“The President’s Brain is Missing” Live at Tor.com; “After the Coup” Live at eBookstores

Tor.com is celebrating its second birthday today — it’s the second most important thing that’s ever happened on July 20 — and to celebrate, it commissioned from me a new short story. This makes some sense as the site debuted two years ago with a different short story from me. See, it’s a pattern. The new story is called “The President’s Brain is Missing,” and as the title suggests, it’s what happens when the Most Powerful Man in the World loses his mind, and isn’t even aware it’s gone.

This is, by the way, a completely accurate description of the central crisis of the story, but of course the reality of that situation (in the story, that is) is not quite so simple. And that’s what makes it science fiction, don’t you know. Some of you got a sneak preview of the story last week by signing up as a member of Tor.com, but now it’s available to everyone, free for the reading, over there at Tor.com. I think it’s a fun story; I hope you do too.

Oh, and for those of you who like to be read to, here’s an audio recording of me reading the story. I’m reading at about a 35% Shatner level, which is a comment that will make more sense when you hear it. Also, for those of you from the South, I apologize in advance for the accent you’ll be hearing about halfway through the story.

Now, then, as for the first short story I had published on Tor.com, “After the Coup,”  it’s now available from B&N, Amazon, Apple and other sorts of eBook stores as a 99 cent single serving download, along with a whole basket of other stories originally published on Tor.com. Here are all the groovy details on that.

And you may ask, why should I pay a buck for a story I can read for free on Tor.com? And the answer to that: Because one day the entire Internet will fail, probably because Zombies are chewing on the tubes, and all you will have left for electronic reading is what  you’ve brought with you on your eBook reader. And then you’ll be glad that you chipped in a buck, at least until the undead come through the doors. Alternately, I don’t know, you might be away from the Internets from time to time and/or may decide that supporting good fiction with cash every now and again might not be a bad thing. Hey, it’s a buck.

In any event, enjoy either or both of these stories. Happy reading.

28 Comments on ““The President’s Brain is Missing” Live at Tor.com; “After the Coup” Live at eBookstores”

  1. I just read Brain, and I loved the ending. Got a guffaw out of me. Which is fairly impressive, since I haven’t drunk much of my tea yet.

  2. Finally finished “Judge Sn” and i loved it. Will check this out, too.

    Hey, can you reveal the status of High Castle yet? TBD? WIP? DOA? NWA?

  3. Second most important thing? So wait, did it beat out the first manned moon landing or the first unmanned Mars landing?

  4. So we can expect another short story from you in two years?

    I’m marking my calendar.

  5. Well, I really wanted to buy “After the Coup” to read on my Nook, but it is apparently not yet available at B&N. So, I bought it at Amazon, to read on every electronic device I own, except my Nook.

    As a device, I prefer the Nook to the Kindle, but B&N is missing something here.

  6. “it’s what happens when the Most Powerful Man in the World loses his mind, and isn’t even aware it’s gone.”

    The jokes write themselves. Especially regarding certain former presidents…

  7. One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn …. zombies.

  8. Well, now we know where you stand on the definitional “nerd vs. geek” issue.

    Quick question, Mr. S.: did you grow up in the western half of the U.S.?

  9. Read and enjoyed both stories. Thanks for giving me something to read at work between calls. And I really don’t want to wait another two years for another story. How can we get Tor.com to put up more Scalzi? How can we turn it into the Scalzi channel, all Scalzi, all the time?


  10. Ha, that picture made me think of my grandma. She met a particularly pretty-but-vapid college boyfriend of mine and afterward said, “Well, honey, nice cage – no bird.”

  11. Aww, how sweet of you and Tor.com to give me a new story on my birthday. I’m very happy to share the day with Tor.com and the moon landing; a good day for a SF fan to be born.

  12. The nice folks at Tor.com have made it possible to download After The Coup (and all their other fiction) for free too. You just go to the story’s page on Tor.com and click “Download” from the left-hand margin. After The Coup is available in epub (suitable for Sony Readers), Mobipocket (suitable for Kindles), pdf and html. All are DRM-free.

    Oh, how I love the lovely people at Tor.com

  13. I need to come clean — I’ve been reading this blog for a while, but I’ve only read a bit of Mr. Scalzi’s fiction before. I think I read an “Old Man’s War” short story in one of the Year’s Best Sci-Fi collections, and then tried one of the novels, but it didn’t grab me, so I gave it up. However, I enjoyed this story a great deal, and as a result, I’m going to try one of the novels again as soon as I get a chance.

  14. Instead of 35% Shatner, I gotta say I’m detecting 50% Serling (as in Rod for the youngsters here).

    But maybe it’s more like some kind of freakish Shatner Serling love child…

  15. @Brian Mac – if Old Man’s War just didn’t grab you (I just don’t fathom that myself, but ok…), but this story did, you might try The Android’s Dream instead.

  16. alightningbug@15: some kind of freakish Shatner Serling love child…

    That’s just terrifying. But, of course, the way John reads his stories is fantastic, so I’m ok with it.

    John, I read President’s Brain when it was released last week and completely enjoyed it. Now I need to read it again to get characters straight. (I have a hard time when characters have normal, human names. Aliens are much easier for me to remember.) I also appreciated the Five Guys references. I think I need a burger now…

  17. “The President’s Brain Is Missing” was just the kick in the butt I needed to sign up over at tor.com last week.

    Wonderful story.

  18. So I went to the kindle store all excited to download “After the Coup” for $0.99 CAN’T GO WRONG right?? WORNG…. I live in Canada and appently that same story is $2.99 :(

  19. Listening right now as I eat lunch. It reminds me a bit of my Dad reading me a bedtime story.

  20. As soon as I get an e-book reader, Scalzi’s story will be the second thing I download. Right after THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE.

  21. Are US Apple books not available in Canada? I was gonna spend the $1.05, but “After the Coup” doesn’t seem to be available. Nor can I get B&N downloads here. Bah!

  22. You must have enough short stories kicking around now for a collection. When does your collection come out? Come on, I’m waiting…

  23. I really like the way you capitalized Zombies there, like you would Canadians or Norwegians.

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