Book Notes, 6/22/08

A couple three things relating to books of mine:

* First, for you Francophones out there, the cover to the French language version of The Last Colony:

The tall, tentacly fellow is meant to be General Gau; the other fellow, John Perry. No, I’m not sure why John Perry is wearing a headband. Maybe it’s the fashion. The book is vague on these details. You ask: Does General Gau really look like that? I say: Could be, and in the French version, certainly.

Fun fact: L’Atalante, my French publisher, asked for a couple of reference photos of me for the cover. My assumption was they might use me as a model for John Perry, but after seeing the cover art, I strongly suspect that General Gau here has my eyes. And also my hair. And also my skin tone. So, for all you people who always say you thought I would be taller: here you go.

La derniere colonie will be out on the 26th, which is this upcoming Thursday. Just in case you happen to be in France, and near a bookstore. French Canadians: You’ll have to wait until August. Sorry, man.

* Reviews of Zoe’s Tale are beginning to leak out online from folks who have read the ARCs; here’s a really nice one from someone who apparently does a lot of “early reviews” for LibraryThing, and was complimentary about Zoë herself:

Scalzi does an incredible job of capturing the voice of a 17-year-old girl. Her sarcasm and angst were pitch perfect – I can remember feeling the emotions he has Zoe experience. His supporting characters are also vividly drawn – each character feels unique, both humans and aliens. He is able to interject some really beautiful writing in between pages of exciting action, which made me want to savor the reading experience, even as I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what would happen next.

Neat. We’ll have to see if the reviews from to pro critics are as kind.

Update: Hugo-nominated editor Jonathan Strahan also weighs in on ZT, and says that of my novels, it was the one he liked the best. Shucks.

* By way of a preview for all y’all, I plugged the first chapter of The High Castle, the upcoming novel in the Android’s Dream universe, into Wordle to come up with a word map for the text. Here’s what it looks like:

A larger version of the word map is here. Fans of The Android’s Dream will note that a certain minor character in that book gets some rather large play in the next.

44 Comments on “Book Notes, 6/22/08”

  1. Cool I’m glad your going back into that world. The Androids dream was a very fun read and I didn’t really want it to end but it did end perfectly. Is it the guy who eats people? Or maybe the fixer?

  2. Willy, the name of the minor character I’m talking about is rather prominently in the word map.

  3. After seeing the german, japanese and now french covers, am I the only one who thinks the American version looks a little plain? I have nothing against the artist, I am a big fan of the GB cover, but there just isn’t much going on on the LC cover. Is there any reason for this? There is nothing on the cover that would make me want to buy the book (except the name John Scalzi and the “sequal to old man’s war” bit). John, do you have any input on the covers for your books?

  4. Dan:

    For the OMW series covers, no, not really. But actually the covers help the books sell very well, so it’s very unlikely the style will change.

  5. Flickr says the large word map is private and refers me to my own Flickr page. Do I need a one-time pad or something?


  6. Even though there’s not much there, the French translates as: “When General Gau, widower of the opera diva from The Fifth Element, came to see Roanoke Community Theater’s production of Riverdance, he brought an old academy chum, who was on leave from the Imperial Stormtroopers.”

    I just don’t remember that part. Will have to reread it tomorrow.

  7. That took me a while. I was wondering why you’d be talking about tin so much.

  8. Willy, the name of the minor character I’m talking about is rather prominently in the word map.

    got it thanks

  9. No, I’m not sure why John Perry is wearing a headband.

    I’m surprised you don’t know this about your own character, but that’s just how John Perry rolls. You see, the 80’s came back again in John Perry’s time (the 3rd time they came back actually). You can barely see it on the cover, but look at his lower legs. Those are leg warmers. They kind of got the gender roles for 80’s clothing backwards. If Jane Sagan was pictured, she’d be wearing red leather and one white glove.

  10. I’ve never really liked the 3d computer rendered covers; most of them look far too plasticky and cheaply done, even though there are dozens of people on the ‘net who could do much better ones. Also, the Poser figures are so nicely in the uncanny valley…

  11. “Also, the Poser figures are so nicely in the uncanny valley…”

    Sheesh, not to mention cheap and overused. I can appreciate that some effort went into Gau, but poor John Perry just screams “Cheap Poser Cutout”. I wonder how much of his clothing was pre-made by someone else and then just slapped on here for the scene?

    That aside, the “word map” reminded me of just how much I loved hearing that first chapter of High Castle in San Francisco. Makes me want to hear/read it again :(

  12. I’m a little amazed at how easy going you are about how various artists decide to depict your books. Many of the ones you’ve shown us really do rock, but this one? WTF?

    I guess you really do just “let it go” once you send it in to the publisher. It may not sound like it, but I really am acknowledging an admirable trait I don’t think I’d have in your place.

  13. Nathan:

    I like it, actually. But even if I didn’t, there would be almost nothing I could do about it. These things are well out of my hands.

  14. For a minor character, I quite liked him: he was intelligent and sane. I’m looking forward to seeing how things go in the new book.

  15. As I viewed this in my feed reader my eyes skipped the text, as it is early in the morning, and went straight to the image. All I could see before scrolling down was your name and General Gau. And my first thought to myself was, “This photoshop outdoes the Satanic one!”

    You should cut your hair like that, and dye it blue. You’d be more recognizable at cons.

  16. Yikes. I searched out your website so I could gush about how much I liked “Zoe’s Tale” and I see that you’ve already found my blog post, gushing about how much I liked “Zoe’s Tale”. So now I feel redundant. =) But I still really liked your book, and since I came to the series backwards, have to go out and buy the first three. Thanks for Zoe – she was great!

  17. I meant family relation. You know, the web does not translate my thoughts real well.

  18. Willy, please don’t insult Woolcifer.

    I know one language (English), but my books have been translated into about a dozen languages so far.

  19. I’m wracking my brains to try and remember General Gau. But the cat stole them last night when he woke me multiple times so I guess I will have to read the book again.

  20. I love General Gau’s character. He’s a very good person who tries to do the right thing; very much an idealist.

    My basic situation is that I like characters who don’t prove themselves to be mean, idiots, and/or bigoted.

  21. Our Host writes:

    No, I’m not sure why John Perry is wearing a headband. Maybe it’s the fashion.

    Warmish day. Administrator John Perry is meeting with the General and dicing for the continued existence of the colony, while trying to withhold information of the lethal ace up his sleeve; armed goons dog his every step, follow his every motion. In short, a tense moment.

    The last thing John Perry needs is sweat beading up on his forehead or running into his eyes. That’s why he is depicted wearing a headband.

    It isn’t there to conceal a voice&vid link, that’s for sure.

  22. Richard @18: For a minor character, I quite liked him: he was intelligent and sane. I’m looking forward to seeing how things go in the new book.

    As someone who’s heard the first chapter read, all I can say is, you’re in for a treat. A very special treat.

  23. So, from the word map thing, I get that there is an assassin golfer in the back woods near the Dulles airport. Is that about right? :)

    Anyway, it looks cool.

  24. Can I be a bit critical here? I’m fairly unimpressed with that cover. The pose looks stilted, and the brushwork (if it’s brushwork) looks like it was pushed out of someone’s mid-grade 3D animation software.

  25. It’s already available since last Monday (23 June), I’ve seen a pile of books at La Fnac Rosny for those interested. I first have to ready the first volume, I will. L’Atalante have a new web site…

  26. Chang, cranky @32:
    General Gau is the guy who shuts down colonies and loves to admire sunsets. (Not unlike, say, Our Host. :-)

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