A Culinary Compliment

I am just shameless enough to be amused by this compliment:

THE GOLDEN OECUMENE is like a lavish banquet, crafted with equal parts art and science and served in the feasting hall of some splendid palace. It’s a truly unforgettable experience.

Scalzi is the Chef Boyardee of science fiction.

From a comment by a reader named Steve.

Now, I read OLD MAN’S WAR and liked it. On a scale of one to ten, I would give it a five. It is written in a craftsmanlike fashion, and has a good hook at the beginning. As science fiction, no new or mind blowing ideas are introduced, the characters are forgettable ciphers, and the logical ramifications of what one could do with the body-alteration technology are not mentioned nor explored. The writing, however, is readable, and the author makes it easy to turn the page. That virtue makes up for almost every other drawback.

I have not had the pleasure of finishing any other of Mr. Scalzi’s works, but reviewers whose opinions I trust tell me this work was his best: sort of a lighthearted military SF book. I have heard that REDSHIRTS is a fun, light, quick read.

And as someone whose fame comes from writing in the backgrounds of writers better than I, William Hope Hodgson, A.E. van Vogt, and Jack Vance, heaven forbids that I would ever even imagine disparaging anyone who writes an homage or steal material from other authors.

The ghost of Virgil haunts any poseur who overpraises originality, or mocks the tried and true tradition of intellectual kleptomania poets from the dawn of time have used.

Not everyone wants a nine course dinner for every meal. Sometimes a nice can of factory-made ravioli is what one is in the mood to eat.

And need I point out that Chef Boyardee is a successful company, and has been around for a generation? No shame in that.

The only shame, indeed, does not stick to Mr. Scalzi but to those unwary puppykickers who did not have him in mind when making the claim that the Hugo Award is too literate and highbrow to be given to writers of mere lowbrow populist fiction like myself.

Many a partisan, overwhelmed with the odium theologicum of those who argue matters of dogma, says nonsense in the heat of a civil war which cooler heads would later regret.

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