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Everything but the Squeal
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Everything but the Squeal

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  816 ratings  ·  64 reviews
In the not-so-distant future, life is good... if you’re one of the lucky few to live in the new, ecologically-minded city-states that dot the landscape. Outside their walls, in the “wilds” -- the rotting suburbs and exurbs of America -- things have become rather more precarious.

Benjamin Washington is a kid in New St. Louis, who is on the verge of getting the boot into th
Kindle Edition, 53 pages
Published September 19th 2016 by Subterranean Press (first published October 20th 2008)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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With his usual style, John Scalzi introduces a teenaged procrastinator for whom time has finally run out. Unqualified for most of the available jobs, Benjamin finds himself taking a role he never even imagined, doing tasks he'd rather not think about and learning what being an adult actually means.

I like authors - and directors, for that matter - who leave things to my imagination rather than spelling them out. I was not disappointed here, and the narrator (Alessandro Juliani did a great job of
Ok so objectively this story is not 5 star read. Probably solid 4 stars. But I simply don't care. And hey this rating is about my taste not literal value of the book.
John Scalzi just knows how to write a story I will enjoy. I love his writing style and his humor. It's easy to read but it's not all fluff and action. In 50 pages he delivers more world building and character development then some novels with 500 and more pages.
Recommended if you are looking for short and fun science fiction story.

Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
In the future cities have been sectioned off as "zero footprint" paradises while the rest of the world lives in poverty stricken slums. All the citizens of the cities have to take standardized tests and be assigned jobs by the time they are 20 or being exiled grom the cities. The protagonist of the story put off his exams until he was 20 and got a job as a carer for genetically modified pigs.
Its not bad. The story is humorous and the world is interesting enough for the duration. It doesn't have
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some novellas are just perfect, and this is one of them. Coupling humour, a very clever premise and great well drawn character.
Just clever all round
Steve Tetreault
What it's about: In the not-too-distant future, Benji is living a life of ease. He's never really had to prove himself or take responsibility. But he's reached a point where he must apply for a job within his city, or he will be exiled to the wastelands outside the self-sustaining, zero-emissions, care-free world he's used to. But Benji's estimates of his abilities do not match up with the city's, and his job assignment is not quite what he'd hoped.

What I thought: I love much of Scalzi's work. I
This is one of Scalzi's humorous short stories, unrelated to any of his other works. In the future arcology, everyone needs to take a job by age 20 or lose their citizenship (and thus be expelled to the wastes.) Our slacker protagonist waits till the last minute and ends up in Biological Systems Interface Manager (which the text sometimes decides is actually Biological Systems Integration Manager, but either way means pig farmer.)

Bought this when Amazon recommended since I didn't recognize the t
Sean Randall
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
utterly enjoyed this, as is almost inevitable. A clever trick, too, having more authors set in the world, so I will have to go and track down the rest of the stories here. Solid writing, characters on point and a dash of the irreverence Scales good at.
Lukas Lovas
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short and fun, classic Scalzi. I love his books, and this one has been quite enjoyable, as always :)
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting world, and fun story.

The story is part of the first book, METAtropolis: The Dawn of Uncivilization, of a series of anthologies (currently, 3) although it is named "Utere Nihil Non Extra Quiritationem Suis" in it. I'm not generally a fan of anthologies, but I'll put it on the maybe list. It would be cool if there were full novels in the world / with the characters in the future. I'm slightly annoyed that I hadn't realized this story was part of the anthology when I bought it since it'
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humble-bundle
This was a delightful read. The pacing is good and there's a surprising amount of detail about the world in which it's set for a novella. And the world is kind laid out without sacrificing the pace of the narrative, too. It brings up issues of class and privilege without shoving anything about it in reader's faces and, most of all, it's a funny story. It was written as part of an anthology called METAtropolis in which each author got together to build a world before they each wrote a story set i ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novella manages to make pig farming interesting. And futuristic. A spoiled child ends up with minimal options in required employment, but manages to make the best of it. In humorous ways. It's got the Scalzi humor, but the exploration of the impact of self-sustaining cities on the world around them seems a bit prescient. It's a pretty quick read (less than 45 minutes), and managed to make pigs interesting, even if it does have some questionable porcine behavior. Note - this is the same stor ...more
Brian Palmer
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amusing short story set in a world beset by ecological disaster. Citizens of one of the zero footprint ecologies are able to make do, but the "wilds" -- the rest of the country, locked out of the ecologies except for strictly controlled immigration -- aren't so lucky. Teenagers must take an aptitude test that filters them to jobs they're suited for; this is the story of one privileged teenager who doesn't take it seriously and so ends up in a job he never expected.
Vineela Yerukonda
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, sci-fi

That was a very neat short story. Metaphorically.

The Utopian universe the story's set in is very exciting and interesting. Hermetically sealed self-sustaining cities. May not be a totally novel idea, but the concepts and intricate details explored in the story make it innovative. I would love to read a novel with this setting. The story itself was fast-paced, ingenious and entertaining. Where does John Scalzi get his story ideas from?? Fascinating stuff!

Durval Menezes
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another great short story from John Scalzi. This one has a "coming of age" main plot, with social justice, genetic engineering, the future of cities and forlorn love as subthemes, all masterfully woven together.

Great fun for a few hours -- my only complaint is that it's not novel-sized; it would have been a great book. Perhaps the author would consider writing more on this 'universe' on the future?

Rating would be 4.5/5, rounded up to 5/5.
The refreshing thing about this particular hero's journey is that it takes us from entitled slacker to honest respectful man. Everything about this story is grounded in reality, which provide a foundation for the more fanciful entries in METAtropolis's shared world anthology. ...more
Dave Withe
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Porcine "Checkov's Gun", wow; well played John.

A good morality play / romance wrapped up in a fun Eco-Future SpecFic novella.

A good read. Good style, as expected, a fun, fast moving story that never bogs down. Well executed story telling with a snappy ending that "closes the loop" well.

I only gave 4 stars because IMHO it should have been a full novel.

Highly recommend.
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This short story taken from the "Metatropolis" anthology, a shared-world set of future tales by a group of writers, is long enough to tell a tale and too short to dive too deeply into. It's a good piece, a quick read, and solid all around, with a particularly nifty opening.
Eric Wallace
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oddly, this short story reads more like something by Cory Doctorow (linear story, rather didactic, and slightly preachy approach to cultural issues) rather than John Scalzi (non-stop wit and standout characterization). But hey, I like them both, and it was an interesting short read.
Ben Stoutenburgh
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story was kinda funny and had hints of Scalzi's style but I didn't feel like it got his full attention. I am interested in the world that it takes place in and wonder if I would have liked it more if I read it as part of METAtropolis: The Dawn of Uncivilization as intended. ...more
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
The writing style is pleasant to read, and I was enjoying myself through the exposition. Unfortunately, in the end, the climax didn't really amount to much. I was left with a distinct "so what?" feeling.
Donna Brett
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was ok

I was told by a friend that Scalzi was good. He is
, But this is a short story masquerading as a book and as such is ridiculously overpriced. I hope his other "books" are more lengthy.
Fate's Lady
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, humor
Entertaining and a little bit deeper than I often see in a novella despite the silliness of the surface level premise. The ending wraps up incredibly fast compared to the pace of the rest of the story, but I guess with the "let me tell you what happened" framing it makes sense.
Jim Kratzok
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining short story.

I don't think John Scalzi has written a bad story ever. This one's a hoot. In addition to showing a scary view of a future society, it has just the right amount of silly snarky humor I like to see in a story. Enjoy it
James Swenson
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fun blend of moral questions about sharing technology across social boundaries with satisfyingly gratuitous amounts of pig shit.
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
The social arrangement is an interesting concept. I don't often read novellas because there isn't much time to develop a story.
Chris Harris
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A quick, YA read that's good fun even if you can see the ending coming a mile away.
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
so so short story; the main character was well done but the plot lacked any pith.
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fun, short story from John Scalzi. Great example of short science fiction.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
i usually like John Scalzis work, but this did not work for me. Interesting backdrop/world building, uninteresting/clichee story, some very annyoing proofreading errors. All in all: meh!
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
A delightful novel featuring pigs, genetic engineering and a distopian eco-friendly society. I highly recommend reading it as it just files by.
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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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