In Which Author Nick Harkaway Sits For An Interview of a Very Specific Type, or, What Authors Use Twitter For
Posted on February 6, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 49 Comments
It started with a standard publicist e-mail, letting me know author Nick Harkaway was available for interviews in conjunction with the upcoming release of his new novel Angelmaker.
Is he? I thought? Is he really?
To the Twitters!
Hey, @Harkaway! Got an e-mail from your publicist saying you're available for interviews! I'm gonna set up an interview ALL ABOUT STOATS.— John Scalzi (@scalzi) February 6, 2012
1. Do you like stoats? 2. Any compelling stoat stories? 3. If you were a stoat, what sort of stoat would you be? @harkaway— John Scalzi (@scalzi) February 6, 2012
@scalzi You know the difference between a polecat and a ferret?— Nick Harkaway (@Harkaway) February 6, 2012
@Harkaway Please limit your responses to stoats only, please.— John Scalzi (@scalzi) February 6, 2012
@scalzi 1. Yes. They are elegant little killing machines made of cute.— Nick Harkaway (@Harkaway) February 6, 2012
@scalzi 2. No. Stoat stories are sprawling narratives dealing loosely with hunting rabbits. They eschew character and plot for religion.— Nick Harkaway (@Harkaway) February 6, 2012
.@scalzi An apostoat.— Nick Harkaway (@Harkaway) February 6, 2012
I'm totally blogging those, you know, @harkaway.— John Scalzi (@scalzi) February 6, 2012
And so I have.
Angelmaker, by the way, out March 20 here in the US. No guarantees as to any content regarding stoats. But you never know.
I remember my father asking me: ‘how can you tell the difference between a weasel and a stoat?’. The reply: ‘you can weaselly tell because a stoat ‘stotally different…’! And ‘elegant killing machines of cute’ describes both animals very well.
Your tweets made me giggle.
Ah, too bad there aren’t more stoat stories out there. Perhaps what’s needed is a major SF trilogy or series about the Planet of the Stoats, wherein the Stoats With Opposing Thumbs have developed high intellengence, gone through an industrial age (steampunk possibilities here), developed space flight, an interplanetary Federation of Stoats, and are soon to meet Humans among the stars. That would probably cover Volume One. So, what d’ya think?
I’m glad to hear that Nick Harkaway has a new book out. His first one, “The Gone-Away World,” was fantastic, one of the best novels I’ve read in the past 5 or so years.
Well, there’s something close–the slice-of-life-trending-into-SF webcomic Fragile Gravity features an “extra bitter stoat” as a major character. (He first appeared when one person wrote a grocery list for another, and she wasn’t able to read “extra bitter stout” correctly.)
http://unseenllc.com/core.php?archive=20021109.gif is the first strip. Highly recommended.
This sort of talk makes me want a pint of Guinness Stoat.
Rats! (or should I say Stoats!) Will beat me to it, by 3 minutes.
Jeff VanderMeer put meerkats in science fiction. Surely someone can do the same for stoats.
Miscellaneous Steve@3:22pm – If I recall correctly, Neil Gaiman used a stoat as the representation of a villain in Anansi Boys.
“Julian the Apostoat” is the name of my next band
Give me some men who are stoat-hearted men
Who will write for the right they adore
Start me with ten who are stoat-hearted men,
And I’ll soon give you ten thousand more.
Don’t let John’s cute stoat propaganda picture fool you…
The stoats are way ahead of ya:
I, for one, welcome our new stoat overloards!
Not only is this interview just as insightful and relevant as the usual author interviews foisted on us by the publicity machine, but after clicking through and reading the book description I am all over that! Sounds like a riot.
@ Kevin Williams:
I do believe that is my first ever “/thread”. I shall hug it and squeeze it and call it George.
From the picture, I thought you were going to say we use Twitter for posting cute animal pictures. But I suppose talking about cute animals is also okay.
Don’t forget St. Olaf the Stoat.
Uh, so, what IS the difference between a ferret and a polecat?
I need to know.
I’d just like to come across something about Nick Harkaway that doesn’t gratuitously refer to his father.
@Craig: This thread didn’t, till you brought him up.
Hm… I was going to accuse you of posting pictures of Laura Anne Gilman, but then I looked up stoat and lo and behold, there was the same picture you used. Sure looks similar to a meerkat, though.
Aren’t ferrets descended from domesticated polecats? They were kept for killing rats and catching rabbits.
It’s all a bit weaselly.
Friends of mine insisted that I get on Twitter in order to have another channel through which I could communicate to the world at large about my writing. I resisted for the longest time – the world certainly didn’t (and still doesn’t) need another self-promoting Twit(terer). Mulling it over, however, it occurred to me that, in addition to self-promotion, I could actually do something creative with the medium. Although it started last year as an irregular punning tweet, my contribution to Twitter has since been modified to include a daily bit of absurdity on a monthly theme.
Last month’s theme, for instance, was facts I made up about the first Star Wars movie (EXAMPLE: 12. Harrison Ford patterned his performance as Han Solo after Don Knotts in The Incredible Mr. Limpet.) This month features quotes from Scarlett Brushfire and the Mutant Checkerboard, a novel which doesn’t actually exist (EXAMPLE: 3. Billy Van soon learned that you can’t put out a fire with quantum foam.) Last year’s themes included Coughing up A Rhino (EXAMPLE: 27. Whom the gods would destroy, they first make cough up a rhino.) and an ongoing ode to my non-existent feline pet (EXAMPLE: 31. Mimi the Cat’s fur is so soft it’s the purr suit of happiness.).
I don’t know if this is the best use of the medium (or, indeed, my time), but it does make a (hopefully enjoyable) change from tweets about where my latest short stories are being published.
Polecats are wild animals native to parts of Europe. Ferrets are a domesticated version of the polecat. Black-footed ferrets are native to parts of the Western United States and are only distantly related to ferrets and polecats. All three are members of the weasel family, of which the stoat is also. Mustelids are cute and fun. Ferrets make wonderful pets, until that sad day when each and every one of them chooses to die in some horrible way. Suffocated between two mattresses. Fallen from a great height. Slowly starved by a gigantic adrenal tumor. Etc. Etc. They also like to write their initials all over your house. In poop. They steal wallets and like to drink alcohol. The stronger the better.
@ Catherine Shaffer
Sounds like some of my extended family members.
Yay! Thank you, Catherine Shaffer! Now I am content.
Re: Stoat stories
I remember reading some post-apocalyptic story that involved monstrous stoats. I think it was Greybeard, by Brian Aldiss. (At least, I think they were monstrous stoats. Either that, or the humans were really, really wimpy, which, given that they were all old, could be.)
Apostoat! That’s so awesome … I may buy his book just for that! BWA HA HA!!!
I’m pretty sure there are stoats somewhere in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. If not, there should be.
[My husband confirms: there are stoats in Redwall.]
The International Consortium of Georges had nothing whatsoever to do with this, and we disclaim any and all liability for participation. Further, we now issue an ultimatum in Modern Primal Chimpanzee:
Cheee! Cheee! *ook!*
(rattle branch along ground)
Chee! (beat chest)
You’re quite right – but it would have been damn nice if every damn review I read of The Gone-Away World (pretty nifty book, BTW) didn’t feel the need to drop the gratuitous factoid that his father happens to be a moderately successful author of thrillers under the pseudonym John something-or-other. Stoats infinitely more interesting and more relevant. :)
Having recently been in NZ I must deny the adjectives “elegant” and “cute” in your description. ” Evil killing machines of mass extinction would be more like it”…
How much Coke Zero had you been drinking when you did this? I thought you were cutting back on the stuff. (P.S. A stoat vs. unicorn kitty picture would be awesome.)
There’s a series called the Welkin Weasels by a guy named Garry Kilworth, sort of an Anti-Redwall where the majority of the cast are mustellids, and stoats actually make up a ruling class. Is it corny as all hell? absolutely. Is it incredibly derrivative of other great works? you betcha. Did i read it compulsively as a young whippersnapper? I had a thing for the weasel family, so sue me.
@ Catherine Shaffer: they poop all over the house, steal your wallet, drink your booze, and die horribly… why exactly do they make wonderful pets? No comprendo.
M. A.: You got me. They are extremely cute and entertaining (steal wallets! from your pocket!), but they make rather awful pets, which is why I no longer keep them.
Golly, now they sound like children – and you don’t even get the occasional tax break and the possibility of breakfast in bed every other birthday.
I know of a group of stoats that are quite peaceful. They are known, of course, as Quaker Stoats.
Stoats make a good breakfast as well. See Post Stoatsies.
“No. Stoat stories are sprawling narratives dealing loosely with hunting rabbits. They eschew character and plot for religion.”
Was that a dig at Brian Jacques? Well? Was it, Nick Harkaway?
If it was, we will have words.
“Hoi, hoi u embleer Hrair, M’salon ule hraka vair.”
Why no discussion of ermine? Is it because they mainly hang out with the 1%?
what a delight to find an author with a sense of humor. i’ve ordered both Nick Harkaway books.
Would it be out of order, at this moment, to mention the least weasel?
Around here, a polecat is what old people call skunks, for reasons that have never been adequately explained.
I am filled with evil stoatly glee because I now have the opportunity to be the first in this thread to link to THE SNOW-CRAZED STOAT VIDEO:
That apostoat reply is gold.
Also, now that you put me in pun mode for stoats, I am so very sad Herman Cain is no longer in the race. See “stoat” in French is “hermine”. I can just see a sketch on the daily show about “Hermine Cain” slaugthering rabbits with his opponents’ faces…
This pretty much settles he old “would you read your favorite author’s laundry list” question for me. Yes, especially if you are asking what needs washing.
I am reading Nick Harkaway now, just because of these tweets.