A lot of folks use Twitter to track the books they are currently reading, which is nice because it lets me and other authors obsessively track when people are reading something we wrote. One of the books my name is associated with, however, is The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman. The reason for this is if you look at the Amazon listing for the Kindle edition, you’ll see that I’m listed as having written the introduction. Unfortunately, in what I assume are auto-generated tweets about books being read, that reduces to “The Forever War by Joe Haldeman and John Scalzi.”
This really really really bugs me. One, quite obviously, I did not co-write The Forever War; among other things, it was originally published when I was five. I like to think of myself as having been a precocious writer at an early age, but this would be a little ridiculous. Two, I dislike the impression, auto-generated or otherwise, that I was somehow involved in the production of Joe’s master work. I was delighted to be invited to write the introduction to the latest print edition, which in turn was used for the Kindle edition, but I don’t believe that this in any way warrants a co-ranking status with Joe in the listings at Amazon, or in Tweets and other reports about the book. Three, while I don’t think anyone versed in science fiction literature would actually believe I co-wrote The Forever War, people unfamiliar with the genre might see the reference and assume it’s correct. Small errors of fact continue to crop up (this is why I am often correcting people who assert Old Man’s War won a Hugo). It’s best to nip them in the bud.
Note that I don’t assume people tweeting about The Forever War actually think I co-wrote the novel; as I said I suspect the Tweets are auto-generated and then people add their own comments to them. But just so it’s on the record, with me saying it: I, John Scalzi, did not co-write The Forever War. It’s Joe Haldeman’s novel entirely.
And it is fantastic. You should read it. And credit it correctly when you talk, write or tweet about it. Thanks.