Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, by John Scalzi

Book 5

Buying a copy of Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, by John Scalzi, was an indulgence. Barnes and Noble had a limited number of signed and numbered hard cover copies, so I used a Christmas gift card. Wil Wheaton wrote the introduction.

Scalzi is a writer of many things and this book is a “best of the first 10 years” from his personal blog, called “Whatever”. Sci-fi fiction seems to be where his heart is, but he is clearly a pen for hire. I like the way he writes about the business of writing. That his head might be on his next novel, but he has committed to a deadline for a client. I think he said that Oppenheimer Funds was one. He seems very level-headed about money, which I find awesome.

He is an agnostic that talks an awful lot about Christianity. I don’t have the direct quote, but his attitude is:

I don’t have a problem with Christianity. I wish more Christians practiced it.

I agree with his premise, and enjoyed hearing him talk through raising his daughter to be curious and understanding without imposing his own ideas on her. But, boy that was a lot of posts on religion.

He wrote about how sci-fi suffers by an unfair comparison to Star Wars. True. But his idea is that the two can not be compared because Star Wars is not entertaining. I would argue that I was perfectly entertained by Star Wars. I just wouldn’t call it science fiction.

He mentions both the meanness of the “childfree” movement and the way that some people turn into jerks when they become parents. I like that he has strong opinions on the subject while expressing an understanding of the alternate point of view:

Kids are kids. But:
Parents should teach kids the proper way to behave in public. But:
People that don’t have kids might show just a bit of patience. And:
“Out in Public” is not synonymous with “Adults Only”.

That said. The fact that Starbucks is overrun with screaming children has just sent me back to McDonalds. Where they have a playground.

Finally, I had a moment when I got to the September 12 post. He had a similar reaction to mine – that the most striking thing about the day was how clear the sky was and how there were no airplanes in it. For him, it was a guilty moment of seeing something beautiful and feeling badly about it. For me, there was a new definition in my psyche:

Planes in the air = Things are right in the world.

Oh, and Scalzi talks politics a lot.

I enjoyed this book and will continue to read his blog. But he won’t get me into science fiction.

One Comment on “Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, by John Scalzi

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