Book Review: The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi (One Star)


Book Review: The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency #2) by John Scalzi

(One Star)

“To save as many lives as possible, through every means possible.”

Disappointing. The core of this story is an excellent five-star novella, however as presented I don’t recommend it to anyone. My rating of John Scalzi books averages four stars, but this one gets one because I can’t give it zero.

“If.” “When.” “And you’ve seen this in your visions.” “One does not need visions when one has data. In both cases, however, one does need to be willing to see.”

Scalzi weaves an intricate plot of discovery and betrayal that’s part who-dun-it and part space opera. As usual, his characters are varied and deep. Most of the principals are female. Underlaying the main plot are reflections on the nature of truth and lies and even religious experience, not that Scalzi means it.

“She wasn’t some f—ing fictional character destined to do whatever some g—–n hack wanted her to do.”

What’s wrong? He padded his short story into something longer by inserting versions of the f-word whenever possible when one principal character is involved. Not just her dialogue, but everyone else’s and the narrative. One two-page spread features fifteen instances of the word. And it’s not the worst language he uses. Okay, I understand establishing character, but this level of profanity is gratuitous. Unnecessary and objectionable.

Quibble: He introduces a character in the Prologue who has no bearing on the rest of the book, even though he is mentioned once or twice. Where’s the payoff?

“We need to talk about your sense of humor. Being semi-dead seems to have affected it.” “It was like this before. How do you think I died?”

If this is the result of their multi-year contract, made a mistake. Someone is getting ripped off. Scalzi is better than this; much better.

“Survival is possible for longer than anyone would ever expect, when you have no other choice but to survive.”

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi (One Star)

  1. I trust you on this one. Don’t need to look for myself. I find him iffy about his personal beliefs in ideas such as immortality, and how actual people age – he’s young, he may learn.

    Not deep enough for me in what I’ve read. I generally like his blog posts, though.

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