Broken-Hearted Books

Michael Berry, who reviewed Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades for the San Francisco Chronicle (and who put TGB on his holiday recommendations list), explains on his blog why he’s not reviewing The Android’s Dream for the Chron. Basically it comes down to the fact he can’t review every single thing I write if he wants to cover a wide range of authors and books in his reviews.

This is a perfectly reasonable explanation, of course. But try explaining that to a neurotic book:

Me: TAD, I’ve got some bad news. Seems you won’t be getting a review in the San Francisco Chronicle.

TAD: But… why not? They reviewed your other books.

Me: Well, that’s just it, TAD. Since the guy’s reviewed the other books, he kinda feels that he has to pass you up in order to be fair to other authors and books.

TAD: It’s because of the sheep, isn’t it?

Me: Come on, TAD. Let’s not do this again.

TAD: “Don’t put sheep on the cover,” I said. “People get nervous around sheep.” But you said it would be fine. Now look. I’m being ignored. Over livestock.

Me: Don’t be like that. People love the cover. And you’re getting tons of reviews. You even got written up in the New York Times.

TAD: Don’t talk to me about the New York Times review. Stupid Dave Itzkoff.

Me: Hey, now. I had lunch with Dave. He’s a nice guy.

TAD: He thought I was crap! He should be slashed with tetanus-laden razor blades and then dropped into a pool of iodine. And then fed to cats. Feral ones.

Me: I liked Dave.

TAD: Sure, because he liked your other books. The ones without the farm animals. You know what it is. I’m too fat.

Me: What?

TAD: Look at me! I’m 400 pages!

Me: That’s not fat.

TAD: People look at me and wonder if I’m the new Robert Jordan book.

Me: They do not.

TAD: I’m fat and I’ve got sheep on my cover. You might as well just set me on the remainder table right now.

Me: You don’t think you might be being a little overdramatic about this.

TAD: Don’t patronize me, Mr. Campbell-Cheese-Board-Award.

The Ghost Brigades (entering the room): Hey, John, I have a question —

TAD: Oh, look. One of the favored children. The Chronicle reviewed him.

TGB: Uh… Did I come in at a bad time?

Me: We’re having a moment.

TGB: Again?

TAD: I heard that!

TGB: You know, I think I’ll come back later.

TAD: That’s right! Run from me. Like everyone else. Bastard.

TGB: Yeah, okay. I’m just gonna go.


TAD: (yelling after TGB) I hope you fall off the Hugo ballot and break your neck!

Me: Now you’re just being mean.

TAD: (sniffles) I just feel vulnerable, you know? I think it’s because I’m a stand-alone. Ghost Brigades has Old Man’s War. I’ve got no one.

Me: Well, I’m writing a followup to you now.

TAD: Really?

Me: Really. That should make you feel better.

TAD: (sniffles again) It does. I mean, maybe a little.

Me: You know what would make you feel even better?

TAD: Ice cream?

Me: Ice cream.

TAD: (claps) Yay! Ice cream!

We do this every day. Sometimes twice. So for all you book reviewers, if you don’t want to review The Android’s Dream, that’s totally your call. Just remember what I have to do on this end when you don’t. The ice cream bills alone are killing me.

2007 Author Interviews: A Reminder

I just want to remind authors and editors and publicists that I will be firing up the 2007 round of author interviews, which will be given a loving spotlight on my AOL Journal By The Way, and also promoted here on Whatever, thus harnessing the insanely ginormous publicity power of two — two! — blogs (and, uh, anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 readers). Previous interviewees include Charles Stross, Jo Walton and Nick Sagan; upcoming interviewees include Duane Swierczynski, Joe Hill and Tim Pratt. You know you want a part of this sort of action.

The interview consists of six questions which are sent by e-mail and which can be answered at any length (although, you know, don’t keep blathering on just for the sake of blather).

Here’s what I’m looking for:

1. Writers who are writing in any genre — I’ve interviewed primarily SF/F writers, but it’s open to genres, and to non-fiction as well as fiction. I’m hoping for a nice spread of authors.

2. Writers whose books are coming out in 2007 — Ideally I like to put up an interview within a couple of weeks of a book coming out. I have occasionally highlighted a writer whose book came out a couple months earlier, but in general I try to time the interviews for useful sales effect.

3. Writers whose books are not self-published or published through vanity presses (this includes presses like PublishAmerica). I’ve interviewed authors with books from major publishers and those from small presses, but simply as a matter of necessity I have to draw the line somewhere, and this is where the line gets drawn.

If you are an author who fits the description above (or an editor/publicist with an author who fits the above description), here’s what you do:

1. Query me via e-mail at “” about two months before your book comes out. You are free to ping me earlier, but it’s likely my response will be “that’s a great idea, do me a favor and remind me a couple of months before the book comes out.”

2. Send along a copy of the text (ARC or finished product is fine; try to avoid unbound manuscripts or galleys) to the address you’ll find here.

That’s it. If I have space on the schedule, I’ll try to fit you in. My plan at the moment is to do an interview a week (more or less), so that’s 52 interview slots to fill (well, 51, since I skipped the first week of the year). No reason you shouldn’t try to get in one of those slots.

If you have any additional questions about the Author Interview thing, drop them in the comments or send me an e-mail. Thanks!

Official Request: Don’t Taunt the Ohioans.

As basically the only person in the entire state of Ohio who doesn’t actually give a crap about Ohio State football (born and raised in California, remember?), it falls upon me to make the following request: Don’t bring up the game, folks. My entire state doesn’t want to talk about it. Like, really. And probably won’t want to until, oh, 2023 or so.

I make the request primarily out of self-preservation: I live here, you know. I have to deal with these folks. Please, don’t taunt them. They’ll just take it out on me.

I thank you in advance for your co-operation.