Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Titanic Meeting of Two Old Gods

Cthulhu and Zeus get to know each other a little better.

It went pretty well; the cat was the one who was shy and kept backing away from the rabbit, while the rabbit kept following him around the basement. Eventually the cat got into a high place and just watched the rabbit. Then the dog came down with her “Hey! What’s Happening?”-ness, and both the rabbit and cat retired to their respective corners. Just another day in the life of the Scalzi zoo.

The Big Idea: Sarah Prineas

The American Midwest is many things, including the breadbasket of the nation — but is it a fertile field for fantasy tales? Author Sarah Prineas asked herself this question prior to writing her new young adult fantasy novel, Winterling. Her answer awaits you below.

SARAH PRINEAS:

When starting my new book, Winterling, I wanted to achieve two big things.  One was that, after writing three books in the Magic Thiefseries, which had a male first-person narrator, I would write a girl-power book.  I got that part of it done just fine.  As the reviewer for Kirkus noted, “Unusually, almost every character … is female, portrayed in all ages and roles—authority, hero, villain, mentor, warrior, healer, servant and goddess.”

The other thing I wanted to do was shift from secondary world fantasy to portal fantasy, and to begin the story in Iowa, which is where I live.  The Big Idea here is that the landscape of Iowa, as you can see, is beautiful:

But it is a highly industrialized landscape, too.  Farming here is done on a massive scale—there are way more hogs in Iowa than people; the state is the world’s second biggest producer (after Brazil) of soybeans, and the US’s biggest producer of corn.

While doing research for Winterling I learned a lot about the natural history of Iowa, relying most on a terrific book from the University of Iowa Press by Connie Mutel called The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa.  What I learned is that a hundred fifty years ago, Iowa was made up of oak savannah and vast prairies like this:

The effect settlers had on this land was profound, and the transformation from wilderness to farmland happened very quickly.  In a short time the land was tamed—it was made “useful” and “productive.”

There’s not a whole lot of scope for fantasy in a place like this.

In Winterling, the Iowa landscape is an important character.  It’s used for industrial agriculture; the land is groomed, tainted with herbicide, insecticide, chemical fertilizers.  But still, folds of wildness are hidden away here and there, in patches of oak woodland, and in ravines tucked between soybean fields—and I was able to find some magic left in those places.  In Winterling, hidden in one of these wild patches is a “Way” leading to another world that is magical and dangerous, a place where my protagonist goes to set right a terrible evil.  What she does changes that world, and our own.

—-

Winterling: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. See the book trailer. Visit the author’s blog. Follow her on Twitter.

 

SF/F Authors/Editors/Artists/Fans 2012 Award Awareness Post

Last year, after noting my own award-eligible works, I posted another thread for other folks in the science fiction and fantasy field to make potential award nominators aware of their works and/or personal award eligibility. It turned out to be pretty useful, so I’m doing it again this year. Right now! In this comment thread, even.

So if you’re a science fiction and fantasy author, editor, or artist: Tell us what works of yours (or if you in yourself) are eligible for award consideration this year. The site gets up to 50,000 visitors a day, many of whom nominate for Hugos/Nebulas/Other genre awards, so it’s a decent way to get the word out.

And now: Rules (posted word for word from last year)!

1. This thread is only for authors/artists/editors to promote their own works (or in the case of editors, the works they have edited). If you’re not an author/artist/editor promoting your own work, don’t post on the thread. I’ll be doing a general recommendation thread later on. Any comment not by an author/artist/editor promoting his/her own work will get snipped out. This is to keep the thread useful both to creators and to folks thinking about nominations.

2. Also, to be clear, this thread is for works of or relating to science fiction and fantasy. This includes Young Adult works and SF/F fandom-related works. If you’re not sure your particular work is eligible for awards this year, please check. A general rule of thumb is that works published in the 2011 calendar year are eligible for consideration for this year’s awards nominations.

3. Authors/Artists/Editors: Feel free to either list your eligible works in the comments and/or link to a blog post outlining your eligible works, if you’ve already done the latter.

4. If you list your work, please also mention the category you expect it will be eligible in, to help folks with their nomination choices. My assumption is that generally speaking you’ll use the Hugo and Nebula categories, but if another award has a category outside those, feel free to list it too (for example, anthologies). Note to short fiction writers: This will be especially important for you to do this because people may not know whether to file your work into the short story, novelette or novella categories.

5. If you want to include links to your works, please feel free, but be aware that posts with many links may be initially punted into the moderation queue. Don’t panic when that happens, I’ll be going through regularly to free them. HOWEVER, please make sure that before you post, you check all your links and formatting. There is no preview button here.

6. One post per creator, please.

So: Authors! Artists! Editors! What do you want people to keep in mind for this awards nomination season?

The Mac Air as a Tool For Writing

The “Office Desk: 2012” post precipitated a rash of e-mails from writers wondering how I like the Mac Air as a writing tool. Well, I’ve had the thing now for about five months, which is a sufficiently long time to live with a computer, and I’ve also written quite a lot on it by this point. So here are my thoughts on it as a machine for creativity.

First, I think in a general sense the Mac Air is probably the best single computer that I’ve ever owned. This not the same as the “most powerful” or “best featured” — in either case it’s not, although for writing and for most of the things I do with a computer, it does perfectly well. It’s the best computer I’ve owned because everything works both extremely well, and largely intuitively. What this means is that the computer itself gets out of my way so I can do the things I want to do with the computer.

I realize that for some (not all) Apple fans this is almost anathema — part of the reason to have a Mac Air is to be seen having the Mac Air — but honestly, I could not give the first shit about that. I want the thing to work for me, because I have work I need to do. The Mac Air, simply put, lets me do that.

A very good example of this is the computer’s trackpad. One of the two major reasons that I have been resistant to having a laptop be a primary computer is that I generally don’t consider trackpads to be an adequate replacement for a mouse; they’re clunky and obnoxious and even the later generations of multitouch trackpads were just a pain in the ass. Every time I use a trackpad I am aware I’m using a trackpad — which means that I’m thrown out of the creative flow I’m in to deal with the machine I’m using.

I don’t have that problem with the Mac trackpad, and indeed I’ve found it so functional that for the large majority of tasks, I find it easier to use than a mouse. I was fully expecting to use one my USB mice with the Mac Air when I got it; after a day of using the trackpad I never thought of attaching a mouse again. When I use a laptop other than the Mac Air now I am reminded how aggravating trackpads generally are. It shouldn’t be that difficult for every other computer maker in the world to make a good trackpad. I’m not sure why there’s still a problem.

Beyond that other aspects of the form factor work for me. The screen (I have the 13-inch version) is sufficiently large/high enough resolution that I don’t feel visually cramped, but at the same time the whole package is sufficiently small and light that I don’t have to think about whether or not I should take it into another room (or house, or country) with me. Both of these things also encourage work. The keyboard is fine; not my absolute favorite of all time, but fine, and more to the point not distracting. I do love that it is backlit. Also, I do recommend remembering to take frequent breaks to let your wrists rest. Its battery lasts sufficiently long that when I’m at the airport I don’t feel I have to embark on a Quest for Outlets.

Software-wise the Mac has a plethora of writing options which range from extremely simple (including TextEdit) to insanely complicated (Microsoft Word and, in a different way, current writer darling Scrivener). For me, the vast majority of my writing gets done on three word processors: Word (I use almost none of the bells and whistles), Google Docs and WordPress. To be honest my favorite is WordPress, when I have it on the tool on full screen, on a browser that is also on full screen; I get a white screen with a perfectly proportioned column of text down the middle, and it’s easy to write and not get distracted. Google Docs offers a similar option. Both of these do have a problem in that if you’re offline, you’re kind of screwed when it comes to saving work. Word for Mac offers a full screen option but I find it esthetically unpleasing, which is unfortunate because I otherwise like it just fine. Other writers swear by their own particular favorites (as noted, Scrivener has a particularly fervent fan base; I find the software thoroughly perplexing myself) but the point is you have options.

My Mac Air has the current iteration of the Mac OS (OSX Lion) and one thing I very much like about it is the ability to expand programs into full screen in their own space, so you can focus on that one program, and then “swipe” to get other programs or back to the main desktop. This option helps me from being distracted, which is key because I am easily distracted. There are other things I like less about Lion, but this may be more about me being used to Windows than anything else.

One major issue for writers is that the Mac Air is not cheap, especially relative to other laptops you can get, many of which have more power and features, if in a slightly chunkier package. You’ll have to ask yourself whether the form factor, et cetera is worth the price premium. And it may not be — it wasn’t an issue for me until recently. My previous laptops were from Toshiba and Asus, and I found them to be perfectly fine in a general sense. I don’t advise putting yourself into a financial vise to pay for a laptop. That’s silly.

That said, in the “ultrabook” category (i.e., thin, light computers with solid state hard drives), the Mac Airs are not outrageously priced relative to other computers in the category. If you’re going to look at ultrabooks, I’m going to go ahead and say that the Mac Air is probably where you should establish your baseline before you look at other models.

So, in sum: the Mac Air is a fine and useful computer, which is easy and mostly pleasurable to write on. I highly recommend it for writers.

Iowa Thoughts In Haiku

Because why not.

Romney:

Eight votes? Wow, really?
You beat a squirrely has-been
By eight votes? Damn, son.

Santorum:

I think you should know
Every single Democrat
Is rooting for you.

Paul:

If you would just run
As a Libertarian
Obama would grin.

Gingrich:

GINGRICH NOW ANGRY
GINGRICH NOW HURT ROMNEY BAD
JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE

Bachmann:

Miss you when you’re gone?
Hold on a sec, checking now -
Nope! Not in the least!

Perry:

Dude. It’s so over.
South Carolina isn’t
Going to save you.

Huntsman:

Less than one percent
And you say you’re still in it?
Such optimism!

NewBookIn Twitter Feed Resuming

I took a holiday break from the NewBookIn Twitter feed, on which I noted what new and exciting books had arrived on my doorstep, but now that the holidays are behind us and my life is a little less hectic, I’ve started it up again. You’ll find the updates in the sidebar (under “Today’s Books Sent to Scalzi”) or you can follow the Twitter account here. Today there’ll be several updates (on the half hour, though 7pm Eastern) and then pretty much hourly during the week day over the next couple of days as I catch up on backlog. There will be lots of book ideas there for you, I promise. Enjoy.

The Big Idea: Stephen Blackmoore

Author Stephen Blackmoore was on a mission with his novel City of the Lost: To tell a gritty, hard-boiled thriller of a story in a way that wasn’t like a 70s detective TV show. And you ask, well, okay, but what does a 70s crime detective show have to do with anything to begin with? As it turns out, and as this Big Idea will show, quite a lot.

STEPHEN BLACKMOORE:

Back in the early 70’s, when television was king, there was a show called Mannix, about an L.A. private eye who would get beaten, clubbed, beaten, shot, beaten, shot some more and occasionally beaten.

This never killed him, of course. Be an awful short series if it did. Nor did it give him a concussion, shock, broken bones, internal hemorrhaging, ruptured organs, nerve damage. You get the idea.

In fact, you’d pretty much see him at the end of every episode with one arm around a girl and the other in a sling.

Even when he got shot with an elephant gun.

Have you ever seen an elephant gun? I haven’t. The closest I’ve come is a .375 Weatherby that’s designed to take down things like water buffalo. I heard a story about a cop who got hit in the chest with something similar while wearing a bulletproof vest. The vest held, surprisingly enough, but the round punched it halfway through his body. At the autopsy they found that the shock waves from the impact had blown out all the blood vessels in his brain.

But not Mannix. No sirree, at the end of the episode he’s standing there with that shit-eating grin on his face and a blonde in his arms.

I like crime fiction, noir in particular. The kinds of stories where even if somebody wins, everybody loses. I’m not a big fan of happy endings or being kind to characters. I shoot them, stab them, break their noses. But there’s a limit to the kind of punishment I can put somebody through without seriously stretching plausibility. Nobody buys Mannix, if they ever did. They know you can’t shoot somebody through the head and have him shrug it off.

But I really wanted to write a story where I could do that.

In City of the Lost Joe Sunday is a professional leg-breaker. He’s the guy you don’t want to see when you owe somebody money. He knows those places in the desert where nobody’s going to find you but the coyotes and that the best way to get somebody to talk is with a pair of bolt-cutters and a Zippo. If you see him coming don’t bother running because you’re just going to die tired.

Then he gets murdered and brought back from the dead. Not on purpose. He’s just the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nobody in their right mind would want to raise him from the dead. He’s already a monster. That’s like sticking your rabid pit bull into the Pet Sematary.

It’s funny how once you embrace the impossible a whole slew of gonzo shit becomes plausible. Add zombies and magic and you can get away with a lot. Like thugs you keep coming even after you pump them full of bullets.

The great thing about writing Sunday wasn’t just that I could shoot him, break his bones, run him over, throw him off a building and damn near chew his head off, but that he’s the type of guy who might actually find himself in those kinds of situations. He’s a lowlife. People are trying to kill him all the time. When that doesn’t stick, they just try harder.

As big ideas go it’s really not that big. I wanted to write a book that was pulpy, violent, and over the top where I could make my protagonist’s life really goddamn miserable. Over and over and over again.

That or get out some pent up aggression. I’m still on the fence with that one.

Either way I had fun writing it. Hopefully people will have fun reading it.

—-

City of the Lost: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s blog. Follow him on Twitter.

Gut Reaction to the 2012 Science Fiction Film Slate

To start off the new year at FilmCritic.com, I’m looking at some of the prominent science fiction films of the now-current year and offering my thoughts on them, based on what I know at the moment, which is usually not much: Trailers, plot synopses and cast lists. In other words, just like anyone else. Come find out what my gut thinks! And then add your own gut rumblings in the comments.

Comment Moderation Note Re: The Spam Queue

In the past month my comment spam has increased exponentially, which makes it harder for me to go in and rescue the occasional comment from an actual human being that WordPress has, for reasons known only to it, decided are sufficiently spam-like to punt into the spam queue. So: If you tried to post a comment and it doesn’t show up automatically, if after a day (24 hours) it does not appear:

1. It probably went to the spam queue and was deleted (sorry);

2. If you feel like it try to repost it and if it doesn’t work, send me an e-mail and I’ll try to go in and retrieve it.

Note that most of the comments that don’t immediately show up go into the moderation queue; I get an e-mail about those and try to free them as quickly as possible. But once in a while, off to the spam queue they go. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. The ways of the WordPress spam filter are mysterious (although, to be fair, in general is does an excellent job).

Anyway, as always, please note that unless I have specifically told you otherwise, if your comment does not show up after you post it, it’s due to automatic filtering and not me hunching over the comment thread, moderating you ahead of time. Honestly, I don’t have the time for that. So in almost every case, if your post doesn’t show up immediately, don’t get paranoid. It is almost certainly not personal.

Convention Appearance: Epic Confusion

I’ve been knowing I’m going to this since, uh, the last Confusion convention ended last year, so I have no excuse for not noting it until now. Nevertheless, I’ll be attending Epic Confusion, this January 20 – 22, in Troy, Michigan. There I will participate in programming, do a reading, sign some books and otherwise hang out in the bar for three straight days.

However, you don’t want to come because I am attending. I’m just some schmoe. You want to come because Pat Rothfuss is the Guest of Honor, Jim Hines is the toastmaster, and Peter Brett, Brent Weeks, Joe Abercrombie and Robin Hobb are the Subterranean Press guests. I mean, holy crap, that’s a lot of awesome fantasy writer-ness right there, I gotta tell you. Plus these other awesome writers. Seriously, people, if you like authors — I mean really like authors — I don’t know why the hell you’re not already signed up for this convention. Unless you are. In which case, good job.

So, yes. See you in Michigan. Soon.

The 2012 Award Pimpage Post

It’s early January, which means that it’s time for people to start thinking about what they might want to nominate for various literary awards. You might be one of those people! And if you are: Hello, sexy. Let me make you aware of the writings I have writinated with my writinosity over the last the year, for you to considerate upon. Here what I have for you to consider for the 2012 nomination season:

Best Novel:

Fuzzy Nation, Tor Books, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, editor, May 2011 (Amazon|excerpt)

Best Short Story:

The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City: Prologue,” Tor.com, April 1, 2011

The Other Large Thing,” Whatever, August 5, 2011

Notes on the above:

* On the subject of Fuzzy Nation, allow me to recommend Kekai Kotaki for whatever Best Professional Artist nominations you might make. He did a fine, fine job on the cover.

* As a matter of trivia, were Fuzzy Nation to get a Best Novel Hugo nomination, it would become the first Hugo-nominated book to be a “reboot” of a Hugo-nominated book, in this case, H. Beam Piper’s Little Fuzzy, which was nominated for a Hugo in 1963. I’m not gonna lie: I think that would be cool.

* I’m also not gonna lie when I note to you that I think that even though it was written as an April Fool’s prank, “Shadow War of the Night Dragons” deserves some serious consideration for short story. One, in itself it’s a pretty amusing piece, which is never bad. Two, as a piece tailor-made to do a specific thing (i.e., pose as writing that could be legitimately seen as a “prologue” to a non-existent larger work while still being a largely self-contained short story), there’s a lot of interesting structural stuff going on. Three, it’s farce, which I assure you is not as easy as it looks. Four, it has a 153-word first sentence that uses various constructions of the word “black” eleven times, and I’m pretty sure that’s a first in all of science fiction and fantasy, and damn, am I ever proud of it.

So, for serious: “Shadow War of the Night Dragons”: Not a bad piece of story craft. Give it some thought, please.

And that’s my award pimping for the year.

Other authors: Last year I opened up a thread for all y’all to pimp your own stuff, and it seemed to go over well, so I’ll do it again this year too. Probably tomorrow or Thursday.

Iowa Caucuses: Seriously, Man, Who Knows, Right?

Question from the peanut gallery:

Any predictions on tomorrow’s Iowa caucuses?

Predictions? No. What do I want to happen? I want Santorum to win and Ron Paul to come in second, because I think that would precipitate the maximum possible amount of panic within in GOP establishment brain trust — as it should — which would fill me with childlike glee.

Oh, don’t look at me like that, people. You know this isn’t my political race. The only fun I’m going to get out of it is if it’s a wacky chaotic mess, and the Republicans wait until the last possible minute to give the nomination to Romney, already. If the dude just waltzes out of the Iowa caucuses with a win, it’s going to be a boring primary season for everyone. But Santorum on top, so to speak? Oh boy. That’s going to be fun.

Could it happen? Hell, yeah: a Sunday poll has Romney, Paul and Santorum polling within the poll’s margin of error of each other, and Talking Points Memo notes that of the three, Santorum is the one whose numbers are significantly on the upswing in recent Iowa polls; i.e., the dude’s got momentum. He could totally take it, Paul could totally place, and Romney could totally have to spin a third place finish.

Please note that my prior assessment of Santorum as a querulous bigot still stands, and that despite how much fun I’ve been having over on Twitter making Santorum jokes, I think it’s appalling that the man is now suddenly a viable candidate out there in Iowa. Seriously, conservative Iowans: Santorum? Why not take a Sharpie to a posterboard, write “We Don’t Want That Lousy Presidency Anyway” and just stay home tomorrow? Isn’t it snowing? Don’t you have a cozy fire?

Oh, fine. Do what you want, then. You kids have fun. And if you do put Santorum on top, well. You’ll have put a smile on my face. How fun would Santorum be in the general race? More fun than Gingrich. Think about that, why don’t you.

The Office Desk, 2012

The desktop suffered a meltdown in December, which will require at least an entirely new C: drive and all the attendant frippery that goes with resurrecting a desktop computer, and I have decided that for now the best course of action is blow off entirely doing a thing about it until I complete the current project. As a side “benefit” this will cut down on the number of distractions I have since the Mac Air is not exactly a primo gaming machine. That decided, I cleared off the desk of the massively large monitor which usually resides there and shoved it and the desktop into the closet for the time being. Don’t worry, they’ll be back at some point. But for now, this is what the desk looks like. It features the bare essentials, including (of course) Coke Zero.

I’ll note that having a laptop, I don’t actually have to be chained to my desk, and indeed for most of the last month (i.e., since the meltdown), I’ve been wandering about the house, trying out different places to see how I like them. It’s been fun but I think there is something to be said about having a place that really is meant for work, such as, you know, one’s home office. Anyway, we’ll see how long it stays this clean. I give it a couple of weeks.

What is This Salt Mine, and Why Do I Have to Go Back Into It?

Which is to say it’s the first work day of the new year and I have work to do, so the “no talking to the rest of the world until I meet the daily writing quota” thing is in effect, starting as soon as I post this (you see what I did there). For those who are going to ask, and who don’t remember from the last time I did this, the daily writing quota is 2,000 words or until noon, whichever comes first. This will continue until the project I’m working on is completed.

So: Catch up with you all a bit later.

And Now, With the Advent of the New Year, I Can Finally Reveal My Most Recent Secret Project

What is it? Click here to find out.

Note: It’s even better when you hit the “random” link over there. Over and over and over.

And yes, it will be updated. Almost constantly.

Station Identification: Whatever

Introduction

You are now visiting “Whatever.” It is a blog written by John Scalzi, who is a professional writer. It has been in existence since 1998. It is as a consequence one of the longest-running blogs on the Web. It is generally updated daily. It is about whatever John Scalzi feels like writing on.

A Brief History of Whatever

“Whatever” began on September 13, 1998, before the term “blog” had common currency. Scalzi, who had previously been a professional newspaper and online columnist, began the site to stay sharp in the column writing format, and took specific inspiration from columnist James Lileks’ Web site, The Bleat. Rather than to focus the writing on one specific topic, Scalzi chose to write on any subject that was of interest to him that day. Topics from the first week of Whatever included Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, the death of CNN journalist John Holliman, invoicing clients, walking the dog, the Netscape Web browser and a sexual affair involving the politician Henry Hyde. Whatever has continued without permanent interruption since that date, with the format being primarily (but not always) daily updates from Scalzi.

Whatever is one of the most visited personal blogs on the Web, with 8.1 million views to the blog recorded by WordPress’ statistics suite in 2012 (see here regarding tracking site visitorship). Writing from the site has been compiled into three books: You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop Into a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing (Subterranean Press), and Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever 1998 – 2008 (Subterranean Press, Tor Books), and The Mallet of Loving Correction (Subterranean Press). Hate Mail earned the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Related Book. Individual blog entries are occasionally reprinted by newspapers, magazines and online sites, including the Chicago Tribune, the Dayton Daily News, CNN Money and 1Up.com.

In December 2002, Scalzi serialized his science fiction novel Old Man’s War on Whatever; it was subsequently published by Tor Books in 2005 and later nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel. In September 2006, Scalzi taped bacon to his cat and published the picture on Whatever, causing an Internet sensation; “Bacon Cat” has subsequently been featured in articles from the New York Times and the Washington Post and cited by Salon and Mental Floss as the genesis of the Internet’s obsession with bacon.

From September 1998 through February of 2003, Whatever was published via “hand-rolled” html templates. The majority of the writing from this time is no longer directly available on the site. In March 2003, Scalzi switched to the Movable Type blogging software, which allowed for archiving and commenting. In October 2007, Scalzi switched to the WordPress blogging software. Since October 2008, Whatever has been hosted by WordPress.com via its VIP service, which he recommends.

About John Scalzi

John Scalzi has been writing professionally since 1991, first as a film critic and general columnist for the Fresno Bee newspaper (where his reviews and columns were nationally syndicated), then as America Online’s in-house writer and editor, and since 1998 as a full-time freelance writer. Scalzi is best known as a writer of science fiction, with several novels in the genre published since 2005, including Redshirts, the 2013 winner of the Hugo Award for best novel. He also frequently writes non-fiction. A full book-format bibliography is here. Scalzi’s novel Old Man’s War is being adapted into film by Paramount Pictures, with Wolfgang Petersen attached to direct.

Scalzi is also a consultant on writing, editing and marketing. Clients (directly or in association with marketing companies) have included The Walt Disney Company, AOL, Oppenheimer Funds, US Trust, Zagat and Network Solutions. Scalzi also served as the Creative Consultant on the television show Stargate: Universe and wrote a column on science fiction film for the FilmCritic.com site. He’s working with video game maker Industrial Toys on Morning Star, a first-person shooter, due in 2014.

A California native, Scalzi attended the Webb Schools of California and the University of Chicago, and lives in Ohio with his wife, daughter and an assortment of pets. A full biography is here.

Site Caveats

As John Scalzi writes about what he wants, when he wants, however he wants, there is a reasonably good chance that at some point what he writes on Whatever may upset, offend or annoy you. The longer you read the site, the more likely this becomes.

Additionally, Whatever allows readers to comment, but expects and requires a high level of intelligence and socialization from commenters.

For this reason, Scalzi has created a site disclaimer and comment policy. He encourages everyone to read it. Comment moderation here operates on its principles.