“They Call Me Pinky”

If you’re Canadian and have been looking for Zoe’s Tale on the Chapters Web site, but couldn’t find it, here’s the reason why. Note the spelling of the book’s title. Not quite correct, yet strangely compelling.

Update, 6/25/08: Fixed now. For those of you who missed it, it was listed as “Toe’s Tale,” not “Zoe’s Tale.”

Make-Up Contest

So, I said I’d post a Big Idea piece today, and then didn’t, because, uh, I was running errands. Yes, that’s it. Well, I’ll post one tomorrow. In the meantime, and to keep you amused, a contest!

Explain what, precisely, is going on in this picture:

Frankly, I want to know myself.

Contest open through, oh, let’s say, 10pm Eastern, tomorrow, June 24th. There is an actual prize attached to this contest. A very cool prize. Which does not actually involve something I’ve written, in case you’re wondering. Which may be an extra incentive for some of you.

Seasonal Variance

Same location, different seasons:

What a difference an axial tilt makes.

Various Thingery, 6/23/08

Some stuff:

* Remember that you only have until Wednesday to participate in the Hate Mail contest, in which your delightful bits of vitriolic spite can get you a free copy of my upcoming book — and get your winning entry printed in said book itself. There’s some good ones so far, but hey: You’ve been saving up to unload on me with both barrels for years now. You may never get a better chance.

*Speaking of contests to win copies of books, Subterranean Press is sponsoring a contest to win an Advance Reader Copy of the UK edition of The Graveyard Book, the upcoming novel by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean. All you have to do is come up with the epitaph for your own gravestone. In addition to possibly winning the UK ARC, the epitaphs the folks at Subterranean like best will be ensconced on their own headstones in a special page of SubPress’ Graveyard Book site. Nifty.

* One more SubPress goodie: Subterranean Magazine Online is featuring an audio version of the Cory Doctorow story “After the Siege,” which won a Locus award just this last weekend (congrats, Cory!). The story is read by Mary Robinette Kowal, who you may recall part of the audio of “The Sagan Diary,” and who is nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer this year.

* To get back to me for a moment, the first professional review of Zoe’s Tale is out and about, from Publishers Weekly, and it’s a good one: I won’t quote the whole thing here, but I’ll note the review calls the book “touching” and says that “engaging character development and Scalzi’s sharp ear for dialogue will draw in new readers, particularly young adults.” Well, I like new readers. Clearing the PW bar in terms of reviews of the books always makes me happy, too.

Update: The full review is up here (scroll down a bit). There are also postive reviews of Tobias Buckell’s Sly Mongoose, Elizabeth Bear’s Hell and Earth and Benjamin Rosenbaum’s short story collection The Ant King and Other Stories.

Away Time

As hinted at in a previous entry, I have a project deadline coming up which will require me to actually spend time writing away from here during most of the work day, definitely for the next week and probably through the July 4th weekend. I won’t tell you what the project is yet, except to hint provocatively that it is very cool and that you’ll all be very excited when you learn about it. But I need to get it, you know, done.

How will this affect your life as a Whatever reader? Probably not much, since my plan is to do a bit of time shifting: WordPress allows scheduling of entries, so I suspect what I’ll do is write stuff for Whatever in the evenings and then schedule to pop up at regular intervals during the next day. So you’ll get updated entries, I’ll finish the project I’m working on, and everyone is happy. And as previously mentioned, over the next week I’ll also have a few Big Idea pieces for you; that should keep you busy as well.

However, it does mean that if you send me an e-mail and/or respond to or ask me something in the comment threads, I probably won’t immediately respond, because I’ll be away from Teh Intarweebs for most of the workday. Please exercise patience. Thanks.

I Hereby Declare This Big Idea Week!

I’ve got a stack of Big Idea pieces for books that have been released this month, and I have a writing deadline I need to attend to (more on that in another entry), so I’m declaring this Big Idea Week, in which I’ll be providing you more than the usual number of Big Idea entries, from more than the usual number of very cool authors. Because you deserve it! And I have to be writing something else! Yes, it’s funny how that works sometimes. You can expect the first of this week’s Big Ideas later on in the day. Prepare yourself accordingly.

RIP, George Carlin

He passed away from heart failure yesterday, at the age of 71.

He was my favorite comedian to come out of the late 60s and early 70s. He resembled that uncle who smoked too much pot back in the day but still had more than enough brain cells to spare for long, amusing, rambling asides that after the fact you realized had a point — and a really good one. I started liking him early — I impressed the entire family at 12 years old by memorizing most of Carlin’s A Place For My Stuff! album, which probably tells you something about my family — and kept liking him since. I even saw him live once, in Fresno, where he said one of the more sensible things I’d ever heard, which is that we really ought to combine cemeteries and golf courses, because both are such a damn waste of space. I remember wishing I’d thought of that first, but then, there’s a lot of stuff Carlin said I wished I thought of first. It’s part of what made him one of my favorite comedians.

I also liked the fact that he was the catalyst for one of the more important Supreme Court free speech rulings of recent times; it’s not every comedian whose work makes work for the highest court in the land. Having your own landmark court case is much better than a Grammy, if you give it any sort of thought.

To be utterly honest about it, Carlin lived at least 20 years beyond what I would have expected him to live, given his life history. Which means, really, that every thing he wrote or did after the mid-80s just feel like a gift, something extra you get for free, because sometimes life is good to you that way. But I still think he’s gone too soon.