Interview at

Look! It’s me! All arty with the glowy duck! This particular picture is being used to illustrate a fairly long interview I did, which is now up over at In the interview, I talk about the cliches of military science fiction, writing sequels, the teleological implications of getting a new body, consciousness or lack thereof, writing characters with ethnicities, and whether there are any more OMW novels coming down the pike. So, a lot of ground covered. Enjoy.

25 Comments on “Interview at”

  1. Somehow, I’m channeling Sesame Street here.

    Put down the ducky,
    Put down the ducky,
    Put down the ducky
    if you wanna play the saxophone…

  2. From the interview:

    We all know that writers, if they have a strong view about religion or politics or whatever, can stop and pull what I call a John Galt Maneuver. All the sudden they stop the story and deliver a 20-page screed about whatever the author cares passionately about. And when you do that as a writer I think you fail miserably.

    There’s an unofficial term for this: Author Filibuster. They specifically call out Galt’s screed in this description (including examples from other books, TV shows, movies, comics, etc) at the awesome TV Tropes wiki:

    Beware! As I’ve mentioned in other comments, TV Tropes is pretty damn addictive.

  3. Have to say personally I find TV Tropes a huge ravening screaming pit of distaste, as if the Sarlacc had got a Twitter feed. It’s all … trying to divide up stories into little boxes, and saying “Oh, this novel is just an example of X plot with Y stereotyped characters in Z situation”. I find it odious.

    With that said, I *did* stop reading John Ringo because his characters were essentially turning aside, after slaughtering and eating dozens of sentient man-ta rays, to critique the climate policies of what was (for them) two thousand years ago. Leaving aside the tricky issue of consuming sentient beings merely because they can’t answer back to you, this is the equivalent to, oh, an Al-Qaeda member saying “Allah’s Beard, Omar, these western infidels sure are annoying! Y’know what else is annoying? Plato on deforestation in ancient Greece! He was totally wrong!”

    … okay, that’s enough ranting. I basically did a commenter fillibuster myself just there.

    Regarding the teleological implications of consciousness transference; IIRC fellow Hugo nominee Howard Tayler essentially took the opposite position, claiming that (since the original dies) you haven’t really cheated death, that the copy is merely, well, a copy that happens to remember being you. You, on the other hand, don’t remember much of anything because you are dead.
    Personally I am undecided, and holding out for a method of life extension which will not require me to abandon my homegrown neural tissue.

    I think I may actually prefer the Android’s Dream universe to the OMW one, however, at least because it, fairly uniquely as far as I can recall, posits that Earth is the spacedy-equivalent of a third world nation. We are Space Ghana. Less keen on the mind uploading, since reading the Orion’s Arm website has given me a deep-seated hatred for superintelligent AIs, but eh.

    The duck pictured may shine with unholy light and regard us all with baleful red eyes, but I personally think that the song linked at #3 is /way/ creepier. Alan Moore is scary.

  4. Great interview.

    One of my favorite things when I was a young, budding science-fiction reader was when a favorite author would package all of the books in a series in a box set. I have particularly fond memories of my Hobbit/Lord of the Rings box. As I’ve gotten older I realize I hardly ever see box sets like that anymore. Since the OMW series has come to a (possible) end do you think Tor will ever see fit to release it in a box set? I think it’s a series my nephew would like.


  5. Fletcher @6:

    If you’re gonna hijack a comment, “as if the Sarlacc had got a Twitter feed” is a great point of departure.

  6. Jesse, that’s an interesting site. They link to some crazy stuff by Dave Sim in which he makes clear his mysogynistic/anti-feminist ways. My husband loves the Cerebus series (and it is here that I’d like to point out that Dave Sim, who holds himself superior to women and feminists, didn’t know that it’s Cerberus, not Cerebus) and I’m very disappointed that this author, who is obviously very creative, is such a backwards dumbass. This reminds of Orson Scott Card’s asshattery.

  7. As I recall it, Cerebus was initially going to be the name of a fanzine, and was indeed a mispelling of Cerberus. When they found out about this error, they retconned Cerebus into the name of their anthropomorphic aardvark mascot.

  8. It’s worth nothing that Tayler’s universe allows for complete, exact copies, as opposed to the consciousness transferal in the OMWU, which keeps things to a one-to-one ratio, and makes things much less theologically complicated, since we’re not particularly attached to the atoms that make up our bodies until they are abruptly sitting in a corpse five feet away from us. It’s a little dicier when there’s two people, both of whom view themselves as the same person that was born X years ago. (IIRC, the tech was introduced when Tayler showed two of the heroes being interrogated and eventually killed, without telling the audience that these were copies.)

    Not to derail the post, or anything…

  9. Great article. I certainly do not agree with Mr. Scalzi on many real world issue but the man can spin a tale! I for one would love to see OMW in film. As cool as that would be the thought that Mr. Scalzi may write another story arc in the OMW universe is exciting to think about.

  10. Dear sweet Zombie Jeebus. The nostril, people! THE NOSTRIL WILL CONSUME US ALL!


    As a side note – what a nice interview.


  11. I’m wondering if John and Jason Henninger used the duck to regulate their interview.

    Henninger: You have three books told in first person and one in third. Why is that?

    Scalzi: [grabs duck] When I started Old Man’s War I wasn’t assuming there’d be any sequels. . . .

    Henninger: Hey! I wasn’t done my question yet!

    Scalzi: Too bad man. I get to talk ’cause I’ve got the conch. Er, duck.

  12. I for one would NOT be pissed to read another OMW book based on General Gau’s side of the story.

    It would be such a completely different book that knowing how the primary story arc ends would be as meaningless in terms of spoilerage or repetition as knowing the end of WWII is for spoiling war movies. I would totally haunt my library or book store until this novel came out just to be able to get into that character’s mind and see it from his perspective.

    Anyway, you’ve got my vote for a General Gau novel, fwiw.

  13. @Jreynolds

    Close. Actually, the duck telepathically dictated the questions I was to ask, and threatened Scalzi with his strange glowing aura of duck-menace any time he came close to saying defamatory things about waterfowl.

    Come to think of it…does John ever say the Consu aren’t ducks? Hmm….

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