Grass and Sunsets

Over at By the Way today I wrote about the recent speculation that plants on other planets might not be green at all, but red, or orange or purple; naturally I had to engage in a bit of Photoshoppery on along that line.

The thing is, no matter what color the grass is, the sunsets are still going to look like this:

And I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

You can see a monster size version of that last picture here.

On E-Mail, the Deletion Thereof

I don’t want to expend too much thought on what a lying sack of crap the White House is regarding all those missing e-mails of theirs, but let me just say this: I have in my personal possession about 60,000 e-mails dating all the way back to January 9, 1996, so if you’re a real live person and you’ve sent me e-mail since that date, the chances are pretty good I’ve got a record of it somewhere in my database (minus the occasional accidental deletion during a spam sweep). And I’m not actually required by federal law to keep a record.

Now, you may ask, why do I have nearly every single e-mail I’ve been sent in the last nine and a half years? Aside for the desire to pass on my hard drives to the University of Chicago archives after my death, because I’m absolutely certain future scholars will want to read all my e-mails from over the years trying to coordinate restaurant plans with my friends, it may be because one really has to go out of one’s way to delete them. You really have to actively and affirmatively decide to delete mails once you’ve pulled them off a server and put them into a e-mail reader. Even when you’re not actually required by federal law not to delete them.

TLC and Other Stuff


With five days to go before its official release, The Last Colony is beginning to slip out into the wild; here it is at the Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio, as photographed by Jeff Hentosz. Jeff admits to positioning the book for maximum photogenics; I have no problem with that so long as it remained face out, high shelf after he was done (the face-out Old Man’s War, I am told, was there already). But yes — if you’ve been waiting for the book, it’s beginning to get out there.

On the subject, here’s a review of TLC at, which is nice and positive (although contains at least one minor spoiler): “I dare you to put the novel aside in the final 100 pages!” the review says, although without the exclamation mark, which I put in because I suspect that’s what Tor’s marketing folks will do once they get their hands on it. The reviewer has quibbles, but notes “with the quick and fun flow of the book, it’s easy to ignore these flaws.” See, now, that’s an actual compliment. I think nearly every book has flaws of some sort or another, but if your reader is going “eh, I’m having too much fun to complain,” you’re doing something right. Yes, I’m an expert at distracting you from my shortcomings! Look! Fluffy kittens!

Also out, an amusing and very positive review of The Ghost Brigades at the Agony Column, in which Rick Kleffel notes “you may want to go out and shove this book down the gullet of some Hollowood types who are without doubt making, bad stupid space movies when they could be filming Scalzi’s work.” I do appreciate the sentiment, although I would note that actually, physically attempting ram this or any other book past a movie producer’s epiglottis is likely to cause that producer to have traumatic associations with the title, further reducing its chances of being produced.

Now, as it happens, there has been interest from Hollywood regarding these books, which is nice. We’re waiting for a deal that makes sense for us. Other than that I can’t say much, except to tell you not to get too excited. Strange are the ways of Hollywood, and slow. And I have no intention of being a cheap date.

Moving away from me for a moment: Kurt Vonnegut is dead from brain injuries from a fall. This is why, when I turn 70, I’m moving to a single level house. I don’t have too much to say about his passing, other than that the man was brilliant and despite that, I enjoyed many of his books. Funny how being brilliant doesn’t always equate to creating books that are good reads. This wasn’t much of a problem for Vonnegut. Something for other brilliant authors to note and learn, hopefully.

Finally, this comment came in today in the Lee Iacocca thread, from Hirotami Hirano, in Japan:

I also lost my wife last month.
I read “Oldman’s war” at a crematory.
Our marriage life was just so as in that.

Mr. Hirano, I am honored that my words spoke to you in that moment. You are in my thoughts.