One Day’s Haul

People have wondered how many books I receive from publicists/authors/editors who’d like me to mention the book/have the author do a Big Idea/Just want to give me stuff. Well, here’s what just came in today from FedEx:

That’s twelve books so far today. And I haven’t checked the mail yet, nor have I received a visit from UPS or DHL, both of which trundle up my driveway with books on a pretty much daily basis.

And here are some other books/ARCs I’ve received in the last couple of weeks (give or take — my shelving is a little loose, time-wise):

This doesn’t include a small stack of non-fiction science books, which I plan to chat up in a separate entry, or the advance of Nancy Kress’ latest, Dogs, which Krissy saw, said “Oooh, that looks good,” and snatched from the pile. There were even more new ARCs/books in here prior to my birthday, but they’ve now been exiled to the basement, in totes — accessible if I need them but out of the way. Krissy is already eyeing the new arrival stack suspiciously, and will eye it even more suspiciously now that there are a dozen new books in it. There is another tote bin in the closet to deal with them, however. The office will remain tidy. Or I will be killed. And then I will be no good to anyone.

This is, incidentally, the best of all possible worlds. People sending me free books? And free books I want to read? Kings don’t live this well. There is the minor problem that I can’t actually physically read every single book that is sent to me; I’m not Harriet Klausner, after all. But I am delighted both to be kept in step with what’s coming up in the book world and awash in books books booky books.

I think I do a pretty good job flying the flag for other writers with the Big Idea pieces, but even if I do a couple of those a week I’m still not noting most of what I get sent, or even most of what I’d like to note to people. I’m trying to figure out a good way to do that that doesn’t take a huge amount of my time; maybe what I do is just a once or twice-weekly “New Arrivals” photo shoot with maybe a bit of commentary, or possibly something on the sidebar. I’ll figure it out.

In the meantime: Look! Cool new and upcoming books. See anything you think you’d like?

94 Comments on “One Day’s Haul”

  1. I’m currently reading the Martian General’s Daughter, and “own with the intent to read” the Steampunk Anthology (in the mail) and Before They Are Hanged.

    But yes, I love free books.

  2. OK, I’m sold. I’m spending the next ten years building a blog.

    Um, right after I get this report in to the NIH, that is…

  3. Before they are hanged by Joe Abercrombie, I heard very good things about Abercrombie’s trilogy but I never went around to buy the first book.
    Also, the Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell roused my curiosity, but again, I never went around to actually read it.

    Between writing my dissertation, preparing the last exam and my part-time job I don’t think I’m going to get them any time soon.

  4. Laura E:

    I do a lot of lending in my local area, although not too much with the ARCs because they’re not quite finished.

  5. I’m not Harriet Klausner, after all.

    :Shudders at the thought.:

    And I’m with Laura E. Want Cry Wolf! Have read the novella that presumably kicks it off about 457 times now….

  6. As for telling us what you’ve gotten in. Maybe grab a barcode scanner and link up with Amazon or something. That way all you’d need to do is scan it and sync some files with your web server.. the rest would be taken care of.

  7. Have you considered getting something like Delicious Monster ( and scanning them in? It integrates with the iSight camera and automatically pulls book information down from Amazon. I bet you could even set up some sort of feed to have it automatically dump the list of new books out to the sidebar.

  8. I see about eight things I know I want to read, and that many again I’d happily take a chance on were they to drop into my lap. I didn’t even know Haldeman had one coming out… cool. Thanks for the pics! This kind of post would indeed be a nice thing to post weekly.

    Regarding The Martian General’s Daughter, what’s with the trend of novels about women but their title is a reference to their relationship to a man? It’s gotten to be a running joke with my wife whenever we go to the bookstore or library to keep count.

  9. Alastair Reynolds hardcopies just “fall out of the sky” into your lap ? !! I think I shall now begin the official “I hate J.S. (because I’m insanely jealous)” website

  10. Let me also chime in for Joe Abercrombie’s Before They Are Hanged (and the first book in the series as well – The Blade Itself). Great characters, excellent setting.

  11. Question: Do you ever find while you’re writing a new book, that ideas from the scores of books that you’ve received and presumably read(at least in part) from your book/ARC pile tend to creep into your writing? Do you leave them? Change them? Yell at them and throw them in the garbage? I would assume that no one’s going to come with a lawyer knocking at your door saying that can’t have a ship that flies through space because Joe Writer copyrighted that in his last book, but where does the line fall that maybe you did use too much of someone else’s idea?

  12. Alistair Reynolds already has a new book out in the UK; the US is depressing behind on that score, making me send my weak dollars to to negotiate for my Neal Asher, Richard Morgan and Steven Erikson fixes.

  13. Before They are Hanged and The Dark Ferryman look intriguing.

    The kinds of books people want to send me are about mortgages and real estate, despite the fact that I have been writing an entertainment column for three and a half years. I’m clearly on the wrong list.

    (I did manage to combine entertainment and mortgages when I wrote about David Simon’s new series for Mortgage Servicing News and once I did a writeup about the Sutro Baths for National Mortgage News (the bath ruins that are in Little Brother) but still no good books in the mail.)

  14. I see you have “Daemons are Forever”, the sequel to “The Man with the Golden Torc”. I’m a big Simon R. Green fan and I’m anxiously awaiting June 3rd when its released so I can buy a copy.

  15. Ha, I got all those books yesterday, too.

    And I’ve got all the books in the second picture, too, except for the Elizabeth Bear (which I am in need of for the August issue of RT), the anthology next to the Katherine Kerr book which looks like it’d be something I’d like to read for fun (the anthology, not the Kerr), and the Steampunk anthology because I don’t get titles from Tachyon.

    Unfortunately, I do not have someone to help my maintain my work area (my husband is, if anything, even more prone to clutter than I am), so my book accumulation tends to look something like this. I give a lot of books away to friends; I still haven’t come up with a perfect solution for ARCs–it seems like a waste to throw them away.

  16. I just wanted to thank you for posting the images. I see quite a few books I’m interested in looking into now and even if you can’t read all the books sent to you, showing them to us is still helpful. (Spectre, Future Americas, The Prefect, Marsbound, Terminal Mind, Gale Force, Seeds of Change, and the Lost Fleet all sound really interesting, so now I have some books on my “too look for when I’m in the bookstore” list). I have that Steampunk anth. I bought that the second I saw it in the store. I’ve been looking forward to it for months. Thanks again for posting these!
    Out of curiosity, what do you do with all those books? You don’t read them all do you? Do they go in storage or do you give them to friends? Maybe you read them all, but if this is the usual load of books you get it seems unlikely…unless you read all day long.

  17. Beware. I recall an article Spider Robinson wrote about how the quantities of books he got for review grew and grew beyond all reason, and how he couldn’t get rid of them.

    Although, you’d of thought a deep-in Heinlein fan like him would have at least mentioned the option of using them to control erosion in gullies.

  18. Captain Button:

    If I can’t liberate them by traditional means, there are always the local library book sales.

  19. What do you DO with them all? I have to pay for all of mine, and I still have a hard time with space management.

  20. I’m looking forward to Codespell. I get a few ARCs and galleys from my dad, who works at a newspaper, but nothing like this! My inner bookworm (who am I kidding, it’s totally outer) is jealous.

  21. You could donate ARCs to the library for the staff and volunteers to read/take home. YA books are also good if the library has a teen group. If people like them, then the library’s likely to order a copy (or more copies than they planned to originally).

    Or local English classes or writing groups might appreciate seeing what an ARC looks like.

  22. “See anything you think you’d like?”

    *points politely to the Steampunk anthology*

  23. I just finished Jim Butcher’s ‘Small Favor’ and practically inhaled it. It had somehow snuck past my review of the new book carts (being a librarian gets a lot of books past my face too). Any series that has demonic evil being kicked in the nards on a regular basis (literally, and it is scary and funny at the same time) has my vote.
    Ah reading, I wish I had more time for it too.

  24. Also, if you do read many of the books you are sent, perhaps you could “blurb” them, but not real blurbs as it were, just “If you like such and such, and you’re into this genre, pick this book up!” Not so much an endorsement of any book, but rather a quick review, sort of like how Amazon says “Since you like this, you might also like…” and then you end up spending $200 before you know which way is up.

  25. John,

    I’ve got tons of spare time, a blog, and an Amazon Associates account. I just don’t have money. Stuff to blog about would be nice. Street address available upon request. Feel free to surprise me. :)

  26. I’m making my way through the Jim Butcher, “The Dresden Files”. They are really fun reads even if people won’t admit it.

    Sometimes you need to break into the “popcorn” books between the ones trying hard to make a point. It’s like seeing a summer blockbuster between trips to the art house.

    I do need to get my evil clutches around “Small Favor”, to complete my collection. I guess that’s why you’re the lucky one and I’m not at the moment.

  27. @ 23 – Captain Button: I recently read a similar article by a porn reviewer, though he didn’t have very much trouble getting rid of his review copies.

    Speaking of porn, I vote for a new arrivals photo shoot. But keep it tasteful, John. You know what the sight of too much page could do to our delicate constitutions.

  28. How on Earth do you find time to read all those?
    Or perhaps the better question is how many hours of reading time do you get in weekly?

  29. Too much of a good thing can aften become a curse. It must be frustrating knowing that you do not have the time to read them all, especially given that so many are of such high quality. All those ARC’s must suggest that your opinion is highly valued.

  30. I’m awaiting the Cry Wolf. I’m just lucky it comes out after deadline. Then i got sucked into The Queen’s Bastard (excellent intrigue and alternate history–I recommend it highly) and yet the deadline refuses to care! So I alternately have book envy and then gratitude that I’m not daily tempted the way you are.



  31. Cry Wolf, Gale Force, and Hell on Earth are all already on order with Amazon. So are Daemons are Forever and Spectre in the most recent group.

    Marsbound and Shadow Isle are things that I’m waiting on reviews/looking at them in the store. The Martian General’s Daughter I will look at further, since I haven’t heard of it, and I’ll take a look at the Velvet Chair and The Dark Ferryman. (I read the Brass Bed (Jennifer Stevenson also) and had mixed feelings about it.

    I’m really profoundly jealous.

  32. I got pulled into Kelly McCulloch’s stuff a while back, it’s fun.

    Future Americas looks interesting, too.

    Lucky you. :-)

  33. I will echo that the one that really is inspiring the most stalkerish thoughts about sneaking in with a flashlight to read it is Cry Wolf, by Briggs.

  34. In my wildest dreams, your blog and Jeff VanderMeer’s blog team up and do something crazy, like take over the interwebs.

  35. I got ‘Small Favor’ the day after it came out and finished in about one day. It wasn’t as good as Butcher’s last book but it was still a good read. I hope you enjoy it!

  36. Ooh, the new Simon Green James Bond parody book, that looks good.

    Also, the only way I could be more envious of you is if you had gotten “Last Argument of Kings” (what with it only being released over in Airstrip1 now).

  37. So, John doesn’t have time to read all these books, and Whatever readers are all green with envy over them. The solution is simple! John sends his unread books to Whatever readers who write reviews and send them to John to post as his own work. Everyone wins! Whatever readers get free books and John looks like he’s doing a load of work. Where’s the downside? I’m sure the post office will give you a discount on book postage and with such erudite readers I’m sure quality control of the reviews would be no issue. I’ll nobly volunteer to be umpire if there’s an ugly fight over who gets a particular book (psst – chocolate cookies are a good bet if you want to bribe me).

  38. Dude! There’s so many in there!

    Tanya Huff, Simon R. Green, Patricia Briggs, Elizabeth Bear, Jim Butcher, Joe Haldeman… every time I look at the pictures I notice another author that I love.

    I’m going to go find a chocolate cooke recipie to make cookies with which to bribe Gillian!

  39. Hi John,

    As a guy working in a small science fiction/fantasy specialty bookstore with limited space, I’m often lost as to which books to order in bulk and which to avoid. We can’t afford to order 10 copies of a hard-to-sell book because there is literally nowhere to store it if it doesn’t sell, and publishers obviously aren’t going to point out to us which of their upcoming publications sucks nuts.

    So. The question is, what three or four recent sci-fi/fantasy books would you recommend I bring in? I think Implied Spaces is a given, after your little expose. Anything else you think is worthy of crowding out everything else on the shelves?

  40. Color me jealous. I see many of those I’d love to get my paws on. I run a review blog too. Maybe once I get hits like yours I can look forward to books like that :D

  41. Chris Hayes-Kossman:

    You mean to say, “Hey John, why not get yourself on several writers’ jihad lists by suggesting someone else’s work to be stocked in a book store and not theirs?” You’re going to get me stabbed, man.

    As an aside, while I personally did enjoy Implied Spaces, it should be understood that the appearance of a book in the Big Idea feature is not necessarily a personal recommendation. I open those slots to writers in general, and it’s often “first come, first serve,” and up to the writer him or herself to make the case for the book.

  42. I tell you what John, send some of them my way, and I’ll do a book report on them. Just finished Joe Ambercrombie’s The Blade Itself, and waiting for the other two to be shipped. Finished Small Favor in one sitting when it was released, and finished your Old Man War series in about a week. I enjoy reading, and have since I was a kid. I was first hooked on the SF/F with The Hobbit, and progressed with Pet Cemetery,Watchers, a lot of Asimov and Heinlein. Keep up the great work.

  43. Take your extra books to cons, and auction them off for charity :-)

    See you at LosCon in November.

    Hint, hint.

  44. That looks about like my weekly haul. In my case they tend to show up a little more spread out than they do with you, say, two or three books a day. I have pretty much everything in the second photo; all the finished copies in the top photo are going to have me on the alert this week, though I’ve got Night Child and The Prefect in ARC form.

    You get anything from Spectra? They’re doing some good stuff. Just finished Havemercy, a striking debut everyone should read next month.

    This week I’ll be finishing up a bunch of Charlie Stross, including Saturn’s Children, and next week I’ll follow that up with Jay Lake’s Escapement, which I’m itching to start.

    Oh…one detail…

    There is the minor problem that I can’t actually physically read every single book that is sent to me; I’m not Harriet Klausner, after all.

    Harriet doesn’t do it either, John. :-)

  45. T.M. Wagner:

    You know, I can’t remember if I’ve ever gotten anything from Spectra.

  46. Son of a!

    It’s only the fact that the mail brought me Seeds of Change a few weeks back that doesn’t have me explode in jealousy. Like, explosions with chunks.

    It’s the eBear that gets me, mostly because of the fact that my library has apparently purchased Hell and Earth (that delightful looking ARC in the picture) and NOT Ink and Steel (aka – the first book of The Stratford Man)

  47. Gasp! A new Katherine Kerr! [blips off to the library website to request it]

    Thanks, John, I might have wasted weeks of my life not knowing that one was out yet.

  48. Been getting some ARC’s as MS files direct from the authors. It is a little bit of eyestrain to read that way, but sure saves on space. I don’t think MS files will ever really replace the heft and feel of a book , though.

  49. When I saw the title SEEDS OF CHANGE on one of the books, rather than “Oh, goody!”, I went “Aieee!”

    There’s a reason for that, when you’ve hung around the sf field as long as I have. (“Oh, crap, the greybearded old guy’s about to launch into another of his when-I-was-a-young-fan stories.”)

    Back in the mid-70’s, prolific anthologist Roger Elwood convinced Harlequin Books to start up a science fiction line, with Elwood as editor.

    The line was called Laser Books, and Harlequin decided to publicize the new line by “four-walling” the first book.

    This meant they gave away free copies. Lots of free copies. Lots and lots. And lots and lots and lots. You couldn’t go to any convention, anywhere, without finding stacks and drifts of that book everywhere.

    The book was SEEDS OF CHANGE by Tom Monteleone. And as the very first book, the flagship book, of a new SF publishing line, you might expect it to be the best, or one of the best, books Laser would be publishing.

    Alas, Monteleone’s SEEDS OF CHANGE was… mediocre. And the four-walls giveaway, thousands and thousands of copies, made it seem not just mediocre, but spectacularly mediocre.

    Results: Not good for Laser Books, not good for Monteleone’s career.

    (I’ve read a few of Monteleone’s later writings in the intervening years. Let it be said, some of them have been pretty damn good.)

    A big part of all this was that Elwood, though quite a nice guy in person, was a pretty mediocre editor. It frequently seemed that the occasional outstanding stories in the 70-80 anthologies he edited were picked by accident, rather than by editorial acumen.

    ( I can’t remember any really impressive novels published by Laser. The line did publish early works by some writers who went on to more impressive careers — Tim Powers, K.W. Jeter, etc — and some of those Laser Books novels were eventually revised and republished some years down the road.)

    But for SF fans who lived thru that period, when we see a book titled SEEDS OF CHANGE, our visceral reaction tends to be “My god, what were they thinking?”

  50. Hello post office? My name is John Scalzi and I’ve changed sex and moved. My new name and address is …

  51. Joe Abercrombie’s fantasy series is simply great. John, you tipped me off to Patrick Rothfuss, let me return the favor by telling you to read the First Law series.

  52. First reaction upon seeing that first photo, “OH … MY … GOD!,” said in a perfect Higgins-type voice.


    That’s the stuff. Can’t wait, though I may have to, to pay for my next quarter of Japanese class. *sigh*

  53. Ha!

    I have the same problem with DVDs. Its Emmy season, so the “for your consideration” submissions are piling up. Sadly I don’t get to chose what they send me.

    SciFi Channel and Discovery? Awesome.

    But Survivor on DVD? Really?

  54. Count me as one of the jealous crowd for getting a hardcover of The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds. and if you dump this much good stuff in a library sale that would a terrible shock to the people perusing that sale. Those shoppers are used to perusing mostly damaged versions of Jack L Chalker and Michal Chrichton novels; so that much good stuff could cause ’em to pass out en masse.

  55. I’ve read Reynold’s ‘Prefect’ – it’s well up to scratch; some of his others have not ascended to the heights but this is a return to form.

    I work in the wine business – imagine what I get . . . .

  56. Quoth #68 Bruce A. on 21 May 2008 at 12:48 am:

    When I saw the title SEEDS OF CHANGE on one of the books, rather than “Oh, goody!”, I went “Aieee!”

    Thank you for confirming the basis of my *twitch* reaction upon hearing that title. I had thought the title was very close to a certain inaugural-book-of-series, but apparently had repressed the memory more thoroughly than I had guessed. Until now, anyway …

    SOC was probably one of the last dozen books I ever purchased off the book rack of a supermarket.

    (Stroboscopic time-shield observation ports: aieeeee!)

  57. Count me among the extremely jealous.Especially of the Reynolds, Huff and Green(my first reaction was to try getting them through the screen:).If I may suggest- could you give a list of the dozen or so prominent books each week(say, alphabetical by title/author) with up to 3-4 lines about each, something like “a nice action packed space opera”, “well written, good characterization but somewhat heavy with ideas” etc.

  58. Regarding what to do with ARCs.

    I have won several ARCs in auctions at cons. Their ‘unfinished’ nature makes them more valuable to fans, especially after the final version has been released and read.

    An even simpler method would be to put them up on Ebay and select a charity for all (or some) of the profits to go to.

    Unless there’s a fear that some authors would rather their ARCs not be read by fans. I have a hard time imagining this, but maybe.

  59. What authors and publicists prefer ranges from each to each, in regard to ARCs. To be on the safe side I tend not to share them unless otherwise given explicit permission.

  60. At my old bookstore job, I was a used book buyer and the company lawyers said you could do whatever you wanted as long as you waited until past the publication date. Now, this for us buying from authors, reps, and publicists. There is nothing to stop a publisher from shutting off the tap if they didn’t like your behavior. Also, we stopped putting them online because of getting hassled. Again, the lawyers said it was fine, but it is not in a bookstore’s interest to start a fight with a publishing house.

    The local library sale and a charitable donation tax write off would be my suggestion.

  61. Y’know, that’s just cruel.

    I’ve got a couple of those on pre-order from Amazon, and a couple others I’m waiting impatiently until I can pre-order them in paperback.

    How come after years of doing book reviews on my site hardly anyone sends me fee books?


  62. I’m jealous you get sent stuff you WANT to read. The agents that send me books are, well…mostly not books I’d pick in a store. Sigh.

  63. You got and ARC of Steampunk!?

    Godsdammit, Scalzi. You continue to kick my ass in the “Who has more cool stuff” department.

    Now I know how Patrick felt during the whole Honda Prelude incident of ’89.

  64. My friend Kelly’s book CodeSpell! It’s fun. I envy you Simon Green, Tanya Huff, CE Murphy, and Jim Butcher…Enjoy!

  65. This reminds me of the Waldens I managed. As if it wasn’t enough that I could borrow books at-will, we were sent ARCs daily. It seemed like once we were ranked the #1 store, our volume of ARCs doubled. We had some great stuff come early – I remember getting Locke Lamora, Feast for Crows, Scar night, etc. Gotta love free books!!!

  66. Let’s see…I’ve got the envy bug going for:
    Huff’s Valor’s Trial (This is the biggie for me. I’ve been waiting for the rest of Torin Kerr’s story since picking up the first book back in 2000)
    Dresdon’ Small Favor
    Brigg’s Cry Wolf
    Murphy’s Queen’s Bastard
    Bear’s Hell and Earth
    Caine’s Gale Force
    Looks like my bank balance will be taking a small blip soon.
    Good show Mr. Scalzi!

  67. ooooh, scalzi’s into bookporn nowadays (until now, he was only into bookpimping)… i’m indulging into that myself, so there’s nothing wtong with that. i loved the abercrombie, am eagerly waiting for steampunk to arrive from the vandermeers… and from what i’ve seen in your obscene display of book-wealth, it’s the Future Americas anthology from DAW that appeals to me the most at this time.

  68. UGH!

    Here I am, retired, much time and I look at Scalzi’s one-day book delivery thinking how do I get in on this? Then immediately, l look around and see that I have, at the moment, 5 fiction and 3 non-fiction book in a stack, all of which I’m hoping to devour in the next week or tow. Plus 5 on hold at the Library. (Hey!, you think I can afford to support my habit buying them? Use your local library!) I’m reading 3 others, plus the Times, the New Yorker and Scientific American (just arrived).

    And, I ask myself, “Getting a little too greedy?”


    Have you and some of the other reviewers/writers/sages thought about getting together and creating a sales website for these books? The proceeds could go to your own local libraries or local literacy groups. Or the buyer could specify a library.

    It sure as hell has to beat unused stacks or sacks of them sitting around. And, 10 to 1, there are a number of regulars here who would volunteer to set it up. Many of us could help.

    There can never be too many books, too much craft beer or too many beautiful women. I”m old enough to say that.

  69. whaaaa, just noticed the haldeman and its title! i hate you, john, i want that book too! now! :((

  70. You know, all the plans you folks have for me distributing these books mostly end up costing me postage. It’s a minor problem.

  71. John,

    I interlibrary loan all the time. The only problem is that if the book is newer than a year old it is too new to ILL. I’ll go buy I&S if my library doesn’t get it. Bear’s Promethean novels are too good to wait for.

  72. As someone who loves books (duh) but ends up moving every two years, I am both awed and horrified by these pictures.

    I left a good half of my library behind with the last move–simply didn’t have the time or energy to pack and lift any more books. But since we hope to stay put awhile now, becoming an esteemed author and bloggist seems like a great way to replenish the shelves.

    Guess I’ll get started on that.

    Oh, and I’d love the Bear and Reynolds, thanks.

  73. John, I personally will be willing to reimburse you for postage using the method of your choice(especially for the Reynolds…).And if you go the site way you can charge postage like Amazon and other internet bookstores.

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