Personal Work Minutiae, 7/30/09

Answers to various questions I’ve received relating to my own personal projects over the last several days:

1. Regarding That Project I Can’t Tell You About Yet: Sorry, still can’t tell you about it yet. Not trying to be a dick, I’m just not in a position to go into any detail about it at the moment. When I can, I will. In the meantime, just in case you’re feeling slighted, know this: Even my mom doesn’t know what it is. Sorry, mom.

2. What’s out next: I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve no problem going over it again: Between now and the end of 2009, I have four things of note:

  • METAtropolis, in printed form, which will be out via Subterranean Press in the next couple of weeks;
  • Stargate: Universe, for which I consult, will premiere on SyFy on October 2nd;
  • The novella The God Engines, my first fantasy work, will be out in time for the holidays from Subterranean Press;
  • “Judge Sn Goes Golfing,” a short story set in the Android’s Dream universe, will be available as a special chapbook, also in time for the holidays, also by Subterranean Press.

3. Hey, speaking of Stargate: Universe, here, have this here shiny, shiny trailer:

For the record, yes, I can see some of the stuff I advised the SG:U folks about in this trailer. Which rocks, if you ask me. Nice to see it on the screen. Not that anyone else will notice it, mind you; they’ll be focusing on the actors and stories and special effects. But, you know, that’s the point. If I’m doing my job right, you won’t see me doing it.

4. Yes, yes, you say. But what about novels? Well, I start writing the next novel on August 17 and plan to have it done by the end of the year. When it will be out to stores depends on various aspects of the publishing industry, but I wouldn’t expect it earlier than late 2010 or early 2011.

This is a fairly substantial gap in novel publication, which to be clear is in no small part my own doing, because I asked Tor to pull The High Castle off its schedule when it became clear to me it had structural problems. I’ll just have to hope people don’t forget I exist in the two and a half year gap (minimum) between Zoe’s Tale and the next novel. We’ll see, won’t we. That said, I do have plans for publishing short fiction in the interim between now and whenever the next novel hits (beyond “TGE” and “Judge Sn,” I mean), so you likely won’t entirely be rid of me.

As to what the next novel will be about, I still have to decide that. I have three story ideas that I’ve fleshed out enough that they’re at the writable stage, and now it’s a matter of picking one over the others. I think all three will be written eventually, it’s just a matter of which is next. I may flip a coin. With three sides, obviously.

And that’s where all that is at the moment.

46 Comments on “Personal Work Minutiae, 7/30/09”

  1. Will The High Castle eventually make its way into print or have you decided to trunk it?

  2. Miscellaneous Steve:

    The High Castle will eventually get written. However, to take a page from certain video game makers, “it’s done when it’s done.”

  3. Wright’s immutable law of Scifi: Once they start calling it a “franchise,” it turns to crap.

    You know, I lost interest in the Stargate franchise a long time ago. Same crap, every week. Save the universe, really just phenomenally bad science, magic technology, idiot decision making, aliens that are really just the author’s cat in a rubber alien suit, the standard Star Trek/Wars/Gate cast of characters (The Irreverent Commander, the Professor, The Boobs, and The Alien) and blah blah.

    But Universe? This looks awesome. Way to advise there, Scalzi. I’m actually looking forward to it.

  4. As a long time Stargate fan (I discovered your books through Joseph Mallozzi’s blog), I was skeptical about SGU at first. But the new teasers (especially this one) have got me all excited again and counting down the days to October 2.

  5. @ #7 – And with more sex. Yeah, I’m getting a bit of the BSG inspired vibe from it too. Also, what’s with the rock music? Ah well. At least it’s not the opening sequence to Star Trek Enterprise.

  6. I am mad at SG:U, simply because I want to see it NOW! That trailer is awesome, and I can’t wait for the show to start.

    And Scalzi fans can be a patient bunch. We’ll wait for your next work to be done to your satisfaction.

  7. So does point 4 rule out The Project You Can’t Tell Us About Yet being a novel?


  8. So the first chapter of The High Castle that you read to bookstore audiences during your spring ’07 tour is now “a short story set in the Android’s Dream universe”? I assume this means it will be absent from the eventual novel – correct?

  9. I also fell off SG a while back, but based upon this trailer will be eager to watch SGU this fall. Loved the opening scene, ha!

    I hope SyFy will host it online or make it available for legit download through someone else (no cable, no plans to get cable). Could do without the cheesy CW-esque music, though, as science fiction and music with recognizable vocals rarely go well together.

  10. John, is there any chance we’ll see your shorter pieces collected into a collection?

  11. Anyone know what the music is playing toward the end of the trailer?

    Hey can you do another book haul when you have time…running low on new reading material and I usually buy a few from the lists you publish.


  12. #14 should have ended with “anthology,” rather than “collection.” Or “anthologized into a collection,” I guess, but that would be stupid.

  13. Actually, Chris G., “collection” is correct, as “anthology” usually refers a collection from more than one author.

    And also: probably at some point, but I don’t have enough short fiction yet.

  14. I guess “collected into a collection” sounds too Palin-esque for my ears.

  15. Serious question: If I liked the Stargate movie, but did not like any of the previous Stargate series, am I likely to like Stargate Universe? I guess that means, is it different enough from the others to avoid their faults?

  16. The phrase “I start writing the next novel on August 17” struck me as a bit odd when I read it. I think it’s because I’ve generally considered novel-writing as something that doesn’t generally happen on a strict schedule. (Which is itself odd on reflection, given my regular participation in National Novel Writing Month. Perhaps it comes of being a GRRM fan.)

    Do you schedule your writing like that as an aid to getting it done, or is it just a product of having so many other things on your plate? Or is it something else entirely?

  17. Chris G: “Collected and issued in book form” would probably sound better, but it’s still a little clumsy (to my ear, at least).

    But John’s right–a collection generally refers to stories in book form by a single author; an anthology usually refers to stories by many authors, usually with some unifying theme or subgenre, e.g. “Space Opera”, “Time Travel” or “Year’s Best.”

  18. RE: Project Which Cannot Be Named — If you’re doing an Elron and starting your own religion, try to keep in mind that the holiday season would be the worst possible time for a rollout.

    Also, try to make it a little less silly than you-know-what.

  19. Pharris: I thought this blog was a religion.

    At least when someone asks me what my religion is, I give them a long explanation of how my beliefs don’t align with any organized religion. They often then say “So you’re a theist (or a Deist), then?”

    My reply: “Whatever.”

  20. Well fine. I’m not telling you anything about my secret project either, so nyah!

  21. freelanceunboundon @ 7:
    SGU looks nice – though do I detect a hint of Stargate Galactica going on? Darker, serious and a bit depressing?

    I’m hoping its going to be ‘Stargate:Galactica’ in the sense of better writing, better acting (though to be fair, I don’t think ‘SG:Atlantis’ was so much hampered by a bad cast as a lack of decent material for them to get their teeth into), a permanently broken reset button and an end to recycling of plots and narrative cliches only Al Gore could love.

    We shall see, but to be perfectly honest the only things that makes me even slightly interested in the show at the moment are Robert Carlyle and our host.

  22. hugh57: I thought this blog was a religion.

    I read this to my wife and she envisioned a communion of bacon (having been ceremonially placed upon a cat) and Coke Zero.

  23. The SG:U movie looks interesting. i too am hoping for some more BSG direction, but I do appreciate a good funny line too. One thing I like about John’s books are his humor. I just finished Agent to the Stars and I just laughed and laughed. I think I can count on one hand the SF authors who make me laugh out loud.

    One thing that I would like to see in some mainstream SF movies would be a character who just isn’t as smart as three geniuses. In the SG series they had Dr. Carter and in Atlantis they had Dr. McKay and sometimes the brilliant mind who figures everything out in 20 seconds just gets a bit tiresome. One thing I loved about BSG was things broke, people messed up and characters died or were killed. Like in real life.

    I also enjoy when actual scientific constraints are used a plot points. It puts some science in science fiction, which is swell.

    I did like that of the two brilliant minds one was nice, Dr. Carter and one was kind of a stuck up hypochondriac, Dr. Mckay. I’ve come across both types in my travels.

  24. I liked the original “Stargate” movie but never really got into any of the series. Just didn’t pull me in or whatever it is that makes me want to watch something.

    I watched this trailer and got a little goosebumpy,(is that a word?) which is pretty strange for me.
    I think I’ll need to watch this since the only other show that’s piqued my interest in the last few years is “Leverage.” I admit I don’t watch much TV, too much good stuff to read thanks to John and the other authors he’s introduced me to.

  25. Jeff S. I too like Leverage (although it gets a bit too wacky sometimes) If you like Leverage you might enjoy Burn Notice. The same, ‘Little guy gets screwed, expert helps him” but in this case the expert is a spy and they are up against street gangs and con artists. Stuff gets blown up in Burn Notice and the Miami location allows them to place the action around swimming pools. (Not that I notice those parts, but some people might…)

  26. Jeff @ 31

    Ha! As I mentioned on my own site, if you’re not watching Leverage, you’re missing out. It’s like a cross between Mission Impossible and something…else, something hysterically funny.

    John Rogers, the co-creator, writer, producer, and Scalzi fan, answers questions about the show on Kung Fu Monkey.

  27. Jeff S. I too like Leverage (although it gets a bit too wacky sometimes) If you like Leverage you might enjoy Burn Notice.

    Never seen ‘Leverage’, but I can’t pay ‘Burn Notice’ any higher compliment than this: Pure, unpretentious fun — also doesn’t hurt when you have the likes of Gabrielle Anwar, Lucy Lawless and Tricia Helfer (who seems to be in everything, by law) being so hot it should be a crime. :)

  28. John, is there any point when you’ll be able to start pointing out the stuff you advised on in Stargate: Universe? I’m really curious.

  29. Well, if the author that wrote OMW thru ZT thinks it is not right, I’m more than willing to wait. And besides, after looking at the preview, I’m ready for SG:U. What a rush……

  30. I’ll definitely watch the new series for awhile and give it a chance. The trailer, of course, is great. Glad they are actually implementing suggestions of yours.
    I watched most of the original Showtime Stargate SG1 show and loved it – also loved the movie. I’d probably enjoy SG:Atlantis, I just didn’t get into the habit of watching it. I am much more book focused than I am TV-show focused.

  31. Damn you, John Scalzi. How can I not spend my hard earned cash on Judge Sn Goes Golfing? And if I am going to the trouble of giving Subterranean my credit card number, how I can I not pick up your fantasy novella with the mildly disturbing but intriguing S&M cover art? It’s taxation!

  32. Hi all

    As far as Burn Notice goes,”Pure, unpretentious fun” works for me, I’ll check it out.

    John, you’re not bad, just misunderstood, like Hal… 8D

  33. I know it’s completely inappropriate to say this, as we don’t know each other personally and I haven’t been a part of your strive to live well through doing what you love…

    ….but I’m damned proud of you, Scalzi. You’ve become my favourite contemporary author, my favourite recent episodic sci-fi looks to utter rock the box with your assistance, and someone said Valve.

    *adjusts his specs and checks the heft of his crowbar*

    I’m really very proud of you. Even though I have no right to be.

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