Daily Archives: December 17, 2006

Two Entirely Unrelated Thoughts

Here they are:

1. It’s fun to look at reviews of your work in languages you don’t know and try to figure out what the hell they’re saying. I think this one’s in Norwegian, but honestly, I can’t tell. But it looks like the reviewer liked, anyway.

2. My big-ass monitor continues to be teh crack, particularly in portrait mode, in which nearly every single Web site in the world is able to be looked at without scrolling. Really, before it arrived, I felt kind of stupid for springing for it, because it cost so much more than I thought I could rationally justify, and I suspected eventually I could come to resent it as an example of profligate indulgence, marking me as one of the people who will be up against the wall when the revolution comes. But it makes such a difference in how I work and view things online that now I think the expense is justified.

Now I don’t worry about it being the thing that marks me for proletariat vengeance; no, the thing that will mark me as prole chum is the fact that because of my bitchin’ new 24-inch monitor, I kind of look at my 20-inch iMac like it’s a pile of puke. That’s Gen-x yuppie indolence, people. And I’m guilty.

Meet the John Perrys

As most of you know, the protagonist of Old Man’s War (and the upcoming The Last Colony) is a fellow named John Perry. Now “John Perry” is not likely to be a wildly uncommon name, and I was procrastinating the other day, so I dropped the name in Google to see what might pop up.

And lo and behold, there’s a fairly notable John Perry out there: He’s a professor of philosophy and former chair of the philosophy department of Stanford University, and co-hosts a radio show about the subject with the current chair of Stanford philosophy, which also naturally has an associated blog. And ironically, he’s got an internet-famous essay on procrastination. He’s even got a Wikipedia entry! Excellent.

There’s also a John Perry who is an artist, and a John Perry whose Web presence is trapped in 1995. Set it free, Mr. Perry! Let your Web site enjoy the pleasures of the 21st Century!

Then there’s the John Perry who died on September 11, 2001, trying to help people escape from the World Trade Center. His personal Web site is still up.

John Perry also was the sailor guy in those old Old Spice commercials.

He’s also an English musician and rock biographer! And an Irish politician! He’s a Christian worship leader! And should you ever want to go fly fishing in Montana or have some photography done, John Perry’s your man.

Clearly, John Perry has a life outside of my book. As well he should.

Peter Watts’ Vampire Lecture

Peter Watts, he of the Blindsight novel I gushed about earlier, has a very amusing and also terrifyingly plausible PowerPoint presentation on evolutionary and biological roots of vampirism, as detailed from the point of view of a scientific researcher whose company is aiming to resurrect (heh) vampires in the present day. If you’ve got about 40 minutes to kill, you might want to check it out (flash required). This iteration of vampirism, incidentally, is the one that is present in Watts’ Blindsight. I found the explanation for the aversion to crosses particularly interesting.

From the “What Does This Mean” File

I had a dream last night in which I was reading a quote from Harlan Ellison, in which he said “John Scalzi is everything that is wrong with science fiction today.”

I find this interesting because a) I don’t have a hate-on for Ellison, and indeed I just recently purchased a collection of his and a reprint of Dangerous Visions, so I don’t have fantasies of feuding with the man, and b) I seriously doubt Ellison has any idea who I am, or if he did — and he had a negative opinion of my work — that what I write would create that level of vitriolic response in him. I imagine I’d rate, at worst, a dismissive “crap!” before moving on. Basically, if I were to go a-feudin’ in science fiction, he would not be my first choice of partner, nor, I suspect, would I be his. It’s just not a good fit, you know?

Of course, having written this, eventually someone somewhere will misread it, and eventually it will go down in the annals of science fiction that Harlan Ellison and I had some sort of bitter encounter that ended in a comic book-style civil war in science fiction, with everyone choosing sides and Worldcons being turned into desperate battlegrounds between our factions, ending with, oh, I don’t know, a slap fight between Harlan and me on the stage of the Hugos. So for the record: Didn’t happen, folks. Unlikely to happen, too. I think we both have better things to do.