And Now, A Special Sneak Preview of Zoe’s Tale That Will Alter Your Perception of Reality Forever!
Posted on December 9, 2007 Posted by John Scalzi 40 Comments
Here it is:
“Oh, look,” Gretchen said. “Teenage boys, about to do something stupid.”
“Shut up,” I said. “That couldn’t possibly happen.”
Yes, yes. Hope you liked it. That’s all you get for now.
That’s all you get for now.
Are the teenage boys in question about to accidently destroy the universe? Because that happens all the time…
I like it. But this fragment of ironic insight is unfortunately a bit too small for any drastic changes. Please try harder!
Meh. I don’t get it. Teenage boys are the non plus ultra of taste and good judgment. I remember; I was one.
Unless… Do these teenage boys have more than four limbs and/or five sense organs?
I’m going with Jeff H. I knew more as a teenage boy than I have ever known since. In addition, I dressed stylishly in my Vans and OP shirt AND pants. Oh yes. Oh yes.
I smell murder ahead…
Oh wait… I forgot about the bacon in the oven. Sorry.
Was the bacon still attached to the cat?
Gretchen is my new heroine.
You suck. And I say that with love.
I will see you OP pants and raise you a pair of Vision Streetwear trousers. I wore them to freshman picture day, proving that teenage boys do not hold a monopoly on stupidity, just a prohibitive natural advantage.
Let me guess. This novel is preparing you for Athena’s coming adolescence. Right?
My theory is that there’s an exponential decrease in intelligence whenever teen boys get together. One boy alone can be pretty smart; add a friend and their IQs are halved; add another boy and they’re just downright stupid.
I think I’m in love with your theory, Donna.
Something stupid? Photographing themselves with jazz hands?
What sort of unrealistic universe are you trying to foist on us, John? Teenage boys don’t do stupid things. They just spend their confidence surplus on their experience deficit. (This also explains why they show even less sense in packs, as both surplus and deficit are cumulative.)
I have a slightly different theory…
There’s one brain to shared amongst the teenage boys in any given middle/high school and they draw names as to who gets it for the week.
Nah, what “couldn’t possibly happen” is teenage boys doing something smart.
I thought you were a science fiction author. When did you decide become a fantasy author?
Wait, this book is due by the end of the year and this is all you’ve written? Jeez, break out the coke zero and get cracking!
Yay! La Trujilla is back! Time for me to get to work on my Zoë/Gretchen slashfic.
Oh, God, please, no.
Unless you throw Hermione in as loose change.
Nice Zoe trope.
Any teenage boy will be happy to tell you that girls are stoopid too, right before doing a handstand on a friend’s car hood while, coincidentally, being driven in front of the cheerleading team.
I’m intrigued by the notion that teenage girls do not do stupid things. After all, they too lack experience, are flooded with hormones, and are capable of stunningly bad judgment. I’m also intrigued that this kind of behavior in males has not been selected out of the population.
I suspect that what’s going on is that boys tend to do things expressly for the purpose of proving that they are survivors. This has three effects: when they fail, they do not survive. When they do survive, they have acquired skills that will help them survive more serious challenges later in life. Plus, the cheerleader who rolled her eyes the most ends up mating with the handstander, not the driver, which compensates for the occasional non-survivor.
Boys entertain themselves by doing things that will get girls to notice them, while giving not a dried fig for what girls do to entertain themselves. This results in boys defining “stupid” as “boring”, while girls define “stupid” as “risky”.
Finally, neither boys nor girls are typically capable of seeing far enough ahead to worry about a girl’s getting pregnant or acquiring an abusive mate. Worse, males aren’t necessarily going to see such consequences as disadvantageous.
All of this flows from the observation that sperm are numerous and cheap, while ova are rare and expensive.
@ David: Heh.
Cruel. Just cruel.
Relatively ancient my ownself, I connected with Old Man’s War; Ghost Brigades was a decent sequel; Last Colony tops both.
It is no small thing to trump Heinlein and David Drake in one small book – it means we don’t even need to wait for you to get good at this. I just hope no-one makes a movie – (horrific memories of Starship Trooper).
Might I suggest you read Halberstram’s Coldest Winter – and let simmer…
Donna @ 12
It’s not just teens. It’s a Y chromosome thing. You wouldn’t understand.
John, the way I heard a version of Donna’s theory was from an old man who’d hired a number of boys as helpers.
“You hire a boy, you get a boy. Two boys, and you get half a boy, and three boys is no boy at all.”
All you need to know, is that the phrase “Hey!! Someone hold my beer while y’all watch this!” is probably never ever uttered by a woman. Whatever the range of stupidity available to women it generally doesn’t involve fire/explosions, or an lord only knows how I found this out: blowing a mouthful of cornstarch into the air, while holding a lit newspaper (rolled into your handy cone) makes a cool fireball.
Yeah, TexasPatrick! Stupid teenagers.
*“Honey? We got any corn starch?”*
As a mother of two boys and no girls, I happen to have a few theories too. I have raised one boy (he is 23) and my youngest is now 13 years old. I never had problems with my oldest. He was quiet, had a high IQ and sort of loved his computer. His friends all graduated with him as gifted students with advanced math. He played viola and was amazing with both his music and math. He never acted stupid. But then again, he didn’t know how. He is now in Seattle finding himself. It’s a long story but he is not normal as compared to other males of his age. He is also not as socially mature.
Now let me talk about my youngest. He is 13 years old, has a size 13 foot, is almost 6 foot tall and can be the most incredibly stupid child I have ever seen. Don’t get me wrong. He makes excellent grades and is amazing in math. He can draw and paint like a genius. He also likes to skateboard. The problem is when he and his otherwise intelligent friends get together. They somehow develop this lower brow brain syndrome (LBBS)! I have to agree with Donna. I don’t know what happens but when they get together their IQ’s start dropping exponentially. It has to be contagious. It’s amazing to watch. LBBS might seem like it is in the frontal lobe of the brain, due to the actual referral to the frontal lobe, but I think it is actually an acute reaction to hormones that occurs in the brain stem. There has to be a study about it somewhere. ;-)
I’m also intrigued that this kind of behavior in males has not been selected out of the population.
Well, refugee, you put your finger on it in the next paragraph, as long as the cheerleaders insist on mating with the gaudiest peacock in the flock you’re going to get more gaudy peacocks, not less.
If you do the cornstarch trick . . . remember, it’s a thickening agent . . . keep water nearby, get a big mouthful of cornstarch, and blow it out quickly. Then wash the gummy cornstarch from your mouth.
Of course, I remember how to do this exactly. But can I remember the names of my favorite professors from college? Nooooooo.
Then again, that doesn’t involve giant fireballs, does it?
I’m intrigued by the notion that teenage girls do not do stupid things.
I’m living proof that this is absolutely not true.
I can drive in the snow because when I was out in my parents car and there was snow on the ground, I would find a giant empty parking lot and did doughnuts.
I loved to sit on the window ledges of car doors and have someone drive really really fast, while I leaned back as far as I could.
I tried to drive up a 75 degree hill and didn’t flip my car.
I used to go on camping trips where we would take a chainsaw and gasoline so we could get REALLY BIG fires.
It doesn’t require a Y chromosome to do stupid things. It just requires being comfortable enough around your friends that you don’t care when you look like a fool.
“I used to go on camping trips where we would take a chainsaw and gasoline so we could get REALLY BIG fires.
It doesn’t require a Y chromosome to do stupid things. It just requires being comfortable enough around your friends that you don’t care when you look like a fool.”
Or, you know, a tiki torch.
It aint a lack of brains, it’s a lack of sense. Which isn’t going to change until the kid reaches 25 and the prefrontal lobes come fully online.
BTW, sex aint got nothin’ to do with making babies. We pork because it’s fun. Those animals with a mating season pork because it’s an instinctive reaction to all those sex hormones and pheromones hanging around. Just because you know what happens because of an activity doesn’t mean what happens is why you engage in that activity.
I must ask, what is it about science fiction fans and the name Zoe?
The key difference is indeed that boys will go out and *do* stupid things, while girls will sit there and *say* stupid things. Incredibly stupid things. You have not heard stupid until you’ve heard stupid voiced by a 13-year-old girl. And with the extra benefit of not being aware of how stupid it is, something boys that age will usually cop to.
This is not a factor of intelligence, it’s just something about the age group. And it does seem to be magnified by group dynamic.
Dunno about anyone else, but I know people named Zoe.
Yes, but how many are Rocket Scientists who changed sex? Not volitionally either. Usually that happens FtoM, from 5ARD or 17BHDD (2 genetic anomalies). But sometimes it happens for reasons not clear, can even be MtoF. Rare though, one in several million.
We have a young cat named Zoe. She’s ‘big boned’ (nickname – Bruiser) and at least 50% dog it seems. Oh…she talks to us constantly, the loudest is usually at 3AM. Wierdest damn cat we’ve ever had and we’ve had a bunch of them.
Feel free to use any or all of that John.
P.S. Big fan, first post.