Shadow War, The Musical: Update

You know, every year I think to myself “there’s no possible way people don’t know this Shadow War stuff is all an April Fool’s running gag,” and every year a non-trivial number of people think it’s serious. So, just in case there’s any confusion: This is all an April Fool’s joke. There is no musical, alas, Paul & Storm and I all get along super-well, yay, and likewise, I have a lovely relationship with Furthermore, I can’t be mad at the guy who wrote the article, because it was me. So there you have it.

Having outed this year’s iteration of the April Fool’s joke, let me now acknowledge some folks. First and most obviously, Paul and Storm, who did all the heavy lifting, writing and performance-wise, for the audio portion of this year’s gag. Thanks for this portion also goes to Mike Phirman, who played me in the audio whenever “I” was singing, and also to Jonathan Coulton, for [SPOILER REDACTED].

On the side, thanks go to Irene Gallo, the site’s editor, who asked if I thought we could get away with this again, to’s production manager Chris Lough, and to artists Greg Manchess and Scott M. Fischer, who made the superwonderfulfantastic poster you see over there on the right.

All of their efforts make me very sad that there is no actual “Shadow War” musical, because with all these folks involved, the musical would, in fact, be awesome.

One thing that is not a joke is that Paul and Storm have made their “Shadow War demos” available for purchase on their Web site (they will also be up at some point on iTunes and (as I understand it) other online retailers). If you pick those up, and you should because they’re funny and excellent, then all the profits from the sales will go to two charities:

Because even an April Fool’s joke can be an opportunity to do a little bit of good in the world.

Thanks again to all the folks who helped to put this together, and thanks to you guys for playing along one more time.

33 Comments on “Shadow War, The Musical: Update”

  1. Off topic, but I wanted to share something.

    On the basis of the Hugo nomination, I picked up Redshirts on my Kindle the other night, and read it almost straight through. Just as I was in the middle of the first Coda, it was time to put my 5-year old to bed. Head swimming with fictional recursion, I grabbed the first kid’s book at hand and took Ben up to read him his bedtime story.

    The book I had grabbed, of course, was We Are In A Book.

    Ben didn’t understand why Daddy was giggling so hard.

  2. Some year, you’re going to end up announcing the book, and the joke will be that it’s not a joke.


  3. Although this was new to me, I was really engrossed at how everyone seemed to be ‘hitting on’ each other – but it didn’t take me long to realise you were just sending me (us?) up! So naive; but great, clever fun to read – thank you. And thank you to Paul and Storm for the music :D

  4. “Furthermore, I can’t be mad at the guy who wrote the article, because it was me.”

    I’m pretty sure you could. I’m certain you could get into a very deep, heartfelt, and quite possibly funny argument with yourself. I’m not sure who’d win, though.

  5. “I’m pretty sure you could. I’m certain you could get into a very deep, heartfelt, and quite possibly funny argument with yourself. I’m not sure who’d win, though.”

    We all would. We all would.

  6. But what he could not do is stand there in front of himself, look himself in the eye, and be mad at himself. I found that particular turn of phrase in the original post delightful, and knowing that I guessed the right reason for that particular wording even more delightful. Thank you, Mr. Scalzi – you do April Fool’s Day right.

  7. So what do I do with those premiere tickets I bought from a scalper? Polite suggestions only, please.

  8. This is one reason Whatever has thousands of regular readers, and more new recruits every day. The best comedy writers in the business could never outdo the “Shadow War of the Night Dragons” April Fool scams. Think what the world would have lost if you had stayed with technical nonfiction writing.

  9. The poster has a life of its own. I am re-modeling my home theater and would love to include it should it become available for purchase.

  10. Does this mean that we should stop camping out in front of the theatre for tickets?

  11. You know, every year I think to myself “there’s no possible way people don’t know this Shadow War stuff is all an April Fool’s running gag,”

    Given that original Shadow War gag wound up on the Hugo Short Story ballot, I think your readers can be excused for not realizing the joke. Your April Fool’s jokes do have a history of persisting on April 2nd and well beyond. ;-)

  12. I may just be a bad person, but I think it adds much to the fun if some people really are fooled by a non-malicious prank. I actually fooled one person this year, and in one of those gift-from-the-gods things, it was a known a****** with whom I’d clashed before, and he proceeded to make a semi-public fool of himself scolding me over it. Twice, in fact, before someone charitably pointed out that it was a joke. I haven’t worked up any apologetic feelings about this yet.

  13. “Next year’s follow up? ShadowWarCon the ultimate “con”.”

    Nah. It’ll probably be “merchandise” hawking prior to the “release.”

  14. I’m not sure who I hate more right now: you, or Stross.

    I was so very *pumped* about a CStross movie until I got to about the third paragragh of his, erm, “announcement”, and realised what day it was.

    Scalzi, though, just had me giggling really hard. Coke spewing back up through one’s nose is really painful.

  15. Yeah. I really gotta stop reading the Whatever while drinking chai. My keyboard doesn’t like chai.

  16. Ya know, I was wondering if you had written the part of that. It just felt like you somehow. Or felt like your writing style rather.

  17. Thank you for the laugh. And OMG the songs – they’re brilliant! I just now went and listened at your urging. I may even figure out how to non-iTunes and non-Amazon purchase MP3s just so I can have them.

    (I also love that you used a parenthetical inside a parenthetical (which my teachers didn’t like back in the day); that’s just the way my mind works.)

  18. As soon as I read “I think that person will have a hard time facing me. They will have a hard time standing in front of me, looking me in the eye,…” I knew you wrote the article, and giggled the whole time I was reading it. I think I would have known even without the hint. It had a certain “Scalziness” to it.

  19. From the 116th edition of the Encyclopedia Galactica:

    John Michael Scalzi II was a noted early 21st Century author popular during what is now recognized as the Steam Vampire Age of speculative fiction. He would have been quickly forgotten were it not for his pioneering work tricking gullible people on the early Internet each April 1st [Gregorian calendar], the traditional day for practical jokes when they should have known better, thereby securing his place in the annals of history and the most quoted epitaph of all time: “Scalzi took all our money for purple drank.”

  20. But it’s okay to *want* a full musical, right? I direct theatre out here in L.A. I will direct a producers’ audition/backers reading out here. Srsly. I’ll do it. Just sit down w/ Paul & Storm and write the rest.

  21. I imagine Johnny Tor as being a bright orange fuzzy monster Muppet in a double breasted suit with a cigar permanently attached to his lower jaw…

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