I, like apparently everybody else in SF-fandom, bought John Scalzi's latest book Redshirts: A Novel With Three Codas. I took a break from reading the Hugo list to read the book. Herewith are some random thoughts:
1) The book is a short novel with three closely-related short stories attached. The whole thing probably clocks in at 80,000 words, which is short for Scalzi and about what I write. I found it refreshing to read something that wasn't of epic length.
2) The main novel is humorous, but not (at least for me) wet-your-pants funny. Scalzi (deliberately) kept his characters a bit generic (they are, after all, red-shirts) but in this case that worked.
3) I actually found the codas much more engaging than the novel. Each of the codas is written in a different point of view, and each provides a wrap-up for selected characters in the book. These were, I thought, universally very well done. They also provided needed emotional heft to what would otherwise be a lightweight story.
4) Redshirts, like much of Scalzi's work, would be an excellent gift for somebody new to SF, or especially for somebody who says they don't like the genre. It's a great gateway book.