Reader Request Week 2009: Get Your Requests In!

Yes, it’s time once again for Reader Request Week, in which I take a week off from thinking up topics to write about here at Whatever and let you folks do all the heavy lifting. Yes! You do it for once! See how hard it is! Ha!

Want to play along? Sure you do. Here’s how it works: Think of a subject/topic you would like me to write about, and put it into the comment thread below. What kind of subject or topic, you ask? Why, whatever you want to know about. No subject is taboo to suggest, no topic too serious or silly. Really, just reel it off. The worst that will happen is that I simply won’t pick it to answer (you can also send a request in e-mail, which people do sometimes). My only suggestions are:

a) That you don’t simply splotz into a list the first eight things that come to your mind — pick quality over quantity;

b) While I’m not opposed to requests about writing, remember I get asked those a lot, so you’ll have to put in a lot of thought to ask me a writing question I haven’t already been asked and have answered. Consider it a challenge.

Once people start putting in requests, I’ll look through the list and pick the subjects that interest me the most, and starting next Monday I’ll start answering them. It’s usually fun for everyone.

To keep from getting repeats, here’s an index for the last five years of Reader Request Weeks. If you see a topic here, assume it’s been asked and answered (although interesting variations of these might be considered):

From 2004:

Reader Request #1: Boys and Girls
Reader Request #2: The Meaning of Life
Reader Request #3: Can Writing Be Taught?
Reader Request #4: Fatherhood and Pie
Reader Request #5: Objective Newspeople
Reader Request Week 2004 Wrapup

From 2005:

Reader Request #1: Creative Commons and FanFic
Reader Request #2: Peak Oil
Reader Request #3: Beatles, Batman and They
Reader Request #4: Pot!
Reader Request #5: Odds and Ends

From 2006:

Reader Request #1: SF Novels and Films
Reader Request #2: 10 Childhood Nuggets
Reader Request #3: Writers and Technology
Reader Request #4: The Nintendo Revolution
Reader Request #5: A Political Judiciary
Reader Request #6: Paranoid Parents
Reader Request #7: Writing About Writing

From 2007:

Reader Request #1: Justifying My Life
Reader Request #2: Coffee, or Lack Thereof
Reader Request #3: BaconCat Fame
Reader Request #4: The Inevitable Blackness That Will Engulf Us All
Reader Request #5: Out of Poverty
Reader Request #6: Short Bits
Reader Request #7: Short Bits II: Electric Boogaloo

From 2008:

Reader Request #1: Homeschooling
Reader Request #2: Technological Gifts
Reader Request #3: Sex and Video Games
Reader Request #4: Where I Am Now
Reader Request #5: Professional Jealousy
Reader Request #6: Author Relations
Reader Request #7: Fame or Lack Thereof
Reader Request #8: Politics and the Olympics
Reader Request #9: Polygamy
Reader Request #10: Meeting Authors (and Me)
Reader Request #11 Athena and Whatever
Reader Request #12: Soldiers and Support
Reader Request #13: Diminishing Returns
Reader Request #14: Quick Hits, Volume I
Reader Request #15: Quick Hits, Volume II

There they are.

Now, then: Topics, please! Put them in the comment thread, and beginning Monday, we’ll get this ball rolling.


Hugo Nominees: Why Yes, You Can Get In On the Hugo Voter Packet Action

First, a status update on the state of the 2009 Hugo eBook Voter packet: I’m still in the process of getting permissions from various publishers to get as many of the Best Novel (and Best Related Book) nominees into the Hugo eBook packet as possible. At this point I hope to have the package ready by sometime next week, so that’s good.

Second: I’m getting pinged by folks who are in other Hugo categories, asking me if they can get a copy of their short story/graphic novel/fanzine into the packet, too, to nestle in there with the Best Novels.

My answer: Hell, yeah. The whole point of the packet is to help potential Hugo voters read and see as much of the Hugo nominated work as possible, so if you want in on this action, I want you in on it too.

I’ve already pinged the Best Novel and Best Related Book folks, so for everyone else, here’s what to do, by category:

Short fiction nominees: E-mail me ( a copy of your short story. RTF or (if you have illustrations) PDF files are probably the best way to go.

Fan writer nominees: Put three examples of your fan writing from the last year into a single RTF/PDF document and send that along.

Fanzine and Semiprozines: One copy of your ‘zine: PDF or HTML is probably the way to go here.

Fan/Pro artists: Three samples of your work, in JPG form. I would say try to keep the samples reasonably small as files (i.e., less than 200KB in size). A PDF file of three pieces of work should also be fine if you prefer. You might also want to put in a small bio note.

Graphic novel: A PDF version of your nominated work. Note that as these files may be large, if I get enough graphic novel participants I may send out a separate packet for them.

Campbell Nominees: If you have a novel, send along an RTF or PDF version (or other easily accessible format). If you have short stories, send two or three in a single RTF/PDF document.

It seems to me that aside from METAtropolis (which I’m working on getting something for the packet), the folks in the Dramatic Presentation categories probably won’t want in on this; and I’m not sure how I can represent the editor nominees without them having to clear their participation with the writers they edit, but if the respective nominees want to get something into the packet, I’m certainly happy to have them involved too, and they should just e-mail me and we’ll figure something out.

Deadline: Oh, let’s say, next Tuesday by 5pm Eastern. That way I can have the whole packet ready by this time next week. And of course the sooner you can get stuff to me, the better.

Feel free to share this information with interested parties, and if any of the nominees have any questions, they should go ahead and e-mail me; I’ll be happy to answer.


Spanish TLC; Strange Horizons Review of ZT

Another Minotauro edition of one of my books, another pretty damn kick-ass cover. This one is for the Spanish edition of The Last Colony, although I note they went ahead and called it “The Lost Colony,” which formalizes in Spanish a common flub of the title in English. I don’t mind.

I’ll note that when I was at the Tools of Change conference in New York in February, a Minotauro rep came up and introduced himself, and the first thing out of my mouth was “Dude, I love the covers you guys put on my books.” And I do. I think he was a little surprised by my squee nonetheless. Note to self: Don’t weird out your foreign publishers.

Closer to home, this seems to be the week for publications to be catching up on their reviews of Zoe’s Tale, because there’s another one today, this time from the good graces of Strange Horizons. It features lots of cites and is generally positive:

[W]hat emerges most successfully from this novel is the experience of a teenager coming into her own as she faces extraordinary circumstances and is called upon, basically, to save the world, which is probably both a common fantasy and a common worst nightmare of teenagers everywhere… all of this is really fun to read about, because John Scalzi is at heart an entertainer, and he is at his best when he maps out big plots and sends his characters careening through them.

Indeed: “Hey, you! Here’s a paper clip and some string! Go save the world!” See, that’s fun.

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