Your Questions, Answered

Here you go. It’s about 16 and a half minutes total. Enjoy.


32 Comments on “Your Questions, Answered”

  1. O Forgetful Scalzi, the Executive Committee of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club demands you answer the following question:

    Where are the pictures and updates of Her Most Glorious Shimmering Radiant Perfection?

    You may use your silly new toy to respond to this, but respond you must.

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

  2. Well, I listened to the whole thing. It’s the first time I’ve heard you speak.

    I’m actually kind of disappointed. I was expecting a voice full of threat, accompanied by menacing theme music. In the background, I thought I’d hear the occasional “splash” of sharks in the moat around your house as they surface to shoot their lasers at intruders.

    My preconceptions were dashed by cruel reality yet again.

  3. Wow John, you’re voice sounds nothing like I imagined it would. And thanks for answering my “Airplane” questions – these are the things that keep me up at night, so now I can finally sleep.

  4. This was awesome. Will this every week? Maybe not twenty questions, but ten. That’d rock. And the coke zero is a nice touch.

  5. Based on the voice in this podcast, I must conclude that John Scalzi is actually Damon Lindelof.

    Followup question: Who would you like to have read the audiobooks of your work?

  6. 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, betwixt demons.

    My dad loves Vanilla.

    And I meant to ask “Who would win in a fight of zombie Tim Russert vs. zombie Edward R. Murrow.

  7. Hey John,
    It’s funny, and somewhat rude, how people totally missed your original point: nobody mentioned anything about the mic working, since you are testing it, after all.

    So: CHECK

    (that means “it works” in the sound industry)

  8. Sound quality’s good, but (volume) levels are low; I have to my computer up a bunch compared with other audio.

  9. Speaking of microphone functionality, the volume sounds uncommonly quiet on my MacBook – not whisperingly so, but still a bit on the low side.

  10. Khalil: Calling folks “rude” was uncalled for. He asked for questions and said he was testing it; surely he can click PLAY as well as we can.

    I figured he wanted questions to make testing it more fun…. ;-)

  11. Seems Kendall submitted his comment when I was starting mine (got distracted by the audio, pshaw).

    Useful test: given a notebook at max system volume and max playback volume (on Windows, the first two audio sliders maxed out) it should be possible, from a nearby room with the door closed, to understand clearly what’s being said… assuming, of course, that interior doors are as flimsy in your house as they are in most of ours.

  12. My RSS reader(Mac Mail) doesn’t like the format and tells me its not in a known feed format. Whether it is this entry or the previous one, I don’t know.

  13. Kendall: I meant “rude” in the best intentions and interpretations of the word. In a Stephanie Tanner kind of way :) (although, I’m not AS cute, which is why I can’t pull it off sometimes!)


  14. What are you using as your mic? Direct USB or through mixer?

    You’ve got a rich sound with hardly any background noise, which is a state I’m trying to desperately perfect.

  15. Kate:

    I was using a recording quality mike (not a computer mike) through a Creative X-Fi sound card, which I think matters a bit in terms of sound quality. I recorded using Audacity, and then used Acid Pro 6.0 to render the MP3.

  16. John,

    Not sure what kind of mic you’re using. The X-fi card is definitely the way to go. I’ve been using a USB mic recently which I like (Samson), for tracking directly into a computer. Other than that I’ve been tracking with a shotgun which seems to work pretty well (the best ones are made by Neuman, but are pricey, the Audio technica ones work fine and are what I use, but I drool with gadget envy over the Neumans), or you can’t fail with the ever trusty RE-50.

    Couple things on mic technique based on listening to you, make sure you’re talking across the access of the mic, you’re getting a lot of “popped” p’s and t’s and other plosive consonants. Actually it’s so bad you’re popping on m’s and such as well.

    The other thing (and I know this sounds a little contradictory) is that you sound slightly off-mic. That means you’re not close enough. The sound just seems a little thin, it might be that you have what’s called a “bass roll-off” engaged. It’s usually a small switch on the side of the mic labelled something like this ___/. Try A/Bing that. Make sure you are listening to what you are recording loud enough that your voice in your headphones is just below a distracting volume…you’ll then be able to hear when you’re drifting on and off mic, and be able to hear the p pops as well.

    I’m also hearing some hissing, which could be a whole host of things from mic settings to computer settings to downgrading the file to an mp3 (which always has fairly poor sound, but the encoding can increase digital artifacts or bad micing or room tone in weird ways), …but I’m also wondering what the room is like that you’re in, the classic NPR way is to do it with a blanket over your head, but it’s not really necessary, just make sure you have a soft surface both in front of you AND behind you.

    If you really want to go crazy professional on it, you can spend a lot of money on various solutions, but what I usually do when I’m building a bureau in a remote location that I’m going to be in for a bit is to just to build a small hutch kind of thing and line it with foam (audio foam is better, but cheaper foam will work fine) and put it on a table with a towel or rug on it. I’ll then either stack cushions behind me or put foam on a cheap screen to put there. You can even use those pop out sun protectors they make for windshields, they diffuse sound pretty well behind you, are cheap, and portable.


    p.s. One other thing to watch are your cables, especially if you’re going from an XLR connector to a mini connector, the mini sockets and connectors go bad a lot. As a result I usually track into a Marantz PMD 660 and then move the file from the chip onto the computer and play with it there. But a couple of folks are using the Samson USB mic all the time for tracking directly into the computer and like it a lot.

  17. Never mind the sound quality, I’m just impressed you pronounced “Madeley” right. You wouldn’t believe the bizarre pronunciations of what is a pretty straightforward surname.

  18. Dude, Hulk is CLEARLY heavier than Thing.

    Thing: 500 lbs.

    Hulk: from 900 to 1,400 lbs., depending.

    I’m just sayin’.

    Yours in geekery,



  19. I thought the sound quality was quite good. Very smooth and sufficiently loud on a Macbook Pro.

    Also, if you’re going to do impressions, try John Hodgman, ’cause you sound an awful lot like him to me. Plus, everybody likes John Hodgman!

  20. Tim Walker@23: yeah, but as JS said, it’s a question of density as much as size. Rock is a heck of a lot denser than flesh, unless Hulk-flesh is unusually dense (and it really can’t be, due to the square-cube principle).

  21. Nicole @23 (and John, too, if you’re interested): Note that the links in my comment lead straight to the two super-strongmen’s pages at the Marvel Universe. I’m not giving my opinion, just quoting Marvel’s own figures.

    This is what happens when the kid who was an “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe”-reading geek meets the grown-up online researcher. ;)

  22. This was totally cool.

    Thank you for answering my little writing questions. I’m still wet-behind-the-ears as a writer, so it’s nice to hear answers from a professional (and a very professional professional at that).

    The question/answer for the bat was the best.

    I wonder who you’ll be podcasting for.

  23. Clearly your debating prowess shall rule supreme, and Charlie will rue the day he started this fight – that is, if he would be crazy enough to start it.

    Seriously now, I enjoy your (and Charlie’s) books too much to actually risk you guys having such a confrontation. Thanks for the answer, John :)

Exit mobile version