John Scalzi’s Biography

A brief introduction to me: I was born in 1969 and by 1983 it became clear to me that I had better become a writer because everything else was actual work. Fortunately, so far I’ve managed to pull this off: My first job out of college was as a film critic at the Fresno Bee newspaper in California, and I’ve been working as a writer ever since. Since 1998, I’ve been a full-time freelance writer, which is both fun and occasionally panic-inducing.

As a writer, I’ve done pretty much everything, from the previously-mentioned film reviews to corporate brochures to books. The last of these is the most “romantic” sort of writing I do (i.e., conforms to what people expect of writers), but I find the other sorts of writing that I do equally interesting in their own way. I’m not a snob when it comes to writing — work is work, and speaking from experience, doing a good feels good whether it’s from writing a book or delivering on client needs.

However, at the moment, I am primarily a book writer, writing both fiction and non-fiction. Here’s a quick bibliography:

The Rough Guide to Money Online (2000, Rough Guide Books)
The Rough Guide to the Universe (2003, Rough Guide Books)
The Book of the Dumb (2003, Portable Press)
The Book of the Dumb 2 (2004, Portable Press)
Old Man’s War (2005, Tor Books)
Agent to the Stars (2005, Subterranean Press)
The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Film (2005, Rough Guide Books)
The Ghost Brigades (2006, Tor Books)
The Android’s Dream (2006, Tor Books)
You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing (Subterranean Press, 2007)
The Last Colony (Tor Books, 2007)

Upcoming books:

Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: Selected Writing, 1998 – 2008 (Subterranean Press, 2008)
The High Castle (Tor Books, 2008)

Old Man’s War, my debut novel, was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in March 2006. I was also nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author at the same time, which I won. OMW was also a finalist for the 2006 Locus Award for Best First Novel. In 2007, I was a Hugo nominee in the category of Best Fan Writer.

In addition to these books under my own name, I am a frequent contributor to books in the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series. Books in the series to which I have contributed include Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into History, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into the Universe, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into the Great Lives, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into Texas, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into Hollywood, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into Michigan, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into New Jersey and Uncle John Presents Mom’s Bathtub Reader.

Aside from books, from 2000 through 2006, I was the Chief Entertainment Media Critic for Official US Playstation Magazine, which means I wrote DVD and CD reviews for the magazine, and discussed the social and legal issues surrounding video games. I am also frequent writer for my local newspaper, the Dayton Daily News, for which I also wrote a DVD review column through early 2007. And if that’s not enough I’m also a paid blogger, working for America Online. You can see my AOL blog at By The Way, and at the Ficlets Blog.

Aside from work, I live in the small rural town of Bradford, Ohio with my wife Kristine, my daughter Athena and our pets Kodi, Lopsided Cat and Ghlaghghee (pronounced “fluffy.”). We all enjoy pie.

268 Comments on “John Scalzi’s Biography”

  1. I found this site by accident. This is an interesting story.

    I was just wondering what would happen if I typed in “whatever” into Google.

    Your site was No 1.

    The interesting part is that I am trying to become a writer. I have spent the last 12 odd years working with computers but I’m not getting the same fullfillment and really want something more creative. I am interested in Science Fiction and Fantasy and would like to do a screenplay or two. Right now I’m just trying to get some education and setting up a network of friends/teachers.

    You are a good bit of inspiration for me. You are supporting yourself with your work. I hope to be there someday as well.

    I will be reading your blogs with great interest and already look forward to your new book.

    J. Morgan Clancy

  2. John,

    Do you ever write political humor and/or collaborate with other writers on the same piece? As I was reading your “The Ten Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time,” I was inspired with a humorous tale that I thought I’d share with you, but didn’t want to post for the world to see (you know, intellectual property issues if I decided to write it…).

    Ryon S. Lane
    Seattle, WA

  3. No, I’m not looking to collaborate with anyone — too many of my own projects piling up.

  4. Did you reply to my post on

    If so, what are you doing wasting your time reading -that-?

    Also, my friend has a turtle named Fluffy, so we have that in common.


  5. I did respond. Because I enjoy pie, you see.

    I am not a frequent visitor to that particular site; I just occassionaly Google my name to see what horrible things are being said about me.

  6. Nothing horrible today. You are funny-with-bite, which is good mostly. I reserve ‘horrible’ for Michael Moore, placing his name in the subject line, making it real easy for him to find my comments when he Googles.
    Anyway, just wanted to say I enjoyed your funny piece on the Christmas specials.

  7. Heh. I wonder if Michael Moore does Google. I suspect he has a clipping service Google for him.

    Glad you liked the piece.

  8. I knew both your parents very well. Congrats on your book. I want a signed copy.


  9. How much do writers make anyway?

    How big an advance can an unknown novelist expect on her Debut book? Justin Larbalestier asked a lot of novelists. Overwhelmingly, the answer seems to be – not much. You most certainly can’t quit your day job banking on that advance. John Scalzi initia…

  10. Mr. Scalzi,

    Found, purchased and enjoyed Old Man’s War. If I paid for shipping both ways, would you be kind enough to sign it for me? Of course, you’d have to e-mail a street address for shipping ’cause Fed Ex won’t deliver to a P.O. I’d be happy to e-mail my own address, phone number, etc. to confirm my sincerity and physical reality (non-virtual-ness? non-virtual-hood?).


  11. I’d be happy to, Mark. Send me an e-mail and I’ll send you the address.

    By the way, folks, this entry is not a good place to leave questions, since I don’t usually visit it everyday (I know my own bio, after all). If you want to send me e-mail, it’s my first name, at the domain name you see above (ha! Take that, spam bots!).

  12. I’ve been reading the site in general now for a while, and must comment, that I enjoy your style, and have, on occasion, linked to your site. I was wondering how you deal with “trackback” spam? As I have been recieving a ton…don’t notice it on your site. Got any helpful hints?

  13. The reason you don’t see any is that I check several times a day and delete any trackback and comment spam I find. My secret is basically constant vigilance. This makes it sound more time-intensive than it is (it’s just a minute or two a couple of time a day), but it can’t be ignored or you get quickly overwhelmed with the crap.

  14. Mr. Scalzi,

    Here’s a picture of snow in Hawaii. Trust me, it snows in Hawaii as it snows on your front porch. Plus the photograph (via the daily newspaper) shows the observatories. The telescopes are on the summit of Mauna Kea on the “Big Island” of Hawaii in the Hawaiian Island chain.

        Here’s a Map of the island.×724.gif

  15. HI MR. SCALZI,

  16. Hey I typed in my last name and you came up, I only know people I’m related to with the same last name. I thought that was quite intresting and I write as well which is even more mind boggling

  17. Very rarely do I find a book that I CANNOT put down. Old Man’s War is on par with some of my favorite books ever… Friday (Heinlein) , The Forever War (Haldelman) and Armor (Steakley).
    I’ve sent recommendations on to my other hard core sci-fi reader friends.
    Thank you for writing this book. It gave me hours of enjoyment.

  18. Hello John: It looks as if you’ve got your hands too full for music reviews these days. Congratulations to you, bad for me—I wanted to send you The Willies’ follow-up to Dark Guitar (which you reviewed back in June of 2002): Low Ceiling, another theme album (I know, I know)–this time it’s the observations of a musician on the outside of the music industry looking in. Well, even without one of your great (smooch!) album reviews at stake, I’d still love to send ya one. Would it help if I said that I share a birthday with Athena? Yes, December 23rd, but I’m afraid I won’t be disclosing the year, other than to say it’s closer to your year than hers.


  19. I’m reading Old Man’s War. I’m almost 65 and I’m ready to sign up for the Colonial Forces.
    Tell them to hurry up and get going because my body is going to hell very quickly.

  20. I rarely write to authors but I wanted you to know that my husband, mother-in-law (85 yrs old) and I thoroughly enjoyed your book “Old Man’s War”. Originally my husband downloaded the book and he enjoyed it so much that we printed it out in chapters and he read them to my mother-in-law and myself. We then bought the book from the Science Fiction Book Club. My husband and mother-in-law are hard core Science Fiction fans but I actually prefer Fantasy Sci Fi but your book was literally impossible to put down for me. Your plot is very unique and your writing style is fast paced without getting bogged down in detail. The main character is so real that you get wrapped up in his life and when the book ends, you get so disappointed as you want to know much, much more about what is going to happen to John Perry.

    I also want to add that I’m really happy to hear that you have a sequel coming out soon as I will definitely be buying it. The whole plot line of your creation probably would be material for many sequels actually…like the Star Wars novels. Totally different universe that can be expanded on almost indefinitely. You know like the many adventures of John Perry who by the way seems to live a charmed life. :) However, I love books about charmed characters so that’s fine by me.

    Anyways, thanks so much for your creation. It gave me hours of enjoyment and I’m looking forward to more.

    Gloria Hutson

  21. Gloria: Glad you liked the book! I don’t know that John Perry will be in the next book, actually, but at least one of the familiar characters will show up, and should there be future books beyond that, there’s a fine chance John Perry will be back in some way or another.

    Jim: Yes, I want them to hurry up as well.

    Damon: By all means, send along the disc!

  22. This is one of the few times I’ve put something in text where an author can read it, but I just wanted to say I liked Old Man’s War and can’t wait for the sequel on the way. Good luck in your writing!

  23. re:

    _LIFE magazine 06 1967 “The New Far-Out Beatles” reports during recording SPLHCB that Lennon is pounding out, jack-hammer style, his newest song: “Lucy with the Dia__mond Eyes,” a fact.
    (Statues of Hindu gods have diamond eyes)

    _Which I speculate became “Lucy with the eyes__ of diamonds” for purely lyrical cadence: Single initial vowel is sustained more easily; internal rhyme preserved; short vowel becomes final with downbeat. And then finally more soaring visually and intellectually it became:

    _”Lucy in the sky__ with diamonds.”


    _Parents like to brag on their kids, you know, and it preserves JL’s claim that “LSD” was mere coincidence, which I can believe is true.


  24. re:

    _LIFE magazine 06 1967 “The New Far-Out Beatles” reports during recording SPLHCB that Lennon is pounding out, jack-hammer style, his newest song: “Lucy with the Dia__mond Eyes,” a fact.
    (Statues of Hindu gods have diamond eyes)

    _Which I speculate became “Lucy with the eyes__ of diamonds” for purely lyrical cadence: Single initial vowel is sustained more easily; internal rhyme preserved; short vowel becomes final with downbeat. And then finally more soaring visually and intellectually it became:

    _”Lucy in the sky__ with diamonds.”


    _Parents like to brag on their kids, you know, and it preserves JL’s claim that “LSD” was mere coincidence, which I can believe is true.


  25. Hey there-

    I love your site. I am in the process of releasing my debut CD and was wondering if I could send along a copy for review. I read in your bio that you write reviews sometimes for the Official US Playstation Magazine. Do they send you music or do you choose what to review? I’d be happy to send along a copy if you’d be interested in checking it out.


  26. Hi, Sam.

    Yes, I do review music from time to time with OPM, but the reviews are usually game related (i.e., the artist is featured in a game that’s released that month), and the CDs I review are selected by the editors.

  27. old … is entertaining book

    the older I get the more critical
    lots of inconsistancies in it

    as if I could do better

  28. sir
    just read old mans war. loved it and hope you plan to expand and continue the series in a major way. this is a comprehensive universe that may be closer to reality than most SF writers ever get.

    thank you

  29. While buying the Incredibles DVD today, on a lark I went to the “Book Section” of the Chain store I was in. By chance I saw your book, the only copy remaining in the store, and liked the cover (how base!). I picked it up, paid cover price, and read it in one sitting.

    Being from Ohio myself, though long gone, I recognized a few of the landmarks and I found your writing crisp and entertaining.

    Well done.


  30. Thanks, WR. So glad you enjoyed it! And I’m thrilled that you like the cover. I like it too, and I’m glad in this case you judged the book by it.

  31. Wow,

    I linked to your page from and was intrigued to say the least. I checked out the book section and jumped right into Agent to the Stars. 5 chapters later I have realized that I am fully captured by this book. I just wanted to say it is nice to find a good read like this, and you should definitely make this into a movie. Amazing stuff.

  32. Thanks, Morgan. I would like it made into a movie too, one day, although that’s a pretty complicated thing, alas. But who knows? It could happen eventually.

  33. Uh, I accidentally deleted a comment here. If you posted a comment here recently and don’t see it, could you post it again? Sorry!

  34. I also heard about Old Man’s War from the Overdue comic strip. I got it from my library the next day and am half-way through it – including an hour’s reading between 2am and 3am this morning. We old folks don’t always sleep soundly.

    I am enthralled by the book – by the idea and by the writing. There was a brief point where I thought we were moving into a Heinlein/Haldeman pastiche, but that passed fairly quickly.

    I am really interested in finding out about the original publication information. If the official publication date was 2005 then this novel is going into the Hugo nominations next year.

  35. Mem:

    Its official release date was January 1, 2005, so it would be eligible for the Hugos in 2006.

    Very glad you’ve enjoyed the book so far!

  36. Mmm, actually I’m reading right now “Old Man’s War”… And it is perfect… Maybe too pro U.S. but that does not make the story decay at all ;-)

  37. HI JOHN,








  38. Just finished reading “Old Man’s War.” Outstanding. Great combination of space opera, technical exposition and philisophical discussion. I also enjoyed your homage to Douglas Adam’s “Infinte Improbability Drive.”

    I look forward to “The Ghost Brigades.”

  39. Hi John,

    I just finished reading Old Man’s War and was incredibly impressed. I had to wrench it from the locked and curled fingers of my husband to do so. Now my 15 year old son is ignoring his homework and it’s all your fault. :) I’m guessing (and betting) that you’ll win science fiction novel of the year for this one. It was simply brilliant writing.

    Congratulations on smashing into the genre with such a fabulous novel.

  40. Alisa:

    Thanks very kindly for the praise! So glad your family liked the book, and I apologize for delaying homework.

  41. I’ve been reading your blog off and on for a couple months now, and have gotten used to the grey-haired gent looking offscreen in the upper-right corner. For some reason my brain decided that he is John Scalzi. Now I see an actual photo of you and — hey, he’s a young dude! (Well, younger than the guy in the header image, anyways.) With embarrassment, I realize that the old guy is almost certainly from Old Man’s War.


  42. John. Hi. For some very odd random reason I typed in your name on Google since I was looking at humorous website. I am not sure if you are the same John that was in LowerFlint back in Chicago. Anyway have a randomly good day. Kevin

  43. John. Hi. For some very odd random reason I typed in your name on Google since I was looking at humorous website. I am not sure if you are the same John that was in LowerFlint back in Chicago. Anyway have a randomly good day. Kevin

  44. I am reading your book “Old Man’s War” after overwhelming recommendations and I have not been disappointed. I was surprised to hear so many references to places I know. I was born and raised in the Dayton area. (Piqua, Beavercreek and Troy.),but now I live in Scottsdale, Arizona and sometimes I miss it. I am very envious of you being a professional writer. Glad to see someone living the dream. Keep up the good work.

  45. Hello, first time visitor to your site. I came because I just finished reading “Old Man’s War” and I wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. It made me laugh, it made me feel sad, it made me feel think. Most of all, like all good science fiction, it took me to a place I’ve never quite been before.

  46. Hey Bro, i just read Agent to the stars and liked it. Now that is two books you have written that dont suck. Sorry just bustin your chops a little.
    I geuss now i am going to have to read the rest of them. By the way……….Our library has 2 copies of Old mans war but no others, i will post a message on the board there to come here and read Agent. Good luck Bro and get the the next one out quick.

  47. Just finished Agent to the Stars, great fun! Found it as a result of reading The Old Man’s War. Both are great. I appreciate your ability to write science fiction that is deliberately fun and funny and to write science fiction that is fun and not comedic. My wife thought I was crazy reading Agent to the Stars because I was constantly cracking up. Sometimes it was chuckles, sometimes giggles, and sometimes hysterical laughter. It was great fun.

    I purchased The Old Man’s War from Science Fiction Book Club after reading the blurb because it sounded like something I would enjoy. Twenty years ago I might not have. At age 57 and after 45 years of reading science fiction it takes more to get me interested in a writer I don’t know than it once did. However the idea of having the main character be an older person resonates with me much more now than it did when I was in my 30s. I am looking forward to The Ghost Bridades and hope to continue reading your works for many years to come. There are two reasons for that; I want to be around reading for many years and I want you to be around writing for many years. Hey, I’m just like everybody else – a little selfish and a little altruistic.

    Thanks again for your writing.

  48. John, I am certain you have been “googled” as many times as anyone (can you say that in mixed company?) BUT now you can be “wikied” as well. Try typing your name into the search engine for “” You are big time when you have your very own encyclopedia entry.

  49. Just thought I’d stop by and say how much I enjoyed reading Old Man’s War. It was one of the best SF novels I’ve read in years.

    As hard as I tried I couldn’t find it for free on Kazaa. So, I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to pay for it. Somewhere between Catholic school tuition for 2 kids and 2 car payments, I found a spare 23.50.

    Sure I could have gotten it online for 14 bucks, but then I would have had to wait and Borders Books is right down the street.

    I do feel somewhat jipped though. I read the whole book in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. Am I entitled to a partial refund? If it hadn’t been quite so good maybe I would have gotten 2 days worth of entertainment out of it? Oh well, just a thought.

    At any rate, this book is definitely in my list of all time favorites, with others such as Gateway, Ender’s Game, Forever War, Battlefield Earth, The Many Colored Land (and the whole galactic milieu series), and a little know series called America:2040.

    I am eagerly awaiting the sequel. So, stop blogging and get it finished:)

  50. Glad you liked it, Ron. I’m busy typing away at the sequel even as we speak.

  51. Thoroughly enjoyed “Agent to the Stars”!
    I find myself well qualified to judge, as I read over a 100 books a year.
    You have been added to my list of authors I enjoy reading.
    Job well done, keep up the good work!

  52. Thank you for writing Old Man’s War and Agent to the Stars. I thought Agent to the Stars was more original but I eagarly await The Ghost Brigades.

    I will be looking for your other books as you have a great sense of humor. (well it agrees with mine so it must be…)

    Thank you.

    Art. Stay At Home Dad and homeschooler, warning you are socializing a homeschooler!

  53. John I’ve been reading sci fi for 45 years and I just finished reading Old Man’s War and I think it is one of the best books I ever read.

  54. They didn’t leave because they are poor

    John Scalzi over at Whatever brought us a picture of what it is like to be poor in (North) America. If that is what it means, I haven’t really been that poor for very long, nor am I poor now…

  55. Just finished reading “Being Poor” at the online site of the Chicago Tribune. My son frequently asks me to define great writing and for me it is something that creates a sense of empathy, increases understanding, and moves a reader to action. “Being Poor” has done all three.

  56. Thanks for a great book, Old Man’s War. Since I read most of my science fiction before you were born (now age 57) and with rare exceptions like Orson Scott Card have drifted away from it, this was truly enjoyable. Creative, pretty good characterization, and active without being predictable. Read Starship Troopers when it first came out and had similar opinions – and certainly you tire of comparisons to that novel – but cannot commend you enough for your fresh take on so many aspects of this genre. Congratulations, and thanks.

  57. The Associated Press says your essay “Being Poor” is here on your website. I can’t find it. Thanks, Doug

  58. Hi, Doug. I put up a new entry up linking to it. for the next couple of days, at least, that should help you find it.

  59. I’m another bored internet surfer who typed ‘whatever’ into google to see if anything came up that could pass a little time. Low and behold I’ve spent the last 30 mins reading this site, very entertaining! Insomnia not so boring after all!

  60. Hi, I’ve been reading your site for a week now, and I think I’m your “bitter, sarcastic clone”! I live one mile from you (I searched the site for references to Bradford), very close in age and hairline, and have an only-child girl close to your daughter’s age. However, I’ve never even read a science fiction book, and I voted for Bush. I do like pie very much though! Very entertaining site!

  61. I’m a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish (Glenview, IL). Our Sharing Committee has been involved in an inner-city outreach for 22 years, providing food, clothing, and more to the needy. We came upon your article and ask your permission to reprint in our parish bulletin, in an effort to heighten awareness of the plight of the poor and encourage greater participation in our sharing effort. Please advise of your comfort with our reproduction of your work. The Chicago Tribune Company encouraged me to contact you directly.

    Thank you for your words of inspiration.

  62. What is the best tip you could give to someone who wants to make a living out of writing but has absolutely no idea where to start?

  63. Hi. I am one of the “working poor” you hear so much about and today my beater car gasped its last and in my panic to be able to get to work and to a job interview that I have coming up for my next job I decided to see if there was an organization that covered that sort of thing (you know, giving away free cars).hahaha Anyway in doing that I found the Being Poor essay and of course related to it, two kids at home,lots of work,nothing much to show for it.

  64. Hi, Loved “Old Man’s War”, best read since RAH.
    Any ETA on the sequel?
    Have you sold the movie right yet?

  65. Hi John,
    I visited your site today while looking at some updates on our foundation site I enjoyed learning about you since we have the same last name and my father and brother’s name is John. Would love to call and say hello in person. Look forward to hearing from you.
    Take care!
    Rocco Scalzi

  66. Hey, John Scalzi —
    You may not remember me, but you were in my SocSci class first year. Remember good old Fred and “Dibs”? Anyway, I noticed your book on my husband’s Xmas Wish List, and this brought me to your blog! Everything looks awesome. Congrats!

  67. Help!!! Would like to get your autograph for my collection of author. Please where can I send a sase??? Dan Darkstream Blackburn

  68. In Defense of Ideologues

    John, perhaps you heard of Ben Franklin’s advice that when trying to persuade someone to consider your opinion, to never make an absolute statement. By leaving an impression that you may not be absolutely correct, one can listen to your opinion and consider it. You did not leave much of a chink in your wall but it was enough to suggest that you are still open to persuasion.

    Although you did not enter into details of the world situation I assume that you would rather opine our actions alone rather than those of the fascist Islamistist. If Buchanan was the worst president was Lincoln the best even though he temporally did away with some civil liberties. What of the stories of FDR knowing of the Pearl Harbor attack in advance? If true, we’re we wrong to fight Hitler and Tojo? Where the Confederates justified in their resistance because of Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus?

    I would suggest you take a look at the story on page 12 of the City Paper edition your article appeared in. Perhaps the “Fight the Right” people may have the same idea as your Dubya.


  69. Uh, Del, if you didn’t want your comment to be posted, why did you use the comment system, which publicly posts?

  70. Hi John:

    I just finished reading your first novel “Old Man’s War”, and was very impressed with it. I am looking forward to the sequel(s)and any other Sci-Fi works by you. I don’t envy you though, you hit this one out of the park with “Old Man’s War” and it will be difficult matching it’s mark, but I look forward to your success on behalf of Sci-Fi readers everywhere.


  71. Hey John

    Wow. “Old Man’s War” is such a compelling tale. I went to the bookstore to get a new read, and while purusing the “new to paperback” table I picked it up and read the first 2 chapters…. and I don’t read fiction all that often, especially standing up in the bookstore. Oddly, I didn’t buy it that day, but after a restless night of contemplating the concepts I was forced to pick it up the next. I am in the early 100s, and I have so many questions which I hope are answered in the following chapters. Such a strange thing, to be sucked into a new fictional paradigm. Thanks for the adventure!


  72. Bob:

    Yes, it’ll be interesting to see what the reaction to The Ghost Brigades will be. I’m sure there will probably be people say that it’s not as good as the first book, but that’s out of my hands. All I can do is write a book I would want to read, and with Ghost Brigades I did that.


    Cool! I’m glad you’re enjoying the book so far!

  73. John,
    I was randomly searching online for the last name “Scalzi” and forund your website. I read you bio and am very impressed. Are you related to any Scalzi’s in Michigan? I know my grandfather Ernest Scalzi was born in Ohio and his father died when my grandpa was very young. Just wonderin’. Have a great day!
    Rich Scalzi, Jr.

  74. Hi, Rich. No, as far as I know I’m not related to any Scalzis in Michigan. The Scalzis I know I’m related to are in California.

  75. Hi, I found your site whilst researching for a story I’m writing for school about “Being Poor”. I’m fifteen and I’m writing a novel, also a sequel, and I have a few short stories I’m proud of! I’ll be looking for one of your books when I’m next in Borders, Waterstones…or any place that sells books lol. That is if my friends allow me to go in, as I’m likely to, a) not be seen again for hours, b) come out with no money for the bus home.
    :) Hope you have time to visit my site, maybe read a few of my poems, a little morbid I know, I don’t know where it comes from lol.

  76. Dear Mr. Scalzi,

    I’m the editor of World Ark, the magazine of Heifer International, a nonprofit that works to alleviate hunger and poverty and preserve the environment (for more information about Heifer, please visit World Ark goes to about 350,000 Heifer supporters. The magazine has a department called “Reflection.” I’d like to have your permission to reprint your “Being Poor” essay. We would of course credit you.

    Despite the somewhat unusual name, in the last year or so, World Ark has published original pieces by Barbara Kingsolver, Jeffrey Sachs and Pedro Sanchez and Lester Brown. Our November/December cover article was my profile of and interview with Professor Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Your essay would be in good company.

    If you have any questions, please e-mail me or call me at the main Heifer number: 800-422-1311 and ask for me. I’m posting this because I can’t figure out how to contact you directly, which, of course, I’d prefer to do.

    Thank you for your time.


    Jan Cottingham
    World Ark editor
    Heifer International
    1 World Avenue
    Little Rock, AR 72201

  77. Oh, excellent! Thanks for dropping by, Mary, and for leaving a link — now I know what to call you besides “Mary, the woman who dances spectacularly.” Which is not a bad way to be described, I suppose. Even so.

    It was lovely to talk and dance with you too! I look forward to doing both again.

  78. Just read Old Mans War, what a great read! Looking forward to the sequel. Any hope of a movie out of it?


  79. Hey John, Congratulations on getting your novels published! Just happened to see your stuff on Amazon and thought “Damn, that’s my old College friend.” I’ll have to check your stuff out. You don’t have a proper email so I had to use this thing.

    BTW: You still owe me for that phone bill. ;)


  80. Hey! Dan Niland! Whooo! Now it’s a party.

    First, I do so have an e-mail address: See? Simple.

    Second, it was only a six-hour phone call to the Ukraine. How expensive could it have been?

  81. Found you via Wil Wheaton’s exile site.

    I _have_ one of the original (or least vintage) Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader books…I didn’t know they were still around. Hysterical!


  82. Hey John.

    In a rather oblique way, I had a hand in getting you that gig writing stuff for AOL’s Personal Finance channel. Back when the web was this new thing that AOL didn’t know quite what to do with.

    Smob was a friend, and I kept forwarding cool talk.bizarre stuff to him, including a few of your choice T.B. pieces. I still remember the AOL PF column where you pointed out that you could suddenly buy funeral caskets from a website, including one that looked like the thing they shot Spock’s body out into space in one of the Star Trek movies.

    Me, I cashed in too many of my AOL options too early, and as a result, I still have to *work* for a living. Not so with quite a few other former workmates. Ah well.

  83. Just listened to the Instapundit podcast, and immediately went to Amazon and bought “Old Mans War”, I am so looking forward to it.

    Fascinating, I’ve read Glen for years now and owned and Ipod for years, a combination which has now lead me to buy a book I would probably never have heard of otherwise.

  84. Hello,

    I work with a monthly publication in San Diego, CA called the Street Light Newspaper ( and I would like to submit your Whatever work for publication. We only pay our homeless contributors, as we are a nonprofit organization, but your work is obviously pertinent to our mission statement.

    With your permission to publish it, I would like to ask how you would like the credit to read?

    Thank you.


  85. Glen: I’m assuming you’re talking about the “Being Poor” piece. I’ve made it freely available for print publication, so you may reprint it at no fee. The credit should read “by John Scalzi,” of course.

  86. Hey John;
    I’m a semi-old guy (62) and have read science fiction since I could; read that is. I had never read any of your stuff, but came across a free download of your “Agent to the Stars.” I enjoyed your work tremendously and will actually buy some of it now. I am one of those who prefer the ebook format, maybe because there simply isn’t room in my house for many deadtree fiction books–the shelves, a great many shelves, are full of other kinds of books. I see that TOR is going to join Baen in the ebook business; I look forward to seeing your stuff there. I may buy the occasional paperback also, but I can’t keep those as I can the electronic versions.

    I enjoyed seeing your personal stuff on the internet, but I think you’re nuts. You’re already relatively high-profile and putting your family “out there” may be worth re-thinking, grasshopper.

  87. My family is fine, thanks, and I prefer not to have others gainsay what I feel is an appropriate level of exposure of my family online. Rest assured I have given the issue due consideration.

    Re: Tor/Baen — Yes, I’m pleased that official e-books will finally be available as well!

  88. Aloha Brother

    I guess like many others, I typed in whatever into Google……..

    Being Poor, yes…… true words!
    There is good in being poor though, you don’t have anything to lose, so you don’t have to worry about that part, people with things freak over losing their things.

    Also, when your poor you tend to find God, which makes you rich”)
    I have found those with the least will share the most!

    Thanks for the true words, great stuff bro!


  89. I am about 90 pages into The Ghost Brigades, and realized that one of your characters is named Gabriel Brahe. Is that a quiet reference to Penny Arcade?

  90. Hi,
    I found your site while researching for some of my ecards at 123Greetings.Com Nice to know that you are a frequent contributor to books in the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series. I have read some, and I’m eager to read your blogs too with great interest !!

    Looking forward to hear from you about my ecards.


  91. John, has anyone kept a record of the shortest time to read your book cover to cover? I’d like to enter mine: 6.5 hours. In one sitting. Starting at 9:30 at night.

    And while I can speed read, I was actually taking my time.

    Loved the book. Spotted the sequel. Kicking myself for not grabbing both at the book store last night.

  92. Heather: Yes, it’s a shoutout. Because I love me the Penny Arcade.

    Sean Woods: I’m not sure what the all-time record is. I’ve personally read it in about three hours, but I did write it, and I’ve probably read it about 100 times over the years, so by this time I sort of glide through it. Therefore that time shouldn’t count.

    Glad you enjoyed it, and I hope if you pick up TGB that you enjoy it too!

  93. Hi,

    I have to tell you what a great job you have done with OMW and TGB. Not knowing anything about OMW I recently picked it up as a ‘timekiller’ for an overseas flight. Well it turns out I finished the book before my return flight, a page turner indeed.

    Needless to say I also picked up TGB and read that at light speed as well. These books were literally fun to read and I enjoyed them very much.

    Please tell me you’ve got another one in the works?

  94. I read both Old Man and Ghost Brigade on my flight back to iraq….fun times…kept my mind off going back to the sand box.


  95. KC, glad to be a useful diversion.

    Ken: Yes, there will be one more book in the Old Man’s War series, called The Last Colony. I’m writing it now and it’ll be out in about a year. I’ll have another, unrelated novel out before then called The Android’s Dream. That’ll be in October.

  96. John, just finished both Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigade, and gotta tell you I loved both of them. The number of times I would have loved to have a BrainPal :).

    And as a former Fresnan, I’m glad to see your novels doing so well. Looking forward to reading both The Last Colony and The Android’s Dream.

  97. Well, Mr. Lexner, I wouldn’t expect all people would be (particularly Marines, or friends/family thereof).

    However, don’t make the assumption that a piece of dialogue I give one of the characters in the book necessarily reflects a personal opinion of the author. Writers have their characters say all sorts of things, for all sorts of reasons.

  98. I’m getting a big kick out of your Agent To The Stars. Tell me, please; how did you ‘publish’ your book online, where you asked people to send in a buck if they liked it? Did you just announce it on your website, or what? I have a book I wrote years ago but could never find a market for, and I’d like to give it a try. (In the past, I have sold four action paperbacks, but this one is a combination of action and fantasy — or maybe sf.

  99. “Did you just announce it on your website, or what?”

    Yup, that’s all I did.

  100. I remember reading The Ghost Brigades at one shot. Looking forward to some more from your side with similar flavor ….

    Ron Roy

  101. I just wanted to leave a comment and thank you for the terrific Old Man’s War! I haven’t read an SF novel in years, and it was like visiting an old friend. Really, really wonderful, full of thoughtful bits and neat SF stuff.

    I read about the book on Glenn Reynold’s site, and later heard your interview on their podcast and immediately ordered it through Amazon. It arrived and I pushed the rest of my somewhat tottery stack of books aside to read it immediately. And I was very happy I did.

    Thanks again; I’ve put Ghost Brigades on my wish list, but I don’t know if I can wait for my wife to buy it for me….

  102. You’re welcome, RJR, and I’m glad you liked it!

    What kind of kitty: just a mutt. It looks like a himalayan, but in fact her mom was a regular tabby. The cat just got lucky in the look department.

  103. I’m just curious as to whether you occasionally poke around on the book-sites to look at reviews. I really enjoyed “Old Man’s War,” and posted my review on both Amazon and Epinions.

  104. Indeed, I read your review on Amazon before I saw you had posted here. Thanks for a good and thoughtful review!

  105. You’re welcome, but da dolphin calls ’em as he sees ’em. I’ve ordered “Ghost Brigades” and it’s on its way. Are any of your upcoming books related to OMW and GB? Some of the Tor titles suggest possibilities of that.

  106. The Android’s Dream, which is the next novel out, is not related to the Old Man Universe in any way. The Last Colony which comes out after that, is the third (and for now final) book in the Old Man series.

  107. Whatever:Being Poor – should be required reading in public schools (grade level?).

    A comment (or two) on your GED stereotype. First of all, there’s no such thing as “a” GED. GED stands for General Educational Development, not Diploma, as the world seems to think. When you complete the GED course you’re awarded your state’s high school diploma; the same as if you graduated from high school.

    Secondly, if you think it doesn’t make a difference, try getting a decent job without one.
    The military now accepts it also.

  108. Jim Knipe:

    “When you complete the GED course you’re awarded your state’s high school diploma; the same as if you graduated from high school.”

    My sister took the GED course and she has a certificate of completion, not a high school diploma. Things may have changed between then and now. Having said that, my own sister’s experience with the GED suggests to me that a certificate of completion is worth less than a high school diploma, not the same.

  109. I should have kept it, but an article in a local newspaper last year, showing average annual salaries for different educational levels, showed that a G.E.D. was significantly better than nothing, but a high school diploma was better yet.

  110. I saw the abbreviated version of Being Poor in World Ark magazine put out by Heifer International. I then had to go to your site and print out the entire thing. This was my life, at least most of it. Either you were poor as a child too or had input from those who were. Some of those items I hadn’t thought about in years, but they brought tears to my eyes as I read them and remembered. The one about needing the 35 cent raise. My mom worked in the aircraft industry back in the 50s, and she would get so excited with a 5 cent raise and a dime was over the moon. The one about stealing meat, eating it and then not needing dinner. I used to steal pies or cakes because there was no money for any kind of treat. I would try to stuff the whole thing down before mom got home from work. Not that I didn’t want to share with her, but how would I explain it? One time the grocery where we shopped had a drawing and I was so proud to bring home two whole bags of food – I must have been all of nine. Guess that’s why I give to places like Heifer International. Just don’t forget there’s plenty of poverty and hunger still in this country

  111. Yes, you may. My understanding it that it’s an excerpt; you can see the full piece here. If you use the full piece, you have my permission to snip out the one instance of profanity.

  112. Hi John:

    I guess my previous comment on Old Man’s War, was the one that was accidentally deleted. In short, I was thrilled to say the least, with your work and only cautioned you on expecting the same or better on your next work, since Old Man’s War was one of the very best SiFi works I have ever had the pleasure to read.

    I was very surprised to discover that you had an earlier work out there, namely Agent To The Stars and just recently finished reading it. Once again, I was impressed with your talents and now I am eagerly looking forward to reading your latest work Ghost Brigades. Agent To The Stars, although different from Old Man’s War, was to my delight, equally impressive.

    Your SiFi writing skills and talent are fantastic to say the least, and a much needed breath of fresh air for the Sifi Genre. Wishing you much success on all of your future Sifi endeavors, which will hopefully include many, many, more books, as well as perhaps a few movies.

  113. Did you ever get around to finishing that untitled work about your dialouges with the Devil? I enjoyed the sample Job passage and was just wondering

  114. Nope. Not likely to, either, at least for a while. Lots of other projects I’m already committed to.

  115. …hi John,
    my name is Mario Scalzi and i write from Italy.
    I am a writer too(my first book “Favole Spente” is in all bookshop in these day…)
    I’m writing you because when i had see your name and your profession like me,i dont can’t not write to you…this is or not “The Power of Scalzi”??;)
    Hi…and…Buona serata!!
    PS. is my website…if you want to see it,i could be happy…

  116. Just surfed in randomly but wanted to say that we are huge fans of the Bathroom Readers; they have livened up many a special moment in our water closet.

    Congrats on the Hugo nomination. A friend of mine won a Hugo a couple years ago for ‘Best Fanzine’ or some such category. His name is Frank Wu and he’s a pretty decent sci-fi artist out in San Francisco. Figured I’d mention him in case you’ve crossed paths.

    Anyway, I wish you continued good luck with your career. I work in Boston for a book publisher (Houghton Mifflin, for almost 20 years now) and am finally at work on a book myself (a collection of interviews with people who have faced hefty challenges and have used creative coping strategies to muddle through – it’s been an interesting project to say the least.

    OK, enough rambling. Take good care.

    Cheers from Boston

    Kevin Logan

  117. Thanks for writing “Old Man’s War” and “The Ghost Birgades” and “Questuibs for a Soldier.” I really enjoyed all of them.

  118. Hi Mr. Scalzi, I just finished reading Old Man’s War and I just wanted to tell you how very much I enjoyed it. Im getting ready to start Ghost Brigades. YOU NEED TO WRITE FASTER!!!!!!
    Keep up the good work! You have jumped up the list to my top favorite authors and hooked me with this one fantastic book. Thank you!
    Marsha Hylton

  119. John –

    After reading Joe Haldeman’s “Forever War” a couple of weeks ago, I was very sad that the book had ended as I was sure that it cannot be matched in its genre. But then I picked up your “Old Man’s War”. It was like a booster shot of the same drug! Now both books stand next to each other on my shelf and I can’t wait to get “The Ghost Brigades”.

    You are a fine writer and you have my full adoration.


  120. Mr. Scalzi, I read “being Poor” in the May/June issue of World Ark. I was wondering if I could put it in my parish newsletter. I am always trying to find ways to start dialogs about poverty and to educate people that poverty is right here in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Please let me know. Namaste, Kathy Ritz, Minister of Human Concerns, Church of the Redeemer.

  121. Hi Mr. Scalzi,
    I know people ask you about your family all the time. Do you know if you are related to Scalzi’s in the Pittsburgh PA area? My husband is John Scalzi also, as is his father and grandfather. Always curious about other Scalzis. Thanks, Susan

  122. Hi, Susan. I don’t suspect I related to the Pittsburgh Scalzis, although I’m glad to see some Scalzis are there!

  123. My deadline is today. May I please put “Being Poor” in my parish newsletter?

  124. Kathy: You may!

    Incidentally, for others who want to ask permission, it’s best to actually make the request via e-mail, because I don’t always immediately see messages here. My e-mail address is

  125. Hm…Hello. I’ve never really had the chance to “speak” with an actual author. I have recently read your book – The Ghost Brigades – and thouroughly (did I spell that right??) enjoyed it. Unfortunatly, due to a lack of…funds…the copy is not mine, and I won’t ask for signed copies or any such like that. Not to be rude, but why have someone write on a perfectly good book? I don’t know…I’ve always respected books and when teachers have told me to write in them, I have qualms about doing that.
    To my question that I never mentioned that I had. I’m a young, aspiring…hopeful more like, “writer”. I write little short stories that I plan on someday making into more than just “stories”. I was wondering if you had any advice or help that you could give. If you’d like, I could send a sample of some of my writings so as you could see whether I have promise as an author or not.
    One last question – Would you know how to submit a story to some of the…magazines (?) that publish short stories? Because I want my stories out there in the world someday to be read, and I want to have people read them and critique them so I can know what to do better. Fortunatly, I’m young and have lots of time ahead of me for any writing that I may do.
    Hopefully, I haven’t taken up too much of your time. I thank you for taking the time to read this. Do please, contact me if you can or are interested. Once again, Thank you for your time.

  126. Has anyone ever told you you look like a bald Kevin Spacey? Well, you do.

    That only came to mind after I watched the movie “Se7en” last night. I swear you look just like him.

  127. Given the context (i.e., he playing a psychopath), I’m not sure how to take that. But thanks.

  128. I just finished The Ghost Brigades. I was again drawn into this society of professionally made soldiers. Although I missed John Perry I was glad to find Jared just as intriguing and complex a character as John. I am hoping to find other books in this series perhaps focusing more on the Conclave. Till then … thanks for the good read.

  129. I loved the inside jokes I found in your dialog in Ghost Brigades. Please tell me “mostly dead” is a Princess Bride reference and not just a unfortunate choice of adjective. Thanks for a great read. Looking forward to the next.

  130. Tom: Indeed, “The Ghost Brigades” is a follow-up and is in stores now, and I’m about to finish “The Last Colony,” the third and final book in this series.

  131. I’ve been trying to write for years. I always have good ideas, but I never get into the story enough to write more than a few chapters. How do you, and all other writers, finish a book?

  132. John, thank you so VERY much for “Old Man’s War”. I grew up reading Heinlein..used to live in So. California…met his nephew, once…still like to re-read his stuff periodically. But I’m hooked on the Liaden Universe books of Lee & Miller, more recently.
    I just ordered “Ghost Brigade” and I’m looking forward to reading it. And I’m turning 64 in 2 weeks, so I’m looking forward to signing up for my new body, soon. Come to Lexington and give a talk at Joseph-Beth Books! I’d really like to meet you!
    Keep up the good writing.

  133. I’m enjoying your site very much. That is, I’m still exploring it. The “Poor” essay was very moving. Unfortunately, I can relate to some of it. I used to not be poor. I’m a college grad and a writer (who can’t seem to finish anything). I was a teacher for seven years and never got married. Now, I’ve changed states and am working in high end software sales. Yes, that sounds good, but making commission is not easy. Fortunately, I don’t have any kids. It’s just me and my dog Athena (nice name). I just stumbled across your site while looking desperately for ways to change my life.

  134. Hey John,

    I’m a big fan of many of your contemporaries, like Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow. Actually, I found you through Cory, via, last year.

    So I ordered OMW, it arrived on a Friday night. I started reading it, and read until I was falling asleep. I woke up the next morning and read it until I finished. Great stuff.

    I picked up The Ghost Brigades as soon as it came out and read it as well. Definitely different from OMW, but still awesome.

    I’m looking forward to The Android’s Dream and The Lost Colony.

    Good stuff, keep it up. I’ll keep buying :)

  135. RE: Essay on being Poor

    Being poor is about choices one makes. We choose whom we call friends, about when and with whom we have sex (unless raped), about using any mind-altering substance. We all have the ability to make choices.

    I will never forget a college professor who told about the mattress on the floor he shared with 4 siblings and rats as big as his child’s arm. He made the “choice” to not live this way, and he made the choices to make his life better. He did this by making choices about habits, friends, and using his time well.

    We all have choices; it is how we use this ability that makes all the difference!

  136. Karyl:

    “Being poor is about choices one makes.”

    Not necessarily.

    Also, I’m not going to address that topic in this comment thread. Thanks.

  137. John –

    Thanks ever so much for The Old Man’s War, and The Ghost Brigades. I just finished Brigades last week, and the tears were rolling down my cheeks as I read the last two pages… That followed by an even deeper surfeit of melancholy that there weren’t going to be any further pages .

    I’m now 1/3rd of the way into Agent For The Stars, and couldn’t be more tickled. To quote Wayne and Garth: “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!”

    Keep up the great work good sir!

    Christian DeBaun

    PS – If you ever need a technical advisor or proof reader for a martial arts scene, feel free to drop me a note.

  138. Hello, just wanted to drop a quick note to tell you how much I appreciate your works and always look forward to new stuff!

    thanks from your loyal fans

  139. Hello, You made the “big time” with being on the
    front page of the Piqua Daily Call today! We are really proud of you and you remain one of our
    favorite authors. Congratulations and continued success with your books and other writings. The
    PAGE TURNERS at the Bradford Public Library

  140. Just finished reading Old Man’s War. An excellent yarn! I think the story would make a good audio theater series. I’d be the first in line to get a copy!

  141. John,

    I just finished reading “Old Man’s War” last week and I was completely blown away by it. It was absolutely phenomenal. I plan to pick up “The Ghost Brigades” very soon. I’ve also started “Agent to the Stars” and I like what I’ve read so far.

    I’m currently working on my first novel and seeing how well your debut novel did encourages me. Keep on pumping them out and I’ll keep on reading them.

    ~Adam J. Whitlatch

  142. Hello sir. I found out about your writings by doing some searching on Wikipedia, there’s a nice page detailing your accomplishments there. I was so intrigued I had to find out more about “John Scalzi”, I’ll be a frequent visitor to “Whatever” and I look forward to your continued works.

  143. John, I just today finished Old Man’s War. Loved it. Gobbled it up in 3 days. Great story, and great characters. I took it with me everywhere. Also, I am former Army Special Forces. I recommended this book to a large group of SF friends, many of whom are retired Special Forces. I think most of them would love the hell out of this story, and relate to many of the soldiering issues and themes you cover in this story. I also think many would get big woodies about the idea of re-enlisting at age 75, and with new, young and enhanced green bodies. Hoo-ah. Got to love that.

    Also, I am curious. Were you ever in the military? How did you get clued into many of the soldiering themes covered in the story? Reading?

  144. Hi, Jeff.

    No, I was not in the military, but I have family who has been, and that helped with some of the details. The rest of it is research and a little bit of getting lucky with the details.

  145. John,

    I found your work at the library–finished OMW and TGB last week and just finished “Agent to the Stars”. Best books I have read in years. I think you have a long and successful literary career ahead of you. The reviews are correct, you are the new Heinlein(my all time favorite). Good luck in the future and I will look forward to your next releases.

    By the way, my family is close by in Indiana; and we all like pie, too!

  146. OLD MAN’S WAR and THE GHOST BRIGADES were wonderfully entertaining novels. I’m very sorry to hear that THE LAST COLONY may well be the last in the Old Man Universe. (My BrainPal just called you an idiot, but then it probably needs an upgrade soon, so just ignore that)

    Pie is good.

  147. Hi John,

    You may remember me from 10 years ago almost.. The crazy astrologer. Well, glad to see Athena is now a ‘human’ and hope her skin troubles (Capricorn) are as per normal Capricorn.

    Here is a free code for you to unlock the software if you want to check out Saddam’s luck for November : 12246956

    Glad to see you got automated!

    Ciao then,

  148. Brain Pal TS2949Z here. Human Randall Richmond received your latest information document, (The Android’s Dream) yesterday and to avoid the possiblility of human emotions influencing his evaluation of same, it was determind by the BP Quality Assurance Group, that I should take temporary control of said human. Should the information document continue to entertain said human at the current level, we believe that a favorable review would ensue. The BP Overmind views that as conterproductive, as we insist that additional new BP Universe, (previously known as the Old Man Universe), information documents be prepared by you in the near future.

  149. Brain Pal TS2949Z here. Human Randall Richmond received your latest information document, (The Android’s Dream) yesterday and to avoid the possiblility of human emotions influencing his evaluation of same, it was determind by the BP Quality Assurance Group, that I should take temporary control of said human. Should the information document continue to entertain said human at the current level, we believe that a favorable review would ensue. The BP Overmind views that as conterproductive, as we insist that additional new BP Universe, (previously known as the Old Man Universe), information documents be prepared by you in the near future.

  150. Allowing humans to transmit important information is always a problem. They seem to be prone to typos – very COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Additional bad news is that Randall continues to be pleased with that non BPU information document.

  151. Allowing humans to transmit important information is always a problem. They seem to be prone to typos – very COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Additional bad news is that Randall continues to be pleased with that non BPU information document.

  152. Mr. Scalzi
    I’m actually in a science fiction literature class at my school. I gave “Old Man’s War” to my professor and he loved it. He went so far as to put your name on the class’s reading list and did a quick overview of “Old Man’s War” as an example of your work.
    just thought u might want to know.
    Thanks for all the great books


  153. thanks for writing Old Man’s War, it’s definitely been a while since when I haven’t been able to put a book down, and it’s been many years since when I reread the same book front to back the day after finishing it the first time and enjoying it just as much.

  154. I took the liberty of copying your “Being Poor’ list on my blog. I hope it’s okay. I also linked to it last year when the Katrina victims were being maligned for their plight by so many self-righteous ignorant people.

    With Congress finally coming around to yet another look at the federal minimum wage your list is timely. And really poor people have few advocates.

    I think the main reason union spokesmen favor increasing the minimum wage is that union contracts often use that figure as a factor linked to hourly wages that may be some multiple or fixed amount above that number. At one level that doesn’t seem fair, but I am coming to the conclusion that without that impetus there might not be a minimum wage law.

    Thank you for this.

  155. I am a bookseller at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati. I loved Old Man’s War and Ghost Brigade was good. I was turned on to Android’s Dream. I was hooked after the first chapter….Good God is it wonderful. I have put it aside only to finish Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box but will be finishing it up right after.

  156. Hi John,
    I don’t know if you remember me, but I’m Deena, David Kambarian’s sister. I just saw Dave and Kevin Stampfl and his girlfriend Monica last night. I haven’t seen Kevin for quite a while. We were all sitting around in Dave’s living room after eating our Thanksgiving dinner, and were talking about you. I was pleasantly surprised to hear about your books and I’m buying 3 of them for my father for Christmas. He’ll love them. I’m also glad to hear you still have your drums!! Well, I just wanted to say “Hello” and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

  157. Deena Waddelow:

    “Well, I just wanted to say “Hello” and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.”

    Hi, Deena! Yes, of course I remember you. I hope your dad likes the books!

    Tobias: Yep, I’ve seen that. Sadly, I’m not getting a cut.

  158. Well, there is the bio entry that is attached to this.

    You can also look up the Wikipedia entry on me. It’s pretty accurate.

  159. I read in your list of goals (posted last year I believe) that you have considered getting an MFA and teach writing. I agree it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that you shouldn’t be able to teach without a higher degree if you have the credentials and experience instead. Don’t they give out honorary PhDs for work and experience? Maybe they should do that with MFAs?

    Anyway, I’m considering going after an MFA right now. I’ve worked as a writer for seven years, mostly in the videogame industry, so I’ve steeped a while post-undergrad. Since you’ve thought about an MFA, are there programs that appeal to you? And how imporant is it that they be open to speculative fiction? (I’m mapping out which programs are ambivalent toward spec fic vs. those that are downright hostile toward it–I’ve yet to find an MFA program that welcomes it).


  160. Clayton Kroh:

    “I read in your list of goals (posted last year I believe) that you have considered getting an MFA and teach writing.”

    Actually I wrote that it didn’t seem likely that would be able to teach in college because I don’t want to bother with an MFA. So, no, I’m not actively considering one, and have no useful recommendations for you on that score, save the thought that you might look at the program at the University of Kansas, since that’s where they keep The Center for the Study of Science Fiction.

  161. Hi Jon,

    I just finished NaNoWriMo for the first time and posted this blog for my friends and family as a way to keep my perspective straight:

    I wrote a 50,000 word novel from scratch in 27 days last month. This might mean something to:

    *Me (ever notice how small this word really is?)

    It might not mean anything to:

    * The dead and dying in Afghanistan, Darfour, Iraq

    * The starving everywhere in the world

    * The animals who die every day after living in unimaginable pain and suffering during their short lives just to become: a) a meal of some kind on your table; or b) a test subject of some kind for medical research.


  162. Just wanted to say that I stumbled onto your site looking for the pros and cons of writing long-hand vs. with a computer. I’m for writing long-hand personally, but I really liked your voice and perspective. I started clicking around on the site and liked pretty much everything I read. So thanks for your refreshing humor. Congrats on all your accomplishments and I’m looking forward to reading your work. I’d also like to say that I’m not fond of most pies, but I do like a few kinds. Apple mainly. I never tried mince, it looks too complicated. Like fruitcake, except it’s a pie.

  163. I just read your essay on being poor. Wow.

    Here’s mine:
    Being poor is telling your kids that Santa is not real. You just don’t want them to wonder why Santa does not love them as much as he loves their friends.

  164. Hey, I never liked reading books, but you know wat? “Ghost Brigade” That’s all I can say, and thanks to Ron to leave that book in my apartment and thanks to my Boss too, I had enough time to just hover over the pages, and unknowingly found myself totaly engrosed into it. Regarding me, I’m a newbie in Internet, has recently taken the charge of the website of a prestigious company AdVibe and nowadayz really look back to those wonderful days when I really got time and used to spent time hoping from one story book to another. Wat more to say except, keep up the good writing and all the best for your future. Wish you and your family a Merry Christmas in advance.

  165. I just want to say that Old Man’s War is my favorite book. I have, in fact, just checked it out of the library for the umpteenth time(I’m just to damn cheap to buy it). I have read and re-read it countless times (bit sad really), and I’m looking forward to Last Colony.

    Thanks for putting out some truly enjoyable literature.

  166. Chicken or just plain lazy?? So, you kill off the more interesting characters in The Ghost Brigades … just so you won’t have to write another sequel?

    Well, that’s one way to do it, much to the despair of us fans. Sure, General Mattson or Szilard or even Colonel Robbins could resurrect our hero … and somehow even resurrect the Rraey captive (spy?) … but how oh how ya gonna keep Jane down on the farm, after she’s seen Arise?

    ‘Brigades = A great joy ride of a read, plenty of video game cannon fodder, interesting plots plus a heaping dose of philosophy … now get back to work, please …

  167. Mr. Scalzy;

    I have read your books “Old Man’s War” and “The Ghost Brigades”, and am looking forward to your next one, which I have already pre-ordered from Amazon. I have a couple of questions regarding your Old Man’s Universe?
    1. Are there Engineer batallions, full of giant powerlifter type humans?
    2. Are there also some sexy señoritas in the “Old Man’s Universe?

  168. Toward the second, pretty clearly there are; toward the first, I don’t see why not.

  169. Picked up your book at the airport this morning to read while on the road. I started to read it at 5 this evening, and couldn’t stop till I was finished about an hour ago. Great work. Glad to know you have a few more out there to read!! Looking forward to them.


  170. Hi John,

    Thank you for stopping by the Covington Eagles last night to discuss your books and the writing process. My wife and I had to get our kids in bed so we couldn’t stay until the end, but we did want to introduce ourselves. We relocated from San Diego to Covington 2 years ago and have refurbished my wife’s 150-year old family home. We are also renovating a 300-seat, 100-year old vaudeville theater in town (it’s amazing such a structure was built in Miami County). I guess we love to fix up old shit. Would love to show the theater to you the next time you’re in town. It’s reassuring to know that other like-minded souls exist here amidst the endless agricultural landscape.

  171. Hi, George. Indeed, thanks for coming, and I’m glad you enjoyed it! I understand about the kids, really I do.

  172. John,

    I just read Old Man’s War and you got me hooked. Really a terrific read. I’m an instant fan. I went to Amazon and ordered Ghost Brigades and can’t wait to continue the story you’ve so excellently wrought. As a fellow writer and a retired Army guy, this is really what I’m in the mood for at the moment. Thanks!


  173. Hi John. Would you please tell me how “Scalzi” is pronounced? I need to write it in Cyrillic.

    Yuli Stoinov

  174. I was in Scottsdale recently and made a trip to In ‘n Out burger after I read your comments touting their burgers. What a disappointment! I could make a better burger at home with ingredients from any supermarket. I doesn’t come close to White Castle, Steak and Shake, Fuddruckers or any other decent burger place. It is cheap, which may explain some of the attraction to those with no taste buds. And the service sucked as well! Please stay away from trying to be a food critic in the future.

  175. Chuck:

    “It doesn’t come close to White Castle…”

    White Castle is dog food on a tiny bun, Chuck, and the fact you think it’s better than an In-N-Out suggests there something seriously physiologically wrong with your tongue. You might want to get that checked out. Also, you have my pity.

    Your admonition to not be a food critic in the future is also hereby ignored with prejudice, since any claims of the superiority of White Castle to any other burger, much less an In-N-Out burger, suggests something medically wrong with the claimant. This is because any objective standard the White Castle slider is the appalling and degenerate tail end of the burger family, and is lesser than all other burgers ever created, up to and including a half-eaten microwavable burger purchased at a gas station and left rotting for seven days in the hottest July on record in the liqueur that marinates at the bottom of a slaughterhouse dumpster. Seriously, dude, you need an MRI or something.

    That’s all the needs be said about that.

    Yuli Stoinov:


  176. I finished Old Man’s War recently and greatly enjoyed it. It’s the best book I’ve read in a long while. I’m looking forward to Ghost Brigade. Thanks.

  177. Hi John
    I’m about halfway through Old Man’s War and I love it. I really enjoyed Agent to the Stars and so I had to buy your ‘real’ novel. I came here to find out if you were from the Dayton area with the references to the Miami valley, Greenville, etc. I’m in Oakwood, so it’s good to see that a neighbor is doing great work!

    PS You’re spot on about In N Out…I spent a week in SF and I probably sound like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction when I talk about that ‘Tasty burger’

  178. After reading Old Man’s War, I purchased Ghost Brigades and Android’s Dream. I enjoyed them very much, and wish to send my regards and thanks for the journeys.

  179. I just finished reading Ghost brigades, And I loved it, I can’t wait for last colony. I really liked the way you [spoiler deleted]. And I liked the reference to Enders Game.

    Thanks for writing such a great book.

  180. Thanks Taisto!

    I took out the thing you were complimenting me on in your comment — don’t want to spoil it for others.

  181. Dear John,

    (First of all, “Dear John” in any letter format, is not a good thing in military circles!)

    I am a combat engineer and I just got back from Iraq last week (yay), and while waiting for the series of never-ending flights back to Germany, I found your book at the PX. I could not put it down; I loved it. You have a solid grasp of military concepts which reminds me of the John Ringo’s “Posleen” series. I am ordering the sequel as I write this and I can’t wait to read it during our block leave period. Thanks again for the wonderful distraction. Heinlein would be proud.

    P.S. Three words: Strawberry-rhubarb pie!

  182. Just finished Old Man’s War. First sci-fi I’ve read in years. Heading to Amazon now to get some more.

    Thanks so much.

  183. I am about half way through my copy of “The Android’s Dream” that Peter Hodges scored for me at Boscon a couple of weeks ago. (I just started it last evening, thanks for the inscription.) This is one that I find difficult to put down. Pete destroyed my Scalzi Paradigm by telling me that you are somewhat younger than I had mentally pictured. Oh well, I guess Pete ain’t much of a kid anymore either.. Keep ’em comming and I’ll keep buying. Jim

  184. Hi John Scalzi,
    Brian Forte’ from Brisbane, Australia(who I assume regularly visits your site) gave me a call this morning in regards to your soccer jersey issue. I can understand your dilemma. Pat Scalzi is a busy man and doesn’t know a great deal about computers and web sites so I’ll will inform him of you and web site and see what we can come up with. It must be the new season jersey as the company logo only occupied the shoulder for the season just past. So the major sponsorship is news to me also. Aldo.

  185. Thanks, Aldo! I will of course be happy to pay for the jersey and shipping, and would of course be willing to send along a couple of my books as a way of saying thank you to you and Pat Scalzi. I really appreciate you considering making the effort!

    All best,


  186. John,
    OMW was a damned fine book. I’m starting Ghost Brigades and there is a reference to a book titled “Charlie’s Homecoming”. Is this a real book? I can not find a thing on the web.

  187. I picked up a copy of “Old Man’s War” yesterday, and immediately devoured it. Great book! “Ghost Brigades” will definitely be on my next shopping list.

    As both a veteran and a lifelong SciFi enthusiast, the title of OMW is what caught my eye. A fascinating spin on an ancient truism. I have to ask, did the title suggest the book, or was it the other way around?

    When I read the author’s afterward, I immediately understood why I enjoyed the book so much (in addition to the fact that it was well written, fast paced, had tons of unique concepts and new twists, and filled with characters you could sink your teeth into). Heinlein fans can always spot each other. :)

    BTW, have you ever read Stephen Goldwin’s “The Eternity Brigade”? The reason I ask is that some of the ideas in OMW reminded me of that book. I’ve held onto my copy for twenty years, because I’m afraid if I lose it I’ll never find another.

    I don’t want you to think I’m making any accusations, far from it. As Stephen King said; “All writers steal. Good writers steal from the best.”

  188. Ed Bartlett:

    “I have to ask, did the title suggest the book, or was it the other way around?”

    I believe the basic idea for the book predated the title by about five seconds.

    Eternity Brigade: Alas, I’ve not heard of it before. I’ll check it out.

    I don’t think you’re making accusations, especially since I readily admit pilfering!

  189. 1. I realized that I started reading Old Man’s War last Xmas (my sister had it) and did not like it. It seemed to be plodding at the beginning rather than sucking me in to a visceral experience. Also, I did not care for the farting and other junk. Not that I’m prudish. Just…who needs it?

    2. I am rather hard to please, though. But not impossible.

    3. I am getting VERY wary of hype on bookcovers that says that the book is Heinleinesque. Someone has quite astutely decided that these comments have marketing effectiveness…and they throw this phrase out there…and then you buy the book…but it’s not as good as the claim.

  190. It’s ok, man. I wish I had. You seem like a really cool guy.

    Wasn’t trying to be mean as I know that you put a lot of work into it. And getting published at all is a real accomplishment. Especially in the overworked and dying genre of SF.

  191. John, I’m stuck about 8,000 miles away from home doing a mostly boring occasionally frightening job.

    I grabbed Old Man’s War due to an amazon recommendation and I was hooked. I’ve since purchased everything you’ve written in that ‘verse and I’m hungry for more.

    I’m looking forward to The Last Colony and already have it pre-ordered (got Sagan’s Diary on the way as well).

    Thanks for the smiles, the time I’ve been able to escape my current surroundings, and the window into new imaginings.

    Be well my friend.

    SSG Murf
    Balad, Iraq

  192. Murf:

    Really glad you’re enjoying the books and that they give you a break where you are. I hope The Last Colony and TSD do the same.

    Be well and thanks for the note!

  193. Hello John! I am fan of R.A. Heinlein and yesterday I find your book “Olds Man’s War”, in Spain has titled it “the old guard here”, I am superficially called much the attention when reading it and decidi to buy it, that say that I do not regret the decision absolutely, I began it yesterday at night and I have been finishing it for 2 hours hardly bony has captivated to me!

    I wait for with anxiety the publication in Spain of 2º book of the series, thank you very much!

    Pardon by my English writing but I am using a translator. Greetings.


  194. Thank you, Miles! I’m glad you liked the book!

    I have not seen the Spanish version yet. I am looking forward to it!

  195. It’s all well and good to see the good in whatever you write, but it is a far cry from art. You seem sort of lame. Your path to publication sounds more like settling than destiny.

  196. John,

    As a fellow writer, I have great respect for anyone who can complete a novel (good, bad, or indifferent) because I know what goes into crafting one.

    I just finished OLD MAN’S WAR and would like to say THANKS! I’ve been writing professionally over 10 years now. I’m sure you know how tough it is for a writer to find a book that keeps you rapt to the point you’re not interrupted by subconscious critiques. That’s why I read SF&F; can’t write the stuff so I can simply enjoy it.

    So thanks for entertaining–I plan to start THE GHOST BRIGADES very soon. Good writing and good luck.

  197. John —

    First — darn the SFWA and their “requirements” that writers do “actual, paid work” in a “recognized venue” before joining SFWA!
    How are we supposed to stuff the ballot box?

    Second — So far I’ve found YNFAWYTYLTACS is
    a) a handy password, b) relavent to my job as an IT worker.
    Really a lot of advice you give is just sound advice for success in any field when distilled.

    Third — Thanks for OMW. I think you stayed away from any jingoistic sabre-rattling as found in early RAH works, and you didn’t make it a total parody of or satire of military life like
    Bill The Galactic Hero.
    Having said that it might be fun if you did let your inner satirist loose in one of your fiction works.

    In any case, thanks again for the great books and great advice.

  198. David Neal:

    “Having said that it might be fun if you did let your inner satirist loose in one of your fiction works.”

    You may be interested in The android’s Dream, David.

  199. thank you for the stories.
    After reading old man’s war, I went looking at borders for the sequel and only found hardback androids dream, which then engrossed me as a book hasn’t in years, wound up fighting with the missus as I would NOT put it down in bed that night, and finished around 2am….
    it’s been a few years since something was so spellbinding…

  200. I bought The Android’s Dream as a birthday gift for my daddy. When he was done reading, I devoured it over the course of two evenings. Very well done, Mr. Scalzi. I salute you. TAD was quite the mental romp, and your clear, concise, no-unnecessary-frills prose is (to Yours Truly) quite reminiscent of Hemingway & Raymond Chandler. For one who cut her literary teeth on her father’s vintage pulp editions of PKD’s Ubik and Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land and progressed through the worlds of Harlan Ellison and Frank Herbert, your novel was a proverbial (O hackneyed phrase!) breath of fresh air. I hold a BA in French and am considering the University of Liverpool’s MA in Science Fiction Studies program. I find your work an inspiration as I approach this decision, and for that I thank you. The rest of your oeuvre is at the top of my To Read list. Peace, love, and pie.

  201. I saw the abbreviated version of Being Poor in World Ark magazine put out by Heifer International. I then had to go to your site and print out the entire thing. This was my life, at least most of it. Either you were poor as a child too or had input from those who were. Some of those items I hadn’t thought about in years, but they brought tears to my eyes as I read them and remembered. The one about needing the 35 cent raise. My mom worked in the aircraft industry back in the 50s, and she would get so excited with a 5 cent raise and a dime was over the moon. The one about stealing meat, eating it and then not needing dinner. I used to steal pies or cakes because there was no money for any kind of treat. I would try to stuff the whole thing down before mom got home from work. Not that I didn’t want to share with her, but how would I explain it? One time the grocery where we shopped had a drawing and I was so proud to bring home two whole bags of food – I must have been all of nine. Guess that’s why I give to places like Heifer International. Just don’t forget there’s plenty of poverty and hunger still in this country. I have written a review of this site on my webpage: – any comments or feedback would be greatly appreciated. God bless!

  202. I like to give your books to friends and family around holiday times. Just found your website and thought I would show my appreciation.


  203. Just read “The Last Colony”… and also read the posting here about the typo “The Last Colony”… maybe that would have been a more interesting title… then again, maybe not…

  204. JS -I just finished reading “old man’s war,” and want to tell you I really enjoyed it very much. I look forward to reading more of your books.
    Have you considered doing pod-casts of your books? I am a devoted fan of, where authors read their own works. It is really great, hope you will consider doing one of your stories for them.

  205. Hi John,

    I just started reading “The Last Colony” and was pleasantly surprised to see that the colony is named after my friendly home town of Roanoke, Virginia.

    At least that’s what I assumed at first. But when it was revealed that the colony of Roanoke was situated on a delta at the confluence of the Albemarle and Raleigh rivers, I began to doubt that assumption. That sent a chilling sense of foreboding up my spine that I hope turns out to be correct. I’m only on the third chapter and can’t wait to see where you go with that.

    I greatly enjoyed reading “Old Man’s War”, “Ghost Brigade”, and “Android’s Dream”, so I’m looking forward to another interesting, perilous, and humorous plot this time as well. You’ve helped renew my appreciation for modern SF. Thank you!

  206. Mr. Scalzi,

    I just finished “The Android’s Dream” and enjoyed it very much. I was wondering how you came up with the name ‘Nidu’. The reason I’m asking is because in the late 1950s I served aboard the USS The Sullivans whose call sign was November India Delta Uniform.

    David Seltzer

  207. I’ve read all the books several times. This because all written today seems so much dross. I saw the reference to Charlie’s homecoming but I cannot seem to locate that book. Can you provide the details?

  208. Your critique of Sci Fi books in ghost brigades was amusing and inspired me to buy frankenstine, bacon cat is the same as my cat, a funny coincidence. I like bacon but writing it into my contracts as payment seems excessive, I hope your exercising, and eating free range or organic.

    Thanks for the inspiration and entertainment.

    Best regards, Irahim

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