Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hey, Remember When I Wrote I Won an Erotic Fan Fiction Contest Based on the Watchman Graphic Novel?

Well, the folks at Shipwreck (the group that puts these writing contests together) have posted my winning entry. It’s here.

Warning: It’s very much NSFW, will probably be a little kinky/disturbing for those of you who aren’t kinky/fans of erotic fanfic, and if you haven’t read Watchmen (which you should, it’s terrific), or at least watched the movie (less good, but okay, whatever), you will miss most of the references and clever bits and it probably won’t be as funny as it would be if you knew the work it was riffing off of.

Got it? Okay, go have fun with it, then.

Jian Ghomeshi and the Women He Knew

Some thoughts on Jian Ghomeshi, about whom I feel entitled to opine because I was once a guest on his show — talking about the little fundraising thing I did last year which included RAINN, an interview which now in retrospect is sadly ironic.

(For those of you not up on this, Mr. Ghomeshi was a radio show host in Canada, who was let go by the CBC because of then-mysterious reasons. Mr. Ghomeshi took to Facebook to allege that he was fired because he participated in consensual BDSM play which was now being used against him by vengeful exes, and sued CBC for wrongful termination “breach of confidence and bad faith.” Since then a number of women have come forward to allege totally non-consensual abuse and/or harrassment at the hands of Mr. Ghomeshi.)

So, a numbered list.

1. There’s nothing wrong with consensual BDSM play; if that’s your thing and you can get other people to go along with it in a safe and consenting manner, then you kids have fun with that.

2. Suddenly smacking the hell out of someone and/or choking them without prior discussion or agreement is pretty much the opposite of consensual BDSM play, now, isn’t it. (Note: this is a rhetorical question. The answer is: Yes, it is the opposite.)

3. As a matter of law (to the extent that I know anything about Canadian/Ontario provincial law, which I don’t so I might be entirely wrong), Mr. Ghomeshi is innocent until proven guilty. Currently there is no criminal investigation against Mr. Ghomeshi. (Update, 8pm: Toronto police have opened an investigation.)

4. The procedurally laudable governmental presumption of innocence does not mean, however, that as a matter of opinion, one cannot believe the allegations against Mr. Ghomeshi. As a matter of personal opinion, I believe the women who are coming forward and saying that Mr. Ghomeshi attacked, abused and harassed them. I could be wrong, but I don’t really think that I am.

5. I think it’s possible that Mr. Ghomeshi deluded himself into thinking these attacks equated to consensual sexual play, which is both not an excuse at all, and a good argument for availing one’s self of educators in that particular field who can teach one how to do one’s play safely and to know what “consensual” actually means. However, I think it’s rather more likely that Mr. Ghomeshi, who is a full-fledged adult and someone with some evident facility for words, was in fact quite aware that what he was doing was not in the least consensual and relied on his position at the top of the Canadian cultural heap to protect him from the consequences of his actions, as indeed it appears to have done for a very long time.

6. If what is alleged against Mr. Ghomeshi is true, and to reiterate I rather strongly suspect that it is, then his being fired from the CBC is, bluntly, the least worst thing that could happen to him at this point. If the allegations are true, he deserves a stint in prison, full stop, end of sentence.

7. It was canny of Mr. Ghomeshi to try to frame his assaults in the context of BDSM, but also disingenuous and false. BDSM is not my thing, but I know a lot of people for whom it is. None of them would see what Mr. Ghomeshi did as something relating to their particular kink. Attacking someone without their consent isn’t about sexual gratification, it’s about the assertion of power — the ability to say “I can do this to you and there’s nothing you can do about it.” And sure, maybe Mr. Ghomeshi got a rise out of that, too. But at the end of the day choking a woman who is not consenting to the experience and saying it’s BDSM is akin to stabbing someone in a bar and claiming it was a martial arts test match. Again, BDSM isn’t my thing, but it’s a thing I know enough about to know that what Mr. Ghomeshi was doing wasn’t that.

8. The irony of the above point is that if it really was about BDSM (which it was not), then there was no reason for any of that to happen. What little I know about BDSM is that those who enjoy it are happy to share and to teach and to provide a safe space for that enthusiasm. Mr. Ghomeshi, I am certain, would not have lacked for willing, consenting partners — if this was really about consensual sexual exploration and enjoyment. But, again, I don’t really think it was ever about that.

9. I don’t know Mr. Ghomeshi other than through a very brief professional encounter. I don’t envy the people who do know him who are now learning about the allegations and who suspect that they are true. What do you do with a friend like that? Do you drop him? Do you maintain he is your friend but acknowledge what he’s done is wrong? Do you fight for your friend, right or wrong? One of Mr. Ghomeshi’s friends addressed this in a post of his own, which is worth reading. I don’t have any answers for this one. I know what I think I would want to do; I don’t know if it’s what I would do because I’ve never had to be in this situation. What I can say is that I hope I never am in this situation.

10. To reiterate, because it’s important: I believe the women who have come forward to allege assault and harassment. It’s been noted by other people better able to testify on the subject that one of the most radical things you can do when a woman speaks up about abuse and harassment is to believe her. Which initially seems like an incredible statement to someone like me, who is almost always believed by default when he chooses to speak up about something. I have that luxury. Not everyone does. It’s a fact I strongly suspect Mr. Ghomeshi knew, and used.

“Lock In” by William Beckett: Now Available to Download!

You may recall that musician William Beckett created a fantastic song for my novel Lock In (and if you didn’t, here, have a listen). The song, also called “Lock In,” really captured the mood and tone of the novel in a way that I hoped it would, and I’m happy to say that even if it were a song utterly unassociated with my book, I would still love its anthemic vibe. It’s fantastic.

I’m happy to say that William and his label Equal Vision Records have now made the song available as a single to download. You can get it through iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and through Equal Vision’s Bandcamp page. It’s also on streaming services including Spotify and Rhapsody.

My advice: Get it! One, because it’s great and worth getting on its own merits. Two, because William needs to eat, and buying the single is a way to encourage that whole crazy “eating” thing. Three, because did I mention it’s a really good song? It is.

Once again, thanks to William for making this song. It’s amazing to have it inspired by something I wrote. I never get tired of hearing it.

How My Week Went

Bruce Willis stares out from a studio wall on the Fox lot.

It went very well, I thought. As I’ve noted, I went to Los Angeles in order to meet with TV and film folks and to pitch them some stuff (and also, well, me). Some of the things I pitched are even things I haven’t put into books yet! You can do that, apparently. I’m happy to say that contrary to the general opinion of LA types being smarmy and insincere, all of the folks I got to meet, at least, were smart, engaged and very much the sort of people you would want to do business with, and I’m not just saying that because I would like to do business with them.

I also met with the folks at Legendary, who I am, in fact, doing business with (they have the option on Lock In), and come away from that meeting very optimistic about the future of that book as a TV series. There’s not much I can talk about publicly there — I just told you everything I could tell you about it, actually — but I can tell you I think the Legendary people get it, with regard to the novel. And, well. That’s always a positive.

This is where I could caution any of you from reading too much into anything I’ve noted above. Most meetings in LA are just that: meetings. You go in, you have 20 minutes of someone’s time, it’s generally pleasant, and what comes out of it is usually nothing other than getting into the room with interesting people who might do business with you at some point, if the stars align correctly. That’s valuable in itself for reasons that are largely intangible in the short term. I would love to have something immediate come out of the meetings this round, of course. But my feeling about it is: Let’s see what happens next.

(It helps that I do things with my time other than making movies and TV series, mind you. I still get to eat no matter what happens in Hollywood.)

So, in all: A useful trip to the City of the Angels.

I capped the week yesterday by heading to the Cleveland doing a morning keynote for Ohio librarians, in which I talked about science fiction, my career and various other topics. Librarians are some of my favorite people — they are almost by definition deeply engaged in the lives of books and authors — and it’s always nice to spend time with them.

And now I’m home. And I have nowhere I have to be other than here for the rest of the year, which if you’ve been keeping up with my travel this year, is kind of amazing. My plans for the rest of 2014: Write. And write. And write some more! And then, when doesn’t seem possible that I could even write another word — write again. It’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

The Zombie Kristine Blauser Scalzi Wishes to Give You a Festive Halloween Kiss

Go on. It’ll be fine. I should note that she will want to kiss you directly on the brain. And she might chew through your skull to do it. But that’s okay! Look, she’s doing it to me right now and I have toj syabbgt that it asgbn’t effackebted meb at allygueruyreuiyrer;;;bieur’=-

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If This is Thursday, It Must Be Cleveland

And it is Thursday, at least here, and so here I am, in Cleveland, or more accurately its nearby neighbor Twinsburg, to talk to librarians. As I am a big fan of librarians as a general class, this is not exactly an onerous assignment. And then I drive home! Which is on the other side of the state. And then I see my family for the first time in several days! So, uh, yeah. This is probably the last you’ll see of me here until tomorrow, is what I’m saying. Have fun on the Internets without me until then.

Checking In

At the moment, taking a little breather on the Fox lot, on a bench underneath a shady tree. And then off to lunch with my agent, because one should always have lunch with one’s agent. It’s a nice if weird life. Hope yours is going well today, too.

Mostly Out For the Next Few Days

I’m getting up very early tomorrow morning to go to the airport for a trip that takes me first to Los Angeles, where I have two very solid days of business meetings, and then to Cleveland, where I am delivering a breakfast keynote to a conference of Ohio librarians. All of which is to say that between going to sleep tonight and waking up on Friday, I am not likely to have much time to moderate comment threads here, particularly ones in which GamerGate, etc are discussed.

So when I hit the hay tonight (Saturday), I’m turning off comments until (probably) Friday, when I am back home and have had a good night’s sleep (The exception will be this week’s Big Idea piece, which will have comments on). Likewise you should expect posting here to continue but to be relatively minimal during the week, on account of meetings, plane trips and desire to sleep when possible.

The good news for me is, after this trip is complete, I do not have to go anywhere else for the rest of the year. Given how packed with travel this year has been for me, this is kind of amazing. And it’s good for you, too, since I have to finish The End of All Things by the end of the year, and I find it difficult to write while traveling. No travel means focusing on the book, which means you’ll have a new novel next year. We all win!

So: If you’re commenting somewhere on the site, you have, uh, a couple of hours to wrap things up. Get to it, and comments will be open again on Friday.

Yes, Fine, I’ll (Ugh) Talk Some Politics For This Year

And here’s what I think of politics here in 2014: Nnnnnnnnggggggggghhh. Or, to put in perhaps more contemporary terms, 2014: The Year I Literally Just Could Not Even.

Which is not to say that I’m not voting. I am voting. What I mean to say is that this year I don’t really feel anything other than complete fatigue at the whole political process. Broadly speaking, the Republicans are frothing ideologues, the Democrats are incompetent, and it appears that in general the relevant voting public will prefer frothing to incompetent, since FiveThirtyEight thinks there’s a better than 60% chance the Senate majority will go to the GOP in the election — although not by a lot, so, yay, I guess?

What that will mean in real-world terms is a lot of parliamentary blockage and/or presidential vetoes of Republican legislative initiatives for the next two years, which I’m fine with (see my opinion of the general state of the GOP above), but which means another two years of high-level stupid on the federal level. But inasmuch as we will get that even if the Democrats do, in fact, barely manage to keep the Senate: Meh. And, yes, I know it’s rather more complicated than that, but I’m telling you how I feel about it all. This is how I feel.

(Mind you, if the GOP takes the Senate, I think there’s a reasonable chance of the GOP in the House finally voting to impeach Obama for the heinous crime of being Obama, although I’m sure they’ll find something else to pretend it will be about. And then Obama will be acquitted in the Senate trial and we’ll establish the hard fact that the modern GOP, when given the opportunity, will try to oust sitting Democratic presidents via the impeachment process just because. Also, I think Obama would love for the GOP to impeach him. There is pretty much no downside for him if a bunch of a white male GOPers impeach a sitting black president on what will amount to complete bullshit charges. Dear House GOP: Don’t be giving Obama one more rope-a-dope.)

I should note that the federal elections are largely outside of my purview this time around. The only federal-level election I need to vote on is for my House representative, who is now and will continue to be John Boehner, who in his entire OH-8 electoral history has never gotten less than 61% of the vote, and isn’t about to blow that streak this year. I’m not voting for Boehner, but doesn’t mean he won’t win. I am as always comfortably resigned to the fact. There are no Senate races in Ohio this year.

On the state level, it’s almost certain sitting Ohio Governor John Kasich is going to win in a walk, not because the people of Ohio love him (general feeling: meh), but because his opponent Edward FitzGerald is better known for parking with a woman who was not his wife than for any of his policy points. I’m not voting for Kasich, but as I don’t like to reward abject incompetence, I don’t think I’m voting for FitzGerald either. I might vote for the Green Party candidate, just to see what it feels like. To be honest, the only state office race I’m really worked up for is Secretary of State, because incumbent John Husted is a tool who went out of his way to make it harder to vote in Ohio. Fuck you, Husted. I’m voting for your Democratic opponent, Nina Turner (although, again, Husted sits on a comfortable margin and will likely win).

Indeed, because of where I live in Ohio, and because of the general trends in the state and in the national races, it looks like a good(ish) year for GOP in general. I’m not a fan of the current iteration of the GOP, which is putting it mildly, so this does not please me intellectually. But speaking as a straight white man of comfortable income, the GOP isn’t going to do me any harm, personally. It’s everyone else who might eventually feel the pinch. This is where I remind all y’all that folks like me already get a ton of advantages; you don’t have to keep giving us more through the political process.

And I think this is why I find it very difficult to get worked up about this particular election one way or another. It’s basically a status quo election. Things might change, but not by much, and at the end of the day the essential problems of our political classes will not be fixed to any degree. This isn’t an epochal election, it’s just killing time until 2016.

Now, I could be wrong: I’m the first to say that my personal political crystal ball has been notably cloudy in the past. But this election doesn’t feel like there’s much there there. I’ll be voting. But this the least enthusiastic I’ve felt about it since I’ve been able to vote. Maybe that means something. We’ll see.

How to Boycott Me, I Mean, REALLY Boycott Me

So a few days ago, it was suggested to a faction of the hot, pathetic misogynist mess known as GamerGate that launching a boycott of Tor Books was a possible “action op” for them. This was quickly shot down, no doubt in part because the person suggesting it was Theodore Beale, and no one at this point actually gives a crap what he thinks about anything. However, last night I went on another Twitter tear on the subject of GamerGate, and I woke up this morning to a few chuckleheads bleating to Tor about what a terrible person I am, in order to, I don’t know, get Tor to talk to me sternly about having opinions on the Internet, because apparently Tor is my dad. So maybe this push to boycott Tor because of me has legs after all! Hooray!

That said, my takeaway from these furtive attempts to make me shut up about the fact that GamerGate is basically a bunch of terrible human beings being shitty to women, up to and including threatening them and publishing their personal information online in an obvious attempt to silence them is to be just a little bit sad. Not because a few of these human-shaped pieces of ambulatory refuse are trying to do it, but because they’re thinking too small about it.

I mean, seriously, boycotting just Tor Books? Why limit yourself? Sure, it’s the largest publisher of science fiction and fantasy books in North America and possibly the world, but it’s just one imprint of Tom Doherty Associates. There are several other imprints, including Forge, Starscape, Tor Teen and Seven Seas. You should boycott those, too. That’ll show me!

But even then, you’d be thinking too small. Tom Doherty Associates is itself just one appendage of the publishing giant known as Macmillan, with offices in 41 countries! It publishes thousands of books a year! What a target! You should boycott all of Macmillan. Man, I’m quaking in my boots just thinking about it. But even then, it’s small potatoes, for Macmillan is just one part of the mighty Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, with annual sales in the billions of euros. Boycott it all! No doubt all of Stuttgart shall fall into a shambles at the thought.

But even then you are not done, boycotters! For you see, I am crafty and have diversified my revenue stream. I have many publishers and many people I work with. You must punish them all for having me in their midst. All of them. And not just the tiny imprint or sub-company that works with me directly. That’s what a coward would do. And are you a coward? Well, yes, probably, because the tactics of GamerGate have been astoundingly cowardly right from the start. But still! Think big, my friends. Your boycott must not just take out a few targets, it must nuke them all from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

With that in mind, here are your other boycott targets:

In the UK I am published by Gollancz, which is part of Orion Publishing Group, which is in itself part of Hachette, which is part of Lagardère Group. Crush them!

In Germany I am published by Heyne, which is part of Random House, which is itself owned by Penguin Random House, which is jointly owned by Pearson and Bertlesmann. Squish them!

In audio, I am published by Audible, which is owned by Amazon. Surely it is worth giving up your sweet Amazon Prime subscriptions to make Jeff Bezos shake in his chinos!

But wait! We’re still not done. Because as you may know I have TV deals! One is with FX, which is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, which is part of 21st Century Fox (yes, it’s 21st Century Fox now. Look it up). You will need to boycott it all. Yes, even Fox News. Be strong! It’s for the cause!

Another is with Syfy and Universal Cable Productions, which is part of NBCUniversal, which is itself part of Comcast. So for this one, some of you will have to give up cable, and possibly your Internet connection. Keep your eye on the prize! It will be worth it!

My third TV deal is with Legendary TV, which is part of Legendary Pictures. And you’re thinking, whew, at least they aren’t part of a multinational corporation! True, but they make films that are distributed through a number of film studios, including Warner Bros (basically, all the DC Comics movies) and Universal. They also own both Geek & Sundry and Nerdist Industries. Noooooo! You can’t get your nerd on anymore! Stay focused! Your pain will make victory that much sweeter!

So, in short, in order to effectively punish my business partners for me having thoughts you don’t like, all you need to do is boycott three of the five major US publishers, two of the five major film/television studios (plus selected product of one of the other ones), and the largest single online retailer in the world. Which, well. It will keep you busy, at least.

Which, to be clear, I am fine with. While you are off whining to these corporations about me, perhaps you will be too busy to, you know, threaten death, rape and assault against women who also dare to express thoughts you don’t like. And you know what? I think that’s a fair trade.

So please: If you’re going to boycott a company because of me, at least do it right. Do it big. There are all your targets, laid out for you. Go get ‘em! I’ll be rooting for you, kids!

And in the meantime, just remember this:

Still true, people. Still true.

I’m Travelling to Chicago Today, So Please Enjoy This Fan Art of The Last Colony

It’s the scene with John Perry and General Gau, I expect. It’s by DeviantArt user “Sharksden,” whose art (including this) you can find here.

And that’s it from me here today, because as noted I am traveling to Chicago, where I will be doing my very last official Lock In tour stop, at the Seminary Co-op in Hyde Park, Chicago — literally just a couple hundred feet from my old dorm at the University of Chicago (which is no longer there — replaced by the business school. It’s a trade up, I think). If you’re in the area, I’ll be doing my thing at 6pm. Come on by and let’s close out this tour in style. Here are all the details.

It’s All Beautiful and Nothing Lasts

“It’s all beautiful and nothing lasts.” It’s a phrase that showed up in a dream of mine last night, as something I said to my wife as we were crossing a street in a big city. The street was where her father’s family’s farm used to be, in the dream — something that had some resonance in the real world, as her father’s family’s farm is now part of the Dayton International Airport. The dream me made the comment not about the farm in particular, but about life in general, prompted by the farm turned city street.

And it’s a true statement. All of it is beautiful, and it doesn’t last. I’m old enough now to be at the point where I see the movement of life, and me through it, to see people I like and love pass away and to see people I like and love grow up and become who they are. People move, stay and move again; houses become homes, and homes become vacant houses once more. Strangers become friends and sometimes become strangers again. Life happens and it’s a gorgeous thing — all of it, even the annoying parts — and it doesn’t last. It’s all temporary and doesn’t stay.

Before you ask: I’m fine. Everyone around me is fine. Even my pets are fine. Indeed, generally speaking, life is very good. If I had to peg a predicate cause for any of this, it would be going to a memorial service of a distant relative yesterday, who I knew only from family reunions, and coming across a comment in a discussion thread from my friend Jay Lake, which because it was part of a back and forth with several other people, momentarily gave the illusion that he was still with us, alive and engaged. But I think it’s just simply more that I’m now aware that life moves, and I do too.

One thing I think is worth noting is how my brain phrased the statement: “It’s all beautiful and nothing lasts.” This is a qualitatively different statement than it would have been if the dream version of me had said “it’s beautiful but nothing lasts.” That to me feels defeatist — what’s the point of acknowledging the beauty of life if it just goes away. That fact that it doesn’t last is why you should acknowledge it: it won’t stay, it will be gone and you will be gone, too. But while you live, that beauty exists and it is there for you to love and cherish, and to be a part of and to add to if you can.

It won’t last. Nothing lasts. But it’s here, and you should be here for it, and in it.

Thank you for being part of it, in this moment. I appreciate it, and the moment we’re sharing. I hope you do too.

The Doubleclicks Tell You How to Do Kickstarter

And they’ve done an unsurprisingly thorough job of it. If you’ve ever wanted to do your own Kickstarter/crowdfunded project, you’re going to want to read this. What I particularly like is that it emphasizes the fact that Kickstarting a project is a tremendous amount of work, which is a thing I think a lot of people gloss over to wallow in the idea of Kickstarter/crowdfunding as this sort of cosmic ATM that just shoots free money at people. Doesn’t quite work that way, folks. Trust the Doubleclicks on this one.

Reminder: I’m in Chicago Next Tuesday, 10/21, at the Seminary Co-op in Hyde Park, 6pm

Yes, if you’re in or around the University of Chicago — my alma mater — or, heck, just in the city of Chicago in general, come on down and see me. This is the very last official stop of the Lock In tour, and after this I have no more scheduled public appearances until 2015. So if you want to see me this year, this is the time and the place.

Here are all the details. See you there!