Monthly Archives: November 2012

Damn, It’s a Good Thing I Don’t Have to Be Creative This Week

Because I swear to God the entire week has gone like this:

Me (sitting down to keyboard): Okay! Time to write something interesting and amusing.

Brain: SHUT UP AND FEED ME.

Me: I totally just fed you fifteen minutes ago. We had a fruit snack.

Brain: FRUIT SNACK NOT REAL FOOD. IT’S HUMILIATED GELATIN.

Me: Look, Brain, I have work to do.

Brain: NO FOOD NO BRAIN.

Me: I think I’ve been overeating in general this week.

Abdomen: It’s cool. I’m storing it as fat! See?

Me: Swell. Okay, seriously, brain –

Brain: FEED ME OR I WILL WAKE YOU UP AT 3 AM WITH UNCEASING THOUGHTS OF YOUR INEVITABLE DEATH.

Me (gets up to get a cookie): There. Happy?

Brain: I AM HAPPY NOW.

Me: Good. Then maybe we can get to –

Brain: SHUT UP AND FEED ME.

So. Yeah. That’s me this week. Hi.

Over to you, then. What’s going on with you? Tell me as I go get another snack.

I Have Little of Interest to Say at the Moment, So Here is Krissy Reading The Human Division Before the Rest of You

Because, you know. She’s my wife. She gets to do that.

Mind you, she’s read it before, as I would give her episodes as I was writing them. But this time she’s reading them in sequence. And yes, she’s been enjoying it. And no, she wouldn’t just say that. Trust me, when I write something that does not please her, she is not shy about letting me know.

Also, don’t worry: You’ll be able to read it yourself, soon. How soon? Pretty soon. I will have more details for you on that very subject even sooner than pretty soon.

The Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide Returns Next Monday

Last year in the first full week of December I ran a shopping guide for the holidays, and I think it was quite successful: Lots of people found out about excellent books and crafts and charities and what have you, making for excellent gift-giving opportunities during the holiday season. It was successful enough that I’ve decided to do it again this year.

So: Starting Monday, December 3rd, the Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide Returns! If you’re a writer or other creator, this will be an excellent time to promote your work on a site which gets up to 50,000 visitors daily, almost all of whom will be interested in stuff for the holidays. If you’re someone looking to give gifts, you’ll see lots of excellent ideas. And you’ll also have a day to suggest stuff to other folks too. Everybody wins!

To give you all time to prepare, here’s the schedule of what will be promoted on which days:

Monday December 3: Traditionally Published Authors — If your work is being published by a publisher a) who is not you and b) gets your books into actual, physical bookstores on a returnable basis, this is your day to tell people about your books. Includes comics/graphic novels.

Tuesday December 4: Non-Traditionally Published Authors — Self published? Electronically published? Or other? This is your day.

Wednesday December 5: Other Creators — Artists, knitters, jewelers, musicians, and anyone who has cool stuff to sell this holiday season, this will be the day to show off your creations.

Thursday December 6: Fan Favorite Day — Not an author/artist/musician/other creator but know about some really cool stuff you think people will want to know about for the holidays? Share! Share with the crowd!

Friday December 7: Charities — If you are involved in a charity, or have a favorite charity you’d like to let people know about, this is the day to do it.

If you have questions about how all of this will work, go ahead and ask them in the comment thread (Don’t start promoting your stuff yet — it’s not time yet). Thanks and feel free to share this post with creative folks who will have things to sell this holiday season.

Vote For the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy in Two Separate Centuries

Through the end of November Locus, the magazine of record for the science fiction and fantasy genre, is doing an online survey for the best science fiction and fantasy of the 20th century (1901 – 2000) and for the 21st (2001 – current). The survey includes best novels in both science fiction and fantasy, and combined ballots for novellas, novelettes and short stories. The 20th century gets ten slots for each category, while the 21st century gets five — which is still a bit of an oversampling, since as of this moment the 21st century is only about an eighth as long as the 20th. But, hey, good for us writing in the 21st century.

If you would like to add your votes, here is a link to the survey. You’ll have to fill in identifying information; anonymous ballots won’t be counted. Note that apparently how you rank the works counts, i.e., putting a work in first position has more weight than placing it fifth in overall scoring. So think about placement.

If you’re thinking of adding any of my works to your ballot, I would note a) all my science fiction has been published in the 21st century, b) “The God Engines” is a novella, c) “The Sagan Diary” is a novelette, d) all my other short fiction are short stories.

Happy voting!

Life in Ruralstania

For the first time in eight years, my phone provider has given me the option of increasing the download speed of my DSL connection.

To an astounding 8mbps!

I know, I can hardly believe it myself.

And yes, I upgraded. If for no other reason than upgrading will apparently also knock $11 off my landline bill.

Yes, I still have a landline. Because cell phones will be of no use to us in the zombie apocalypse. This is a verified fact, people.

 

Advertisements for Myself

Some quick Monday reminders about things and stuff:

The Subterranean Press Scalzi Super Bundle: This is the last week you can get your mitts on the Super Bundle, which brings together all of my current Subterranean Press titles in eBook form for the low, low price of $7.99 (or thereabouts, depending on country and vendor). After this Friday, this particular bundle goes away, never to return. More details here.

Signed and Personalized Scalzi Books for the Holidays: Also still ongoing, and you can get them before December 12 through my local booksellers, Jay and Mary’s Book Center. They’re great people and will be happy to take care of you. And here are more details on how to order your books.

Still Time to Vote on Goodreads Best of 2012: Redshirts is nominated in the science fiction category, along with nine others, and there are nineteen other categories for you to vote in as well. That will keep you busy. Click here for the science fiction category, and then click on the category links to the left on that page to vote for other books as well.

There you go.

Festively Preparing for the Apocalypse

I asked my daughter to prepare a list of things she wanted for her birthday, which is about a month away now.

This is that list.

In case you have a hard time reading the list in the picture, here’s what’s on it: A horse, a machete, throwing knives, gun lessons, survival classes, a book of edible plants and a taser.

I’m vaguely curious to know if she knows something I don’t regarding the immediate future.

When Black Friday Comes

A couple thoughts on the most frenzied commercial day of the year.

1. If it’s fun for you, then go have your fun. As you do, spare a moment for the poor bastards who had to show up at the stores at absolutely ridiculous hours to wait on your ass. It’s not an easy gig. Be nice to them.

2. Personally speaking, the idea of lining up in the cold in the middle of the night in front of a store in order to be the first to grab a 30% off blender fills me with the sort of existential dread that’s usually reserved for thoughts about the mocking absence of a benevolent god. So, no, you won’t be finding me Black Friday shopping, ever.

3. What Black Friday has mostly done for me in recent years is remind me of how much stuff I do have, and how little interest I generally have in adding to my already ridiculous pile of stuff. I’m not going to tsk-tsk people for wanting stuff; as already noted, I own lots of stuff, so if I was going to tsk-tsk people for it, they could correctly turn around and smack me in the head with the beam in my eye. I’m saying that personally, I’ve mostly reached a certain level of material sufficiency: I have what I want, and don’t typically want what I don’t have, so the commercial orgy of Black Friday leaves me even more cold than it would otherwise. Yes, this means I am very lucky. I recognize that.

4. One category that makes me a liar per point three: Electronics, because I am a big nerd and, to paraphrase Charlie Stross, I frequently have to make a saving throw against ooooh shiny. Indeed, this is the shiny I have been circling recently, on the (almost certainly arguable) basis that I need a new laptop. Another category: Books. I mean, of course.

5. However, neither of those are going to inspire me to hurl myself into the frenzy of Black Friday. Rumor is, there will still be books and electronics available after today.

6. Which is of course the other thing. I will almost certainly go Christmas shopping to get gifts for family and friends, but I’ll do it on a day where there is not a heedless scrum of bargain hunters bludgeoning each other for savings, because I can. One of the nice things about being a writer and working from home is that I can go shopping for things at 10am on a Wednesday. Or 3pm on a Thursday! The options are endless!

7. All of which means today, my Black Friday plans are stay home, watch some movies, pet the cats and amuse the wife, who still has her foot in that surgical boot of hers. Seems like the better plan.

Thanksgiving Again

And it’s a holiday I like because hackneyed or not, it is nice to take a day to be thankful for the things one has in one’s life. Last year I wrote up a Thanksgiving Advent Calendar, which one thing a day in November through Thanksgiving that I was thankful for; if you missed it and want to see it (or saw it and want to see it again) the entries on it are here. For this year I’ll just note I am thankful for the usual reasons: Family, friends, a successful career in a field I like, the ability to speak and be heard, and that we’re going to relatives for Thanksgiving and all I have to do is show up and eat. It’s a good life. I would be foolish not to be thankful for it.

For those in the US: Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you’re spending it with people you like and love. Everyone else in the world: Happy Thursday. Folks in the US are likely to be scarce on the ground today. I’m sure you can get along without us for a day.

Today’s Vaguely Science Fictional Thought of the Day

I’d like to take these dudes back to, like, the 14th Century and just watch people freak out at their dance moves. I mean, back then they wouldn’t even have context for the adjective “robotic”.

Don’t look at me like that. I didn’t say it would be a deep thought. Just a science fictional one.

The Existential Horror of Betaness

Question from e-mail, relating to the “Notes on My Personal Feminism” post:

Wait, there are guys out there who think that calling you a beta male is going to insult you in some way?

Yes, apparently. I would note as a matter of clarification that I think they are less concerned about insulting me than they are reassuring themselves that there is no possible way they could ever be beta males, whatever their definition of ‘beta male’ is. By all indications their definition is something along the lines of “a man who sees women as something other than a mute dispensary of sandwiches and boobies” and/or “a man who does not live in fear of everyone else not continually affirming his internal assessment of personal status,” gussied up in language that allows them not to have to deal with these essential facts of their own nature. But inasmuch as insulting me is part of the mechanism of reassuring themselves, I am offered the insult.

I’m not insulted because, a) I consider the source, b) I don’t mind being seen as someone who does not view women through a tangled bramble of fear, ignorance and desire, c) when I step into a room, I don’t neurotically spend my time tallying up who in the room has higher status than I do, and who doesn’t. I am a grown-up, for God’s sake. Paranoid status anxiety is tiring. Also, you know. I’m pretty happy with my life and who I am, which makes me rather less vulnerable to the presumed snipings of others, particularly those who don’t have any notable participation in my life. Yes, yes, I’m a beta male, the worst of all possible males. Fine. Moving along.

Bear in mind that none of this either here nor there about the fundamental correctness of describing people as “betas” and “alphas” or whatever. This is partially because from an ethological point of view these terms are being used stupidly anyway, and why argue from the basis of stupid. But it’s also partially because I don’t actually care. Again, none of this burbling about betas has an impact on my life; I’m going to do what I do regardless.

And again, this isn’t much about me, anyway, it’s about the dudes trying to insult me. As Mur Lafferty recently noted, “people who insult you are giving you a blueprint as to what makes them insecure.” We know what these dudes fear.

Monday Is Blatant Advertisements For Myself Day

And here are three!

One: Redshirts made the initial cut in the Goodreads Best Science Fiction 2012 context and has made it into the finals along with nine other science fiction books. If you would like to vote for it, or — treasonously — one of the other nine books, the link to do that is here. Once you’ve linked through, move your cursor to the book of your choice  and a “button” will appear. And there you have it.

Two: A reminder that if you were hoping to get signed books for me for the holidays, and excellent way to do that is to call in an order to my local bookstore, Jay & Mary’s Book Center, before December 10. The the signed, personalized books shall be yours. Bwa ha ha ha ha hah ha! Click here for all the details.

Three: Time is running out for you to grab the Scalzi Super Bundle from Subterranean Press: All the SubPress Scalzi titles — eight in all, and all DRM-free — for just $7.99 (in the US, possibly slightly more elsewhere). The bundle goes away at the end of the month. So hurry, or live your life in regret. Here’s the link for more on that — er, for the bundle, not for living your life in regret. No way I’m going to link to that.

Quick Notes on My Personal Feminism

Because it’s been on my mind recently.

1. I don’t tend to think of myself as a feminist — which is to say that I tend to think of people who do see themselves as feminists as people who have spent a more-than-trivial amount of time studying the movement and its various social, political and economic theories. I would be willing to suggest I know more about these topics than the average guy, but I also know that what I know is little enough that opening my mouth on the subject would largely serve to point out how large the gaps in my knowledge are. To be blunt, I don’t know enough to be comfortable labeling myself as a feminist, as I see the word being most commonly used.

2. I am a feminist in the most general sense of believing that women are entitled to the same rights and privileges as men, with everything that implies in terms of access to education, economic opportunity and personal liberty. However, as far as I know most people don’t use the term “feminism” in this most broad of definitions, either positively or negatively. This is another reason I don’t tend to use the term to apply to myself.

3. A third reason I don’t apply the term feminist to myself is that, again to be blunt about it, I don’t think I deserve to. I know myself well enough to know where I fall down on the subject. On a very superficial level, I’m wary of touting myself as a feminist and then doing something that shows my ass on the subject in a very public way. Best not to set myself up for such a fall.

On a slightly deeper level, I know the personal journey I’m taking in terms of my relationships with women, individually and generally. I’ve always tried to be a good person to women in my life, and to women in general, but there have been times I’ve fallen short of those goals, through ignorance or through being (for lack of a better term) a dick. I work at these things. I keep working at them.

4. There’s a category of dude out there who likes to a call me a feminist as a way to insult me or to suggest in some way that I am somehow less of a man; this is why, I imagine, there is a high correlation between the sort of dude who calls me a feminist, and who calls me a “beta male.” Some fellows in this category also appear to believe I write on women-related topics as a way of supplicating myself to my matriarchical rulers and/or insinuating myself, quisling-like, into the feminist camp, to be rewarded with cookies and hugs. I am delighted to annoy this category of status-anxious, woman-fearing moron.

5. However, there are also a number of people, including a fair number of women, who are frustrated that when I write about topics relating to women that I often have a farther reach online then women often do. They are frustrated, I suspect, not only just because it’s a classic example of a guy being paid attention to, but also because, per points one through three above, the filter through which my own thoughts and opinions go is a male, not-entirely-on-point-to-feminism one.

This I get and understand, and is yet another reason why I tend not to label myself as a feminist. I do not speak for anyone but me. I have no ambition to try to mansplain women’s issues to them or to anyone else, nor any interesting in being a “white knight,” stepping into a discussion to shield women from men. I write about what I write about because it’s of interest to me. I apply my own perspective to them. I will miss some things important to women and feminists and will misunderstand others. Occasionally I will talk from the inside of my own ass.

6. I have explained the various reasons why I tend not to call myself a feminist, but I want to make it clear that I don’t mind if others people say I am one, if that’s what I look like to them. The men who do it to insult me are failing; I’m not in the least bit insulted (I don’t really care if you call me a “beta male” either. Sorry, dudes). Most everyone else, I suspect, means it positively. I appreciate that.