Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review - Always Postpone Meetings With Time-Wasting Morons by Scott Adams

Short review: In the first collection of Dilbert strips, Dilbert lives the life of a nerdy engineer with a wise-cracking dog. The satire is bitter, but not yet honed to a razor's edge.

Dilbert is a dork
Dogbert thinks he's real stupid
Just a beginning

Full review: The first collection of strips from the Dilbert comic series, Always Postpone Meetings with Time-Wasting Morons contains strips from the beginning of Dilbert's run as a comic through its first six months. Although a handful of the strips in this volume show Dilbert at the workplace, most of the comic is centered on the interaction between Dilbert and Dogbert as Dilbert faces the world as a socially inept technology obsessed engineer. While the strips lampoon Dilbert's nerdiness and Dogbert's megalomania, the bitter and incisive workplace satire that would come to characterize the strip in later years is almost completely absent.

Because the strip only touches on Dilbert's workplace in passing, many of the characters that are now familiar to fans of the strip are absent from this volume. There is no pointed haired boss, no Wally, no Alice, and no Asok. The strips do introduce Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light and ruler of Heck, as well as Bob and Dawn, the dinosaurs who were hiding behind Dilbert's couch. As the strips mainly take place in Dilbert's home, they generally revolve around Dilbert's troubles dating women, his bizarre and often dangerous inventions, and Dogbert's undisguised contempt for him.

Although the Dilbert strip didn't really come into its own until the workplace humor took center stage, this book remains quite good. As the book deals so heavily with Dilbert's personality and his interactions with Dogbert, the strips provide a level of character development for the two of them that many of the later strips lack, as the later strips simply assume one is already familiar with their personal foibles. Though not quite as good as later Dilbert books, even a book that is mediocre by Dilbert standards is really enjoyable, and thus this book gets a strong recommendation.

Subsequent book in the series: Build a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies

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