Sunday, December 25, 2016


Miniatures by John Scalzi
Subterranean Press: 12/31/16
eBook review copy; 144 pages

Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi by John Scalzi is entertaining, hilarious, and a very highly recommended collection of 18 stories and one poem. All the pieces were written from 1991 to the present. Four have never been in print before this collection.
 "There are 18 pieces in the collection, the longest of which is a whopping 2,296 words long, including the title; the shortest, just 427 words. The average piece length is 1,310 words. The forms of the stories -  interviews, memos, even Twitter posts and search results - have brevity in mind. Nearly all of them are meant to be funny (one’s not. You’ll know it when you see it). Four of the pieces are original to this collection; they’ve never been printed elsewhere."

I enjoyed every piece included in this well-written, clever collection (with the exception of the last one, which is a poem).  A couple of my favorites that had me laughing out loud to the point of tears are marked with an asterisk, or two.

*Alien Animal Encounters - Various people answer the question: "What is the most interesting encounter you've ever had with an alien animal species?"
Missives from Possible Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results - Various scenarios featuring ways Hitler died and the resulting changes in the historical record.
Pluto Tells All - The dwarf planet shares a few thoughts about his demotion
*Denise Jones, Superbooker -  interview with the Super Hero Booking Coordinator for the International Society of Super Beings.
*When the Yogurt Took Over - Intelligent yogurt takes over.
The Other Large Thing - the master of the house meets a new accolade.
The State of Super Villainy - An interview with a super villain analyst for a management company
**New Directives for Employee - Manxtse Interactions - Memo from FoodMaster Supermarkets to employees regarding Employee - Manxtse Interactions.
*To Sue the World - A lawyer sues an interplanetary union for dangerous working conditions.
How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights: A Twitter Tale - self-explanatory
How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights, Part II: The Gremlining - self-explanatory
*Life On Earth: Human-Alien Relations -  An advice column answers questions on human-alien interaction in the office
*Morning Announcements at the Lucas Interspecies School for Troubled Youth - self-explanatory
**Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back - self-explanatory
The AI are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest  - an open discussion on what to do with humans.
**Important Holidays on Gronghu - An office memo on important Gronghu holidays to the staff of the Diplomatic Mission to Gronghu.
Cute Adorable Extortionists - the tale of a lemonade stand
Penelope- the poem is written to Penelope, wife of Odysseus; non-humorous

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of Subterranean Press.

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