A New Scalzi Short Story!

Well, sort of.

Not bad for ten and a half. We’ll be entertaining movie option offers, starting at $1 million. And some Webkinz. And a pony.

Update: Oh, look, Athena’s first fan art. Man, she’s way ahead of me with this stuff. I didn’t get fan art until I was, like, 35. I’m trying not to be jealous of my own kid, here.

86 Comments on “A New Scalzi Short Story!”

  1. That was awesome! Better than I did at that age.

    The aliens that came to enslave us asked first. That’s some classy alien species.

  2. OMG….that was the cutest short story I’ve heard in a long time… I was on pins and needles waiting for the out come. Well done young lady! AWESOME!

  3. My son David & I just listened to you read Athena’s story. He would like to meet her to discuss story ideas. But not for a few years; he just turned 12 and he’s not allowed to have a social life just yet.

  4. John. It must be a source of great comfort to know that in 25 years, if you’ve come down with terminal writers block, and your books have stopped selling, and Hollywood never did pick up the OMW franchise, that you’ll be able to enjoy a life of genteel comfort courtesy of your prodigously talented daughter.

    Seriously, I liked it a lot – nice way to start the day with a smile.

  5. That. was. awesome.

    I watched it with 2 of my 3 cats — I think the orange one was dismayed that someone was on to the grand plan of THE ALIEN SPACE CATS!

  6. A genuinely good story, and an excellent reminder to write early, write often.

    My only other comment is that, DUDE, you weren’t kidding about the book situation.

  7. Aren’t cougars and panthers the same thing?

    I, for one, welcome our alien space cat overlords.

    (And, as others have said, that is a fine little story. And a most excellent reading.)

  8. Athena, you’re awesome! I love how the ending is open to interpretation and/or sequels. Hollywood’ll LOVE that part ;-D

  9. i have been saying for years that we are heading for a catpocalypse but nobody will listen to me. thank god your daughter has figured it out. . . maybe, just maybe, her wisdom can guide us. lol

    seriously, awesome story. and you get +7 in dad strength and endurance. :)

  10. “…Other than that — it looked pretty cute, actually.”

    Such dystopian tendencies! You better watch that girl!

    (Great story, Athena!)

  11. Yeah, I surrender to the cuteness.

    (Mountain lions and cougars and pumas are the same thing… I thought panthers were black?)

  12. Hmm. The only problem I see is that I already have two terrestrial feline overlords, and they don’t like to share. The humans never stood a chance, but I don’t think this fight is over.

  13. “I did two things on my 11th birthday. I visited my dog’s grave. Then I joined the anti-kitty rebellion…”

    This was more entertaining than any given 2 and a half minute segment of Transformers. Perhaps Michael Bay will option it.

  14. Incredibly cool, and the dramatic rendering was hilarious. Smart of you to put it on YouTube, too — useful for blackmail in 20 years when she’s competing against Dad for a Hugo of her own.

  15. Already superior to Battlefield Earth. Athena has a great future as a writer ahead of her.

    /The sequel will involve Laser Kodi. YHIHF.

  16. So what exactly is your excuse for not having a pony?

    Also, in the video, it looks like you have a glowing suspended animation pod in your office. I approve.

    (I can’t wait to play this for my son.)

  17. Great job, Athena! Do me a favor, though? Send you dad into the other room so we can talk…

    Ok. Here’s the deal. Your dad did a pretty good job reading your story. But for the sequel, you might want to talk to Michael Hogan.

    Just sayin’…

    Again, great job!

  18. After I watched the video I saw there was a link to another called something like “Athena campaigns against her dad’s run for SFWA President”.

    I can clearly see she’s inherited the full dollop of hamm from her dad.

    The “don’t vote for my daddy, please!” video is hilarious.

    This one is charming in the way you go full-out with dramatizing the story Athena wrote. You definitely deserve a “Best Dad EVAR!” T-shirt.

  19. Hmm… clearly sci-fi writing ability is indeed genetic.

    Although my wife thinks it slightly hypocritical that you’ll read your daughter’s unpublished work, but not mine. Nepotist.

  20. That belongs in the next Man-Kzin Wars, for sure.

    In all seriousness, you must be a very proud papa. Keep it up, Athena!

  21. You know, somethng strange happened durng the readng of this. Obi-Wan, the part Siamese, suddenly turned to me, cried out “Now I’m the King of the Alien Space Kitties!” and leapt up the chimney. Weird, huh?

  22. You should take a chapter from the Wil Wheaton publishing scheme and print up a limited edition chap book signed by Athena… Maybe only sell them at cons she gets to go to.

  23. I was impressed.

    Are there labor laws protecting extremely intelligent children from their author Dads?

    “No you can’t have dinner until you finish the conclusion to MY new novel!”

  24. As soon as school’s out tomorrow, I’m playing this for my daughter, who will adore it nearly as much as I do. Fantastic work!

    (I will fight against our alien cat overlords, but I am sure they will defeat me through the judicious application of allergens.)

  25. Two comments:

    1. You need Brother Theodore (is he still alive?) to do the reading for the audio book.

    2. Re the couger/panther question, in North America there is only one big cat species and it is known locally as panther (sometimes spelled painter), couger, mountain lion, etc. It is supposed to have gone extinct in WV back in the 1800s but last weekend cousins were telling me of encouters back in the 1950s. They are hard to kill, clearly advance Space Cat scouts.

  26. Scalzi, you’re in the position to do something quite extraordinary in science fiction, get a book of sff shorts by elementary students around the world published through a major trade publisher, Tor. The kids will write the stories and do the illustrations. You’ll do layout of the book, but no editing. The cover could look like Og, or something like that. Get on it, Scalzi! Such a book would be an absolute BLAST to read. And, I imagine the glossy colorful hardcovers will sell quickly. I’ll pre-order the thing as soon as it pops up on Amazon. Come to think of it, Subterranean Press would probably do a better job.

  27. A panther is just like a leopard
    Except it hasn’t been peppered

    If you see a panther crouch
    Be prepared to say ouch

    Better yet if called by a panther
    Don’t anther

    Ogden Nash

  28. That just made my morning. While I have to admit the dramatic reading definitely added something, I definitely would have been one of the few people to accept enslavement… persuaded by the infamous cat cuteness. Thank you Athena and John.

  29. Awesome!

    I’m guessing Athena’s bedtime reading since birth has been all the drafts of all your books as you’ve been working on them. Well, it worked!

  30. Delightful of you to pimp Athena’s story for her. Thank you.

    After seeing how many kids were at DragonCon last weekend, I think someone upthread has the right idea –
    scifi short stories for kids written by kids.

    I suspect we’d get an entirely different perspective on the universe.

  31. Is it just me, or does Scalzi, in his reading, sound like a cross between Skipper from Madagascar and Troy McClure from the Simpons?

    Hey, Athena – You Rock!

  32. I really enjoyed the story, both the writing and the dramatic reading. I have a hard time thinking of a place I visit on the web that gives me more smiles than this blog. Thanks.

  33. Hm, the story is written, someone’s done cover art, the audiobook edition is garnering praise, and someone else has started the graphic novel adaptation. This package deal is almost tied up. Somewhere a contract just needs to be inked.

    I’d buy a copy.

  34. When I read “not bad for ten and a half.” I thought at first you were referring to how much money you got for the story ($10,500, maybe? Surely not $10.50?), especially since you referred to million-dollar movie option offers afterward. (I did get that you were being facetious there.) Then I finally figured out, duh, which Scalzi wrote the story. (It would have helped if I’d played the video FIRST….) Anyway, not bad for ten and a half!

  35. Awesome!

    Not to be nitpicky, but I believe that’s Athena’s second fanart. (I’m sure I told you and linked you to the Athena painting I did from the picture of her holding her bear.)

  36. I eagerly await the publication of Alien Space Cats II: The Shedding.

    Shouldn’t that be The Sheddening?

    And the “don’t vote for my Daddy, he means well but we had to eat a racoon” video, mentioned upthread but no longer featured on the same page as this video (you can find it at this link) was adorable.

  37. Kids book, hell: just think of the feline market.

    That is: the market of feline-oriented stuff but actually targeted to their human staff. Kitties now have day care, summer camps, specialty resorts, Animal Planet, videos just for them… all bought by doting humans for their small feline overlords.

    The Fiction for Felines niche is pretty wide open, though.

    This could be the first of a line of DIY Adventures, with the kitties chosing the options. The published versions would have scratch-n-sniffs, sound effects, and possibly some catnip outgassing.

    This could be HUGE.


  38. Very good for 10 1/2 years old!
    We watched the “don’t vote for my Daddy video” and my husband said, “He’s doomed” and he would know, you see, we have a 23 year old daughter.

  39. The two hundred ships landing rocks hardcore. That’s a heckuva scene with the sets of fifty big cats exiting the spaceships.

    My fave: ” . . . many explosions and claws, teeth and bullets . . .”

    I’m there. So. There.

    I can’t recommend, though, that drinking Coke and eating Taco Bell soft tacos is advisable while viewing the dramatic reading. Just sayin’.

    My hat’s off to Athena. The young lady has a good sense of pacing and drama. Watch out, John.

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