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.

Back From Confusion

We made it home alive, or if we died we have excellent momentum. This year’s edition of the Confusion convention was, as promised, epic. More details to come, when I’ve unpacked, caught up on e-mail and seen my kid.

An Enigmatic Update For You to Puzzle Over

One day, songs will be sung about the legendary Licked Book of Epic Confusion.

That is all.

Your “I’m Traveling, So Fill My Site With Content” Thread (i.e., Promote Yourself and/or Others)

I’m off to the Epic Confusion convention this weekend to hang out with friends, sign lots and lots of books and cause the sort of mischief that I will need for an interesting autobiography a quarter of a century from now. So I won’t be around here much. But! My absence is your opportunity! Because while I am traveling and hanging about with friends and plotting horrible things to do to Pat Rothfuss when he’s not looking, I am leaving this thread for you to tell other people who visit the site about cool stuff you’ve found elsewhere online, including, if you’re so inclined, your own stuff. So then they can link through, be amused, and then everyone is happy and an angel gets its wings. Those poor wingless angels, just hoping for wings!

All you have to do is go to the comment thread, leave a brief description of the thing you’re pointing people at, and then leave a link (typing in the URL should do just fine). I suggest one cool thing per post, because too many links will punt your comment into my moderation thread. I’ll be checking in on the comment thread to release these comments, so don’t panic, I’ll get your comment out of moderation if it gets in there. But the easiest way to avoid this: One link per comment. Which means, yes, you can post more than one comment. Remember, though: Quality is better than quantity.

My own link for you:

Walter Jon Williams, Nancy Kress and special guest lecturer Daniel Abraham are the faculty of this “graduate-level” two-week science fiction and fantasy workshop. As the site says, “If you’ve sold a few stories and then stalled out, or if you’ve been to Clarion or Odyssey and want to re-connect with the workshop community, this is the workshop for you!” They’re accepting applications now for their 2012 session, which takes place this year June 10 through 23. Check it out.

There’s mine. What’s yours?

It’s My Fault For Reading It But Then the Writer is Not Blameless Either

The literature articles of should come with a warning which states “Best read after jamming an ice pick into your frontal lobe, the better to blunt the pain of screaming entitlement,” and I know that, so really, I’m the asshole here for not having such a tool handy, to employ immediately after linking through to the site. I just want that out there. This is my fault.

That said, honestly, this has got to be just about the most incoherent piece of enviously fumbly writer spew I’ve read in a long time, and I’m having a really hard time winkling out what it’s actually trying to say. As best as I can tell it’s saying “Jennifer Weiner thinks she’s got it rough, but her problems aren’t really problems and it’s really men writers who have it rough because women actually read, but then again men writers get perks because they’re men, so, in sum, I’m doing fine even though I don’t sell a lot a books and also Jennifer Weiner should just shut up her best selling woman pie hole.”

I admit I’m condensing and paraphrasing. But that’s what I got out of it. In a sense it’s a tour de force, since it first asserts inequity against men, then acknowledges male privilege, and ends with mansplaining to a woman how she should feel. It’s like a triple axel directly into a pile of pig manure. It’s impressive in its way, but you have to question the wisdom of skating on shit to begin with.

In all seriousness: What was the point of this article, other than to allow this fellow to vent at Jennifer Weiner because she sells more than he does? How does Ms. Weiner’s success invalidate her point that the data suggests male writers are disproportionately featured in the nation’s premier literary review, whose influence resonates well beyond its own pages? It does not, and the article’s “Your facts may be technically correct but you’re the literary 1% so therefore what you have to say is invalid, and now having disposed of your irrelevant concerns, let me, as a man, tell you what the real scandal is, which involves us poor men” thing is so widely missing the point, and cluelessly dismissive of the point, that it’s a little breathtaking.

Do men writing mid-list literary fiction have a harder time of it than women? Got me; I write science fiction, where I have to tell you the men are doing just fine. But this fellow may be correct in his assertion; it may even be a topic on which an interesting article could be written, which then jumpstarts a conversation about the current state of the lit fic genre. I submit to you, however, this is not that article, nor does that article need to be surrounded with a bunch of fuming envy pointed in the direction of Jennifer Weiner, whose own point regarding the New York Times and its literature coverage is almost entirely unrelated to that other topic.

So, again: Am I missing something here? I don’t think I am. I will say this article confirms my long-standing opinion that the seven most damaging words in the English language for the reputation of any novelist might very well be “I just wrote an article for Salon.” Writer, beware.

Quick Political Notes, 1/19/12

Some stuff:

* Bye, Rick Perry! It’s been fun. Now you’re just Texas’ problem again, which, of course, is just fine. I also thank you for putting the rest of the US off Texas governors for a while. I think we need a fallow period there. Something along the lines of 40 years should do just fine.

* And look! Newt’s coming back in the polls! The Newtmentum is strong: He’s now within polling error of Romney in South Carolina polls, mostly, it seems, because apparently everyone forgot that Romney was a capitalist and then suddenly remember and then there was Newt, eyes moist with glee, risen like the bemasked serial killer you stupidly turned your back on and yet stayed in the same room with. And Perry just endorsed Gingrich! It’s Nightmare on Bain Street!

Honestly, I thought Romney had packed this one away, but then, as with football, this is why you actually play the games. Just remember, Republicans: The longer you string this out, the happier Obama is. You’re making Obama smile right now. That big, toothy smile of his.

* Seriously, I think there may be a SuperPAC out there, funded by Democrats, whose entire point is to string out this particular GOP primary season as long as humanly possible. It’s paranoid conspiracy thinking, yes, but come on. Is there another rational explanation? That’s more fun to think about? I say no.

* Oh, and also? Romney didn’t actually win Iowa. But no one wants to say he lost it, either. Look, at this point, just have him and Rick Santorum flip a coin before tonight’s debate, and we’ll call it done.

* Incidentally, I’ve had some people ask why I link a lot to TalkingPointsMemo when I talk about politics. Well, aside from the fact it’s a well-run organization with good political information (yes, from a lefty point of view), there’s also the fact that Josh Marshall and I went to school together, so, you know. Go, Josh. At this point he doesn’t really need my support to be successful, mind you.

Today’s Cool Thing

Not the two different versions of the French cover of Agent to the Stars by Paul Kidby — although, come on, how cool are those, right? Pretty damn cool — but the personalized-to-my-daughter sketch of The Kids Next Door, from the show’s creator, Mr. Warburton, which we naturally also had framed, along with the Kidby pieces. Athena’s a huge fan of the series and apparently sent him fan mail, to which he responded and mentioned my work, which he had read. So he and I exchanged swag, and this sketch was part of that. For doing this for my kid, Mr. Warburton is now on my list of Awesome People Who Are Awesomely Awesome. And it’s a short list, folks.

In What I’m Sure Will Be Considered an Ironic Act By Some

One of the first things I did after the SOPA/PIPA blackout page here came down? Sent information to lawyers about a file sharing site illegally offering up my work for download.

It’s not actually ironic, as I noted I’m all for the right of creators to be able to defend their copyrights online (and I’m happy I get to borrow my publishers’ lawyers to do so). But if you’re a binary thinker who believes that being against SOPA/PIPA means you therefore have to be fine with people violating copyrights it probably seems so. But those people, well. They’re silly.

Athena Encounters the Technology of the Ancients

As I noted to people on Twitter who reported feeling old after watching this, it’s not you’re so old, it’s that she’s so young.

Update, 1/25: Athena responds to accusations that her reaction here was staged.

On SOPA/PIPA (For the People Who Aren’t Blacked Out)

I’m using WordPress’ “blackout” function today, so most people are seeing the site blacked out through 8pm tonight, but some folks can see it (it seems mostly in countries other than the US, but also some in the US). For those not being blacked out, here’s what I wrote on the blackout page.

I am speaking for myself and only myself.

Here’s the deal. I am a professional writer and the owner of copyrights. I strongly believe that I have a moral and legal right to control how my work is displayed and distributed, online and off. I believe that when my copyrights are violated, I should have a robust set of tools to deal with the issue, if such is my choice, online and offline. I believe every owner of copyrights — everyone who creates art — has these same moral and legal rights, and should have the same ability to address violations. Creators should be able to present their creations on their terms, not anyone else’s.

SOPA/PIPA aren’t the way to do this. These proposed laws are poorly constructed, overly broad and frankly thoughtless, the equivalent of dealing with burglars in someone’s home by carpetbombing every house on the street. You might stop the burglar, but the collateral damage makes it a hollow victory. The collateral damage here would be the hamstringing of the Internet, and trampling rights of speech and expression. That these proposed laws have been debated by a number of US Representatives and Senators who seemed proud of their ignorance of how the Internet works (and at least initially didn’t want to hear from technical experts) made it that much worse.

Let me reiterate: I strongly support the right of creators and copyright owners to control and defend those copyrights, online and offline, and welcome rational, useful tools that allow us to do that. I think it’s possible to create laws, treaties and agreements that allow for such tools without fracturing, possibly to the point of destruction, one of the most successful media for individual expression that we’ve yet managed to devise. We just have to decide to do it intelligently. Encourage your representatives and senators to do that, rather than passing SOPA/PIPA.

— John Scalzi

(Whatever will return in its usual form at 8pm Eastern)

You Know, For Kids

If you were wanting to introduce a young kid to science fiction film, what films would you use to start that education? Over at today, I tackle that question and come up with five films to help kids fall in love with science fiction. Find out what they are and why I chose them. And as always, feel free to leave your own thoughts over there.

Something on Which George Lucas and I Agree

In a long New York Times feature about George Lucas, the producer and director talks about his relationship with his current girlfriend:

If you’re more beautiful than I am and smarter than I am and you’ll put up with me, that’s all it takes. I’m there.

Boy, do I hear him.

(And yes, before anyone says it in the comments, the dog is more beautiful and smarter than I am, too. Hardy har har, people.)

Five Easy Steps to Enjoying Starship Troopers, The Movie

Over at, I’m writing about Starship Troopers, the movie, and why I enjoy it, and how you can enjoy it too. It only requires five steps! You know you want to know about those five steps are. Because not only will they allow you to enjoy the movie, they might change the way you view the whole universe. No lie, man! It’s just that life-changing. Go check it out.

(Oh, and while you’re there? Reader’s Poll. Vote in it. And remember the kittens.)

The Big Idea: Michele Lang

In the course of human events, the actual individual humans can matter. At the very least Michele Lang seems to think so; in today’s Big Idea about her latest novel Dark Victory, Lang looks at how individual people have made a difference to others in the tale of their own lives, and how that point relates to her historical fantasy novel, complete with vampires, werewolves, and, of course, Nazis.


The first time I stopped by, I wrote about the Big Idea for the Lady Lazarus trilogy — here it is if you’d like to read more. Now the second book, Dark Victory, is out, and I want to write about the Little Idea in these books, the logline that propels me each day as I write about the Jewish witch Magda Lazarus, her little sister Gisele, and their best friend Eva Farkas.

The lodestone of these books is “Little Women in Hell.”

If you haven’t read Little Women that probably won’t mean much to you, but there’s a world of possibility in there for me. Little Women was one of the books I imprinted on when I was about twelve years old, and it tells the story of four sisters and their adventures growing up in New England during the Civil War. Homey, heartwarming, a little corny, and there are no Nazi werewolves or fallen angels to be found. But, still, it’s a terrific book.

When I hunker down to write my books each day, I try not to think too much about the Big Ideas behind them, because they are rather too big. World War II itself is gigantic, and overwhelming.

Instead I narrow my focus to these characters, who love each other so much they do the impossible to help each other survive. And I marvel at how regular people get through epic catastrophes like World War II one day at a time. Despite the magical creatures roaming through these books, the story is really about these three girls.

The Lady Lazarus books have been called historical urban fantasy, and marketing-wise I think that makes a lot of sense. Vampires, check. Werewolves, check.  Gritty, noir setting, check. Explodey stuff, magical battles, extremely evil bad guys, hells yeah.

But structurally these books are different from urban fantasies by Jim Butcher, Kat Richardson, and Patricia Briggs. The stories of Harry Dresden, Harper Blaine, and Mercy Thompson all rock my socks, and I love them madly.

But my stories arise out of a different place. The Lady Lazarus books are magical memoirs. They are told by a girl who has spellcasting abilities, but who is not aligned with great powers and principalities, at least not at the beginning. These books owe a lot more, structurally and emotionally, to the war memoirs I’ve gobbled up since I was a young, survivor guilt-ridden kid.

What always strikes me when I read wartime memoirs is how small the stories are, the human scale. In these memoirs, sausage matters. The right kind of shoes matters. The weather really, really matters. And more than anything, friends matter. Every single memoir I have read points to love as the key to survival.

And not love of country, nor love of abstract noble ideals either. No, I’m talking about the papa who insists you wear ski boots instead of your pretty shoes when it’s time to go on a forced march. Gerda Klein’s father saved her life that way. There’s a scene in Dark Victory where a member of the resistance talks to Magda and gives her courage through the wall of their prison. That scene is inspired by Jean-Pierre, the doomed leader in Agnes Humbert’s Resistance.

In my own, much more mundane way, I get by with the help of my friends, too. Here’s the merest example. My college days in New York City were sometimes grim, and I remember walking down Broadway with my friend Pat one bitter winter day. I was dazed and raw and wrecked. Let’s just say I’d been mentally and emotionally assaulted, and it hurt.

The light was failing, and Pat was taking me to Tom’s Restaurant to get some food — I hadn’t eaten in a while. The man started following us around 112th street, though it was Pat not me who noted that detail. The first I noticed him was when he grabbed my arm, and said something so disgustingly sordid and foul that I stopped walking in shock.

He closed in, and Pat leaped between us, shouting in the guy’s face. “Get away from her!” she yelled, putting all of her five feet between me and this enormous, stinky guy. “Leave her alone!”

I stood there numb, not really able to do anything more than take a step back. The guy looked between me and Pat, hesitated. I was an easy target, but Pat was a lioness. After another minute the guy gave up and backed away.

Pat saved me that twilight, because I was so low I couldn’t protect myself anymore. She stood by me until I could get back on my feet again.

I’d be nothing without my friends. Actually, I guess that is a pretty Big Idea.


Dark Victory: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

“The Magic of Fabulous,” a novella set in the Lady Lazarus universe, is available via Kindle for free January 17 and 18 only. Visit the author’s blog. Follow her on Twitter.

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.