Whatever X, Day VII

In this look back, we remember just how much I like to anthropomorphize my books.

JANUARY 9, 2007: Broken-Hearted Books

Michael Berry, who reviewed Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades for the San Francisco Chronicle (and who put TGB on his holiday recommendations list), explains on his blog why he’s not reviewing The Android’s Dream for the Chron. Basically it comes down to the fact he can’t review every single thing I write if he wants to cover a wide range of authors and books in his reviews.

This is a perfectly reasonable explanation, of course. But try explaining that to a neurotic book:

Me: TAD, I’ve got some bad news. Seems you won’t be getting a review in the San Francisco Chronicle.

TAD: But… why not? They reviewed your other books.

Me: Well, that’s just it, TAD. Since the guy’s reviewed the other books, he kinda feels that he has to pass you up in order to be fair to other authors and books.

TAD: It’s because of the sheep, isn’t it?

Me: Come on, TAD. Let’s not do this again.

TAD: “Don’t put sheep on the cover,” I said. “People get nervous around sheep.” But you said it would be fine. Now look. I’m being ignored. Over livestock.

Me: Don’t be like that. People love the cover. And you’re getting tons of reviews. You even got written up in the New York Times.

TAD: Don’t talk to me about the New York Times review. Stupid Dave Itzkoff.

Me: Hey, now. I had lunch with Dave. He’s a nice guy.

TAD: He thought I was crap! He should be slashed with tetanus-laden razor blades and then dropped into a pool of iodine. And then fed to cats. Feral ones.

Me: I liked Dave.

TAD: Sure, because he liked your other books. The ones without the farm animals. You know what it is. I’m too fat.

Me: What?

TAD: Look at me! I’m 400 pages!

Me: That’s not fat.

TAD: People look at me and wonder if I’m the new Robert Jordan book.

Me: They do not.

TAD: I’m fat and I’ve got sheep on my cover. You might as well just set me on the remainder table right now.

Me: You don’t think you might be being a little overdramatic about this.

TAD: Don’t patronize me, Mr. Campbell-Cheese-Board-Award.

The Ghost Brigades (entering the room): Hey, John, I have a question —

TAD: Oh, look. One of the favored children. The Chronicle reviewed him.

TGB: Uh… Did I come in at a bad time?

Me: We’re having a moment.

TGB: Again?

TAD: I heard that!

TGB: You know, I think I’ll come back later.

TAD: That’s right! Run from me. Like everyone else. Bastard.

TGB: Yeah, okay. I’m just gonna go.


TAD: (yelling after TGB) I hope you fall off the Hugo ballot and break your neck!

Me: Now you’re just being mean.

TAD: (sniffles) I just feel vulnerable, you know? I think it’s because I’m a stand-alone. Ghost Brigades has Old Man’s War. I’ve got no one.

Me: Well, I’m writing a followup to you now.

TAD: Really?

Me: Really. That should make you feel better.

TAD: (sniffles again) It does. I mean, maybe a little.

Me: You know what would make you feel even better?

TAD: Ice cream?

Me: Ice cream.

TAD: (claps) Yay! Ice cream!

We do this every day. Sometimes twice. So for all you book reviewers, if you don’t want to review The Android’s Dream, that’s totally your call. Just remember what I have to do on this end when you don’t. The ice cream bills alone are killing me.

23 Comments on “Whatever X, Day VII”

  1. Poor TAD. If it will cheer TAD up, let him know, the sheep on the cover are what drew me his way. Now I’m hooked on this Scalzi guy. Thanks TAD you were my gateway drug.

  2. @BJS — Second the notion. In fact, I rescued TAD from the remainder table just yesterday morning.

    In her defense, I read her cover to cover her in a few sittings and was done before I went to bed last night. So she can’t be /that/ hefty.

  3. I hate to say it, but this is loads funnier than “Super Broker.” You should have sold this one to Subterranean.

    Actually, TAD is funnier than either. I already have a copy, but I may just have to go out and buy someone a copy for Xmas.

    High Castle. Want.

  4. It’s a little specialized, Joelfinkle. I don’t know that there would have been a market for it.

    And anyway, if I go and sell all my “A”-list material, what’s left for here? Dregs? Y’all deserve better.

  5. I now imagine a Bermuda Triangle of vocabulary, that mythical place were strange things happen to configurations of vowels.

  6. “Don’t put sheep on the cover,” I said. “People get nervous around sheep.”

    And here I was thinking that the problem was that sheep were nervous around reviewers.

  7. If it makes TAD happier, let him know I just bought him along with all your other books I haden’t read (which is to say I did not buy a copy of ATS, given that I was already spending a hundred friggin dollars on your books). Way to blow a student’s budget, John. Thanks for the addictive writing, John. Would you like my liver with that, John?

  8. Isn’t there a twelve step program you can get TAD into? Maybe put her in between some Stewart Smalley books and videos?

    And don’t worry about the sheep on the cover: it is a major selling point in Montana.

  9. I don’t think TAD is being too difficult or neurotic. Besides if ice cream helps, that means that TAD is not too far gone.

    Many’s the time I’ve been comforted by a tub of Rocky Road and a couple of Oreo’s and I’m not the least bit psychotic. I think…

  10. So–I went down to the neighborhood indie bookstore and picked up a copy of TAD. Full retail.

    And its worth every penny. Michael Berry declining to review it was his loss. And if he is worried about not being able to review all your books, if he feels the need to “cover a wide range of authors and books.” THEN he’ll just have to learn to read faster.

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