5/24 New York Public Library Event: Venue Change!

The following note just landed, from the New York Public Library, regarding the “Speculating on Fiction” event on May 24, featuring me, Lev Grossman, Scott Westerfeld and Cat Valente:

Due to overwhelming popular response, the event has been moved from the Mid-Manhattan Library to the Stephen A Schwarzman Building, located at Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. Please enter through the Fifth Avenue doors and proceed downstairs to the South Court Auditorium. The event will take place from 6 pm until 7:30 pm. Thanks very much for accomodating this change of venue and change of time.

Overwhelming popular response, people. I could plotz. Thanks, folks.

Here’s the new NYPL page about the event. It does appear that at this time they are allowing new registrations for the event (it’s free, but you need to register), so if you wanted to go but weren’t able to register, now’s your chance. Hurry!

New Fuzzy Review + Note to UK Fans

First things first: A very nice review of Fuzzy Nation over at Wired’s GeekDad column, in which reviewer John Booth also reads Piper’s Little Fuzzy, the book mine is rebooting. The verdict:

[Scalzi’s] style and skill make it a highly entertaining read. It succeeds both as a new novel from a talented writer and as a tribute and gateway to Piper’s work.

It’s nice that it’s working as intended.

Second, for those folks in the UK who were wondering when/if Fuzzy Nation is getting a release over there, here is a link to the Amazon.co.uk page for the book (and here it is for Waterstones). Both of those list the 6th of June as the release date, which is not too far behind the US release, so that’s good. We’re also working to make sure eBook versions are available as well.

That said, UK folks: For reasons too appallingly tedious to go into detail about here, Fuzzy Nation is being distributed in the UK through my US publisher rather than my UK publisher, and the upshot of that is that there’s likely to be a relatively fewer freestanding copies of the book in stores when it comes out — there will be some, but probably not huge stacks of them. So the very best way to make sure you can get a copy for your very own is to pre-order, either through Amazon UK/Waterstones, or by going to your local bookstore and asking them to order a copy for you.

And you say: Well, why don’t I just order the US edition of the book rather than wait a month for the UK edition? I have two reasons to ask you to order the UK edition. One, because when you order the UK edition at your local bookstore, you’re supporting local businesses (or at the very least, UK businesses), and I do encourage that. Two, because while royalties on sales of the US edition go to pay down my advance until it earns out, the royalties on sales of the UK edition go directly to me. Contracts are fun! So please patronize your local bookstores and the UK edition of Fuzzy Nation. Thank you.

The Big Idea: Jennifer Estep

Here’s a crazy idea: Books should be fun. That’s Jennifer Estep’s philosophy, and today she’s here to tell you how it informs her “Elemental Assassin” series of novels, including the latest, Tangled Threads. And she has questions of her own for you at the end. Be ready!


So here’s my Big Idea – I think books should be fun.

That’s it. That’s my writing philosophy in a nutshell. Nothing deep or serious here – just fun. LOL.

So how does this relate to my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series? Here goes.

Back in high school, I discovered epic fantasy books by the likes of David Eddings, Terry Brooks, and others. As I read more and more epic and other types of fantasy books, I realized something – I always liked reading about the assassin characters. Why? Because there were just so many different types of assassins out there – cool assassins, crazy assassins, government assassins, reluctant assassins, psychotic assassins, and every variation in between.

But the more books with assassin characters that I read (in the fantasy genre and beyond) and the more movies and TV shows I watched, the more I realized something – that a lot of the assassins were, well, whiny. Seriously, seriously whiny and all angsty and emotionally conflicted about their profession. It always seemed to me like there was a very simple solution to this problem – quit being an assassin! Bada-bing, bada-boom. Problem solved, angst gone.

Somewhere along the way, I thought it would be cool to write my own assassin character with my own magic and world building. Someone who was actually okay with being an assassin because she knew that there were worse people in the world than she was – real monsters that she could protect good, decent folks from. More importantly, someone who was definitely not whiny.

So I did, and the result is Gin Blanco, aka the assassin the Spider and the star of my Elemental Assassin series. I’ll admit that Gin has a little bit of angst, due to the fact that her mother and sister were murdered when she was a kid, but Gin’s made her peace with being an assassin – and she’s more than happy to pull out her knives when the situation calls for it. With no whining at all.

But back to the fun part. I’m not trying to write the next great American novel with my Elemental Assassin books. I just want to tell a good story – one that’s full of action, danger, magic, and even a little romance. One of my favorite TV shows is The A-Team, if that tells you anything about me. LOL. I like writing fight scenes, and I love figuring out how Gin can use her deadly skills, along with her Ice and Stone magic, to take down the bad guys. That’s why I write about an assassin.

At the end of one of my books, I just want the reader to feel like it was time and money well-spent – and hope that she’s looking forward to Gin’s next adventure.

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite books?


Tangled Threads: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|IndieBound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt of the novel. Visit the author’s blog. Follow her on Twitter.

Spring Has Sprung

Over at the FilmCritic.com column today, I recount the science fiction films of late winter and spring, and see how they did before the wave of summer films comes along and wipes them all from memory. Won’t you join me in my pleasant little recap?