said it all but if it didn’t, check out my love for Loki here!

 

 

38447

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

 

My review can be found here.

 

 

2015

 

19000898

 

The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

 

Find the review here!

 

2013

 

28187

 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

 

The Percy Jackson series remains a favorite. Here’s why

 

2012

 

297929

 

Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy

 

My review of this series is here.

 

 

7945523

 

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

Loved the book.

 

The humor was just my style-the way the Yherajk communicated was a hoot.

 

What I also liked was that even though the MC was a smartass, he wasn’t made out to be a jaded guy or an agent who took advantage of other people to survive.

 

I was expecting a romance between Tom and Michell but Miranda was a far better choice.

 

The book wasn’t too long but just the right length which always wins points with me. Joshua was my favorite character.

 

Loved how the ending/unveiling was handled, as well as how the whole Holocaust movie was dealt with.

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text 2018-08-12 23:43
Book Haul! Audible 2 for 1 Sale
The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell
Blackwater: The Complete Caskey Family Saga - Michael McDowell,John Langan
The Android's Dream - John Scalzi
'Salem's Lot - Ron McLarty,Stephen King

Usually I don't find anything I especially want at the Audible sales, but I think I got 4 good ones this time. And for you Halloween Bingoers, they have a number of horror and mystery/thriller books that fit the categories. 

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review 2018-08-11 22:53
The Dispatcher (audiobook) by John Scalzi, narrated by Zachary Quinto
The Dispatcher - John Scalzi,Zachary Quinto

In the world of this story, something happened 8+ years ago that changed how death works. When someone is killed (or murdered?) by another person, instead of staying dead they pop out of existence and reappear, naked and alive, in their own home, wherever in the world that happens to be. Well, most of the time. There's a one in a thousand chance that they'll stay dead.

No one knows how this change came to be, or why, but it has resulted in the creation of a new job, Dispatcher. Dispatchers are people trained and licensed to kill people who are about to die, so that they can come back to life. Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher substituting for another Dispatcher at a hospital. It seems like a normal enough assignment until he's roped into an investigation into the disappearance of the Dispatcher he was substituting for.

This was okay. The setup was really interesting, but I had trouble getting a handle on the conditions under which someone would come back to life. I initially thought that their death required the direct and immediate involvement of another human being. However, that would have meant that there was nothing for anybody to worry about in the part where a woman was hit by a truck. Another human being was driving the truck that hit her, so she should have died and then reappeared in her own home.

Near the end of the story, other details were provided that seemed to indicate that intention played a role. Since the driver hadn't intended to kill the woman, she would simply have died. I assume this means that if someone had intentionally poisoned someone, their victim would have come back to life, but if they had accidentally poisoned the person, their victim would simply have died. I'm not sure even that quite fits, however. Wouldn't it mean that Dispatchers' victims would almost never come back to life? Valdez didn't consider what he did to be murder. He was providing a service that was almost guaranteed to save people's lives. Since he didn't kill people with the intention of them staying dead, shouldn't they all have, well, stayed dead? Unless he was lying when he was describing how he viewed his work - quite possible, considering how many other things he lied about or failed to immediately mention.

I have a feeling I'm probably overthinking this, but I couldn't help trying to tease apart the details of how all of this worked, since the details turned out to be very important at several points in the story. One of those instances in particular made it difficult to believe that 1) Valdez had been doing this job for 8 years and 2) that he'd had a great deal of experience with the shadier aspects of Dispatcher work. It shouldn't have taken him as long as it did to figure out how a couple hired thugs were going to make use of one aspect of the whole "killing you, but not really" thing.

The resolution to the mystery of the missing Dispatcher was very emotional, but something about the way the story was written resulted in it having less impact that it should have. Maybe the problem was that so much of the story involved Valdez (and occasionally the cop) visiting people and asking questions. The emotional resolution was mostly pieced together second- or third-hand by Valdez - none of it happened on-page. Heck, even the missing Dispatcher never had an on-page appearance.

All in all, this wasn't bad but could have been better. On the plus side, Zachary Quinto's narration was excellent. I've listened to The Dispatcher twice now, and Quinto was a large part of the reason why.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2018-08-06 23:55
Reading progress update: I've listened 107 out of 139 minutes.
The Dispatcher - John Scalzi,Zachary Quinto

Valdez is really slow on the uptake right now. I mean, this is a thing he does for a living - he should know the rules better than anyone. You can't tell me no one has ever used the whole "killing you but not really" thing this way before.

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