Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Ana has declared January Long-Awaited Reads Month, and I have jumped out ahead of the pack (I like to think) by finishing John Scalzi's Red Shirts on the first day of the year. The year is off to a promising start.
I've only ever read one book by Scalzi before, but I consider myself a fan, because that book was the fabulous Old Man's War. His characters are pragmatic, sarcastic, and just the right amount of idealistic. Old Man's War was mostly worldbuilding, deftly and compellingly done, and I can't wait to dig into that world more in the follow-up books.
Red Shirts is something different--more lighthearted, but also more conceptual. It's clearly born from a "what-if"--what if all these extras who get bumped off for a moment of drama in Star Trek were real? Aren't these unacceptable losses? And the story spins it out in different directions: wouldn't these crew members realize that something fishy--or at least dangerous--is going on? Why are the writers killing all these people off, anyway? What's the writer's relationship with or responsibility to the characters? How convoluted can sci-fi pseudoscience get before your brain goes off the rails?
I knew the basic premise going on, but I didn't realize that the book was going to go in the direction it did--I expected more satire and less practical action. I love practical action. I love smart people figuring things out. I love characters who are dryly funny and make the jokes I like to think I'd make in a stressful situation.
This month will not be all long-awaited reads. There will be book club reads and impulse reads along the way. But I want to really push to make sure some books I've been looking forward to forever get read this month--The King's Peace, The Sleeping Partner, and Black Powder War are my solid goals. Wish me luck!