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Science Fiction:

The New York Times book review section (Dec. 24, 2006) ran a piece about John Scalzi -- whose Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades I much enjoyed -- and in the process noted that "the book owes its ... success in part to recommendations from conservative political blogs like Instapundit and The Volokh Conspiracy."

I'm pleased to hear that some think that my recommendations helped the book (though I'm quite sure that Instapundit's influence was far greater than mine). I'm also particularly pleased by the possibility that perhaps some fantasy and SF publishers, editors, authors, and publicists might read the review -- or perhaps some odd post that happens to link to the review -- and decide that it would be a wonderful idea to send me review copies of the fantasy and SF books that they are promoting ....

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Science Fiction and Conservatism:
  2. Science Fiction:
HLSbertarian (mail):
Not exactly on topic, but: The article seems less concerned with reviewing Scalzi's book than it is with figuring out Scalzi's political stance so that the reviewer can know how much to criticize him.

Oh, and the whole 'Heinlein was cute before we all grew up and realized war was really bad' smear job is shameful.
1.9.2007 4:11pm
Random3 (mail):
Glenn Reynolds is going to be annoyed that once again his site has been characterized as "conservative."
1.9.2007 4:21pm
Houston Lawyer:
As usual, the NYT is setting the bar pretty low on who's a conservative. I guess if you favor private property rights or the rule of law, you are now a conservative.
1.9.2007 4:23pm
Jeff Shultz (mail):
Interestingly enough, I bought Old Man's War this weekend (as well as several other books).

I'll admit it was Glenn's recommendation that I read... I didn't hang out here (much) then.
1.9.2007 4:35pm
Michael A. Koenecke:
Geez, yet another "Heinlein was a fascist" claim, which was thoroughly debunked years ago. I really don't think those leftist idiots have a clue what constitutes fascism, other than "ideas I don't like."
1.9.2007 4:50pm
Shelby (mail):
Re HLSBertarian: I was struck, just in reading Eugene's excerpt, that the BYT would go out of its way to describe these sites as "conservative". My guess is that it's a signaling mechanism to tell readers they can safely ignore Scalzi's books, but alternative hypotheses are welcome.
1.9.2007 5:13pm
Shelby (mail):
"...the NYT..."
1.9.2007 5:13pm
pete (mail) (www):
I decided to try Scalzi out after reading various blog recommendations. I liked Old Man's War a lot, thought Agent to the Stars was decent, and am in the middle of Ghost Brigades now, which is good so far.

Scalzi has a lot of humor, an interesting take on what it means to age and be human, and he uses technology well in his settings. It is interesting to compare him to Heinlein who focused on the futuristic weapons technology in books like Starship Troopers since Scalzi focuses a lot more on the biotech, nanotech, and computer network aspects of future soldiers.

The NYT article was annoying since the author expects Scalzi to put his politics right out there instead of just writing a good book that makes the reader think and come to their own conclusions. I also think the "Heinlein is a fascist" smear is tired considering the point in Starship Troopers was that military service should be completely voluntary and that all humanity should live together in peace so we can go kill other sentient species.
1.9.2007 5:19pm
Yosef Ibrahimi (mail):
I picked up Old Man's War after reading about it here. I have also recommended it to several friends, so there are at least a few people who have read it (or at least read it sooner) because of this blog.

In reference to the NYT piece, it does not seem like a book review or author bio piece. It seems much more like an editorial whose political overtones overbear what should be substantive literary analysis.
1.9.2007 5:53pm
Amber (www):
I got a review copy of a recent Roman historical-fiction novel (which was enjoyable for fans of the genre, if nothing exceptional) through my book blogging and eagerly await more. It does work.

The thing about blogging about SF/fantasy books, though, is that so many of the authors are also online and will take note of your reviews. It's a little intimidating.
1.9.2007 6:01pm
Colin (mail):
"My guess is that it's a signaling mechanism to tell readers they can safely ignore Scalzi's books, but alternative hypotheses are welcome."

My alternate hypothesis is that you need to take a deep breath and remove your tinfoil helmet. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a thread in which no one whined about liberal conspiracies, the New York Times, and "leftist idiots?"

Interested readers who don't follow Scalzi's own blog might enjoy his response to the NYT review.
1.9.2007 6:03pm
Colin (mail):
If publishers do send you review copies, I hope you'll actually review them here. I'm always interested in reading new reviews. It was a blog, although I forget which one, that tipped me off to Kit Whitfield's _Benighted_. One of the most interesting books to come out last year (if not one of my favorites), and one of the most legalistic pieces of SF/Fantasy I've ever read. It and Night Watch might be the only members of the "jurisprudence fantasy" subgenre.

Come to think of it, have you read the Nochnoi/Dnevnoi/etc. Dozor series? I can't get through an entire novel in Russian, so I waited for the English translation. Night Watch was good enough that I ordered a British copy of Day Watch (their English edition beat ours to press by a few months). I'm curious if the series is worth following, or if it peters out - I see that he picked up a coauthor for the sequels, which could be good or bad.
1.9.2007 6:40pm
heinlein fan:
The reviewer's description of Starship Troopers is absurd. I think perhaps he saw the movie instead of reading the book. In Starship Troopers, Earth was attacked by aliens and fought back. Would he have preferred we allow ourselves to be destroyed? Does he really think it is fascist to fight when attacked? Ridiculous.
1.9.2007 9:01pm
Cornellian (mail):
I thought Starship Troopers was fascist, though in the pure sense of viewing the individual as existing to serve the (militaristic) state, but without the historical baggage associated with the term "fascist" arising from 20th C Germany, Italy and Spain. I would have had that impression regardless of which side started the war. I did like the movie. To me, calling a movie "fascist" doesn't automatically mean it's not worth seeing.
1.10.2007 2:12pm