“The Last Colony” Auction: To Benefit the John M Ford Book Endowment


The Short Version: I am auctioning ONE bound copy of the manuscript of my upcoming novel The Last Colony to benefit the John M. Ford Book Endowment, for the Minneapolis Public Library. This is an EXTREMELY RARE version of the manuscript, one of only four, and the ONLY way to read the novel prior to its May 2007 release. Opening bid is $50; bid increments of no less than $1, whole dollar increments only. Auction closes 11:59:59 pm eastern, Monday October 9th. Please read the long version for more details and on how to bid.

The Long Version

I read in Elise Matthesen’s LiveJournal today that the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library have inaugurated a John M. Ford Book Endowment, to allow Mike Ford’s memory to live on through the acquisition of books for the public’s enjoyment. As a writer and as a fan of libraries, this is a thought that I can get behind, and I thought about what I could do to help the endowment along.

Well, as it happens, today I received four bound copies of my manuscript for The Last Colony, the third and (for now, at least) final novel in the “Old Man” series. The copies were printed via Lulu, the print-on-demand house, and look and feel like your standard trade paperbacks. One copy is for my own reference, one copy is for my wife, and I printed two additional copies as well. After receiving permission from my editor, I am now offering one of these copies for auction, to benefit the John M. Ford Book Endowment.

Since this auction may bring new folks to my site, allow me to introduce myself and The Last Colony to you.

Who Am I?

I’m John Scalzi and I write science fiction. I’m the 2006 winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. My first science fiction novel, Old Man’s War, was nominated for the Hugo award. Its sequel The Ghost Brigades is currently available in hardcover. The Last Colony is the third book in this series.

What is The Last Colony About?

Here’s a description:

Former soldier John Perry has found peace in a violent universe, living a quiet life with his wife Jane on one of humanity’s many colonies. It’s a good life, and yet there’s something… missing. When John and Jane are asked to lead a new colony world, he jumps at the chance to the explore the universe once more.

But Perry quickly finds out that nothing is what it seems. He and his new colony are pawns in an interstellar game of diplomacy and war, between humanity’s Colonial Union and a new, seemingly unstoppable alien alliance that has ordered an end to all human colonization. As this grand gambit rages above, on the ground Perry struggles to keep his colonists alive in the face of threats both alien and familiar, on a planet that keeps its own fatal secrets.

For the survival of his colony, Perry must unravel the web of lies, half-truths and deception spun around him and uncover the shocking true purpose of his colony — and fight to prevent a war that not only threatens to engulf his new home, but promises the destruction of the Colonial Union. There are few options, and no margin for error, for Perry to keep his colony from becoming the last colony of the human race.

Why You Want This Edition of The Last Colony:

1. It’s the only way you’ll be able to read this novel prior to its release in May of 2007 (unless you’re a reviewer, but even then you’ll only get it in April 2007. It’s still a long wait). As of this writing, the number of people who have read the book can be counted on my fingers; you’ll be in exclusive company.

(Please note that the edition you’re receiving is an uncorrected version; it’ll still have all my idiot spelling, grammar and plot errors in it. However, I assure you, any plot variances from the finished book will be minor indeed, and my spelling and grammar are reasonably decent.)

2. This is an extremely rare edition of the book — only four copies of this edition exist, or ever will exist — I deleted the template for the book after I ordered these copies. This makes this version of the novel the ultimate in collector’s editions.

3. I will of course sign and (if desired) personalize the novel for you, adding to its collector’s value.

4. You’ll be helping to advance the cause of literacy: Every penny of your bid will go directly to the John M. Ford Book Endowment, benefitting the Minneapolis Public Library. There it will work in perpetuity to purchase books for general use.

5. You’ll be honoring the memory of a good man and a damn fine writer.

6. As an extra added bonus, as the bidding increases, I’ll add to the pot:

If the bidding gets above $200, I’ll throw in a copy of my signed, limited-edition chapbook “Questions for a Soldier.”

At $500, I’ll put in a signed Advance Reader Copy of Agent to the Stars.

At $1,000, a signed ARC of The Ghost Brigades.

At $2,000, a signed copy of Old Man’s War.

At $3,000, I’ll make you a character in an upcoming book (note: I may kill you off. Hey, it happens).

And at $5,000, I’ll write you your own short story. Because, damn, if you’re paying $5K, you deserve it.

So the more you bid, the more you’ll get. And remember, all of it goes to the John M. Ford Book Endowment.

How to Bid on The Last Colony (READ ALL OF THIS):

Easy: Place your bid in the comment thread attached to this entry. Do this by entering the dollar amount of your bid in the comment field. US dollar amounts only. Please put your bid amount at the top of your comment, away from any additional comment, so other bidders may easily see the amount of the bid.

You MUST input your real name and a valid e-mail address on their respective lines in the comment form. This will allow me to contact you if I have to, and also help me make sure bids are valid (do not put your e-mail in the body of your message). Bids without this information are not valid.

Please do not use this comment thread for anything other than making bids; it’ll get cluttered. I’ll be deleting non-bid messages. If you want to make a non-bid comment on this entry, use this entry for discussion and questions.

Bidding starts at $50. Which is to say, I’m not parting company with this copy for any less.

Additional bids must increase the previous bid by no less than $1. No penny ante crap, please. Additionally, all bids must be in whole dollar amounts: $2, for example, not $1.99 (or $1.50, or $1.25, or whatever). This will keep the math relatively simple.

To avoid pranking, the maximum bid increase is $20 a turn. This is to say that if the previous bid is $60, your bid can raise the total bid to no more than $80 ($60 + $20). Once someone else has bid more, you may of course bid again. You must wait until someone else has bid in order to bid again; no sequential bids.

If the auction exceeds $1000, the maximum bid increase will bump up to $50 a turn. Also, I’ll be very happy.

(Update, 10/4 8:18am: Bidding has reached $5,000. Whoo-hoo! New maximum bid increase is $250.)

In the case where two people enter the same bid amount, the earliest bid is the valid one. As the second bid is invalid, that bidder may immediately bid again if he or she chooses.

The auction begins the moment this entry is posted; it ends at 11:59:59 pm Eastern, Monday, October 9, 2006. At that point the highest bidder will be declared the winner. Bids posted after that time will not be considered valid. I am the timekeeper, which is to say my clock is the legitimate clock for this auction.

I reserve the right to declare a bid void, and remove it from the comment queue, if in my opinion it is not a legitimate bid; declaring a bid void may also declare bids subsequent to it void, based on my discretion (if your bid has been declared void and removed because of this, feel free to resubmit your bid). I reserve the right to ban specific bidders if I feel they are bidding in bad faith. Likewise, I reserve the right to cancel the auction. If I cancel the auction, I will contribute no less than $50 (i.e., the opening bid price) to the John M. Ford Book Endowment. So matter what happens, the Endowment’s getting paid.

Please note that I fully expect that people will indeed bid fairly and honestly; I’m just trying to lay down ground rules. Having said that, please don’t bid if you don’t have the money or don’t have any intention of honoring your bid at the end of the auction. Save us all the aggravation, please.

What Happens If You Win

I’ll send you an e-mail confirming your win. I’ll need a reply in no more than 24 hours after I sent you the e-mail, confirming that you intend to honor your bid, and an address I can mail the book to.

Once I get that, you’ll have the option of either paying your bid amount to me through Paypal, or mailing me a check/money order. If you send your amount via PayPal, I’ll stuff the book into an envelope the instant I get the money. If you mail a check/money order, you’ll need to wait for the payment to clear.

If I don’t hear back from you in 24 hours after I’ve e-mailed you, I’ll make the executive decision your bid wasn’t serious and I’ll move down the list to the next highest bidder. Sorry. Note my decisions are final.

Again, if you have any questions or comments, don’t put them in this comment thread, put them in this one. This thread is for bids only.

Incidentally, if you want to donate to the John M. Ford Book Endowment without making a bid here — and of course I encourage all of you to do so — go here to do it.

Good luck!

38 Comments on ““The Last Colony” Auction: To Benefit the John M Ford Book Endowment”

  1. $440

    It’s not only for charity. It’s also in remembrance of a (for me, at least) very special author.

    (Which is not to suggest that there’s something ‘only’ about the charity bit; don’t get me wrong.)

  2. $500.00

    George E. Martin (Just in case this shows up as anonymous)

    [John Scalzi says: I can’t accept this bid as legitimate without an e-mail address and name in the respective info fields — I have no way to contact/verify if you win. Please resubmit with that information. Thanks!]

  3. Subterranean Press publisher Bill Schafer has asked to make a bid at $5,000. As I know this is a legitimate bid, I’m going to allow it; you can read my reasoning for allowing it here.

    To reflect the new bid level, new maximum bid increase is $250.

    Current Bid:


  4. I just thought I’d let you know that Capclave appreciates your coming up with this idea.

    We’re going to emulate it (to some degree, at least!) with a silent auction that will run during the convention. More details about the auction and items up for bid will be posted to the Capclave website as we have them.

  5. Thanks, Elaine.

    Note to others: Please use this thread for bids only.

    Current bid:


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