The Incomparable

101: Insular Nerdosphere


  the incomparable Todd task number 101 [TS]

  August 2012 [TS]

  welcome back everybody to be [TS]

  uncomfortable podcast I'm your hostess [TS]

  and snow it's episode 101 starting a new [TS]

  century of podcasting excellence [TS]

  explains him quotation marks did this [TS]

  week's episode is about book it's red [TS]

  shirts by john scalzi we did an entire [TS]

  podcast about john scalzi and his [TS]

  collected works its number 37 so you can [TS]

  get identified by 52 TV / incomparable / [TS]

  37 episode is called shadow war the [TS]

  night dragons it's got we talked about [TS]

  basically all the books that scalzi [TS]

  wrote up two red shirts which is the [TS]

  topic of today's podcast joining me to [TS]

  talk about Richards are these three fine [TS]

  upstanding citizens serenity Caldwell is [TS]

  with us again [TS]

  hello hello I wouldn't call myself [TS]

  upstanding that you know what I'll take [TS]

  the compliment I i called you that so i [TS]

  get to do that all right [TS]

  also the the great and well-read Scott [TS]

  McNulty hi Scott [TS]

  hello jason and i would call myself [TS]

  great so spun off and joining us from [TS]

  the Pacific Northwest a man who read [TS]

  many books and hence has many opinions [TS]

  about them [TS]

  Glenn fleischmann Glenn I have no [TS]

  opinion about whether i'm here tonight [TS]

  or not [TS]

  thank you thank you that that helps a [TS]

  lot [TS]

  so red shirts is a very strange [TS]

  it's a very strange book with a very [TS]

  strange subject and when i first heard [TS]

  that this book was coming out [TS]

  I i kind of thought it was a joke [TS]

  because let's let's go through the [TS]

  history here John Scalzi wrote this [TS]

  shadow or the night dragons thing which [TS]

  actually was a joke and got nominated [TS]

  for hugo award for best short story that [TS]

  was his the idea of the perfectly [TS]

  targeted fantasy novel title and he also [TS]

  did little fuzzy fuzzy fuzzy nation [TS]

  which is the reboot of a classic sci-fi [TS]

  novel little fuzzy [TS]

  and so then he is red shirts thing gets [TS]

  announced and I think to myself [TS]

  surely this isn't real this is it was [TS]

  John Scalzi gone crazy is what is he [TS]

  doing all this you know all these [TS]

  strange pranks and stunts and and wacky [TS]

  chapters two books that don't exist and [TS]

  reboots of things is it going to really [TS]

  write a whole novel of with the premise [TS]

  that it's a basically startrack seen [TS]

  from the from the perspective of the [TS]

  redshirts who are going off to their [TS]

  impending doom and on of fundamental [TS]

  level that is sort of where this book [TS]

  starts right he did this book the only [TS]

  way that this book could have been done [TS]

  i kind of feel like it like everything [TS]

  you did the chicken he did the the [TS]

  kitchen sink approach this he like took [TS]

  everything you said he did [TS]

  simultaneously [TS]

  well the so this book there is a way to [TS]

  do this book and do it extremely badly [TS]

  right which is to say okay here's it's [TS]

  going to be wacky we're gonna have a [TS]

  ship and it's going to be like Star Trek [TS]

  and the characters will be recognizably [TS]

  Star Trek characters and accept our main [TS]

  characters of the red shirts and they [TS]

  all realize that the redshirts get [TS]

  killed a lot and it really bugs them and [TS]

  that's there's it's a novel and then we [TS]

  would you get that in a couple of [TS]

  chapters and then the rest of it would [TS]

  just will be just belabor it endlessly [TS]

  and I i could type that I mean that is [TS]

  what I dreaded when I read this book was [TS]

  that it was going to be this one joke [TS]

  and it's like well scalzi I like his [TS]

  stuff [TS]

  let's see if there's some other way to [TS]

  do this but that was my fear was that [TS]

  this was going to be a UH sort of a [TS]

  single joke played out over an [TS]

  appropriate length and we would get the [TS]

  joke really early on and then there [TS]

  would be nothing left to appreciate [TS]

  about it right i mean did anybody else [TS]

  you know that Scott was that your [TS]

  feeling about going in it was my my fear [TS]

  if you're I'm always suspicious of books [TS]

  who's the author name is larger than the [TS]

  title and that's a book that yes that is [TS]

  I guess John Scalzi has gotten to that [TS]

  point in his career where [TS]

  his name is more important than the [TS]

  title of the book so that worried me and [TS]

  then of course the premise like you said [TS]

  it's kind of flimsy I you know it's kind [TS]

  of like a running science fiction joke [TS]

  so I didn't know what more could be done [TS]

  with it and especially I didn't know if [TS]

  it was a joke that could last a whole [TS]

  novel but he cleverly kind of made it [TS]

  kind of three different things together [TS]

  so he kind of addressed that I but you [TS]

  know i mean it's it's it's it wasn't [TS]

  horrible i actually quite liked it [TS]

  yeah I like 22 and I liked it because it [TS]

  wasn't one of the big reasons i like [TS]

  this because it was not what I expected [TS]

  I expected so just as a brief recap we [TS]

  meet these red shirt characters this [TS]

  indeed that the horror story you know my [TS]

  fear of what this book would be about it [TS]

  is that's what the book is at the start [TS]

  right so at the start we meet these [TS]

  characters who are being assigned to the [TS]

  intrepid which is the ship that they [TS]

  vary enterprise like ship the flagship [TS]

  of the universal Union the dub dub right [TS]

  there [TS]

  eww eww i forget what they call yet [TS]

  it's just it's it's ridiculous because [TS]

  it's the Federation that's the w that's [TS]

  it w space for the blob the w space [TS]

  fleet the flagship the universal Union [TS]

  capital ship intrepid right and and and [TS]

  the characters there's a an alien ish [TS]

  guy who's very basically Spock and [TS]

  there's this blowhard captain and [TS]

  there's a you know an engineer in a [TS]

  doctor and I mean it's he's done a good [TS]

  job of you know changing everything [TS]

  while making it perfectly clear all we [TS]

  all know what he's doing here and it's [TS]

  so it looks like this is going to be the [TS]

  story and then I what scalzi did that i [TS]

  thought was really impressive is he you [TS]

  know he he gives his character he treats [TS]

  his characters like real people and he [TS]

  treats the premise seriously and then [TS]

  just sort of takes it to its fullest [TS]

  extent and I didn't expect that I [TS]

  really didn't expect you today we're [TS]

  okay what if what if this scenario [TS]

  played out at and then it gets really [TS]

  weird and meta right where he also [TS]

  throws in there that they realized that [TS]

  this is they find this reclusive [TS]

  character who's like hiding in the [TS]

  middle of the ship somewhere and we're [TS]

  all these uh like carts are stored or [TS]

  something it's so bizarre [TS]

  it's I thought you liked that part [TS]

  because of the real genius [TS]

  it is actually yeah well as well it is [TS]

  he's lastly and he he is obsessed with [TS]

  something called the narrative and it [TS]

  turns out that this is this is a more [TS]

  than just a story about characters who [TS]

  were stuck on a on startrack about to be [TS]

  killed it's a it's a story about [TS]

  characters whose lives are being [TS]

  determined by the scripts of a sci-fi TV [TS]

  series and as we learn a particularly [TS]

  bad side that's not so great [TS]

  not so great and and schools he himself [TS]

  was the technical advisor for the for [TS]

  stargate universe the last and stargate [TS]

  series so he had some experience with TV [TS]

  although he has an author's no worries [TS]

  look this Stargate Universe is much [TS]

  better than this terrible show i'm [TS]

  writing about now so it that that point [TS]

  I have to admit that point at that point [TS]

  the novel almost lost me because I [TS]

  thought it was going to get very meta at [TS]

  which it did but and an overly clever [TS]

  and and that was the moment where I [TS]

  really I i began to fear that this was [TS]

  not what I expected but might actually [TS]

  be worse than I expected you know I [TS]

  think it brings both of those things but [TS]

  at the same time it [TS]

  it rides the line very carefully i have [TS]

  to admit when I first started reading [TS]

  the book and this is the first scalzi [TS]

  book that i have read which is an [TS]

  interesting way to enter into his [TS]

  fiction the old man's war might be a [TS]

  better place to start but ok yeah old [TS]

  man's war was on my list but this one [TS]

  came out first and I heard that it was [TS]

  short and we were talking about [TS]

  potentially discussing it and I'm like I [TS]

  like red shirts [TS]

  better go and it's his best-selling book [TS]

  so i think that for a lot of people [TS]

  sometimes just a strong but yeah the [TS]

  first when i first started reading this [TS]

  I actually assume I'm like okay well [TS]

  they can go one of two ways [TS]

  I I thought about the TV show in the [TS]

  back of my head but my first thought was [TS]

  oh they're gonna have like an evil AI [TS]

  controlling and pulling the settings [TS]

  right sure but he's basically been [TS]

  blackmailed by this evil iight you're an [TS]

  Inuit you're looking for an in-universe [TS]

  premise right you know I assumed it was [TS]

  that way and then the second they start [TS]

  talking about the narrative I'm like oh [TS]

  wait you mean this crazy half-assed [TS]

  thought i had in the very beginning of [TS]

  the no reading the book is actually [TS]

  where they're going [TS]

  this is insanity yeah yeah there's a [TS]

  whole last job I always put my talented [TS]

  writer hides half of the ass for later [TS]

  really lolz lolz us into a sense of [TS]

  believing that the narrative that he's [TS]

  constructed as the narrative with the [TS]

  capital and time travel plots and all [TS]

  this nonsense he leads us to believe [TS]

  that that's actually the narrative is [TS]

  telling then he tells a different [TS]

  narrative within that structure that he [TS]

  tells three more in areas in appendices [TS]

  yeah right we're going to bed which will [TS]

  get to know really will get to the [TS]

  killings write the book was fun and then [TS]

  the general plot of you know the [TS]

  redshirts was pretty great and I was [TS]

  like this is a solid B book and like [TS]

  really enjoyable and something fun to [TS]

  read good summer reading and then he [TS]

  dropped the remote is one after the [TS]

  other [TS]

  yes yes oh so before we get there so [TS]

  yeah what happens is you know you're [TS]

  reading a story this this is the metal [TS]

  part you're reading a story and it turns [TS]

  out that these guys are being controlled [TS]

  by this narrative which is the TV show [TS]

  and and as I was saying earlier that's [TS]

  the point where I thought oh gee this [TS]

  could go horribly wrong and where it [TS]

  doesn't go wrong is he [TS]

  he just keeps going with taking the [TS]

  whole thing seriously and set and you [TS]

  can see him almost as a writer saying [TS]

  alright I've done that now what it's [TS]

  like well now they're going to try to go [TS]

  you know they'll try to go [TS]

  contact the writers of the show they'll [TS]

  try to go back in time but how is that [TS]

  possible well of course star trek and [TS]

  shows like it use ridiculous things that [TS]

  don't make any sense of their several [TS]

  points scientists [TS]

  in the kiss your characters say that [TS]

  doesn't work you couldn't do it that way [TS]

  and like doesn't matter when the [TS]

  narrative is focused anything is [TS]

  possible because they just whatever the [TS]

  writers write happens so that's his [TS]

  commentary part but they go back that [TS]

  was a moment where it got me back all [TS]

  the way was when they said no we're [TS]

  gonna go and try to talk to these people [TS]

  who are writing these stories and get [TS]

  them to stop killing us because that if [TS]

  you were that character in that world [TS]

  that's exactly what you do we gonna do [TS]

  yeah and so then they do that and then [TS]

  they have their adventures on on planet [TS]

  earth trying to deal with the the [TS]

  writers of the intrepid Series and [TS]

  trying to meet them and then they [TS]

  discovered that they are meeting their [TS]

  actors which is something so he starts [TS]

  wackiness narrow and schools is that is [TS]

  that for star trek for ya also it [TS]

  reminded me and I it's something i've [TS]

  mentioned before there's this visit to a [TS]

  weird planet damn fiction [TS]

  although i think it was a published in [TS]

  the seventies that was about starting a [TS]

  transporter accident that swaps the [TS]

  actors with the actual Star Trek [TS]

  characters and that's their two stories [TS]

  told from the opposite vantage points [TS]

  where the actors are on the enterprise [TS]

  and where the real characters are now in [TS]

  in modern-day or nineteen sixties [TS]

  California and it was it was very much [TS]

  in that vein to where suddenly there's [TS]

  the checkoff like character who keeps [TS]

  getting horribly maimed but then [TS]

  miraculously saved and his his actor is [TS]

  like some sort of famous kind of more [TS]

  Playboy's kind of character and they [TS]

  they had there's a whole like you know [TS]

  whole set piece really where they ended [TS]

  up kidnapping him and driving him [TS]

  because he's he's drunk and made they [TS]

  they kidnapped him and drive him away in [TS]

  his car and then they talked to him [TS]

  which again you end up with these [TS]

  duplicates actually talking there's no [TS]

  no cheat of like well what what happened [TS]

  I don't know he was unconscious you'll [TS]

  never know the truth said no he and his [TS]

  actor have a have a whole conversation [TS]

  about their lives which is again scalzi [TS]

  taking it taking it seriously in in this [TS]

  completely crazy idea of applause [TS]

  he he never you know he's funny but he's [TS]

  taking it seriously in the sense that [TS]

  he's gonna he's gonna explore his [TS]

  premise to its conclusions and not fit [TS]

  not to a fake-out which I really like [TS]

  yeah it doesn't feel like he's just [TS]

  putting it for you as you were saying is [TS]

  like a oh well I guess I'll never talk [TS]

  to each other and you can meet your past [TS]

  pseudo self but I mean this is something [TS]

  that the Coda's which come after the [TS]

  story play on in a great deal is so the [TS]

  characters go back and meet their actor [TS]

  cells and they meet the writers of the [TS]

  show and they basically two out the [TS]

  writer of the show and be like why do [TS]

  you gotta kill us man [TS]

  and after that all happens and things [TS]

  are resolved in a way that I guess we [TS]

  can i watch suppose interface listening [TS]

  his read the book will say let's fire [TS]

  the so we're going on [TS]

  but the boiler aren't ya so they get [TS]

  things results and then then what [TS]

  happens afterwards what happens once you [TS]

  realize that as show that you have been [TS]

  writing is real people [TS]

  well I have been before that though the [TS]

  in the last two in the last two chapters [TS]

  that these two characters that this one [TS]

  of the things calls he does what I [TS]

  really like is he's got the what I I've [TS]

  always heard you referred to as the the [TS]

  law of the economy lot of economy of [TS]

  characters where every character has a [TS]

  purpose so if you're in a mystery and [TS]

  there's only one person who's not yet [TS]

  explained well they did it because [TS]

  there's only they don't show you [TS]

  characters who are pointless and there's [TS]

  our answer these there's that our [TS]

  protagonist a doll and then there's this [TS]

  other character who is his buddy who [TS]

  doesn't ever get killed and you keep [TS]

  waiting to see why is he going to be [TS]

  important and there's no explanation for [TS]

  why he's important and in the end in the [TS]

  next to last chapter doll realizes [TS]

  something that is scalzi pulling it back [TS]

  we've been reading this narrative all [TS]

  along this book and and you know you buy [TS]

  into the premise that they're controlled [TS]

  by the TV writers because that's what [TS]

  the story is about in the last chapter [TS]

  scalzi undercuts that completely and [TS]

  says it all realizes that he's the [TS]

  protagonist of a different narrative [TS]

  which is the book that were reading and [TS]

  he asks his friend my to confirm this [TS]

  and says you know you have no other [TS]

  purpose you just kind of you've never [TS]

  been hurt you have no reason to be here [TS]

  and yet you're always around [TS]

  I think your purpose is to confirm to me [TS]

  whether this is true which the character [TS]

  doesn't mess us now I gotta go because [TS]

  i'm going to be on duty and he walks out [TS]

  and and that's an amazing chapter [TS]

  because that's really scalzi laying it [TS]

  all out there about like what it is to [TS]

  write characters and what happens to [TS]

  them when the book is over and is it's [TS]

  in everybody's imaginations and all is [TS]

  the protagonist he's not this red shirt [TS]

  because he's the main character in a [TS]

  novel that everybody at that point who [TS]

  you know has read the entire novel with [TS]

  him as the protagonist so that's a great [TS]

  ending up on its own without the code is [TS]

  and of course it's cuz you can't resist [TS]

  because he is a very funny writer and [TS]

  and this is a funny book but [TS]

  you can't resist one last joke which is [TS]

  that doll walks out too and they live [TS]

  happily ever after until six months [TS]

  later where the ship is hit by an [TS]

  asteroid and everybody dies and then no [TS]

  no just can't handle a specialized [TS]

  chapter is not just I'm just messing [TS]

  with you [TS]

  that's I really live happily ever after [TS]

  a minute when i read that next batch [TS]

  it's where the book will make me laugh [TS]

  heartily laughs out loud and that last [TS]

  chapter i was i was laughing that was [TS]

  really funny but that that's right i [TS]

  mean it's it's they're not real [TS]

  he could kill them and it doesn't matter [TS]

  and and yet it does matter because [TS]

  you've invested something in these in [TS]

  these characters and I I realized my one [TS]

  level this is completely kind of a [TS]

  ridiculously a self-referential thing [TS]

  that he does but but he did it never you [TS]

  know it never seemed cheap it never [TS]

  seemed funny to me it never seemed like [TS]

  he was not taking the reader and the [TS]

  character seriously and I guess that's [TS]

  why I I didn't you know I didn't ever [TS]

  sour on the on the premise [TS]

  well you know I thought the book um for [TS]

  the redemption for me was i I thought I [TS]

  was sort of cute like okay so that whole [TS]

  first part most the large part of the [TS]

  novel before the the code is coming with [TS]

  Jerry no significant enough in their own [TS]

  right [TS]

  um I enjoyed it but I felt it was an [TS]

  extended premise and I thought he took [TS]

  the promises he went to the full extent [TS]

  it could be i've read the same thing I [TS]

  feel like in less clever form without [TS]

  the science-fiction aspect but examining [TS]

  the notion of that for instance Muriel [TS]

  Sparks novel the comforters written in a [TS]

  publisher 1957 examine this idea at some [TS]

  depth in which shot [TS]

  Wow right I novelist starts hearing [TS]

  voices the sound of typewriter realize [TS]

  it's exactly her life being you know led [TS]

  so it's not a new idea and I think some [TS]

  people writing about this thought wow [TS]

  what a great idea to have a meta novel [TS]

  like it's not original like okay we know [TS]

  that's not original but I felt I don't [TS]

  know I felt that kind of played out a [TS]

  little far there's a lot of you know he [TS]

  wanted the one character walks into a [TS]

  bar and sees a version of another [TS]

  character it was killed who's the [TS]

  bartender in a bit part [TS]

  on the show at some point as that [TS]

  character is killed oh yeah that's [TS]

  really that's really touching and you [TS]

  know they have a more moment and I think [TS]

  scalzi writes those moments well but [TS]

  though what saved it for me what pull [TS]

  the whole thing together i think was the [TS]

  third coda which is a beautiful story [TS]

  told very warmly and almost stands alone [TS]

  like you almost don't need the entire [TS]

  rest of the book right for that story [TS]

  but i think it benefits from it and I [TS]

  think for some level sort of warmed the [TS]

  rest of the story for me [TS]

  yes so so I'm glad you brought that up [TS]

  one of the things that happens is one of [TS]

  these one of its core of the Samba love [TS]

  red shirts that we meet I mean he does [TS]

  need to do you know what what happens to [TS]

  red shirts right he needs to take a [TS]

  character that's like fundamentally if [TS]

  you're gonna write a book like this you [TS]

  gotta meet these characters and build [TS]

  them up and then kill one of them and [TS]

  make it feel like it matters if even if [TS]

  you don't care about them you care about [TS]

  how it affects the other characters that [TS]

  they're upset by it and he does that and [TS]

  you know again it's kind of the price of [TS]

  admission [TS]

  I'm end but then exactly what you said [TS]

  is the thing about scalzi doing this is [TS]

  like he does the baseline and you think [TS]

  okay he did the baseline and that's not [TS]

  he just doesn't stop there he keeps [TS]

  going and so we get a scene when they're [TS]

  back on earth there back in LA and they [TS]

  meet the actor who played their friend [TS]

  who died and its really emotional and [TS]

  upsetting and yet also happy in a way [TS]

  because he didn't die i guess right away [TS]

  um I and I thought that was brilliant [TS]

  right because it's not it made it made [TS]

  that all matter more that he died when [TS]

  he was a redshirt because it mattered to [TS]

  them and now you you see how their they [TS]

  emotionally react to seeing him again [TS]

  and in real life and that's played out [TS]

  even further in the CODIS but you know [TS]

  that that you know the more I think [TS]

  about it the more I I just impressed [TS]

  that that schools he had enough respect [TS]

  for his characters in his premise to [TS]

  take it all the way and not do what I [TS]

  think a letter writer would have done [TS]

  which is sort of fun it in and just hit [TS]

  the notes and get out [TS]

  yeah i think the as i said i think the [TS]

  code is elevated for me from a good [TS]

  summer reading you know put it down [TS]

  after you finish reading and maybe I'll [TS]

  think about it a couple months now but [TS]

  the code is really [TS]

  make it stick in my head and the first [TS]

  the first Kota is funny the first Kota [TS]

  is really there just to make you think [TS]

  about it and again the you know i'm just [TS]

  messing with you [TS]

  they lived happily ever after from the [TS]

  writers point of view that's fascinating [TS]

  so the first Kota is a a blog which is [TS]

  funny because schools he himself has a [TS]

  blog a blog from one of the writers of [TS]

  the intrepid who talks about his sort of [TS]

  descent into madness in a way when he [TS]

  realizes that all of the things that [TS]

  he's writing are causing sort of real [TS]

  people in another universe to live these [TS]

  things and he he become sort of [TS]

  paralyzed about killing them off and his [TS]

  bosses are upset because the drama isn't [TS]

  as good when he's trying to protect his [TS]

  characters which again is an interesting [TS]

  comment from a rider to say and I [TS]

  thought that was really funny because [TS]

  you know he he tries to throw in all of [TS]

  his knowledge of what it's like to be a [TS]

  two to be a writer on the internet and [TS]

  have people reading and commenting and [TS]

  trying to figure out what you know his [TS]

  secrets that he's trying to keep they [TS]

  kind of figure them all out because it [TS]

  gives two in much information away and [TS]

  you know I thought that was I thought [TS]

  that was really funny while also [TS]

  exploring this whole idea that well if [TS]

  this premise is true wouldn't really [TS]

  mess you up as a writer you think the [TS]

  paralyzing when you you know you're [TS]

  actually hold the little roll power of [TS]

  life and death although you know that [TS]

  there's sort of a stick which is that [TS]

  the people from the future from the [TS]

  intrepid come to the past but once they [TS]

  go back you know there's not that same [TS]

  connection like the inos intellectually [TS]

  there's a connection these people in the [TS]

  future is affecting their real lives but [TS]

  at the same time you know what I'm going [TS]

  to come back again and say look you're [TS]

  doing again what are you doing to us [TS]

  another sort of the and if he stops [TS]

  running the show they continue to exist [TS]

  apparently so there is some level that [TS]

  is want to show cancelled as well is [TS]

  that making just keep on going on [TS]

  yeah they can make their own future yeah [TS]

  I mean there's another part of nervous [TS]

  too is like there's another story [TS]

  there's so many stories embedded in this [TS]

  is that the producer of the show or the [TS]

  see the showrunner who's a son is in a [TS]

  motorcycle accident and the right part [TS]

  on the show so they arranged this you [TS]

  know this incredibly elaborate swap [TS]

  where [TS]

  I only profiling by doing that you stand [TS]

  it [TS]

  hope that uh huhs the son's future [TS]

  duplicate is in a good shape that if [TS]

  they leave the you take the future [TS]

  duplicate weight in the past so wait [TS]

  what happens basically just do a swap [TS]

  they say you you are now going to be [TS]

  this person and because we say your this [TS]

  person you're going to be that person [TS]

  and everything saved the idea being that [TS]

  you know the universe that is created [TS]

  these weird sort of parallel future and [TS]

  past world's doesn't realize that [TS]

  because you know one is an actor and one [TS]

  is a real person [TS]

  hey they still have a hundred percent of [TS]

  the same DNA so if i take the one who's [TS]

  crazy crippled in a coma and then we [TS]

  tell the other one here you're going to [TS]

  stay here and you're going to be in a [TS]

  coma I'll we can take and then have a [TS]

  hey an episode written in the narrative [TS]

  that says oh we fix this guy's you know [TS]

  horrible motorcycle accident you never [TS]

  going to wake up from his you know [TS]

  vegetable state we just write a end-all [TS]

  be-all fix for that then he's going to [TS]

  be magically well in the future and [TS]

  consciousnesses will try and verse [TS]

  bodies and everything will be alright [TS]

  well that's clear sciences yeah I didn't [TS]

  India what's this right is that it's [TS]

  supposedly i mean i'll explain their [TS]

  pieces of the book right that the [TS]

  science is not important just kind of [TS]

  goes as it will it's true although he [TS]

  did a lot of waving hands to make that [TS]

  particular thing work but then you [TS]

  realize later that that's why the code [TS]

  is is you know the code is our first [TS]

  person second person third person the [TS]

  first person is the writer the second [TS]

  person is this guy the kid some of the [TS]

  writer who's been in a coma and it's are [TS]

  rediscovering his life using the you [TS]

  know very difficult to write in second [TS]

  person narrative approach and the third [TS]

  person is the actress who portrays the [TS]

  Jenkins the guy hiding in the w our last [TS]

  on his wife was killed for a plot point [TS]

  which is what led him to discover the [TS]

  narrative that this is the actress that [TS]

  he never met his Jenkins doesn't go back [TS]

  in time but one of the characters are [TS]

  first-person narrative in the main part [TS]

  of the book [TS]

  brings back some memories to this [TS]

  actress even though you know she knows [TS]

  it can't be hers she doesn't get the [TS]

  full explanation but you know somehow [TS]

  there's another version of herself [TS]

  identical that had this life with other [TS]

  person that was ended [TS]

  yeah that's an amazing piece of writing [TS]

  that's what I love that kota it was [TS]

  beautifully not like you so you can read [TS]

  that coded by itself but he had to set [TS]

  all this up here to give jet mean so [TS]

  there's the joke right [TS]

  he gave Jenkins a sort of ridiculous [TS]

  character he gave Jenkins an enormous [TS]

  amount of backstory in the narrative [TS]

  more than made sense and he gave him the [TS]

  backstory so we'd have we care for [TS]

  Jenkins so that when he brought the coda [TS]

  in later that right actually makes sense [TS]

  for us to feel bad you know you know [TS]

  there's where scholars he's talking [TS]

  about life itself is that God the [TS]

  universe whatever cuts short some life [TS]

  for its narrative purposes and you know [TS]

  in life that's maybe the random forces [TS]

  are God's great plan in the book it's [TS]

  disgusting doing it but he's still [TS]

  dicking with you and then go to three [TS]

  you see what the what the impact is on [TS]

  human life you know when certain [TS]

  arbitrary decision has happened and [TS]

  she's been one removed from that she's [TS]

  third-person observer of this and she [TS]

  still has that impact and it has that [TS]

  beautiful rediscovery at the end [TS]

  well it's the emotional impact two of [TS]

  the death of this character that I mean [TS]

  it by the end John Scalzi makes you care [TS]

  deeply about a red shirt who died which [TS]

  is this guy Jenkins his wife who is dead [TS]

  by the time we meet him but and and she [TS]

  was in this actress who played her was [TS]

  in like one episode of the show and that [TS]

  you know she was important and he was [TS]

  important but he didn't die and she died [TS]

  and it was to serve a plot point and [TS]

  that's what red shirts are all about is [TS]

  deaths to serve plot points and you know [TS]

  of course if it was that person had a [TS]

  life and a family and their death [TS]

  doesn't matter for the show but it would [TS]

  matter deeply to you know in reality [TS]

  when somebody dies like that it means a [TS]

  lot to a lot of people and so by the end [TS]

  here we have this character who is we [TS]

  never even saw who wasn't important and [TS]

  who died but was important to somebody [TS]

  who we did meet and it becomes this [TS]

  really deeply affecting story based on [TS]

  this character who you know was in one [TS]

  scene and died in [TS]

  me show called back to among others of [TS]

  course is the notion that these people [TS]

  exist solely to serve a plot point and [TS]

  more in the mothers worries that her use [TS]

  of the magic in that novels world [TS]

  creates all the people necessary to [TS]

  populate the reading group that she [TS]

  wants to have right well I mean writers [TS]

  do like writing stories about writing [TS]

  right and about narratives and about [TS]

  storytelling because it's what they know [TS]

  when they and you can you can be [TS]

  self-indulgent this is a bizarre book [TS]

  and it is about those things and yet I [TS]

  ultimately I like I mean I guess I keep [TS]

  saying the same thing which is that this [TS]

  could have really been a disaster and it [TS]

  wasn't and he's to be credited for [TS]

  making lots of really good choices and [TS]

  caking his story seriously so that it [TS]

  didn't become a disaster [TS]

  maybe we never never would've thought it [TS]

  was a disaster and he he took his [TS]

  premise and and started writing it and [TS]

  then said oh ho I i think i've got a [TS]

  direction i can take this that that will [TS]

  that will be good and I I think he did a [TS]

  pretty good job but it's not my favorite [TS]

  of his books by a long shot but and it's [TS]

  bizarre it's one of the weirder books [TS]

  I've ever read [TS]

  I would actually have to say because it [TS]

  is it's it's we haven't even talked [TS]

  about how you know I oh man the college [TS]

  papers that are going to be written [TS]

  about this book because there's so much [TS]

  in it that is you know it's it's almost [TS]

  like pop philosophy in a way because [TS]

  there's so much sort of existentialism [TS]

  in this book right it's like what does [TS]

  it mean to be alive and what is the [TS]

  meaning of life and are our life stories [TS]

  written by other people or written by [TS]

  ourselves and I mean you know take those [TS]

  college students though some ideas for [TS]

  papers for you [TS]

  well i think that there's also case we [TS]

  made the thing that room was talking [TS]

  about earlier that you can read this [TS]

  book to like you could read this book as [TS]

  a is just the sort of lights i read i [TS]

  pick it up you read the whole thing [TS]

  there's the kicker chapter 24 [TS]

  haha was just screwing with you guys [TS]

  every we're all fine before you get to [TS]

  kotas and you can read the codes and be [TS]

  confused and say I don't get them you [TS]

  know I don't get this but the first part [TS]

  of the book was sort of clever and fun [TS]

  and get it full space stuff and doubles [TS]

  and time travel that's great and then [TS]

  completely ignore Dakotas and to say I [TS]

  don't get this one seems extra these are [TS]

  like postscript don't know these need [TS]

  you know what I think the Dakotas make [TS]

  the book oh yeah i mean i agree i just [TS]

  mean people could miss read the book [TS]

  though easily oh yeah i mean i guess i [TS]

  guess i could see that but at the same [TS]

  time I almost see this book as something [TS]

  which is almost like Ray Bradbury ask [TS]

  where you have the light-hearted science [TS]

  fiction and then the undercurrents of it [TS]

  you know there's so much about the first [TS]

  half of this book that's so wildly [TS]

  scientifically inaccurate so many you [TS]

  know crazy things not respond that [TS]

  grounds the small stories of the qoutes [TS]

  so much more like I think it was you [TS]

  were saying earlier Jason about you know [TS]

  or maybe it was Glenn about the code is [TS]

  sort of resembling a short story that [TS]

  you kind of need the first half of this [TS]

  book for background on and it's kind of [TS]

  interesting looking at them that way and [TS]

  that I mean kota three you know could [TS]

  very well be a short story on its own [TS]

  but because we have sort of the sci-fi [TS]

  caper in front it actually works like it [TS]

  it ties it cohesive Lee together whereas [TS]

  before like if i adjust red coat of [TS]

  three and a science fiction anthology or [TS]

  something like that I would have been [TS]

  like oh this is a you know this is an [TS]

  interesting short story but I don't [TS]

  really feel the sort of gut punch as you [TS]

  do having gone through the first half of [TS]

  the book for the call another one for [TS]

  the college students is you know it's [TS]

  totally true these these stories at the [TS]

  end the code is at the end don't have [TS]

  the impact or wouldn't have the impact [TS]

  were it not for the story that comes [TS]

  before and since this is a story about [TS]

  these characters on a television show [TS]

  I have to say you know you can think of [TS]

  it that way that that some stories need [TS]

  a lot of setup before you get to the [TS]

  story and knowing the characters or [TS]

  having good in this world for a while as [TS]

  the thing that gives them impact and [TS]

  that's what TV shows do really well and [TS]

  it in a way the novel does exist to set [TS]

  up that story and that story would not [TS]

  be strong without the novel being there [TS]

  and so because we understand how this [TS]

  world works and what has happened [TS]

  previously then that story really works [TS]

  and and you know again there's a whole [TS]

  another college paper waiting to happen [TS]

  somebody wants to write some literature [TS]

  papers about [TS]

  john scalzi Scott what did you think of [TS]

  of Richard's it as our a voracious [TS]

  reader and at a Star Trek fan too [TS]

  well you I didn't want to try min since [TS]

  everyone was a you know express a great [TS]

  praise for the book and sadly you would [TS]

  think that I am the ideal candidate or [TS]

  not this book immensely i love start [TS]

  drink so that's that's a checkbox I like [TS]

  john scalzi so that's that's a check [TS]

  right i enjoy when writers write about [TS]

  writing and include themselves as [TS]

  characters and then you know think about [TS]

  the narrative and that's all what this [TS]

  book is about but it did not work at all [TS]

  for me [TS]

  ah I mean it why shouldn't they didn't [TS]

  work at all for me I thought it was a [TS]

  fun read but I thought it was kind of a [TS]

  like a bubble all surface [TS]

  I didn't really think that he really [TS]

  delved into these ideas very much i [TS]

  think the problem there are two problems [TS]

  ah that made it didn't work for me and [TS]

  they're both obviously subjective right [TS]

  so the biggest one is humor right so [TS]

  humor is so difficult to write because [TS]

  everybody has different sense of humor [TS]

  and I the the humor in the book just did [TS]

  not work for me at all I didn't like the [TS]

  last chapter [TS]

  Oh cheap when he said you know they're [TS]

  all dead and then haha just kidding that [TS]

  did i did laugh at that I just thought [TS]

  that's a giant rip off and I hate you [TS]

  haha and i didn't believe in that I [TS]

  didn't care about the characters so if [TS]

  you don't care about the characters [TS]

  Dakota's don't really work because I [TS]

  didn't care about what happened and so [TS]

  the having more information about them [TS]

  didn't really matter to me i obviously I [TS]

  appreciate what he was trying to do what [TS]

  it just did not work at all for me and I [TS]

  think that another example of kind of [TS]

  like the metaphysical talking about [TS]

  story things that did work for me is [TS]

  there's an author called Paul Auster who [TS]

  is a like one of the Giants of [TS]

  post-modernism and he wrote that the New [TS]

  York trilogy which is fantastic one of [TS]

  my favorite novels ever and it's all [TS]

  about it's kind of a detective story but [TS]

  really it's a story about the story and [TS]

  paul auster is a character [TS]

  it and he's writing the book but it's [TS]

  also in it so it's free it's kind of the [TS]

  same area that skull sees a working with [TS]

  but obviously not with the syfy twist [TS]

  and it's unfair to compare Paul Auster [TS]

  and Jonathan's calls because they're you [TS]

  know they're completely different [TS]

  writers obviously in there they're [TS]

  trying completely different things but [TS]

  it just it i kept comparing it to that [TS]

  book and it would fall short as would i [TS]

  think ninety-eight percent of the books [TS]

  written fall short of that margins that [TS]

  that mark so it's unfair obviously but [TS]

  didn't really work for me [TS]

  Wow is the short version of that server [TS]

  no I think your criticism as well [TS]

  because it's it's this is one of the [TS]

  things i like about the book to is that [TS]

  there's so much in it there's so much to [TS]

  like dislike or critique he's packed so [TS]

  much and I think you came down on the [TS]

  downside of a lot of things that the [TS]

  rest of us may have found as more up [TS]

  properties [TS]

  yeah and I can totally see the other [TS]

  side I can see how as i was reading this [TS]

  I was thinking I could be enjoying his [TS]

  stuff [TS]

  how dare you your points are equally [TS]

  parallel you know exactly what I was you [TS]

  I i was sad that I wasn't enjoying it as [TS]

  much as I i knew i could be but just [TS]

  there was something that just didn't [TS]

  work for me [TS]

  you have to admit he this could have [TS]

  been really really bad though it was not [TS]

  it was not bad at all it was not I don't [TS]

  think its failure i think it he did he [TS]

  took the idea and when interesting [TS]

  places with it just at it overall it did [TS]

  not work for me but i think that it is a [TS]

  it was it an attempt that was ambitious [TS]

  and certainly didn't crash and burn it [TS]

  just was like I was just mad about it [TS]

  and yeah i'm not going to nominate it [TS]

  for you or anything right eye and I but [TS]

  i think i would I do wonder how much of [TS]

  my reaction to it was just sort of [TS]

  relief that it was not the terrible [TS]

  thing that I kind of envision that it [TS]

  might be that that he was i I like i [TS]

  said i really admire that he fully [TS]

  committed to his premise and just kept [TS]

  going with it and kept exploring it i [TS]

  think you're right that it's not as [TS]

  funny as it could be into individually [TS]

  although i did like the ending I I that [TS]

  I was totally suckered by that I didn't [TS]

  I I laughed so I i took it the other way [TS]

  and that it was a ripoff but that's just [TS]

  it was a it was kind of a funny a funny [TS]

  joke but but i did find the last the [TS]

  Dakotas affecting and that I and I think [TS]

  Wren said this to I think that can put [TS]

  it over the top for me into the I like [TS]

  two categories to hit his effort in [TS]

  trying to commit fully commit to his [TS]

  premise and then the fact that at the [TS]

  end you you you know i did like these [TS]

  characters on you know on earth on our [TS]

  current planet Earth who are affected by [TS]

  this crazy science fictional premise in [TS]

  a real human way I like that about it [TS]

  you know so that those are the things [TS]

  that that made me like it but you know I [TS]

  I see where you're coming from Scott I i [TS]

  think there are plenty of things that i [TS]

  have issue with here it's certainly not [TS]

  his best work by a long shot i mean it [TS]

  might even be his worst novel but I [TS]

  liked all his novels so what did you [TS]

  like the androids dream because this [TS]

  reminds me of uh that's the 1i haven't [TS]

  that's the 1i have a red that's the only [TS]

  1i haven't read it sitting on it a [TS]

  little bit of a hot mess i mean i was [TS]

  going to say like red shirts is a is a [TS]

  positive version of that in that like [TS]

  when she pulls everything together and [TS]

  his dream it's like it's a lot of [TS]

  interesting funny ideas that they stuff [TS]

  two duffel bag and shook so it's a [TS]

  little inconvenient but it's just like [TS]

  there's a lot of plot in it and to sort [TS]

  of make a joke about philip k dick book [TS]

  at some point you know that's that's [TS]

  part of the whole point of this large [TS]

  joke of the book but yeah that's you [TS]

  should you should read that could lead [TS]

  to read involves animal husbandry i [TS]

  gotta say i'm actually just as a side [TS]

  note this retirement john scalzi waited [TS]

  a whole podcast about him a little [TS]

  worried about john scalzi honestly i-i-i [TS]

  like him I like many of his novels i [TS]

  think his blog is really interesting i'm [TS]

  a little worried that he is he is not [TS]

  focused on the things that make him a [TS]

  good writer and he is [TS]

  I mean what I said earlier about stunts [TS]

  i mean he did this book which is this [TS]

  wacky high-concept thing [TS]

  and he you know he quit himself ok right [TS]

  or or not if you're Scott uh he don't [TS]

  regret reading it [TS]

  he did he did he did a fuzzy nation [TS]

  which again I kinda liked although I [TS]

  actually read the original and thought [TS]

  it was better than fuzzy nation was [TS]

  heated shadow or the night dragons he's [TS]

  doing this I guess I was like a serial [TS]

  novel thing on he i just i [TS]

  wonder if he is you know it is he not [TS]

  focusing on the things that made him [TS]

  successful in the beginning with what [TS]

  writing these novels like old man's war [TS]

  and and that series and has become [TS]

  almost like a you know the internet [TS]

  celebrity sci-fi writer who does crazy [TS]

  you know high-concept projects instead I [TS]

  don't know III because I I feel like [TS]

  he's done a lot of those lately [TS]

  well this is more ready player one that [TS]

  is old man's war that's for sure that's [TS]

  true and i asked see him read a report [TS]

  for this book and I kind of got that I [TS]

  it i I'm sure he's a lovely man he [TS]

  seemed very personable but I I got the [TS]

  sense that he was really really enjoying [TS]

  his internet celebrity which of course [TS]

  you know he should and he should enjoy [TS]

  his success uh and who am I to judge [TS]

  what he does sure he's he's far more [TS]

  successful than I am so who would he [TS]

  doesn't care what I think but I was just [TS]

  got a weird vibe from the whole thing [TS]

  yeah he got the Wil Wheaton reading its [TS]

  audiobook and he's got the jonathan [TS]

  coulton doing a song for his you know [TS]

  for it for the novel there's like a [TS]

  redshirt song there is it's cute but but [TS]

  it feels like you know how is he [TS]

  nerds on the internet love that stuff [TS]

  right but I I part of me feels like it [TS]

  it can be really insular and and you you [TS]

  risk believe in you if you believe your [TS]

  own PR uh-huh and you risk disappearing [TS]

  up your own backside and I worried about [TS]

  that with john scalzi know that's what [TS]

  the point at which you know at the [TS]

  reading I was like oh this is not good [TS]

  because obviously you're doing reading [TS]

  people go there who like you right so [TS]

  it's kind of an easy [TS]

  the crowd and I got it he was getting a [TS]

  lot less and he he wrote this dialogue [TS]

  things set in the red church universe [TS]

  about a lawyer suing the United Union uh [TS]

  you know on part at under labor laws and [TS]

  trying to get a settlement for it right [TS]

  and so he wrote this thing so he could [TS]

  do it at various readings and he told [TS]

  people it secret don't tell anybody [TS]

  about it whatever and you know it was [TS]

  mildly amusing but people were laughing [TS]

  their heads off like this was the most [TS]

  insanely funny thing they've ever heard [TS]

  which i think if you kind of if you do [TS]

  not you know set yourself in your mind [TS]

  okay this is a very amenable audience [TS]

  and perhaps this isn't as funny as it [TS]

  would be elsewhere [TS]

  you might start believing your own hype [TS]

  well this is the Woodstock implosion [TS]

  it's that you have a very large audience [TS]

  of people who have now found their sort [TS]

  of arch semi Ron a ironic an erotic [TS]

  crowd so you've got my fallen storm and [TS]

  wil wheaton and john scalzi and a whole [TS]

  bunch of other people Felicia Day like 2 [TS]

  everyone is working at everyone else's [TS]

  projects everyone involved in it and it [TS]

  you can't critique it from the [TS]

  standpoint of popularity because all [TS]

  these people are achieving a measure of [TS]

  Fame beyond a geek subculture or you [TS]

  know both you know by any measure [TS]

  they're making money they're getting [TS]

  popular they're leeching into mainstream [TS]

  culture but it is a Woodstock Oh sphere [TS]

  you know echo chamber that is [TS]

  threatening to swallow us all into a [TS]

  singularity of 8-bit graphics now it's [TS]

  not beyond know that that's a complete [TS]

  loss of perspective it is concentrated [TS]

  nerd subculture but it's not beyond it [TS]

  was a black is black hole so it's simple [TS]

  it's super narrow nerds appealing to [TS]

  other nerds and you know it's great the [TS]

  redshirts got the marketing that it did [TS]

  and it's great that it is that John [TS]

  Scalzi sold a lot of copies of it more [TS]

  than his other books but he's got a lot [TS]

  of other books that are better and my [TS]

  head that sort of the root of my concern [TS]

  is it would be a damn shame if people as [TS]

  talented as john scalzi and some of the [TS]

  other people that we mentioned here [TS]

  I know not a damn shame that they can [TS]

  make a living by serving that nerd [TS]

  audience but i think a damn shame if [TS]

  they are that they kind of turn inward [TS]

  and are only trying to serve that [TS]

  audience and not trying to serve ya a [TS]

  broader audience and think more broadly [TS]

  and that's Michael I'm sorry that's why [TS]

  we go that's why I'm calling an [TS]

  implosion is that there's a lot of the [TS]

  artists facing inward in that circle [TS]

  were actually doing quite well within [TS]

  some of it leaks out you know so expects [TS]

  suspect escapes the Woodstock black [TS]

  heroes fears and but so the broader [TS]

  culture but i think there is a lot of [TS]

  inward turning I mean Jonathan Coulton [TS]

  an interesting case you've forgotten [TS]

  episode two of you talk to him but his [TS]

  music can be broadly appealing although [TS]

  it has a narrower appeal to a particular [TS]

  niche audience as well that made the [TS]

  following much more closely and then it [TS]

  joins not big enough [TS]

  he doesn't have to appeal I mean this is [TS]

  like the louis ck thing or all of those [TS]

  things is a point at which you don't [TS]

  have to appeal outward and do stuff that [TS]

  may be more challenging and difficult or [TS]

  be interesting to a group outside of the [TS]

  insular part and i think there's a [TS]

  danger there as you say I like I'm sure [TS]

  it hasn't really happened yet but yes I [TS]

  feel like see a lot more of that [TS]

  everyone pointing to each other in a [TS]

  circle and you know outside that circle [TS]

  are 10 million people with dollar bills [TS]

  and there's nothing wrong with was [TS]

  saying I could make a i can make a [TS]

  living i found an audience and I could [TS]

  make a living at this i mean i think [TS]

  that's fantastic that people like like [TS]

  Jonathan Coulton can can make a living [TS]

  because they found even though they're [TS]

  not broadly popular they have found an [TS]

  audience big enough that loves them [TS]

  enough to support them i think that'd be [TS]

  great [TS]

  artistically it bothers me because I [TS]

  feel like that leads to this sort of the [TS]

  video potential you're just you i know [TS]

  my audience and I know what they want [TS]

  and I'm not saying that that that like [TS]

  Holden would do this but it would be [TS]

  very easy for jonathan coulton I've [TS]

  heard him when he was on with Merlin [TS]

  Mann on Marlins podcast he talked about [TS]

  the you know the archetypal jonathan [TS]

  coulton song and you know you could you [TS]

  can do a paint-by-numbers jonathan [TS]

  coulton song fairly easily [TS]

  it might it be as good as his but you [TS]

  know I at if I if he's an artist that I [TS]

  like I want to see him stretch himself [TS]

  and and push himself and and Scotty I'm [TS]

  worried is is you know he's had a lot of [TS]

  projects recently then I'm not so sure I [TS]

  think they're like more high-concept [TS]

  appealing to the to the masses who love [TS]

  him and may [TS]

  he not trying to push himself further [TS]

  and hey you know if if you can make a [TS]

  living doing that that's great but as a [TS]

  consumer of your work I i would like to [TS]

  see you not be kind of in this insular [TS]

  you know in insular nervous fear I think [TS]

  you hit with high concept to its [TS]

  something i mean that's that deal right [TS]

  is like high concept means you can [TS]

  describe it in shorter than elevator [TS]

  ride between two floors you know why [TS]

  after you while you're walking up the [TS]

  flights three stairs three steps [TS]

  redshirts novel on it's like red shirts [TS]

  i wonder if that's what bothered you [TS]

  about it initially bothered me a bit too [TS]

  was you like the title of the book tells [TS]

  you what it's going to be about and then [TS]

  the book turns out not to entirely [TS]

  confirm our worst fears [TS]

  it's like a relief and the respect and [TS]

  uh he uh i'm scott i'm usually you in [TS]

  this scenario so I the book is entirely [TS]

  from reviewers really the words red [TS]

  shirts and the knowledge he writes about [TS]

  science fiction tells you what you think [TS]

  the books me about and everything else [TS]

  elaboration and it's much better and [TS]

  more subtle than that you worried that [TS]

  someone can just do a call-out you know [TS]

  hey i'm going to talk about [TS]

  you-know-what back since we call you [TS]

  know you worry that the whole thing [TS]

  becomes call-outs shoutouts right right [TS]

  no I think that's it I mean and again I [TS]

  don't wanna die I think it's great that [TS]

  people love Woodstock and people you [TS]

  know people love wil wheaton and they [TS]

  love Jonathan Coulton and they love but [TS]

  I don't know that I want that I want [TS]

  that culture to creep after I feel like [TS]

  when you when everybody's on a cruise [TS]

  ship you know it's all hot cocoa crews [TS]

  and Woodstock and things like that [TS]

  I think it's great inside there and I [TS]

  also wanted to be already validated but [TS]

  i wanted to be a this is where we were [TS]

  talking on episode 100 of the [TS]

  incomparable about organization and [TS]

  genre ghettos and so forth it's against [TS]

  the same thing you want you don't want [TS]

  the stuff you like necessarily to be [TS]

  entirely trapped inside of a [TS]

  self-perpetuating hermetic means that [TS]

  only people right steep themselves so [TS]

  fully in the culture can understand you [TS]

  wanna be able to talk to other people [TS]

  about this stuff too [TS]

  yeah and if it becomes so insular that [TS]

  it's great if everybody can make a [TS]

  living at it but I I'm not really [TS]

  ultimately not interested in reading a [TS]

  novel by a person who is only interested [TS]

  in making references to the circle of [TS]

  people that we all know and are all I [TS]

  mean at some point it's just [TS]

  yeah it's just disappointing and [TS]

  depressing and I saw you know I'm not [TS]

  gonna buy my new novel called Colton day [TS]

  wheaton the eternal trilogy yeah okay [TS]

  well ya around ready player to [TS]

  reconnoiter to that's my favorite [TS]

  yeah I don't know I that that's a that's [TS]

  it's just if it's just a feeling little [TS]

  spider sense the back that it's just so [TS]

  I hope John Scalzi while he's he should [TS]

  make money and as much of it as he as he [TS]

  can and he should do he should follow [TS]

  his bliss but I hope you know I hope he [TS]

  continues to challenge himself [TS]

  creatively and not just kind of pander [TS]

  to the to the audience that is a little [TS]

  smaller and more insular and you know [TS]

  but hey you Richard sold really well so [TS]

  maybe I did maybe not be red shirts to a [TS]

  shadow war the night dragons which I [TS]

  read because it was a hugo nominee you [TS]

  know it's funny but at the same time [TS]

  it's really just kind of a terry [TS]

  pratchett riff it felt like a lost [TS]

  chapter from a charity project novel [TS]

  yeah I read that whatever that the short [TS]

  story and and you when you compared to [TS]

  the other nominated short stories you [TS]

  think why why yeah why is this here [TS]

  oii so any Hugo's you can you can vote [TS]

  no award is one of the options and you [TS]

  can rank them it's a ranked choice votes [TS]

  you can have six votes if there are five [TS]

  nominees and that means you can insert [TS]

  no award in the middle and say below [TS]

  here if these are the only ones left [TS]

  I vote to not have an award which is [TS]

  great because it's the fu of of award [TS]

  voting it's hilarious in the best novel [TS]

  category you might put no award above [TS]

  deadline by mere grant just an example [TS]

  and not saying that's how I voted that's [TS]

  how about it and 44 short story for [TS]

  short story i voted i voted no word [TS]

  above shadow or the night dragons [TS]

  because it doesn't fit [TS]

  it's a joke and I'm actually really [TS]

  concerned that because people like John [TS]

  Scalzi he's gonna get the award today [TS]

  he's a nice guy and he is he's funny and [TS]

  he's got his website and that's great [TS]

  and in no it's not appropriate [TS]

  it doesn't fit it's a it's a funny joke [TS]

  that's really a terry pratchett parody [TS]

  sort of and no now yeah and I mean there [TS]

  are some of the short stories [TS]

  denominators are just absolutely [TS]

  beautiful and that yes I it would be a [TS]

  shame for a joke to win it would be a [TS]

  joke for a shame to win but still if [TS]

  it's a well-crafted joke i think it has [TS]

  its on its own merits I don't [TS]

  necessarily think it should win either [TS]

  but it's I think writing it off as aid [TS]

  in April Fool's Day prank rather than [TS]

  looking at it as I mean the story as [TS]

  good as far as farcical as it is is it [TS]

  I mean it's a I I thought it was kind of [TS]

  funny but really you know again like I [TS]

  said I felt like a terry pratchett kind [TS]

  of thing to me and just a chapter and [TS]

  there were some jokes in it and it was [TS]

  funny but i don't know i mean it was it [TS]

  didn't feel some of those short stories [TS]

  are really kind of beautiful and [TS]

  spectacular and then this was you know [TS]

  an internet joke that was mildly funny I [TS]

  I just don't i don't know i don't think [TS]

  they measure up at all maybe they need a [TS]

  new category that's like best internet [TS]

  joke [TS]

  yeah I mean I don't necessarily think [TS]

  that the story is better than the rest [TS]

  of the short stories out there for the [TS]

  Hugo's but it's just I I'm reticent to [TS]

  disqualify something just because it was [TS]

  written for the internet or written as a [TS]

  joke or something like that you know i [TS]

  would [TS]

  it's it's not as good a story as the [TS]

  other short stories there [TS]

  yeah but that's why it should not when [TS]

  the Huguenots that it was already fools [TS]

  project i don't know if it was a [TS]

  beautifully written [TS]

  Joe could that through you know on the [TS]

  well I guess it all goes to what do you [TS]

  think is a why should something a hero [TS]

  right so if it's just because it's fun [TS]

  to read and popular then sure that you [TS]

  get the you go if you think that it's an [TS]

  award for you know the craft writing and [TS]

  you know how you know how well-written [TS]

  something is and how it affects you then [TS]

  I think that that probably shouldn't win [TS]

  Hugo yeah of course I guess it is a [TS]

  popularity contest when it comes down to [TS]

  it so maybe we'll so before we go I [TS]

  wanted to just very quickly go around [TS]

  the [TS]

  room and asked my favorite uncomfortable [TS]

  book club question which is what are you [TS]

  reading [TS]

  Scott McNulty what are you doing [TS]

  oh I i'm reading a book yay [TS]

  really it's an actual physical book that [TS]

  I got oh there's this building that has [TS]

  the books in it you can take it out free [TS]

  and it's not theft so wow it's very [TS]

  exciting so I read there's a new book [TS]

  this that just came out called sharps by [TS]

  an author called KJ parker who had never [TS]

  heard of but they were really marketing [TS]

  this sharps book so i bought it with [TS]

  some google credit that I had from the [TS]

  google play store and i read it and i [TS]

  thought was really good so that led me [TS]

  to want to read another one of this [TS]

  person's books i was going to say her [TS]

  but KJ parker is a pen name and that no [TS]

  one knows who this person is or what [TS]

  their sex is so i am currently reading a [TS]

  book by KJ parker called devices and [TS]

  desires about basically an engineer who [TS]

  is kicked out of his City because he [TS]

  created an abomination which meant that [TS]

  he built and a little toy outside of the [TS]

  specification agreed-upon specifications [TS]

  of the guild so they were going to kill [TS]

  him he escapes and it's all about how [TS]

  he's going to exact revenge upon the [TS]

  city through a very complicated means [TS]

  one imagines in the trilogy this is the [TS]

  first book in the trilogy so we will see [TS]

  how it goes [TS]

  from the library mhm it came from the [TS]

  library [TS]

  very nice serenity Caldwell what are you [TS]

  reading I'm reading several things also [TS]

  from the library is the new place that I [TS]

  moved into the library is three blocks [TS]

  from so I feel like it's a cardinal sin [TS]

  if i don't go check out books at least [TS]

  once a week we love what I have actually [TS]

  I've never read the dark is rising [TS]

  series so despite being young adults and [TS]

  despite me having should have having [TS]

  read it like 10 years ago I picked it up [TS]

  because I'm like I have been meaning to [TS]

  read this and this seems like it could [TS]

  be interesting summer reading despite [TS]

  the fact that it's set in christmas time [TS]

  I so I have that on my on my I'd say my [TS]

  bedside table but really it's a floating [TS]

  bookshelf in my doorway because i don't [TS]

  have room for a bedside table in the [TS]

  studio so that's sitting on my floating [TS]

  bookshelf as well as stranger in a [TS]

  strange land [TS]

  it's a it's a catch-up time yeah i'm [TS]

  using the summer as catch-up time for [TS]

  books that I have been meaning to read [TS]

  but haven't read yet and i just finished [TS]

  Joe Waltons uh half half penny what's [TS]

  the series called Scott like the small [TS]

  small small change will change yeah I I [TS]

  keep on thinking of its other name where [TS]

  it's like a a brief look at fascism or [TS]

  something codes to fascism but that I [TS]

  just finished reading the third book in [TS]

  that series and that is a really lovely [TS]

  technology for people who haven't read [TS]

  we're going to do a book club about that [TS]

  serious i think yeah we should I I what [TS]

  we should do that we should we have a [TS]

  quorum of people who have read it [TS]

  yep I'm with the third one yet but I'd [TS]

  be more than happy to I just wish you [TS]

  know depressed enough by the first to it [TS]

  I thought I'd leave it out there for a [TS]

  little while the third one is pretty [TS]

  good [TS]

  alright i liked it i'll read it when [TS]

  what are you reading [TS]

  I will have an epic couple months of [TS]

  work and in which work is occupied [TS]

  have you read nothing my waking hours so [TS]

  I red red shirts [TS]

  I'm actually reading i think the closest [TS]

  thing to an appropriate book that I'm [TS]

  reading is the Phantom Tollbooth which [TS]

  i'm reading aloud to my five and [TS]

  seven and a fraction almost eight year [TS]

  old alma ATA adore it's a 51-year old [TS]

  book it's a lovely book everything is a [TS]

  kid not totally getting it's fun to read [TS]

  it as an adult [TS]

  it is so horribly full of puns and [TS]

  mechanisms and synecdoche and silliness [TS]

  and Hungary and it's um it's a wonderful [TS]

  book and what's great is it works so [TS]

  amazingly for kids when you're reading [TS]

  stuff that's really deep critique of [TS]

  language at some level and silly the [TS]

  silly part comes through even when the [TS]

  critique of society language freedom [TS]

  patriarchal domination whenever when [TS]

  that parties requires more advanced [TS]

  years so i highly recommend that a [TS]

  51-year old book delightful dice and [TS]

  hamburger is my favorite sort of buggery [TS]

  by the world hunger is the only [TS]

  acceptable form that doesn't get your [TS]

  explicit label on itunes I and i just [TS]

  finished a talent for war by jack [TS]

  mcdevitt which is the first of his Alex [TS]

  Benedict series of novels which of [TS]

  course i have read all the others could [TS]

  save the first four last which is very [TS]

  strange but I just sort of fell into [TS]

  those books and they don't really need [TS]

  to be read in any order and that's you [TS]

  know I had to laugh because this in many [TS]

  ways is the archetypal McDevitt [TS]

  adventure novel they're fun big brought [TS]

  you know widescreen space adventure [TS]

  novels this is Benedict is the Indiana [TS]

  Jones of outer space he's a an [TS]

  archaeologist who finds lost treasures [TS]

  throughout the galaxy and what's funny [TS]

  about it is that McDevitt has his things [TS]

  that he has in every like every jack [TS]

  mcdevitt book somebody will munch on a [TS]

  sandwich sandwiches will fit figure in [TS]

  the plot at some point there will be [TS]

  asking of skimmers that they get around [TS]

  in there like little air cars there will [TS]

  be a skimmer accident probably involving [TS]

  sabotage there will be a shocking moment [TS]

  when one character is threatened by [TS]

  another character with a gun and there [TS]

  will usually be something that happens [TS]

  planetside when they're down on a planet [TS]

  that threatens their ability to go back [TS]

  to the the ship that's in orbit and I [TS]

  swear you know four out of five of those [TS]

  things happen in every single one of his [TS]

  novels and i love them [TS]

  but he's got his things that he does but [TS]

  I love that they're all these various [TS]

  planets and usually his plots involved [TS]

  you know we don't know why this person [TS]

  never came back but there may be like [TS]

  there may be an undiscovered planet that [TS]

  they went to that's a secret or there [TS]

  may be a spaceship lost somewhere that [TS]

  we could find and I i like that that [TS]

  that kind of stuff and it's setting like [TS]

  the year 10,000 and so it's also very [TS]

  amusing because they keep investigating [TS]

  ancient history and ancient history is [TS]

  still like the year eight thousand on [TS]

  some planet somewhere where they've lost [TS]

  all the records and that is really funny [TS]

  too so it's a it's a nice sort of light [TS]

  summer reading kind of thing that it's [TS]

  easy fun a sci-fi for the summer and [TS]

  given that i'm also trying to get [TS]

  through pretty do street station by [TS]

  China Mieville and boy i'm having the [TS]

  devil of a time getting through that so [TS]

  I i read an entire other book just to [TS]

  just to procrastinate and avoid reading [TS]

  the pretty street station that stuff [TS]

  i've read that one [TS]

  I've read that one too i wish i can read [TS]

  that one [TS]

  I bet your life but this channel maybe I [TS]

  shouldn't maybe should abandon it [TS]

  I don't know it's a big messy book much [TS]

  Glenn's been special review big messy [TS]

  book the payoff I is so horrible and [TS]

  unsatisfying battery rest of the [TS]

  sprawling book seems to be less useful [TS]

  in its nature you know me like a lot of [TS]

  officers problems with the pay the [TS]

  payoff and i have to say that pretty [TS]

  perdido street station set up an awful [TS]

  lot for what crumbles into a pile of [TS]

  crud i recall band more and saying at [TS]

  one point that he felt like he had to [TS]

  take a shower after reading perdido [TS]

  street station because he thought it was [TS]

  so kind of dirty and gross and ugly and [TS]

  nasty yeah I feel the same way I felt I [TS]

  felt covered with like undergrowth and [TS]

  battled protraction city and this it's [TS]

  like that was horrible was like you just [TS]

  got like yeah Mary montreal i won't come [TS]

  off and maybe i will just give up like a [TS]

  street and if it paid off I'd be okay [TS]

  with it but I just don't feel there are [TS]

  characters and plots and pieces [TS]

  abandoned so [TS]

  much on the sides of the track that you [TS]

  know you're like to have snow banks load [TS]

  plot detritus as the train rumbles on [TS]

  yeah well okay well that got me totally [TS]

  up for that book there you go i just [TS]

  save you 800 pages or something yeah [TS]

  pretty much pretty much all right well i [TS]

  am going to close up the incomparable [TS]

  book club for this [TS]

  this edition will be back [TS]

  this edition will be back [TS]

  with another book hopefully soon maybe [TS]

  in fact we'll talk about those Joe [TS]

  waldenbooks that's a great idea i'm glad [TS]

  we came up with it so until next time I [TS]

  want to thank my guests for reading the [TS]

  books because not everybody reads the [TS]

  books but these three people they read [TS]

  the book so Glenn fleischmann thank you [TS]

  very much for being here thank you for [TS]

  having me i read the books [TS]

  yes you do that's what I said I said you [TS]

  read the books you read the books [TS]

  yes I read the books good we read the [TS]

  books together sometimes already called [TS]

  well thank you for reading the books to [TS]

  you know I i love reading the books glad [TS]

  that I have an excuse for reading the [TS]

  books besides my own love of books [TS]

  because it it accentuates the love of [TS]

  books [TS]

  yeah I feel funny now when I when I'm [TS]

  not in the middle of a novel i feel like [TS]

  i'm getting horribly behind and the [TS]

  incomparable book club will suffer panic [TS]

  no panic and Confused read more books [TS]

  and Scott McNulty nobody has read more [TS]

  books than Scott nobody's forgotten more [TS]

  books than scott magno I'm sure somebody [TS]

  others read more books than I have and [TS]

  have forgotten them as well but thank [TS]

  you for this and no one in my sphere and [TS]

  my limited nerdo sphere as well more [TS]

  books they'll take back all right and [TS]

  that brings us to the end of the [TS]

  incomparable podcast number 101 [TS]

  thanks for listening as always you can [TS]

  visit us five-by-five TV / and [TS]

  comparable please write a lovely review [TS]

  of our podcast on itunes if you don't [TS]

  like our podcast don't right ovary [TS]

  that's all we ask and until next time [TS]

  for the comfortable I am Jason snow [TS]

  thanks for listening [TS]

  [Music] [TS]

  ok so here's an exercise what if he had [TS]

  written it so the code is were the first [TS]

  three parts of the book and then the [TS]

  sci-fi novel was the last part [TS]

  yeah no I don't think it would have been [TS]

  terrible to get your world no we're [TS]

  going to throw up before [TS]

  yeah yeah it would've been interesting [TS]

  it would have been a very peculiar way [TS]

  to do it but it's I mean it's peculiarly [TS]

  did as well but I mean you could read it [TS]

  that way you can read the three coach [TS]

  had some you know some people suggest [TS]

  reading Moby Dick chapter-by-chapter [TS]

  backwards so here we got enough you know [TS]

  you could be pro 3 2 1 and not know the [TS]

  full scope of things will be getting a [TS]

  glimmering and then of the fully percent [TS]

  universe i'm not saying one should do [TS]

  that but it actually works as well yeah [TS]

  during carefully and then read moby-dick [TS]

  backward and then we'll see what you say [TS]

  no I every word backwards I mean Jen not [TS]

  to not to [TS]

  here's another paper for the comes smile [TS]

  they called me that it's like really get [TS]

  sideways maybe really stick it in a [TS]

  blender and then read the pages as they [TS]

  come out of the blender with are you [TS]

  starting an incomparable university is [TS]

  that I i am now incomparable you John [TS]

  Scalzi 101 admissions this fall [TS]