Monthly Archives: July 2008

Book Upgrades

Because of a number of factors, most revolving around the fact that I suck, I still haven’t gotten around to mailing books to folks I owe them to. To make up for the fact that I am so far behind on this (because I suck), I’ve decided to upgrade the books I owe everyone to signed hardcover copies of Zoe’s Tale, which I will send once I get my contractually-obliged author copies (which usually come a week or so before the book goes on sale). The exception to this will be the folks who got the Barry Hughart ARC. You still get that.

Sorry for the delay. I try not to suck so much, but sometimes I fail. But it’ll be nice to get an autographed first edition of Zoe’s Tale, no?

Cutting Right to the Chase

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the recent GOP line of attack on Barack Obama as an “elitist celebrity” pretty much boil down to this?

I don’t know. I’ve had the unpopular, appallingly incurious president thing for a while now. I think I’d like to try something else now, you know? Also, I’m not sure that the implicit corresponding argument (“John McCain! Neither as Smart Nor As Popular As Obama!”) is one that the GOP is going to get any real mileage out of. I could be wrong, but I really hope I’m not. I also think it’s a bit of a shame that an entire national political party can’t think of a better way to win a presidential election than this.

Needed: John Scalzi “Facts”

The good folks at ArmadilloCon, where I will be Guest of Honor in August, are trying to write a bio piece about me for their convention program, and asked me for some interesting facts about myself. I suggested it would be more interesting to let all y’all write up some “interesting facts” about me instead, seeing that you are all so good at detailing “facts.”

So, here’s your assignment for today:

Share a “fact” about me, John Scalzi. Your “fact” can be anything about me, my career, my interests, my physical attributes, things I’ve done or said, etc and so on.

Caveats:

1. For those of you still not up on this, the word “facts” is in quotes for a reason.

2. Make them new and recognizably relating to me; don’t just recycle “facts” about, say, Chuck Norris or John Scalvi.

3. Be aware these are for use in the ArmadilloCon convention program (i.e., by playing you’re giving them permission to print them), so I suspect “facts” rated PG-13 or below will be most likely to be used.

4. Go easy on the bacon, okay?

5. Share whatever “fact” you like about me, but be very careful about how you bring family into it. Pets, however, are fair game. They’re pets. They can’t read. What do they care.

Right, then.

So: What can you tell me about me?

(Also: Today, July 31, is the last day to pre-register for ArmadilloCon to save $10 off the membership fee, so if you’re planning to come, now’s a good time to get that membership.)

Will Batman Thank The Academy?

Does The Dark Knight have a shot at Oscar gold this year — including a coveted Best Picture nomination? In my AMC movie column this week, I crunch the numbers, assemble the trivia and come up with the answer. You can trust me. I’m a professional.

As always, if you have your own thoughts on the matter, and I’m sure you will, leave your comments over there on the AMC column page. Because every time you leave a comment on my AMC column, a kitten gets its wings. Or something.

No Fair! You’re Saying What the Amendment Does!

It appears that the people in California trying to force a constitutional amendment to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry are outraged that the California ballot will have wording noting that very fact:

As it now stands, California’s November ballot will introduce Proposition 8 with these words: “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.” On Tuesday, proponents of the proposition went to court to change that “inflammatory” language, saying it will unfairly influence voters to reject the measure.

Well, you know. When the result of your proposed constitutional amendment is to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, a right which they currently enjoy, it doesn’t get much more accurate than to describe it doing just that. Personally, I would have labeled it “The Marriage Nullification Amendment,” since that’s precisely what the amendment will do to thousands of entirely legal marriages in California, but I suspect the folks backing this proposition would like that even less.

And yes, while I realize it’s inconvenient for the people hoping to eliminate the right of same-sex couples of to marry to have accurate labels on their proposition, their desire to spin their rights-stripping piece of nastiness as something fluffy and innocent does not outweigh the public’s need to know exactly what they’re signing onto (or, if the polling on the matter is accurate, more likely rejecting). Basically, they’re complaining that the truth of the proposition is inflammatory. Well, sure. I know it pisses me off.

Somewhat related to this, Orson Scott Card brings the economy-sized jug of crazy sauce to the same-sex marriage discussion with this gem of a column. Whether he’s declaring that same-sex marriage marks the end of democracy in America, or hinting that married heterosexuals should overthrow the government because now gay people can marry, or just flat-out declaring that “biological imperatives trump laws” — I think I’ll call this the “forcible insemination get-out-of-jail-free card” hypothesis, because, hey, men got imperatives – this is OSC at his most foamy, and you really don’t want to miss it. As much as I admire OSC as a writer, and I really do, as a social thinker he’s far deep into my “oh, bless his heart” territory, and it seems unlikely he’ll be making a run for that border any time soon.

Speaking as one of the heterosexually-married people OSC clearly hopes will respond to this clarion call of his, I have to say to him: Dude, no. Just, no. On the list of government actions that have genuinely threatened the well-being of the United States over the years, same-sex marriage is probably about number 36,000, wedged between cashmere subsidies and funding for whatever set of still pictures Ken Burns is slow-panning across on PBS this next year. On the other hand, initiatives intended to cancel out existing marriages and deprive citizens of rights they already have under law jump up to near the top of the list of things I personally worry about tearing at the national fabric. Call it a difference in perspective.

Update, 4:50 pm: Stephen Bainbridge opines: “Card’s overwrought prose doubtless deserved Scalzi’s scorn, but the questions Card is raising are perfectly legitimate.” He’s discussing the legal issues surrounding the Cal Supreme Court decision specifically.

More 2009 Appearances

I’ve been told these have been publicly announced, so I will mention them here, too:

I will be the Guest of Honor at the following conventions in 2009:

ConQuesT 40, in Kansas City, May 22 – 24, 2009;

Confluence, in Pittsburgh, July 24 – 26, 2009.

These are in addition to my GoH gig at Millenicon, in Cincinnati, March 20 – 22, 2009.

I’m also confirmed at Penguicon 7.0 as a Nifty Guest (for my fourth year running, which makes me Quadruple Nifty), and that’s May 1 – 3.

I’ll put these in my “Scheduled Appearances” page presently.

It Has Been Completed

Yes. Finally. It is done.

What is it? It is this.

And it will be visited upon one of you.

Soon.

Yes, soon.

You should prepare yourself.

Although nothing can truly prepare you.

Because it is evil. Yet awesome.

And it is coming.

It can be held back no longer.

And when it arrives, you will know.

And you will tremble before it.

BWA HA HA HA HA HAH HA!

Hey, I remembered the evil laugh this time.

Excellent.

The Last Colony Now in Paperback: An Open Pimping Thread

The Last Colony is now officially out in paperback in the US and Canada. Please, remember to be considerate of your local booksellers when you are mobbing them for your copies. No need to stampede through the store, trampling children and the books of my competitors. I would not want to be the cause of their lamentations. There are enough copies to go around, I promise.

To celebrate the release of my novel into an attractive affordably-bound edition, I hereby declare this an open pimp thread, with a particular emphasis on books (aside from mine, of course) that you’ve been recommending to others. Yes, you may include your own, because, honestly, if you won’t recommend your own work, who will? You may also pimp other projects online or off as well.

(Remember: If you put three or more links in your entry, it’ll probably get put into the moderation queue to await release by me. Don’t panic; I’ll get to it.)

So: What do you feel like promoting to everyone today? Don’t be shy, step right up to the microphone.

Update, 4:20pm: Cool, TLC is #8 on Amazon’s Science Fiction list at the moment. Thanks, folks!

An IM Conversation About Music

Bill Schafer: THE BEST OF NIGHT RANGER has arrived.

Me: What the fuck is wrong with you.

Bill Schafer: Long list. Little time. At least it’s not the Gary Cherone VH album.

Me: I hear that.

Bill Schafer: Oh Christ. They’re touring with Air Supply.

Me: Bullshit.

Bill Schafer: Check Ticketmaster

Me: It’s worse than that. They OPENED for Air supply.

Bill Schafer: You have Journey. I have Night Ranger. We should call it a draw.

Me: Journey never fucking opened for Air Supply.

Bill Schafer: What lead singer are they on now? Shouldn’t they just bill themselves as their own cover band?

Me: No argument in either case. Still: Fucking Air Supply. Seriously. Why not just open for Michael Bolton and just get it over with?

Me: I want to cut and paste this conversation into Whatever. If you’d like I will mask your identity to hide your shame.

Bill Schafer: Fuck no. Out me, you worthless bitch.

Me: I’m only trying to protect you. But, okay. Have it your way.

Bill Schafer: I will call down the NIGHT RANGER legion on you.

Me: That’s you and the creepy guy down your street?

Bill Schafer: Across town. He moved.

Blatant Pluggery For Today

Subterranean Press is running one of its occasional “Grab Bag” specials, in which you plunk down $99 and in return get a dozen hardcovers, some new, some classic, some signed and limited, which in aggregate are worth at least $400 retail. Which ones will you get? Well, see. That’s the fun of it.

Anyway, if this sort of thing makes that bibliophilic part of your brain go all a-tingle (and it should, since SubPress makes good books), now you know what to do. They’re only putting together 25 of these grab bags, so get on it.

Keeping Up Appearances

My friendly neighborhood stalkers have been complaining that I’ve not been keeping them sufficiently aware of my public gallivanting for the rest of 2008, so, okay, fine. Here, to the best of my current knowledge, is my appearance schedule through the end of the year.

August 6-10: Denvention, Denver, CO: I’ll be doing panels and a kaffeeklatch, but as far as I know, not a reading or signing. Because why would Denvention want to schedule a reading or signing for one of its nominees for Best Novel? That would be silly. In any event, I will post my full schedule probably early next week.

August 15 – 17: ArmadilloCon, Austin, TX: I’m guest of honor here, along with David Lee Anderson, Kelly Parsons and Sheila Williams, with Bill Crider as Toastmaster and Joe & Gay Haldeman as special guests. Heck of a lineup.

August 24: Ann Arbor, MI, Library (Downtown Branch): I, Tobias Buckell and Karl Schroeder will be here from 2 pm through 3:30 pm to talk about our latest novels (Sly Mongoose, Pirate Sun and Zoe’s Tale, all from Tor, all released on August 19), and to sign books and be generally author-like. This is my only public appearance in Michigan for the rest of the year. This takes place on a Sunday afternoon, so don’t worry about calling in sick to work (unless, of course, you work on Sundays).

August 26: Dayton, OH, Books & Co (at The Greene location), 7pm: Toby Buckell and I — together again! We’ll be reading and signing. And fighting crime.

August 29: Lexington, KY, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 7pm: Toby and I are joined by fellow Ohio SF writer Paul Melko for more reading, signing, and hilarious hi-jinx. Yes, that’s right, Hi-jinx! You know you can’t miss that. This is my only Kentucky appearance for 2008.

August 30 – Sept 1: I’m splitting time between the Decatur Book Festival and DragonCon. I don’t have any details on my schedule for either of these yet, but will let you all know when I do.

September 21: New Atlantic Independent Bookseller’s Association Conference, Cherry Hill, NJ: I’m a featured author at the Movable Feast Luncheon here. Unless you’re an NAIBA member (or can bribe someone who is) and you’ve bought a ticket for this, you’ll probably not get to see me here. But if you are (or can), well, see you soon!

October 2: Columbus, OH: Toby and I will be taking our act to one of the Barnes& Noble branches there. Which branch and at what time is still to be determined (I’ll let you know ahead of time, obviously).

November 28 – 30: LosCon, Los Angeles, CA: I’m guest of honor, with Gary Lippincot and Michael Siladi. I’ll be the guy with a Double-Double in my hands at all times.

And that’s 2008 for you. For 2009, I’ve already announced that I’ll be Guest of Honor at Millenicon in Cincinnati, but I’ll have a couple other appearance announcements to make once the convention organizers make official announcements (or tell me that I can tell people, in any event). But that can wait for a little while, I suppose. This is enough to keep the friendly neighborhood stalkers busy for a while.

Making What Was Clear Before Even More So

A number of people seemed somewhat surprised at the alacrity with which I stomped on commenter Gretchen’s head the other day, when I judged her comment to me to be out of line. I, on the other hand, am somewhat surprised that people are surprised about it. In my opinion (which is the only one that counts for these things) she was attempting to tell me how to do things on my own site. What happens in those sorts of instances is covered quite explicitly in my Site Disclaimer and Comment Policy, in which I write: “I run this site as I please. You do not get a vote. If you try to suggest that you do, I may be rude to you.”

The reason I note this fact in the site disclaimer and comment policy is because, in fact, it is very likely I will be rude to you in this specific circumstance. Because it is likely, and because I believe that people should be aware of this aspect of my personality, the better to avoid it, I try to make it easy for people to discover this fact. Which is why, as previously noted, the site disclaimer and comment policy is linked to on every page generated by the WordPress install. Since I feel the notation is amply accessible, I also feel free to unload on someone I see acting in a manner in which I don’t approve. Because, well, they were warned.

Be that as it may, and because I continue to aspire toward clarity regarding the policies and rules of the site, I’ve included yet another link to the site disclaimer and comment policy, which you will find directly above the actual comment field, right next to the words “Leave a Reply.” And the words of the link exhort people to read at the link. It’s pretty damn clear at this point, I think.

Hopefully, this will help to avoid further unpleasantness in the future, and this site can get back to being the warm puddle of love and comity it is most of the time. Mmmmm… love puddles.