Zoe’s Tale ARC: A Contest

Here you see Kodi with an ARC of Zoe’s Tale, guarding it with all the fierceness of Cerberus guarding the gates of Hades. Sure, you could try taking the ARC from her, but afterward, you would only be able to count to five on your fingers. I’m not trying to frighten you, I’m just letting you know how that would work out.

Fortunately, there’s a way for you to acquire a signed Zoe’s Tale’s ARC that doesn’t involve sacrificing your least-favorite hand to get it. How? Well, I’m running a contest, you see. Right here. Right now. Here’s how to play:

Explain the events of the night of August 19, 1994.

Huh? You say. What did happen on the night of August 19, 1994? Well, that’s my point: There’s a lot of confusion on what really happened. That’s why we need you to explain it. Perhaps you were there. Perhaps you know someone who was there. Perhaps you heard something about that evening on the Internet or other source. However you know the details, share them with us. Aside from reporting the “facts,” do not be afraid to insert your own speculation or commentary concerning the events: your personal interpretation is valuable — nay, necessary.

Do not be deterred by others who may offer up entirely different facts, speculation or commentary. As I said, there’s a lot of confusion about what really happened. Just give it your best shot, and post your explanation/speculation in the comment thread here. Heck, you can even post more than one explanation — even if that second explanation completely contradicts your other explanation. Just get your posting in before 11:59:59 pm on Thursday, May 15 (Eastern Time). On Friday, May 16, I’ll announce the winner. And then we’ll all know what truly happened on that fateful night.

So: The evening of August 19, 1994. What can you tell me about it?

(Hint for the new folks: If you’re actually searching Wikipedia, trying to figure out what happened in the real world on that date, you’re doing it wrong.)


Because They Never Love You More Than When You’ve Fallen Down

James Frey’s latest book Bright Shiny Morning gets a rave in the New York Times.

Wait until they find out that this novel is actually a memoir.

More seriously, if Frey has come out of this whole experience as a better writer and a less grasping opportunist, well, then, good for him. Nice to see people have a learning curve.

That said, I could probably say something here about the irony of a writer who has screwed up so badly as Frey still getting lots of ink while other writers of similar or better quality who plug along not lying about their text toil in obscurity. But in fact it’s not irony, it’s just superior marketing.

Update, 5/13: The LA Times is rather less enthused: “Bright Shiny Morning is an execrable novel, a literary train wreck without even the good grace to be entertaining.”


Book Updatery, 5/12/08

A couple of things relating to books of mine:

* I finished and delivered an updated manuscript for Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998 – 2008 to Subterranean Press last night. See, I told you having a clean office makes me productive. There had been a previous version of the book that went up to 2005, but when we decided to tie the release of the book to the 10-year anniversary of Whatever, I went back and updated. The book now features material from 2006, 2007 and 2008 as well. This made me happy because it gave me an opportunity to cut out some of what I thought was the less successful material from the previous version, and to re-sequence the book to make it more like the Whatever reading experience. The end result: a much stronger book overall.

That said, the majority of the text in the book is still from 2005 or before, i.e., before more than the large majority of who reads Whatever today showed up round these parts. I think for a lot of these folks it will be an interesting exercise in blog archeology.

For those of you hankerin’ for Hate Mail, the release date is September 13, 2008 — the ten year anniversary of me starting the Whatever. Subterranean is going to release it very much like it released You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop Into a Coffee Shop, which is to say it will be a signed, limited edition. Naturally, me being me, I’ll let you know when the pre-order page is up over at Subterranean Press.

* The UK version of The Ghost Brigades just had its release (they’re a bit behind the schedule over there) and got a nice review in The Guardian, which wrote that the plot was “a neat scenario, allowing Scalzi to pose questions of identity and morality while telling a fast-paced, entertaining action adventure story.” Well, yes, that was the plan, so I’m glad the reviewer thought it worked. The review also noted that I was writing military science fiction “without the triumphalist excess of most American examples of the sub-genre,” which for some reason made me giggle. The Old Man’s War universe is just not set up for triumphalism, you know?

* For those of you staying up nights wondering when, oh when, the German version of The Last Colony would be out, the answer is: next month. There, now you can sleep well for the first time in months. Also, note the cover art, which is the exact cover art of both the German versions of Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades, with the exception of the background color. It’s nice to see my publisher getting some good mileage out of their purchase. That said, I wonder if Mark Salwowski, the artist, got paid three times or just once. Hopefully three times. I also wonder if Ken MacLeod is annoyed with me for stealing his cover art three times now. Sorry, Ken. Bring it up with Heyne.

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