The ARC of Zoe’s Tale (Get It? Get It? It’s a PUN)

First: Embarq appears to have pulled its head out and restored my Internet connectivity. Yes, I missed you too. No, don’t hug me.

Second: Tor has gotten its shipment of Zoe’s Tale Advance Reading Copies and sent me a couple, which makes me happy. Now it looks like a book! The ARC is taken from the first pass of edits, so there are little fiddly bits still in the text (for example, the hermaphrodite characters are still occasionally referred to as “he”), but people who read ARCs are generally aware that most of the fiddly bits will get fixed before the final printing. They won’t hold a little inappropriate gendering against me, hopefully.

The arrival of ARC is also interesting because it means the book is going out to reviewers and critics, and as always it’ll be interesting to see what they think of the book. Naturally, I hope they like it. I also hope they figure out what I was doing with it, in terms of Zoe, who I think with this book becomes one of the more fully-realized characters I’ve written. Early on in the writing process I got feedback from the Tor marketers, who were concerned about the title and suggested we might want to think about something else; we communally thought about it but eventually “Zoe’s Tale” won out. I’m glad it did, because it is precisely descriptive of what goes on in the book. It really is about Zoe, and her growing up over a certain stretch of time. We’ll see what they think.

I know what I think: I’m pretty happy with this book. And I think Zoe — the character — is a kick. I hope in August, when most of you will have a chance to spend some time with her, you’ll feel the same way about her, too.

Out of Contact

Apparently someone poured Fresca all over Embarq’s Internet connection here in Ohio, and it’s down in a big way, and the recorded message at customer service suggests it might not be back up until evening tomorrow. So, I’m likely not to be around all that much until they get things back under control, and I’ll probably be difficult to come by in e-mail as well (in case you’re wondering, I’m writing this at the local library). You’re on your own, folks. Try not to wreck the place between now and when I get back, okay? I thank you in advance for your cooperation.

To keep you busy, consider this an open thread. Converse among yourselves. Your conversational starter: the Smurfs and the Care Bears in a knife fight. Who wins? Be realistic, now.

Look, Ma, I’m Movieblogging

AMC, the cable channel, is having me as a weekly guest columnist on its science fiction/fantasy movie blog, writing about, you guessed it, movies and science fiction/fantasy. I’ll be writing there on Thursdays for the next several weeks. This naturally pleases me because as a long-time movie critic and commentator, and a science fiction writer, it’s nice to write a little about both on a regular basis. And get paid for it! And write off all my movies and DVDs as tax deductions again. That’s always fun.

I mention this to you now because my first column is up, discussing the upcoming Hobbit movies and why Guillermo del Toro is not only the smart choice to direct them, but may be an even better choice for director than Peter Jackson. No, seriously. Stop looking at me like that. Search your heart. You know it to be true.

If every single one of you would be so kind as to click that link above, and check out that column, I’d appreciate it; it’d be nice for my temporary corporate masters to feel like they’re getting their 23 cents a column out of me. Also feel free to leave comments, etc over there rather than here (I’m turning off the comments to this entry, in fact, to encourage the conversation on the AMC site). Have fun with the column; I hope you like it.


More server issues this morning. Be aware.

On another note, I think we need a word that describes what happens when a piece of technology stops working until you call technical support, only to start working again perfectly when you finally reach the tech support dude. Because, no lie, this has happened to me twice in the last day with the server: The moment the dude said “hello, tech support,” I’m suddenly able to connect to my site. And then, this morning, the moment I hung up — I couldn’t reach the site again. Now, that’s no coincidence; that’s cyber-karma messing with my head. Fortunately I made the tech dude run a diagnostic anyway. Who’s the smart one now, balky server? Huh? Huh? Huh?

Anyway, if one of you can come up with a word for that situation, I’d be appreciative. Yes, I know, I’m the writer here, I should be coining words, not you. But come on. You know you love the audience participation stuff.