SciFi Encounter With Author John Scalzi

heart of rose nebulaI grew up on a steady diet of classic science fiction, lifted from my Dad’s HEAbookshelves. At my house we read and discussed everything from Asimov to Heinlein to Andre Norton and my love for the genre only grew with time. So it’s no surprise that one of my favorite authors writing today is John Scalzi, whose books have been compared at times to the best of Heinlein.

Earlier this month I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Mr. Scalzi for my USA Today Happily Ever After SciFi Encounters column. Not only does he write terrific science fiction, but his characters have deep connections to each other and there are romantic elements. Among other honors and recognition, he received the 2012 RT Booklovers Readers’ Choice Award for “Redshirts”. The novel also received the prestigious 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel from the World Science Fiction Society. Here’s the link to his 2013 column “Back From the RT Booklovers’ Convention,” which details his experiences at RT.

“Redshirts” is a wonderful, fun novel in my humble opinion – here’s the story (courtesy of  Tor Books):

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, with the chance to serve on “Away Missions” alongside the starship’s famous senior officers.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to realize that 1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces, 2) the ship’s senior officers always survive these confrontations, and 3) sadly, at least one low-ranking crew member is invariably killed. Unsurprisingly, the savvier crew members belowdecks avoid Away Missions at all costs. 

Then Andrew stumbles on information that transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

In the interview we talked more about “Old Man’s War” and “The Human Division” (I asked on behalf of the Readers: will there be more between Harry and Dani?), with a bit about the book coming in August, “Lock In”. We didn’t say much about “Redshirts”, which is why I thought I’d give it a bit more room here.  I have to tell you it was so much fun to talk about the writing process and about specific writing choices with Mr. Scalzi, so I hope you’ll hop on over and enjoy the interview!

“Redshirts” is being made into a TV series, with the author as Executive Producer and Consultant.

In the meantime, although “Redshirts” is its own highly entertaining story and isn’t “Galaxy Quest” OR “Star Trek” in any form, here’s the “unnamed security guy” Guy from  the movie “Galaxy Quest” for you, because he also addresses the issues of being a low-ranking and in-jeopardy crew member in his own fashion.

For your amusement, the clip collage from “Galaxy Quest”, where the character of Guy was an actor in an episode of a fictional TV series that has been off the air for quite a while by the time the movie begins:

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