Update. Next Publication is: Under Strange Suns, available digitally August 2015, print version due December 2015, Twilight Times Books.

Books, Head-to-Head

I have a couple of books on my mind. I just finished Live Free or Die by John Ringo. I’m about two-thirds of the way through Redshirts by John Scalzi. Two science fiction novels with a humorous bent. A side-by-side comparison isn’t entirely unwarranted, right?

As noted, I haven’t quite finished Scalzi’s entry. But it is Sunday and the web log post demands fodder.

Redshirts did not grab me immediately. We’ve all seen Galaxy Quest, do we need a deeper dive into metafiction? I got the book’s jokes. (Or, joke, singular?)I just didn’t find them particularly funny. Scalzi seemed to be beating the horse to a bloody pulp. But Redshirts has been growing on me, actually eliciting a couple of chuckles. I’m hopeful the trend will continue.

I just hope he doesn’t insert himself into the narrative.

Live Free or Die, by comparison, engaged me immediately. It could be that Ringo’s sense of humor aligns more closely with mine than does Scalzi’s. But unfortunately, as I got further and further into Live Free or Die I experienced the opposite reaction I did to Redshirts; the book began losing my interest. Ringo, it seems to me, became very involved with his research and found the process of, for example, melting an asteroid extremely interesting. More interesting than I find it, sadly, because he explained it in detail. Great detail. The nuts and bolts of how to make the tool to make the tool to make the tool is less compelling than you might think. And ultimately, Live Free or Die is incomplete, the first volume of a series, and a volume without much of a resolution. Though it does close out with a bang. (Well, not really, since there is no sound in space.) Nonetheless, I did enjoy the book. It made me smile more than once. I’m likely to pick up the sequels, find out what happens next.

Conclusion? Neither book is world shaking, but I found these efforts by both Johns worth my time. So far. I will withhold the final verdict on Redshirts until I finish reading it.