I haven't talked about books in ages (since February, if the Blog Archive search is correct). I've read way too many to condense into a single post, so I'm going to divide them up over a few, grouped arbitrarily.
Something my friend Laura said on Facebook sent me to John Scalzi's blog, and from there to his books. From what I can tell, the prolific Scalzi has two distinct fiction styles: Old School Hard SF, and Smart Ass Funny SF. Smart Ass Funny SF is my middle name (you can look it up), so that's where I went. It's been a hilarious journey.
The Android's Dream, in which the only thing that can save the Earth from alien invasion is a low-level diplomat and a sheep who doesn't look or sound anything like a sheep. Seriously.
That segued to Agent to the Stars, where a low level Hollywood agent is drafted to represent our first alien visitors, who just happen to have a little PR issue.
Which brought me to Redshirts, which is sort of Galaxy Quest except the opposite.
I loved all three of these books unreservedly- the stories are well crafted, the women are smart and funny and capable, and the aliens are a hoot- which is not to say that there isn't a serious message underneath all of the laughter. Scalzi has several short stories available through Kindle, and I've enjoyed them. I haven't read any of his Old School SF yet, but I understand it's very good too, though very different in tone from the Smart Ass stuff.
Year Zero is not by John Scalzi, but this book by Rob Reid is in the same vein- a low level lawyer is contacted by assorted aliens, all of whom are deeply and seriously, and dangerously enamored with 70's rock 'n roll (the good stuff and the bad). I'm still reading this one, but I can tell you that much hilarity ensues.