Athena, 12/18/12

Before any of you say it: Yes, looking more like her mother every day.

The Results of My Fundraising Bribery Initiative + A Challenge to Jim C. Hines

As you may remember, Jim C. Hines challenged me to a pose-off last week as part of his fundraiser for the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation, wherein he and I both modeled a pose of a female character on a fantasy book cover. Having both made the pose, we then invited folks to vote on who did the post better. To cynically influence the voting make sure people understood there are consequences for their actions, I offered five cents for every vote for me, to go to the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation. Surely, I thought, this poll is in the bag!


After a week and 6,459 votes, Jim C. Hines won the pose-off with 54% of the vote, to my 46%.


Because I’m a gracious soul, even in defeat, I thought I would still donate that money to the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation. When I pulled out my calculator, it came out to $149.15. And I thought, what? That’s not nearly enough. So I went ahead and lumped in the votes of everyone who TRAITOROUSLY VOTED FOR JIM C. HINES TOO. The new result: $322.95. Much better. Then I rounded up and gave $325 because I hate loose change.


Jim C. Hines and I have a second pose-off to come. And while he may have won the last one, I think this time around things will break my way. But to make it interesting, I will offer Jim C. Hines the following challenge:

Jim C. Hines: You choose the pose (or do a poll to choose the pose, or whatever I DON’T CARE JUST DO IT). Then you and I shall make the pose.


What kind?


Festive Elf hat, festive Santa beard, festive reindeer antlers?


Having made the poses, you will post them.


And then we’ll see who is the most jolly (and contorted) of all!


Oh, and:


That is all.

(Except: Folks, you can still give to Jim’s fundraiser. Just follow that first link above. DO IT.)

The Whatever Geographic Default Entry

This is one of those “post now for later reference” posts.

Folks, I live in the United States and the bulk of my personal, political and economic life, including book sales, is tied into it. Also, while I am happy to see that almost 30% of my traffic to Whatever comes from other countries, over 70% of my traffic comes from within the US (the country with the next largest share: Canada, with 7.45%, which means that 80% of my traffic is North American).

Additionally, despite the Internet being an international phenomenon, actual political states still exist and as a result the economic and political world is still fragmented to a greater or lesser extent.

As a result of these factors, here are some things you should assume.

1. For the purposes of me writing on Whatever on any general topic, you may assume that unless I specifically state otherwise, I am defaulting to talking about the experience of the topic in the United States, and that I know that the experience of the thing may be different elsewhere.

2. Likewise, in the case of commerce, if I talk about the availability of a book or anything else I’ve created and have available for sale, unless specified otherwise, you should assume that I am speaking of its availability, and its sale price, in the US (and to a lesser extent Canada), not anywhere else in the world, and that I know it might not be available as noted anywhere else.

I highlight this because I have to admit I find it a little bit exasperating that every time I mention something for sale, there’s a very high chance that within the first few comments will be someone complaining that the thing is not for sale in [insert country not the United States], or is not for sale in [insert country not the United States] at the price I noted. I likewise find it exasperating because I don’t really think it’s a secret that I live in the United States and might focus on it as my home sales region; likewise I don’t really think it’s a secret that other countries aside from the United States exist and that they have different laws, territorial economies and availability windows, when it comes to my work, and the work of others.

I additionally find it exasperating because I’m not entirely sure why anyone thinks complaining to me about these things will do anything other than exasperate me. I don’t have any control over nations, their politics and their trade zones; likewise I only fractionally more control over when publishers in various countries decide to publish my work in their economic territories or how retailers make things available in their regional stores (I have discussed this before here).

I recognize that when people complain about these things, they don’t intend to exasperate me, and they do appear to think I have significant amounts of control over these things. But respectively, they do, and I don’t.

Beyond the sales issues, when I discuss issues relating to life in general, there’s often someone jumping in not to share about how things are different in [insert country here], which is fine and excellent and which I appreciate, but how because things are different in [insert country here], my observation about the subject as it relates to the United States is thus invalid, which is irritating and complete nonsense. This is particularly the case whenever I discuss poverty issues in the US, for example; there’s a certain brand of trollish grouser (not necessarily living in another country, I should be clear) who likes to suggest, for their own personal political reasons, that unless one is baking in the sun in a dirt hole in a third-world country, with a distended belly and no shoes, one cannot possibly know what real poverty is. Once again, I find these people exasperating (they’re also wrong).

Bear in mind that my noting what the geographic defaults here are is not to suggest that everything in the US is always better or more important than elsewhere on the planet. It is to say, hey, I live here, most of the things that affect my life are here, and most of my career is focused here. Naturally, this is where my gaze will lie as a default.


“Rip-Off!” Audio Anthology Now Available; Also: Hey! A Contest!

I told you about Rip-Off! a couple of weeks ago: It’s an audio anthology in which science fiction and fantasy writers take he first line of a classic of literature and then go off on a tangent with it, creating all new stories from that snippet of source material. Aside from me, authors in the anthology include Nancy Kress, Tad Williams, Mary Robinette Kowal, Elizabeth Bear, Lavie Tidhar and Robert Charles Wilson.

Rip-Off! is now available for your listening pleasure. Here’s the page for it on Audible proper, and here’s the Amazon page. I’ll note that if you listen to the sample of the anthology on the Audible page, it’s from my story (“Muse of Fire”) which is read by Wil Wheaton. The other narrators, I assure you, are similarly excellent.

If you want a longer sample, and you don’t mind entering a contest on Facebook, there’s Audible’s “Rip-Off! & Win” contest. Enter your information and give a new version of the opening line to Moby Dick, and in return you’ll get Allen Steele’s story “The Big Whale,” plus you’ll be entered in the contest, the prize for which is a Kindle Fire HD. However, if you want to participate, you have to enter today, December 18. It’s the last day for the contest entry.

I don’t mind telling you this is a really fun anthology with some excellent stories, authors and narrators. If you’re an audio book fan, this is a must-have.

Old Man’s War eBook $2.99 Today Only

The SEO-like headline says it all! My first published novel — which was sold to Tor ten years ago this month, more on that on the actual day — is available for just under three bucks. If for some unfathomable reason you as a reader of this blog have not read it, now’s your chance to get it for cheap. If you have read it already, now is a fine time to give it as a stocking stuffer-like electronic gift to family and friends, or to tell friends about it.

(Also, of course: Offering OMW as a $2.99 eBook less than a month before the first episodic release of The Human Division, the new work in the series? Probably not entirely a coincidence.)

Enjoy, and here are the links to the book:

Amazon B&N Apple

Or check your favorite other online retailer (from the US).