Posted on July 16, 2008
Posted by John Scalzi
I thought I’d try something a little different. Let me know what you think.
That definitly took longer than just looking at a picture and reading. Is that a complaint? Maybe.
Are you able to read all of those books? Or do you have to hire Harriet Klausner to read them for you?
I don’t read them all. I read a couple if I have a chance and skim through some others.
What awake @ #1 said, except I haven’t bothered to play the video because between the download time and actually, you know, watching the thing I could read two or three political blogs some place and if I’m trying to absorb the whole internet every night I can’t be dawdling like that.
That and I’d have to turn my speakers on and wake up the cat.
I kept watching the red light reflected on the books. If you moved the books in the right way and I had a really big screen I could chase it all over the place.
Also, when you type, the voice I hear has much less of an American accent.
The major disadvantage is I had to stop my re-watch of Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog in the other window to listen to you.
I’m a big fan of video (heck, part of my salary depends on my Linux Journal videos), so I’m probably not a good person to ask. I think video makes people seem more real. That can be both good and bad. :)
Also, turn off your air conditioner. ;)
I definitely need Charlie’s new book.
Also Peter Hamilton.
Also Joe Haldeman.
Also, although it wasn’t on your list, House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds.
Oh, and Peter Watts latest, whenever it comes out.
That was great. It’s always cool to read about upcoming books on Whatever but this video-thingy was very cool as well. Somehow hearing you talk a little bit about them and seeing the covers ‘fly by’ (“oh, I want that one.. and that one!”) was quite fun.
Would definitely tune in again if you do more of these.
i prefer to read and see pictures. faster, silent, uses less resources on my computer. i don’t care for vlogging; i rarely watch embedded videos of any kind.
i’m still glad you took the time to share. i’m not surprised that you talk with your hands.
I like reading your posts better. It takes less time and I have a very short attention span. It was nice to see your personality instead of reading it. It was fun for a change.
Not that we wondered where Athena got it…
I expect a book war when ATTS comes out.
That was different. You should adopt the format for the occasional Book Haul, like every three or four editions.
The wife laughed at the autograph bit, and she says that the “book fight” was cute.
I liked it. Sure it took longer than reading, but I think I got more information out of it. Also, you seem more human to me now. I don’t know if that means I previously thought you were an android, or what….
I, too, like reading the posts better (with pics of the covers), in part because I can see the cover more clearly, and glean info that you forget to mention. For instance, you didn’t mention the author’s name (Jeff Carlson) and it was fuzzy when you held up Plague War, and you didn’t mention the title of Harry Turtledove’s latest (The Man with the Iron Heart) and when you held the book up to the camera the title was out of the frame. I found these thing by searching Amazon, where FYI, I found that Haldeman’s Marsbound is due out August 5th.
It seems to me that making a video, digitizing it, uploading it to youtube and posting it here would actually be MORE time consuming than a photo and a list. Just sayin’.
Also, if those are MassMarket Paperback sized, you are a much smaller person than I expected.
Whatever. Five and one , six, one half dozen or the other. I will add that the tone in your writing is just slightly different than the tone in the video.
I like the contrast of a video book review. irony?
Now that’s entertainment! (I like the occasional blog video; I didn’t have time to read anything just now, only to watch, so thank you.)
Two words for the future: lavalier mic.
Whatever needs a Tyrannosaur with a helmet as a mascot. (Readers who don’t get it should read Saturn’s Children). If you should happen to get yourself in a photoshoppery mood again, I know you don’t do requests, but its a suggestion.
Maybe you could type somthing on your computer then video the monitor and post that. To keep everyone happy you could do a short introduction.
I really like the look of the Stross book.
I’ll send you my new book next month – it will be longer than this review.
That was really great! Do more!
But turn off/down the AC next time.
You know, the air conditioning was off. That’s actually the computer.
I liked the video. I would not want it all the time, but as an occassional tool I thought it was good. I like the humor.
I have a short attention span, that if I saw a long post, I tend to skip it, but the video held my attention better.
Dude, you need a new computer.
Dude, you need a new shirt. Do you save all your henley shirts for video?
Seriously, you’re funny. That’s a funny video.
I second Iornymaiden @ 9.
Fun for a change, but I’m not usually a vlog fan. I much prefer the written word, and it’s easier for me to skim.
It is interesting to hear you talking, though. Now I’ll hear your voice when I read your blog.
I like reading the posts better – I think the tone is better and the comments more thoughtful, and it saves me time. But, of course, it takes you more time, and I’m not paying you, so YMMV.
One thing I would add, and this is similar to above comments by Neil W and by Hugh57, is that the pictures you take of the books you’ve gotten are often quite good and give us a chance to appreciate the cover art, while a low-resolution image of a cover being waved around at an angle with light reflecting off of it just doesn’t compare. So even if you stick with the video, adding a quick photo of the books all laid out in the way you used to would be a nice touch …
I liked the book fight. It was nice for a change, but as others pointed out, it probably took me longer to watch than it would to read. So I recommend using the videos as a change of pace, but I still like the written posts too.
I’d hope you could work in antoher book fight… :)
Oh noes! Scalvi is VLogging now!!!
Count me as another vote for the text version. I rarely make it through videos because they seem three to four times slower than reading. It’s cool to see you talking but I only watched through first book.
I got a big laugh out of the book fight. Of course it probably helped that I had a couple of beers with friends before I came home to catch up on reading/viewing blogs. Both of those books are released one day before my birthday –will it be too late to put them on my Amazon wishlist and expect to get them on my birthday? If so, there is always Christmas. And what about those d*mn Nazis?
I like the spontaneity of the video. I think that what most people don’t like about video is that you can’t skim through it. There is also a slightly less self-conscious/edited feel to your video than to your written blog but not much. Having just finished a fairly lengthy but comparatively short written entry in one hour versus your 7.5 minute v-log, I disagree that you could have written it in less time than it took for you to make the video and upload it.
That was fun, John.
Too many new books to get…to say nothing of actually reading…
Haven’t viewed it yet. I normally do my websurfing sans sound — in fact, for many years I used a computer at work for surfing that didn’t even have sound drivers or speakers installed. Reading this while watching the first episode of Project Runway 5, so I’m not your vreader. (grin)
John, By all means, skip the bitchy responses. The best thing about the Video that caught my attention was that you probably burned through about seven hours of typing book reviews with one seven and one-half minute video.
Now, I am a greedy consumer of literature, and I like your stuff, ergo the more time you save on blogging, the more time you have to work on your next book. I mean like, I got the cash, bring it on. Got to be better for your pocketbook.
Also, my wife was at her desk and listening (and laughing) and said thanks for the heads up on Mercedes Lackey.
“They’re kind of like Toe Jam.”
I laughed. Hard. I woke up my new puppy, who then promptly peed on my brand new rug.
Bad for people with dial up..(blushes at my old fashioned ways)
I loved the book fight best of all. And now I’ve added stuff to a list to buy for my Kindle, full of Kindly goodness.
Video blogging is growing on me. We spend so much time on the web looking at text that we can forget the impact that seeing someone can have.
Of course, like garden variety blogging or audio blogging, audience grab is key, and what grabs people in video’s not exactly the same as what grabs people in text or audio—although there are some shared aspects.
Anyways, I hope one day you go back to your smooth sexy baldness.
Is the camera on the computer? If so, it could be picking up the vibration of the fans in the camera housing. I’d try a different location or a tripod nex time. If not, wow, what a loud computer!
The video – especially the book duel and parenthetical asides – was a nice change, but I prefer readin’.
Please do this all the time. I don’t even care if it takes more time to watch this than the original posts took to read – it’s all worth it to watch ARCs do battle for the immortal souls of humanity.
I have to admit to mostly skimming the typed book posts looking for authors I’ve heard of. I paid more attention to the video and enjoyed it more.
This is the first time I’ve heard your voice. I was expecting a sort of Jimmy Stewart plays the Devil homespun-evilness.
I must say that vlogs tend to hold my attention longer than written ones. Especially when, if written, the blog post would have been seriously long. I tend to gloss over long posts, but the vlog has my attention from start to finish.
That having been said, however, there was a drawback to this vlog. Specifically the rather quick nature in some instances of book covers not being shown long enough.
That notwithstanding, I thoroughly enjoyed this vlog. It showed you in a much more personal light than words typed on a page tend to do. The book battle took me back to how I got introduced to Whatever, in the form of Athena’s theatrical debut as Cthulhu eating Scott Westerfeld.
We’re YOUR audience, John. Entertain us how you see fit! I can’t imagine anything you produce here on Whatever being less than entertaining in any form.
Is that a bandwagon I see before me? Yea, verily, I shalt jump upon it. Forsooth.
Yes, I prefer to skim text for this kind of thing, but you can’t beat a good book fight. Do you do puppetry? I’d buy that for a dollar.
BTW Peter F. Hamilton’s Misspent Youth has been out for years, so I assume you’ve got a reprint. And for the record, I much prefer your methods of putting old heads in young bodies.
Cool! You sound somewhat different than I’d imagined, but I like your enthusiasm. Now I’m going to be scheming about how to get you and Jeff Duntemann in the same photo at Denvention, so I can have one pic with a couple of my favorite authors in it. :-)
Also, I probably should’ve picked up the Stross book when I saw it at Borders the other day. Oh well, now I have an excuse to go back…
And if Nazis are like Toe Jam, what about Big Earl and Latisha? (only fans of a certain moderately-obscure Xbox game–that isn’t on the 360’s backwards-compatibility list, damnit–will get that joke)
Welcome home, John!
The standing-talking-snarking-showing presentation does make a nice change of pace, even though I usually side with the “would rather read the baz than see the baz movie” subset of Beings::People. Regardless of presentation format, you appear to have a knack for unearthing Cool Stuff What I Shall Mightily Want.  So yeah, I’ll be happy to watch or read. Whatever.
In re book fight: *snork* Should the writing life ever lose its luster, another vocation is just begging you for your talents — Scrivener Deathmatch.
On a side note: Watched the Expanded Books viddy featuring TLC and yourself which was featured in the post-flick bubbles [no idea what Yougle or GoogTube calls them] and wondered how might one contact the makers of same.  Enjoyed the content, but the A/V temporal disalignment in that interview resulted in my finger beings unable to type anything resembling the words in my head until six or eight seconds after I started backspacing over the stuff I had type to actually yet.
 Sorry, “fingers being“. See what meI an ?
Verfluchte Hände! Zum Teufel mit solcher zeitverkehrender tippen!
 To politely suggest that synchrony betwixt vid & voice matters. Minor time-shifts do not often phase me, but the last minute of that video ruined most of my internal synchronisers and stripped teeth off the rest.
 While my financially-prudent superego (ha!) is having a snit-fit and naming you as source of its many problems, Id the kid and cap’n E.Go will be all a-goog in search of tasty titles by authors with a surname-initial “H”.
(Hey, I only buy ’em for the introductions. ;^)
I like to read blogs. Not watch them.
The main disadvantage for me is that, being deaf, a video post like this is a lot less accessible than a picture of the books spread over a table with accompanying text.
Videos are blocked at work. I have to wait until I get home in 8 hours to find out what everyone is talking about.
With that said, I prefer still pictures to facilitate my goofing off.
Nope – doesn’t work for me. The office blocks youTube and other streaming media.
Yay, a little dose of Scalzi between cons!
I read Haldeman’s Marsbound serialized in Analog a few months ago and was disappointed by factual mistakes in the first part that I hope are fixed by now.
Addendum to #47 – stumbled across an alternate copy of the interview (ostensibly posted by ExpandedBooks) which may miss a few frames in length but is much more together, tight, on beat:
Scalzi’s New Novel has Human Invaders in Alien Worlds
The alleged run length of the video linked above is ~9 seconds shorter than the “John Scalzi discusses” version which has the jarring loss of A/V sync, although it appears to contain all of the same material.
I prefer text to video and rarely watch any embedded video. Nine times out of ten, I’m reading during a (short) slow moment at work or with a sleeping baby on my lap, so between the potential for interruptions and the inability to do anything with sound without disturbing others, I just have to skip vids and try to remember to go back later (which almost never happens).
It was an interesting experiment and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. That being side:
1. I seriously doubt there was any time savings in this for you.
2. Could we get a picture of the book haul to go with it? I really like nice, shiny books and either the digitizing of your video or something YouTube did to it makes the books look terrible.
Interesting concept, but since I do the majority of my blog-reading at work (shhh!), the text version works better.
Also, nice shout out for Matt Stover’s Caine novels – I was excited to receive the ARC myself. Not enough people are reading his work.
Video is not working anymore… :(
Since I’m a corporate worker bee and stuck in the world of terminal services, etc. I don’t have audio available. Doesn’t work for me.
I liked it – more fun this way!
Also: book fight. ‘Nuff said.
More cow bell please.
@49. And here I thought I was the only Whatever reader who falls in that demo. Of course, I suppose with a million hits a month, John has enough people reading his blog that statistics suggest there would have to be a few.
Yes, I wasn’t a huge fan of the video blog because of the inability to hear what you were saying.
That said, I do not worry overmuch that you will convert to a complete video blogging system–you’re an author, after all, not a screenwriter–so any side flights into rich media that amuse are for the betterment of your audience as a whole, if not my particular tiny segment of it thereof.
I thought that was a fun and clever way to comment on the Book Haul.
Where were the cats? The cats prominently featured would have made that much better.
I watched as far as the “dueling paperbacks”, I backed-up and reran that part 4 times. I am still laughing.
Awesome. Very cool to get a slice of Scalzi in in the flesh as it were, if only to contextualize your voice when I read your posts. Perhaps do one of these when your book hauls are too large to comfortably write up? Definitely recommend making this a semi-regular feature of your blog.
I am too pissed knowing you have the advance copy of Matthew Stover to even comment on the video (which I enjoyed, you bastard).
Okay, I turned sound on and fired up Der You Tuber. It’s cute, John, but despite having bifocal office glasses (computer + reading) adjusted to 20:15 vision, I feel bleary-eyed and barely able to see after seven minutes plus of low-res and/or out-of-focus YouTube video where it was virtually impossible to see the covers of most of the books.
Sorry, sir. Does Not Work For Me, despite the fun of watching you being enthusiastic about books (go figure).
that was awesome – hope you do more. i sympathize with some here who don’t or can’t appreciate it as much, but i really liked it.
“Ah, we meet again in battle.”
“But there can be only one!”
Oh my…I just fell madly in like with you!
I enjoyed the video format of this book review. Both written and video work for me. As others have noted above however, it was difficult to see the covers of the books in the video, and the noise of the computer did drown out some of what you were saying in places. A photograph of the book covers underneath the video would help with the first point. Don’t know enough to troubleshoot the computer noise issue.
I enjoyed the book fight but found it difficult to hear you over the background noise and the book covers were blurry.
Since other people have mentioned these things I guess it means that I am not losing my hearing or vision, so that’s a positive. :)
I generally prefer to read as opposed to listen or watch items in a blog as I can listen to music while I read, so in general I vote for continued typed out book haul commentary with the occasional book fight video.
Enjoyed the video – the comparison of Nazis to toe jam was priceless, but I had to rerun bits of it a couple of times so I could write info on my must-buy list.
Would love to see more videos, but a photo of the covers would be marvy.
I liked the video – it makes it more personal then just reading the screen – when you like something I can really tell via video – text it might be a little more… umm subjective as to your real feelings…
Good change in anycase!
I both liked and disliked it:
The good things are that it’s entertaining and faster to watch than it would’ve been to read.
The bad things are that it’s a bit hard to catch all of the things you say. What kind of jam were you comparing those nazis with? and I end up missing a list of the books that you showed, so a general chance to look up the things I didn’t get was missed.
fun, but not so good for the sneaky “I read Whatever at work when I should be, y’know, working” people among us. (who, me? Nooo. I never read unrelated-to-my-job blogs when I’m at work. *ahem* )
Could you stick to the Vlogging at weekends so I don’t miss my daily fix?
Plus, very slow broadband means lots of waiting, so not so good that way, either.
I really would prefer you stick to writing anything you want people to remember. I couldn’t hear the audio very well, and from comments, that might not just be my old equipment. More to the point, when I see a book I want to read, I open a new tab and check the public library for it. If they have it, I put a hold on it. If they don’t, I recommend it for purchase. I can’t do this from a video, or at least, not very well. If nothing else, a transcript would be very useful.
I didn’t actually view the whole thing. Being a retired librarian, book fights make me cringe.
I vote no. It takes a lot longer to watch, and there’s no way for me to scan the covers and decide that I don’t feel like reading about them.
John. Your preview copy of CBK.
Pistols at dawn.
That is all.
I have only just discovered your writing and it rocks… (old Man’s War).
Excellent idea although the audio was a little woolly! The concept is great fun and you should continue.
Look out for my New book, The Black of Gamma, I will send you a copy. Let me know what you think.
Dave W (UK)
You will be shocked, SHOCKED, to read this, but I generally read your blog from work. Yes, I know, I’m an unpatriotic American because I fuck off at work instead of being a productive employee. Oh well, I guess that means the terrorists have won.
Unfortunately, my employer has found it necessary to block flickr, hulu, youtube, and just about every other website that could add pictures, videos, or music to my day and basically make it a bit more bearable. Therefore, I am only now checking up on what I missed throughout the week at work.
That being said, I like the text version better, because my employer doesn’t block text. Woot. I feel like it’s 1993 (what’s your AOL keyword???). Anyhoo, obviously this is YOUR site so you’ll do what you want and/or need, but my vote is for text.
Love the whole Scalzi TV thing! More more!
You know, I did have an AOL keyword.
Taunting the tauntable since 1998
John Scalzi, proprietor – JS
Athena Scalzi, contributor – AMS
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