“Zoe’s Tale” Auction to Benefit the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust

The Short Version:

I have recently completed my newest book, Zoe’s Tale, and am offering a special pre-publication bound manuscript version of the novel to auction to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust. This is an exclusive and extremely rare version of this novel (only four other copies of this edition exist) and will be the only way for a member of the general public to read the novel prior to its official publication in August 2008. All money raised by this auction, minus eBay and PayPal fees, will go to the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust. The auction is currently taking place on eBay and will end on Feb-25-08 09:10:29 PST. Opening bid is $50.

Please let people know.

The Long Version (especially useful for new folks who might wander by):

Who Am I?

As mentioned, I am John Scalzi. I’m the 2006 winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a two-time nominee for the Hugo award in science fiction, including a Best Novel nomination for my debut novel Old Man’s War, which was published in 2005. Since then I’ve had four other novels published: Agent to the Stars, The Ghost Brigades, The Android’s Dream and The Last Colony. I also write non-fiction books (including the upcoming 2nd edition of The Rough Guide to the Universe, an astronomy book) and am the proprietor of Whatever, a popular blog (you’re likely reading this on it).

What is Zoe’s Tale?

Zoe’s Tale is the fourth novel in the “Old Man’s War” series, but like the other books in the series, can be read as a stand-alone novel — you don’t have to have read the other books in the series to get into it. Here is the description text that will be on the published book’s jacket flap:

Meet Zoe Boutin Perry: Friend. Daughter. A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player and a pawn in an interstellar chess match to save the human race.

Seventeen years old.

Readers of John Scalzi’s bestselling Old Man’s War series have met Zoe before, but now, in this compelling stand-alone novel set in the same universe, Scalzi brings her front and center, to tell her tale as only she can: “Not straight but true, and telling it all; the joy and terror and uncertainty, the panic and wonder, despair and hope.”

Zoe has a lot to tell. She and her family and friends are at a pivotal point in history, unwillingly placed at the center of a galaxy-spanning gambit by the human Colonial Union, which wants to draw an alien alliance into a war neither of them can win or afford. Zoe’s colony home of Roanoke is the flashpoint, primed by outsiders to explode and destroy everyone Zoe loves… unless she can somehow stop the seemingly inevitable process that will bring destruction to her door.

Zoe’s tale isn’t the one she would have chosen for herself, but it’s one she rises to tell, calling on every resource she has — every ounce of wit and guile and heart — to save her colony and become the woman she has to be to keep humanity among the stars.

As a personal note, as the writer, I’m really pleased with how this book turned out.

What should we know about this edition of Zoe’s Tale?

That it is not a final version of the novel. It is a bound edition of the final manuscript — which means it hasn’t been copy edited. All the author’s idiot spelling and grammar errors are still in there (sorry), and there may be a slight variance textually from this edition and the final published edition (the plot details, however, will not change).

In exchange for putting up with these pre-production flaws, however, you will have a chance to read the book long before even the critics and booksellers do — indeed, at this point only four people have read the complete novel from beginning to end.

Moreover, only five copies of this edition of the bound manuscript exist, and no more will be made. One copy I’m keeping; one copy goes to my wife and two are gifts for personal friends. For collectors, this is a rare opportunity to have something literally no one else can get.

Will it be signed?

Yes, and if the winning bidder wishes, also personally inscribed.

What is the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust?

Let me crib from their Web Site here:

The DAV Charitable Service Trust supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs, meets the special needs of veterans with specific disabilities – such as amputation and blindness – and aids and shelters homeless veterans…

Programs supported by the Trust target several groups of physically and psychologically disabled veterans. Key programs include:

* Helping to maintain a volunteer-operated transportation network providing rides to sick and disabled veterans needing transportation to and from VA medical centers for treatment;

* Providing food and shelter and connecting homeless and needy veterans to essential medical care, VA benefits counseling and job training;

* Meeting the special needs of veterans faced with specific disabilities such as blindness and amputation;

* Supporting significant therapeutic initiatives;

* Supporting physical and psychological rehabilitation projects aimed at some of America’s most profoundly disabled veterans; and

* Bringing hope to the forgotten and suffering families of disabled veterans.

The Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust is ranked as a “Four Star Charity” by CharityNavigator.org and as a “Best in America” charity by Independent Charities of America. According to CharityNavigator.org, 99.3% of the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust revenues go to program expenses. See details here.

Why did you choose the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust?

Three main reasons:

1. It is part of Disabled American Veterans, a charitable organization with a history of service going back nearly 90 years. That sort of longevity appealed to me, particularly given the mission of the organization.

2. Our current involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan means that we have new disabled veterans coming home every day; I want to honor their service. Whatever one thinks of war, generally or specifically regarding Iraq and Afghanistan, those disabled while serving deserve our help back here at home.

3. The “Old Man’s War” series has had a lot of fans in the US military, and I wanted to thank them for their support by returning the favor to those of them most in need.

Why are you putting the auction on eBay instead of running it off Whatever, like you did for the charitable auction for The Last Colony?

One, I don’t want to have to police the bidding; I have a lot of work to do, writing-wise. Second, I hope this might get the auction out to a wider group of bidders, and also convince bidders unfamiliar with me that this is a legitimate auction for charity.

How and when will you donate the money from the auction?

I will be accepting payment for the auction through PayPal. When the payment gets into my account, I will then make a contribution to DAVCST for the full amount of the auction bid, minus eBay and PayPal processing fees, on the following business day.

To ensure to all and sundry that the money has gone to DAV and not into my pocket, I will post a copy of the receipt of the contribution on my personal blog, Whatever as soon as it arrives.

How will the item get to me?

I will ship it to you, worldwide, without charge. When I ship it I will provide you with the tracking number so you will know where it is and when it’s going to get to you.

Can I tell others about this auction?

I hope you will — please, feel free to tell anyone you’d like. You can point them here, or at the eBay item page.

Let me know if you have any other questions — and happy bidding!

Reminder: Free eBooks from Tor

I mentioned last week about how Tor was giving away free eBooks of popular titles (including Old Man’s War) to those folks who signed up to receive a newsletter; well, the e-mail about first of these titles, Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris Mistborn, just showed up in my mail queue. It’s a PDF file, and it looks pretty much as if it were taken from the production layout, so it’s a nice job. And it’s definitely DRM free: Fiddle with it to your heart’s content for your own personal use. Please don’t drop it onto BitTorrent. Having people drop an e-mail for free eBooks really isn’t too much to ask — and since I know what’s planned for Tor.com, I can assure you it’s going to be something people who love science fiction and fantasy are going to want to get an e-mail about when it happens. Everybody wins!

OMW is going to be next week’s free eBook (and several others are planned after that), so it’s not too late to sign up and get that. Tor is also sweetening the deal by entering each e-mail into its “Watch the Skies” Sweepstakes, in which the prize is one of those very sweet Asus EEE 4GB Galaxy Mobile PCs, as long as you sign up by 11:59pm Eastern tonight (that’s February 15, 2008) on May 15, 2008 (I’m clearly having trouble with details today). The details of the sweepstakes are here. I see that since technically I’m not an employee of Macmillan, I’m eligible to win (yay!), but since it would also look very bad if one of the participating authors won the prize, I’ll just unilaterally exempt myself from participation (sigh). Sometimes having ethics sucks.

In any event, if you want the eBook of Old Man’s War, remember to sign up, sooner than later. Also remember that if you enjoy the works in the free eBooks you’re getting, to seek out and buy other works from those authors. Their families and mortgages will thank you for such tender attentions.