“Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded” — amusing look into the mind of John Scalzi

Ever read a blog and think to yourself “Damn, this person is funny”? Well, take all those thoughts, roll it into one massive collection of blogs then sell it as a book and you’ll come up with John Scalzi‘s Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded. Published by Tor almost a year ago and in this house for about 8 months now, I finally got around to reviewing it after going back multiple times to find one of his entries in the book which amused me – and there are a lot of them.

Most bloggers (and writers) will have one or two good posts a year, ones that are absolute diamonds in the war-torn rough of the blogosphere (whoever came up with that term, by the way, needs to be shot in the face with a shovel) and simply need to be saved for future generations. Scalzi, on the other hand, seems to revel in having amazing posts come forth from his font of insanity on a regular basis, which means that if you want to stay ahead of the game, you have to visit his actual website. Ah, but this isn’t an homage (or pimpage) to Scalzi’s website, but to this hilarious book.

…you know, now that I think about it, this is an homage to his blog. Because without his blog, we would not be reviewing this book.

The book opens with Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Wesley Crusher… but don’t remind him of it, he gets a little tired of it) talking about Scalzi and pretty much setting the tone for the book with an unusual diatribe. From there, we are welcomed into the mind of Scalzi through the various blog entries, some completely helpful (his entry about young writers is particularly eye opening for all aspirants out there) to absolutely insane (bacon taped to his cat). Each entry receives its own chapter, which helps the reader find their way through the labyrinth of Scalzi’s perpetual insanity. Hey, I like the guy, really. But… you need to be a special person to be a writer. An insane type of person.

This is one of those books that, depending on your view of life, you’re either going to love it or hate it. There is no middle ground here, as evidence by the various people I’ve asked about it. There are absolutes in judging this book, with one side screaming “I hate this arrogant piece of sh*t!” to the other, with their altar with a man-sized Scalzi statue made of bacon worshipping the deliciousness of all.

Okay, maybe they’re not that far gone, but still…

It’s a great book and available in paperback. I recommend you go to his site and read the archived blogs, however. It’ll save you money and frankly, if you buy the book you’re just giving him money for a condensed view of Whatever. They’re all there, and you will include the new stuff that no longer appears so dated that you almost look good in your prom suit.

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