Questions?

I want to try out some new audio software I have (it’s the Adobe Soundbooth Beta), so ask me some questions, and I’ll answer them and post the audio later on. No, this doesn’t mean I’ll be podcasting regularly. But this might be fun anyway.

29 Comments on “Questions?”

  1. Diana Peterfreund – A novelist living in D.C.; the author of Bantam Dell's Secret Society Girl, Under the Rose, Rites of Spring (Break), and Harper Teen's upcoming Rampant, as well as a regular contributor to BenBella Books SmartPop anthologies
    Diana

    What novel do you think should be a reader’s first Scalzi, and why? I’ve been trying to get my partner to read OMW, and he’s resistant, but he saw TAD on a table at a bookstore and was all, “Why didn’t you tell me about this one?”

  2. What technique/skill/etc do you think you improved the most between writing OMW and TGB? Or, what do you think you’ve improved the most on in writing in general since OMW?

  3. In your lifetime as a writer, how/when did you transition from pencil/pen & paper to typewriter (I’m thinking you’re just a little younger than me and there was certainly a typewriter period for you) to computer?

    How do you go about naming characters?

    How much “world building” do you do in advance of a novel or story, and how much of that exists as peripheral material versus just stuff that lives in your head?

    What’s your experience with reading Isaac Asimov?

    What’s your experience with reading Kurt Vonnegut?

    How many roads must a man walk down?

  4. closetgeekshow – Canada – Geek. DJ. Hobbyist Game Developer. Information Architect. Web Developer. Podcaster. I breathe RSS.
    Brent

    What’s your favorite song/album right now?

  5. Why aren’t any of your books available to buy as ebooks? (I know that OMW used to be available but isn’t any more, but what’s up with more recent ones wrt “e-publishing”?)

    Have you seen any UFO:s landing on the fields near your estate?

    Do you allow your daughter to eat fast food (e.g. McD et al)?

  6. amandageddon – She is a slacker of the highest order, a geek of not so much, went back to school to become an even bigger geek and possibly get paid for it. She loves it when a plan comes together.
    Amanda

    What’s your guiltiest pleasure (that you’ll admit to)?

  7. I’m conflicted about the questions appropriate here–do you want to exclude questions you already may have addressed at some point in the past on the blog or do you just want material to discuss in the podcast? Because maybe if I searched I could find the answers to these, but if you just want topics to discuss that might be of interest to a moderate-level Scalzi fan (have read and loved three books but haven’t read the Whatever with dogged devotion or even with any regularity for more than a year or so), here are a few questions.

    You live in Ohio, but I get the impression you grew up elsewhere. Whatever the case, what led you to settle in Ohio? Is it your wife’s job, since yours seems like one you could do from anywhere? Is Ohio your preferred state of residence or is there another you envision moving to if circumstances permit?

    I didn’t altogether realize until yesterday that you have a MySpace account. (Vaguely familiar but slightly surprising.) Did you have any ambivalence about getting one whenever you did, or hesitation? Many people aren’t big fans of MySpace, and that includes many of us who have accounts with it.

    Each of your three books that I’ve read I’ve gotten from a public library. I justify it on the grounds that I’m a grad student without a full-time job at the moment and barely able to pay my bills, but the truth is even when I have had full-time jobs with decent salaries, I’ve been more of a library user than a book-buyer. Do you resent somewhat the people who read library copies instead of buying copies of your books? Am I freeloader?

    Long-winded questions, aren’t they? I hope they don’t suck.

  8. In the preview, line breaks seemed not to show up. So I put some in with HTML. That seems to have been a bad idea. Apologies, and please edit the extra blank lines out if you feel like it, John.

  9. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, nostalgic and unshaven

    When you’ve gone out the night before your wife’s birthday and partied with your friends but returned in the early AM of the day of your wife’s birthday, does she still have the right to say you forgot her birthday fifteen years later?

  10. If you’re in a vehicle travelling at the speed of light, and you have 6 apples, a train leaves Chicago heading west at 32mph, what color is the bear knocking at the cabin door?

  11. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, nostalgic and unshaven

    Jesus, Buccheitcan’t knock because he’s carrying the apples which he caught from the plane flying overhead.

    More importantly, why is the bear’s underwear briefs and not jockeys? No, bears do not chafe.

  12. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, nostalgic and unshaven

    my html skills is teh suck.

    John, which do you hate more: bad spelling, bad grammar or bad coding?

  13. So Scalzi,

    Now that you know Chang only wears cat-shaped underoos while typing, do you try to avert your eyes when you’re reading his posts?

    I know I do.

  14. > Incidentally, they don’t all have to be writing questions.

    Ok, let’s ask the “Fight Club” question. If you could fight any historical figure, who would it be?

  15. Hi.
    2 questions. I emailed you one but perhaps audio is a quicker and better media than typing text.

    1. I think I read somewhere you are from Calif. Why did you move to Ohio?

    2. Why do you think European keyboards swapped the z and y positions?

  16. What is the weirdest hate mail (or, hell, love mail) you ever got off the site, not counting people you know who are just joking around with you. I mean like from a total stranger.

    What did you do about it?

  17. Do you get any snail mail from fans? Or is it all electronic?

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