The ex-planet Pluto has a few choice words about being thrown out of the solar system. A listing of alternate histories tells you all the various ways Hitler has died. A lawyer sues an interplanetary union for dangerous working conditions. And four artificial intelligences explain, in increasingly worrying detail, how they plan not to destroy humanity.
Welcome to Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi.
These four stories, along with fourteen other pieces, have one thing in common: They’re short, sharp, and to the point—science fiction in miniature, with none of the stories longer than 2,300 words. But in that short space exist entire universes, absurd situations, and the sort of futuristic humor that propelled Scalzi to a Hugo with his novel Redshirts. Not to mention yogurt taking over the world (as it would).
Spanning the years from 1991 to 2016, this collection is a quarter century of Scalzi at his briefest and best, and features four never-before-printed stories, exclusive to this collection: “Morning Announcements at the Lucas Interspecies School for Troubled Youth,” “Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back,” “Important Holidays on Gronghu” and “The AI Are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest.”
John Scalzi is the New York Times bestselling author of Old Man’s War, Lock In and Redshirts, among others. His work has won the Hugo and Locus Awards and been nominated for the Nebula and Campbell Awards. He lives in Ohio and online. He enjoys pie.
This lighthearted and amusing collection features mostly reprints of Scalzi's (the Old Man's War series) shortest fiction, along with four previously unpublished works. Several of the pieces (including "Denise Jones, Superbooker," "The State of Super Villainy," and "Life on Earth: Human-Alien Relations") draw heavily from his newspaper days, taking on the conceit of an interview, internal memo, or advice column. Others ("The Other Large Thing," "How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights Parts 1 and 2") are lifted directly from his Twitter feed. Several of these stories are good for a laugh, but some (such as "Cute Adorable Extortionists") make it clear that the bottom of the writing trunk was carefully scraped. The high price of this slim collectible means only the most faithful Scalzi fans will feel they're getting their money's worth.