Various and Sundry, 5/7/12

Things and stuff:

* Been asked asked whether I think Joe Biden’s sudden declaration about being peachy-fine with same sex marriage is politics or an actual declaration of Biden’s feelings on the matter. Well, why either/or? I think Biden may very well not have a single problem with men marrying men and women marrying women, and also that the Obama Administration is doing one of its messaging things to gays and lesbians (and those who have no problem with gays and lesbians marrying their own respective sexes), to wit: “Hey, Obama’s gotta do that fence-sitting thing on the topic until at least after the election, but remember which party it is that’s actually going to evolve in the direction you want. Hey, did you see how the Romney campaign hung that gay spokesman of theirs out to dry? Yeah. Anyway, keep it in mind, okay?”

Is that cynical of Obama to thread the needle like that? You bet. Welcome to the 2012 presidential election.

* Entirely unrelated, I’ve also been asked for further thoughts on the tenor guitar, which I’ve now been playing with for about a week. The short answer is that I’m still quite liking the thing: it really is substantially easier for me to play than a standard guitar, and because I’ve enjoyed playing it, and find it less frustrating than other guitars I’ve owned, I’ve been playing with it quite a lot. My strumming is still crap, but it’s less crap than it was a week ago.

It’s also a nice guitar, or at least this is what independent outside observers have told me. I took it to my local music store to get restrung (since I have it tuned like a uke, I needed to switch around the top and second strings), and the folks there seemed quite taken with it. They were also sort of curious about it; I think it might have been the first tenor guitar they had seen in the flesh. Which I can certainly understand, since I didn’t know such things even existed until three weeks ago.

The one drawback I’m having with the guitar is that I keep bumping it into things. Even though it’s smaller than the average guitar, it’s substantially larger than a uke, which is the thing I’m used to playing. So I’ve got to wrap my brain about that.

But overall: One of the better purchases I’ve made lately.

* Additional Redshirts news: There’s a review of the book on today, which is nicely positive, which makes me happy. The review has some mild spoilers, so be warned. If you don’t want the book spoiled minorly, here’s the pull quote:

Redshirts is a light, fast read, but it’s also a book whose questions about storytelling and agency stay with you long after you have put it down.

Yup, that sounds about right.

I am trying not to overdo Redshirts stuff around here, but as a fair warning, we’re almost exactly a month away from the release date and between now and then news and reviews are going to roll in, plus there will be some very awesome surprises and probably a few more giveaways. So you will hear about it a lot. This is what happens in the month before a book drops.

The good news is, immediately afterward I’ll be on tour, which means I’ll be so busy I will hardly update at all! Lucky you.

Dear Rest of the World That’s Not the USA: I Am Giving Away an ARC of Redshirts

Dear The Rest of the World:

This is the Redshirts giveaway for you. You can only enter if you are not a resident of the USA. Because, my dear Rest of the World, you are special too. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Here’s how to enter:

I am thinking of a monument. Guess which monument I am thinking of. Include the name of the closest city, or if no city is nearby (which is possible), the monument’s approximate latitude/longitude.


1. The monument I am thinking of is not in the United States.

2. It’s man made.

3. The monument itself is not something meant for humans to live in.

Leave a comment, with your guess. In the comment, also tell me which country you’re in. You have until 10am (Eastern), May 9th, to get your entry in.

The first non-US resident to guess the monument I am thinking of will win. If no one guesses the monument, I’ll pick a winner by seeing how many comments there are and having Athena pick a number between one and that number.

When I announce the winner (it might take a couple of days because I’ll be traveling), that person will contact me from the same e-mail they used to leave their comment, with their physical mailing address. And then off in the mail the ARC will go.


Okay, then: What monument am I thinking of?

Tor/Forge Blog Giving Away Three Copies of Redshirts (US Only)

Three! It’s a magic number. Go here and leave a comment; the Tor/Forge folks will take care of the rest.

And, yes, sorry, only open to the residents of the 50 US states and Washington, DC. It’s a legal thing.

Turning off the comments to this post so there’s no confusion.

Dave & Liz & Chicago Save the World: An Exclusive Short Story for Chicon 7 Members

Hey! I wrote a new short story. It’s called “Dave & Liz & Chicago Save the World.” As the title rather strongly suggests, it’s about two people named Dave and Liz trying to save the world from an alien invasion, with the city of Chicago playing a major role. As the art for the story by Alan White hints toward, it’s a somewhat silly story, but I think it’s enjoyable (admittedly I am biased), and may actually even be educational for some folks. You can’t beat that. Here’s a very brief excerpt:

“I am a robotic emissary from the people of Glunden 7,” the globe said. “You have been randomly selected by our people to be the recipients of a message from our species. Congratulations!”

“Uh,” Dave said. “Thanks.”

“That’s the good news,” the globe said.

“That’s the good news?” Liz said. “What’s the bad news?”

“Based on the decades of transmissions that have emanated from your world, we have decided that you, as a species, are appallingly banal and must be destroyed,” the globe said.

“Well,” Dave said, after a minute. “This is a genuinely disappointing first contact scenario.”

Will Dave and Liz and Chicago, in fact, save the world? You’ll have to read the rest of the story to find out!

How can you read “Dave & Liz & Chicago Save the World”? Simple: Become a member of Chicon 7, this year’s Worldcon. It’s my gift to Chicon 7 members, as the Toastmaster of the convention. It’s my way of saying “thanks” for being part of what I’m pretty sure is going to be a fantastic time in Chicago. Once you’re a member, you can get it by using your membership number and PIN code (it’s the same PIN code you’ll use for the Hugo voting, but I will stress this story is not part of the Hugo process in any way. It just uses the same PIN code for ID purposes).

Here are all the details on the story, from the Chicon 7 site itself. And here’s where you can register for Chicon 7, if you haven’t done so yet.

If you’re a Chicon 7 member, I hope you will enjoy this story I have written just for you. If you’re not a Chicon 7 member, I hope you’ll consider becoming part of our merry membership, not just for the story, of course, but for everything else too (including voting for this year’s Hugo Awards). Oh, go on. It’ll be fun.