Andrew Sullivan Posits a Hypothesis To Make Everyone Of Every Political Stripe Hate Him

Which is that everyone who is foamy about Obama, on the right and on the left, is hopelessly and dishonestly obtuse, and that eventually Obama is going to rope-a-dope everyone with his masterful mastery and long-term planning. Oh, Andrew. No hugs for you, my friend.

That said, I think Sullivan isn’t wrong, at least on the point that the right has willfully mischaracterized Obama and his policies at every possible opportunity, and that the left often acts in a pouty, foot-stompy Veruca Salt fashion toward Obama and wants its nut-husking squirrel now without regard to the political reality that Obama’s had to deal with, not the least of which, remember, is a right which has portrayed him unremittingly as a weakling socialist traitor since roughly 12:01pm, January 20, 2009.

I’m not nearly as convinced as Sullivan is that Obama has a long game as such; what I do think Obama has is a pragmatic streak, the ability to be patient, and a willingness to take half a loaf under the idea that getting one half of the loaf makes the second half easier to get later — and if not, you still have half a loaf. In short, he’s intelligently opportunistic, which from the outside looks like a long game, at least to Sullivan. This is not to say that Obama doesn’t have long-term goals — dude does, obviously. I’m just not 100% convinced that he’s working on them in anyway that can be said to be actually systematic. This has as much to do with the political realities Obama works within as anything else.

At this point I don’t expect the right to do anything regarding Obama other than what it does; it’s got all its chips on the “socialist traitor” square and has to ride it until the ball drops. I do wonder when the foamier elements of the left are going to pull their heads out and recognize that the path to a political reality they actually want has to go through Obama, or it’s not going to happen at all. I’m rather more politically aligned with the left in the US than with the right, but the one thing I don’t think the left has shown itself as capable of doing is anything approaching long term-thinking, which is one reason it managed to piss away control of the legislative branch in 2010. I find the American left exasperating, to be blunt about it.

Which is of course my problem, not the left’s; it’s not here on the planet to please me. That said, I do wonder what those on the left irritated with Obama and his failures think is going to happen if Romney gets into office, since what the left sees as Obama’s failures are what the right sees as laudable goals for Romney. If they decide to stay home, I wonder what they think they’re going to gain, and whether they think whatever Democratic candidate they will get after four or eight years of additional Republican rule is going to somehow be to the left of Obama, or, given the track records of the last couple of Republican presidents, will find the country in any less of a jam than Obama has.

In any event, an interesting article from Sullivan; check it out.


In Which I Read Something Well In Advance and Then Tease You With It

Don’t ask me how (but know that many Bothans died to get me the information), but I laid my hands upon the spec script for The Magicians, the proposed television series based on Lev Grossman’s “Magicians” series of books. What’s more, I read it. And without revealing anything about it, because I don’t believe in spoilers and also I don’t want the horrible Television Ninjas to come for me in the night, I can say the following:

1. I would totally watch the hell out of this show;

2. I have a strong suspicion I wouldn’t be the only one.

Beyond that, and as someone who currently has a book being toiled on by a screenwriter, it was fascinating to get a look at how someone else’s book is being adapted into another medium entirely (in this case television). It’s a simple fact that you can’t just film a book — in order to make it work things have to be changed: some things condensed, some expanded, some things chopped out and other things dropped in. It’s never the same thing once it’s been adapted. If you’re lucky, you get a good adaptation that shows the bone structure of the original material. So far, at least, Lev (and his readers) are pretty lucky. His screenwriters know what they’re doing.

And that’s enough taunting the rest of you for the day. I’m looking forward to seeing this show; I hope it doesn’t take too long for us to get to watch it.


Connie Willis: Grand Master

Photo by Kyle Cassidy (

Yes, it’s true: Connie Willis has been given the 2011 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (of which, as most of you know, I am the current president). It was a tremendous thing to call her and let her know, and now it’s a tremendous thing to tell you all about it.

Here’s what I said in our press release on the subject:

“The first time I met Connie Willis in person was at the 2003 Worldcon in Toronto. In the middle of a party, she was holding an entire room of writers and fans rapt with an extraordinarily funny story she was reeling out off the top of her head. This is the essence of Connie her wit, her skill, her storytelling and herself, all combined to hold readers and writers spellbound. There are few writers in the history of science fiction and fantasy as awarded as she is, and none more beloved by readers and peers. It’s a genuine delight to officially grant her the title she has clearly already earned: Grand Master.”

We’ll be handing the Grand Master award over to her at the Nebula Awards ceremony, which happens (naturally enough) at the Nebula Awards Weekend, which this year will be May 17-20 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. You don’t have to be a SFWA member to attend the Nebula Weekend or the Award ceremony (although you’ll have to purchase tickets), so if you’d like to cheer on Connie, here’s your chance.

I’m still geeked about this. Congratulations, Connie. It’s so deserved.

(P.S.: The report from Locus. SFSignal has also posted the full press release.)


The Sagan Diary Giveaway at Epic Confusion + My Epic Confusion Schedule

This next weekend I’m going to be at the Epic Confusion science fiction/fantasy convention in Troy, Michigan, along with Patrick Rothfuss, Jim C. Hines, Joe Abercombie, Brent Weeks, Elizabeth Bear, Saladin Ahmed, Tobias Buckell, Robin Hobb and so many other fabulous writers that your brain will just assplode from excitement. And if all those super spectacular writers isn’t enough of a reason for you to get your butt to this particular convention, here’s what Subterranean Press and I are doing to sweeten the pot: The first 900 people to show up at the convention get a hardcover copy of “The Sagan Diary,” my novelette, told from the point of view of Jane Sagan, that takes place between the events of the novels of The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony, Illustrated by Hugo-winning artist Bob Eggleton.

Why? Because we like you. And we like the Confusion convention. And yes, I’ll be happy to sign the book. All nine hundred.

No, it’s not a bribe. The convention’s going to be awesome no matter what. This is just icing on some tasty, tasty cake.

Speaking of which, here’s my schedule at the convention, so you know where to find me:

7pm, Friday Salon E    
I, Suck
Our Guest of Honor, Toastmaster, and other writing luminaries play “dueling suck” with their own works, trying to see who can best generate a vacuum.
Jim Hines   Patrick Rothfuss  John Scalzi Scott Lynch Joe Abercrombie

1pm, Saturday     Salon H    
Natural Sounding Dialogue
Writing dialogue is not just recreating how people talk, but an art within the art of writing, distilling conversation down to bare essentials. Who does it well, and how do you do it in your own writing?
Kristine Smith  John Scalzi  Myke Cole   Christine Purcell  Christian Klaver

4pm, Saturday     Salon H    
The Lure of the Undead
In books, movies, and video games, the various forms of the undead are as popular as ever. We’re dating vampires, gunning down zombies, and… mostly ignoring mummies, but only for now. Come listen to our writers discuss the appeal to the undead, and what might be done to keep them fresh and new, so to speak.
John Scalzi  DJ DeSmyter  Carrie Harris  Steve Buchheit  Ferrett Steinmetz

5pm, Saturday     Salon E    
Mass Autograph Session
This is where I’ll be doing oh so much signing.

10am, Sunday   Athens    
Toby Buckell and I catch you up on our latest writing.
John Scalzi  Tobias Buckell

11am, Sunday    Salon H    
The Multi-Creative Author
Creativity does not always strike in a single direction, and many authors have creative impulses in other media. From music to drawing, acting to the fiber arts, writers express their creativity in any number of alternative ways. Come listen to a few discuss their favorite creative hobbies and how it impacts their writing, if at all.
Catherine Shaffer   John Scalzi    Steve Piziks   Myke Cole   Anne Harris

Other than this I will be hanging about with friends, probably in the bar area. Come say hello.

Regarding signing books, I usually ask people to wait until the official signing time to get stuff signed, and I really would like people to try to get the signing done there. But given the number of Sagan Diaries that will be out and about next weekend, I’ll make an exception and will pretty much sign them whenever you see me (except when I’m actively eating a meal, because, c’mon, a guy’s gotta eat, or if I’m on my way to a panel). Do me a favor and bring a pen, please. I often forget to carry one.

See you next weekend!


Huntsman Done

Given my endorsement (such as it was) of Jon Huntsman, I’m getting e-mail and tweets from people who want to know what my thoughts are about the man dropping out of the presidential race and endorsing Romney. Well, neither is exactly a surprise, now, are they. Huntsman, conservative but pragmatic and willing to work with (and even for) people of different political stripes, never really caught on in this year’s political scrum; the fact that he worked for the evil death-panel-loving socialist Obama in any capacity pretty much sealed his fate before he even got started. Some people wish to intimate that was Obama’s reason for appointing him ambassador to China in the first place, which would have been some pretty deep thinking on the president’s part. Not that Obama’s not smart, but I’m not inclined to give that hypothesis much credence.

I think it’s a shame Huntsman didn’t get much traction for reasons that I’ve already noted, but look. Even in a world where Huntsman hadn’t have taken the China ambassadorship from Obama, he would have been a long shot, especially in the current political climate. At a certain point he was going to have to cut his losses; personally I suspect that point was when he saw that he could get Romney to agree to make him his Secretary of State, which is a gig I could see Huntsman wanting, enjoying and possibly being really good at. Throwing his 5% at Romney in South Carolina, when Romney’s been on the decline and conservatives are desperate to keep him from getting a victory? That’s a pretty good time. At the very least it confirms my opinion that Huntsman isn’t stupid.

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