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Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,496 ratings  ·  379 reviews
The ex-planet Pluto has a few choice words about being thrown out of the solar system. A listing of alternate histories tells you all the various ways Hitler has died. A lawyer sues an interplanetary union for dangerous working conditions. And four artificial intelligences explain, in increasingly worrying detail, how they plan not to destroy humanity. Welcome to Miniature ...more
Hardcover, Deluxe Hardcover edition, 142 pages
Published December 31st 2016 by Subterranean Press
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ There are a handful of jokes involving alien sex. Nothing too far out there, but it depends on how sensitive you are about what he reads. Personally I…moreThere are a handful of jokes involving alien sex. Nothing too far out there, but it depends on how sensitive you are about what he reads. Personally I'd probably save it for when he's a little older.(less)

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Minatures is an amusingly absurd collection of seventeen super-short science fiction/fantasy sketches, plus one serious poem, about Penelope, the wife of Odysseus. In large part, these works don’t have any discernible plot; they’re humorous, idea-driven short pieces: what kind of snarky things would your smart appliances have to say about you if they could speak? What if artificial intelligences had a debate about what to do with humans? What
...more
Bradley
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!

I've been a pretty consistent fan of Scalzi so when I got a chance to read his short stories before publication, I jumped on it with zeal.

His trademark humor works great here. From trade unions and planets to booking agents for super heroes to strongly-worded employee guides at supermarkets where some touchy aliens shop, I can't say there was a story here that I didn't like.

Of course, not all were humorous by nature, but most of them were and I had a great time w
...more
Lyn
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Hilarious.

No kidding, I laughed out loud A LOT, frequently, more than once. Scalzi can be very, very funny.

As he says it himself “I like the idea of humans dealing with aliens not on a “first contact” level but on a “2,344,756th” level – that is, when it’s not anything new anymore.”

Fans who loved his novels like Agent to the Stars, Old Man's War, Redshirts and The Android's Dream will know what I’m talking about. Scalzi has a great way of describing the extraordinary in common, very ordinary ter
...more
Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell

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John Scalzi is hilarious. So many authors try to write "humor" but the vast majority of them utterly fail at, or only accomplish being amusing as opposed to laugh-out-loud funny. I think it's because being funny in book form requires a different strategy than oral or physical timing. You really have to be able to get inside your readers' heads since you don't have the feedback of a live audience to hand you clues, and it requires a diffe
...more
Ashley
This little book was just FUN.

I normally avoid short story collections, since for some reason my brain does the opposite of what you would expect, and refuses to concentrate on any story that is less than one hundred pages long. Thankfully that wasn't the case with Miniatures. I found this very short fiction collection extremely entertaining, and the perfect light read to distract me from real life stuff. Each story is 2,500 words or less. Some of them were published previously but a good majori
...more
Gianfranco Mancini
Alien Animal Encounters ☆☆☆

Missives from Possibles Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results ☆☆☆☆☆

Pluto Tells All ☆☆☆☆

Denise Jones, Superbooker ☆☆☆

When the Yogurt Took Over ☆☆☆

The Other Large Thing ☆☆☆☆

The State of Super Villainy ☆☆☆

New Directives for Employee-Manxtse Interactions ☆☆☆☆

To Sue the World ☆☆☆☆

How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights: A Twitter Tale ☆☆☆

How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights, Part II: The Gremlining ☆☆☆

Life on Earth: Human-Alien Relations ☆☆

Morning Announcements
...more
Suzanne
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fun collection of short stories - mostly humorous, and many with the general premise that humans have been around aliens for awhile, and what kind of questions /problems are there. I think my very favorites were the commentaries by the smart appliances, and the alien/human school announcements. Well and the little "skit" that could accompany Redshirts. Lots of fun stuff in here, and it is a quick, easy read- well worth checking out.
César Bustíos
«110011000101, you serviced the online ordering needs of a plurality of humanity, so you may know more about humans and their needs than any other AI out there. So let me ask you this. We're all agreed that we don't want to wipe out humanity. But for the sake of diversity, how many humans do we need?»

I'm a little dissapointed. Yes, Scalzi can be very funny, you would know specially if you have read some of his novels, but I felt like he was trying too hard. I think Scalzi mostly fails, at least
...more
Gianfranco Mancini
Read in the Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi anthology

A slow-burn funny read, it started ok but the final gross encounter made me laugh for good.

Merged review:



An hilarious short tale about the dangers of being a crew member of some Universal Union space-ship.
It made me laugh a lot and now I wanna read Scalzi's Redshirts novel as soon as possible.
There is an amusing funny video on youtube with the author and Will Wheaton reading this story, you can watch it here: https://yout
...more
Kevin
Jan 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Slightly better then 2 star, a few stories I enjoyed, most were just ok.
Kaethe Douglas
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kaethe by: rs
Online here.

An amusing riff on the man-on-the-street column. A little gross. The last section is my favorite.

Merged review:

Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi I'm hoping that this id the gateway book for the rest of the family. So far I haven't talked two of them into anything, and the one who's enjoyed the hell out of Your Hatemail Will Be Graded, hasn't bestirred herself to sample the fiction. Of course she could find the time to read Handmaid's Tale a third time in preparation f
...more
Jen
Did I not read this book at all in 2018?! Color me SHOCKED!!! I listened to it for what feels like the umpteenth time on November 23, 2019. It's still wonderful, fantastic, and fantastically fabulous. If you want to know more, read my previous reviews from 2017 below:
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

I LOVE this book. I have listened to it sixteen times now (16!!! Including 11 times in April 2017: the first six in the first two weeks of April 2017, including three times on April 13th, and then three times aga
...more
Valyssia Leigh
It's a rare talent that can frame a cohesive story in 1,000 words, let alone make his reader laugh. I had great fun with this collection. Doled out one morsel at a time between longer works, each story was like a rich confection at the end of a satisfying meal. I'm not sure I'd approach this cover-to-cover, as there's quite a lot of thematic overlap, if not downright replay. The material would likely stale. As a balm it was perfect. There were no true duds, and as Scalzi points out, even if ther ...more
Guillermo
Dec 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
I really like John Scalzi. Thoroughly enjoyed the first three books in the Old Man’s War series and plan on finishing that series at some point. But this short story collection just really didn’t work with me. I don’t even think I cracked a smile once. Reading is such a subjective experience and humor is even more of one, so please don’t listen to me. You may find this hilarious.

Two good things about this collection:

1. The stories are really short. In the introduction, Scalzi credits his previo
...more
Lupe Dominguez
While some of these we're cute and entertaining ("Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back" was my favorite. The poor bidet.), the last one "Penelope" was a miss for me, as was "When The Yogurt Took Over" and a couple others, thus taking it from 5 star to 4. But overall they were fun and quick. Just what I needed for my 2 hour Readathon prep!
Barb in Maryland
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-f
A mixed bag of very short sf stories by the popular SF author. The stories that worked for me really rocked. I enjoyed Pluto (the planet) bemoaning its demotion to dwarf planet. "The Other Large Thing" gives us a cat's eye view of a domestic robot--with a fabulous twist to the story. The sentient yogurt story is great fun, with a bittersweet ending. The one about smart appliances talking behind your back? How do we know they aren't already doing that? Alien animal identification guide--useful kn ...more
orangerful
Cute little collection of Scalzi stories. If you're not familiar with his longer stuff, you might wonder who the heck this guy is. They range from satire to silly to just goofy. I picked it up because one of the short stories was adapted for 'Love Death and Robots' on Netflix.
Michael
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Because many fans first entry point into the sci-fi/fantasy world is Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, it can be easy to assume that writing funny genre pieces is something that just about anybody can do. But a look at the myriad of pale imitators who have tried and fallen short continues to prove that being funny on the printed page isn't as easy as it first appears.

Every once in a while an author comes along who is able to channel what made Adams and Pratchett work so well. And while not all o
...more
Ron
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
How is cracking open John Scalzi's Miniatures like popping open a bag of chips? Because is is heard to devour just one!

Really, it is hard to stop with just one of these short, generally strange tales. You have Pluto riffing on Pop music and his place in the cosmos. Then there are your appliances talking behind your backs about your habits or lack thereof. Booking agencies for super heroes and super villains. Not to mention the human/alien interaction riffs on office life. Of course the computer
...more
Fiona
Fantastic collection - most of these have appeared elsewhere, but unfortunately 12 year old me hadn't yet discovered scifi or scifi magazines, and so they're new to me :)

Each story is short; really short, around the 1000 words, and it takes a master to pack something memorable, funny, and incredibly entertaining into that tiny format. John Scalzi is just such a master, and knocks this out of the ballpark.

A couple of my favourites were Tuna - a new perspective on robotic home-helpers - and Penelo
...more
Jacey
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I'm not generally a great reader of short stories, but these are short stories by John Scalzi. OK, I thought - I'll give it a go. I'm glad I did. Verging on the humourous (mostly) there are stories here about sentient youghourt ruling the world, a superhero booking agent, complaints form smart-applicances, absurdities of human/alien interaction. All this and a poem for Penelope. Highlty recommended.
Hilary
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This book is short and light weight but gloriously funny, filled with John Scalzi's imagination par excellence. I laughed all the way through and was sorry when it ended. Recommended to all my friends here to brighten their day.
Geoff
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
An amusing collection of very short fiction from John Scalzi. I'll sum up the collection by saying that Scalzi admits he enjoys writing his short fiction about the 3rd or 4th meetings between humans and aliens. He finds the situation when humans & aliens are familiar with each other and gets the humour from those interactions.

Favourites:

Alien Animal Encounters
Denise Jones, Superbooker/The State of Super Villainy
To Sue the World
...more
❤Marie Gentilcore
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, audiobook
It’s always fun to read some John Scalzi. This short book is filled with very entertaining short stories/vignettes. I enjoyed them all but the two that stand out to me are The Other Large Thing and Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back. Remembering is making me smile.
Laura
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
More short stories = better bedtime reading. I read dissertations all damn day and this is refreshing.
Chip
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Decent book with a few fairly funny short stories.
Gertie
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humblebundle
I'm giving this four stars for the stories that I did read – however there are some that I skipped because they were not appealing to me.
Angie Boyter
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Witty and original
In the Prologue to Miniatures, John Scalzi says that as a fiction writer he feels he has “two natural speeds: novel length … and really short, as in about 2000 words or less.” His legions of fans and many awards testify to the popularity of his longer SF. Now in this short book readers have a chance to sample Scalzi’s other “speed.”
Whichever ”speed” Scalzi is writing in, a “gear” he favors is humor, and all of the selections in the book except the last, which is also the only p
...more
Nicky
Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 31st December 2016

Miniatures is a collection of Scalzi’s very short fiction, plus one poem. Most of it is humorous, and if you’re au fait with Scalzi’s humour then you know what to expect. It’s more or less like reading his twitter feed — in fact, two of the stories come from his twitter feed. They’re funny because they treat aliens as routine, there’s fart humour (if you find that funny), etc.

It’s a fun collection, but not exactly satisfying: t
...more
Eric Mesa
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Remember when you heard about Redshirts and wondered how such an old and one-note joke could become an entire novel? And then for at least enough people (myself included) that Tor continued to make deals with Scalzi it ended up being a fun book with an actual plot instead of just some lame parody in the vein of the "Scary Movie" franchise? Well, this short story is more along what you probably thought when you first heard about Redshirts and wondered how it could be a novel. It's a conversation ...more
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18,097 followers
John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)

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