While I’m off driving, you should read what Justine Larbalestier has to say about book covers, and specifically, her latest book cover, for her upcoming novel Liar. It’s a reminder, among other things, about what is in an author’s control as regards their book, and what is not.

Incidentally: Liar is a genuinely excellent book.

Various and Sundry, 7/23/09

Stuff on my brain, aside from my peeling scalp:

* I’m traveling again today and will be at the Confluence convention through the weekend, so you know the drill: probably fewer than usual posts the next few days, catch me on Twitter, don’t expect immediate e-mail responses and so on. Things will be back to normal on Monday.

* The current results of yesterday’s poll suggest that only three percent of you are blindly willing to do my bidding, but that 30% might be willing to do my bidding if there’s cake involved. The lesson: Cake is the path to world domination. What’s more, I bet if I promise buttercream frosting I can pick up another three or four percent. I’ll have to do further studies.

* One of the more predictable outcomes of my commenting on Adam Roberts’ Hugo evaluation is that there’s some muttering about how I was lashing out at the man because he called my novel “mediocre,” even as I noted I was not particularly concerned about that (but of course I would say that, wouldn’t I). If people want to believe that, it’s their karma, but as a final point on that I’d remind folks that I’m the guy who did this, which is not something you do when you’re the sort to get overly worked up over bad reviews.

The one other amusing mutter I’ve heard centers on how my noting that needlessly antagonizing one’s potential readers is not necessarily a great idea, and indeed the entry in general, somehow constitutes pandering or “dog whistling” on my part. My thinking on that is that the folks making these mutters probably don’t sell books to make a living, and also that they appear to think readers here are generally easily-placated morons eagerly awaiting head-pats from their maximum leader, i.e., me. This makes me giggle.

* Watched the Obama press conference last night, primarily because it’s nice to once again have a president I can tolerate watching give a press conference. I suspect I’m like a lot of folks in that I buy the argument that something needs to be done about health care here in the US — we’ve been watching our own employer-covered benefits get snipped away over the last few years while the costs to us have been going up — but I’m agnostic on whether what’s winding its way through Congress at the moment is going to be a reasonable solution, or even the right step in the right direction. I mostly came away from the press conference feeling like I had homework to do on the matter, which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, but it’s not like I don’t already have enough to do with my time.

Regarding the president’s comment about Henry Louis Gates, Jr. being arrested in his own home, I find his response unobjectionable: Gates was legally in his own place, and even if he were being rude and antagonistic to the police officer in question, which it appears he was, that in itself shouldn’t have gotten him led off in cuffs. Being rude and antagonistic isn’t against the law. Also, my understanding is Gates was charged with “loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space,” which makes one wonder when it was one’s private property somehow became a public space. As did the president, I’ll note I wasn’t there, so there’s likely details that I’m missing. But from what I know, yeah, this wasn’t exactly a shining moment for the Cambridge Police Force, and wouldn’t have been even without the national attention.

* It’s been so long since I’ve been sunburned enough to peel that I’m finding it a bit alarming how much skin is sloughing off. This was compounded this morning by wife, as the first thing she said to me this morning, suggesting I should borrow her loofa and really scrub. At this point I’m just hoping that when I show up to Confluence people don’t go “Hey look, it’s Scalz– OH MY GOD HE’S MELTING.” We’ll just have to see. I may wear a hat.

A Terminator Mystery

Over at AMC this week, I discuss how Terminator: Salvation can simultaneously have grossed half the box office of Star Trek, and also nearly twice as much. How does the film manage this neat trick? You’ll have to click through to find out. Indeed, I suspect the question will drive you insane until you do. For your own mental health, and the safety of others around you, for God’s sake click that link.