Presenting the Legendary Licked Book of Epic Confusion

I’ll get to a more general wrap-up of this year’s edition of the Confusion science fiction and fantasy convention later on, but I wanted to call your attention to a particular book and why it is, in its almost-certainly-unique way, the most epic book in all of science fiction and fantasy right at this moment.

To preface, at this year’s Confusion convention, Subterranean Press and I gave away hundreds of copies of my book The Sagan Diary to the attendees of the con, because why not. Most attendees seemed to be pretty happy with the freebie, and I spent a not-trivial amount of time at the con signing the copies that came my way.

If there was one person who did not actually need a free copy of the book, however, it was me; I’ve got, oh, just a few down in my basement at the moment. Nevertheless the convention folks, either unintentionally or because they thought it would be amusing, stuffed one of the books into my convention packet.

What to do with this extraneous book? Someone suggested I sign it to myself (“Dear John: You bastard. I know you slept with my wife. JS”) but that seemed, well, sort of silly. So I did what I feel was a much more logical and rational thing instead: I opened the book to the title page, licked it, and then signed the book as follows:

“I hereby testify that this copy has been ensalivated by me — John Scalzi”

And suddenly the book had become a collector’s item. After all, there are many books signed by me, but signed and licked? Fewer than you might think.

And then, since my wife was there, and the book is dedicated to her, I had her lick and sign the book as well. And then it became even more special.

And then I looked up and saw that, in fact, the little area in which I was then currently standing was positively packed with writers. And, well. You can guess what happens next.

And thus was born The Legendary Licked Book of Epic Confusion, the only book in the world signed and licked by fifteen fantastic science fiction and fantasy authors (and my wife).

Who are the luminaries who have graced the book with their DNA? Aside from my wife and myself, they are, in alphabetical order:

Joe Abercrombie
Saladin Ahmed
Elizabeth Bear
Peter V. Brett
Tobias Buckell
Myke Cole
Jim C. Hines
Jay Lake
Scott Lynch
Cat Rambo
Patrick Rothfuss
Michelle Sagara
Kristine Smith
Brent Weeks

How many books have these fabulous authors signed? Many. How many have they licked? Very few. How many have they licked and signed? Fewer still. And how many have all of them signed and licked?

Only one, my friends. And this is it. I suspect, for organizational as well as hygienic reasons, it will remain the only one in existence between now and the very heat death of the universe.

(And how did I convince all of these people to lick this book? Bwa ha ha ha hah ha ha ha! If only you knew.)

What shall be done with this infamous depository of ink and genetic information? Some have suggested I will use it to raise a clone army of science fiction and fantasy writers to do my dark bidding and/or be my sex slaves and/or mow my lawn, which is unreasonably large. And while these are all compelling ideas, full of merit, what I suspect I will do is think upon a worthy charity and then auction off The Licked Book of Epic Confusion to raise money for said charity. That seems like the best use of this particular book. And then the winner may use it to raise a clone army of science fiction and fantasy writers to do their dark bidding and/or be their sex slaves and/or mow my lawn (it still needs mowing, damn it). I’ll let you all know when I have it figured out.

(Also, in advance: thanks, but suggestions for charities are not needed at this point. I’m pretty good at doing that part.)

For now: Gaze upon it, the Legendary Licked Book of Epic Confusion! You will not see its like again. I still can’t believe I got away with it.

61 Comments on “Presenting the Legendary Licked Book of Epic Confusion”

  1. OK, licked book story, cool, cool. OK, raise money for charity, also cool. All that’s great—great story, terrific idea, good John Scalzi shows he’s a good guy yet again, Scalzi++.


  2. The Licked Book of Epic Confusion sounds like the title of a quirky but funny fantasy novel. Risqué, with a wizard of questionable talents, except for one…

  3. I’m having a Big Bang Theory moment right now. Specifically I’m thinking of when Sheldon got the napkin with Leonard Nimoy’s DNA. Oh, the epic anthology that could be made with the Licked Book!

  4. And thus began the Epic ConCrud Epidemic of 2012…

    (One ConFusion, everyone licked JS’s skull. This time, they licked his book. There’s a really disturbing trend here.)

  5. Sam Young:

    I will testify that Ghlaghghee did, in fact, nuzzle it quite enthusiastically.

    Susan Chambers:

    Yeah, no. There’s a reason I suggested it’s likely to be a one time thing.

  6. Ew.*

    (* But I will bid on it if you guarantee it comes triple-shrink-wrapped in 3-mil shrink wrap and encased in a polycarbonate box which is triple-shrink-wrapped in 6-mil shrink wrap, along with a case of 12-mil disposable vinyl gloves.)

  7. Define “lick”. Are we talking “tip-of-the-tongue-because-she’s-really-hot-and-I-might-get-lucky-but-she-just-asked-if-I-think-this-green-fuzzy-thing-from-the-back-of-the-fridge-tastes-funny” or are we talking “drunken-Gene-Simmons”?

  8. You can always have the cat step on a stamp pad to add her pawsitively fantastic signature. I’m not sure how you get her to lick it, though. Perhaps a dab of bacon grease?

  9. (And how did I convince all of these people to lick this book? Bwa ha ha ha hah ha ha ha! If only you knew.)

    Having personal experience of writers in general, and quite a few of those writers in particular, I’m guessing the answer is “you said, ‘hey, could I get you to lick and sign this book?'”

  10. I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to see you at ‘Fusion, but how did you get my cat to sit beside your book? LOL

  11. Padraig @9:33pm: I’m sure there was plenty of tongue sanitizer available. The primary ingredient in hand sanitizer (ethyl alcohol) is normally served in copious quantities at the hotel bar (to those 21+, at any rate). ;-)

  12. OK. Why did so many of them put arrows near their signatures? Is there significance that I, a non-con person, am unaware of?

  13. ‘Free writer saliva’ occupies a space near the bottom of the physical book snobbery list. Take that, Kindle!

  14. i say the cats AND the bunny all need to lick it and each add a paw print (in lieu of signature) as well. then the value would really go through the roof!

  15. I would note, for what it’s worth, that while cats cannot sign things as such, they can paw-print them. If, say, you wanted Even More Celebrity Licking Awesomeness. And, you know, thought the universe could stand it.

  16. I wonder if we may have reached the point where a “legitimate”request by Scalzi (please lick this book then sign it) has become indistinguishable from a “punked” version of a request by Scalzi.

    I was going to provide an example of a “punked” request by scalzi but, really, what is stranger than “please lick this book then sign it”?

  17. So, DNA, or DNA & alcohol?

    I imagine some collector decades from now buying it and trying to do something with the DNA …

  18. Sara, I wasn’t there, but I assumed they were pointing at where they licked it. Perhaps as an index for future cloners.

  19. Damn. Now I need to go work some overtime, so I can get in on the bidding war. Though, honestly, I’d pay more for a video documentary of the process. Time travelers with skills in covert documentation should please contact me offline.

  20. Thank you John for once more providing a source of wonder and happiness. It has been a sad day here wit he 49er loss. I am sure after a couple days mourning it will be better. Anyway, I was sure the book was special because her Royal Majesty GHLAGHGHEE licked it. Are you SURE this is not the case?? I know I had too many drinks tonight, but surely the book has added value not because ordinary humans licked it-even though great writers they might be-but because her Royal Majesty licked it? I know I’m not THAT drunk. Go Niners!! Next year.

  21. Pat Rothfuss is running his annual Worldbuilders donation drive at the moment. That might be a worthy cause you could use all this spittle on :-)

  22. Have the cats lick and paw print the book in ink and you’ve got yourself a seriously sought after item…

  23. Ah, but an army of clones is not sufficient! I’m going to collect author DNA, splice in some velociraptor(*) and meld you all into the perfect hybrid author, and dominate the industry

    Bwahahaha! Fools

    *Everything’s better with velociraptors.

  24. Even more rare is the Most Likely Never Created Tea-Bagged copy of Stranger in a Strange Land. I understand it is currently owned by Gene Simmons and the participants of the act is a closely guarded secret.

  25. I’m just wondering where Chang, who is not not Chang, is to lavish upon her beautifulness. Maybe he got malleted.

  26. Lynn: I suspect C!=C and the OGFC will lodge a complaint because Ghlaghghee has to share the frame of that pic with the book. They prefer their pics of her unadulterated.

  27. I agree with Mac; this would make an excellent addition to Pat’s Worldbuilders auctions going on now to benefit Heifer International. Especially since the money raised would be matched (half matched? Compounded by 1.5?) by Pat and anyone else who is helping him this year.

  28. This could be the best writing prompt ever. Aliens discover our planet long after the human race has died out, but find this book and decide to repopulate the planet with the DNA left on the pages…

  29. … Can I suggest a charity that helps provide health care to un/under-insured creative types? It seems topical…

  30. James: In the process of resurrecting the human race, the aliens mix the human DNA with the cat DNA and develop a race of Homo Catus to repopulate the Earth.

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