More Old Man’s War Movie News

Because I know you’re interested!

Here’s the latest.

And before you ask, yes, it’s fairly normal to have one writer do rewrites on a script another has done a first pass on, and yes, it’s a good thing for the movie, since they wouldn’t have someone doing rewrites if they weren’t continuing to be interested in developing the film (because, you know, rewrites cost money). So this is all pretty good news for those of you who want to see OMW on the silver screen.


View From the Hotel Balcony 10/12/12, Plus Reminder: Capclave!

It is, if I may say so myself, a fantastic parking lot.

And also, I am here in Gaithersburg, Maryland for Capclave, which starts today and for which I am the Author Guest of Honor. I dragged my ass in at what was a reasonable hour by the clock but which my body decided was horribly late, so once I checked in what I ended up doing was ordering some room service and then going completely unconscious for eight straight hours. Which was great, because it’s been several days since I’ve had eight straight hours of unconsciousness at one go, and as I am at a convention, it seems a good chance I won’t have eight straight while it’s going on. So it’s nice to sneak it in somewhere.

If you happen to be in the DC area and are looking for something to do with your weekend, come on down; programming at the convention starts at 4pm, and my first event is at 8pm. And all the rest of the time I will be wandering about, trying to be accessible because, you know. That’s what the Guest of Honor gig is about. See you soon.


For Your Friday Political Discussion Consideration

A scenario for you:

1. Two weeks ago, Obama’s team looks at his position in the polls, realizes that both immediately and historically in the polling he’s likely to win re-election — likely enough that the money people in the GOP will soon figure that there’s no chance for Romney, pull their cash from the presidential campaign and send it to senate and house races in an attempt to keep the house (likely) and retake the senate (less likely but still achievable).

2. Obama’s people want to keep that from happening; they want the money mostly spent on Romney, who is a single target they can focus on and who has persistent weaknesses in polling, particularly when the electoral map is considered.

3. It has been discussed in political wonk circles that if Romney blows the first debate, the deep pocket GOP benefactors will pull their money out of the presidential race.

4. Obama’s folks are aware that there are three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate.

5. Therefore, a strategic decision is made to let Romney take the first debate — or at least to give him the chance to take the first debate — by having Obama underplay his hand. What losses he takes in the short-term polls can be mitigated in the two additional presidential debates and the VP debate, and by playing the electoral vote map rather than the national vote map. In the meantime, the GOP money stays in the presidential race rather than sent to the house and senate races, relieving potential pressure on those down-ticket races, and Obama’s folks get the advantage of having Romney spend his debating capital early, meaning there’s no where for him to go in the debates but down, and nowhere for Obama to go but up.

That’s the scenario: A massive rope-a-dope campaign designed not just to re-elect Obama but to give the Democrats a better standing in Congress.

Now: Your thoughts on the probability, wisdom, and implications of this (or something like this) being an actual political strategy by the Obama camp. Add them in the comments, please.




Big Idea

The Big Idea: Ned Vizzini

Being a geek is a kind of a thing now — and while that’s not a bad thing (said the adult, grown-up geek), in the rush to normalize geekdom into acceptance, a few things about being a geek, and especially a young geek, can get airbrushed over. In his new novel The Other Normals, author Ned Vizzini thinks about what’s being airbrushed away — and why it’s not always a good thing that it is.


There’s a part of my new book The Other Normals that divides readers.

It happens halfway through, when the 15-year-old hero, Perry Eckert, has returned to summer camp from his first trip to a fantasy kingdom called “The World of the Other Normals.” Perry has been having trouble talking to a young woman he likes named Anna, who doesn’t think he’s mature enough. Now he’s surprised to find a hair where he didn’t have hair before. When Anna disses him at a dance and calls him a “boy,” Perry — confused and angry — pulls down his pants to show her that at least one part of him is, in fact, becoming a man.

I yelled, “Nooooooooooooo!” when I realized what he was about to do. (A film version of the book is inevitable, and I will be sorely disappointed if that moment isn’t filmed in slow-motion.)
— Leila Roy, Kirkus Reviews

The protagonist is immature to the point of implausibility — like when someone implies he’s immature, so he drops his pants to show the entire camp his lone pubic hair and shout that he is a man after all.
— somebody on Goodreads

I understand the consternation. It gets to one of the big ideas of the book: that being a geek isn’t just cute and lovable. It’s confusing, painful, and likely to be dangerous.

I first knew that I was a geek in kindergarten, during show and tell. Everybody brought in something to show and tell except me — I forgot. The teacher went around picking on each kid as I sat there thinking, “What do I do? WhatdoIdo?” Then I remembered: breakdancing.

I had seen breakdancing on TV. It was a new thing in 1986. A fad. The perfect thing to show and tell. And having seen it on TV, I figured I could do it. What people did was curl into a pretzel and spin on the ground. I could do that. You know why? Because Sesame Street taught me, “You can do anything you put your mind to.”

So I got in the center of the circle and breakdanced.

I’m not sure what it looked like. I assume it looked like a five-year-old wrestling himself. Everyone laughed at me. I burst into tears. The teacher ushered me into a corner where I sat on a chair and got myself together.

But I wasn’t just thinking sad thoughts on that chair. I was thinking about how to exact revenge on my fellow kindergarteners. I was thinking that it would be really cool if the room exploded and they all fell out the window. This bitterness was something I had to work through in high school and beyond — and something Perry learns about when he’s told, “Misfortune is no excuse for cruelty.”

Despite what a decade of blockbuster comic-book films has taught us, being a geek doesn’t necessarily mean winning the love of your life despite your surface imperfections. It doesn’t mean having a cool shirt with the periodic table or liking Dr. Who. It means being a social outcast — and the people who never confront it, or work through it, often turn into super-villains instead of super-heroes. (I’m thinking here of a particular recent psychopath who I won’t honor by naming.)

That was the kind of geek I wanted to portray in The Other Normals — a hopeless one, true-to-life, headed for oblivion. Then, I wanted him to confront his worldview and change, in the following ways:

  1. learning that being an outcast didn’t give him license to hate other people
  2. realizing that members of the opposite sex were people too, not unreachable symbols
  3. gaining the ability to control the zany, desperate energy that would make him do something like pull down his pants in the middle of a dance

The Perry at the end of the book wouldn’t do what the Perry in the middle of the book does. And not just because it’s embarrassing. Because it’s wrong.


The Other Normals: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s LiveJournal. Follow him on Twitter.


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