Monday, December 14, 2009

Review: Your Hate Mail Will be Graded

As regular readers of this blog may already know, I am a big fan of science fiction writer John Scalzi. He even has his own tag here, I write about him so much! His Old Man's War series is just fantastic. I am also a fan and daily reader of Scalzi's blog Whatever. "Whatever" is one of the longest running blogs - the first entry was on September 13, 1998, way back even before the term blog was invented - and has 40k plus readers a day (I can't even imagine having that many readers!). So what is "Whatever" about?
Well, about whatever: Politics, writing, family, war, popular culture and cats (especially with bacon on them). Sometimes he's funny. Sometimes he's serious (mostly he's sarcastic). Sometimes people agree with him. Sometimes they send him hate mail, which he grades on originality and sends back.
Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded is a collection of "Whatever" entries, some dating back to the early days of the site, some from 2008. The topics range from the serious to the ridiculous, and include such topics as September 11th, advice for writers, and fatherhood.

It is apparent what the dominant political topics were during the years Scalzi wrote these essays: gay marriage, George W. Bush, the Iraq War, etc. And some of those essays, in particular, felt a little dated. But many of the other essays, like the one on his childhood hero, Carl Sagan, or the financial advice for writers, felt more timeless.

No surprise, I really like Scalzi's writing. As the blurb points out, there's a lot of sarcasm in the humorous pieces, which I like, though I recognize not everyone will. But Scalzi has, to me, a distinctive voice, that I just love. I think other readers (and not just science fiction fans) will enjoy this book as well.

Buy Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded on Amazon.

A softcover version of this book will be coming out in January from Tor.

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