On John Scalzi's blog he is giving away a free copy of his new book to whoever writes that best review of a book he has yet to write. Here is my entry.
It was funny the first time. Yet, John Scalzi has found a way to convince TOR to release his new novel that can only be summed up as “The first chapter of The Androids Dream, only 300 pages long.”
John Scalzi’s “aliens that speak in odors” idea first popped up in his “not meant for mass consumption” novel Agent to the Stars. It worked then. It was new and it wasn’t the driving force behind the story. Then, in The Androids Dream, another alien race has the similar way of communicating. This leads to an assassination, with the assassin using a device in his rectum and farts his enemy to death. Again, this was only a fraction of the story. Both of these novels have great characters and are great reads. Not because of the flatulence, but because they were written before John ran out of ideas.
Now all we are left with is The Putrid Crater. A heart-warming tale of an alien race that finds their fecal matter to be a thing of worship. This species is also looking to the stars for the first signs of intelligent life. While sending out a “sniff rover” to every plant they come across, the Clowiuin aliens happen upon a red planet that has no intelligent life and broken rolling objects. The aliens quickly learn that they belong to a blue planet that happens to be in the neighborhood. Before the aliens decide to make them selves know to the “half-haired” creatures, they watch.
They notice that the humans don’t save their poo. As a matter of fact they evacuate it from their homes as soon as it arrives. Fortunately for the humans, the Clowiuin’s are a race of tolerance, and they want to teach the humans how to properly deal with the holy goods. All I am going to say is that when humans get married they save a piece of cake for their first anniversary. Well, in The Putrid Crater, the humans adopt a new wedding tradition that is similar only in that they save something for a year, what that something is and what they do with it I will spare you from.
This book covers about every way a person could misuse human excrement. After the first three chapters I realized that John Scalzi has given up on coming up with anything new. I hope I am wrong, but it seems that gone are the days of books like Old Man’s War and The Androids Dream. Now all we have to look forward to are retellings of Beavis and Butt-head stories set in an already explored Sci-Fi universe.