Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi
by John Scalzi
Cover Artist: Natalie Metzger (Cover and Interior Illustrations)
Review by Katie Carmien
Subterranean Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596068124
Date: 31 December 2016 List Price $40.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Yogurt has taken over the world. Pluto is not amused about its demotion. Four AIs hold a panel on how they are absolutely, definitely, certainly not going to destroy humanity. Corporate customer service guidelines must shift in the face of daily interactions with alien customers. And your smart appliances talk about you behind your back. All this and more can be found in Miniatures, a collection of science fiction author John Scalzi's extremely short short fiction.
Extremely short is not an exaggeration--nothing in this book is over 2300 words, and a dedicated reader can probably go through it in a couple of hours. That's not the only reason it's a fast read, though. Scalzi's prose is fast and snappy and just plain fun. Some stories really shine-- "The AI are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest", "Denise Jones, Superbooker", and "To Sue The World", which ties in with his novel Redshirts, particularly stand out--but they're all a good read.
With most, it's fairly obvious the joke or gimmick at the heart of each story couldn't be stretched much longer, and that's just fine. (Although I could use a longer piece about Tempe redeeming itself with the superhero community.) Some readers may not appreciate a few of the raunchier jokes; I personally didn't love them as much as his other jokes, but don't mind them, either. The last two pieces--"Cute Adorable Extortionists" and "Penelope", don't quite fit with the rest of the book, as the former is a contemporary piece he wrote for a humor column, and the latter is a love poem for a former girlfriend.
All in all, for a quick, fun read--especially for those who are already fans of the author--Miniatures gets five out of five stars.