Daily Archives: April 17, 2007

Interview on Tower.com

Tower.com has posted the interview they have with me, made from fan-submitted questions. The topics range from music to movies to writing to formative experiences in my life. It’s a nice range of questions, I think.

Congratulations to those of you who by asking questions won free copies of the book; I have the box with your books in it on my office floor right now, and will be signing them forthwith.

Also, because Tower clearly knows how to make an interviewee feel like a star, they’ve posted a promotion of the interview on their front page. I feel shiny!

(Note that I don’t expect that promotion to be there much after 4/17/07 — that would be silly.)

The Whatever: You Get What You Get

An e-mail today that I think is worth addressing:

Though I am an avid lifelong science fiction (some say fanatical) reader – I came to your blog and then your books by a search that somehow led me to ‘I hate your politics’

I know that you are about to go on a book tour and that is about promoting your work. I’m hoping that after that you will want to get out of the promotion cycle and get back to writing about the things I value most from you.

I’ve bought and read a number of books by you and it used to be that I really enjoyed Whatever, as a part of my day. I like you as a thinker and I’m sure I’ll get and read The Last Colony – I really like the Old Man’s Universe.

I haven’t been able to through Laptop/Coffeeshop and I’m thinking about deleting Whatever from my favorites, because of their promotional – perhaps even egocentric nature.

I think that if you get a chance to spend more time writing about things other than your career once this tour is over – that I am not the only reader who would be more appreciative of you and your work. Not that every post is ‘I hate your politics’ or ‘Being poor is ..’, but those and many other things spoke to me where I live. Hopefully constructively.

Okay.

To begin, folks, the reason I’m not addressing a whole lot of politics and social issues at the moment is not because I’m in a self-promoting frenzy at the moment, but because I’m damn well burned out on those issues right now. My enthusiasms for particular topics come and go, and at the moment politics/social stuff is largely in the “don’t want to write about it” category. And when something’s in that category, you know what happens? I don’t write about it. Indeed, I don’t much think about it, either, which is probably the main reason I don’t write about it. I don’t doubt I will write about politics and social issues more when I’m not burned out on them and avoiding giving them any significant number of my processing cycles. That time, however, is not today.

I’m not nearly organized enough about this site to say to myself “Hmmm, you know, I have a book tour coming up, maybe I’ll do a whole bunch of self-promotey things, and then after that I’ll write some more about politics and then put up a picture of my cat, because the kids always love that.” Honestly and truly, what I write about here is whatever I’m thinking about at that moment. There is no plan, there is no agenda, there is nothing except me sitting in front of my computer banging out words. Sometimes you’ll get what you want to read, sometimes you won’t. The only thing you know that you get from it is what I want to write. That is the guiding principle.

Which means, of course, that this site is always egocentric, not just sometimes. I’m happy the site entertains the lot of you, really I am, and I’m generally fond of you all in that Internetty way. But at the end of the day, it’s more important that the site entertains me. If I decided to put ads on the site, I could make a lot of money from it, but then I would have to start worrying about maximizing returns every damn time I wrote rather than writing what interests me. If I just wrote about politics, or tech, or whatever, I could probably get more people coming in — single-topic sites are the ones that get the most traffic, as a cursory glance at Technorati’s Top 100 makes perfectly clear. But then I would be bored out of my skull. And this is exists in large part so I won’t be bored out of my skull.

In any event, regardless of what I write, there’s always a contingent of readers who wishes I was writing about something else. If I’m writing about politics a whole bunch, I’ll get e-mails telling me I should write more about writing. If I write about writing more, I’ll get people saying I should write more about what’s going on with my pets. If I write or take pictures of the pets, there are people who say “what are you, Cute Overload? I came here for serious issues!” or some such. There are 25,000 of you visiting, on average, every week day. You’re not all going to agree on what I should be writing about. And even if you did agree, the fact is, if I don’t want to write about that general area of things, I’m not going to. I’ll post pictures of cats, or talk about politics, or write stupid entries about off-brand corporate mascots, or self-promote, or write whatever the hell catches my attention, on my schedule.

If you don’t like it, that’s perfectly all right. You are entirely free to go away and come back later, when the stuff being discussed is more to your liking, or, indeed, go away and never come back, if that’s your preference. If you go back through the archives, both here and on archive.org (for the musty, pre-2003 and Movable Type days), you’ll notice that the site’s basic structure has been the same since the beginning, when there were fewer than 100 folks checking in to see what idiotic thing I was saying that day. This format works for me, which is the person for whom it is supposed to work. One day maybe everyone will finally get exasperated and it will be just me talking to a few dozen people again, or hell, just to myself. That’s fine, too.

All of that said, if you want me to write more about some particular topic, the way to have that happen is not to bitch to me that I’m not writing enough of what you want to read, since it will only irritate me and cause me to bang out one of these cranky “it’s my site, damn you” posts, which as it happens I seem to do on a more-or-less annual basis. The way to get me to write more on a particular topic is to send me an e-mail going “Hey, Scalzi, what do you think about [insert specific topic or recent event here]?” I like getting those type of e-mails, because then I don’t have to think about what the heck I’m going to write about that day, and because then maybe I’ll be jostled out of whatever rut you think I’ve fallen in and will then commence to write more things that entertain you. I don’t necessarily respond to every request, mind you, but I look on topic requests immensely more kindly than complaints that I’m not doing a monkey dance in what manner you prefer your primates to prance. Really, try it sometime.

In sum: Around here, you get what you get. But you might get what you want, if you ask.

Hope that clears up any confusion.

TLC Review in Romantic Times

Oh, how nice – on The Last Colony’s official release date, a rave review in The Romantic Times BOOKreviews:

This is a fantastic, eminently readable and more than a little bittersweet end to Scalzi’s Old Man’s War trilogy… The plot is beautifully constructed, and the resolution of the series is heart stopping in its absolute rightness.

The full review will be here in two months, or you can go and get a copy of the magazine in the stores.

Naturally, I’m delighted. The Romantic Times has been good to me: Its SF reviewer, Natalie Luhrs, also liked The Android’s Dream, you may recall, and gave TAD a nomination in its annual awards for best SF Book. More to the point, RTBR is (for me, anyway) a surprisingly good source for what’s good and interesting in new science fiction. Notwithstanding my own reviews, I trust RTBR to point me to what’s readable in SF more than I trust some SF-only review sites and magazines. No, I won’t name names. That would be rude. In any event, this review is going up on the books page, soon.

Also Out Today: The Outback Stars

tospicsd.jpg

Congratulations to Sandra McDonald, whose debut novel The Outback Stars also hits stores today, with both acclaim (“An auspicious debut” — Publishers Weekly) and a cover by Donato Giancola that I am insanely jealous of. Not that I don’t like my cover, mind you. I’m just saying. In any event, as long as you’re going to the bookstore today, cruising the science fiction aisles (hint, hint), check this one out, too.

Also out today, The Children of Hurin, by some bloke with the odd name of JRR Tolkien. Apparently it’s been about 30 years between this book and his last one. Dude, write any slower and people will think you’re dead or something! I don’t know much about this fellow, but my friends who are really into fantasy say he might be good. You know, if you like elves and such. Hey, whatever makes you happy.

A Small Reminder That One’s Adorable Furbuddy is in Fact a Merciless Predator

lcsteely.jpg

At the garage door this morning: Not one but two wee dead baby bunnies, laid out symmetrically, paws facing each other.

Let me repeat: Baby bunnies.

And the cats will do it again. Without remorse.

Which is what the cats are supposed to do — remember we do live out in farmland, so every small rodent and lagomorph the cats get is one less in our garden or pantry. They’re supposed to be working cats as well as pets.

But come on: Baby bunnies.

Poor bunnies.

The Last Colony is Out

Today is the official release of The Last Colony – if you go to your bookstores today, there it will be, in the science fiction section, all winsome and pretty, begging you to take it home, open its pages, and see what the heck happens next to John Perry and Jane Sagan. You can also get it online, of course: Here’s the link for the Tower.com site, which has the correct release date listed, and here’s Amazon, which says it’s available on 4/27 (Powell’s has the same date), and here’s Barnes & Noble’s site, which says it’s available in May, and yet assures shipping in 24 hours. I’m pretty sure that all of them have the book in stock regardless and will ship it to you forthwith.

To mark the occasion of the release, here’s a promotional video of me talking about The Last Colony, filmed by Expanded Books. No, it doesn’t feature any talking books:

In retrospect, I’m not entirely sure I made the correct sartorial choices for the interview, but what can you do. The interviewer, incidentally, has her own Web site, here. She was very nice, as was the rest of the Expanded Books crew. Here’s that YouTube link, incidentally.

In any event: Another book! I’m very pleased. And I’m pleased with this book, too: I think TLC gives John and Jane the right send off. Folks are asking me if I plan to return to the “Old Man’s War” universe, and I would say I probably will, since I think it’s an interesting universe, and since Tor really really really wants me to. As an author it’s nice when your publisher really really really wants to publish a book from you. However, this is the last book with John and Jane as the leads. That’s a definite.

I’ll have more to say about The Last Colony later, I’m sure; for now, I just hope you’ll enjoy reading it.