Miniatures

April 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm (Reads)

miniaturesMiniatures by John Scalzi

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John Scalzi isn’t exactly known for his short fiction. In the foreword to Miniatures, he explains that he tends to write novels or short-short stories, and this book is the first collection of the latter. It’s a slim volume — just 142 pages — which makes sense, since the longest story in the collection is just under 2300 words, and there are only eighteen stories here. Though, to call them stories is a bit generous.

Mind you, I’m not saying that as a criticism. The pieces here would best be called vignettes, which is just fine since none of the stories in this collection are meant to be taken seriously. All but one of them are humorous pieces, like the collection of Tweets he compiles about the gremlin on the wing of his plane who is on strike, a collection of the different ways Hitler died among parallel universes, or a corporate memo giving humans a list of alien holidays and how to observe them, which totally aren’t a response to a prank played on the aliens. For humorous pieces like this, vignettes are the best way to tell them.

I hesitate to say “If you don’t laugh at these stories, then you’re dead inside”, but seriously, there’s some funny stuff here. I think it helps to be familiar with his writing outside of his novels, since the sense of humor he applies to these stories is the same as the one he uses on Twitter. Anyone familiar with Scalzi from his Tweets or his blog will enjoy this collection.

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