“From the top of the large boulder he sat on, Ensign Tom Davis looked across the expanse of the cave toward Captain Lucius Abernathy, Science Office Q’eeng and Chief Engineer Paul West perched on a second, larger boulder and thought, Well, this sucks”
Well this sucks.
I reread this book. I first read it in 2013 or so, close to when it came out. I can’t pinpoint it, but I know it was close because and when and where I was in my life. I liked it for the most. Now, I am not so sure.
This is at times John Scalzi at his best, and John Scalzi at his worst. And that’s an issue, because John Scalzi at his worst is pretty bad.
For one, he’s truly terrible with dialogue. Well, maybe that’s not fair. He’s truly terrible with dialogue that’s meant to be funny. And worse, when the dialogue is trying to capitalize off of netspeak of his most immediate contemporary it’s at its very worst. I guess what I am saying is that while the conceit of this book more or less holds up, even though it’s also dated, the actual writing here, and especially the dialogue most certainly does not.
Wait, what is this book? Right, the book takes places aboard a ship that is a lot like the starship enterprise in which the ensign grade officers are often killed off in horrible ways. A new cadre of them begin to understand that they might very well be on a tv show and begin to take things into their own hands.
So what else is the issue? The conceit is both underdeveloped and sticks around too long. It needs more book to feel real, but also John Scalzi can not only hold it up for about 200 pages, he tacks on several epilogues that on the one hand are solid writing, but on the other do nothing for the actual book. I think I wanted to reread this book because I knew all this was true, and here I am knowing it.