A Couple of Nice Things

A quick note of some accolades sent my way recently:

* The Last Colony popped onto SFSite’s Reader’s Choice Best of 2007, along with Axis, Brasyl, The Name of the Wind (which took top honors) and six others. The Ghost Brigades was on this list last year, so it’s nice to see the series continue in SFSite’s readers’ affections (Old Man’s War didn’t make this list the year before, but it was nominated for a Hugo, which is almost as good. Almost).

* Speaking of Old Man’s War, the increasingly-indispensable SFAwardsWatch noted a week or so ago that OMW showed up on an annual “Best Of” list in Japan as well, as one of the top books in translation. To which I say, finally I have a reason to haul out this video:

(checks off another life goal)

Yes, I have tiny life goals. At least I have them, pal.

26 Comments on “A Couple of Nice Things”

  1. Wow! It’s like a a “spot the cheapest special effect” game, narrated by some guy dressed halfway between Robin Hood and a particularly surly Muppet.

  2. Two reasons I’m happy:

    1) I don’t remember the early 80’s (I was too young)

    2) I grew up in the boonies and we never had MTV

  3. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang in Japan!

    Glad to see folks are still seeing the awesomeness that is Scalzi! Makes the hunger for ZT all the mightier. And I think my copy of TAD is permanently Canadian now due to it getting loaned by my brother to his mother in law, so I must go get the paperback.

    Apologies to the family members who read this but…

    I !@#$%^&* LOVE THAT SONG!!!

    Like in my bones I love it!!!

    It’s so hardwired into my being that when I hear it get all weird. Weirder. Man, I wanted to be that dude when I was a kid but I bet he’s not aged well. The song’s gone good and bad and is now back to awesome!!! Perhaps it’s my teutonic roots. I’m just giddy with delight when I hear synthpop. And yes, while I agree with Dave @ #1, it’s still part of my wayward childhood. What is it with Germans and standing under giant flags?

    Guess I’m gonna have to get this offa iTunes.

    Okay, the keeper says I have to go back in my cage or he’s gonna tase me, bro.

  4. Jerri Blank of Strangers with Candy said it best: “It doesn’t matter what you dream, it’s that you dream. And that’s my dream… to dream.”

    Man, I love Amy Sedaris…

  5. I remember the 80s, but I had never heard the song, so I had to get all the way to the chorus to get the point, and wound up watching the whole thing in sheer fascination (that animal print shirt with the high-waisted pants? wow)

    That was 20 minutes ago. Yet, I can still hear the chorus….was the earworm also one of your life goals?

  6. And no mention of the most important accolade of all, the awarding of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club Seal of Approval Award?

    This coveted award not only dwarfs those “accolades” you mentioned, it ranks somewhere just above the Nobel Prize and Fields Medal.

    Just so you know.

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

  7. Great…I’ve fallen down the well of 80s nostalgia and I can’t get out. Quick -send Lassie for help!
    *ahem* For a non-video, on-demand option, last.fm has a Big in Japan remix available. http://tinyurl.com/2gthp2
    It’s got an annoying backbeat like the remix of Suzanne Vega’s ‘Tom’s Diner’, but it’s still quite catchy.
    So much for getting anything productive done today. YouTube and last.fm call…

  8. Now I feel old. Because,
    a) I miss the 80s.
    b) Those guys, they all look so young, they’re all just babies!!!

  9. Before I clicked on the YouTube play button, I had this faint glimmer of hope that this was a video for Tom Waits’ song “Big in Japan.” But… no. Thanks a lot, Scalzi.

  10. “some guy dressed halfway between Robin Hood and a particularly surly Muppet.”

    I thought he looked like a young Bruce from Kids in the Hall, lipsyncing outrageously for the sake of a comedy sketch.

  11. Chang, look up Girls On Film on Myspace. They’re a synthpop girl band who invoke the 80s extremely well. They’re local to me and I got hooked on them when they opened for MC Chris. They’re fun live, too.

  12. I figured the video was going to be The Vapours Turning Japanese

    When I was your age gas was less than a buck a gallon and MTV played music.
    Is it just me or is it cool/weird to be a fan of an author that is in my age group? Most of my other favorite authors are quite a bit older than me and or dead.

  13. I can always count on you, John. For some reason your 80s flashbacks make me feel young rather than old. This video really made me smile.

  14. I am now off on an Alphaville binge that could have been avoided if I had not clicked ‘Play’ on your site. You bad, very bad, man. (See me avoid responsibility? Another 80s trait.)

    As I jam to 80s tunes and refer to my son’s hair as ‘A Flock of Something’, I will direct my sons to your site. On your head be it…

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