Whatever

Neil and the Bear: Perhaps Not a Children’s Book After All

Once upon a time, an author looked out the window of his writing shack.

Yes, this is what we do when we’re supposed to be writing.

To Stand or Fall, Episode Four of The End of All Things, is Out Now!

This is the end of The End of All Things — or more accurately, the final novella episode of the book. And just what happens in this one? Here’s the official synopsis:

“Back on Earth, the beginning and end of all things. The nations of humanity’s home planet have parted ways with the starfaring Colonial Union, the human interstellar empire originally established to keep the home planet free. The Union needs to regain Earth’s trust. The alien races of the Conclave have their own hard choices to face. All of these threads culminate in this, Part Four of the four parts of The End of All Things.”

It’s all so climactic! Here’s an excerpt, if you’d like a sneak preview. And here (for US folks) are some retailers where you can get the ebook:

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Google Play|iBooks|Kobo

Obviously I don’t want to spoil the events of this particular novella for anyone, but I will say I was very happy with how this one turned out, and that I think it goes in a slightly unexpected direction; I did a zag where I think people might assume I was going to a zig. We’ll see! But in the meantime, I think we put the Old Man’s Universe in an interesting spot for whatever happens next, whenever it happens.

Happy reading!

This New America

I was in the airport last Friday when the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage came down, and one of the first thoughts I had on that was, “Looks like I picked the right week to go to San Francisco.” And you know what? I was right! The city was, verily, bedecked in rainbow flags and happiness. After my events at ALA on Saturday I went with friends to City Hall, where the pride celebration was in full swing, and watched people being happy, all over the place (plus occasional hippie nudity, because San Francisco). It’s very rare to be in the right place at the right time, when history is actually and genuinely happening around you. But I was, and I was delighted in the happy circumstance that put me there.

I’m even more delighted that my country is now a better place than it was at 9:59am on June 26, when a minority of states still didn’t allow gays and lesbians the simple, basic right of marrying the person whom they loved and wished to spend their life with. Those days are now gone, thankfully, despite a few pockets of resistance, which I don’t suspect will last very long. Texas, as an example, is a place where the Attorney General is telling county clerks they may defy the Supreme Court; it’s also a place where two octogenarian men, together for more than 50 years, became the first same-sex couple to wed in Dallas County. Who do you think history, and Texas, will celebrate more: The two men confirming their decades-long love to each other, or the government official symbolically standing in front of the courthouse door to oppose their right to confirm that love?

Bluntly: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is going down in history as a bigot. So will Texas’ governor and lieutenant governor. So will Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and all the other politicians (and would-be politicians) who are thumping around now, pretending not to understand what it is that the Supreme Court does, or the legitimacy of its rulings under the Constitution, and pretending that their religion makes that feigned lack of understanding all right. Dan Patrick, the Texas Lieutenant Governor, has said “I would rather be on the wrong side of history than on the wrong side of my faith and my beliefs.” Well, Mr. Patrick, you’re not only definitely on the wrong side of history, but you’re also on the wrong side of your professed faith. Jesus never once said “be a bigot in my name.” If you believe He did, you might want to recheck your Bible. That admonition is not there, although the admonition to love your neighbor as yourself is.

On a related topic, this Time magazine article by Rod Dreher on orthodox Christians being “exiles in our own country” struck me as a bit dramatic. Not being in step with the mainstream of American life and opinion does not make you an exile, especially when you suffer no estrangement under the law. When the mainstream of American life did not include the idea that same-sex marriage was a viable thing, which was an opinion different than mine, I was not in exile in my own country — although same-sex couples may have been, as the law estranged them from the rights they should have had under the Constitution, now affirmed by the Supreme Court. The affirmation of those rights did not and does not take away rights from anyone who believes same-sex marriage is wrong. You may still believe they’re wrong; you just can’t stop those couples from getting legally married. Unless you think it should be your right to deprive others of their rights, everything’s the same for you as it was before. And if you do believe it’s your right to deprive others of their rights, then you’re a bigot, whether you cloak it in religion or not.

I suspect that this is the thing Dreher is really worried about, whether he’s aware of it or not — that the perception of certain religious sects will change from them being depositories of rectitude to cisterns of intolerance. Well, this is a fair concern, isn’t it? Over the last twenty years in particular, nearly every American learned that someone they cared about or even loved — a family member, a friend, a co-worker or neighbor or a person they admired — was not straight, or 100% conforming to society’s ideas of gender. Over the last two decades, Americans decided it was more important to tell those people they still loved them and that they deserved the same rights as everyone else, than it was to listen to those people who said, through their words and actions, that these people we loved represented some sort of threat. Your mom is not a threat to America, if she happens to be gay or bisexual. Nor is your dad. Nor your sibling, or your best friend, or Doug from Accounting or Jillian down the street or Ellen DeGeneres. Who are you going to choose to stand with? Your sister, or some dude at a pulpit demanding we believe the bowels of Hell will empty if she marries her girlfriend? Your sister’s girlfriend is awesome! That guy is a jerk!

Which is the thing: the religious sects terrified that they will now lose their moral standing lost that standing long before, when they said, in so many words, in so many actions, that the people we love and know and know to be good, and their desire to have the same rights as everyone else, are what’s wrong with America. Dreher laments we now live in a “post-Christian” America, but he’s wrong. The Americans who are standing with their loved ones and neighbors are in fact doing exactly what Jesus asked them to do, when he said that we should love each other as we love ourselves. It’s possible, however, that we live in a post-accepting-bigotry-cloaking-itself-in-the-raiments-of-Christ America. And, you know. I can live in that America just fine.

Regardless, the America we do live in now lets anyone person marry any other person who they love. I like this America. I am glad I live in it.

View From a Hotel Window, 6/26/15: San Francisco

It’s a nice view!

Here in town for the American Library Association meeting; I get to hang out with librarians, who are some of my favorite people in the world. Also, rumor is, there might be some celebrating here this weekend. Well, I’m up for that as well.

Don’t expect too much here over the weekend; they’re keeping me busy. But I’ll be back on Monday for sure. See you then.

Love Wins

I’m traveling at the moment so I can’t add much more to this than: Hooray! Marriage for all!

Also: Hey, I’m an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. I can marry people. I’m just saying.

Here’s the Supreme Court decision. Read it and enjoy.

I’m going to be in San Francisco this weekend. I suspect it’s going to be a hell of a party. I’m delighted I get to be there for it.

Oh! And! I wrote this eleven years ago, when Massachusetts became the first state to allow same sex marriage. I’m delighted to say that now it applies in every state.

It’s a great day. I’m glad to be here for it.

I Have a Note From My Brain

It says: “Duuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhoi.” Which I think means it’s taking the day off? Maybe?

Anyway, yeah. Sorry, it seems like my post-vacation daze has gone on a bit longer than expected. Maybe I’ll have something for you tomorrow. Maybe.

Anyway, how are you?

Can Long Endure, Episode Three of The End of All Things, is Out Now!

It’s Tuesday, and that means another episode of The End of All Things. “Can Long Endure” is now out and available from your favorite eBook retailer. Here’s the official description:

“They signed up to defend humans from hostile aliens, but this group of Colonial Union soldiers finds themselves, instead, repeatedly sent to squelch rebellious human colonies that want to leave the CU. It’s not a sustainable situation. Something has to give.”

Yup, that’s about right. Here’s an excerpt of the story for you. And for the US, here’s a stack of eBook retailers to get it from:

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Google Play|iBooks|Kobo. Other countries, please check your local retailers.

For those of you who like the military science fiction side of the Old Man’s War universe, this is your novella — it’s focused on a single squad and features lots of action, adventure and explosions in all their various forms. Plus, you know. Other stuff too.

It’s a good one. I hope you enjoy it!

The Scalzis Go to London

Krissy and I celebrated our 20th anniversary last week, which we felt gave us ample excuse to go on a vacation. For our vacation spot, we chose London, because we had never been and we had always wished to go. So we did! And it was wonderful: We saw all the touristy things, visited with delightful friends, and generally had a very fabulous time.

Would you like to see some of what we did? Sure you would. Which is why I created this Flickr album of our travels there. Enjoy! We did.

Amazon Tweaks Its Kindle Unlimited System. It Still Sucks For KDP Select Authors

Now that I’ve returned to the US and have parked myself in front of the computer again, people are asking me what I think of Amazon’s plan to tweak the way its Kindle Unlimited system pays KDP Select authors. In the past, Amazon would designate a certain amount of cash ($3 million this June, according to this Verge article, although in the comments Annie Bellet quotes a higher figure) as a payment pot, and all KDP Select authors participating in Kindle Unlimited would get a small bit of the pot if someone who downloaded their book read more than 10% of it. This predictably led to authors making short books in order to get to the 10% mark as quickly as possible, and equally predictably diluted the effectiveness of the tactic. It also made authors of longer works complain quite a lot, as they had to compete with bite-sized books for the same tiny bit of the pot.

As a result, Amazon is now tweaking its system so that instead of getting paid when one reaches that 10% marker, KDP select authors will get paid for each page read — a move that will, within the context of the KU system, at least, address the “small book vs. big book” disparity. The system will also define a standard “page” so fiddling with margins and type size won’t fool it, and somehow track how much time you spend on each page, so just clicking through all the pages as quickly as possible won’t do the trick (this makes me wonder what Amazon defines as a decent amount of time to read a page). The short version is: You get paid for what your readers read. If your readers don’t read the whole book, you don’t get paid for the whole book.

I have a lot of questions about how this will play out in theory — will an author get paid if you re-read a book? What about if you go back and re-read a page? Does that count? Doesn’t this mean that authors of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books get really screwed? Not to mention any author who is writing anything other than a page-turning narrative? — but ultimately any objections or praise I might have for this new Amazon model is irrelevant, because of a simple fact:

Amazon is still making KDP Select authors compete against each other for a limited, Amazon-defined pot of money, and no matter how you slice it, that sucks for the authors.

Why? Because Amazon puts an arbitrary cap on the amount of money it’s possible to earn — and not just a cap on what you, as an author, can earn, but what every author in the KDP Select system participating in Kindle Unlimited can make. Every KDP Select author participating in Kindle Unlimited can not, among all of them totaled up, make more than what Amazon decides to put into the pot. Why? Because that’s the pot. That’s how much Amazon wants to splash out this month. And the more pages are read in the month, the smaller any bit of the pie that you might get for your pages read becomes. It’s a zero-sum game for every KDP Select author participating in Kindle Unlimited. Next month, who knows what the size of the pot will be? You don’t — only Amazon does. But whatever amount it is, it’s an amount designed to benefit Amazon, not the individual authors.

This is a bad situation for the authors participating — bad enough that ultimately the minutiae of how the money is allocated is sort of aside the point, because the relevant point is: You will never make more for your work than Amazon wants you to make. And yes, just Amazon, as the work KDP Select authors put on Amazon are exclusive to Amazon.

I’m not one of those people who believes Amazon is glowy-red-eye evil — I remind people again that I’ve rather happily had a fruitful relationship with its Audible subsidiary for a number of years — but Amazon is looking out for Amazon first, and when it does, it’s not an author’s friend. There is no possible way in this or any other timeline that I would ever, as a writer, participate in the sort of scheme that Amazon runs with its KDP Select authors on Kindle Prime. I don’t approve of putting a cap on my own earnings (particularly one I have no say on), and I don’t approve of being in a situation where my success as an author comes by disadvantaging other authors, or vice versa. In the system in which I currently participate (i.e., the open market), there is no limit to the amount I can make, and no limit to what any other author can make. It’s a great system! I support it, and so should you.

So, yeah: By page, or by percentage, KDP Select authors on Kindle Unlimited still can’t make more than Amazon says they can. That sucks, and that’s the long and short of it.

Just Putting These Here So They Can Be Part of the Permanent Record

From the day itself:

And then from the next day:

It’s been interesting watching Dylann Roof be, in himself, the very best rebuttal against all the (almost entirely white) people who were desperate for his massacre to be about anything other than what it so very obviously was: racism and racial hatred. All the scrambling and denial, from presidential candidates to news networks to Twitter commenters, all undone by Roof’s insistent, persistent desire to hurt black people. There was no rationalization that stood up to that simple hatred.

Not that there probably still aren’t people who are willing to try to pretzel themselves into arguing it’s something other than racism or racial hatred. So, you know, again, and to be clear: If you are arguing that a white man who clearly held racist beliefs, going into a place where he knew he would find black people, waiting an hour in pretend fellowship with them, announcing he was there to shoot black people, shooting them while spouting racist comments at them while they begged him to stop killing them, reloading several times, and then when arrested declaring that the reason he was killed all those innocent people was to start a race war, wasn’t motivated by racism and racial hatred,

a) you are so very laughably wrong;

b) you are being as racist as you can possibly be.

Dylann Roof is a racist. His attack was a racist attack. The denial of his racist attack being racist is racist. There were an appalling number of people being racist in the aftermath of this fundamentally racist act. And despite everything, there are people continuing to be racist about it now. I am continually amazed at how difficult it was, and is, for people to recognize that this was a racist attack, by a racist. I’m continually amazed by everyone who still has a hard time admitting that this country is still racist as hell, and especially toward black people.

All of the above is stupidly obvious. And yet some people choose to be stupid about this. This willful ignorance embarrasses me as an American. I was in the UK when all of this happened. No one over there had any doubt what it was about, as far as I could see. And when it was made clear to them that I wasn’t intentionally stupid about it either, the attitude I received the most was: Sympathy. The UK has its own social crosses to bear, to be sure. They easily enough recognized the one my country bears.

I’m very sure most of us knew immediately why Dylann Roof did what he did. It’s just that so many the people who argued so very hard against the obvious are those who want to control the levers of our politics and discourse. It’s embarrassing to me that so many very clearly intelligent people worked so mightily to pretend this killing was something it was not. It’s ironic how difficult Roof made it for them, and gratifying that this very fact exposed their mendacity for what it is: Ridiculous, risible, and racist.

Note to WSFS Members: Killing the Best Novelette Hugo is a Terrible Idea

(Note: Hugo neepery follows. But not the usual Hugo neepery! This is entirely new Hugo neepery! However, if you’re bored with Hugo neepery in general, then avoid this.)

Every year at Worldcon, there’s a business meeting where World Science Fiction Society members may, among other things, offer up amendments to the WSFS constitution. A very active set of amendments relate to the Hugo Awards, as might be expected because the Awards are the most public-facing thing the WSFS does, arguably excepting the Worldcon convention itself. This year there are four proposed amendments relating to the Hugos, for example.

One of these proposed amendments is for “Best Saga” (You may see the proposed amendment, as well as all the other proposed amendments this year, here. The “Best Saga” proposal is “B.1.3″). The amendment proposes to create a Hugo category to award continuing series of works whose total word counts exceed 400,000 words; any series with a new installment in any particular calendar year would be eligible for consideration in that year. So, for example, if the Best Saga Hugo already existed, then the Old Man’s War series would be eligible for the 2015 calendar year award, because the whole series clocks in at over 400,000 words, and I’ll have a new installment this year (The End of All Things).

I have thoughts about the desirability and necessity of a Best Saga award, but independent of that, the creators of the “Best Saga” amendment would “make room” for the Best Saga Hugo by rejiggering the short fiction Hugo categories, notably by paring them down from the three current categories (Short Story, for stories up to 7.5k words; Novelette, for stories between 7.5k and 17.5k words; Novella, for stories between 17.5k and 40k words), to two: Short Story (up to 10k words) and Novella (10k to 40k). This snips out the novelette category entirely.

Speaking as someone who writes very little novelette-length fiction, and could very obviously personally benefit from a Best Saga Hugo category, I very definitely oppose this proposed amendment. Let me explain why.

1. It is unnecessary to get rid of the Best Novelette category in order to “make room” for the Best Saga category. I’m unaware of the need in the WSFS constitution to limit the number of Hugo Awards given out; it’s not a zero sum game. Speaking as someone who has both emceed the Hugos and sat in its audience, I understand the desirability of not having an infinite proliferation of Hugo categories, because the ceremony can be long enough as it is. But that’s not a good enough reason to give one fiction category the axe at the expense of another, nor can I think of another good reason why the inclusion of the “saga” category requires the doom of another fiction category. It is, literally, a false dichotomy.

This false dichotomy is bad in itself, but also offers knock-on badness down the road. For example:

2. It privileges novel writing over short fiction writing. Bud Sparhawk, a writer and human I admire rather a bit, complained to me once (in the context of the Nebulas) that calling the Best Novel award “the big one,” as many people often do, is an implicit disrespect of the art of short fiction writing, and of the skills of those who write to those lengths. You know what? He’s right. Speaking as someone who finds writing novels relatively easy and writing shorter lengths relatively harder — and as someone who has needed more time to write a shorter-length work than I needed to write a novel because of those native skill sets — I’m well aware that the skills required to write short are no less impressive than those required to write long.

Also, speaking as best novel Hugo award winner: Would you argue to me that I am more essential to the field of science fiction and fantasy than, say, Ted Chiang, who is inarguably one of the pre-eminent SF/F writers of the 21st century, and who has not published a novel? Am I more essential than Eugie Foster, whose all-too-short canon of work is in short fiction? Or any other of a host of brilliant contemporary writers who write to shorter lengths? Do I and my work somehow trump grandmasters like Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg, whose many Hugos come not in the novel category but in categories of shorter works?

Novels aren’t inherently better than shorter works; I’m not at all convinced they need another category at the expense of those shorter works.

3. It privileges the established writer over the newer writer. Almost by definition, the authors who are eligible for the “Best Saga” award are very likely be writers who are already successful enough to have a long-running series and the ability to publish in those series on a recurring basis. It’s theoretically possible to have someone toiling away on a series in utter obscurity and suddenly emerge with a knockout installment that would pop that writer up into “Best Saga” consideration, but as a practical matter, it’s almost certainly more likely than not that the nominees in the category would be those authors with perennially popular series — people, to be blunt, like me and a relatively few other folks, who are already more likely to have won the “genre success” lottery than others.

Meanwhile, short fiction continues to be a really good way to find new writers and new voices and new perspectives. For many of these new voices, award consideration and recognition continues to be a fine way to raise their profile in the field. Culling out a short fiction award to benefit an award for series is very much offering an advantage to the successful few at the expense of the emerging many. I think that’s wrong.

(NB: The “Best Saga” proposal points out anthology series like “Wild Cards” are eligible, but I don’t know if offering up an example edited by the current most successful novelist in all of science fiction and fantasy actually invalidates the point, especially if in those cases the Hugo goes to the anthology editor rather than the (numerous) individual authors, as I suspect it would. As a practical matter, I see this benefiting the already-successful more than the up-and-comers by a considerable margin.)

4. It ignores the fact we are living in a new golden age of sf/f short fiction. Aside from the traditional magazines that already existed for short work, think of all the venues for short fiction that have blossomed online in the last decade and a half. Think of all the anthologies Kickstarted or otherwise crowdsourced, and all the writers using Patreon or other direct-compensation systems to connect with fans. Think of all the micro- and mini- and indie publishers putting out short fiction anthologies and collections. Think of all the writers self-publishing and taking their short work directly to fans and readers. Think of the wide breadth of voices and stories and writers that have come to market in the last several years.

Now, right now, is without question one of the best eras for short fiction in the history of the science fiction and fantasy genre… and we’re proposing to cull out an award available for short fiction so we can give another award to novels? That’s not just silly, it’s almost breathtakingly short-sighted. It would be a community turning its back on one of its greatest engines of creation.

Finally, I have this problem with the proposed amendment:

5. It feels like a sneak attack on short fiction, under the cover of an unrelated proposal. I don’t suspect that those who proposed it meant it that way — I’m sure they were simply trying to craft a proposed amendment that would attract the most votes. Even if that were the case, however, as a practical matter this proposed amendment, under the guise of doing one thing (creating a new Hugo category), is in fact doing other things (disposing of a short fiction Hugo category and reorganizing the remaining short fiction categories in ways that don’t necessarily make sense for storytelling purposes) and doing so in a manner which suggests that of course it would have to be done this way in order to make space for their new Hugo.

Well, no, it doesn’t. If you want to propose a “Best Saga” Hugo, then do that. If you also wish to get rid of the “Best Novelette” category, then you can do that too. But these are two separate things, and each deserves a separate argument on their respective merits. There is no systematic reason to combine the two proposals. Moreover, as a matter of rhetoric, the way the current “Best Saga” proposal is built makes it seem like the proposers are trying slip under the table a move to hollow out the Hugo’s ability to honor short fiction, by distracting the potential voters with another issue entirely. It’s a bad way to do things.

For that reason, even if I were inclined to consider a Best Saga Hugo award, I could not and would not endorse this particular proposal for its creation. Whether it was intended to be or not, it is an attack on short fiction, on the merits of short fiction as a class of expression, and on the writers of short fiction. It’s not worth creating a Hugo to benefit the relative advantaged few, if it means taking away a Hugo from a much larger pool of people who could benefit from a nomination — or a win.

This is a bad proposed amendment, and I hope it fails.

(P.S.: If you’re interested in my thoughts on a “Best Saga” Hugo on its own theoretical merits, I’ll put those into the first comment in the comment thread.)

Back in the US: A Housekeeping Note

I’m back home after a long, lovely week in London with my bride on the occasion of our 20th anniversary. More on that later.

Housekeeping notes:

1. The comment threads, which I had trimmed back to being open only for a couple of days whilst I was away, are now open to their usual two weeks length, so if you wanted to leave a comment on a post from the last week but were temporarily limited, go to it.

2. I’ve taken down my “I’m on vacation” email autoresponder, so my mail situation is now back to normal (i.e., the usual haphazard “why do I have so much email whyyyyyyyy” state of affairs).

3. That said, you might want to give me a couple of days to get completely back up to speed, because of the whole “returning from vacation and dazedly reintegrating back into the real world” thing. Tuesday! Tuesday would be a fine day to assume I’m fully back in the swing of things.

Thanks.

To Be the Anti-Scalzi, and Other Foolishness

From earlier today on Twitter:

And no, I’m not going to bother to name these fellows. It should be obvious to some of you, and the rest of you are better off being in blissful ignorance. I will say this: Writers — and indeed anyone else — when you decide to define yourself as being in opposition to someone else, then you give that person immense power over you. That person doesn’t have to have anything to do with you, and often won’t; you’re the one who has to do all the work, tracking their positions and attitudes and setting your own life in opposition. In effect, you’re letting them live in your brain, all the time, without cost. Whereas they will think of you only when they have no other choice.

How much better for you to instead to simply work on being the best possible version of yourself, which requires no concern about what anyone else does, or says, or is. It is what I do. It’s worked so far.

Comments off because I’m on vacation.

20 Years

Twenty years ago today, Krissy and I were married. We stood up in front of friends and family, said our vows (and they were our vows, as we wrote them), and formally begun our time together, making a life between us.

In that twenty years, there has never been a single day where I have not had cause to reflect on how much better my life is because Krissy is with me and is my partner. There has never been a single day where I did not reflect on the ways my life would be different, and a lesser life, without her in it. There has never been a single day where I have not been frankly amazed that a woman so capable, so loving and so gorgeous has chosen to be with me.

There has never been a single day in those twenty years that I have not told her that I love her.

More than a decade ago, I wrote “Marriage is work. It never stops being work. It never should.” I stand by that observation. Krissy and I were in love the day we were married and are in love now, twenty years later. But that love is not a default state of being. It is a choice we make every day, and work follows that choice. Work is the proof of that choice. Love is the result of that work. Love gives us another day together, and the opportunity to make that choice once more.

As we have, day in, day out. Every single day, for twenty years. It is why we said “I do,” when we made our vows. It’s why we say “I do,” symbolically, each day of our lives together. There is no greater work that I have accomplished than this, and is a work that is impossible for me to have done alone. I can only do this work with someone else. With Krissy, in point of fact. It is a life’s work. My life, and hers, and ours.

There has never been a single day that I have had cause to doubt or regret the choice we made, twenty years ago today, to love each other that day and every day since. There has never been a single day that I would not, in front of family and friends and all the world, do it again, all over again. There has never been a single day in those twenty years where I have not. I am every day the groom to her bride. Every day the man who stood with her and said, with her, I do.

I do. Yes. Today and every day.

I love you, Kristine. I do.

This Hollow Union, Episode Two of The End of All Things, is Out Now!

I’m off doing touristy things in London, but I would be remiss if I did not inform you that Episode 2 of The End of All Things, “This Hollow Union,” is out and available at your favorite ebook retailer. Here’s the official description:

“Desperate times call for desperate measures. And for the multi-species Conclave, desperate times have arrived. Faced with the prospect of major planets and species leaving the alliance, the Conclave’s leadership has just a few cards left to play…to unpredictable effect.”

Unofficially, I’ll just say that I think it has some of my best storytelling to date, with one of my favorite characters in all of the OMW universe, Hafte Sorvalh. so I hope you enjoy it.

I’m traveling so I’m not going to do all the linking to the various online eBook retailers it’s available from, but you know the drill — if you have a favorite ebook retailer, go look and it should be there.

Happy reading!

On a Travel Schedule, 6/12 – 6/22

Hey there. I’m taking a vacation for a week, which means my presence here will be limited for that timeframe. I’ll be posting a couple of Big Idea pieces and maybe a picture or two or a couple of short entries, but otherwise don’t expect to see too much of me until Monday the 22nd. I’ll also be doing that thing where comment threads are limited to a single day until I get back, at which point they’ll go back to their usual “two weeks” length.

Additionally: Most emails and other attempts at communication with me will largely go unacknowledged until to 22nd, because, again: Vacation! I may be on Twitter a bit, but don’t expect much. Basically, assume that I’m not taking a vacation just to stare into a computer or phone screen. Because if I did, what kind of jerk would I be, right?

In any event: Enjoy the next week and change. I intend to.

A Jurassic Quiz: Find Out Which Dinosaur Will Eat You!

Over at Sundance.tv, where I am writing occasional things about film, I’ve created a quiz in honor of the upcoming Jurassic World movie, featuring somewhat obscure trivia from the first three Jurassic Park films. Get all of the quiz questions correct, and you survive. Miss one or more, and you get killed and possibly eaten by a dinosaur. Which dinosaur? It depends on how many questions you miss.

Ready to test your chances? Then here’s the link. Good luck, you’re gonna need it.

A Very Important Poll That Will Make You Think About How Fragile and Beautiful the World We Live in Truly is

Prepare yourself. You’re going to have to make a hard choice here.

Explain your answer in the comments. If you dare.