Actually, it’s all about my books and stuff, which means it’s about my output, rather than me directly. But that’s close enough for government work.
* My personal copies of the French version of Old Man’s War have arrived and I’m quite pleased — finally, a foreign-language version that I can sort of, kind of read! Seriously, it’s surprising to me how much of the text I can puzzle out; naturally it helps quite a bit that it’s a translation of my own work, so I always have a vague idea of what’s supposed to be going on anyway. One thing I like is how much nicer stuff sounds in French. The French translation of BrainPal, for example: “Amicerveau.” Excellent. From what I can puzzle out the translation appears pretty good, so thanks to translator Bernadette Emerich for that.
I’m also pleased to find out the cover is in fact original artwork for the book; it’s done by Didier Florentz, who has posted a picture of the whole art on his Web site. It’s inspired by the Special Forces attack on Coral in the last couple of chapters of the book, and you know what? It’s just damn cool. I sent him an e-mail thanking him and asking him if he had a print I could get from him; I hope he reads English.
The French version of the book is available in Canada, incidentally, so you Francophones up there who have a desire to read me in your native tongue now have a way to do it. Have fun with that, you crazy kids!
* Whatever reader Patrick Vera informs me that the Japanese Amazon site has up the cover art for the Japanese version of Old Man’s War, and here it is:
Patrick surmised that this is meant to be taken from the Battle of Coral, and I agree. And look! They’re green! As they’re supposed to be. The Japanese version of the book, so far as I can tell via Babelfish, is supposed to be out on April 30.
* The SFSite has up reviews of not one but two of my books: The Android’s Dream and Coffee Shop. The reviewer for TAD (Peter D. TIllman) is very happy with the book:
This is a pretty near perfect light planetary romance, ending splendidly with all the Bad Biters badly-bit, and the Good Guys (and Girl) well-rewarded. Really a wonderfully entertaining book — definitely a keeper. This is my second John Scalzi novel — I liked Old Man’s War, but that was apprentice work, compared to The Android’s Dream.
The Coffee Shop review is not as glowy — the reviewer (Paul Kincaid) does not agree with all my points — but is generally positive:
What is particularly unusual and refreshing about this book, and about Scalzi’s whole take on writing, is that he does not confine himself to the writing of fiction. This is not a book that follows the old, old pattern of taking us through the various stages of worldbuilding, character creation, dialogue and the like — in fact Scalzi treats all these with a studied disinterest. For him, writing includes journalism, writing for web sites, even advertising, all of which he does or has done. From these skills (normally not even mentioned in such books) he learns very different lessons from those usually passed on to novelists, lessons about meeting the deadline and fitting the brief which infuse this book.
I think it’s interesting that Kincaid notes how little the business end of writing gets discussed in writing books for novelists; I think he’s correct, and I think that while there’s certainly nothing wrong with a focus on the art of writing, a little more about the business of things wouldn’t kill novelists (and aspiring novelists) to read and know.
* Whoops, I missed this when I first posted the entry: The Ghost Brigades anchors SFSite’s Best SF and Fantasy Books of 2006: Readers’ Choice list, in there with books by Vernor Vinge, Charlie Stross, Peter Watts, Naomi Novik and Scott Lynch, whose Lies of Locke Lamora takes the #1 spot. Cool. There’s also the notation at the bottom of the page that suggests that I might have been ranked even higher if I didn’t have more than one book out in the year of contention (The Android’s Dream and Old Man’s War are specified). These are the risks you take, and I’m happy to take them.
* Finally, if you happened to lose your copy of The Android’s Dream on a recent Korean Air Lines flight, I want to thank you, because you helped me pick up a new fan, as this e-mail I received yesterday details:
I was flying back to the U.S. from Hong Kong last week, and had to change planes at Seoul. A copy of your book The Android’s Dream was on the seat next to mine for the trans-pacific leg of the flight. I kept waiting for the owner to show up, but he/she never did. Once they shut the doors I appropriated it, thinking it must be an interview with Phillip K. Dick, and had to be better than reading the Skymall catalog.
Aside from brief pauses to eat I did not put that thing down for 12 hours. That book was exceptional. Robin’s dialogue in particular had me laughing out loud and disturbing people all around me who were trying to sleep.
Unable to thank whoever left the book on the KAL flight I thought I’d thank you. So thank you.
Excellent. Although I’m sorry someone lost their copy of TAD — unless this is part of some joint Tor Books-Korean Air Lines effort to expand the audience for science fiction on trans-Pacific flights. In which case: Mission accomplished, folks. Mission accomplished.