This is my sixth installment of posts featuring Cheryl. If you enjoy this one, I suggest finding the Cheryl tag on the right sidebar for the others. Interestingly, in the case of John Scalzi’s new novel Redshirts, I finished it because I found it legitimately intriguing. I’m a fan of his work historically and the writing was strong enough to keep me searching for the thread to tie it all together. Alas, that thread never came and this post was born.
Justin: Cheryl, I’m going to be working on my Redshirts review for the next few hours. Please hold all my calls.
Spoof Trekkie Fiction: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There is
Justin: *bewildered* I said no interuptions and Montalbán has been dead for three years.
corpse of Montalbán: SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALZI!!
Justin: Excuse me, Mr. Montalbán, are you a zombie searching for John Scalzi’s brain?
corpse of Montalbán: Not at all, señor. I am just getting over my long standing grudge against Shatner for stealing the best line in my Oscar worthy performance of Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I find that Scalzi’s name works nearly as well to express frustration and anger over an injustice.
Justin: You mean where he yells Khan?
corpse of Montalbán: Por favor, I cannot speak of it.
Justin: You are dead though right?
corpse of Montalbán: Sí.
Justin: You’ve got a rather well developed chest for a man… er… corpse(?) your age.
corpse of Montalbán: Gracias. Thankfully being one of the undead has done wonders for my skin elasticity.
Justin: Ok, so why are you here Ricardo? Can I call you Ricardo?
corpse of Montalbán: I prefer The Montalbán, if it’s all the same to you.
Justin: It’s not.
corpse of Montalbán: *ignoring Justin* I’m here because I too have read SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALZI’s Redshirts and I have some concerns.
Justin: I’m getting pretty sick of prescient layabouts that appear whenever I’m writing a review.
corpse of Montalbán: More of a shuffle-about, aren’t I?
Justin: Granted. I find myself oddly gratified that the corpse of Ricardo Montalbán agrees with me about Redshirts. But, given that you seem to have a bit of an inferiority complex, forgive me if I’m skeptical that you’re just mad the plot highjacks Star Trek IV: The Return Home, and thus does not include a Khan simulacrum.
corpse of Montalbán: Uh.. no.. you’re way off base.
Justin: It’s ok if that’s why, literature is subjective after all. I would hope that you could find a few other things to talk about though.
corpse of Montalbán: *blushing* Well, umm… I giggled a bit. Macho giggling of course. More of a guffaw really.
Justin: This is a safe placed, Ricardo. I can’t disagree with you. It is an awfully funny first 80 pages or so. The prologue is particularly good. He riffs on the idea that a certain segment of the starship crew are increasingly likely to die in an away mission. It’s a clever application of the old Star Trek plot device. I was immediately concerned about how he would turn it into a novel though. How does the conflict get resolved? What’s the explanation for why the conflict exists?
corpse of Montalbán: Verdad! That’s exactly what I meant.
Justin: Of course it was. You’re the Montalbán. Since neither of those questions are adequately answered, I found the first two-thirds of the novel fairly uninspired, albeit initially intriguing. I dealt with it because it’s the perfect playground for Scalzi’s standard sarcastic back and forth.
corpse of Montalbán: Interesting you should mention that. I’ve read the entire SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALZI catalog…
corpse of Montalbán: I have lots of free time. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find the same characters from Fuzzy Nation and The Android’s Dream returning in Redshirts! I love series.
Justin: I can see how you would think that, but no. This is a stand alone novel; Scalzi just writes the same character over and over again with new names and places. In fact, I suspect he’s writing himself over and over again. Sarcastic. Cynical. Player of small instruments.
corpse of Montalbán: *gasp* I am dismayed. I had not made the connection. If my little friend Hervé were alive today he would be saying , Da’ plane da’ plane, and I would look to the sky and instead see my opinion of SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALZI plummeting to the earth.
Justin: *head hanging* Indeed. What did you think about the last third of the novel, Ricardo?
Justin: Mother f*cker.
Fizbane: It is I! Hello, Senor Montalbán, I’m a big fan. Would you mind signing my Kindle Fire, now available for a low introductory price of…
Justin: God, you’re such a shill. Ignore him Ricardo, what do you want Fizbane?
Fizbane: *straightens his robe* Right, to the chase. I’m here representing the Science Fiction Writer’s of America. I’ve been asked to inform you that criticizing President Scalzi is not appreciated. You are to cease and desist from writing a bad review due to President Scalzi’s years of service in promoting the genre. Regardless of how incoherent the last third of his book may be, you are encouraged to praise his work because of his standing in the community. Also, even if he conveniently posts controversial things to his blog at convenient times before and after he launches a book, please disregard the timing and instead focus on his dry wit.
Justin: You’ve got more clients than Heidi Fleiss. I think you’re making things up at this point. Have you even talked to someone at SFWA?
Justin: I might have known. You just want to be in Scalzi’s good graces don’t you?
Fizbane: *ashamed* He gets a lot more traffic than you do. And I’ve heard he’s looking for a new blog wizard.
corpse of Montalbán: It seems that SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALZI has quite the following.