All Hail Michael Z Williamson: A Last-Minute Christmas Pimping Thread

You know, twice in the last week Michael Z Williamson has sent me stuff to use to promote his latest book Better to Beg Forgiveness in the “Big Idea” feature over at Ficlets, and twice I’ve apparently seem to have lost that information out of my e-mail queue. Which leads me to two conclusions:

1. What the hell? Do I have MZW-loving gremlins who steal his e-mail the moment it arrives? Can they not bear the thought of me being in possession of a note from him? Are they jealous of my correspondence? Is it just a MZW thing, or would they do the same thing if it were John Ringo or David Drake? This is the sort of thing that could keep me up nights.

2. Given that MZW has made two good faith attempts to provide me material and I’ve twice managed to lose it, I now unilaterally escalate him and his book into the realm of complete and blatant pimpery, just in time for Christmas. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, but if you enjoy fast-moving, action-packed military science fiction — or are doing last minute Christmas shopping for someone who does — do check out this book. It will make you/them happy, and then Christmas will be saved! By space-traveling mercenaries with really big guns. Which is how Christmas should always be saved, if you ask me.

Now, having provided MZW with a big, fat and well-deserved pimp, I hereby declare this an open pimp thread, in which all and sundry are encouraged to pimp their work and the work of others they admire, with an eye toward assisting other folks in their last-minute panic-induced shopping sprees this weekend. That’s right: Pimp what’s out there in the stores — your favorite books, CDs, games and DVDs for the year, or indeed anything else that caught your eye in 2007, that’s generally available to buy.

Oh, and authors: If you’re not pimping yourself in this thread, you’re doing it wrong.

(note: Comments with more than three links are likely to get punted into the moderating queue temporarily. Don’t worry, I’ll release them presently.)

Pimp away!

44 Comments on “All Hail Michael Z Williamson: A Last-Minute Christmas Pimping Thread”

  1. Sounds like a good idea to me. I recently contributed to a book which is in desperate need of some attention.

    The Maker’s Mark: Remnants (Clickety-click) is an anthology of ten short stories set in a surreal mechanical reality inhabited exclusively by droids. Take a look at the official site for more details, but it’s well worth a look.

    Thank you and good night.

  2. I wouldn’t usually promote this in such a blatant fashion, but it’s something I’m very proud of: I’m working very hard on scaling up the attention paid to genre works and authors in Publishers Weekly. That means more profiles of people writing the books you love and more Q&As with those authors, and not just the BNAs either. (In our 12/17 issue we interviewed Ben Peek.) It means as many reviews as I can squeeze into the print magazine, and more on our website. It means more reviews of books put out by independent presses, more first novels, more collections. It means getting BNAs to do “signature” reviews of notable books, and not just books from major presses either. PW has never done a signature review of a science fiction, fantasy, or horror title! I’m not shocked by this–I’m very familiar with being stuck in the genre ghetto–but I’m determined to change it, and soon. Can’t reveal details on that until we go to press, but keep an eye on our late January and early February issues.

    I hope you’ll generally support me in this by buying the magazine or taking a look at our website on Mondays to see what’s new and notable. It’s a risk, and in an advertising-supported business–which almost all magazines are–a lot of people are risk-averse. If numbers tell them that an increased focus on genre fiction isn’t costing us page views or magazine sales, is maybe even increasing them a little, then you can count on this continuing for as long as I’m running the SF/F/H reviews section, which I hope will be a good long time.

    For those who are mystified by PW, I’ve just started a “How I do my job” series over at my blog that you may find useful. Since I’ve started working there, I’ve found that many authors don’t quite know what to say to me. To a lot of people, we’re a mysterious entity that occasionally, god-like, bestows starred reviews that make your royalty checks bigger. I’d really like to dispel some of that mystical aura, so come by and ask your questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

  3. Self-pimpery: Just had another technology article published in The Global Intelligencer and a couple of good reviews for my novel, Dusk Before the Dawn. And I was invited to do a guest review at

    Pimping for others (though went you don’t get $$ for it, I don’t think it can be call pimping…being loose for others?): In keeping with the military theme of Scalzi’s blog entry, I would recommend Rick Atkinson’s military histories as good Christmas gifts (he was two of a three book series on WWII out, the first one garnered the pulitzer, plus In the Company of Soldiers concerning the Iraq war). I’d also recommend Red Moon by David S. Michaels and Daniel Brenton, scifi about the Soviets beating the US to the moon but no one knew. All of these books have notes/thoughts/comments on my website.

    I hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday. Scalzi, don’t spend all your time writing, eat, drink and be merry!

  4. Judging from that cover, in the grim meathook hello kitty future, Donald Rumsfeld evolves into the Eschaton. Oh noes.

  5. I’ve got nothing of my own to pimp, but I’ll second the pimping for “Better to Beg Forgiveness”. I read it a few weeks ago and had a blast. Its full of ‘splody goodness, excellent characters and a very satisfying ending. Also, if you rush out and buy it right away, you’ll get a copy where they misspelled the author’s last name on the spine of the dustjacket. That’s gonna be worth millions any day now!

  6. Listening-To Pimp: Alice in Chains Greatest Hits. Full of dark, crunchy, closer-to-metal-than-grunge goodness.

    Reading-Now Pimp: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. I know. An oldy but a goody. Are you reading prose? Are you reading poetry? Get yer own copy and decide.

    Self-Pimp: The anthology Forbidden Speculation, containing seventeen tales to satiate your wonderment. Glossy cover with all the fineries of a good stock paper, readable font, and even more readable stories, with with one in particular, “Dwarfblood,” by some cat named Berrien Henderson. Check it at

  7. I’ve got a story in Apex Digest’s new horror anthology, Gratia Placentia.

    Also, if I may pimp two things: Shimmer magazine, for which I’m the art director, is having a subscription drive now through January 10, when we’ll be raising the cover price. Anyone who subscribes or renews during the drive will get a signed chapbook of Ken’s Scholes “What Child Is This I Ask the Midnight Clear,” a post-apocalyptic Christmas tale.

  8. I highly recommend “The Sparrow” by Mary Doria Russell. It is an excellent tale of what can happen when we do first contact wrong. It is not for the faint of heart or anyone who gets the blues at the holidays – it is excellent, but very sad.

  9. Give Kurt Miller (cover artist) a break. He did that cover in THREE DAYS when the previous artist had an emergency pop up, while his wife read chunks of text to him, I emailed him links while on the phone discussing imagery.

    Any resemblance to Rumsfeld or Cheney (people have guessed both) is purely coincidental. Zero google points if you guess what the president looks like with a name of “Balaji Bishwanath.”

    Yes, on the spine I am “Michael Z. Williamsom.” Once I get more copies from Baen, I have 4 of 20 left that I will number, personalize, write a brief sentence or two concerning the error in and sign as “Michael Z. Williamsom.” You can email me for details or to reserve.

    I appreciate Scalzi pimping me, and the generous amount of lube…no, wait, bad image. Let me pimp right back and say I think he’s a great guy, patient with those who lack wisdom, and vicious with a turn of phrase. He shall be my Minister of Truth when I am World Dictator.

    Final pimping on Forgiveness: Nuclear. Qualified. Female. Demolition expert.

    Did I mention a lot of explosions happen?

    Oh, yeah–first 9 chapters are free at Baen Webscriptions

  10. I see Baen’s cover artists are still in fine form. What’s Adama doing on this cover? And I gotta say, I’ve grown wary of military sci-fi from Baen, after Ringo. Scalzi, I feel like a jerk for asking this, but have you actually read the book?

  11. Jn R: as I posted, you can read the first nine chapters for free if you’re wary. I’m not Ringo. The only person who writes like Ringo I’m aware of is Ringo. Though he seems to maintain decent sales, so he obviously has a niche.

    For what it’s worth as intel, I cowrote a novel with him and lots of his fans hated it. That may be a point for or against, depending on the reader.

    This is also my 8th novel, so I think I’m finding a decent voice of my own. I plan to keep working on it, though.

  12. I’ll take the opportunity to pimp Jennifer Estep and her first two books, KARMA GIRL and HOT MAMA. My local library has them in the SF section, but Borders has them in the romance section. And they fit in just well in both sections.

    KARMA GIRL and HOT MAMA combine romance and superheroes, and the books do it in a way that is fun. Make that FUN. You can learn more at Jennifer’s website:

  13. On the concept of pimping for others, Jack Campbell’s new military SF novel The Lost Fleet – Courageous is also available. In fact, many of the folks who bought Mike Z’s book bought Campbell’s, or so Amazon tells me.

    In the self-pimping department, clicking my name will lead you to my first novel, The Mars Run which has received a few favorable reviews, none of them from family or obtained by illicit favors. The Mars Run is also available from Amazon.

  14. Imagine a novel whose themes are economic theory and monetary policy. Now imagine it’s funny. You may be thinking no way, who could do a thing like that? Terry Pratchett is who and the novel is Making Money (Discworld). Get it. Read it. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. Actually you’ll probably forget all about me, but you’ll enjoy the book and that’s the important thing.

    I’m about 2/3 of the way through Charles Stross’s new book Halting State, and folks this book is actually living up to the praise I read about it. Which is saying something. This is the first Stross book I’ve read (but not the last), and I have to admit I was a little leery at first. It uses this weird first person perspective I haven’t seen before, and I was thinking GIMMICK! GIMMICK! I was wrong. It works. Somehow it just sucks you in and bam, you’re there. His world is so detailed, and just real, I felt I was in it.

    And the pimping was successful; I fully intend to pick up Mr. Williamson’s book.

  15. Re: #9:
    While I have yet to read this particular book, I’ve read everything else Mike’s written, and I’d willingly suggest his Freehold universe to anyone that likes Old Man’s War.

  16. Speaking of John Ringo, has he sent you a copy of _Sister Time_, the sequel to _Cally’s War_? If not, drop me an email and I’ll try to get one out to you. I MIGHT be able to track down Ringo long enough to get him to sign it, I can guarantee Julie’s signature :-)

  17. Buy Eifelheim by Michael F. Flynn.

    If Sean Connery as the detective monk in Name of the Rose had a love-child by Jody Foster as the astrophysicist in Contact, this novel would be it.

    It was even nominated for a Hugo this year.

    [This nearly counts as self-pimping because I collaborated on Flynn’s other Hugo nominee of the year, “The Dawn, the Sunset, and All the Colours of the Earth”. which you can find in Hartwell’s and Cramer’s The Year’s Best SF 12.]


  18. @13: Rigel Kent — that’s second-person perspective (or “point of view”), last I checked.
    Charlie explained his theory on why the 2PP works so well in his talk at Borders, which you may find here, starting around 00h02m10s into the video.

    […] It works. Somehow it just sucks you in and bam, you’re there. His world is so detailed, and just real, I felt I was in it. […]

    The best display of “sucks you in and bam, you’re there” was that Charlie seamlessly segued from examples of second-person perspective into the start of his reading… and no one, AFAICT, spotted the transition at first or was able to stop to realize what had happened.

    Merry Christmas, you freaks!

  19. I’d like to second JJ Brannon above: Buy Eifelheim. Read it. Read it again. Tell your friends about it. Buy two copies, so you can loan one out. (Hell, buy three so you can rub one all over your body. It’s acid-free, innit? ;^)

    Best adaptive use of language evar, not to mention the fine detail of history Flynn presents. More impressive IMNSHO than, say, Michael Livingston’s Chaucerisation of OMW.

  20. I wholeheartedly recommend John C. Wright’s Chrinicles of Chaos trilogy. It’s some really thought-provoking fantasy well-steeped in greco-roman mythology, but set in modern England. The money quote, which I can’t find at the moment, is something along the lines of “Our orphanage is actually a prison run by the ancient Greek gods.” What more could you want?

  21. Not a writer here, so I’ll settle for pimping some of my favourites instead.

    Territory by Emma Bull is a wonderful telling of the leadup to a certain event in Tombstone Arizona, only with magic, frontier politics and a character that could be played by Chow Yun Fat. It’s great. (As are her previous books, but especially Finder and War For The Oaks.)

    Steven Gould’s works are also good reading, and one has just been made into a film starring Samuel L. Jackson and Hayden Christiansen. Hopefully the movie will be good, if not great. The book, Jumper, is great, as are his others, Wildside, Blind Waves, Greenwar, Reflex, and Helm.

    At this point, I’d be pimping works by this guy called Scalzi, but most of you have probably heard of him already. Congratulations, sir, on making my favourite author list in record time. Now write me some more great books, dammit! *cracks whip* ;)

    As for the rest of you, I hate you all, on behalf of my poor, abused, finances. I *already* have a huge stack of books to buy/read, and there you go adding more to the list. *sighs*

    As for you, Mr Williamson, I’ve read Freehold. I doubt our politics have much in common, but that hardly matters when it comes to a good, fun novel. Enjoyment is what matters, and I enjoyed it. *adds yet more books to his tottering metaphorical pile marked “To Be Read”*

  22. #9 Jon R: Mike’s one of the few authors whose books I will buy simply because his name is on the cover — I know he’ll deliver, and he’s never disappointed. He’s built up my trust. David Drake, John Scalzi (shameless pimpin’ for the host), and John Dalmas are also in that category.

    And, as someone who’s read quite a bit of Ringo (and will continue to read Ringo), I can say with absolute certainty that Mike is not John Ringo. They’ve got different writing styles and characterizations. Plus, Mike definitely has his own voice. For me, Ringo’s writing was an acquired taste; it took a few books to get me hooked. With Mike, three pages into Freehold, and I was an addict.

    Of course, YMMV, but I’d highly recommend BtBF along with Mike’s other books.

  23. Don’t worry, Mike. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of people who’ll despise the politics in BtBF, yet won’t be able to put it down.


  24. I sure can’t pimp myself but I do love a good military Sci-Fi! So, I got all excited and thought Dorsai! by Gordon R. Dickson. But then I realized that it is pretty stupid to pimp a book for an author that no longer cares. Damn, I feel old.

    I love Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta series. I always love a female hero and I like her take on war tactics. It’s probably because I am a 5’3″ person who would like to kick some ass someday. Never mind, that’s another issue and Whatever is not my psychologist, or are you?

    Scalzi? ;-)

    Okay, I give up. I do think that I will go out and get MZW’s books. I have not read them and if they are full of action and fun, I am all for it.

  25. Oops. I forgot to turn OFF the italics. I am learning. Sorry. I thought I did the thingy above the comma and the slash and the i and the other thingy above the period. Oh well. Believe it or not I do know basic HTML and I wish I could edit.

  26. I Recently finished a SF novel. You could say its military SF but it also has religious undertones. I sent the manuscript to yours truly…TOR, hope they like it. Check out my website (click my name) it has a lot of nifty goodies related to the novel. Feedback is welcomed.

  27. Hi. If you’re looking for a last minute holiday gift, I’d just like to let everyone know (since this is the pimp thread,) that Shimmer Magazine is having a subscription drive. If you buy a new subscription, or renew your current one, we will send you a chapbook of an original KEN SCHOLES Christmas story, SIGNED! Offer ends January10, 2008.

    Happy Holidays, Ya’ll. :)

  28. Apex has a collection coming out next year, Courting Morpheus and my friend Annie is one of the contributors. Start putting aside your money now so you can buy it when it comes out.

  29. [from “Michael Z. Williamson”:]
    > For what it’s worth as intel, I cowrote a novel with [Ringo] and lots of his fans hated it.

    Speaking as one who read it: Trust me, the problems (note plural)
    of that book had naught to do with who wrote it. The guy with the
    rock in his ruck was more interesting than the feature players, and
    he (along with all the other interesting characters) dies 1/3 of the
    way in. The ones who survive are the first in a long time where I
    could literally imagine Cardboard Pieces Being Moved Along A
    Track. *No one* — not even Ringo himself — could make *that*
    interesting. (Even if that was the point of the story.)

  30. I’ll pimp Mark Van Name. His “Slanted Jack” was a good first novel and he has been doing some good short stuff as well.

    You’ll see on his website two books: Future Weapons of War and Transhuman. FWoW had a lot of very good short SF in it. Transhuman (from what I’ve seen so far) will also be good. Neither are “purely” his (they are multi-author anthologies), but both will lead to some other good authors. Pimp on!

  31. Fred: I also have a story in Future Weapons of War.

    CF: The outline and plot were Ringo’s. Most of the characters were mine, based on people I know. Something went wrong somewhere, because several people have called them “cardboard.”

    Ringo wanted everyone dead, but I insisted we had to have someone left alive to have a story about;-) Not quite, but I kept them alive a little longer than planned for. Ferret’s participation was mine. The basis of the gadgets were Ringo’s, and I added a few more.

    It was worth writing. The people who enjoy it enjoy it a lot. They’re just not the usual readers for either of our stuff. It fares better among people who’ve never read the Posleen stuff.

    The people who enjoy it most seem to be veterans, so I’m cool with that.

  32. Last Minute Fantasy Books for the Fantasy Lover, or what I would be recommending to customers if I still worked in a bookstore.

    1) Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
    It’s good epic fantasy in the “boy finds he has powers, meets mentors, confronts bullies, etc…” mold. It’s well done, the trilogy is finished and just waiting publication so we won’t have a Jordanesque situation. This is out in hardcover as a slightly spendier option than the next two.
    2) Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
    Urban Italian renaissance flavored fantasy about a thief with, of course, a code he lives by. I make it sound sucky but it is good. Out in mass market for an excellent stocking stuffer.
    3) Chronicles of the Black Company – Glen Cook
    Reissued trilogy (Black Company, Shadows Linger, The White Rose) in tradepaper format. Available everywhere even mediocre books are sold. Basically a mercenary troop that ends up working for the wrong side. Cook spent some time in the military and I think it shows in the books. A little older but worth the time if you’ve never read them. A classic trilogy in one volume – I’ve read it and its still on my amazon list.

  33. Don’t forget to contact Mike regarding the BtBF t-shirt
    Currently looking like this

    Ripple Creek logo on left breast (yes)


    What about on the back:

    I’m not just an elite personal bodyguard, I’m an

    Autonomous mobile biological mine clearing device, single use

    A self-deploying sandbag

    A biodegradable pop-up target

    A moving wall of ablative meat

    Large and slow and able to soak up a lot of fire

    The reason you’re bleeding

    Not one to handle jokes well

  34. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. That’s what I get for posting a comment before consuming that liquid that Mr. Scalzi thinks tastes like, well…

  35. “Fred: I also have a story in Future Weapons of War.”

    And a disturbing, but good tale it was. My brief review of the anthology:

    And to prove that I occasionally do fire more than one neuron in sequence:

    And now. Back to work. I’ve made 72 scones today. Four quarts of basic brown stock. Tomorrow, more cooking and cleaning. 12 guests coming…I’d rather be reading SF…

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