Ghlaghghee, Being Less Than Cooperative

Photographer Kyle Cassidy was here today to take photos of me in my natural habitat (i.e., my office), and naturally Ghlaghghee had to be part of that, as she is more famous than I. But that’s not to say she wasn’t sporting an attitude. Hey, it’s not easy being an Internet-famous cat.

It was lovely to see Kyle, who in addition to my space is photographing other science fiction writer offices for an update of this. I’ve seen some of the shots he took just of my office, and looking at them I realize when people say to me, “wow, you take great photos, you should go pro,” while they’re being flattering, it’s pretty clear the difference between what I do and what someone like Kyle does. I think I’ll keep my day job.

28 Comments on “Ghlaghghee, Being Less Than Cooperative”

  1. Just waiting to see Kyle put them on HIS live journal page now to get both sides of this shot..

    You do take a good picture – I thought you looked very well on the photo that was tweeted.

  2. Some fanboyish part of me enjoys seeing how his favorite authors live. I guess I believe that you can tell a lot about a writer’s personality by his office space. Pretty kitty.

  3. Want to hear something funny? I pulled up Whatever today, thinking, “I wish Scalzi would post a picture of Ghlaghghee today.” And you did!

    If I’d known I had a wish today, I might have used it differently.

  4. That writers all seem to have a zillion books isn’t surprising. That they seem to like wood is kind of funny. It’s like before and after.

  5. O Great Scalzi, what a great picture of the Beauteous Ghlaghghee displaying Her Opinion of you and your monkey friend.

    Her Most Glorious Shimmering Radiant Perfection does not dance on command or for your amusement.

    Dancing on command is your job. So hop to it and you may yet earn yourself the coveted Seal of Approval Award.

    But we doubt it.

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

  6. Scalzi in his office taking a picture of someone taking a picture of his office. How very meta.

  7. Anybody recommending any of the authors on these pictures to a casual sci-fi reader? I’ve only read Paul and he is OK, but not favorite and I really, really dislike Swanwick.

  8. tekumse, I don’t know most of them, but you must read Delany, and you should skip Piers Anthony.

  9. My father interviewed Piers Anthony when Anthony had his office in the shack in the pasture. Very cool. Very, very nice guy.

  10. Maybe it is because I am a complete dork, but I love looking at the variety of computing equipment display. It’s also really awesome that Frederick Pohl has very modern looking laptop.

  11. Kyle does do some very awesome work indeed. I wanna see more steam punk stuff from him, but the author pics are neat for the context they place the authors in.

    RE: people’s flattery – Well, you already have a nice career doing something you like…but when people are saying, “You take really nice photos, you should go pro,” I tend to extrapolate that into “You have a lot of potential…and if you worked at the craft really hard, and really wanted to, you could probably succeed.”

    People say that about all kinds of endeavours, and usually the person they’re saying it to isn’t quite at pro level but could be with effort spent on the craft. “Going pro” is a bit more extensive than hanging your name out on a shingle. (And depending on the goals, means a lot of different things.)

    RE: Piers Anthony – Xopher’s advice is probably best heeded. There’s like a window for reading the Xanth stuff and it seems to be junior high. The Xanth books would have remained guilty pleasures for me if they didn’t abound with weird regressive gender politics. As for the non-Xanth books…there’s…um…interesting morality regarding sex. (There’s a number of non-Xanth books where somebody with a lot of power has sex with a minor/their sister/a ward or person under their command. I’d feel a lot weirder for having read these but my teenage self had already OD’d on VC Andrews.)

    As for recommending the others, I can truthfully say that I’m currently enjoying the first Ysabeau Wilce book, Flora Segunda, which is YA fantasy.

  12. Eli – earlier we had Kyle tweet that they had arrived to take a photo, then they tweeted a photo while Scalzi tweeted that they had taken the photo and that it was all very meta. Now we see Scalzi in his office taking a picture of Kyle taking a picture of his office.

    How very meta indeed.

  13. Are we surprised that they all have piles of books and paper heaped everywhere? No, we are not. :)

  14. More Kodi pictures. She’s been scarce of late, and Chang (who may or may not be Chang. We ARE investigating thoroughly!) has been coddled enough as it is.

    Besides, no one wants the Shimmering Radiance to suffer paparazzi burnout.

  15. @Xopher, PixelFish: I read Anthony’s “Incarnations of Immortality” series in junior high and have very, very fond memories of them. I’ve often thought about going back and reading them again as an adult. Now I’m wondering if that might be a bad idea. I also just noticed that he published an 8th book in the series in 2007, nearly two decades after what was supposed to be the final installment. This leaves me simultaneously intrigued and very, very skeptical.

  16. @Eli: if you go back and re-read pretty much anything of Anthony’s, I suspect that your fond memories will wither under the damaged ozone layer of harsh disillusionment. I grew a lot myself in the decades beyond junior high, but as far as I can tell, Anthony never grew significantly as a writer; if anything, he regressed.

    I’ve had limited success with re-reading the first, occasionally the second, book in any of his series as long as I leave the others alone. By the third book, I begin to notice that he started out with a good idea but apparently forgot it at some point, without ceasing to write. By the fourth book . . . you get the idea. Unlike Douglas Adams, it was never a good idea for his trilogies to spawn extra volumes; pruning would have been better.

  17. It may be “expected” to see the stacks of books in authors’ homes, but I still love it! =D

    Also, this photo is awesomeness.

    And, I agree with #13 PixelFish re: flattery. With some work at it, you could definitely be pro, if this is what your skill is like with it being simply a hobby.

  18. Great office pics! It is neat to see how and where authors write. Some lovely offices that have me thinking I need a den myself. For me and my books and my cat! I’ve got enough shelves for my books (finally) and still have the odd pile on the floor. Something very comforting about that.

    I work in a library, and love books. Love reading, love talking about books, and love my job for those reasons. It always amazes me when people (who usually don’t read) tell me I should be writing books! To me, it is like saying that if you watch a lot of medical shows you could be a surgeon. No schooling required, just tv. Or in my case reading. The chasm between enjoying books, vs writing books, is huge to me!

    Hurray for writers!

  19. @9 : Ben Bova, Fred Pohl, Harry Harrison, Joe Haldeman. Very good reasons why these four are either already Grand Masters, or soon will be. But be aware that each is a very different sort of storyteller. I haven’t read Ben Bova’s more recent “solar system tour” books, so can’t comment on them, but anything earlier is a fair bet for just about anyone who likes science fiction.

    Margeret Wies is very good at the semi-SF/semi-Heroic Fantasy sort of thing, if you like that.

    Tom Purdom generally writes short works. He hasn’t written anything beyond novella or novellete length in very many years. He generally writes one or two shorter works or so per year. He seems to have been largely forgotten by the general SF fan-base. He is a founding member of SFWA, and is a past Vice President, as I recall.

    The other authors in the gallery either I can’t remember who was included beyond those I’ve mentioned or I haven’t read anything by them.

    The Joe Haldeman pic is the coolest IMHO, although bookless.

  20. I looked at the gallery again. Nothing new to add re authors pictured except to say I’m not sure how much Ellen Datlow writes these days. She’s more known for being an editor.

  21. So, John, from your experience, can you tell us how “authentic” these pictures are? Does Cassidy drop by unannounced to catch the authors in their natural state? Or did you spend a week arranging your bookstacks and hiding the candy wrappers?

  22. Hope:

    I knew Kyle was coming. I did pick up the office slightly, since my wife would kill me if I let it be professionally photographed in its usual state of squalor. But the bookstacks are unarranged; they are as they are on a day to day basis.

  23. I wonder if you can really be a writer and not be surrounded by books. They seem to inspire, and remind, and just act as silent connections to other places. If all books were digital how would we surround ourselves with these loved things? Maybe predictions that paper books will always be with us is true because we just won’t give up on the 3-D experience.

  24. lee s @22: Ellen Datlow has written some YAish fantasy, Swordspoint and Privilege of the Sword, which have gotten some praise. I read only Privilege of the Sword, which I found to be mildly enjoyable and perhaps not my cup of tea personally, but probably just fine for other folks.

  25. On Anthony: His very early books are still very much worth reading; Macroscope, Chthon, Orn, Sos the Rope, etc. His Xanth works are definitely geared more towards the younger set, designed as entertainment, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but they won’t appeal to or have much holding power for most older readers.

    Of the other writers in that gallery, Delany is still a must read, though his recent work has trended far away from SF land. It’s still poetry in prose, with his inimitable attention to exactly what happens in a scene (spelled out with exactly the right words) and his very distinct characters.

    Ghlaghghee’s opinion of all writers is very apparent in this shot. Regardless of your own hyper-critical opinion of your prowess in photo-taking, it’s shots like these that undermine such a self-assessment.

  26. Pixelfish@26 Swordspoint et al are by Ellen Kushner. Ellen Datlow is an editor and anthologist, possibly best known as editor of OMNI magazine.

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