The “Come Up With a Contest to Give Away a Copy of ‘Coffee Shop'” Contest!


Like two mighty monoliths doth rise this pair of books, as if hewn from the very plywood of my desk! What do these two avatars of writination herald? Why, the advent of not one but two — yes, two — book giveaway contests!

Here’s the deal: Since Coffee Shop sold out on printing, I thought it would be fun to give away a copy to one of you fine folks here at the Whatever, as a way of saying “thanks.” But frankly, I’ve had a really crappy day and I can’t think of a contest to give away a copy that would actually be fun, because crappy days do that to me. But then I thought: Why think when you guys can think for me? Clearly, this is a solution to all my problems, and in the future I’ll have you all think for me all the time. But for now I’ll just keep it focused on on this.

The plan is simple: I’m having two contests. The first contest will be to think up of a contest to give away a copy of Coffee Shop, the prize for which will be — wait for it — a copy of Coffee Shop. After we’ve determined what the contest will be, then we’ll have that contest, the prize for which will be — can you guess? — a copy of Coffee Shop!


So, with that in mind, here are the rules for the “Come Up With a Contest to Give Away a Copy of ‘Coffee Shop'” Contest:

1. Think of a fun contest people can do, preferably in a comment thread on this actual site, to win a copy of Coffee Shop.

2. Post that idea in the comment thread to this entry.

3. Do it by 11:59:59 EST, Wednesday, February 28, 2007.

4. One idea per entrant (so make it good).

I’ll look through the entries on Thursday, March 1, and declare a winner on Friday, March 2, and then we’ll start the official Contest to Give Away a Copy of Coffee Shop on Monday, March 5. See? Easy.

Now, when I say that the contest is preferably something people can do in a comment thread here, be aware I’m thinking of something both writing-based and able to be posted in the comment thread. However, if you think you can make an excellent argument for something outside the comment thread, to which people can then post links to in the comment thread, that’s fine too. Likewise, if you want to post your contest idea in your own blog/journal/Web space and then just drop a link in the comment thread, you can do that.

I reserve the right not to use any of your contest ideas if I think they’re all totally lame. However, even in that event, I will randomly select a winner of the make a contest contest. So someone will win, even if you all let me down.

Okay, then: What sort of contest should I have to give away a copy of Coffee Shop? Tell me, damn it!

Subterranean Magazine — Now Online! Plus, New Short Story From Me


Subterranean Magazine is moving online — there are still a couple more print editions to go, but even as those are getting out the door the magazine online version is getting started, with original fiction, columns and reviews, updated three times a week. Today’s debut slate of material includes a column by Norman Partridge, reviews from Dorman Schindler of You Suck, Hart & Boot and Heart-Shaped Box, a long fiction piece by Lucius Shepard, and a couple of short-shorts, one by Poppy Z. Brite, and the other by yours truly. Yes! Short fiction! From me! It’s a fun piece, sort of silly. I know, how could that be, right?

Best of all, it’s all free. But if you go there and happen to pick up a book from Subterranean Press now and then, they certainly wouldn’t mind.

Which reminds me that today is the official release date for Coffee Shop, and also the official out-of-print day — the run’s all sold out. You guys are super-awesome. Thank you. We’re discussing the idea of a second printing, but right now we’re leaning against that (if Amazon comes to us wanting 750 more copies, we may change our minds). I’ll of course let you know if we do go back for another printing. The Sagan Diary is still available, of course, although the limited editions are beginning to get scarce, so if you want one of those, here’s the link.

“The Sagan Diary,” incidentally, got its first review on Amazon today. Not terribly kind, alas. I like this review better.

If all this Subterranean pimpery isn’t enough, remember that if you haven’t done so you can download Subterranean #4 (the one I guest-edited) as a pdf here. Perfect for your last minute Hugo short story consideration needs.

Oscar Wrapup 2007

Well, I whiffed the Best Picture category both times, first in my initial guess of Babel and later for my last minute hunch that Letters might be in the envelope. But I pretty much nailed everything else, including the Best Supporting Actor going to Alan Arkin and Best Animated Film going to Happy Feet, which means I nailed most of the surprises. So overall I feel pretty good about my continuing ability to do Oscar predictions.

A couple of thoughts:

* I guess the Academy voters decided they didn’t actually like Dreamgirls after all. Going with Arkin over Murphy is one thing; not giving the film the Oscar in the Best Original Song — in which it had three nominations — is another. I suspect Melissa Etheridge was probably the most surprised winner of the evening.

* Likewise, Babel walking out the door with just the Original Score Oscar is a bit of a poor showing for a Best Picture nominee touted as front runner going in (Letters got just Sound Editing, but no one except crazy people thought it was going to win). I guess this is the Academy saying “we had our spinach last year,” because while The Departed is many things, “spinach” ain’t one of them.

* Having said that, no one’s under the illusion The Departed winning Best Picture is anything more than the Academy deciding to make the drapes match the carpet, right? Apparently enough voters in the Academy went “well, as long as we’re giving Scorsese Best Director…” and then scribbled The Departed into the Best Picture line on the ballot. It’s not to say it’s not a good film, merely not the best picture on the slate. But, eh. It was “Let’s make it up to Marty” night. There are worse things.

* Mildly surprised that Pan’s Labyrinth didn’t get Best Foreign Language film (although The Lives of Others has been steadily building buzz, so not too surprised), but inasmuch as the film walked out the door as the second most Oscar-honored film of the night, including as the winner for Best Cinematography, I don’t think anyone should complain too much.

* Just as technical note, Al Gore himself did not win the Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, it went to director Davis Guggenheim. The clock for rabid foaming conservatives to try to nab him in an either real or imagined “I invented the Internet” moment regarding to whom the Oscar belongs to starts… now.

Your post-Oscar thoughts?