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Wednesday Author Interview: Mark Budz

Make your bid for The Last Colony, to benefit the John M. Ford Book Endowment. Learn more!

My Wednesday Author Interview is up over at By the Way: This week it’s Mark Budz, author of the highly praised science fiction novel Idolon. I had a signing session with Mark during Worldcon this year; he’s a great guy and a damn fine author. Enjoy the interview.

I’ve done enough of these interviews now that I should make an link archive of them somewhere, so that people who are interested in them can find a quick way to link to them. I’ll add this to the agenda.

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A Significant Event in the “Last Colony” Auction

As those of you who are participating in the Last Colony auction know, one of the rules I’ve set for the auction is that no bid can exceed a previous bid by more than $20. The reason for this is simple: This keeps the fakers from bidding up the price to unreasonable levels they never intend to pay, thus messing with the people who making legitimate bids. I thought putting a cap on each maximum bid would keep the auction on an even keel, and so far it has — we’re at $520 dollars in the bidding, which is really far beyond what I expected. I am humbled and gratified. Thank you.

Here’s the thing: The limit was set to make sure there would be only legitimate bids. And now I have I have someone who I know is a legitimate bidder, who wants to raise the bid to $5,000. The bidder is Bill Schafer, who is the publisher of Subterranean Press. I’ve done quite a lot of business with Bill over the last couple of years, so I know he’s good for the bid.

After much thought on the subject, I’m going to allow this bid. The goal here is to raise money for the John M. Ford Book Endowment, after all. $5,000 will go a long way in allowing the endowment to get where it needs to start buying books. For me to ignore a bid that does that, and that I know is legitimate, would make me, well, kind of stupid.

So: The current bid in the auction for The Last Colony is now $5,000. If anyone cares to bid above that amount, you can improve on it (and subsequent amounts) by up to $250 each turn. All other previous rules apply. Bid in the auction thread, not here. Again, please don’t bid unless it’s a serious bid; don’t waste my time, or the time of the other bidders. Thanks!

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Mark Foley’s Upcoming Personal Disclosures

While I don’t wish to appear unsympathetic to the plight of former representative Mark Foley, who I hope receives all the counseling and care he needs, I can’t help but notice that Foley’s now-daily disclosures of terrible personal secrets, genuine as they may be, also look very much like the performance of a politician dramatically and publicly falling on his sword in order to provide his former (and now somewhat panicked) colleagues the evidence they need to suggest that he was so darn screwed up that people should focus on that, rather than, say, the moral poverty of a Congressional leadership that allowed a man IMing sexually-charged messages to teen pages to remain the co-chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

As effective as these personal disclosures of Foley have been in drawing attention to his own screwed-uppedness, however, the media still seems to show an annoying tendency to ask the house leadership about its role in the mess. This is not optimal, particularly with the election so close at hand. Clearly, what needs to happen is a continual stream of poignant revelations from former representative Foley, on the pace of one a day or so, in order to keep the focus on him, not on Hastert, Boehner, Reynolds or any other prominent House Republican that one may care to name.

And as it just so happens, one of my sources on Capitol Hill has slipped me the following information: The next ten heart-rending personal disclosures from Mark Foley. This list of tragedies will keep the media busy through at least next week, which is more than enough time to concoct some mass hysteria-causing fake crisis that can be fed to the public via Fox News allow congressional leaders to effectively address the public’s concerns.

Mark Foley’s Next Ten Heart-Rending Personal Disclosures

1. Functionally illiterate, which explains his IM grammar

2. Is a “transmelinaed” — a badger trapped in a human’s body

3. Previously undisclosed kleptomania caused him to steal IM transcripts from Denny Hastert’s desk

4. Psychologically scarred at the age of eight when his cat perished in a horrible bacon-taping incident

5. Bedwetter? Bedsaturater

6. Never got over not being related to Axel Foley

7. Naturally smells of jasmine and lilacs — not a good thing in gym class

8. Not only unable to solve a Rubik’s Cube, but also deeply flummoxed by the Pyraminx

9. Pathological fear of toast

10. Shameful addiction to New Wave of British Heavy Metal; has entire discography of Judas Priest, but oddly, nothing from Girlschool

There! Now you’re ahead of the news cycle.

Get well, Mark Foley. Privately, if you please.

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Steal This Auction Idea

In the auction discussion thread, I’m asked a question about the auction by Jo Walton, the author of the entirely excellent Farthing, Tooth and Claw and other stupendous work. She says:

This is such a brilliant idea I want to steal it — would you be OK with that?

My response: Are you kidding? I would be delighted if other science fiction and fantasy writers also offered up some tasty piece of their work life as an enticement for people to donate to the John M. Ford Book Endowment. I think it’s a fine way to make sure his name and legacy live on in a vital and useful way.

I want to be very careful about overstating my relationship either to Mr. Ford or to this endowment — I know Mike Ford mostly through the quality of his friends and the quality of his writing, both of which are ridiculously high, and my only involvement with the endowment in his name is that I hope to be able to direct a nice chunk of money its way. That said, literacy is important to me, and the ability to help direct money into an endownment that will directly and perpetually buy books seems like the sort of thing I can get behind, and something I hope other writers could get behind as well.

So, other science fiction/fantasy writers: Yes, please, steal this idea. Offer up something others that your fans would kill to get, and make them pay for it, and then give all the money to the John M. Ford Book Endowment, and encourage your fans to pitch in a few bucks to the endowment even if they don’t win the auction. Because libraries rock, literacy beats the alternative, and the science fiction and fantasy community could use an excellent philanthropical hobby.

(Practical note: I do suggest using a legitimate auctioning site, however, like eBay, which is probably something I should have done if I had given this thing due thought before posting it. I’ve taken on a lot of administrative headaches to assure a legit auction — eBay would handle most of that for you. What can I say, enthusiasm got the better of me.)

If authors do decide to create auctions to benefit the John M. Ford Book Endowment, I’ll be happy to link to them here. Just drop me an e-mail with a link to let me know. Maybe that will help. It would be nice, in any event.

Update: On that note, Jo Walton has her enticements to donate up on her LiveJournal. Depending how much you donate, you can get unpublished stories, get yourself tuckerized or even (!) get an original poem. And she has books to auction off as well. Excellent.

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Steal This Auction Idea

In the auction discussion thread, I’m asked a question about the auction by Jo Walton, the author of the entirely excellent Farthing, Tooth and Claw and other stupendous work. She says:

This is such a brilliant idea I want to steal it — would you be OK with that?

My response: Are you kidding? I would be delighted if other science fiction and fantasy writers also offered up some tasty piece of their work life as an enticement for people to donate to the John M. Ford Book Endowment. I think it’s a fine way to make sure his name and legacy live on in a vital and useful way.

I want to be very careful about overstating my relationship either to Mr. Ford or to this endowment — I know Mike Ford mostly through the quality of his friends and the quality of his writing, both of which are ridiculously high, and my only involvement with the endowment in his name is that I hope to be able to direct a nice chunk of money its way. That said, literacy is important to me, and the ability to help direct money into an endownment that will directly and perpetually buy books seems like the sort of thing I can get behind, and something I hope other writers could get behind as well.

So, other science fiction/fantasy writers: Yes, please, steal this idea. Offer up something others that your fans would kill to get, and make them pay for it, and then give all the money to the John M. Ford Book Endowment, and encourage your fans to pitch in a few bucks to the endowment even if they don’t win the auction. Because libraries rock, literacy beats the alternative, and the science fiction and fantasy community could use an excellent philanthropical hobby.

(Practical note: I do suggest using a legitimate auctioning site, however, like eBay, which is probably something I should have done if I had given this thing due thought before posting it. I’ve taken on a lot of administrative headaches to assure a legit auction — eBay would handle most of that for you. What can I say, enthusiasm got the better of me.)

If authors do decide to create auctions to benefit the John M. Ford Book Endowment, I’ll be happy to link to them here. Just drop me an e-mail with a link to let me know. Maybe that will help. It would be nice, in any event.

Update: On that note, Jo Walton has her enticements to donate up on her LiveJournal. Depending how much you donate, you can get unpublished stories, get yourself tuckerized or even (!) get an original poem. And she has books to auction off as well. Excellent.

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Fiddly Bits, 10/3/06

Various things I’m kicking about my head today:

* Oh, dear. You know it’s a bad scandal for the Republicans when the Washington Times is calling for Denny Hastert’s resignation. It also suggests that Hastert’s Colonel Clink Sergeant Schultz defense of clasping his hands to his head and declaiming “I know nothink!” isn’t going to be as effective as he may have hoped it was going to be.

Along the same line, however, this tantalizing line from Brian Ross about how other former pages are coming forward with dirt on other congressional folks has some lefties just about exploding with joy; I think it’s sweet how these folks seem to be under the impression that only conservatives can get hopped up on thoughts of young and tender teenage flesh. Got news for you, folks: If indeed there are more congresscritters mashing out lust notes in IM form to their teenage pages, the chances that all of them are going to be on the same side of the aisle quickly approaches zero. Creeps come in all political orientations.

What’s relevant in this particular case, to my mind, is how long leadership knew Foley was crushing on teen pages, and why he was allowed to continue co-chairing a caucus charged with protecting kids and teens when it was clear his interest in teens was not entirely one of compassion.

* Charlie Stross is talking about book covers, and how much input an author has, by noting his own involvement in his various book covers with various publishers. My experience on this is close to Charlie’s: With my Tor books I was basically presented with artwork and allowed to comment and make suggestions, whereas with my Subterranean Books I had considerable more leeway (as, interestingly enough, I did with my Rough Guide to the Universe book, in which the picture I suggested for the cover ended up there).

I feel fortunate that I’ve been pleased with nearly all the covers of all my books, and those ones I wasn’t thrilled about are an object example of why author’s shouldn’t necessarily drive the art design: I don’t think the covers of the Book of the Dumb books are brilliant, personally, but as those books are my bestsellers so far, clearly the covers speak to their market segment. So there is that. I don’t mind being wrong in this case, incidentally, because it’s worked out well for me. But I am glad my input does seem to matter to my other publishers.

* The auction for The Last Colony seems to be coming along swimmingly; at the moment I’m writing this, it’s up to $350, which thrills me to no end. Thanks to everyone who has bid so far.

You’ll notice that I put a line about the auction at the top of this entry; I’ll probably cut and paste that line into each new entry (taking it off the old entries as I do so) until the auction has run its course. I want to keep the auctino top of mind, but I’m going to try not to be obnoxious about it, especially as the bids are already at a level I consider a success.

* Do bloggers write better than high school students? Chad Orzel and Dave Munger asked bloggers to take the same writing test teenagers take on the newly updated SATs, and see how they fared. The results are fairly gruesome. I didn’t take up the challenge myself; after presuming to give teenagers writing advice, I would dread discovering I hosed the SAT essay challenge. I’d have to go back to high school and start all over. And that’s just wrong.

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“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!

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“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!

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“The Last Colony” Auction Comment and Discussion Thread

This is the place where comment and discussion about the Last Colony auction goes. What say you?

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Just to Taunt All Y’all

What is it that Athena is looking at so interestedly-like? Why it’s a bound copy of The Last Colony. One of four that exist in the whole wide world, which I had run off on Lulu.

No, you can’t have one. One copy is for me, as a reference. One is for Krissy, who doesn’t want to read the book off a computer screen. The other two I have, because, well. It’s nice to have spares. The point is: personal copies. They’re not leaving the house. If you try to break into the house to get one, the dog may have to eat you. And I don’t think you want that. Also, don’t bother checking Lulu. I ran off the copies and then deleted the book. Even before that I had the entry accessible to me only. Sorry. Anyway, it’s just seven months until the book comes out. You can wait.

This was also a test for me to see how Lulu works for me — I don’t really plan to do any major projects using the service, but as noted Krissy prefers to read what I write in printed form, and I wanted to see how Lulu did with that. My determination: Not too bad. To my eye it’s clear it’s not a professionally printed and typeset book, but for what I want and need, it’s perfectly fine. And reasonably cheap: A single paprback copy was less than $11, which is perfectly reasonable for a print-on-demand project. And the process of setting up the document to print was pretty simple as well. I have used CafePress before for a couple of previous POD things I’ve done, but Lulu does it better and more simply, so I suspect in the future if I do something like this again, I’ll come back to Lulu.

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Expect a Homeland Security Threat Level Ramp-Up Sometime Today

So, in recap: Mark Foley, the Republican co-chair of the Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus is an aspiring ephebophile, knew all about the online predator behaviors he was legislating against because he was practicing some of them himself, the Republican House leadership knew their man on kid’s issues was awfully chummy with the pages but appeared to think the way to deal with it was just to suggest to him that, you know, maybe he shouldn’t send personal messages to the boys anymore, and while the House leadership seems shocked, shocked that Foley might possibly be enjoying the company of teen pages (although not so shocked that they removed him from his kid-protecting post) the GOP staffers themselves knew back to 2001, at least, to tell the pages to avoid getting too close to the guy.

This just in: Someone tried to sneak a bomb on an airplane! Inside a schnauzer!

The good news in all this, however, is now that Foley’s going into rehab for alcoholism, everything will be okay. Because nothing clears up an attraction to teen boys like rehab for booze.

Mmmm… pie.

I particularly like the spin Brit Hume is putting on this, along the lines of well, you know, Bill Clinton did sort of the same thing, too. But you know what, I think I’m going to go out among the people in my very conservative, very Republican rural Ohio county — whose representative is in some hot water about this whole thing, incidentally — and ask them if there’s a difference between a male politican getting a hummer from an adult female staffer, and a male politician, charged with the job of keeping kids safe, asking one of his underage male pages to get out a ruler and measure the length of his wang and to essay his favorite techniques for jerking off.

Hmmm. Adult female, underage teenage boy. Consensual adult heterosexual sex, homosexual pedophile cybersex. Hmmm. Maybe it’s just me, but I think my conservative, Republican neighbors might be able to parse the difference between the two that appears to elude Mr. Hume.

This just in: Al-Qaeda’s #2 man killed!

Look, here’s the deal: If the House Republican leadership knew they had a teen-loving, nasty-IM-writing middle-aged man heading up their child-protection caucus, and they hushed it up and let him keep the job, how can they not be removed from their posts? Can you imagine if something like this happened if the House leadership were Democratic, and it was a Democrat asking a teen boy how often he polished Flipper? Rupert Murdoch would personally head up the lynch mob. Of course, having this happen so close to an election might just solve the problem for them. It’s one thing to support throwing out habeas corpus, because it’s not like the average voter knows how to spell it, much knows what it means. But most voters know how to spell “man-teen cybersex cover-up,” and they know what it means, too. November just got a little more interesting.

This just in: Al-Qaeda’s #2 man has risen from the dead! It’s Bill Clinton!!! And he’s got a schnauzer! On a plane! While getting a blow job!

Fellated undead liberal former president terrorist airborne with a dog bomb!

Red alert! Red alert!

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Pimping Cherie Priest and Clarkesworld Magazine

As most of you know, I’m a big fan of Cherie Priest, both as a human (she’s everything you could want in a carbon-based lifeform — and more!) and as a writer. Cherie’s next novel Wings to the Kingdom will be out in just a couple of weeks, and you’re going to love it. But if you’re like me, you have impulse control issues, and the thought of waiting a couple of weeks for new writing is just so very not on your agenda.

You’re in luck — the industrious Ms. Priest has also been working on a collection of novellas, called Dreadful Skin, which will be published by Subterranean Press. Dreadful Skin will be available in February — BUT Subterranean is doing something really cool as well: Serializing the first novella, “The Wreck of the Mary Byrd” on the Subterranean Press website through the month of October. The first chapter went up today. More chapters are coming, cliffhanger style, as the month goes along.

If you’re already a Cherie Priest fan, this is a way to stop twitching and spasming until Wings hits on the 17th, and the rest of Dreadful Skin shows up in February. If you’re not yet a Cherie Priest fan, here’s a chance to get the taste that will make you one. I think you’ll like her stuff as much as I do.

Today also marks the debut of Clarkesworld Magazine, the new science fiction/fantasy magazine edited by Nick Mamatas and published by Neil Clarke, of Clarkesworld Books, the online SF/F/H bookstore. The magazine as I understand it spotlights two stories per issue, one from a well-known author and one from the submissions pile (so if you’re looking for a new market, here you go, although I really suggest you pay close attention to the submission guidelines). The debut issue features a story from Sarah Monette, who I adore and who was a member of my Campbell nomination class, and the story, “A Light in Troy,” is lovely. So already Clarkesworld is on my good side.

The online version is free to read; for collectors Clarkesworld will also be publishing the magazine in a small-number chapbook printing. You’ll want to snag those before they’re all gone.

All this good, free reading! Man, I like October already, and it’s hardly past noon.

Having performed two significant acts of pimpage, I hereby declare this comment thread an open pimp thread: If you or someone you like/love/owe money to have something to pimp, then pimp, baby, pimp. This thread is all about the sharing.

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News From the World of Scalzis

My sympathies go to another of the John Scalzis out there, the one who is a meteorologist down in Florida, whose father passed away the other day. Jerry Scalzi was apparently a crackerjack magician who performed magic shows with his son as his sidekick (the link includes a picture of them doing their magic act together). That’s a pretty neat relationship to have with your dad, I have to say.

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