And Now, Cats

Because there will be riots otherwise. I will note, however, that these picture were not taken by me, but by my friend Anne KG Murphy, who over the Christmas holidays became one of the few people I know who has actually visited my house. Yes, the Scalzi Compound does exist; it’s not just CGI and Photoshop. In any event:

Ghlaghghee, waiting patiently by the bird feeder. Waiting for what, you might ask? I’m certain she’s waiting for her bus. Yes, that’s it exactly.

And here’s Zeus, lying beneath the duck-shaped bath mat in Athena’s bathroom because, well, who the hell knows why. Because he’s a freakadoodle of a cat, really, basically. But as long as he’s happy and not trying to bite my head at 3am, I’m groovy with it.

Anne didn’t manage to document Lopsided Cat, but she did catch Kodi in one of her classic “legs akimbo” poses, so for you Kodi fans out there, here you go:

There, I think we’re pretty much caught up with pets, i.e., the real reason any of you show up here at all.


The 2009 Award Pimpage Post

It’s time for my annual unseemly reminder to people thinking about voting for science fiction writing awards that, indeed, I have stuff available for them to nominate. What’s available for consideration this year? I’m glad you asked. The following are listed in the categories for the Hugo Awards:

Best Novel

Best Novella

  • “Utere Nihill Non Extra Quiritationem Suis” (METAtropolis)

Best Short Story

Best Related Book

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • METAtropolis (audio book (iTunes link), written by Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, John Scalzi and Karl Schroeder; read by Scott Brick, Michael Hogan, Alessandro Juliani, Kandyse McClure and Stefan Rudnicki)

Some thoughts on the above:

1. Some of you might ask why I include Zoe’s Tale for Best Novel and not Agent to the Stars, which was released in trade paperback by Tor in October of 2008. The answer is that Agent was originally published, depending on how you want to look at it, either in 1999 (online) or in 2005 (in hardcover). It’s not eligible for consideration for Hugos, Nebulas, etc. And even if it were, I think Zoe’s the better of the two books in any event. I know, I’m not supposed to have favorites among my books. But there you have it.

2. How is Hate Mail a “related book”? For two reasons. First, several of the essays in the book are about writing and/or science fiction and/or me being an author, so there’s a concrete connection on that level. Second, well, I did win a Hugo last year for writing stuff here, so a collection of stuff from here seems likely to me to pass muster. Incidentally, the link to Hate Mail above is to Amazon for the hard copy, but an electronic version is also available through WebScriptions.

3. While 2008 was a damn fine year for science fictional films (Wall-E, Dark Knight, Iron Man, etc), I really do want to remind Hugo nominators that a) Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form doesn’t have to be a movie, b) it would be a refreshing change to nominators to consider something other than a movie for the category, and c) that leaving aside my own obvious self-interest and participation, METAtropolis is jam-packed with worthy science fictional goodness in the form of the Bear, Buckell, Lake and Schroeder, not to mention a fair portion of the Battlestar Galactica cast performing their words — dramatically!

So: before desultorily slotting a sub-worthy film into that last Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form slot, won’t you consider broadening your scope and checking out another medium? If not METAtropolis, there are a number of other fine long-form audio presentations for you to consider. Just to wedge that idea into your heads.

4. What about Best Fan Writer? I hear you ask. I’ll make it simple: don’t nominate me this year. There are lots of excellent writers out there deserving of this award who have not won it, and I think right now the best thing for this particular award is to have the love spread around for a while, and to have the science fiction community recognize both eligible newer writers and some writers for whom recognition in this category is long overdue. I’ve won it; I’m good, thanks. Give it to someone new.

And that’s my award pimpage for 2009.


January’s Obligatories, Re: Mail and Whateveresque

About mail:

I’ve pretty much answered all the December mail I plan to, so if you sent me something hoping for a reply and didn’t get one, it may have slipped between the cracks (indeed, since I got an unspeakable amount of mail in December, it’s more likely than in most months). Sorry. Feel free to send it again.

About Whateveresque:

I’ll open registration for the month tomorrow morning, sometime around 10am eastern, running until around 10pm eastern. Set your alarms now!


2008, 2009

2008 was a horrible year for most humans, as I understand it, but it was pretty good for me. My family and I were happy and healthy, I won a Hugo and got on the New York Times bestseller list, the guy I voted for got elected president, and for the 39th consecutive year, I was not consumed by a bear. So overall it’s hard to complain.

As for 2009, here’s what’s up.

* First things first: The High Castle, the follow-up to The Android’s Dream, has been pushed back from its planned October release date. And you ask, well, who pushed it back, Mr. Let’s-Use-the-Ambiguous-Passive-Construction? The answer is: I did. I pushed it back because it’s not ready to be seen by people who are not me, and it wouldn’t have been ready by the deadline. So it’s off the schedule until it’s ready to be seen by people who aren’t me. And since it takes a while for something to get back on the schedule once it’s been taken off, it’ll probably be a while until you see it. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Chinese Democracy on you. I just think you deserve good, don’t you? Sure you do.

* So what’s on the schedule for 2009? That’s an interesting question. I have lots of stuff percolating at the moment but very little I can tell you about, some of it because I need to wait for other people to make announcements, some of it because deals have yet to be made, and some of it because I’m still thinking about it. I’m not trying to be ooooooh mysterious here. I’m merely a big believer in not talking about things until they are ready to be talked about. But suffice to say I’ll make mention of at least a couple of these upcoming things relatively soon.

* That said, here are two things I can talk to you about:

  • The paperback release of Zoe’s Tale, currently scheduled for 4/28/09;
  • A short story, “The Tale of the Wicked,” in the New Space Opera II anthology, scheduled for 6/30/09.

For those of you wondering why I have a story in an anthology when I’ve announced that I’m withdrawing from anthologies generally, the answer that this story was already commissioned and finished before the announcement.

* Speaking of which, there’s been some confusion as to whether I plan to write any short fiction at all, since I’ve done that anthology announcement. The answer is that yes, I plan to write more short fiction, just on my own schedule, not someone else’s. This is partly due to my schedule already being pretty well filled-out, as noted before, but also, I just don’t want to contribute to some poor bastard editor’s stress level by making him or her wonder if I’m going to get my story in on time. That’s no fun, either for the editor and for me, and at this point in time I’m not sure why I need to be doing things with my short fiction that aren’t fun.

* What’s the plan for Whatever? Oh, you know: whatever. I find that this place works best if I don’t think about it too hard, I just do it. So that’s the plan. The only thing I am planning to do is to write some stuff up early and have it pop in during morning hours, because I want to get better at keeping the 8am – 2:30pm time bloc (i.e., the “hey the kid’s at school and not bugging me” bloc) free for fiction and/or pay copy. One of the reasons I took a two-week mostly-break here was give my brain a little bit of time for retraining on that front. It’s working, since this was written in advance. We’ll see if it sticks.

* As for any larger, existential goal for 2009: Well, as hinted in the stuff about short fiction, the one goal I have for 2009 is to make sure I’m having fun. 2008 was an excellent year for me, but in a number of ways it was also a stressful year. More than a little of that was due to me stressing myself out for various reasons, none of which are anywhere near interesting enough to note here now. So for 2009, when presented with something, I’m going to ask myself: Am I going to have fun with this? If the answer is “yes,” groovy. If the answer is “no,” I’ll ask, Is there a reason why I need to do this anyway? If the answer is “no,” then I’m likely not to bother. It’s a nutty idea, but it just might work. It beats being consumed by bears.

So: Onward into 2009. Let’s hope it’s good, and ursine-free, for all of us.

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