VIRTUE SIGNALING by John Scalzi

VIRTUE SIGNALING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Marking the 20th anniversary of his blog, the bestselling science-fiction author gathers posts from 2013 to 2018.

Scalzi (Head On, 2018, etc.) is never shy about speaking his mind. A socially liberal independent and self-declared “Rockefeller Republican” who no longer votes for the GOP on the national ticket, he includes several posts on the buildup to the 2016 election as well as some composed during the Donald Trump era. The previously topical pieces, particularly those written when it was assumed that Hillary Clinton would become president, taste bitter and are not exactly useful now that their moment has passed. But there are also a number of strong posts on being a feminist ally and the evils of harassment, assault, and prejudice of all kinds. (His 2014 post on Jian Ghomeshi has taken on fresh relevance now that the disgraced Canadian media personality has resurfaced.) The other posts filling out the book include film reviews and musings on pop culture; anecdotes from Scalzi’s past that express his deep love for his family, friends, and felines; and some extremely useful bits of life advice sparked by current events (the one about how to make a sincere apology is particularly clear and helpful). The author is skilled at distilling liberal anger into cogent arguments and talking points. Sadly, his posts regarding politics in the science-fiction community have been omitted from the book. Perhaps he doubted their wide appeal, but given that his readers are likely part of that community, it seems a shame that he failed to include any of those posts, particularly the ones regarding harassment at conventions, which many regard as helping to set new policy. The blog-post format can also feel abrupt on the printed page. However, what the book suggests is that it would be interesting to see Scalzi write a series of long-form, wider-ranging essays on evergreen topics. Perhaps he might also share more about his writing process.

Of interest, if a bit warmed over and not entirely satisfying at times.

Pub Date: Dec. 31st, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-59606-894-0
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2018




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