Addressing the Rumors

If everything I’ve heard is correct, then at 9am this morning, Tor.com is putting up a “news article” (I put that phrase in scare quotes for a reason) about the planned and upcoming “Shadow War of the Night Dragons” theatrical musical, an article which includes a very possibly illegally obtained audio recording of me arguing with a pair of my then-collaborators. I can’t say what’s exactly in article — did you know it’s apparently standard journalistic practice in the US not to give the subject of an article the right to edit the piece before it goes live? — so I am going to assume that it’s going to paint me and process of bringing Shadow War to the stage in a less-than-entirely-flattering light.

So. I can’t stop Tor.com from running this “news article” — Thank you very much “First Amendment” — but what I can do is, here, on my own site, in my own words, tell you some of the actual truth.

The actual truth, which I, no joke, would stand in front of any court in the land and testify to:

Yes, I was approached by financial backers interested in doing something new with the “Shadow War of the Night Dragons” property.

Yes, it was decided that a musical theater experience would take the property into a new and intriguing direction.

Yes, I was given near-complete financial and creative control of the project, with the ability to hire — and, this is important, fire — anyone I wanted.

Yes, we developed a “story with a story” format for the musical, incorporating the fact of “Shadow War” being an April Fool’s joke, because that’s so much of the legend of the story that it needed to be part of the story, too.

Yes, music for the show has already been written and in some cases recorded.

All of this is entirely, indisputably true, and is true on any day of the year.

As for the rest of this so-called “news article”? Well. As I said, I can’t say what’s in it, but I do not doubt it was written with an agenda in mind, and I suspect that agenda does not put me in a flattering light. You might read things about behind-the-scenes arguments, or of substance abuse, or of my personal animus regarding a certain former president of the United States. We’ll have to see.

What I can say is: Dear Tor.com, Times v. Sullivan will only take you so far. You can bet my legal team will be very interested in what the article has to say, and I hope that the “journalists” among you have paid up their liability insurance. Whomever it is who wrote that article will have to answer to me. And if the article is like I suspect it will be, well. I think that person will have a hard time facing me. They will have a hard time standing in front of me, looking me in the eye, and telling me that everything in that article is as accurate as they could have made it.

That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Oh, except this: the rumor is that two of my then collaborators have decided to take some of the “Shadow War” songs they wrote an offer them for sale to the public. I couldn’t stop them from doing so — some nonsense about “copyright,” apparently — but since the proceeds of the sale will go to charitable causes, I suppose there is at least some silver lining to it. So buy ‘em if you think, for some reason, that might be wise.

Update, April 3: Some more information for you, in case you didn’t check the date this entry was published.

67 thoughts on “Addressing the Rumors

  1. So, ummm, will the “story” include links to that video that may or may not exist of you doing Lambada: The Forbidden Dance while on a book tour? NTTAWT.

  2. Ooh, Paul and Storm weren’t doing you any favors. So, quality executive decision. I guess money can’t buy meaningful friendship after all! Way to be the deciding decider. Ride that JoCo carnival to the Tonys!

    But, and small criticism here – I KNOW that’s verboten in these parts but I’m only doing it because I’m your friend – your best friend – maybe this is the exception to the rule that any press is good press…

  3. Would this be a good opportunity to let the RHDS’s over at You Know Where about this. For the trollery and lulz?

  4. John, John. not before my second cup of coffee, I beg you….say, have you seen the original version of The Producers recently? I thinks you could make some pocket change….

  5. I think this qualifies as milking blood from a dead, stoned, turnip-colored zombie vampire dragon.

    Taking the whole so-bad-it’s-great thing to the squared inverse cube root of an imaginary meta level.

    Something something etc.

  6. I just jope that Wil Wheaton is available to play John Scalzi in the inevitable TV movie adaption of the musical (directed by Joss Weadon, featuring Nathan Fillion as Johnny Tor, Saladin Ahmed as Jonathan Coulton, Jonathan Coulton as Paul and Neil Patrick Harris as Storm)

  7. And John Scalzi as George Bush*

    *Failing that, George Bush in a fantasy cover pose-off with John Scalzi**
    **I know, off topic but what a sight for ever sorer eyes that would be…

  8. Pledge $1,000 – Play a non-speaking guard member to be eaten by the Night Dragon at the opening of the first act. Comes with complementary ticket for a guest, special backstage access as well as a playbill signed by Paul and Storm Jonathan Coulton

  9. And the dragons of the NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!!

    Strong Bad would be proud.

  10. Wow. All I’m gonna say about this is ‘random’? At least that’s the way it comes across to me. Anyway, enjoy the melting snow, John. We’re reveling (or sweltering, if you were actually born in this place) in the 60+F degree weather up in Seattle.

  11. I’m enjoying listening to the streaming songs on Tor…but ah, where are they for sale? Can’t find it on paulandstorm.com yet. Is that part of the prank, TO TAUNT US ALL?!?

  12. Dude, I didn’t know we had a Purple Drank epidemic in Darke. ‘Pose I should get out of the house more.

  13. Well, truth is supposed to be a defense to defamation.

    Hadn’t expected to see a discussion started here on tort law, much less “New York Times v. Sullivan.” What’s next? Intentional infliction of emotional distress? Interference with advantageous business relationships? A S.L.A.P.P. action? Can Scalzi on Torts be far behind?

  14. *NB: Because the opening scene takes place in the blackest night of the nightest black, you will neither be seen nor physically be on stage. Delivery Date: TBD

  15. Well, it’s pretty clear that there’s skullduggery afoot, and we iPad-using cross-ponders are with you all of the way on this; let’s face it, why else would these so-called artists arrange matters so that iPad-using cross-ponders can’t find these alleged songs?

    I’d ask “is there no beginning to their talents?” were it not for that thing about copyright…

  16. Don’t worry, they’re working (and we know who “they” are, don’t we?) to undo this whole “Bill of Rights” thing with all it’s pesky, anti-corporate language. Pretty soon your entire genome will own in perpetuity all your copyrights until the universe expands (or contracts, whichever comes first) to oblivion. That is unless you genetic matrix is merged with Amazon and then it’s their problem. I’m sure Amazon has plenty of lawyers to deal with this.

  17. Oh lordie. I hope the lower right hand corner of Charlie’s “promotional” poster applies here too.

  18. It’s not even 9:30 here yet and my day has already been made. Thank you.

    Oh, and Jim C @ 9:37 – there were so many good ideas in your post I can’t even count them. I’m just grateful that I wasn’t taking a drink at the time. It would have been bad for the life expectancy of my keyboard.

  19. the whole internet announcement of crap on April 1st is sooooo 1990′s I sort of dread visiting sites on this day.

  20. I felt it was important to come on your website, Mr. Scalzi, and tell you that I hope you don’t win a Tony. And I have a whole chain of reasoning that I hope to reveal as a (humiliating to myself) back and forth.

  21. So John,

    Did they get John Williams to do the score? You HAVE to have John Williams, he’s perfect.

  22. Perhaps this will continue for years until John relates the whole tale in a guest-of-honor speech somewhere and the video wins best dramatic presentation, short form.

  23. I hear they heard about David Prowse never being paid for his role of Darth Vader in RoTJ so they offered him the role of the lead villian in SWoTND (Shadow War of the Night Dragons)

  24. Dude, the only way you can top this next year is by going through with it.
    Or sacrificing a live goat.

    @ Bearpaw

    I think this qualifies as milking blood from a dead, stoned, turnip-colored zombie vampire dragon.

    Reanimated by the power of steampunk.

    Taking the whole so-bad-it’s-great thing to the squared inverse cube root of an imaginary meta level.

    Elevating it to a complex plane?

    @ John Meltzer

    And Amanda Palmer as Neil Gaiman as Tori Amos

    Fixed that.

    @ littleboy

    Hadn’t expected to see a discussion started here on tort law, much less “New York Times v. Sullivan.” What’s next? Intentional infliction of emotional distress? Interference with advantageous business relationships? A S.L.A.P.P. action? Can Scalzi on Torts be far behind?

    Yes, it’s positively tortuous! (You brought it on yourself.)

    @ stoicjim

    Pretty soon your entire genome will own in perpetuity all your copyrights until the universe expands (or contracts, whichever comes first) to oblivion.

    I’m pretty sure Monsanto or Pfizer already own his genome.

  25. I think the plan here is to do so many of these that in another three or four years, Tor can actually publish a Shadow War of the Night Dragons dead tree book. With lyrics. Or better yet, an audio book with the songs and the Mark Oshiro reading.

    That’s Patrick’s Dastardly Plan, I just know it.

  26. It really is to bad that the Josh’s Rickroll gets lost in a Red Bull ad.

  27. The song “screwing with my fans” strikes close to home. I am still waiting for the chance to order(the now discontinued) Away Team Kit that you HYPED on this site months ago. It’s a good thing that you can write, because as a retailer you suck! Sam Walton you ain’t.

    Yo, Scalzi! I’m calling you out – Playground after school.

  28. Aha! This is clearly a joke– I can tell because a real musical title would only have two exclamation points, not three!

    The rest of it sounds completely legit. No doubt. I wouldn’t be surprised if TOR has a Pulitzer in store because of their trailblazing journalism.

  29. I saw this in the AM, didn’t realize the date, and spent 5 minutes wondring who’d spiked Scalzi’s coffee.

  30. I refer you to the rule of three when making jokes: Once is funny, twice is humorous, three times is just meh. It made me smile but not as much as the first two… You and Tor need to come up with something new next year ;-)

  31. Before anyone says it: Yes, I know what day it is. But as I said, the things I said were true? They are, indisputably, true. So there.

    And that, I think, is the very best part of this entry. It is all utterly completely true.

  32. I WILL MAKE REFRESHING SMOOTHIES OF THEIR BONES!

    Sorry, I’ve been away from the internet for a week, for reasons of sanity.

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