11 December 2007

A Scalzi Duo

I finished 'The Ghost Brigades' early last week after a blaze of furious reading. In my opinion, 'The Ghost Brigades' was a loose but unnecessary sequel to 'Old Man's War' but it was fun with its Byzantine plotting and swift pacing. This military space opera was somewhat self-indulgent with lots of name-dropping tributes in the form of clone names. And was this a form of referential fandom? I would not know. Surprisingly, the novel had ended with a James Bond-type ending with the master villain explaining everything a la Dr.Evil. I felt that the Heinlein-esque elements found in the previous novel had somewhat disappeared and whether this was a good thing would really depend on the reader at hand. All in all, a swift, escapist read.

Meanwhile, John Scalzi had written an interesting blog post on Heinlein a few days back. For the record, I liked Heinlein and thought that he was far superior to other Golden Age SF writers, say Asimov or Herbert.

'The Android's Dream' was a humourous romp through the galaxy with elements of espionage, dynastic struggles, relentless chases, and clever detective work. The title, of course, offered a very obvious tip of the hat to Philip K. Dick as did the text within. The described computer hacking exploits were, of course, loosely reminiscent of the war-diallers, rootkits and so forth found in descriptions of hacking exploits. Scalzi had done his research. I thought that the over-the-top action sequences with its lovingly-described violence and the gruesome deaths did seem to detract somewhat from the absurdist feel and black humour.

Scalzi's works had been enjoyable being lightweight escapades. What I had liked about Scalzi was his sense of self-awareness and that had come through in his writing, both fiction and blog posts. 'The Android's Dream' would be my penultimate Scalzi title. There was so much out there to read and explore and I would not want to confine myself or devote too much time to a single author.

*Fortunately, I had managed to re-create most of my blog post through memory.

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