Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen
mrissa

John Scalzi's Agent to the Stars

This is another review copy kindly sent me by Tor, and while I don't have as close a friendship with scalzi as I do with matoqicuala or papersky, I do feel cordially about him. Disclosure taken care of. So.

The thing about Agent to the Stars, in contrast with Half a Crown or All the Windwracked Stars, is that many of you have had a chance to read it already. It was online for quite some time, and then it was out in hardcover from Subterranean Press. But if I didn't avail myself of those methods, I suspect some of you didn't, either. Now it's out in trade paper from Tor.

And it is fun. This is not a book that scalzi wrote to cure cancer or bring about peace in our time or even to explore the deepest recesses of his innermost soul. He wrote it to see if he could, more or less, and it turns out he could. Which must have been a relief. Agent to the Stars walks an extremely fine line: it neither demands a great deal of the reader nor insults the reader's intelligence. One of my great pet peeves is when people think there is no critiquing light or comic work because "it's just for fun." Stupidity is not fun. Having to beat your brain back with a 2x4 in order to keep reading/watching: not fun. So books like Agent to the Stars are a great relief, because, no, it doesn't have the world's most complex and innovative plot, and yes, it's full of small jokes and bits of silliness--but it's doing well with what it's doing.

A lot of people compare scalzi to Robert Heinlein, but I don't think someone Heinlein's age could have written this book this way. I think it required someone who grew up in a world with the level of media saturation we have now. The natural next question to ask, the logical progression, is different than it was fifty years ago. This is a good thing. This is what we do.

Also I am left with a weird craving for a tuna sandwich and some red Jell-o, which is probably not what scalzi had in mind.
Tags: bookses precious
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