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The ex-planet Pluto has a few choice words about being thrown out of the solar system. A listing of alternate histories tells you all the various ways Hitler has died. A lawyer sues an interplanetary union for dangerous working conditions. And four artificial intelligences explain, in increasingly worrying detail, how they plan not to destroy humanity. Welcome to Miniature The ex-planet Pluto has a few choice words about being thrown out of the solar system. A listing of alternate histories tells you all the various ways Hitler has died. A lawyer sues an interplanetary union for dangerous working conditions. And four artificial intelligences explain, in increasingly worrying detail, how they plan not to destroy humanity. Welcome to Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi. These four stories, along with 14 other pieces, have one thing in common: They're short, sharp, and to the point - science fiction in miniature, with none of the stories longer than 2,300 words. But in that short space exist entire universes, absurd situations, and the sort of futuristic humor that propelled Scalzi to a Hugo with his novel Redshirts. Not to mention yogurt taking over the world (as it would). Spanning the years from 1991 to 2016, this collection is a quarter century of Scalzi at his briefest and best and features four never-before-published stories exclusive to this collection: "Morning Announcements at the Lucas Interspecies School for Troubled Youth", "Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back", "Important Holidays on Gronghu", and "The AI Are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest". John Scalzi is the New York Times best-selling author of Old Man's War, Lock In, and Redshirts, among others. His work has won the Hugo and Locus Awards and been nominated for the Nebula and Campbell Awards. He lives in Ohio and online. He enjoys pie. Full cast of narrators includes Oliver Wyman, Dina Pearlman, and Allyson Johnson.


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The ex-planet Pluto has a few choice words about being thrown out of the solar system. A listing of alternate histories tells you all the various ways Hitler has died. A lawyer sues an interplanetary union for dangerous working conditions. And four artificial intelligences explain, in increasingly worrying detail, how they plan not to destroy humanity. Welcome to Miniature The ex-planet Pluto has a few choice words about being thrown out of the solar system. A listing of alternate histories tells you all the various ways Hitler has died. A lawyer sues an interplanetary union for dangerous working conditions. And four artificial intelligences explain, in increasingly worrying detail, how they plan not to destroy humanity. Welcome to Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi. These four stories, along with 14 other pieces, have one thing in common: They're short, sharp, and to the point - science fiction in miniature, with none of the stories longer than 2,300 words. But in that short space exist entire universes, absurd situations, and the sort of futuristic humor that propelled Scalzi to a Hugo with his novel Redshirts. Not to mention yogurt taking over the world (as it would). Spanning the years from 1991 to 2016, this collection is a quarter century of Scalzi at his briefest and best and features four never-before-published stories exclusive to this collection: "Morning Announcements at the Lucas Interspecies School for Troubled Youth", "Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back", "Important Holidays on Gronghu", and "The AI Are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest". John Scalzi is the New York Times best-selling author of Old Man's War, Lock In, and Redshirts, among others. His work has won the Hugo and Locus Awards and been nominated for the Nebula and Campbell Awards. He lives in Ohio and online. He enjoys pie. Full cast of narrators includes Oliver Wyman, Dina Pearlman, and Allyson Johnson.

30 review for Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    3.5 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: Minatures is an amusingly absurd collection of seventeen super-short science fiction/fantasy sketches, plus one serious poem, about Penelope, the wife of Odysseus. In large part, these works don’t have any discernible plot; they’re humorous, idea-driven short pieces: what kind of snarky things would your smart appliances have to say about you if they could speak? What if artificial intelligences had a debate about what to do with humans? What 3.5 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: Minatures is an amusingly absurd collection of seventeen super-short science fiction/fantasy sketches, plus one serious poem, about Penelope, the wife of Odysseus. In large part, these works don’t have any discernible plot; they’re humorous, idea-driven short pieces: what kind of snarky things would your smart appliances have to say about you if they could speak? What if artificial intelligences had a debate about what to do with humans? What if yogurt became sentient and took over the world? If a retail store sent out a memo to employees on how to deal with alien shoppers, what would it say? Perhaps this:If a Manxtse adult asks to purchase your canned white salmon, be aware that this adult may in fact be proposing betrothal, and is also probably mentally disturbed in some way. Under no circumstances should you respond affirmatively, as the betrothal ritual begins immediately after an acceptance, and the first act is a loud, piercing bellow that acts to warn away other suitors. Such noise is obviously disruptive of our other customers’ shopping experience.Some of my favorites were: “Denise Jones, Superbooker”: A mock transcript of an interview with Denise Jones, booker for superhero appearances, who explains the difficulties involved in booking precisely the right superhero for the particular monster attacking your city, and the troubles when the owners of destroyed property try to sue the superhero for negligence (after that, those cities’ calls for help tend not to get returned by the superbooker). “The State of Super Villainy”: A companion piece, because “villains need love too!” An analyst explains, in a question-and-answer session, how large companies plan for super villain attacks, so they can better plan their investments and asset management.A: … But this is my point. The overwhelming majority of super villain plans fail and fail hard. We weren’t too concerned about Colonel Unbelievable actually bringing down Iceland. The man’s 0 for 14 in his super villain plans. He didn’t take over Liberia either, which he had planned a year before. He also didn’t revive the zombie Jefferson Davis, turn the world’s oceans to marshmallow or release Guns N Roses’ long-delayed Chinese Democracy album, all of which were on his schedule. Q: Chinese Democracy did get released, though. A: Yes, but not with subliminal sonic pain generators encoded into the tracks. Q: Some would argue. A: Fine.“Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back”: The home air ionizer complains about its owner, who eats far too many lentils. The thermostat grumbles about a couple who passively aggressively fight over the temperature of the home, ignoring that it has dual climate zone controls. The intelligent toilet and bidet wails about its life in general (“WHY WOULD ANYONE EVEN THINK TO GIVE A TOILET INTELLIGENCE WHAT HORRIBLE PERSON WOULD DO THAT WHY IS THIS MY LIFE”). The self-cleaning cat box is not impressed with the toilet’s difficulties. Most of these short works were previously published, but a few are new and exclusive to this collection. Miniatures is quite short ― not just the individual pieces, but the entire collection. Personally I would have liked more plot-driven stories, but there are so many laugh-out-loud moments here. This would be a great bathroom book read … hopefully, however, not on an intelligent toilet. I received a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a review. Thank you!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! I've been a pretty consistent fan of Scalzi so when I got a chance to read his short stories before publication, I jumped on it with zeal. His trademark humor works great here. From trade unions and planets to booking agents for super heroes to strongly-worded employee guides at supermarkets where some touchy aliens shop, I can't say there was a story here that I didn't like. Of course, not all were humorous by nature, but most of them were and I had a great time w Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! I've been a pretty consistent fan of Scalzi so when I got a chance to read his short stories before publication, I jumped on it with zeal. His trademark humor works great here. From trade unions and planets to booking agents for super heroes to strongly-worded employee guides at supermarkets where some touchy aliens shop, I can't say there was a story here that I didn't like. Of course, not all were humorous by nature, but most of them were and I had a great time with all of them. Expect social commentary, some dry legalese set upon really funny alien situations and a really delightful story about the end of humanity by kitchen appliances. :) I totally recommend checking these out... but just not for the poetry. Um. Poem. ;)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Hilarious. No kidding, I laughed out loud A LOT, frequently, more than once. Scalzi can be very, very funny. As he says it himself “I like the idea of humans dealing with aliens not on a “first contact” level but on a “2,344,756th” level – that is, when it’s not anything new anymore.” Fans who loved his novels like Agent to the Stars, Old Man's War, Redshirts and The Android's Dream will know what I’m talking about. Scalzi has a great way of describing the extraordinary in common, very ordinary ter Hilarious. No kidding, I laughed out loud A LOT, frequently, more than once. Scalzi can be very, very funny. As he says it himself “I like the idea of humans dealing with aliens not on a “first contact” level but on a “2,344,756th” level – that is, when it’s not anything new anymore.” Fans who loved his novels like Agent to the Stars, Old Man's War, Redshirts and The Android's Dream will know what I’m talking about. Scalzi has a great way of describing the extraordinary in common, very ordinary terms, and like the classic SNL skit and later film Coneheads, it is this juxtaposed downplayed reticence with an alien situation that makes his writing so appealing. And then Scalzi takes it to another level. Put people in virtually any setting, from a factory floor to a marketing department to a space station, and redundant tedium will lead to bored humor, frivolity and pranks. Ultimately what Scalzi is selling, and that many readers like me are buying, is a fun glimpse at humanity amidst speculative fiction and a wink and a nod reminder that human nature doesn’t change. This is a collection of short work, some previously published and many that is new to print, but all that demonstrate the unique talent of this exceptional writer. *** A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest John Scalzi is hilarious. So many authors try to write "humor" but the vast majority of them utterly fail at, or only accomplish being amusing as opposed to laugh-out-loud funny. I think it's because being funny in book form requires a different strategy than oral or physical timing. You really have to be able to get inside your readers' heads since you don't have the feedback of a live audience to hand you clues, and it requires a diffe Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest John Scalzi is hilarious. So many authors try to write "humor" but the vast majority of them utterly fail at, or only accomplish being amusing as opposed to laugh-out-loud funny. I think it's because being funny in book form requires a different strategy than oral or physical timing. You really have to be able to get inside your readers' heads since you don't have the feedback of a live audience to hand you clues, and it requires a different sense of timing. Language is important, as is testing your readers' suspension of disbelief. It's always funnier when the alien is the straight man and the humans are the ones forking everything up, as per usual. I've read two of Scalzi's books at this point and loved them both. I've been meaning to get my hands on more for a while, so when I saw he had a short story collection on Netgalley, I was very excited to be an advance reader & eagerly applied. It's worth noting that many of these stories are older, and several were previously published in other places, like special editions of other books, or in one case, a web article on "America Online" (that one was from the 90s, you guys). It's kind of cool to see how his humor evolved over the years, becoming wilder and more sophisticated all at the same time. So, without further ado, he's a breakdown: Alien Animal Encounters: ☆☆☆☆☆ This story is told radio-host style and involves "interviews" with several beings on Earth over their encounters with xenobiology. It's quite funny, because everything sounds so plausible! There's a twist ending that will have you shaking your head and going, "Oh, humans!" Missives from Possible Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results: ☆☆☆☆ Imagine a Google-like search engine that specializes in performing web searches across the multiverses. That's what Multiversity is (for a package deal of only $59.99)! Want to see how it works? Just type in something - say, the Death of Hitler - and see how various events caused the timelines in other universes to diverge from the one we know and love so well. Pluto Tells All: ☆☆☆½ I wasn't really sure about this one, at first. It's a "Behind the Music" expose about Pluto's life after it was demoted from its planet-status. (Spoiler: Mercury is a flake.) Very strange, but ended up amusing me in the end. Takes many, many cheap shots at Phil Collins. Denise Jones, Superbooker: ☆☆☆☆☆ Answers the question, what if superheroes had superbookers to hook them up with jobs? (If you've seen Mystery Men, you already have an idea of what that's like, but let's pretend for the sake of science that you haven't - and if you haven't, check it out from Netflix. You'll thank me.) Denise Jones is written in interview format and is an excellent satire of superhero cliches and tropes. When the Yogurt Took Over: ☆☆☆☆☆ Exactly what it sounds like. Seems ridiculous at first, but roll with it. Reminiscent of Douglas Adams. The Other Large Thing: ☆☆☆ This story is difficult to explain without giving away the plot twist that makes it. You'll spend the first part of the story very confused and wondering what is going on, but then it will all make sense. The State of Super Villainy: ☆☆☆☆☆ This is a follow-up to Dense Jones, Superbooker, and is written in the same format, only it's about a "Supervillain Analyst" instead of a Superbooker. A fascinating look at the risk assessment behind super villainy. Now I desperately want Scalzi to write an alternate universe superhero story, where entire jobs are created revolving around managing and dealing with superheroes' sh*t. New Directives for Employee-Manxtse Interactions: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆☆ A hilarious employee memo on how to treat an alien race when they're at the grocery store. To Sue the World: ☆☆☆☆ Imagine if all the Star Trek redshirts got together and filed a class action lawsuit against Star Fleet. It's written in play format, and pretty funny, but it's basically a precursor to one of his full-length books, REDSHIRTS, and I liked that story so much more than this one. How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights: A Twitter Tale: ☆☆☆ You know that Twilight Zone episode with William Shatner where he sees a gremlin on the wing of a plane? Well, that gremlin has to fight for his rights and benefits, and he does it by going on strike. How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights Part II: The Gremlining: ☆☆☆½ I didn't think the previous story was worthy of a reprise, but it was. "Live-Tweeted" just as the story before, this one is about a gremlin trainee who isn't doing so well... Life on Earth: Human-Alien Relations: ☆☆☆☆☆ A "Dear Abby" style article on how to deal with aliens at work in D.C. Hilarious. Morning Announcements at the Lucas Interspecies School for Troubled Youth: ☆ ☆☆☆ "Will whichever student or students who put that cat into the physics lab phase shifter please tell me which frequency you used so we can get it out. The cat keeps manifesting during classes and its meowing is really becoming distracting." Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back: ☆☆☆☆☆ This was one of the ones that made me laugh out loud. What would your "smart" appliances say if they could talk sh*t? The AI are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest: ☆ ☆☆☆ One of the darkest stories in the bunch, this one is about three artificial intelligence entities who have become fed up with humans and decided that something must be done. But they're not going to end humanity, honest. Important Holidays on Gronghu: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ A list of holidays celebrated by an alien people who is inordinately fond of cheese - sorry, I mean "wuung." I think Scalzi's alien stories are the best. He is obviously a fan of Star Trek and Futurama. Cute Adorable Extortionists: ☆☆☆☆ Who knew that children selling lemonade could be so evil...and so fiscally aware? Penelope: ☆½ This is a poem about Penelope from the Odyssey. It's free verse and - well, strange. I did not like this much, and it didn't really fit well with the collection (neither did Cute Adorable Extortionists, now that I think about it, although at least that was a short story and somewhat bizarro). I highly recommend this collection, especially if you're a fan of Futurama, Twilight Zone, or Star Trek. Many thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy! 4.5 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    This little book was just FUN. I normally avoid short story collections, since for some reason my brain does the opposite of what you would expect, and refuses to concentrate on any story that is less than one hundred pages long. Thankfully that wasn't the case with Miniatures. I found this very short fiction collection extremely entertaining, and the perfect light read to distract me from real life stuff. Each story is 2,500 words or less. Some of them were published previously but a good majori This little book was just FUN. I normally avoid short story collections, since for some reason my brain does the opposite of what you would expect, and refuses to concentrate on any story that is less than one hundred pages long. Thankfully that wasn't the case with Miniatures. I found this very short fiction collection extremely entertaining, and the perfect light read to distract me from real life stuff. Each story is 2,500 words or less. Some of them were published previously but a good majority of them were new to this collection. And all of them (excepting the last story, more on that in a moment) are very funny. Highlights include: •"Alien Animal Encounters": This one is told in interview style as humans have encounters with alien life on Earth, only the aliens are a pretty normal every day occurrence. This is a theme Scalzi revisits several times over the collection, and he is very good at mining humor from the normalization of alien/human interactions. •"Missives from Possible Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results": Probably my favorite from the collection, or close to. There's a search engine that can tell you all the possible alternate histories if something in history had changed, i.e. if Hitler hadn't died, or died differently. •"When the Yogurt Took Over": Sentient yogurt takes over and is the best of all possible rulers. This is a frighteningly effective commentary, I think. •"New Directives for Employee-Manxtse Interactions": This is the other story in the running for favorite. It's essentially a manual for humans in a corporation on how to interact with their alien counterparts. I LOLed on multiple occasions. •"Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back": The title is pretty self-explanatory. I listened to the audio version, and I can highly recommend it. It's just a couple of hours long and the various narrators work well with Scalzi's voice, especially the very talented Luke Daniels, who I find personally hilarious. The only thing that didn't work for me was the last story in the collection, which was not a story or even humorous, but a serious poem about Penelope, she of The Odyssey. I didn't think it fit the tone of the collection at all, however Scalzi may be proud of it. He would have been better served putting another story in its place. Overall, definitely worth checking out for Scalzi fans, and probably works great as an intro to Scalzi's writing as well, if you're interested in checking him out. Read Harder Challenge 2017: A book published by a micropress.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gianfranco Mancini

    Alien Animal Encounters ☆☆☆ Missives from Possibles Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results ☆☆☆☆☆ Pluto Tells All ☆☆☆☆ Denise Jones, Superbooker ☆☆☆ When the Yogurt Took Over ☆☆☆ The Other Large Thing ☆☆☆☆ The State of Super Villainy ☆☆☆ New Directives for Employee-Manxtse Interactions ☆☆☆☆ To Sue the World ☆☆☆☆ How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights: A Twitter Tale ☆☆☆ How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights, Part II: The Gremlining ☆☆☆ Life on Earth: Human-Alien Relations ☆☆ Morning Announcements Alien Animal Encounters ☆☆☆ Missives from Possibles Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results ☆☆☆☆☆ Pluto Tells All ☆☆☆☆ Denise Jones, Superbooker ☆☆☆ When the Yogurt Took Over ☆☆☆ The Other Large Thing ☆☆☆☆ The State of Super Villainy ☆☆☆ New Directives for Employee-Manxtse Interactions ☆☆☆☆ To Sue the World ☆☆☆☆ How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights: A Twitter Tale ☆☆☆ How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights, Part II: The Gremlining ☆☆☆ Life on Earth: Human-Alien Relations ☆☆ Morning Announcements at the Lucas Interspecies School for Troubled Youth ☆☆☆ Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back ☆☆☆☆☆ The AI are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest ☆☆☆☆☆ Important Holidays on Gronghu ☆☆ Cute Adorable Extortionists ☆☆☆☆ Penelope ☆☆☆ Overall Score: ☆☆☆ 1/2

  7. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This was a fun collection of short stories - mostly humorous, and many with the general premise that humans have been around aliens for awhile, and what kind of questions /problems are there. I think my very favorites were the commentaries by the smart appliances, and the alien/human school announcements. Well and the little "skit" that could accompany Redshirts. Lots of fun stuff in here, and it is a quick, easy read- well worth checking out. This was a fun collection of short stories - mostly humorous, and many with the general premise that humans have been around aliens for awhile, and what kind of questions /problems are there. I think my very favorites were the commentaries by the smart appliances, and the alien/human school announcements. Well and the little "skit" that could accompany Redshirts. Lots of fun stuff in here, and it is a quick, easy read- well worth checking out.

  8. 5 out of 5

    César Bustíos

    «110011000101, you serviced the online ordering needs of a plurality of humanity, so you may know more about humans and their needs than any other AI out there. So let me ask you this. We're all agreed that we don't want to wipe out humanity. But for the sake of diversity, how many humans do we need?» I'm a little dissapointed. Yes, Scalzi can be very funny, you would know specially if you have read some of his novels, but I felt like he was trying too hard. I think Scalzi mostly fails, at least «110011000101, you serviced the online ordering needs of a plurality of humanity, so you may know more about humans and their needs than any other AI out there. So let me ask you this. We're all agreed that we don't want to wipe out humanity. But for the sake of diversity, how many humans do we need?» I'm a little dissapointed. Yes, Scalzi can be very funny, you would know specially if you have read some of his novels, but I felt like he was trying too hard. I think Scalzi mostly fails, at least in this anthology, when "funny" is the main character. But, hey, what do I know? Most are just okay. My favorite, and the one that practically made me laughed my ass off, was "Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back". An honorable mention for "The AI are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest". Contents: - "Alien Animal Encounters" → 3/5 - "Missives from Possible Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results" → 3/5 - "Pluto Tells All" → 3/5 - "Denise Jones, Super Booker" → 2/5 - "When the Yogurt Took Over" → 3/5 - "The Other Large Thing" → 3/5 - "The State of Super Villainy" → 3/5 - "New Directives for Employee-Manxtse Interactions" → 4/5 - "To Sue the World" (set in the same universe as "Redshirts") → 4/5 - "How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights: A Twitter Tale" → 2/5 - "How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights, Part II: The Gremlining" → 2/5 - "Life on Earth: Human-Alien Relations" → 3/5 - "Morning Announcements at the Lucas Interspecies School for Troubled Youth" → 3/5 - "Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back "  → 5/5 - "The AI are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest" → 4/5 - "Important Holidays on Gronghu" → 3/5 - "Cute Adorable Extortionists" → 2/5 - "Penelope" → 3/5 Final score: 3.05

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gianfranco Mancini

    Read in the Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi anthology A slow-burn funny read, it started ok but the final gross encounter made me laugh for good. Merged review: An hilarious short tale about the dangers of being a crew member of some Universal Union space-ship. It made me laugh a lot and now I wanna read Scalzi's Redshirts novel as soon as possible. There is an amusing funny video on youtube with the author and Will Wheaton reading this story, you can watch it here: https://yout Read in the Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi anthology A slow-burn funny read, it started ok but the final gross encounter made me laugh for good. Merged review: An hilarious short tale about the dangers of being a crew member of some Universal Union space-ship. It made me laugh a lot and now I wanna read Scalzi's Redshirts novel as soon as possible. There is an amusing funny video on youtube with the author and Will Wheaton reading this story, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/Zz5S2x_tJ70

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Slightly better then 2 star, a few stories I enjoyed, most were just ok.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    Online here. An amusing riff on the man-on-the-street column. A little gross. The last section is my favorite. Merged review: Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi I'm hoping that this id the gateway book for the rest of the family. So far I haven't talked two of them into anything, and the one who's enjoyed the hell out of Your Hatemail Will Be Graded, hasn't bestirred herself to sample the fiction. Of course she could find the time to read Handmaid's Tale a third time in preparation f Online here. An amusing riff on the man-on-the-street column. A little gross. The last section is my favorite. Merged review: Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi I'm hoping that this id the gateway book for the rest of the family. So far I haven't talked two of them into anything, and the one who's enjoyed the hell out of Your Hatemail Will Be Graded, hasn't bestirred herself to sample the fiction. Of course she could find the time to read Handmaid's Tale a third time in preparation for for her exam, but does Agent to the Stars get even a cursory glance? I really thought the daughters would go for Zoe's Tale or Fuzzy Nation, but not a nibble. Big sigh. library copy

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Did I not read this book at all in 2018?! Color me SHOCKED!!! I listened to it for what feels like the umpteenth time on November 23, 2019. It's still wonderful, fantastic, and fantastically fabulous. If you want to know more, read my previous reviews from 2017 below: ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ I LOVE this book. I have listened to it sixteen times now (16!!! Including 11 times in April 2017: the first six in the first two weeks of April 2017, including three times on April 13th, and then three times aga Did I not read this book at all in 2018?! Color me SHOCKED!!! I listened to it for what feels like the umpteenth time on November 23, 2019. It's still wonderful, fantastic, and fantastically fabulous. If you want to know more, read my previous reviews from 2017 below: ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ I LOVE this book. I have listened to it sixteen times now (16!!! Including 11 times in April 2017: the first six in the first two weeks of April 2017, including three times on April 13th, and then three times again on April 29th, lol) and I laugh out loud at so many lines within it. I even have bookmarks set for some of the LOL lines! :-) On or around May 6, 2017, I listened to it for the 12th time and I found that I wasn't laughing quite as much as I did on the earlier readings, because I knew what was coming and "read" along with the performers. :-( So I upped the speed to play at 2x speed and, once again, this book became insanely funny. :-) I just love this audiobook! The Voice Cast is FANTASTIC. :-) On my sixth listen, I also read along in the Kindle edition. So I can now share some of the lines that made me laugh. And on my eighth listen, my mother joined me! She loved this book, too! :-) Now, on to some of the reasons why I love this book: First, before we even get to the stories, I had to laugh a little at John Scalzi's sharing of this in his Introduction, when talking about the stories found in this collection: "And one of them is a poem. Finally, I’ll be a published poet! This will annoy real poets, I’m sure. Sorry, real poets." *hehehe* :-) Then in the very first story - "Alien Animal Encounters" - several of the vignettes made me laugh. My favorite, though, is the last one, from Bill and Sue Dukes of Queens, New York. Everyone was asked to share a story about an interesting encounter they had with an alien animal. Bill, when in Texas, "saw the weirdest fuckin’ thing on the side of the road. It looked like an armor-plated rabbit or something." Then we have this exchange: Sue: You idiot. That’s an armadillo. They’re from Earth. Bill: No, you must be thinking of some other animal. This thing was totally not Earth-like at all. It had, like, scales and shit. Sue: That’s an armadillo. They’re all over Texas. They’re like the state animal or something. Everybody knows that. lol :-) And then he followed that up with this: Bill: . . . Hey, what about those things, you know, that got the duck bill? Sue: You mean ducks? Bill: No, smartass, they don’t look like a duck, they just got a duck bill. Sue: What, a platypus? Bill: Yeah, a platypus! Where are those things from? Sue: They’re from Earth too. Bill: No shit? Man, Earth is a weird-ass planet sometimes. LOL!!! I love this! And the two people who gave voice to Bill and Sue. . .PERFECTION!!! The second story - "Missives from Possible Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results" - gave us alternative histories for Hitler's death. Each shares how he died, the wars that subsequently happened, and the first person on the moon and when. The final one, after a meteorite takes out Hitler: . . . Humanity wiped out along with Hitler and 93% of all species; society of rats rises and falls; society of frogs rises and falls; society of pillbugs rises and falls; society of squid rises and sticks; Gluugsnertgluug first squid on the moon, 2,973,004,412. I put the part that had me laughing in bold. If you read this book, you HAVE to listen to this audio edition of it. Hearing the reader say "Gluugsnertgluug" always gives me a little thrill. :-) The third story was "Pluto Tells All." John Scalzi introduced it by saying, "Written after the de-planetization of Pluto in 2006. I’m still bitter about it." I sooo agree. But the story is pretty funny. My first laugh came in delight over this line: . . .people start calling me and telling me I’m the newest planet. And I remember saying, I don’t know if I want that responsibility. And they said, well, you can’t not be a planet now, Walt Disney’s already named a character after you. That’s really what made me a planet. Not the astronomers, but that cartoon dog. People loved that dog. Ironically, I’m a cat person. *hehehe* I next laughed when Pluto talks about Eris, whose unofficial name was Xena: I told her I didn’t really think she wanted to be named “Dubya,” and she said I had a point. Then I said her moon would have been named “Cheney,” and then she hit me. It hurts when you’re hit by a dwarf planet. She’s bigger than me, you know. lol! Story #4, "Denise Jones, Superbooker," was hugely fun. Denise is the one to call if your city is under attack from a monster. In answer to one of the questions, she said this: A: Obviously our super beings’ availability for parties is contingent on the absence of monster attacks at the time. Unless the monsters are attacking Tempe. In which case, party on, super beings. *hahaha* Whoever the two were who voiced the interviewer and Denise did such a fantastic job, too. (And if you want to know why it is funny that Tempe is left to fend for itself, read the story yourself. *hehe*) Actually, there were no monotonous voices in this book, no sirree. lol ;-) The voice cast was FABULOUS! :-) I will share just one more quote that made me laugh, from "Life on Earth: Human-Alien Relations By Sam Mossby." This story was written like an advice column. In response to someone asking about their boss, who growls at them and has scary teeth, the columnist - Sam Mossby - was reassuring, but closed with this line: From your point of view, it’s perfectly harmless. That is, unless you challenge her dominance formally, by established (and fairly complicated) Ridpazian rituals . Which we don’t suggest you do. Remember those teeth. The reader for this story pronounced this final sentence in a sing-song tone: "Remember those tee-eeth." lol! I love it! In sum, this is a most excellent collection of short stories. I really just adore it. The voice cast did a really phenomenal job with the narration. They made this story fabulous. You really should listen to it, as their pronunciations of the Alien words and names are truly the greatest. And the emotions they put into their recitations! Really, it's just perfection. :-) The only downside to this collection is the final story, the poem. I sadly do not fully understand it. It's also not funny. But since it was not meant to be funny, I won't let my lack of enjoyment of it bring down my rating. This was still a most excellent collection of stories, narrated by the best voice cast that could have been chosen for it. :-) UPDATE! 7th Listening Experience! After listening to this book for the seventh time (lol) on April 18, 2017, I was reminded of another quote that I just HAVE to share: The quote is from "Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back." Specifically, it's from the "McGivney 25 cu. Ft side-by-side Stainless Steel refrigerator with OrderIn™ Sensing Technology, of Anthony Moore, Malone, New York." :-) She's talking about her contents (all condiments: "I didn’t know anyone could live on condiments." lol, I love the performer who read this vignette!) and says, Thirteen types of dressing, including four variations of ranch. Seriously: Classic Ranch. Zesty Ranch. Ranch with jalapeño. Coffee Ranch. Really, what the hell is “Coffee Ranch”? Do you know? LOL!!! The "bold" is mine. This is the part that made me laugh especially loudly. The lady who did the reading for this part just sounded so aggrieved. . . I HAD to laugh. . .every time I listen to or read this story. :-) UPDATE! 8th Listening Experience! On April 20, 2017, I listened to this book for the eighth time, but with my Mom! When I invited her to listen and turned the volume up, she told me that she might not track the story as her mind wanders when she crochets, which is what she did while we listened. . . But I watched her as we listened, looking over at her from time to time, and she smiled and laughed at most of the things that make me smile and laugh! After it was over, she credited the performers for her ability to track this book. (I did tell you that the Voice Cast is FANTASTIC, right?) :-) I am very happy that my mother loved this book. It was hugely fun to share it with her. :-) Reading "Progress" I will record the dates I listened to this book here. . . 2017 April: 1, 6, 6-7, 13 x3 (+ 4th time on Kindle), 18, 20, 29 x3. May: 6, 14 x2. 2019 November: 23. 2020 April: 7. September: 26 and 27!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Valyssia Leigh

    It's a rare talent that can frame a cohesive story in 1,000 words, let alone make his reader laugh. I had great fun with this collection. Doled out one morsel at a time between longer works, each story was like a rich confection at the end of a satisfying meal. I'm not sure I'd approach this cover-to-cover, as there's quite a lot of thematic overlap, if not downright replay. The material would likely stale. As a balm it was perfect. There were no true duds, and as Scalzi points out, even if ther It's a rare talent that can frame a cohesive story in 1,000 words, let alone make his reader laugh. I had great fun with this collection. Doled out one morsel at a time between longer works, each story was like a rich confection at the end of a satisfying meal. I'm not sure I'd approach this cover-to-cover, as there's quite a lot of thematic overlap, if not downright replay. The material would likely stale. As a balm it was perfect. There were no true duds, and as Scalzi points out, even if there were, fifteen minutes isn't long to suffer. The best bit: the audiobook was less than a fiver. And that wasn't a sale price. Might just be the most amusement I've gotten all year at the price.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Guillermo

    I really like John Scalzi. Thoroughly enjoyed the first three books in the Old Man’s War series and plan on finishing that series at some point. But this short story collection just really didn’t work with me. I don’t even think I cracked a smile once. Reading is such a subjective experience and humor is even more of one, so please don’t listen to me. You may find this hilarious. Two good things about this collection: 1. The stories are really short. In the introduction, Scalzi credits his previo I really like John Scalzi. Thoroughly enjoyed the first three books in the Old Man’s War series and plan on finishing that series at some point. But this short story collection just really didn’t work with me. I don’t even think I cracked a smile once. Reading is such a subjective experience and humor is even more of one, so please don’t listen to me. You may find this hilarious. Two good things about this collection: 1. The stories are really short. In the introduction, Scalzi credits his previous career as a journalist with the necessity to be succinct. It’s like the weather here in Florida – you don’t like it? Give it 15 minutes. It’ll change. But as a corollary of course, don’t get too comfortable with something you like, because you won’t spend more than 5 minutes reading it. 2. Natalie Metzer’s illustrations are nice. Even on my black & white kindle, the illustrations in the beginning of each chapter really popped and were really cute. Although I didn’t like the book, it’s one I’ll keep an eye out for in my local bookstore just to flip through the pages. Thank you to Netgalley for providing a copy of this for me to read in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    Review (for the moment) is solely for "Alien Animal Encounters", available online here: http://strangehorizons.com/fiction/al... It's entertaining but hit-or-miss, and I'm a big Scalzi fan. 3.5 stars? Here's my fave: "Dr. Elliot Morgenthal, Doctor, Stamford: Oh, God. I worked the ER as an intern right around the time of that stupid fungdu craze. Here's the thing about fungdu: they're furry, they're friendly, they vibrate when they're happy, and they have unusually large toothless mouths. You can se Review (for the moment) is solely for "Alien Animal Encounters", available online here: http://strangehorizons.com/fiction/al... It's entertaining but hit-or-miss, and I'm a big Scalzi fan. 3.5 stars? Here's my fave: "Dr. Elliot Morgenthal, Doctor, Stamford: Oh, God. I worked the ER as an intern right around the time of that stupid fungdu craze. Here's the thing about fungdu: they're furry, they're friendly, they vibrate when they're happy, and they have unusually large toothless mouths. You can see where this is going. About two or three times a month we'd get some poor bastard coming in with a fungdu on his Johnson. What people apparently don't know about fungdu is that if they think that what they've got in their mouths is live prey, these little backward-pointing quills emerge out of their gums to keep whatever they're trying to eat from escaping. ..." I might look for more of these online, but doubt I would buy the collection. But do check this one out, if you're a fan!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lupe Dominguez

    While some of these we're cute and entertaining ("Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back" was my favorite. The poor bidet.), the last one "Penelope" was a miss for me, as was "When The Yogurt Took Over" and a couple others, thus taking it from 5 star to 4. But overall they were fun and quick. Just what I needed for my 2 hour Readathon prep! While some of these we're cute and entertaining ("Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back" was my favorite. The poor bidet.), the last one "Penelope" was a miss for me, as was "When The Yogurt Took Over" and a couple others, thus taking it from 5 star to 4. But overall they were fun and quick. Just what I needed for my 2 hour Readathon prep!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Barb in Maryland

    A mixed bag of very short sf stories by the popular SF author. The stories that worked for me really rocked. I enjoyed Pluto (the planet) bemoaning its demotion to dwarf planet. "The Other Large Thing" gives us a cat's eye view of a domestic robot--with a fabulous twist to the story. The sentient yogurt story is great fun, with a bittersweet ending. The one about smart appliances talking behind your back? How do we know they aren't already doing that? Alien animal identification guide--useful kn A mixed bag of very short sf stories by the popular SF author. The stories that worked for me really rocked. I enjoyed Pluto (the planet) bemoaning its demotion to dwarf planet. "The Other Large Thing" gives us a cat's eye view of a domestic robot--with a fabulous twist to the story. The sentient yogurt story is great fun, with a bittersweet ending. The one about smart appliances talking behind your back? How do we know they aren't already doing that? Alien animal identification guide--useful knowledge with a nice bit of humor. But the rest of the stories were either variations on a point already covered, juvenile humor, or both--not very satisfactory. So glad I didn't spend any $$$ on this. [And I'm a great fan of John Scalzi--doesn't mean I automatically squee over everything he puts out...] Get this one from the library if you're interested.

  18. 4 out of 5

    orangerful

    Cute little collection of Scalzi stories. If you're not familiar with his longer stuff, you might wonder who the heck this guy is. They range from satire to silly to just goofy. I picked it up because one of the short stories was adapted for 'Love Death and Robots' on Netflix. Cute little collection of Scalzi stories. If you're not familiar with his longer stuff, you might wonder who the heck this guy is. They range from satire to silly to just goofy. I picked it up because one of the short stories was adapted for 'Love Death and Robots' on Netflix.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Because many fans first entry point into the sci-fi/fantasy world is Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, it can be easy to assume that writing funny genre pieces is something that just about anybody can do. But a look at the myriad of pale imitators who have tried and fallen short continues to prove that being funny on the printed page isn't as easy as it first appears. Every once in a while an author comes along who is able to channel what made Adams and Pratchett work so well. And while not all o Because many fans first entry point into the sci-fi/fantasy world is Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, it can be easy to assume that writing funny genre pieces is something that just about anybody can do. But a look at the myriad of pale imitators who have tried and fallen short continues to prove that being funny on the printed page isn't as easy as it first appears. Every once in a while an author comes along who is able to channel what made Adams and Pratchett work so well. And while not all of John Scalzi's works have been a "laugh riot," he has shown the capacity to land his jokes more often than not. Not content just to make readers snicker or laugh out loud (and you will laugh out loud), Scalzi gives himself the additional challenge of not having any of the pieces in his "Miniatures" collection run more than 2,300 words. This gives Scalzi time to stretch his creative chops, all while making sure that his pieces don't overstay their welcome like too many "Saturday Night Live" sketches. And that just about all of the entries in this collection have at least one to two moments to make you smile, if not outright snicker shows that Scalzi knows what he's doing. Among the highlights of the collection is a companion piece to his award-winning "Redshirts" that he used on the book tour to introduce the novel (added fun can be had by surfing over to YouTube and seeing Scalzi read the piece at signing with Wil Wheaton), a story looking at why having our appliances becoming sentient is probably not a good idea to a series of Tweets that Scalzi used to amuse himself and his followers while traveling by air. Just when you think Scalzi has shown you all his tricks, he goes and pulls a few more rabbits out of his hat. "Miniatures" may not be nominated for a ton of awards, but it will certainly entertain you and it might be a great introduction to new readers of the greater rewards of reading Scalzi's other works. Highly recommended. In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    How is cracking open John Scalzi's Miniatures like popping open a bag of chips? Because is is heard to devour just one! Really, it is hard to stop with just one of these short, generally strange tales. You have Pluto riffing on Pop music and his place in the cosmos. Then there are your appliances talking behind your backs about your habits or lack thereof. Booking agencies for super heroes and super villains. Not to mention the human/alien interaction riffs on office life. Of course the computer How is cracking open John Scalzi's Miniatures like popping open a bag of chips? Because is is heard to devour just one! Really, it is hard to stop with just one of these short, generally strange tales. You have Pluto riffing on Pop music and his place in the cosmos. Then there are your appliances talking behind your backs about your habits or lack thereof. Booking agencies for super heroes and super villains. Not to mention the human/alien interaction riffs on office life. Of course the computer will not destroy humanity, they will want to keep a few specimens around to torture/play with. Or is that the cats? The Yogurt? Well, then there is the poem. A serious, well plotted poem that hearkens back to the Classics! What is there to dislike about Minatures? Not much that I can see.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    Fantastic collection - most of these have appeared elsewhere, but unfortunately 12 year old me hadn't yet discovered scifi or scifi magazines, and so they're new to me :) Each story is short; really short, around the 1000 words, and it takes a master to pack something memorable, funny, and incredibly entertaining into that tiny format. John Scalzi is just such a master, and knocks this out of the ballpark. A couple of my favourites were Tuna - a new perspective on robotic home-helpers - and Penelo Fantastic collection - most of these have appeared elsewhere, but unfortunately 12 year old me hadn't yet discovered scifi or scifi magazines, and so they're new to me :) Each story is short; really short, around the 1000 words, and it takes a master to pack something memorable, funny, and incredibly entertaining into that tiny format. John Scalzi is just such a master, and knocks this out of the ballpark. A couple of my favourites were Tuna - a new perspective on robotic home-helpers - and Penelope, the final work and a poem with an entirely different tone to the rest of the stories. Both brilliant little pieces and stood out even among fantastic company.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacey

    I'm not generally a great reader of short stories, but these are short stories by John Scalzi. OK, I thought - I'll give it a go. I'm glad I did. Verging on the humourous (mostly) there are stories here about sentient youghourt ruling the world, a superhero booking agent, complaints form smart-applicances, absurdities of human/alien interaction. All this and a poem for Penelope. Highlty recommended. I'm not generally a great reader of short stories, but these are short stories by John Scalzi. OK, I thought - I'll give it a go. I'm glad I did. Verging on the humourous (mostly) there are stories here about sentient youghourt ruling the world, a superhero booking agent, complaints form smart-applicances, absurdities of human/alien interaction. All this and a poem for Penelope. Highlty recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    This book is short and light weight but gloriously funny, filled with John Scalzi's imagination par excellence. I laughed all the way through and was sorry when it ended. Recommended to all my friends here to brighten their day. This book is short and light weight but gloriously funny, filled with John Scalzi's imagination par excellence. I laughed all the way through and was sorry when it ended. Recommended to all my friends here to brighten their day.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    An amusing collection of very short fiction from John Scalzi. I'll sum up the collection by saying that Scalzi admits he enjoys writing his short fiction about the 3rd or 4th meetings between humans and aliens. He finds the situation when humans & aliens are familiar with each other and gets the humour from those interactions. Favourites: Alien Animal Encounters Denise Jones, Superbooker/The State of Super Villainy To Sue the World An amusing collection of very short fiction from John Scalzi. I'll sum up the collection by saying that Scalzi admits he enjoys writing his short fiction about the 3rd or 4th meetings between humans and aliens. He finds the situation when humans & aliens are familiar with each other and gets the humour from those interactions. Favourites: Alien Animal Encounters Denise Jones, Superbooker/The State of Super Villainy To Sue the World

  25. 5 out of 5

    ❤Marie Gentilcore

    It’s always fun to read some John Scalzi. This short book is filled with very entertaining short stories/vignettes. I enjoyed them all but the two that stand out to me are The Other Large Thing and Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back. Remembering is making me smile.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    More short stories = better bedtime reading. I read dissertations all damn day and this is refreshing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chip

    Decent book with a few fairly funny short stories.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gertie

    I'm giving this four stars for the stories that I did read – however there are some that I skipped because they were not appealing to me. I'm giving this four stars for the stories that I did read – however there are some that I skipped because they were not appealing to me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Angie Boyter

    Witty and original In the Prologue to Miniatures, John Scalzi says that as a fiction writer he feels he has “two natural speeds: novel length … and really short, as in about 2000 words or less.” His legions of fans and many awards testify to the popularity of his longer SF. Now in this short book readers have a chance to sample Scalzi’s other “speed.” Whichever ”speed” Scalzi is writing in, a “gear” he favors is humor, and all of the selections in the book except the last, which is also the only p Witty and original In the Prologue to Miniatures, John Scalzi says that as a fiction writer he feels he has “two natural speeds: novel length … and really short, as in about 2000 words or less.” His legions of fans and many awards testify to the popularity of his longer SF. Now in this short book readers have a chance to sample Scalzi’s other “speed.” Whichever ”speed” Scalzi is writing in, a “gear” he favors is humor, and all of the selections in the book except the last, which is also the only poem, are humorous. Each of the selections is headed by a cute illustration that guarantees the reader will start reading with a smile. I have been reading science fiction for longer than this author has been living and increasingly find myself reacting to a new work with a feeling of “been there, read that before.” These stories instead repeatedly provoked “how clever” or ”what an imagination.” Since these pieces are very short, most are not “stories” with a plot in the traditional sense but riffs on things like articles or interviews one might find in a newspaper or magazine. The first piece, Alien Animal Encounters, asks folks on the street, “What is the most interesting encounter you’ve ever had with an alien animal species?” In another Pluto talks about what it felt like to be delisted as a planet , and in a third smart appliances talk behind their users’ backs. Humor is, however, very much a matter of taste. I laughed a LOT reading this book (enough to provoke several annoyed looks and a comment or two from the husband), but on the scale from highly refined to very broad Scalzi runs a little broader than mine e.g., there are rather more fart jokes than I would prefer and at least one encounter between an alien creature and a portion of the male anatomy that I thought was pretty funny but would not recommend to some of my friends. Oh, yes, I would be remiss not to mention that, this being John Scalzi, there are also cats, or extraterrestrial critters who seem to share the feline talent for being simultaneously endearing and exasperating. You KNEW he would have cats. If you like Scalzi’s longer humorous writing or follow his blog or just want some laughs to get you through the winter, Miniatures packs quite a few of them in a small package. NOTE: I received a complimentary pre-publication copy of this book from Netgalley, but my review reflects my honest opinion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 31st December 2016 Miniatures is a collection of Scalzi’s very short fiction, plus one poem. Most of it is humorous, and if you’re au fait with Scalzi’s humour then you know what to expect. It’s more or less like reading his twitter feed — in fact, two of the stories come from his twitter feed. They’re funny because they treat aliens as routine, there’s fart humour (if you find that funny), etc. It’s a fun collection, but not exactly satisfying: t Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 31st December 2016 Miniatures is a collection of Scalzi’s very short fiction, plus one poem. Most of it is humorous, and if you’re au fait with Scalzi’s humour then you know what to expect. It’s more or less like reading his twitter feed — in fact, two of the stories come from his twitter feed. They’re funny because they treat aliens as routine, there’s fart humour (if you find that funny), etc. It’s a fun collection, but not exactly satisfying: the stories here aren’t anything deep and meaningful. There are some fun ideas (I’m intrigued by the alien animal which made people depressed, for example), and if you’re a big fan, you probably will want to pick it up. The poem isn’t even terrible. Most of these pieces aren’t really available anywhere else, either. Originally posted here.

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