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.)

74 Comments on “The Results of My Fundraising Bribery Initiative + A Challenge to Jim C. Hines”

  1. I did vote for Hines, simply because he did the pose more accurately. Your head was tilted the wrong way, and your right leg was off, while he was spot-on in all bodily respects. It’s true he didn’t have the wig, but the shaved leg made up for that.

  2. I think both of you should dress up as Mrs.Santa. Then we don’t have to see hairy legs, pits and arms. Also a wig would help with the reflection from the lights.

  3. You’re a sadistic bastard, Mr. Scalzi! Albeit for a good cause, which of course makes it that much more demented…

  4. I humbly suggest using just about any cover to an Avalanche Press D20 supplement. (Do a GIS for “Avalance Press D20”.)

  5. I think it was the dead-on seriousness of Jim that won me over. That being said, I strongly suggest for the next retina-burning image: Jingle Belle. Go on, go google it. You will probably ban me from your page after, though.

  6. Lizard: I followed your instructions in an incognito window. Those are terrifying. Although some of them, at a very quick glance, look like they might actually be physically possible.

    John: Your bribe (and your willingness to show your hairy legs) influenced my vote. But then you go and make a donation like this and redeem a bit of my faith in humanity.

  7. How about doing the pose while dressed in the ugliest-possible Christmas sweater?

    Then the vote would undoubtedly go to the dark horse, Wil Wheaton.

  8. I’ll have to protest using The Immortal Circus, on several grounds:

    First, that’s an actual and realistic circus feat, not at all sexualised for the cover. (In fact, that model is nicely androgynous; no T&A on display at all.)

  9. Just when I’d found a toy crossbow and was going to go make a video (although in gym shorts, LBD and fancy shoes don’t come in 60xl and 13ww), you come up with this. :P

  10. Hell,I dunno who I voted for. My eyes snapped shut after viewing that terrible thing, so I just stabbed randomly at the screen…

  11. Bother. Continuing from previous comment since I dropped my mouse and managed to submit too soon …

    I think that while we joke about them injuring themselves in poses, making them suspend themselves in the air takes it out of the realm of “pulled a muscle” (which, y’know, that pose might well do!) and makes “gave myself a concussion” or “spine injury from a fall” equally likely. None of the other poses really risked head and neck injuries. How about we keep it that way?

    Finally, if we’re going to require them to do aerial scarf acrobatics, I think we then become responsible for at least sending them to a couple of classes so they get a little training and at least know how to rig their equipment. Maybe that’s how you want to spend your disposable income these days; I have other uses for mine.

  12. Dude, your leg wasn’t straight in the last pose. Hines was. Get over it.

    At least this time around you can wear leotards as an elvish santa’s little helper thang. This way I don’t have to see your MannPelz (mein gott!) and you don’t have to shave! Win-win! Woohoo!!!

  13. First time on your blog Dave (just finished Redshirts). Maybe I should have waited a day or two. Looks like a good cause, but your pose was just kind of icky. Not looking forward to Valentine’s Day.

  14. If Jim won the first one, and you win the next one, does that mean there will be a tie breaker? Because that might be the way to sell it.

  15. I happened to vote for you, John – it was those long blonde locks that did it for me. Though it was a tough sell – Jim’s shaved leg made for a tough contest!

  16. Mintwitch

    Provided, of course, they give us their sworn undertaking that no wolves would be traumatised in the pose off process…

  17. Perhaps it’s time to branch out into the terrifying world of modeling, which is like cover illustrations except with skinnier people. Coincidentally, yesterday I happened upon this page, and thought to myself “Yeah, I’d like to see some male science fiction writers pull this off.” And by ‘this’ I mean the raincoat/bent leg pose, with a choice of several facial expressions.

  18. BRAIN BLEACH!! Getcher BRAIN BLEACH Rye Cheer! A quart for 2 bucks, it’s a deal, it’s a steal, BRAIN BLEACH!! Getcher BRAIN BLEACH Rye Cheer . . .


    I read “accouterments” as “undergarments” at first.

  20. I know all you dudes do not know this…but if you cover a hirsute leg with hose, tights or leotards, even Elvish Santa ones, the hair pokes through. It’s not really an alternate to Not Shaving. Unless, of course, if you just don’t care.

  21. John Scalzi said:


    No, no, NO! My parents were married, both when I was conceived and when I was born.

  22. For those curious, the group picture at ConFusion in January is going to be replicating the cover for Young Flandry by Poul Anderson. It is so full of potential awesomness, it may be unbearable.

    Maybe the new pose off should be horror. Who can look most frightened?

  23. @Greg : My computer screen thanks you as I was just taking a sip of water while looking over this thread.

    Hmmm, I can’t speak for everyone else John, but I’m easily bought. Admittedly, I think Jim Hines imitated the pose with more accuracy, however that hair raising stare of yours & little black dress seared my eyeballs and sealed the vote firmly in your favor.

  24. My loyalty is the wig, not the man.

    @ ssteve17

    Then the vote would undoubtedly go to the dark horse, Wil Wheaton.

    Wil Wheaton: the Ralph Nader of pose-off ballots.

  25. No offense meant but I feel like tossing in the Christmas costuming detracts from the message – that women on novel covers (particularly urban fantasy) are absurdly contorted and look ridiculous with even the faintest light of reality shone upon them. It’s your pose-off so do as you will but I think reading over Mr. Hines’ “Wait, what were we laughing at” post is worthwhile to refocus that the pose itself is what should be inviting ridicule and that the more you dress it up with absurdity the more people are laughing at the accouterments rather than at the sexism inherent in artists choosing to pose their characters this way.

  26. Christ, Scalzi.

    You lost because you DIDN’T TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. When will you learn to TAKE THINGS SERIOUSLY? You’re a parent! A husband! The *air quotes* breadwinner! Fuck’s sake.

    “Wrong Way Head” Scalzi. That’s your name from now on. Wrongwayhead.

  27. You are a gracious and generous man — But I still voted for Jim. He SHAVED and had to live with stubble on one leg. I did like the wig.

    It has been a really crappy month around here and both of you gentlemen have made it much better.

  28. Then I rounded up and gave $325 because I hate loose change.

    Matched. Let’s see Hines’ fans do that.

  29. So I just was alerted to the picture challenged by Hines on Twitter by my husband for Pose Off 2: The Spine-quel, and I won’t spoil the official announcement, but its…I don’t see how…you two are crazy.

  30. I don’t know, I think the angle of the pose aside, it could actually be done lying down, and rotated in post production. At which point it becomes easier, though probably not easy. Particularly if one wants to get that curve of the waist-hip.

  31. It was a tough call, what with Jim getting the pose closer and shaving his leg, but Scalzi had the wig and really rocked the little black dress, and of course there was the bribery thing. My vote went for John for overall ridicuousity. I’m looking forward to the next round.

  32. Well I voted for Hines because his pose was more accurate, but I have to confess that there was something disturbingly attractive about the combination of your unshaven legs, face and chest and the blond wig and little black cocktail dress.