Unveiling My Secret Fantasy Project
Posted on April 1, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 228 Comments
This is something I’ve been sitting on for a while now, but now I can tell you about it: Today Tor announced a fantasy trilogy of books with my name on them. The entire fantasy series is entitled The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, of which the first book is called The Dead City. The prologue of that book is up on the Tor.com site right now.
How did this come about? Well, after the critical and commercial success of The God Engines, Tor and I began discussing the possibility of a fantasy project. I thought for a while about such a fantasy endeavor but if I was going to do it, then it had to be something that really grabbed me, something appealed to me and used my particular skill set as a writer. Fortunately, my editor at Tor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, called me one day with an idea that was exactly what I needed, and at that point, well. I couldn’t not write it. So here we are.
As for the rest of it, there’s not too much to say at this point. I will say that I’ve talked to my agent about the foreign rights situation, and I can also say that if there’s a limited edition, it will be through Subterranean; Bill Schafer and I have already discussed some of the special features we’d want for the SubPress version. Of course, the Tor versions will have to come out first.
So that’s where things are at the moment. Go check out the prologue — I think you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
And yes, I know. You’re skeptical. So:
Yes, that’s an actual, legal, I-swear-to-God-it-will-stand-up-in-court contract. Yes, for me. Yes, sent to me by Patrick Nielsen Hayden. And yes, I signed it.
Also: That awesome cover art? John Stanko, ladies and gentlemen.
I read Tor’s news letter.
Finally! A project worthy of your great, writerous talents! I
I’m sure it’s great, but you have to admit: The title is straight out of Stephen Colbert.
Good April Fool’s. :P
Still skeptical, but that certainly won’t stop me from going to read the prologue! Thanks for the free fiction!
I suspect April Fool’s Day joke.
You expect us to believe you on this day of all days?
Loved the prologue, the beginning especially, it really set up the worldbuilding. Very tolkienlike, you know? I am glad you are finally doing some fantasy.
Nice try. I mean, you did a good job of hitting MOST of the overused fantasy buzzwords and art. But the cover is missing a half-naked tattooed 18-year-old girl sticking her butt at the viewer and holding a sharp implement.
In short, it’ll never sell.
“It was a dark and stormy night.”
Now why on earth would I suspect something fishy about this announcement on 1 April?
I’m not a fantasy fan but even if this wasn’t an artefact of the day that it is, I would probably buy it anyway. Could you keep the same level of gags going for a full book?
*wheezes laughing* I think the first sentence calls out for Creative Public Performance Battle Royale, with extra points to the side who can read it in a single breath.
If When If When this comes out, I will purchase and count myself blessed in the act.
Glenn Hauman, et al:
Be skeptical all you want, I still get paid!
Woot! More Scalzi on the shelves improves my life!
(Oh… curses. I’m too used to the strikethrough shortcut code and too lazy to check allowed tags before I post. Clearly the night dragons are too blame.)
Great cover. Great joke.
I’m hoping to hear a Wil Wheaton audio version later in the day. Ooh, or video, so we can see his face turn blue!
I’m getting all choked up here, reading the excerpt. It is brilliant, John
You, sir, are my favorite.
Awesome! I hope you’re already hard at work writing Dark Blood Magic and Dream World of the Fire Wolf (aka The Shadow War of the Night Dragon, books 2 and 3 respectively). I’m sure the trilogy will go over as brilliantly as Cheezburger buying Charlie Stross’s blog.
Repeat this story tomorrow and I might believe it. Cute though.
I’m assuming the title, at least, is a working title (I see it there in the contract), much as some older writer (I think it was Lawrence Block, or he wrote about someone else doing this) used to contract for tales with names like “Great Expectations by Charles Dickens,” knowing it would all be changed anyway.
When do they expect to release this? It’s a suspicious, having cover art already.
“It is said that if you bathe in the blood of a night dragon, you will be invincible at caber tossing.”
Eye Argon away.
I can’t believe it’s just one sentence!
In other news, I need to start a metal band so I can name it Drindelthengenflagenmorden. Or maybe The Blind Black Badger Trolls.
… Wil hasn’t posted yet today. *crosses fingers and hits refresh again*
Jason@10: “But the cover is missing a half-naked tattooed 18-year-old girl…”
It’s not urban fantasy, so I think we can give him a pass on this one.
No disrespect to the cover artist, but that could almost be a Three Stooges movie poster: the three of them looking heroically into the distance while the dragon sneaks up behind them.
Is this the authoritative demon squid Drindel or the revised, sublimated version?
Yes, but exactly how dark was it?
We also demand to see the pony glitter.
I might actually buy this. We need a little humor in the fantasy world. Robert Aspirin has jumped the shark and Peirs Anthony turned lame 30 years ago.
I … I … I just read the first sentence and I am IN AWE. I can’t read any further. In fact, I can’t read anything else ever again, because all other sentences are mere feeble shadows in comparison to the utter perfection of THAT ONE SENTENCE.
Pardon me while I go ponder my empty existence in a cave some where.
I do hope that you’re planning on submitting that first sentence to this year’s Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, fantasy division. It’s a shoe-in to win.
I see Tony Danza, Bruce Willis, and Lou Ferrigno playing these guys in the movie!!! With Stallone directing! You signed off on the options for that, right?
I can’t help but note that your “evidence” is a blurry & unreadable picture of a book contract, and that you don’t actually say what book that contract was for. You’ve gotten contracts Mr. Nielsen Hayden before, after all.
In short: uh huh, pull the other one.
Please please please PLEASE be real. And if it isn’t real, please make it so. That was truly epic humour-fantasy. It must be done! (PLEEEEEEASE!)
Looks like a young Tony Danze, Jessie Ventura, and Carl Weathers…interesting?
Jon Hansen, et al:
I would state in court without fear of perjury that the contract you see there is NOT for another book.
My suspicions aside (see post @11), if this is an April Fools joke you’ve certainly gone to great lengths to perpetrate it – getting John Stanko to churn out some (rather hilarious) cover art, cranking out a few hundred words (in about ten sentences) worth of prologue, having tor.com post it as a new book project, displaying a contract that mentions the title and is dated 30 March 2011 – that’s a lot to go through for the sake of a joke.
That said, if this is for real my hope is that you’re able to keep it from collapsing from trying to sustain the gag for a novel-length book. I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies all the way through, even though the novelty of it wore itself out after the first few chapters.
I do notice that no matter how many times I clickify, I cannot embiggen the contract pic in order to read the text. It’s a fraud!
Also, when are you letting us see your long-form birth certificate? Huh?
JS: Sure, but it’s really just for the snippet up on their website, right?
Probability of cross-marketing with Loof-Lirpa seems high.
Skeptical MasterThief is skeptical.
I am so totally rooting for the Night Dragon.
You’re avoiding explicitly stating that the contract is for a book, and that the book it is for is specifically this one.
Sadly. I still want it to be true!
I’m with Paul @22. Stand by this tomorrow and I’ll believe it. Giveaway, for me: the “cover” simply depicts a scene from the “prologue”.
That being said: loved it. Had two or three genuine LOL moments. I’d buy the hell out of this book, were it to exist. It read, to me, like Pratchett is supposed to read… which is to say, funny, and taking the piss out of fantasy tropes. But I’ve never been able to read Pratchett without throwing the book across the room in frustration (save for Good Omens). I’d read this. I’d read this a lot. With extreme prejudice. Etc.
Make of that what you will.
This would be an awesome meta-joke if John actually writes the books as a parody of the genre, all the while maintaining this ridonkulous style.
Dude… C’mon, really? I’m not even going to read this entry unless it’s still around tomorrow morning.
To Scalzi’s point @40: You can see the title in the first sentence of the contract: “An Agreement dated March XX, 2011, concerning a WORK titled ‘The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City'”…
(I said in my last post 30 March, but on closer inspection it’s hard to tell the actual date in the photo…)
The entry will still be around tomorrow morning. Unless Tor.com disappears entirely.
Best first sentence of a book ever!
This looks like the sort of fantasy I normally do not like. However, if this is actually published and not an epic April Fools joke, I will give it a chance.
One thing that makes me suspicious is the long, clumsy title. That isn’t like you. You didn’t get famous with a book called “The galactic war of old men in young bodies.”
“I’ve heard that they can eat castle guards three at a time,” said a fourth voice. “Although that’s not actually a legend. That’s really just more of an ambition.”
Those Night Dragons have a flair for dry comedy.
Guillermo del Toro has already signed on to direct the film version of the trilogy, and has already left the project as well.
It takes you 18 pp to get to “dark and stormy night”. Bravo.
Notice the operative word though out the post: “fantasy”.
Well, look at the cover! It’s got a dragon!
John, if you can just work a reference to stew into the next few pages, Diana Wynne Jones would be proud.
John, John, John, don’t toy with us…. Do you really expect us to believe you? on April Fools day? Or is that a maniacal laugh I hear because it’s real and we don’t believe you?
I can’t make out the contract, but it’s certainly possible that it’s for the Shadow War etc. After all, why shouldn’t you get paid for an April Fool’s short story?
Hey, it was Tor.com’s idea to post that today. I didn’t have any control over that.
I’m a little surprised no one’s linked to this.
John, in your TOTALLY REAL AND TOTALLY LEGAL contract have you made plans for how the trilogy might be completed (or spiritually sequel-ed) in the unlikely event of your Coke Zero-related demise? I assume your daughter would work with a TOTALLY LEGIT author off of your copious, well-hidden notes?
I’m glad it’s a trilogy. You can’t publish a genre book these days that isn’t part of a trilogy. Or a Quadrilogy. Or dodecahedronology.
The rest – well written as always, but not my cup of tea.
If this is an April Fools joke, you got me. It must of been a lot of work for a prank.
I don’t know if this is an April Fools day trick or not…but I’d read it if it wasn’t. (Or even if it was). Good fiction, sir!
“I assume your daughter would work with a TOTALLY LEGIT author off of your copious, well-hidden notes?”
Hahahahahahahahahaaaaaa! *wipes tear*
My theory is that the contract is for the excerpt and is related to the “fairly awesome yet last minute commission” mentioned a bit more than a week ago by our host.
@64: That’s exactly where my brain went too.
PLEASE tell me there will be an audio version. I could arrive at work happy (even before coffee) after listening to this on the drive in.
OK, so will there be a drinking game based on this? Read aloud until you burst out laughing, then do the shot/beer/whatever? If so, I will lose no later than the timeless phrase “the dreaded Drindelthengenflagen, the ravenous blind black badger trolls of Drindelthengen,”
Can anyone hold out longer?
That commission was actually for a couple of friends of mine.
Is their venom sexy?
You know what, I also think this is an april fools’ joke, but I really want to believe I’m wrong. An entire book written like this, by John, would be awesome.
Given the popular media’s penchant for April Fool’s Day and the fact that we’ve seen ZERO CLUES OR HINTS about this, and given your close working relationship with Tor and the name of this announcement… well, let’s just say I’m a tad skeptical. (And the fact I fell for the Antarctic Naked Mole Rats story in the Economist several years ago.) Maybe when I see it in Borders.
How many clues or hints did I give about the Old Man’s War movie deal? And I sat on that bit of information for close to two years.
WORST THIRD SENTENCE EVER
That’s not exactly a no… I’m assuming you and Patrick Nielsen Hayden aren’t sworn enemies.
THAT BASTARD OWES ME MONEY.
I assume this will be one of those fractal trilogies where the third book is so big that it needs to be split into three separate books, the final volume of which is so big that it needs to be split into three separate books, the final volume of which is so big that it needs to be split into three separate books, the final volume of which . . .
I’m hoping you’ll reconsider the overall story arc and make it at least an octalogy instead. One book could be almost entirely dedicated to the pro-capitalism musings of the main character after he has to spend some time in night dragon land, where they’re all communists. Think “eighty-page market square speech”.
Channeling your inner R. Lionel Fanthorpe I see ….
Hmmmm, thinking about this further, this is an April Fools of an April Fools, that is to say, Jon intentionally released this info when we’d be least likely to believe it, thus fooling us into fooling ourselves. You play a deep game, Scalzi.
Seriously, I would love to see this book published. I just about choked to death laughing at the prologue. WOULD TOTALLY BUY.
Music: “Too Much Time On My Hands”
Methinks he doth protest too much.
Very funny, thank you. I think I counted 117 words in that first sentence, and that may be the worst third sentence I have ever read.
Friday, payday, and the unveiling of the super-secret project!!! Wait, what’s today’s date again…
When’s the release date?
The title just seems just a little bit clichéd. But I can’t quite putt my finger on why…
Awesome April Fool’s caper. Of course, it’s so ridiculously funny that I might just read an entire novel’s worth of this stuff if you actually wrote it.
****SPOILER***** My favorite line: “I’ve heard that [night dragons] can eat castle guards three at a time,” said a fourth voice. “Although that’s not actually a legend. That’s really just more of an ambition.”
“the feared Black Spoons of the Drindelthengenflagen,” Lolz.
If this is an April Fools Day joke, it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. If it’s not, then I will have to buy this book as soon as it actually exists. And I haven’t even read the excerpt that’s up on tor.com yet. I’m buying this one based on the title, cover and alone.
This is gonna be awesome. This is an ARC I will be stalking. That excerpt is better than quite a few books I have read.
Ack. That last post was supposed to be: “title, cover and known history alone”.
Can’t wait to see the title posted on Amazon.com. I would give it a 5 star review based on the first sentence in the prologue.
Heh, with Sir Terry on his way out :-(, we need a new comic fantasy series with pisstake dragons, this made me giggle at least twice. Go for it.
Truly your best work to date. All that SF nonsense was all very nice, but THIS is litterature. Why just look at the length of the names. Each is it’s own story. Did Tor pay you by the letter rather than the word for this? Then I’d understand how Mr Hayden could have trouble paying up…
It’s been said, but it bears repeating… That is one HELL of a first sentence. Great gag!
I don’t care that it’s an April Fool’s joke — I want to read the whole trilogy. (And see all the movies.)
John, I hope the joke side-fires on you and you’re offered an obscene amount of money to write them.
After this triology of four books is completed, I really want you to get started on:
“Girl with a Weapon, Viewed from Behind”
Also, the middle guy has the exact combination of beard and facial expression as your gravatar
I want to believe!
Additionally, I think that any kind of set up like, “whoa, now there’s ACTUALLY a dragon” after imperial political hijinks deserves to live in trilogy form.
I got part way through it and shouted “We need Vampires!”. Next sentence:
“Vampires and werewolves,” Ruell said. “Quite obviously.”
So, well done.
It’s still better than Eragon, however, so you have some work to do.
Very funny:) It would be great to continue this into a spoof, much like “Bored of the Rings: A Parody of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings” written back in the 70s. That book had me laughing out loud.
When I think “Fantasy Project”, this wasn’t quite what I had in mind. ;-)
I have a little Drindel,
And in my well he thrives!
He’s nice and big and squidly,
and feasts on sinner’s lives!
Oh Drindel Drindel Drindel!
In my well you thrive!
You’re nice and big and squidly,
Bad folks keep you alive!
You live with hungry badgers.
It’s good they cannot see!
For they would not be happy,
That their lord is just sushi!
Oh Drindel Drindel Drindel!
In my well you thrive!
You’re nice and big and squidly,
Bad folks keep you alive!
The Drindel’s always playful,
even if he lives in black!
And you’ll believe my stories
Because I am not a hack!
Oh Drindel Drindel Drindel!
In my well you thrive!
You’re nice and big and squidly,
Bad folks keep you alive!
… my wife, who got me your autograph on a now much dog eared copy of the Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies wants you to know that she married a very wierd person.
… I’d just like to know that she knew that going into it.
Yay, if you’re really writing a fantasy book, but I’m not buying that the excerpt at Tor or this title are legit unless it’s a spoof of the genre (which coincidentally I would heart just as much). You’re a dirty liar, sir. I love it.
How on earth did you write that without laughing so hard you fell off your chair? It’s perfect.
Best. Prank. Ever.
Please please please tell me this will be out before Easter. I want to have you sign a copy for me at Minicon (with a glittery pen, of course!)
I want to read that. Yep.
@103 – I agree
For people who say John should write a whole series in this style, all I can say is “Why not, it worked for The Phoenix Guards.”
I’d read the rest…
… maybe the April Fool’s joke is that it’s really getting released!
You know, if it wouldn’t be EVIL, you totally should have announced the OMW movie today. That would have fueled so much hilarity.
By which I mean rage.
MikeN @107, you just won ALL the Internets.
the cover is pretty bad ;( .
Nice try. Not fooled for a moment. :)
Best one I’ve seen so far today:
Oh man, I needed a good laugh. Thank you!
“Which is to say: It was a dark and stormy night.” Is that a Bulwer-Lytton and a Robert Musil reference in the same sentence? I think my head just exploded.
Great first sentence, interesting opening premise, WHERE THE HELL WAS THE STEW????
Uh oh. The plagiarism has already started.
Sadly, this April Fool’s Day joke book will be better than most legitimate new fantasy novels on the market. Damn you Scalzi!
Andrew @114, clearly you would not find this as marvelous if you had to live with it every day (though, yes, that is one of his better ditties). Though MikeN speaks truth when he says I knew he was weird when I married him, he VERY CLEVERLY hid the extent of his weirdness for years after the vows. Clever of him. :-)
The excerpt should provide some lovely fodder for Thor’s Masterclass.
I read Jacqueline Howett’s two word review of TSWOTND-BO-TDC. I am sure John had an Epic cover letter that told Tor how great it was based purely on the first paragraph which he submitted. I must speculate that the only way to fight Night Dragons involves Unicorn poop.
You know, when I see such elaborate April Fool’s jokes, I think sometimes people have too much time on their hands :-)
Now, serious question – is this “John Stanko” a real guy or just made up?
HAW HAW HAW
Is that Bill Goldberg and Billy Mays on the cover?
Chris Gerrib @125: http://stankoillustration.com
I especially like how you kill off Thomas Yehd Aisohn with his own light bulbs…Maybe this is less epic fantasy and more alternate history genre. I’m just saying.
Of course you got paid, Scalzi, Tor.com is a paying e-zine.
Boredomir @ 121
Dude. This is so sadly true. I haven’t read a good fantasy novel in years.
Wait wait wait. Is that David Duchovny on the left side of the cover?
Awesome. Quite possibly the *best* first sentence I’ve ever seen. Too funny.
John H. @ 128 – Yeah, I saw that link. Looked to me like upscale self-published covers, which is why I asked.
I will ask what we all REALLY want to know.. Who were the models for those 3 handsome gents on the cover?
Whichever one you think is the most attractive? Modeled after me.
After having finally quit craughing (crying from laughing, for those who don’t know) and finished the prologue, I desperately want this to be a real novel/trilogy. The sooner, the better. This is just tremendous.
Please let this actually be a thing
i bet of you great Scalzi
*beg of you oops
Would this be an eligible sale for SFWA status?
dudes, that dragon you’re looking for?
it’s behind you
Also, just a quick estimate on the cover, I’m guessing that’s
David Duchovney, Jesse Ventura, and I think… Timothy Olyphant….
HOLY SHIT! ITS THE CAST OF THE NEW BUCKAROO BONZAI SEQUEL!!!
I got the handsome if bald Scalzi in the middle, and I’m thinking Wheaton on the left. No idea who the third guy is, maybe Curly?
Already looking forward to the inevitable video game.
Sigh, once again I don’t think the cover artist actually READ the story. According to the story it’s pitch black with occasional lightning. I doubt that the lightning would provide as much light as we see in this illustration. Secondly when the lightning revealed the dragon the guards could see it, briefly at least. To better get the feel of the book the cover should be black, not the shiny black you see but a black that totally absorbs all light. Or have the guards facing the ‘night dragon’.
Keith@116. oh my god that was funny!
The beardless guy on the cover looks like the love child of Charles Bronson and Wil Wheaton.
If this IS an April Fool’s item, then you should really write some more in this vein and actually publish the volume one of the series — and never another word. (evil grin)
Because I’d buy it.
(Unless you think I’m lying because it’s April 1st.)
Looks good, I will order a copy for the library.
The World Fantasy Convention must have had an effect on you.
Zach Braff? Interesting….
John, I’m going to have to see a legible copy of that contract before I can say whether it’s an April Fool’s joke or not.
That prologue doesn’t out-Eye-of-Argon Eye of Argon, but it’s a pretty good attempt.
OK, it’s past noon, April Fool’s is over. Is this real or not?
I actually suspected the guy on the right to be Scalzi, and people said Duchovney for the left and now I can’t imagine anyone else there
I love the trusting author/publisher relationship you have developed with Tor.
Signing the contract the day the work is published. That right there is some trust.
I don’t care if this is an April Fool’s joke or not. The first paragraph alone had me wiping tears as I tried to observe the Code of Silence those of us in the Brotherhood of Development have
taken a vow ofhad forced upon us. If it is an April Fool’s joke, it was thoroughly enjoyable. And if not, I’ll be buying it. So Scalzi, if you were floating this out there as a means of testing the market, consider your royalties++;
That was awesome. The first paragraph was very Tolkienian …Tolkienesque?
I want this to be a real novel.
Best prologue ever. I’m so going to pre-order the Subpress limited edition, which will, no doubt, be bound in leather made from virginal baby sheep.
Oh, you got me. You got me so good. I actually made it through the first paragraph with just a sense of wonder though Drindelthengen did give me pause. I should have remembered that this morning you sent me over to Charlie Stross’s site, so now I guess you’ve gotten me twice today.
Well played Sir. I had almost as much fun reading the prologue as you had writing – although I read it out loud to my employees and didn’t take breaths until in between sentences . . . I’m somewhat winded now.
Between this and all the lawsuits you’ve got SFWA filing, you’ve been a busy boy today, haven’t you?
It’s my busiest day of the year!
Yeah, John. Just wave your magic writerly wand and write these three books. I mean, how hard could it be to expand an April Fools joke from a page into three novels, right?
*crosses arms and waits*
What language is the rest of the contract in? I can just barely read the first paragraph and the last…but I am fairly sure the rest is in Elvish or Klingon….
This reminds me of a slightly more tongue-in-cheek version of Sean McMullen’s Moonworlds Saga, which being some of my favorite fantasy comedies, is a Good Thing.
I really do hope that this isn’t a joke, as I’d snatch up these books in a heartbeat.
While I have my suspicions that contract is for a single chapter and this is an elaborate April Fools’ joke, I honestly DO hope this is a real book, because it is HILARIOUS and I want more.
I enjoyed the story and the massive sentences. That said, I’m left wondering how a story that Tor paid for has so many apparent typos/missing words. Is the editing process for Tor.com’s online stories lacking?
Presumably this should be either “It is a dark night” or “Is it a dark night?” asked Barnas
“Is it a dark night,” said Barnas, the first.
And the following appears to be missing an ‘of’: “so putting night dragon tear salt in the food a 49-year-old is not advised”
This is all because of Stross’ Sparkly Unicorns series, isn’t it?
I’m with John Chu (#21). I’m eagerly awaiting the next two installments. Bring on Dark Blood Magic and Dream World of the Fire Wolf!
While you’re at it…might as well continue the series with The Black King, Moon Lord’s Book of Light, & The Last Time God. Longer series seem to be the way to go these days.
BTW, if anyone is wondering what the heck is going on…check out this Tor.com article: http://bit.ly/i1pLg6
The craft is far better (you probably spent more than 2 hours on it, I’m sure), but in terms of making me fall out of my seat laughing, this is tied with Mr. Skullhead’s April Fools bodice-and-loincloth-ripping fantasy novel fragment implemented on the Kingdom of Loathing, “Lars the Cyberian”
For the many of you without accounts, it can be read at
Know what would be funny? It would be great if this “joke”, actually led to a published series of this story. I thought the dialog between the guards was really funny. I would buy this series in paperback.
Amazing work by Tor ! I mean they have manged in the five days since you signed the contract to get the art for the book ready already.
Amazing I tell you.
most publishing houses can only have such turnaround times for a limited size piece that would only ever appear on their site (Im assuming those need a contract too … )
We agreed in principle to the work some time back, so they didn’t need to wait for the contract.
To quote from the great Lucy van Pelt, “Peculiar thing about this document. It was never notarized.”
I actually just squinted at that contract and made out the title and the date 3/28/11 just now. I must say that I applaud you for either teh best april foolz evar or committing to produce the most bat-shit crazy thing I will ever pay money to read*.
* – and which will finally make me feel so guilty that I’ll have to go read Anna Karenina or something.
It’s a win win.
I’ve never posted here before, but I feel compelled to say: this just doesn’t work as an April fool. It’s too well written…
Perhaps a novella, to accompany TGE on our shelves? I don’t think my shelving could take the weight of a novels worth of information expressed in that style.
Read the prologue and I’m still giggling. I’d pay real money for the whole book, actually for all three books and twice, what with the ebooks and the audiobooks read by Wheaton.
OK, this is officially the Rebecca Black of fantasy…….
Ok, the cover models on the left are obviously Wheaton and center Scalzi, but who’s on the right?
(and is that your dog in the Dragon?)
David Duchovny or… Zach Braff? I can’t decide if Guy on Left is one or the other. Hm.
As for the writing:
This was, in fact, a more pleasurable read than “Feersum Endjin”.
Just noticed you signed it 4/1/11, interesting choice of date there…
That was some of the deep darkest velvety blackety-black-black-blackerest humor that I’ve seen in a while. It seems like Douglass Adams mind melded with J.R.R Tolkien. I have to say that I cringed when I thought about Scalzi writing Fantasy and not doing proper Science Fiction, but after I read the excerpt, I found it funny enough that I would read more. Unfortunately, I’m sure it is an April Fools joke.
I have been thinking about this off an on all day and can only say that I hope that the adventures with the Night Dragons is a double-crossed red herring of an April Fool’s joke and that it is real… Pleeeeease, Please, Please, Please, Please!
The cover seems a pretty big tell. From what I see it, depicts the guards from the prologue, exactly as they are in the scene. Which kind of implies that there isn’t anything else to go on from a material standpoint.
“Robert Aspirin has jumped the shark”
That’s a … unique… way of saying that he died in 2008.
I have somewhere to be so I have not read this thread only John’s news. Please I pray may this be an April Fool’s Joke. For the excerpt of the Prologue at Tor was a true pain to read. In fact, I made myself read it because, well, John was announcing a new novel series. How could I not at least read the thing? Once. If this is real? I am not purchasing the series. Not. Not. Not. “It was a dark and stormy night.” [Hurl!]
Does this mean Tor delivered on the money truck and the pony with pony glitter?
Hopefully the pony and glitter were in the truck. Because then you’d have the amazing glitter-covered money to roll around in, cackling gleefully.
Chris @ 185: agreed.
I’m getting the cover art tattooed on my chest as I type this. (My tat parlor has wifi.)
It’s Eye of Argon meets Night Travels of the Elven Vampire! “The many-fauceted crimson emerald could barely be seen in the blood-red bloody redness of the victim of the vampire’s red blood.” I can’t wait!
Not necessarily. It all depends on what the folks at Tor give the artist to go by. Sometimes they get a book, sometimes they get a chapter or two. Heck, for The Ghost Brigades, I was the one who wrote to the cover (which had a space station in a ring system), not the other way around.
The real April Fool’s is coming later, when we finally reveal John Scalzi is a pseudonym for Orson Scott Card when he wants to ‘relax a little’.
John, you’re the guy who commissioned the Velvet Wesley. There’s no way this isn’t an April Fool’s joke, because you’re smart enough to realize that everyone would assume it was based on the announcement coming out on April 1. Still, if you were to write a fantasy series, I’m sure your loyal fans would read it.
Best. First sentence. EVAR.
I’m pre-ordering 20 copies on Amazon right now.
Actually, I should have said I’m fantasy pre-ordering 20 copies on Amazon right now.
I’ll take three….
too much fantasy for my wallet.
maybe next year you’ll have some “space opera” to sell. ;)
I assume this is the novel that came out of the query letter you sent in. See, I knew it was an effective query!
The Unfinished Song: Initiate (UK)
The Unfinished Song: Initiate (US)
Sorry, not buying into this. The title reeks of hack-work. April 1. dunh….
Possibly it says bad things about my taste that I thoroughly enjoyed it for it’s literary merits (first paragraph aside) and would happily read a series in that style
The funniest thing would be for John and Tor to agree to a full out whacko book, deliver a sample chapter on April Fools’ Day, and have no one, thereby, beliieve it.
Good one, Scalzi!
Voted for the best two opening concatenated, cobbled, hobbled, breath-stealing sentences in literature! I am looking forward to reading it! If this is an April fool’s joke then fie on you sir – – – please write it!
The perfect blend of Scalzi wit/tongueNcheek/sarcasm/dialog set in a fantasy world where anything is possible would be great fun to read. It rather reminded me of a three way dialog between a Gnome, a Kender and a wizard…
I agree with the rest, regardless of whether it’s part of an April Fool’s joke or not, those books really do need to be written. Scalzi’s temperament and cynicism blended with a level of silliness we expect from great writers like Pratchett and Adams results in an amazingly engaging read!
I wish more Drindel ink.
It appears that it’s now April second in your part of the world too, so now I keep checking this blog for the announcement that this was indeed an April’s fool joke, which is what I still suspect it to be. Meanwhile, I’m wondering if there is an unofficial deadline for revealing things like that – like, if something wasn’t revealed to be an April’s fool joke by noon on April sedond, you can count it as legit.
Ah – the time stamp on my comment tells me that it’s still early in the morning at your place, so there’s still plenty of time and I’ll just keep waiting patiently. It would be rude to impatient at you this early on a Saturday morning.
Alright, that’s obviously Zach Braff and a bald Adam Baldwin, that’s cool. Who’s the guy on the right?
You’re evil Scalzi.
Surely the joke’s on us, right?
geez, not ANOTHER fantasy trilogy by Scalzi! and, see, I’ve been telling people that cover art doesn’t have to be expensive to work.
Looking forward to Book Two: Dark Blood Magic and Book Three: Dream World of the Fire Wolf
Book Four would be Lord of the Black KIngs if the first trilogy is popular enough, and it would be followed by Book Five: Book of the Moon Light, and Book Six: Time Storm of the Last Star God.
“This is something I’ve been sitting on for a while now”
“I’m totally going to write the “Shadow War of the Night Dragon” trilogy. Please have Tor back up the money truck to my front door. kthxbye.” – Scalzi, FRIDAY MARCH 11, 2011 12:17PM EST
I wouldn’t call that ‘sitting’ really :P
When did you get the idea of ‘actually’ doing it? (enough to look semi-convincing for April 1, that is)
Well, at least you’re not a pixel-stained technopeasant. Seriously, there needs to be another installment. There are probably people who could read the current excerpt aloud without collapsing before the end.
re. the cover art, why does the guy on the left look like Jackson Browne?
You are an utter genius. I loved reading the excerpt.
Okay – so it’s past noon at the Scalzi compound and still no “Haha! April’s Fool!” from him. Now I’m beginning to wonder.
Uhhh, yeah… In the unlikely event that this isn’t an April Fool’s, you’ve jumped the shark. Even as parody, this is redundant. [The rest of this comment deleted for being insensitive ass-typing regarding another writer entirely — JS].
There’s great power in your rhyme. I get a vision of some ancient spinning artifact, with elven rhunes on each side. Wait! I think one means, “take half.” Wonder what it means.
So many bad memes on one page…! How do you keep them all from running amok? If you feed them all the bacon, I shall be sorely vexed with you…
I am impressed you managed to use the word black 11 times in that first sentence. Awesome. Love the writing and the blog is a hoot. Happy spring!
Not bad. Needs footnotes.
Exposition smoother than velvet-wrapped coal! Not since THE EYE OF ARGON have I thrilled to such blood-pounding fantasy!
Wait, I filled in the poll before actually reading the sentence referenced in the final option. Can I still change my vote?
How long have you been submitting to Bulwer-Litton?
My apologies to both you and the other victim of my “ass-typing”, since “insensitive” is certainly the kindest phrase you could apply. The only possible mitigation I can offer is that my intention was not to mock the other’s condition, but the work at hand. But that is hardly sufficient to justify the way I chose to phrase my hyperbole.
And of course since it WAS an April Fool’s, the comparison was irrelevant in the end anyway. It wasn’t quite convincing enough to make me bite hard, but I was obviously hooked enough to believe that Tor might actually waste resources publishing such an annoying hack. So count me in the “fooled” column.
I suspect April Fool’s Day joke.