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Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008
John Scalzi
Subterranean Press, 368 pages

Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded
John Scalzi
John Scalzi was born in 1969. His first job out of college was as a film critic at the Fresno Bee newspaper in California. Since 1998, he has been a full-time freelance writer. As well, he is the Chief Entertainment Media Critic for Official US Playstation Magazine. He lives in the small rural town of Bradford, Ohio with his wife and daughter.

John Scalzi Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Android's Dream
SF Site Review: Old Man's War

Past Feature Reviews
A review by John Enzinas

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Those of you who are not blog fans or who don't spend much time on the web may not be aware that John Scalzi has a blog called Whatever where he posts thoughts, opinions and rants every day and has done so for 10 years (as of Sept 13, 2008). Of course, you're reading this review on a website so if you have any interest at all in Scalzi, you probably knew this already.

The thing about having an archive of thousands of essays is that no matter how skilled the author is overall, the odds of finding his best stuff is pretty poor, unless you have someone to point you at the good bits.

Thankfully, Scalzi has taken the time to pick out his favourite Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded is a collection of these posts. I could tell you how many except that I have already passed the book along to a friend to enjoy after shortening many a bus ride with its content.

Knowing that I would be writing this review, I kept thinking about how I would present it to you, the review reader. Unlike a novel, or even a collection of short stories, there really isn't much that ties it all together other than the unshaded glare of Scalzi's mind. He writes about anything and everything in his life. He writes about current events including both the 2000 and 2004 American elections and, of course, the now iconic 9/11 attacks. He writes about social issues including several pieces on gay marriage as well as discussions about both privilege and poverty. He talks about the nature of fandom, giving advice on how to approach your favourite author and how to send them hate mail. He write about how to be a writer and how his writing integrates with his life. And of course, he discusses both religion and politics.

All of it is filtered through his unique combination of empathy and snark.

If you are comfortable reading something that is likely to lampoon at least one of your deeply held opinions then this collection is for you. If you are the sort of person who goes looking for things to be upset about then this collection is also for you. However, you should be aware that the grading of hate mail is something that the author no longer has time for, so make sure it's your best effort.

Copyright © 2008 John Enzinas

John Enzinas reads frequently and passionately. In his spare time he plays with swords.


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