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Showing 1-10 of 19 reviews(1 star). See all 162 reviews
on May 1, 2016
Two main ideas, interwoven into one.
First idea: Barbarians in space! Although there ARE those who hold that only a race which has conquered it's desire to conquer can become star-travelers, there are differences of opinion and approach. That which comes to mind are the Kzinti, who MUST scream and leap, and yet have conquered vast regions of space. Well, they cheated; they stole their technology from a slave species, so while they are an exception, they really aren't.
Scalzi, however, has his barbarians in space because they have captured gods, and force them to move the spacecraft and keep everybody alive.
That brings up the second main idea: meaninglessness. For all that the society is founded on the reality of a god, there are, in fact, TIERS of gods, and they every bit as nasty as anything in Norse or Greek mythology. There is no purpose in serving a god; he's as liable to use you for food as anything else. And he's also just as likely to be killed by bigger, more powerful gods as well, so service accounts for zero; and nothing counts, except for one, small, thing.
There is a class of people on board the ships, referred to as Rooks. And Scalzi very carefully does not give their gender. They are ALWAYS referred to by name, and no personal pronouns are ever used for them. But, that's it. He never talks about the gender, although he does talk about the gender of their partners. So, the one, small, thing that has value placed on it by the writer, when every other aspect of life is demonstrably valueless, is sex.
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on March 3, 2016
I have read over 20 of his books, as he is clearly one of my favorite authors. (His Old Man's War series was my most favorite series ever, and that's saying a lot!) However, I hated this book, which I finished because I couldn't believe that I wouldn't end up liking it. Just suggesting that anyone who is interested try a sample, then trust your instincts.
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on February 28, 2015
Very ambitious bit of writing by Scalzi. Great concept. Bad editing. See below. This is the first paragraph, argggg.... one star for lack of effort, 5 for something really great, almost.

Despite some defects this is great sci-fi and a must read, worth the price. OK I'm a Scalzi fan, this almost turned a corner into greatness

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"He found blood on the deck, an acolyte spurting one and lying shivering on the other, and the god prostrate in its iron circle, its chains shortened into the circle floor." 1
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1 Scalzi, John (2010-06-10). The God Engines (Kindle Locations 21-22). Subterranean Press. Kindle Edition.
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on May 15, 2016
Mr. Scalzi,

This was a great short read, but where have the novels gone? Where are my trilogies and sagas??? "agent of the stars" or "fuzzy nation," "android's dream," "red shirts" and of course " the old man war' saga!!! All instant classics. Absolutely hilarious to the point I was literally crying from laughing so hard!

I want a novel, not a novella. Maybe this message is to the publisher, whom ever.... But as a consumer and a huge fan I want a book the develops characters, that doesn't just entertain, but completely enthralls me. If I want a 90 min experience with shallow characters and huge gaps in a story line I'll go to Hollywood look at 95% of the garbage the put out in any given Thursday.

These little novellas are a tease that leaves me hungry for a creative piece of art that you have proven on multiple levels that you are talented enough to create but do not!! so I am left just angry, or in this case truly "hangry"

This was a great and creative story that could have gone so, so many places... The politics, more of the rookery, I could go on and on. I guess it bothers me so because very rarely do you see original new ideas in the sci-fi genre. You seem to come up with many, just don't waste this golden idea on a novella.
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on October 9, 2010
Awful ending -- do not purchase.

Other Scalzi books are much better -- worst he's even written.
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on January 4, 2017
One of the poorest books I have read in a long time. What the author is trying to get across I don't know. Read if you must.
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on January 25, 2010
The story itself is a fine story that all Scalzi fans will enjoy. However it's not a book or even a novella, it's a short story in hardback form that they are ripping you off for $13.60. It might be worth $3.00 at the most. Don't buy it.
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on December 27, 2012
I have to agree with Tom Sanders - just an entire waste of time. Scalzi generally has thin characterizations but is an entertaining read. However this reads like a 13 year old wrote it. The basic idea has been done by Terry Pratchett in a much better way, and I doubt was original with him. Cardboard characters, thin to nonexistent descriptions, wooden dialog, trite plot. It was a short novel/novella and I wished it was shorter. What give Mr. Scalzi? You are better than this. I wish I could give it zero stars.
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on June 13, 2010
A fantasy novella from 2009, subsequently appeared on the shortlist for both the Hugo and Novella. Fairly widely praised in genre commentary--even a lot of people who don't like Scalzi found this one his most effective work, while previous Scalzi fans were even more supportive. For my part, this was the first of his stories that I found both unambitious and unenjoyable, and am thoroughly puzzled by the good press.

The piece has a strong and distinctive atmosphere, with the story continually positing a dark mood of cosmic dysfunction, horror linked to mechanical efficiency and a general pattern of brooding. However the story doesn't do much with this atmosphere, seemingly content to establish a setup of tortured gods driving starships as an end in itself. The setting is ultimately incoherent and unbelievable, with a number of prominent elements that make sylistic sense but also lead to a thoroughly arbitrary and unbelievable invented universe. The plot feels unclearly sketched, more about moving characters across the board and providing exposition than doing anything engaging. The characters are two-dimensional. The larger story is dull, and even at a hundred and thirty pages feels padded and very slow.

It's not clear to me why Scalzi thought his premise--which has been done ad nauseum by productions like Games Workshop and Stargate--was so unique it could be presented with no real grace or appreciable adorning and people would eat it up. Highly disappointing.
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on February 3, 2015
I am the wrong audience for this book.
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