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!

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

  1. Since we’re no longer allowed to take our laptops to coffee shops, how about entrants submit a picture of them with their laptop in an unusual location. You pick the best (most humorous or impressive) as the winner.

    Points for creativity and unusualness.

  2. Here’s one…

    Provide the best comment, quip, what have you, for that “author” with the laptop in the coffee shop mentioned in the title. Something that would have her or him snap the monitor back against the keyboard and slink off to the anonymity of the streets, never to return (even for a Latte).

    You of course get to choose the best, John. Or if some impartiality is needed here, have Krissy pick.

  3. I was thinking the opposite actually, but awesome suggestion Ryan.

    Various things you can bring into a coffee shop that would fool everyone.

    Users must submit pic and try not to get arrested in the process.

  4. I was going to suggest the opposite of Ryan – people in coffeeshops with laptops. Yes, it is direct contradiction of your advice! Best photo wins.

  5. Best worded sign to hang in a coffee shop advising patrons that “You’re Not Fooling Anyone…”.

    Points given for originality. Extra points for subtlety.

  6. How about a haiku contest based on some portion of a Heinlein book. Either about a character, a scene, or a book in general.

    Dang, that’s a good one. I feel sorry for all the other sons o’ guns that just lost.

  7. Plagarizing from the Bad Hemingway contest, (since this is supposed to be writing based, not photography based), how about one paragraph with a maximum of N words (you choose)which would be the opening paragraph of a Bad SF Story?

    The Old Jarhead

  8. * People post their favorite place to take their laptop to write (photo optional), and you pick your favorite.

    * People post what they are actually doing with a laptop in a coffeeshop, and you pick the entry that most amuses you.

    * People post recipes for coffee beverages, and you pick the best.

  9. Well, I don’t know about a contest, but I certainly hope you have a second printing. I had one on order at amazon, but when I saw the warning about impending sellout I went to subterranean’s site to order one there. It was supposed to be a gift for my son, who wants to be a writer. Just as I hit the “go to checkout” button, my ISP went down, taking my DSL connection with it. By the time I got back on line, the sellout was complete. So if there is a second printing, you have a guaranteed sale to me, at least.

  10. A montage of photos of you sitting at as many different coffee shops (with laptop open, of course) as possible, looking as goofy as possible. Bonus points if you are drinking a coffee product that has more than 6 syllables in its name.

  11. I like Bill Mullins suggestion. (Good one. Wish I thought of it.) (Bummer.)

    Anyway, my own suggestion is to have them answer this question: Who would play John Scalzi in a movie about his life?

  12. Entries are six-line poems with the following syllabic breakdown: 2,5,3,3,5,5. (The same breakdown as the title of the book as displayed in the photograph)

    Winning entry is the most humorous entry, as judged by you.

  13. You’re familiar with the Bulwer-Lytton contest? (If not: you write the worst possible opening line for a non-existent novel.)

    Contest suggestion: write a new opening line, Bulwer-Lytton style, for any of John Scalzi’s novels, or for a new novel in any of the universes he has created. Post in a comment thread. Entries judged on humor, purpleness of prose, and the extent to which they actually sound like they might have been written by John Scalzi’s evil twin.

  14. I see that a number of people had ideas very similar to this one, however:

    I suggest that the contest should be to find, and photograph a coffee shop with the greatest number of laptop using customers. Bonus points should be given for customers who look particularly pretentious.

  15. I think you should have a limerick contest.

    The limerick should involve (however obliquely) a science-fiction related topic.

  16. One of the working chapter titles for the Coffee Shop book was “The Schadenfreude Needle is Buried Deep Into the Red: On Writers”. I have no idea if this title made the final cut, but I hope so – I thought it was a great image. How about your favourite example of real-life Schadenfreude?


    Best acronym produced by a highly caffeinated individual.

    TANSTAAFL being the gold standard, of course.


  18. How about a contest of who can gather the most reciepts from different coffee shops (sorry, just one Starbucks) in one day.
    The bills must be paid with the same credit card showing the last 4 digits (to prevent friends from helping), and the dated reciepts must be signed by a coffee shop employee avowing that the customer did not have a laptop in their posession at the time of the sale.
    Entries should be digitaly scanned and posted for Mr. Scalzi to review.
    Should a tie occur, both entrants recieve a pat on the back, and I get the book.


  19. Oh and thanks for trying dad, but my dreams have been crushed before.
    So very many times before.

  20. I think the contest should be to name John Scalzi’s next book on writing (in a non-binding kinda way of course). In other words what cliche of the writing life can John exploit for his next collection. As an example, and possible first entry I offer: “Just because you drink like Hemingway, it doesn’t mean you write that way.”
    On second thought, meh, I can do better for a title. But you get the idea.

  21. I think you should have a contest for coolest last name. That way, I can win both books, and give one to my friend, who actually is an aspiring (and published!) SF author.

  22. in the future I’ll have you all think for me all the time.

    Contest is for everyone to submit suggestions for other things you could do:”Tape bacon to a cat”, “Have Cthulu eat a Pluto-hata”
    Not only do you get a contest, but you get ideas for things to do for the next year!


  23. Since coffee shops are now verboten, but the aspiring writer still requires liquid inspiration, people could post Scalzi-verse coffee recipes, or perhaps come up with a coffee concoction that will complement the Schadenfreude pie.

  24. Write a blurb describing one of John’s published novels (keeping it truthful, mind you), but do it in such a way as to either totally render the book unsaleable, or to completely change the genre (i.e. Old Man’s War as a western, or The Android’s Dream as a biography). The blurb must be short enough to fit on the back or dustjacket flap. Include one quote from a famous author that supports your revision (fictitious quotes acceptable; bonus points for real quotes).

  25. Since the request was to have things in the comment thread, I think that ideas that involve photos would be right out.

    If you take a laptop into a coffee shop nowadays you’re, like, so antescalzi. A useful contest would be inventing the best way to convey that you’re a writer in a coffee shop without using a laptop.

  26. How about best Athena-esque metaphor for life, using a menu item that can be purchased at a coffee shop? (If your local coffee shop serves chicken noodle soup, sorry, that’s been done already.)

    BTW, I already own copy #99 of 500 of Coffee Shop, so if you pick my idea, you would have an extra copy to award to some lucky second-prize winner. :)

    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.

    Does this make us, collectively, your BrainPal™?

  27. A variation off Old Jarhead’s idea: a 100 word coffee shop/laptop story. Entries must be EXACTLY 100 words.

    I think THAT would be a pretty tough challenge!

  28. What words might John put in his next book (Dick And Jane Go To Pluto) that would set off the alarms of scrotum searching children’s librarians? The twist is the words aren’t really “dirty” or even controversial, they just sound that way.

    Ex: O ring; catamount; flagella; “hot Jupiters”; gasbag; Vulpecula

    Dirtiest sounding clean words (Must come up with five (5), minimum) wins.

    (BTW, I took poetic license in naming John’s children’s book. That doesn’t exist. And that he’s not really writing.)

  29. A variation on Naomi’s idea: the contest is to write the opening paragraph for the next Scalzi novel.
    In order to make things more interesting, Scalzi will actually have to use the winning entry as the opening paragraph in his next novel.

  30. In order to avoid complication and huge amounts of time being used I would suggest just putting peoples names in a hat and draw the winners out. Perhaps you wife, daughter, or a local Whatever reader can visit the Scalzi Ranch and over see the drawing to insure fairness.

  31. For maximum sucking-upage/ego inflation, how about going with the old staple:
    I love scalzi because…
    in no more than 10 additional words.
    Obviously all variations on this idea are my idea as well, OK?

  32. Belt Notches.

    That is, the premise behind the original “You’re Not Fooling Anyone…” essay was that if someone brings a laptop to a coffeeshop, that would-be writer is not trying to write anything. That person is trying to “score”, or “get some”, or “find a suitable partner for the immediate commencement of carnal pleasures”. Scalzi clucked his tongue disapprovingly at the disrespect shown towards the Muses, but did not necessarily frown on the getting of some.

    Ever since I read that piece, I was intrigued. Can a laptop really get you laid? Wow, that’s a lot cheaper than a Corvette! Will it really work? Has it ever happened? And so, my suggestion for the contest: state a number between 0 and 2.5 billion or so. This number represents all the romantic rendezvous that you have notched on your belt while enacting Scalzi’s scenario. The highest number wins, because quantity beats quality.

    No, wait. The number is the tiebreaker. The real contest is to tell the best story about the time you were able to hook up with someone under those circumstances. Were you actually trying to get some work done, or were you preening for the gender you find sexually attractive? Did the guilt of impersonating a writer ever register? Did any resulting insights aid your writing?

    (What a truly awesome contest idea. Sure, all the romance stuff would have been more appropriate around Valentine’s Day, but it still ties into the book while deftly exploring the human condition. Now that’s cooler than a Venti strawberries-and-cream Frappucino!)

  33. How about we give you our very favorite writing “facts,” a la the other “facts” posts here on the Whatever? Just small gems of writerly advice and guidance suitable for the “facts” tag.

  34. Best argument for or against writing in coffee shops. Argument must be presented in the form of a sonnet, sestina, or triolet… or some other kind of poem, I guess, if you want to make things easy on people.

    Advantages: can be done in comment thread; does not require participants to spend money on coffee shops; does not require participants to risk the wrath of hipster coffee shop writers.

  35. How about:

    A fake cover/photoshop mock-up for a John Scalzi novel somehow incorporating the bacon-taped-to-cat-photo?

    You would have to create a link with the original, hi-res image.

  36. Best original piece of writing produced in a coffee shop. (For something like, say, a novel, an excerpt could be posted so length of contest entrees doesn’t become ridiculous.)

    Don’t tell me I’m the only one who actually writes in coffee shops?

  37. Write a short-short with (say) a fifty word maximum. It must be involve at least one of the elements in the title of the book: a coffee shop, coffee, a laptop, or fooling someone.

    This being a blog by a writer with a large following of writers, I think this would potentially be entertaining, not to mention viciously contested.

  38. The Whatever Talent Show. It’s like a pimp thread with a prize. Post your short-short, poem, recipe or political rant (spelling AND lucidity count!). Link to your photos, web-comic or YouTube interpretive take-one-in-the-nuts backyard wrestling stunt.
    Maybe name a winner in a dozen categories you invent, then Best of Show for the book.

  39. I’m thinking a Flash-Slash Fiction contest.

    Everyone gets less than 100 words to get any two characters from a Scalzi novel (and/or Scalzi) into a questionable-content-style situation.

  40. If you’re going to have us think for you, John, you should solicit ideas for future stories/novels. The most ridiculous one wins.

  41. I would like to suggest a fictional historical writing contest.

    You must write the “history” of The New Comprehensible. It must be brief, yet funny. Historically sounding, yet completely false. You can of course use known historical people or events (Like Albert Einstein or The Fall of Rome).

    This can take place in any time period, you don’t have to assume it just started.
    People to include: John Scalzi, his ancestors or his future kin, and some fellow Whatever folks.

    Points could be awarded based on the most outrageous, funny, yet true sounding narrative. It should probably be no more than a paragraph or two, to minimize on the amount of reading Scalzi would have to do.

  42. I am proud to present the John’s Not Fooling Anyone When He Takes His Laptop to a _______ Contest!

    John posts a picture of himself seriously writing on a laptop. The prize goes to the most original “setting” that he gets photoshopped into.

  43. “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.”

    Scalzi posts the opening paragraph for a short story. Each contestant submits one paragraph moving the story forward. It is permissible to utterly change genre, setting etc.

    Whichever submission makes Scalzi’s head hurt most is the winner. (That’ll teach him to expect us to think for him.)

    **I lost, didn’t I.**

  44. Long-time-reader, first-time-poster. This is an old idea, but the “Corruptible Wish” thread would be a good comment-oriented contest. The way it works is the first poster comes up with a wish, then the next poster comes up with a way to corrupt that wish. For example, the first poster says “I wish for a pony.” The next poster says “Granted, but that pony has no legs and needs to be wheeled around the ranch several times a day.” And the best corruption wins. Not too long, not too much effort, writing-related, and fun for everyone. To make it thematic, they could be Scalzi-related wishes. Or there could be one wish, and everyone has to come up with the best corruption of that wish.

  45. If taking a laptop to a coffee shop is at the top of the Ten Things Never to Do if You Don’t Want to Appear Pompous list, list the other nine.

  46. John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, as written by… Rewrite a short portion of OMW as it might have been written by a different author.

  47. Since the book is on how to improve your writing, the book should go to the neediest member of the Whatever community. Readers submit their most embarrassing critique/rejection note for writing scholarly or otherwise. Humor and humiliation are the main judging points. The deflating incident should be true and within the last couple years, but fictional submissions of sufficient brilliance to fool Scalzi are acceptable.

  48. In the grim future of the Whatever, Scalzi will write more essays on writing to be later collected in a new book. One of those essays will be posted on May 10th, 2019 but, due to an accident involving Drupal Presstype 8.7, a bacon-cat hybrid, and a DOS attempt by an AI miffed at how AIs are portrayed in Scalzi’s books, will then tumble backwards in time to 2007. Write that entry.

  49. Song parodies! To get the book, write the best song parody (in terms of humor, cleverness, faithfulness to the original meter, or whatever suits the judge’s fancy) about writing and/or the Whatever.

    What’s sad is that I already have ideas, most of which involve songs from Cats. “Ghlaghghee is the bacon cat; she’s hot on, and judging by the count of hits, the ‘Net thinks she’s the bomb….”

    I should probably be stopped.

  50. I’m probably not alone in thinking highly of Scalzi because of the parallel experiences of his rich imagination and his forthright sharing of his real life. Simply put, he’s a good author and a good guy. So, I propose that the Contest be for us to help out our friend, John.

    But how? It’s probably a waste for most of us to try to help him out with anything writing related. What can Scalzi possibly use our help for – in a Whatever Contest form?

    Well, Scalzi has confided in us several times just how incredibly awesome Krissy is, and more pointedly that he is perpetually thankful that she chose him. Given the premise that there is some Convservation of Awesomeness, such each person has a finite supply of awesomeness to apply to their life, and noting just how much awesomeness Scalzi pours into his writing both on paper and in electronic form, perhaps there is something we can contribute.

    I give you the AWESOME THINGS JOHN CAN DO FOR KRISSY CONTEST. The eclectic and interesting hordes of Whatever contributers give concise suggestions of things John can do for Krissy. John obviously may be able to benefit from the whole damn list, but it seems most appropriate if Krissy were to pick the best suggestion. The real winners would be the Scalzis.

  51. 200 words or less, make up some story from John Sclazi’s past. Could be a personal encounter you had with author, could be something viewed or participated in, or could be something that if a picture existed, could have been used by John’s parents as “extortion material.” Points for originality and humor (to be judged the the denizens of the Scalzi Compound). Disqualification for material that couldn’t be read by Athena (since she would be a judge).

  52. Entrants post the worst piece of writing advice ever. It doesn’t have to be advice you actually received, but it should be stunningly counter productive. Bonus points if you make it sound like good advice.

    (Does John already cover this in his book? It’s possible. I don’t know. I don’t have a copy of the book. I’m attempting to get a copy of the book. Whaddya think this comment’s all about? Hey, back off, man! Don’t judge me just because you ordered on time!)

  53. I am in awe. The best I could come up with is write a short (50-100 words) explanation of why you need this book or nominate a freind. Links to writing samples could be allowed.

    I like the photo contest ideas but this is about writing!

  54. Contest to invent the cleverest new dictionary term describing either the eponymous coffee-shop writer him/herself, or some characteristic thereof. Entries must be submitted in an appropriate dictionary-style format, perhaps chosen/standardized by Scalzi.

  55. My suggestion is a simple one. Describe in one paragraph what the coffeeshops of the future would look like if John’s advice goes unheeded.
    *shudders at images of clashing cords and floating power sources*

  56. In under 450 words, write the quickest of stories that can be considered “sci-fi” and also include something about a coffee shop, laptops, or (bonus points) both. Best story wins.

  57. Whoever has the funniest story about the weirdest real-life person they saw in a coffee shop. Not that I have one, but I’m sure other people do. I suspect I’m the weirdest people :P

    Though to be honest, I am rooting for the poetry suggestion big time now. I heart sestina writing. And if Miscelleaneous Steve’s suggestion wins, I’ve got stories about a writing instructor my friend took a class with that are just horrible.

    (I am also kinda out of the running for the actually-have-to-be-in-coffee-shop contest ideas, seeing as the ones I actually hung out in are getting shut down in my town. Goddammit, where am I going to drag everyone for NaNoWriMo in November NOW?!)

  58. In keeping with the meta-contest theme:

    Think of the lamest prize that John Scalzi could realistically offer. (Signed photo of his sock drawer, blank CD-R from his office, etc.)

    Whoever comes up with the lamest prize, they win the copy of Coffee Shop. And the runner-up wins that utterly lame prize.

  59. Contest to come up with the best bacon-containing recipe. Judge based on:

    *quantity of bacon per serving
    *edibility (probably not an issue, this being bacon, but you never know)

    NB, the bacon donut and the bacon martini are taken.

    Yes, you heard me right, the bacon martini is taken. Some place in Chicago. Figures.

  60. Describe the most useless/time-wasting/destructive feature of a word-processing program. Fictional ones are okay, but bonus points for real examples.

  61. My contest involves seeing who can write the best review of a John Scalzi book, complete with 5 stars, and post it on Amazon.*

    *Did I get that right, John? :)

  62. My contest involves seeing who can write the best review of a John Scalzi book, complete with 5 stars, and post it on Amazon.*

    *Did I get that right, John? :)

  63. How about a fictitious news story or interview with a Starbuck’s rep about how John’s book is ruining coffee shop profits across the nation…

    (I really love Rachel’s fill-in-the-blank idea though…)


  64. Blurbs! JS talked about the trouble with writing blurbs, as did several others, so I thought this was definitely the way to go:

    Write a blurb for a book you hate, by an author you personally despise, published by a house that’s already vowed they’ll never publish anything of yours. Don’t just be snarky, diss the book with style and flair.

    All entries become the property of JS, who reserves the right to actually submit it if he is asked to blurb another book.

  65. I like the dictionary idea.

    Come up with the lamest title for a book about writing, by a fictitious author (again, as lame as possible), and the horrible name of his most famous book.

    Then give it a blurb and credit it to Scalzi.


  66. How about a pimp what you’re reading contest? Write a short (John chooses how short) review of the latest book you’ve read. In your review, make sure to tie in at least one of the following: Coffee Shops, Fooling People, Pretending to be a Writer, and/or laptops. (John should feel free to add other terms to this list.)

    Yes, I know it makes you think John – but really, all you’re doing is picking a number and a couple of terms.

  67. My idea:
    A ‘See How Much Bacon You Can Stick On One Cat and/or A Lesbian Koala’ contest.

    Very Scalziriffic.

  68. Entrants must post the beginning of a book that they pretended to write (or actually wrote) in a coffeeshop pertaining to the giving of writing advice. Limit to 250-500 words.

  69. For the writers who have 9 to 5 jobs and don’t get to hang out in coffee shops (or even have laptops) I think it should be a writing contest between a good and evil fictional character over who deserves the book the most. You know– who’s career it would help the most. Like a unicorn verses a zombie. A fairy princess verses a vampire. Maybe a broadsword wielding barbarian verses the Grim Reaper. You could even have a good zombie verses an evil unicorn. With all the creative types who come here I’m sure it would be colorful and interesting.

  70. What real life competition would be most likely to have a question/item/sub-contest similar to “Come up with a contest to give a way a copy of “Coffee Shop””? Justify.

  71. Come up with a name for Scalzi’s musical effort after “Situationally Lesbian Koalas.” That band broke up after one of the lesbian duo that fronted the band decided her passion for her bandmate was only situational. The availability of cheap, grade-A man meat that came with the success of the band lead directly to the first nasty high-profile same-sex divorce that would feed the scandal papers for years, and also lead to the end of the Koalas. Alternately, name the VH1 reality show band Scalzi joins in the twilight of his career in order to put Athena through college.

  72. Hey John –

    Just wanted to let you know that I ordered “You’re Not Fooling Anyone…” from Amazon on 2-22-07, well after 2-16-07, which is when it was officially sold out. My order was filled. It arrived today. It therefore seems possible to me that Amazon still has a few copies out there and that maybe your readers can still get one.

    Also, I just finished reading TSD. I enjoyed it very much, and especially liked Jane’s exploration of how she experiences language.

  73. The “best” blurb for the Whatever itself wins – in John’s sole and absolute discretion of course. Can anyone out there capture the Whatever in a sentence or two?

    Of course, I expect that proving up cold fusion would also be an impressive option.

    By the way, this whole exercise feels a little like that “feel free to express yourself in this blank space here” section of my old college application forms.

  74. John,

    OK this is ridiculous – I just want a copy, I don’t want to jump through a flaming hoop and I don’t want to pay more than if it was in print – is there anything I can do to help you get it back in print.

  75. At the moment, Dave, no. It’s not up to me to make a decision about additional printings. A lot will depend on whether there’s additional interest from distributors.

  76. Fill in the blank:
    You’re not fooling anyone when you take your laptop to a coffee shop. However, you are fooling everyone when you __________.

  77. Dave Sanford:
    You might want to check with Amazon; their page for Coffee Shop indicates that they have them “In Stock.” I think that they may have ordered more from Subterranean than just what was needed to fill their pre-orders.

    In any case, it probably wouldn’t hurt to try; if they don’t have any, you’ll get an email saying so, and I don’t believe that they bill your credit card unless and until they ship the book.

  78. I just ordered it via Amazon with one day shipping. Says I’ll get it tomorrow. Maybe when they actually look at their stock to fill the order, they’ll figure out that they don’t have it and I’ll get yet another apology.

    Bad Amazon! No Cookie for you. I’ll keep you guys updated.

  79. How about a contest for the best character name in
    John’s future novels? It would be far easier to
    ‘grade’, and it might be of some use. My
    first tries: Balls Turbotop, Bubbles Wiggleworth.

  80. Pick a broad topic you think would be interesting to read about, like AI, addiction, getting started as a sci-fi, fantasy, and/or spec fic writer (or anything, really), and get us to tell you a story about it. Put a word cap on it, say, 150 or so. Read and judge each entry however you see fit.

    This keeps the contest attainable for everyone, and will be an entertaining draw for your blog readers. Plus, you might learn something, and so will we. Simple.

  81. Whelp. They charged my credit card and the update on says they only have 2 left!

    Why do I have this image of Stock Boy Bill running around to the corporate offices stealing the books off of executive desks to fulfill orders?

    The Robin Hood of books!

  82. The following items have been shipped to you by items (Sold by, LLC):
    You’re Not Fooling Anyone … $23.10


    Long live Stock Boy Billy!

  83. How about a writing contest – people post a link to a short work or post the work itself in the contest link and then people vote as to who can use it best – or who needs it the worst :)
    Somebody almost certianly came up with this already, but I don’t have time to wade through the comments to check – sorry :(

  84. Dammit. This stupid contest made me re-evaluate how much I want the damn book, so I scurried over to Amazon to score one too. Hopefully Stock Boy Billy will also favour me with one of his hoarded editions.

    Curse you, Scalzi. Especially if I win this damn contest contest, because having redundant editions of a book whose title makes fun of my laptop-in-café writing habits is just rubbing it in.

  85. It’s 2009, write a review of Scalzi’s new novel (bonus for including an throwaway line incorporating the world of tomorrow)

  86. You know how there’s all those opening paragraphs bleached white by the blank page you’re staring at? Slowly the light fades, and you see …

    * Nominate the passage from published prose fiction which reads most like it was either:

    a) written in a coffee shop

    b) written while the author was dying for a cigarette

    c) written in a coffee shop while the author was dying for a cigarette, listening to Tom Waits and trying to look especially artistic right now because a girl with a sketchbook just sat down at that table over there …


  87. Sounds like the Radio Free Vestibule skit, “Game Show Game Show”, where the contestants had to try and figure out the rules of the game.

    Ending line:

    Contestant: Do the contestants stay at the Downtown Hilton, where they’ll be pampered in luxury at every turn, and fed sumptuous meals on the company dime?

    Host: No.

  88. I need to edit my contest seeing as how I wrote it with five people running around my living room, (well it was only four but it seemed like five), and not to mention American Idol blaring in the back ground. I just wanted to say to conserve space authors could do just one half of the argument, and the character could be whatever they wanted it to be. Pretty sure I wasn’t too clear about that.

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