My 2013: A Quick Recap

Photo by Alan Wagner-Krankel

So, barring me falling down some stairs in the next couple of days or some similar incident that drags down the curve of the year, I can say pretty authoritatively that 2013 was a very good year — a career year, in point of fact.

Some highlights:

1. Well, obviously, winning the Hugo Award for Best Novel for Redshirts was a big moment for me. And I’m not gonna lie: Several months along, it’s still damn cool. Let me put it this way: I’ve won my fair share of awards, and winning awards is fun and cool and nice when it happens. But there’s only one writing award I actually dreamed of winning when I was kid, and that was the Best Novel Hugo. And now I have one, it’s right here in my office, and every once in a while I look back into my bookshelf and see it and think, holy shit, I won a Best Novel Hugo. Only 25 other living people on the whole planet have won this thing. The teenage version of me hasn’t stopped dancing about the room in joy. 

2. I also won the Locus and RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Redshirts (in their respective Science Fiction categories) and a Seiun Award (that’s the Japanese Hugo) for The Android’s Dream. I was also nominated for awards in Germany (for Redshirts) and Spain (for Fuzzy Nation). That’s not a bad awards season overall, and I am of course immensely grateful.

3. The Human Division came out in episodic format starting in January, one episode a week for thirteen weeks, and each episode made it onto the USA Today Bestseller list. One author getting thirteen separate titles onto the list in thirteen consecutive weeks is, we’re pretty sure, a record of some kind. It’s in the same sort of record category that, say Most Career Sacrifice Bunts is in (that record, incidentally, held by Eddie Collins). But you know what? I’ll take it (also, Eddie Collins? In the Baseball Hall of Fame). It’s done pretty well in hardcover, so that’s nice, too.

4. The Mallet of Loving Correction, my second collection of Whatever posts, also came out in 2013. It’s my ninth non-fiction book.

5. The Whatever (the blog you’re reading right now!) celebrated fifteen years of existence, which in Internet years means it was around when dinosaurs walked the earth. Considering that when I started the blog AOL was still the largest online service in the world, this is absolutely correct.

6. I helped raise over $16,000 in donations for the Carl Brandon Society this year, and helped garner over $60,000 in pledges for organizations dedicated to fighting racism, sexism, homophobia and sexual assault. I feel pretty good about both of those.

7. I finished up a three-year term as president of SFWA, not without a bit of drama, to be sure. That said, overall I feel pretty good about having left the organization on better financial and organizational footing than when I came in.

8. Pledged not to attend as a featured guest conventions that did not have harassment policies or the willingness to promote and enforce them if they did. I was delighted that over a thousand pros and fans co-signed the pledge.

So, in all, a pretty good year.

Downsides to 2013? Well, I’ve been running more or less full out for about three years, in terms of work, tours and public appearances, so 2013 found me a little crispy around the edges. I cut back the number of appearances I did in the year and made sure I had a little time to relax and recuperate (I’m feeling better, thanks for asking). I also had a small group of online twits spend a whole lot of their time being assholes in my direction. They were adorable. In any event, the upsides outweighed the downsides by a considerable margin.

Onward to 2014.

32 Comments on “My 2013: A Quick Recap”

  1. John – I can’t remember quite how I was drawn into the world of Whatever during 2013 (though of course I have read & enjoyed your books) but I’m still here and still enjoying the commentary on all things Scalzi. Thanks for shining some light in what started out as a pretty grim year – mainly for my wife of 37 and a half years but, by definition, for me. You managed to raise a smile or two when they were most needed. Have a great 2014

  2. Congratulations on your inexplicable (1) Hugo, and all the rest of the fun-packed 2013. Hope 2014 is as good to you and your family as 2013 was.

    Your blog is usually thought provoking, so thanks for that.

    (1) Inexplicable only if you fail to understand the concept of “voting”, obviously.

  3. John – upon finding your blog this year, I am saddened that it took me so long to find it. I really enjoy your writing both here and in the novel form and look forward to new posts and new books in the future. In short, you rock dude! Thanks for everything!

  4. “a small group of online twits spend a whole lot of their time being assholes in my direction” should be considered an honor in itself. You can judge a man by his enemies and my assessment of you has risen even higher this year. (Also “Redshirts” making obsolete my criticism “his books are good but he hasn’t written anything as funny as “Agent to the Stars” – and yes, that WAS the first of your novels I read)

  5. Oneswellfoop:

    “You can judge a man by his enemies”

    Dear lord, I hope not. The band of idiots trying to pester me is generally spectacularly inept. They’re like cats who run full-gallop into a glass door and then try to pretend they meant to do that. They’re not enemies. They’re annoyances.

  6. I wouldn’t even go so far as to call them annoyances, Mr. Scalzi. In my view, they fall under the heading of “things that entertain and amuse me despite their own desperate desire to be taken seriously.”

    Of course, I’m also not their target, and I know that makes a huge difference. For your sake, it would be nice if they’d give it a rest in 2014.

    But I still have to confess that there is something irresistibly giggle-inducing about the frenetic and crazed hyperbole in their attacks. It’s like watching a particularly inept and clumsy two-year-old waving a foam sword around and announcing to the world at the top of his lungs that he’s going to take down a combat Marine. All I can do is snicker.

    Oh, and by the way, congratulations on a fine year, and thanks also for focusing on better self-care this year as well. Please keep that up, sir; we value you here, and we’d like you to stay healthy and writing for a really long time to come.

  7. This has been a very tough year for me. However your books and blog have given me some bright spots during the difficult times. Your success has also reminded me that things come in waves and good times are not far away for me too.

  8. This was the year I discovered your books and this blog, and I’m very glad to have done so. I have a special fondness for Agent to the Stars since it kept me company through a long night w/my son at the emergency room (he’s fine) – would have been a much longer, more dismal night without it.

  9. Having had some time to re-review, I just had to say one thing:

    That really is an awesome photo.

  10. If your enemies are assholes (and that’s nit* just your opinion) yer doing great.
    *Nit. tlypo. I _Could_ say why I liked that typpo enough to leave it.

  11. BTW, if I spell the abbr for “typographical error” correctly it is a “damn you autocorrect” mistake. Such is my sense of humor.

  12. [Deleted because this read like a twelve-year-old trying to sound all big and tough. Dude, who writes your “slackjawed lackey” dialogue? It’s terrible – JS]

  13. Colonel Snuggledorf: The trick with the two-year-old, if it’s in your space, is to move it away from the lamps and smile fondly. Of course, the two-year-old is likely to grow out of it–or become a first-class sword fighter or a combat Marine. The band of idiots? Not so much.

    I second your congratulations and thanks.

    It was some time this year that I found Whatever and Redshirts. These were fine moments in my year.

    Looking forward to next year.

  14. It’s nice when an author publishes a variety of works, each one enjoyable in a different way. You, Mr. Scalzi, are just such an author. Thanks

  15. “being assholes in my general direction”
    I thought that was a normal part of my being an adult. Glad to hear it’s not just me.
    What I enjoy hereabouts is the normal level of adult conversation. It is as, you pointed out, not universal but is reasonable.

  16. I wouldn’t even call RSHD mildly amusing, Colonel Snuggledorf. RSHD is like a toddler who thinks that those Baby Einstein videos made him a genius waving around his own penis and ranting unintelligibly about how he’s going to screw hundreds of people whether they like it or not.

    So, something to ignore while one person has the unenviable duty of putting the kid’s diaper back on and giving him a serious talk.

    On a more positive note, it’s great to know that Our glorious Lord Host, may His glorious Name be praisèd, has turned the bile of certain dipshits into a positive force–$60,000 isn’t chump change, and the Carl Brandon Society fundraiser was incredibly successful for its short duration. Thank you for being awesome, Mr. Scalzi, sir!

  17. Seems like the haters always assume they are -the- moral force in the world. So when the tolerant -act-, they’re always surprised. It’s an amusing little phenomenon.

  18. Agent to the Stars? … Hey, I have a floppy disc with that, somewhere! Within a few months of it coming out I followed a link from another blog, donated some bucks through snail mail, and downloaded it. Using that floppy at work, I sniggered so much the co-workers thought I was losing it. Next I bought a first edition and lost it. Then another, cheaper edition. Finally I put a copy on my Kindle. Favorite scene: “Why the hell are you asking me?” Ralph said. “I’m just a dog.” As an aside, I’ve noticed Hard Memories keeps making more money with each edition (can’t be sure because I keep losing them). Anyway, the last amount — $2 billion for the year — seemed much more reasonable to me.

    That’s what I’d do if I were an alien: go to Hollywood.

  19. I have been reading this blog for about half its life time and I think I have a sense of who you are (but then again you ARE a fiction author so maybe you are really good at it & have been fooling us all). My sense is that you are a very decent guy with a good sense of your place in the world and how you got to it.

    Congratulations on your success, may this just be the start. But A much bigger congratulations for not letting it go to your head in ways that make you thing the sun shines brightest when you bend over. I have enjoyed every one of your books I have read (still have a couple on my dog pile – dogging me to read more) and lok forward to whats next.


  20. … and if the combat marine was super classy, the two-year-old would best him in the ensuing foam sword fight. ;)

  21. I love that picture.

    Congratulations again on the Hugo, it’s wonderful that you achieved your dream, and I’m very glad you had such a good year.

  22. @dana1119 – and THAT is why the Right Wing Whinily-Entitled White Male Haters need to be BEATEN into submission, and when why whine about “Mah Raights…!”, called “Cowardly Wimps!” and beaten some more. They’re no better than Teabagging Traitors…In My Far From Humble Opinion…. ::halo::

    Dear AutoCorrect: “Whinily” is too a valid word – it’s the adverb form of “whiny”.

  23. Thanks so much for your blog posts and tweets–they make me think and laugh (and sometimes both at the same time). I am finally getting around to reading “The Human Division” and it’s so good, I’m slowing down my reading so that I can enjoy it longer! May your 2014 be as good as 2013…and please keep writing!

  24. John I couldn’t comment on your blog about White Male Being the Lowest Difficulty Setting so I thought I’d comment here. I thought that blog was one of the most insightful witty pieces I’ve read on the net (or anywhere). I will now have a look and possibly buy your books. Keep doing what you are doing, you speak a lot of truth that the world needs to hear.
    If you ever feel like you need a break to recover from all those hecklers on the net, pay us a visit in NZ (where Lord of The Rings was filmed fyi lol).We are known for having some of the most spectacular views in the world! (Particularly Queenstown-John Travolta said so hehe).

  25. I am glad 2013 has been so good for you. You well deserve it.

    While I enjoy most everything that makes it onto the blog, the most valuable to me currently is The Big Idea. I fell out of reading SF at some point years ago, and didn’t really know how or with what to get back into it, whose reviews to trust.

    I decided to trust you and the way you presented these new works — letting the authors speak for themselves and their books.

    As a result I am finding my way back, slowly. Oh so worth it. Hild, for example.

    Thank you.

  26. Dear Mr. Scalzi,
    You are my new favorite author. And since my list of favorite authors includes Lois McMaster Bujold, David Weber and S.M. Stirling, you are in pretty good company. (This is my list of LIVING favorite authors, who keep writing books for me! Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and others can no longer write new stuff, so I have to keep rereading the old stuff.)
    I bought “Mallet”, and when I read your essay that was written from the viewpoint of a rapist thanking all those legislators who think rape babies are God’s Will, I almost cried. That was so on point, so powerful an indictment of all those “Choose Life” people, that I was stunned. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  27. OK, totally irreverent comment: When I saw that picture, which is WONDERFUL, by the way, my snarky mind immediately came up with the caption: “Is that your Hugo, or are you just happy to see me?” Sorry….

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