What I Am Doing With My Life in 2013

For those of you who crave such information, a rough idea of the next twelve months in John Scalzi.


Here’s what you may expect from me, output-wise, in 2013:

The Human Division: The latest Old Man’s War novel starts its eBook episodic run January 15 with “The B-Team,” with a new episode each week for three months (all details and schedule here). The hardcover edition, which collects all the episodes, will be out May 14 (a collected eBook edition will appear at that time as well).

Redshirts: The trade paperback edition of my current novel Redshirts will drop into stores on January 15. Yes, the same day as the episodic debut of The Human Division. January 15 is clearly a big day for me this year.

The Mallet of Loving Correction: Selected Writings From Whatever, 2008 -2012: The hardcover collection of some of the best recent entries from this very blog will become available September 13, which is, not at all coincidentally, the 15th anniversary of Whatever.

Morning Star: The video game I am working on with game maker Industrial Toys is currently slated to appear this year. More details on the release date as we go along. You can’t rush this stuff, folks.

Secret Project None of You Even Knew Existed Until This Very Second, More Details of Which I Cannot Yet Reveal, Deal With It: Also will be out this year, by which you may infer that much of the work on it is already completed. You’re gonna think it’s pretty damn cool.


As noted previously, my plan this year is to scale back my public travel schedule pretty significantly. That said, I will be at the following:

Immortal Confusion: I’m primarily going to be there to hang out with friends, but I will be doing a couple of panels, a signing and a reading, because among other things, it’s right after the launch of the Human Division episodes.

Nebula Awards Weekend: This will be my last Nebula Weekend as President of SFWA. We’ll be giving out Nebula awards and honoring Gene Wolfe as our latest Grand Master.

It’s likely I will be at LoneStarCon 3, this year’s Worldcon in San Antonio, although this hasn’t been confirmed.

Otherwise, you probably shouldn’t expect to see me at a science fiction convention this year in public mode.

For those who are asking whether I will tour for The Human Division: It seems likely although nothing is confirmed yet.  Likewise, I will have a couple one-off appearances over the course of the year in support of one or the other of the books. Those have not been confirmed yet, however. I will let you know when they are.


With the notable exception of 101 Uses For a Spare Goat, I have no upcoming books under contract. Please do not panic, this does not mean that I do not have any ideas for future novels. I do have ideas for future novels. What I don’t have are contracts for these ideas. I am not concerned about this, so there is no reason for you to be concerned about it either. I think the chances are pretty good I can sell whatever novel I write next.

Generally speaking I have made it a standard policy not to talk in any detail about possible future projects; that way no one is disappointed if something I’m working on either doesn’t pan out or requires a longer schedule. What I will say is that I do intend to write a novel this year, and if it’s the novel I think is most likely, it will be stand-alone. I have a couple of other projects I’m thinking about for this year, but novels pay the mortgage, so the realization of those other projects will largely be contingent on good progress on a novel.

Suffice to say I don’t intend to spend 2013 just shooting zombies in the head. I want you guys to have things to read in 2014 and beyond. That said, one of the reasons for me to cut back my travel schedule in 2013 is to spend a little more time relaxing and enjoying myself. Which is to say one of my big projects in 2013 is working on the correct balance between work and life. I think that’s a pretty good project to invest time in.

30 Comments on “What I Am Doing With My Life in 2013”

  1. I’ve already pre-ordered all the upcoming episodes, and I think it’s a fun way to structure your novel publication.

    That said, I wonder a bit about the subsequent collected ebook. Ideally, at the end of affairs (say June or so), what I would like to actually own is one single ebook instead of thirteen. But paying for the same book twice seems somewhat annoying.

    Have you(r publisher and/or editor) thought about this? Will we be able to get a consolidated ebook at the tail-end of the episodes? What would be the main concerns preventing something like that?

  2. So I’m sure you’ve explained this somewhere, but didn’t you have another Harry Creek book in the pipeline at some point? What happened to that one?

  3. You’re just afraid Wil Wheaton will slag you about working on your novel like he did to Patrick Rothfuss…

  4. Michiexile:

    I would suspect a major problem would be the retailers sharing customer data with the publisher about who purchased all 13 episodes, for a start. People don’t like that sort of information being shared without permission, and there’s no process set up for sharing the information in any event.

    Please note that you’re participating in a process which happening for one of the first times ever, so part of what’s going on is we’re finding out what works and what needs to be considered for the future.


    I still plan to write that one day. Probably not immediately.

  5. So from what Wikipedia seems to be telling me, LoneStarCon 3 is this years World Science Fiction Convention. That’s one of the big ones, but not the same as ComicCon, right? Seeing as how it’s just down the street in San Antone, and I’m probably not going to make it to London, I may just make this my first ever SF convention. Until now I’ve only interacted with SF fans online and the handful I know IRL. I’ll be sure to say hi if we both make it there. I’ll be the bright-eyed noob wandering around like an addict in a drug factory. I’d love a sequel to Android’s Dream if the spirit moves you :)

  6. John:
    I’m guessing that Amazon and similar outfits are also rather skeptical about doing things like “give everyone who bought these things from you this one as well”?

    I for one would be more than happy sharing my sales receipts, or an excerpt of my Kindle book list or something in exchange for a rebate or an ebook… but I can totally understand (and respect) the argument that nobody has a sensible pipeline setup for anything like this yet.

  7. I’m really looking forward to The Human Division. This eBook episodic run is, quite simply, going to be a fun, a new way to read a Scalzi novel. I know what I’ll be doing on Tuesday nights for the next three months . . .

  8. @ Gulliver:

    I recommend going. I’m not a regular attendee, but I did the same thing when the Worldcon was (not quite) on my doorstep in Melbourne in 2010. I had a good time despite being a total noob.

  9. Would be cool if you were able to make it to SA. But you would just be here visiting the Worldcon event, right, not participating?

  10. John: “Which is to say one of my big projects in 2013 is working on the correct balance between work and life. I think that’s a pretty good project to invest time in.”

    OH SURE! Don’t think about us at all, just think about yooooouuuuu and yooooour family. Real nice attitude! We’ll just wait patiently for you to gift us with some writing but you just go ahead and have some sort of personal life without a care for us. 8-{D

    Really looking forward to “Human Division”. But I do have a question, why is it called a ‘trade paperback’? I do trade my cash for it but I have never heard anyone say ‘trade hard cover’.

  11. I’m planning to attend at least one day of LSC3, since I had a great time at LSC2 and I have free lodging in San Antonio (thanks, Mom and Dad). I highly recommend strolling the Riverwalk as a way to decompress (not to mention stay cool; because it’s below street level, it tends to be MUCH cooler on the River). And I can probably get my parents to recommend some non-tourist-infested places to grab a bite, should you be so inclined.

  12. Frankly: Mass market paperbacks are the ones people typically think of when they hear the word “paperback”–they’re roughly four inches wide and six inches long. “Trade” paperbacks still have the soft cover on them, but they’re significantly larger in size.

  13. Thanks John for bringing out the Human Division the week that my school term starts. I’ll have something non-school related to read every week until finals. Darn considerate of you I say!

  14. Damn it, John! Will you please write 101 Uses For a Spare Goat already! I’m overrun with spare goats and need some ideas before they eat everything in the county!

  15. @ Jonathan Walker

    I’ll probably go as long as nothing else interferes. It’s before the Fall semester starts, so I should have some free time, and I can probably drag my partner along, though she travels a lot for work.

    @ Andrew Hackard

    I’ve actually been to the Riverwalk twice, but both times before I moved to Texas. I bought a really nice knife on the boardwalk the last time. I wonder if the Hard Rock Café is still there.

    @ John Scalzi

    Something to mull over for the future:

    1) You have some musical talent.
    2) You have the creativity of a writer.
    3) You’ve commission several songs for stories of yours.

    Have you ever entertained the thought to writing some of your own music for your stories?

    Separately, I’ve noticed you blog a lot about the process of writing, theory of characters, mechanics of publishing and so forth. But you hardly ever mention, at least in the two years I’ve been reading Whatever, the topics with which most future-oriented science fiction concerns itself, at least in terms of SF. Contrast that with, for instance, Charlie Stross who frequently blogs about the SF-related geekery. I’m not criticizing, just wondering if you ever get the urge to wax eloquent about the future we’re one foot in, or if you perhaps feel anything you have to say you say through your stories themselves.

  16. Frankly: I believe the original paperback size was called “mass market” because it was sized to fit in the kind of racks that used to be in mass market stores like drugstores, as opposed to “trade” which were supplied to the book trade and had a wider range of shelf/display options.

  17. @Cyranetta: Correct, though when I was working in bookstores in the mid-’80s the more common term for TPBs was “quality” paperbacks. It also differentiated the publishers’ return requirements (and probably still does): mass-market PBs could be stripped for return and credit (the seller tore off just the front and spine cover and mailed those back), while qualities/TPBs had to be returned intact – and there were some publishing lines where the books were mass-market size but had to be handled as qualities.

    (This got me thinking about how things have changed – it was unheard-of at that time for current fiction like Redshirts to reprint from hardcover to TPB; fiction went to mass-market, and TPB was the province of most non-fiction and some backlist fiction.)

  18. It almost seems like the Human Division could be a magazine from the viewpoint of sellers and the collected volume could be a subscription premium.

    My solution will likely be to skip the serial and buy the ebook in June or the audio edition.

    I assume there won’t be a serial audio edition. In any case, I’m an Audible subscriber, and spending book credits on short work isn’t cost effective. I did recently notice that Audible’s most recent promotional bonus was just right for The God Engines, which I bought on New Year’s Eve.

  19. Re: “That said, I wonder a bit about the subsequent collected ebook. Ideally, at the end of affairs (say June or so), what I would like to actually own is one single ebook instead of thirteen. But paying for the same book twice seems somewhat annoying.”

    John, something you may wish to have your publisher discuss with various eTailers is something that unexpectedly happened to me at Amazon recently. In mid November I purchased “Sucker’s Portfolio: A Collection of Previously Unpublished Writing” by Kurt Vonnegut. At first I was disappointed because when I opened it there was only a single story included. Then a week later I got an email that the booked had been updated. Then every week since. Basically it’s being serialized with a different story “published” to my Kindle each week but instead of buying each installment seperately, or having X number of seperate “books”, I bought it once and each installment updates the original “book”.

  20. Would say I will see you at Confusion, but, you know, you said to stop following you. So I guess I will see you, but you won’t see me (evil laugh here).

  21. I would also vote for a way to purchase the serialized ebook and end up with a single one when it’s over (I’m a little OCD about my ebookshelf).

  22. John, I’ve a recommendation for a place to get good Thai food when you’re in San Jose.

  23. Secret Project = Shadow Wars of the Night Dragons full trilogy!?!?! With audio book narrated/performed by Mark Oshiro!!

    Please please please please….