not merely superfluous, but ridiculous
this post was originally published on my Goodreads account.
A fast, funny read. I don’t know that it will linger long in the memor, I’m certain none of the characters will, and the plot moves a little bit faster than it should (I really don’t buy so many characters accepting the book’s central premise so fast), but the plotting is pretty smart and Scalzi knows when to make a joke in his prose and when to simply describe ridiculous things happening and allow the audience to get it on their own. It may have been the speed with which I read it (less than 8 hours of total reading-time, I’m estimating), but this struck me as almost more of a very long short story than a novel–it has the same sense of establishing an interesting premise, taking it to its logical conclusion, and then getting out as quickly as possible, all of which it does with aplomb.
Or it would be as quickly as possible, if it weren’t for the 85-page epilogue. But the conclusion toward which the book seems to point makes it clear why Scalzi finds this necessary. The argument the book makes about the treatment of fictional characters is something all aspiring writers would do well to remember. I’ll try to keep it in mind while trying not to think about whether Scalzi follows his own advice in his development of these particular characters, who never escape the traditional redshirt curse of being exceptionally easy to forget.