Old News

You may be wondering where my promised steady stream of fannish news and commentary is. It’s very strange; I’ve been busy reading science fiction.

I carefully downloaded all the freebies, and have been gradually working my way through them, snatching a few minutes of promising first novel in the interstices of my hectic life.

Gradually, that is, until I got to John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, which I scarfed up like yummy pizza. I then realised that I had fallen prey to a trope: the first hit is free.

I can only assume that Scalzi is keeping Heinlein’s brain in a vat, and channelling novels designed to bore directly into my hindbrain. Apparently, there rests there a 14 year-old with an inexhaustible thirst for short chirpy books of derring do where gallant and moderately anti-authority earthlings explore the universe and meet interesting alien civilisations. And kill them, yes, though not invariably.

These books are fabulous page-turners, and they overflow with Scalzi’s sharp wit. Aged SFnal tropes are shaken up and re-examined, the bigger picture is gratifyingly opaque and ambiguous, and the plot drives ever onward. So much so that I forgive them all manner of sins in my desperation to keep reading. That I think is the majority view of these books; the minority view is that the flaws will cause your disbelief suspenders to perish. Mine are holding up well, though I think I would have enjoyed these books even more if I didn’t read Whatever.

Three down so far, don’t suppose the others will take me more than a few more days. Onwards!


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