As many of you know, this last weekend I was Guest of Honor at Penguicon, the open source and science fiction convention, held this year in Dearborn. I was asked for a bio to put in the convention’s program guide, and at this point you may imagine I am deadly bored of writing bios for myself. So I decided to do something silly. So below, please find the bio I wrote for the Penguicon program book. You may be amused.
Future conventions, please note: I do not intend to put forth this much effort every time I am Guest of Honor. I really am lazy.
John Scalzi is your Guest of Honor this year. He’s the New York Times best selling author of eight science fiction novels, winner of two Hugos and the proprietor of Whatever, one of the longest running and most popular personal blogs on the Internet. But you can find out any of that information by looking through Google and Wikipedia. What don’t you know about John Scalzi? Here is an exclusive list of facts you won’t find anywhere else but here.
TEN THINGS YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT JOHN SCALZI
1. The word “Scalzi” means “barefoot” in Italian. But it also means “lightly salted” in Czech, “full of mucus” in Romanian, and “unspeakably gifted in the erotic arts” in Catalan. Scalzi himself often wears shoes, has clear nasal passages and is rarely to be found in a salted state, lightly or otherwise. He does not, however, contest the Catalan definition.
2. Scalzi, a precocious lad, wrote his first short story at the tender age of two, a story about how the moon had gotten unusually bright, heralding the end of the world. Coincidentally Larry Niven published the Hugo-winning short story “Inconstant Moon” that same year, with exactly the same theme. This occasioned the toddler Scalzi challenging Mr. Niven to a duel at LACon I, which Mr. Niven, unable to understand the soft-palate pronunciation of Scalzi, did not accept. The challenge remains unaccepted to this day, leading to a life-long enmity between the two men, much to the confusion of Mr. Niven.
3. The members of the Scalzi clan are known for their flowing, Fabio-like manes of hair, yet Scalzi himself gives every appearance of being short-haired and balding. How can this be? The answer is that at the age of fifteen, Scalzi selflessly and courageously donated 80% of his scalp to an unfortunate child who was tragically born without follicles. After a sixteen hour operation involving three teams of doctors, the hair transfer was successful, and the child went on to a full recovery. That child is Scott Lynch.
4. Scalzi was a world-class bocce player, tipped as “the next Umberto Granaglia” by both Sports Illustrated and Bocce Monthly, but abruptly left the sport while still an amateur competitor. When contacted by ESPN about his departure, Scalzi said only, “it used to be about the game, man,” and would give no further comment. He has not picked up a bocce ball since.
5. Scalzi was born with three nostrils. The third nostril is not on his nose. It’s still somewhere on his body. However, contrary to rumor, Scalzi does not give out prizes if you can guess where it is.
6. In 1989, Scalzi found the Rainbow Connection, but his attempts to notify the Muppets of the discovery have been fruitless. Scalzi has said that he will not reveal its location to anyone but Kermit, but notes there is already a Starbucks there.
7. Scalzi is a master of the following things: Stealth, surprise, disguise, deception, kung fu, puppets, large herbivores, cupcakes, the letter “e,” stealth, and redundancy.
8. Scalzi invented the term “Ninja” in 1998, then invented a time machine and went to the Sengoku period of Japanese history to give the idea to a group of spies who were ambitious but lacked marketing skills. He was paid a pound of gold for idea, which he then placed in a bank to earn compound interest, and then came back to the present. He is now the richest man in the history of the world, with a net worth of sixty quadrillion dollars.
9. No, Scalzi will not buy you a drink. He’s got to save those sixty quadrillion dollars for when he really needs them.
10. If you say Scalzi’s name three times, he is likely to appear somewhere near you. Because, hey, he’s the Guest of Honor at this convention. It’s not like he’s going to be hard to find.