Okay, Actually, THIS is the Worst It’s Ever Been

My office at the moment:

However, this time the culprit is not merely sloth and indolence. The faucet on Athena’s tub has gone kerplooey and needs to be replaced, and the plumber needs to put a hole in the drywall to get to the plumbing. The other side of the wall the plumbing is on is on my office’s closet. So I had to haul out some of the junk that was in there so he could get in there. I called Krissy to warn her about the state the room would be in when she came home. If I hadn’t, there is a good chance I would be dead shortly after she came home. See, I think ahead about some things.

The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaind– Oh, Crap, It’s MY Book

Got a note from Tor Books last week that the hardcover of The Android’s Dream is being remaindered: there were a few thousand extra copies left hanging around after the paperback came out, and it’d be a shame to pulp them, so off they go onto the bargain racks.

The note announcing the remaindering did come with nice boilerplate designed to keep the author’s ego from being totally squashed:

Please note that this does not necessarily mean that your book is going out of print. We may not end up remaindering all the inventory of your book; your book may already be available in another edition; or we may in the near future decide to offer another edition of your book for sale.

In my particular case, indeed, there is another edition available: the mass market paperback, which, I am happy to say, is chugging along nicely. Nor did the hardcover version sell poorly: it sold a bit better than the hardcover of Old Man’s War, as far as I can see. But publishing is not an exact science. With OMW they printed too few of the hardcover and had go to back for a few more printings; with TAD they swerved in the other direction and ended up with more than they needed. It’s not the first of my books to have been remaindered — that distinction goes to The Rough Guide to Money Online, my very first book, which at one point I saw offered online for a mere penny (note: it was published in 2000, so in 2008, it’s not worth even that much). But it’s the first of my novels to achieve that distinction. Given TAD’s esteem issues anyway, this seems oddly appropriate.

If you see a copy of the hardcover TAD at the remainder price (cheap!) should you feel author loyalty and pick up the paperback instead? Eh. I wouldn’t worry about it too much if I were you. I buy remainders myself — books I’d rather have in hardcover than in paperback, or books I didn’t know existed until they were plopped onto the front of store remainder display (remainders are at least generally well positioned in the bookstore). I really like TAD and want you to read it; I don’t mind if you pick up the cheap hardcover. And verily, I say onto you: a remaindered TAD would make a great cheap gift. Buy two, they’re inexpensive. Buy three and prop up that wobbly table leg!

As for me, every time I see a remaindered copy of TAD, I’m going to sign it and put it back on the table. That’ll be a surprise for someone.

(If you’re wondering about the title of this entry, please see this following Clive James poem, “The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered,” which is arguably his most famous poem, and pretty much captures the author mindset, especially the last stanza, in which is it revealed how it is different when one’s own work might happen — purely by chance — to be remaindered as well.)

How Hard Is It to Make a Movie?

For the folks who have been wondering where the movie adaptation of Old Man’s War is, this Los Angeles Times story on the trials and tribulations of getting the book Meg (about a really big shark) to the screen should give some perspective on the matter. Bear in mind that the studios involved spent millions acquiring rights to this particular book, so they were motivated to get a return on their investment. They still couldn’t manage to get the thing going, and now it’s 12 years later.

Lesson: the natural state of any movie project is “development hell.” And none of my books has even managed to reach “development hell,” drat the luck. So, yeah. If you’re hoping to see John Perry on the screen, you’ll be waiting a while longer, I expect. The good news is: there’s the book to keep you company until then.

The Most Schadenfreudtastic Story of the Month

From the New York Times:

Alberto R. Gonzales, like many others recently unemployed, has discovered how difficult it can be to find a new job. Mr. Gonzales, the former attorney general, who was forced to resign last year, has been unable to interest law firms in adding his name to their roster, Washington lawyers and his associates said in recent interviews…

“Maybe the passage of time will provide some opportunity for him,” said one Washington lawyer who was aware of an inquiry to his firm from a Gonzales associate. “I wouldn’t say ‘rebuffed,’ ” said the lawyer, who asked his name not be used because the situation being described was uncomfortable for Mr. Gonzales. “I would say ‘not taken up.’ ”

Alberto Gonzalez, meet karma. Karma, Alberto Gonzalez. You kids were made for each other.

I’m not so petty that I hope Gonzalez does not find suitable employment, but given his immediate past record, I think it’s fairly evident that “the law,” “suitable employment” and “Alberto Gonzalez” really ought not be used together in a sentence, unless “is not” is placed between the first and second of these phrases. Unfortunately, that leaves “lick-spittlery” as Gonzalez’s only marketable skill, and, well. Link-spittlery really is a young person’s game, isn’t it. Gonzalez had a good run in that department with Bush, but he was rode hard and put away wet by the president, and everyone knows it. No one wants a tired old second-hand lick-spittler when new ones, young and dewy fresh, are thick on the ground. “Discarded Sycophant” just doesn’t make friends as a resume line item.

Which leaves what? Well, maybe Gonzalez has a heretofore unknown hobby — interpretive dance, perhaps, or knitting — that he can capitalize on for a new career. Maybe he could take all that experience he’s had testifying on the Hill and use it to become a testimony coach (although one wonders, once Gonzalez handed over the slip of paper with the phrases “I don’t know,” “I’m not familiar with that” and “I’ll have to check with my staff and get back to you on that,” on it, if the rest of his coaching time would be spent in awkward silence). There’s always the memoir route, although if his congressional testimony is anything to go by, the memoir would have him taking a nap on the afternoon of February 3, 2005, and then waking up in September of 2007 without much of an idea of what went on during the interim. The memoir would at least be short, which has its appeal.

But what Gonzalez really needs to do is just hang on for a few more months; after that Dubya will ride to his rescue by appointing him General Counsel for the GWB Presidential Library, where Gonzalez can happily deny scholarly access to administration documents well into retirement age. It’s a dream of dreams, to be sure, for the both of them.

Until then, clip those coupons, Alberto! It’s not much longer now. And when it’s done, the memory of all those tight-budget Top Ramen suppers will taste like victory.