The Mallet of Loving Correction: Now Out! Muse of Fire: Now Out! Plus: 15 Years!


First things first: The Mallet of Loving Correction, my second collection of Whatever essays and my second book release of 2013, is now officially out and ready for your enjoyment. The limited, signed hardcover edition is available via Subterranean Press and major online retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Powells), with the ebook edition coming up in the next couple of days (it’s sitting in various approval queues at the moment). This page will include links to the ebook retailers as soon as they clear the queues. I will of course also note it.

Mallet collects up essays between the second half of 2008 and the end of 2012; as noted in the jacket copy, that’s a period of time that “spans two elections, a civil rights revolution, the fall of MySpace and the rise of Twitter and Facebook, and a whole era on the Internet and on the planet Earth.” It’s also when I wrote some of my most well-known pieces, including “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is,” “Omelas State University,” “Who Gets to Be a Geek? Anyone Who Wants to Be” and “The Lord of the Tweets,” in which I live tweeted the entire Lord of Rings trilogy. Plus lots of pieces on writing, the online world, kids, pets, and, you know. Life.

It’s a massive collection (488 pages) and the hardcover edition is, if I may so, one of the nicest physical versions of any of my books. Nate Taylor’s cover art is perfect, the end papers and interior design are lovely, and personally speaking I’m always thrilled when things I’ve written for the online medium cross the border and are set down onto paper.

Several hundred copies of the print edition have already been sold through pre-orders, and the hardcover edition is limited to a thousand copies, after which no more will be produced. So if you want the hardcover (and you do, trust me), now is a fine to move on that. Don’t be left out. There’s nothing but regret on that path. Regret, I say!


But wait, there’s more! Subterreanean Press is also releasing another work of mine: “Muse of Fire,” a short story (actually, technically a novelette) that was originally released as part of Audible’s Rip-Off! audiobook anthology, in which the writers used the first line of famous works as the basis for their stories. This marks the debut of the story in print form, and it’s available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for 99 cents.

Here’s the story description:

Ben Patton is a genuis, a mathematician and a man on the verge of a scientific discovery that could change the world—if the math he’s invented for it works. Ben’s secret to his success: A muse, Hestia, who helps him, cares for him and in many ways is the love of his life, as muses so often are for those they inspire.

Hestia is Ben’s secret—but Hestia has secrets of her own. As the two of them race toward the completion of their work, Ben discovers the price of having a muse, and learns that the world can change, in ways he does not expect.

A tale of science and fantasy, from New York Times best-selling author John Scalzi.

This story’s a little different for me; indeed, in many ways it’s unlike any story I’ve written before. So that should be interesting for all y’all.

Also,  all author royalties from this particular release will go to The Children’s Burn Foundation (I may choose a different organizations to assign royalties to in the future, but income from this particular story will always go to charity. Because).


Those of you who know anything about book release schedules will note that Friday is an odd day to release a book. But there’s a good reason for it for this particular book: Today is the 15th anniversary of Whatever. On the morning of this day in 1998, I sat down at my computer in my house in Sterling, Virginia and wrote the very first entry. If you’re wondering what that first entry was, here it is; I posted it on the site here for the 10th anniversary, five years ago (duh).

In 1998, my expectations for Whatever were fairly modest; I certainly wouldn’t have imagined that I would be continuing to write this thing fifteen years later. And yet here I am, still writing it and still having it be such a significant part of my writing life. I’ve noted before the ways it’s changed my life, up to and including being the place where I first published Old Man’s War, a fact which set me on the path to where I am now, in terms of my career as a science fiction novelist and as a member of the science fiction community. I have three Hugo Awards: one is for writing on this blog, one is for a book of writing that appeared on this blog, and one is for a novel that I got to write in no small part because I originally put up another novel on this blog. So, yeah: Significant.

What I’m more proud of this site for, however, is how occasionally it is a useful engine for things and causes I care about. It’s helped raise (or get pledged) more than $100,000 for charities and organizations that work for others, and very recently it’s been a place where more than 1,100 members of the science fiction community have taken a stand for our conventions being safe places for everyone who goes to them. It’s also a place where over the last several years I’ve been able to help promote hundreds of other writers and their works with The Big Idea, to help them find new readers and audiences.

All of these things are very cool. They also make me aware that a) Whatever has a reach I never imagined it would have, b) that it also comes with some responsibilities I was not aware I would have and that I suspect (more often than you might imagine) that I am an imperfect vessel for. It would be dumb for me to read too much into it — this is still a site where I do tons of just plain goofy stuff, because I can and because I like it — but at the same time it would be dumb of me to ignore it. This site has an effect. It creates an impact. I have to be mindful of it and still be aware of its limitations and pitfalls — and be aware of my own limitations and ego-driven stupidities. Which, again, is not something I even remotely had in mind fifteen years ago.

One thing I do notice over the course of fifteen years is that Whatever seems to have seasons — there are times when I write a lot about one topic, then that topic goes away; there are other times I write in huge volumes here while other times I’ll post largely to let people know I’m not dead. 2012 was a “volume” season for me; 2013, partly because of travel and partly for other factors, has been a (relatively) calmer year. And yet 2013 definitely has a theme so far: Lots of stuff about inequalities in the groups and communities I’m in, which the corresponding feedback (positive and negative) all over the board. It’s been interesting, to say the least.

One of the very nice things about Whatever is the fact that it doesn’t have a set topic — I can let these “seasons” happen as they will, and when they’re done, move on to whatever else is worth talking about. In this way, Whatever really is a map of what’s in my head, over the course of a decade and a half. Again, not something I would have imagined when I first sat down to write it in 1998.

Where does Whatever go from here? Well, I don’t know. I suppose we’ll find out when we get there. I plan to keep writing it, because I want to find out, and because (as I note in the intro to Mallet) in many ways, and unexpectedly, Whatever has become my life’s work. I’m not inclined to abandon it, although I reserve the right to change my mind about that.

But then, that’s baked into the premise of the site — it exists as long as I want it to. When I don’t want it to, it won’t. At the moment, fifteen years on, I can’t imagine not wanting it to. And so, it continues.

To everyone who reads it: Thank you. Let’s keep going, shall we.

55 Comments on “The Mallet of Loving Correction: Now Out! Muse of Fire: Now Out! Plus: 15 Years!”

  1. I want to add my voice to the congratulations. Also: with the release of Muse of Fire, we seem to be getting closer to a short story collection. Do you have enough uncollected work to consider this? Please say yes, because there’s some money burning a Scalzi-shaped hole in my wallet!

  2. Congratulations! Fifteen years is quite a milestone, especially for a blog. As long as you continue Whatever, I will continue to enjoy it and the discussions that it spawns. Congrats again, I hope you get to enjoy a few fried, cinnamony treats in celebration (because, you know, CHURROS!).

  3. Received my copy of Mallet complete with signature. It is a beautiful book, and, believe it or not, but true, I read it in one four hour sitting! Kudos, your writing is excellent and enjoyable, even the second time around! Keep spreading the good karma — it has a way of coming back to you.

  4. While a latecomer to your blog, I have very much enjoyed reading your thoughts and wish you every success in the future.

    PS: I am still working on that joke I mis-told at WorldCon


    Scalzi ftagn!

    Ghlagh’ghee bâkun!

    And other noises of admiration!

    Truly, Mr. Scalzi, you are one of the three modern gods of sci-fi (your glorious self, Brandon Sanderson, and George R. R. Martin). I’m still compiling the list of female deities of sci-fi, so I’ll be back with that one at some later point.

  6. I got my copy on Tuesday and have almost finished reading it. I’d read most of the posts already, since I’ve been following Whatever since sometime in 2009, but it’s been fun revisiting them. They’ve held up well, other than that you seem to have missed the level of obstruction the GOP was going to throw at Obama at first.

    And congratulations on 15 years!

  7. I keep forgetting – the Internet is almost old enough to vote, and I’ve been a part of it since before it was born! I was on BBSes and Usenet Newsgroups and used to send my article copy pasted into e-mail windows, Tammy met Neil Gaiman on a CompuServe SIG for SF and fantasy writers (and got his online permission to use a variant version of Sandman as “Gainel, God of Dreams” in REALMS OF THE GODS!) and was an early moderator for an AOL Group for Teens into SF/Fantasy.

    After years of trying to convince her, Tammy finally let me put up her author website – on SFF.Net! – about the same time you started what became this blog, Scalzi….

  8. Got THE MALLET OF LOVING CORRECTION late last week, I think – so the artwork of you leaping through the air, mallet raised, to pound a literal Internet troll is watching me as I enter this! :)

  9. Let’s keep going, indeed. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…!” Congrats on the releases and on the anniversary. I wish I’d found your blog sooner than just a few years ago, but I’m glad I’m only fashionably late to the party. It’s an enjoyable one. ; )

  10. Congratulations on 15 years! And thank you for continuing to share your thoughts with us. Not only can you make me laugh, you can also make me stop and consider my place in this universe – a true gift that I hope you continue to use for good.

  11. These things happen to me all the time. I’ll read a draft of an article I’ve written over and over again and finally send the proofs for final publication, and when I see the published paper for the first time I’ll instantly spot a typo in the abstract. (Like Ben Patton is a genuis.). It’s a bit frustrating!

  12. Congratulations! I received the hardcover I preordered, but I haven’t unwrapped it because it’s destined to be my brother’s Christmas present. I plan on getting the e-book for myself when it’s available, though.

    I haven’t been reading your blog for very long, but I’m looking forward to the future!

  13. Wait, you posted the entire Lord of the Rings on twitter? as The Lord of the Tweets””?
    I missed that! can you do it again?

    P.S. Congratulations of 15 years of blatheration! Magnificent blatheration, just to be clear.

  14. Roughly five years ago a book called “Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded” caught my eye at Barnes & Nobel. I paged through it and thought “who the hell is John Scalzi, and why did they publish his blog? Who’s gonna buy this?”

    Cut to 2013, I own most of your fiction, follow you on Twitter, and I’ve seen you lecture. So, congrats on your new book!

  15. Congratulations! Fifteen years is a wonderful accomplishment. And I’m glad you foresee a lengthy future for Whatever — it’s my “go-to” site every morning when I eat breakfast and I check it again most evenings before bed. Thank you for continuing to write it!

  16. First, congratulations, Mr. Scalzi. 15 years is a hell of a long time in internet-time. Here’s to (at least) another 15!

    Second, regarding Muse of Fire, Amazon is telling me that “This title is not currently available for purchase”. Now, I live in Canada but use the US Kindle store, so that might have something to do with it, but I rarely have troubles with Kindle purchases. Is this, maybe, a US release rather than a North American or world release? I know that’s odd, but maybe that’s it?

    I should note that I’ve had no trouble buying your other Subterranean Press publications in this way from Amazon, and they currently don’t display the same “unavailable” message. Curious.

  17. Go Scalzi! I found your blog a few years ago, read the whole archives, and now check daily. Because of that, you are certainly the published writer I feel the strongest fan-pull to, if that makes any sense. Everyone else just has their books, but you have the books plus the daily natterings. So glad you’re here.

  18. Congratulations, John. During the period of time covered in Mallet, Whatever went from “that blog that my friends occasionally link to” to a must-read for me, so I’m looking forward to (re)reading the entries in here.

  19. I’ll be ordering MoLC as soon as I hit Post Comment. In the meantime, congratulations and thanks for all you do.

  20. I just discovered you, and “Whatever” a few months ago. The fun part is realizing that I have 15 years of blog posts to catch up on! :D You are now an official part of my morning coffee reading (right after Lileks.)

  21. Congratulations on 15 years. This is the place I first encountered your writing – as someone who now loves your fiction, I’m really glad I did.

  22. Many congrats, good sir! Honestly, I’ve been reading/commenting here for years, but–and this is slightly embarrassing to admit–I haven’t actually read your fiction, yet (It’s on the giant To-Read pile. Really!) I’m certain that I’ll enjoy it when I finally do, but in the meantime, it’s your perspective on political and social issues that really keeps my attention. You’ve proven yourself a leader among geek dudes who Get It, and the fact that you’re using your powers for good tickles me to no end. You give me hope, truly. Here’s to many more years of keyboard knighthood.

  23. Will there be a print edition of MALLET other than the Subterranean limited edition, or is that our only chance to buy a physical book?

  24. I finally solve 2 days of computer problems, go to your blog, decide I need to read Muse of Fire because the name and inspiration are fairly awesome, and run into sign-in problems at Barnes & Noble trying to buy it. Who should I sacrifice to to get back on the good side of the tech gods?

  25. Mazel tov on reaching the milestone, sir!

    My experience is eerily like that of A Mediated Life; I am not a big fiction reader, but I genuinely love a well-crafted, articulate essay that neatly skewers power and privilege. I’ve become a huge fan of Whatever for that reason, and have accumulated a tidy stack of book suggestions from Big Idea posts as a bonus. I may dip my toe into one of your fictional works at some point, Mr. Scalzi, but it is your essays that I most love.

    And oh! MALLET #271 arrived on my doorstep late last week, to my great joy! I am resisting its siren song, as I promised myself I’d save it to read during recovery from some medical stuff next month, but it is tough to keep my hands off such a lovely chunky tome, packed with the promise of hours of enjoyment.

    Here’s to many more decades of Whatever!

  26. Congratulations on your Crystal Anniversary (if you use the standard Wedding Anniversary designation and your Real Life Wife does not object). Neither you nor any of your commenters before me mentioned that this Anniversary falls on the traditionally worrisome date of Friday the 13th (unless you have already malleted any previous mentions). It’s a good thing the people you publish with are totally scientifically rational and non-superstitious or they might have sacrificed several bunnies to get the minimal number of rabbits-feet to offset the bad juju. And you know we are all not only totally rational but also bunny lovers.

    Anyway, if you are an ‘imperfect vessel’, at least that vessel is now Fine Crystal.

  27. I received my copy of Mallet yesterday. I have been petting the cover ever since. It is indescribably soft and silky.

    I expect I will enjoy the interior as well.

  28. Like JDF I would be interested in a collection of your shorter works. You can’t say if something like this is on the horizon, can’t you John?

  29. Purchased Muse and will likely go for Mallet when it’s up as an ebook. I enjoyed Hate Mail, and have read all of the fiction of yours that I can currently find. It’s possible I’ve reached the point where I’m going to have to start calling you my favorite author.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts in various forms, for using language so well, and for that intelligent humor with a snarky edge that I enjoy so much. And congrats on the milestone. If you keep writing, I suspect I’ll keep reading and pointing others to you as well.

  30. Congratulations on 15 years! I’ve been with you for a lot of them, and hope to stay with you for many more. And I have indeed found great authors/books via the Big Idea posts :)

  31. Trying again… Conga Rats on your new publications!

    Books aren’t in budget right now, but I will earmark Mallet for a future time–and hope a print of the cover is eventually available. I want one for my office.

    Because you are my Troll Knight. Long may you smash!

    And love pie…

    Cat Kimbriel

  32. Congrats on 15 years! I got my signed copy of Mallet a few days ago & been reading it (slowly; curse you, work!) I’ve been reading Whatever for a few years now after being linked here from Pharyngula. Even though I’d read Old Man’s War and loved it, I never realized you had a blog until then. I hope you continue to enjoy writing it (for us to read & enjoy with you), for a long time to come. Thanks!