The book is silly and sentimental and extremely far-fetched, and at the same time very good, with a strong central idea and a loveable cast. Also it’s not afraid to mess with your mind a little.
Anyone who knows what a redshirt is will enjoy this book. While that’s a Star Trek reference, you don’t have to think that Star Trek was actually good to appreciate it. (Which is an advantage, for obvious reasons.) (I’m a Deep Space Nine guy myself).
Which is to say that yes, this is Sci Fi, but no, it’s not in the Star Trek style at all. Those who would never stoop to genre lit but are still interested in books and publishing would probably enjoy How to Build a New York Times Bestseller (or Maybe Not) by Scalzi on his blog; an unsentimental and only-slightly-arrogant insider’s look at popular publishing in 2012 and how it can be made to work.