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You kids get off my lawn. 

Rollback (Sci Fi Essential Books) - Robert J. Sawyer So, this book was like going a second date with someone, even though the first date wasn't that great. I mean, he was kind of a tool, but not so much of a tool that it send me scrambling out the bathroom window before the entrees arrived. He clearly flosses, but it's hard to say whether that's a good thing or not. Not that I kissed him, because he might yet reveal he's super into Ayn Rand or just took a seminar on Pyramid Power.

Anyway, here we are on the second date, and it turns out that he's still the same middle-aged Canadian schlub that he was on the first date, only now the power and the glory of his middle-agedness and his Canadianity has worn off. How is it that this writer has won like every single award known to the scifi world, some of them several times over? Was it a slow decade? Did he bribe the voters with platters of poutine and six-packs of Molson? (mmm, poutine...)

This is the kind of scifi that is really about the ideas, like Silverberg or Asimov. It's old-school, high-concept, and tends to be essayish, with characters having discussions rather than letting actions illustrate the central argument. He clearly has an encyclopedic knowledge of the contributions Canadians have made to science and society. (Mr Rogers started his show on the CBC? Well, knock me over with a feather.) Saywer delivers some fairly interesting asides about, say, the relative merits of Sagan's novel Contact versus the film version. He then tackles the really important questions of societal ethics with the lusty gusto of someone who has just taken an Intro to Ethics class. This was all well and good, and I enjoyed some of his ideas.

In fact, it's when Sawyer takes stabs at social realism that make me totally want to die. Mr. Sawyer, you should never ever talk about masturbation again, okay? Just don't. Also, I honestly don't give a crap about how you eat pizza (I'm sorry, Pizza Hut pizza, did they pay you for the name drop?) and I don't think it adds to the verisimilitude whatsoever. No more Seinfeld references either. Jeez, man.

Anyway, check please. I'll totally call you later.