Targets of Opportunism

Out there in the stupidosphere comes the suggestion that the reason that I write articles like this, or do things like this, is because I am a stone-cold opportunist who doesn’t really believe in these things, but says and does them to get ahead in science fiction, a genre apparently positively overrun by feminists and cowering males. My master plan is apparently to get in good with all the wimmins, reap all the awardz, and then profit! Or something.

(No, I’m not going to link to the blog post in question, because it is in the stupidosphere. You can probably find it if you make the effort. But why would you? Now, then -)


1. Well, you heard it here first, straight white gentlemen: The way to win all the things and sell all the books in science fiction and fantasy is to acknowledge your own stacked set of privilege conditions and to publicly sign on to the idea that all people regardless of race, sex, gender identification or physical ability should be able to enjoy a convention or gathering without fear of harassment or marginalization. Yes, with those two simple steps, a Hugo and a New York Times best seller slot will be yours. Who knew it would be so simple? Besides me, apparently?

2. Mind you, if the Feminist Diversity Cabal™ were actually running all the skiffy things, there would be the question of why it would need (or reward) me for anything at all. I think the answer, implicit in the assumption that I’m am doing and saying these things for coldly opportunistic reasons, is that I have craftily realized one of two things: One, the Feminist Diversity Cabal™ secretly craves recognition from straight white men and wishes to reward them for even the slightest of notice; Two, the Feminist Diversity Cabal™ needs a willing patsy to lull the Straight White Men of science fiction and fantasy into a state of complacent quiescence until The Night Of The Castrating Knives (i.e., The Hugo Awards Ceremony, 2014).

Or, hell, Three: Both! Then I will be king! Of the Feminist Diversity Cabal™! Insert maniacal laugh here!

Truly, I have been playing a very long game with this insidious, opportunistic plan of mine.

3. And, you know, it’s worked! For I now have a Hugo! And best sellers! And such! Thus, having achieved all the things I can finally TOSS OFF MY CLOAK OF LATTER DAY ALAN ALDA-NESS AND REVEAL MYSELF AS WHO I TRULY AM, THE ALPHA OF ALL ALPHAS. COMMENCE WITH THE SANDWICHINATION ALL YOU LESSER BEINGS —

Oh, wait, I haven’t won a Nebula yet.

4. So, uuuuuuuh, forget point three.

Go diversity!

5. Now, there is an alternate theory for why I do what I do. It involves a scenario in which I actually believe in what I do and say rather than being a Cat-Stroking Bond Villain for Feminism. But that’s not fun, nor does it feed into the “I am a complete asshole and therefore cannot conceive of others not being a complete asshole, especially people I don’t like” mindset of the stupidosphere. So never mind that.

6. Here is the one thing this dipshit in the stupidosphere was correct about: I am, in fact, all about taking advantage of opportunities. As it happens, I have many opportunities, due to my place in the world, to speak and act on things that are important to me. I also have the will to take the opportunities when they come up. And in the last year, events have conspired to give me even more opportunities to do so. So, guess what? I’m going to take them.

What will I do with those opportunities? Well, I will say this: I can pretty much guarantee the stupidosphere won’t like it.

Insert maniacal laugh here.

The Death of the Blog, Again, Again

Jason Kottke declares the blog dead over at Neiman Journalism Lab, which makes him the umpteenth millionth person to do so. The actual piece is a bit more nuanced than its headline — Kottke notes that the blog is still an integral part of the online experience — but the overall tone of it is that the blog’s day in the sun is done, replaced by things fresher, less “streamy” and otherwise tuned to the Way Kids Do It Today.

A couple of things about this:

1. Kottke’s not wrong. I’ve noted before that I thought the many of the people who had blogs a few years ago were better served by things like Twitter and Facebook, which are easier for most folks to handle and actually do what they wanted their blog to do — i.e., keep them in contact with all their friends and family and let them share what they were doing (and also, pictures of their pets and children). I love my blog (hello!) but for the large majority of people, I wouldn’t recommend doing one. Even the closest new analog to the blog — Tumblr — is streamlined and connected in ways a standalone blog isn’t.

This isn’t to say that a blog can’t be useful for the people who have a need or interest in them — they absolutely can be. For the people who want to be able to write longer posts, keep a permanent self-branded outpost, and (importantly) have much more substantial control of their online persona, blogs have no real substitute. I recommend them for writers and other creative folks precisely because they’re your own space, and with a nod to the folks who host me, one of the great things about WordPress is that it’s made having and keeping a blog pretty dead simple. But for your mom, who just wants to keep up with the grandkids? Meh, Facebook is fine.

This doesn’t mean the blog format is actually dead. It does mean that its centrality to online life is substantially diminished. Mind you, this assumes that it actually ever was central, which is somewhat debatable — first there was AOL, then there was online chat, then MySpace and then Facebook/Twitter, along with Snapchat, Tumblr and all other manner of services and spaces, all of which, again, have been better tuned to the person who just wants to be online to see what friends are up to, and announce to the world what’s on the menu for lunch.

What does seem true no matter what is that the community of personalities that existed around blog seems to have substantially dispersed — the people who were best known as bloggers are off doing other things now or at least have their presence as personalities less tied to their blogs. I can certainly speak to that; I am these days rather better known as an author than as a blogger. I’m not the only one who has seen their “portfolio of presence” expand or at least diversify. I’m fine with that, personally — I was long ambivalent about calling myself a blogger because I thought was I did (writing) shouldn’t be defined by its medium.

2. What’s more important now, in the middle part of the second decade of the twenty-first century, appears to be an aggregate presence online — the ability to speak (or at least to be seen) across a number of online platforms. Or as Zach Weiner put it when he, Warren Ellis and I were chatting about it on Twitter:

How one does this is the interesting bit. Personally, I keep the blog here active, because it’s congenial to how I want to be online, but I also find myself participating very actively on Twitter, because that medium is also but differently congenial to my personality. Other media — Facebook, Google Plus, Tumblr — I have a presence on but am otherwise less active with, since at the end of the day I have to, you know, write books and experience the real world with my family. I have to pick and choose. But the point Zach makes — that you have to go to your audience rather than simply hang out an online shingle and wait for it come to you — is a valid one. Personally speaking I don’t find doing this particularly difficult since I like farting around online anyway.

Also, I suspect in many ways a distributed presence online for a writer or creative person is a little bit like having multiple revenue streams, which is to say, a way to buffer yourself against one stream dipping or drying up. For example, this year, my blog readership looks like it will end up lower than it was last year — about 7.5 million recorded visits for the year, as opposed to 8.1 million in 2012. I attribute this to a couple of month-long “semi-hiatuses,” during which I posted less while I was writing books or on tour, a theory borne out by looking at the monthly numbers (November, which was one of those months, had the lowest visitorship of any month in two years). However, this year I also added 15,000 Twitter followers, most of whom (so far as I can tell) are actual real live people and not Twitter bots, and my Facebook and Google Plus public pages also saw growth.

(I should note 7.5 million visits still means 2013 is Whatever’s second best year ever, so I’m not exactly panicking over here in that regard. But again, the fact that my other online presences showed substantial growth works as an offset in any event.)

I don’t see myself ever not doing Whatever, because at the end of the day I want to control my own space online and say what I want to be able to say, unencumbered by character limits or SEO-driven advertisements in the sidebars or any other sort of distraction. But if it turns out that it’s just one part of an overall online presence portfolio, well, that’s no different than it ever was (remember (or don’t) my other online presences as GameDad, MediaOne’s music reviewer, AOL’s “Blog Mayor” or AMC’s science fiction film columnist) and it’s part and parcel of the fact that my presence is distributed in other ways as well — namely that in addition to writing the blog, I write books, work in other media, and even do appearances in the real world from time to time.

So, yes. I suspect I and Whatever will continue on even after this latest death of the blog. At least until writing it stops being fun for me and/or I decide to just stop writing. Short of no longer drawing breath, I don’t see either of those as very likely.

You Should See the Other Guy

Either Zeus has gotten into the lipstick (poorly) or some field rodent has very recently met a very bad end. I will note this does not appear to be Zeus’ blood in any event.

(For the people who are new and/or did not know, the Scalzi cats are all working cats, inasmuch as we have agricultural fields on three sides of us and thus have potential rodent problems in the autumn and winter, when the furry creatures who live in the fields decide our house looks nice and warm. Well, it is. And also, not for rodents.)

Loathing is a Strong Word to Apply to One’s Self

I’m a writer and I really don’t have self-loathing in my blood, or in my liver or indeed in any other organ or part of my body (including the brain, which I suspect is ultimately the relevant organ under discussion here). As a result I am more than vaguely annoyed by the declaration above, which comes from a Salon article about “Literary Self Loathing.”

This is not to say that on more than one occasion I have not had doubts or concerns about my writing — the thing that writers do when they’re in the middle of writing a book and they think to themselves okay, honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing and that’s going to be obvious to anyone who reads this thing is something that happens to me, oh, a lot. I have concerns about whether my reach exceeds my grasp, whether what I’m writing compares well to what I’ve written before, and what the response to the work will be. I think this is both normal and probably healthy — the ability to criticize one’s own work is often key to having work that doesn’t entirely suck.

But none of that is about self-loathing. Self-criticism is “what I am writing right now isn’t good, and I need to find a way to make it better.” Self-loathing is “what I am writing right now isn’t good, I suck, I have always sucked and I have neither the talent nor the ability to write this, I should never have tried and why did I ever think I was any good at writing at all.” Even more simply put, it’s the difference between “this writing sucks” and “I suck.” Personally speaking I think one of these is helpful; the other one really is not. It’s also not helpful to confuse the two.

Are there writers who are self loathing? Absolutely, because there are people who are self-loathing, and writers are a subset of people. There are also doctors who are self-loathing, plumbers who are self-loathing, farmers who are self-loathing and so on. There are also writers who are not self-loathing. There are excellent writers who grapple with self-loathing; there are excellent writers who don’t (there are mediocre and terrible writers in each category as well, of course). Trying to typify all writers as self-loathing is as useful as typifying all writers as anything, save the base, practical definition of “someone who writes.”

Speaking personally, I am not a self-loathing writer primarily because I am not a self-loathing sort of person in general. I have my tics and neuroses, and as noted above I have a healthy regard for my fallibility as a writer, in terms of quality of output (I try not to inflict the bad stuff on the rest of the world). But fundamentally I am okay with myself, and I am fortunate that the construction of my brain doesn’t neurochemically incline me toward depression and/or self-loathing.

Also, and this is important, while writing is a very big part of who I am, it is not absolutely central to my idea of myself — which is to say, when I have a stretch of poor or indifferent writing, I don’t see it as an existential plebiscite on who I am as a human being. It just means I’m writing poorly at the moment. Hopefully I will snap out of it.

Finally, with regard to writing, my ability to do so and its relation to me as a worthwhile human being, the fact that I’ve been writing professionally for coming on to a quarter of a century now assures me that this is in fact something I can do pretty well. At this point in time any feelings of impostor syndrome (the neurotic underling of self-loathing) would pretty much be a luxury. All that time also reinforces to me the idea that writing is a learned skill and a trade — which is again separate from who I am as a person.

I think people who are writers and who are also the sort of self-loathe can possibly use that self-loathing as a tool in some way, but personally I suspect if you’re genuinely deep in the throes of self-loathing, as a writer or whomever, your first stop should be a doctor, to see if that’s something that’s treatable. It might be easier to deal with the writing that sucks if you’re not thinking that therefore, you suck.

Still Life with Guitars and Ukuleles

There are actually five musical instruments visible in this picture. Not immediately obvious are the left-handed ukulele on the bookshelf (it’s my wife’s) and the mandolin, the case of which can just be seen on the left hand side of the picture.

And yes, these instruments get a workout. I’m teaching my daughter “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and she uses the Blueridge tenor guitar (the one in the center) while I use the Washburn travel guitar (the one to the left) and occasionally switch up to use the ukulele. All of them are tuned like ukes, so I can swtich between them without having to learn new chords. The mandolin I originally had tuned like a uke but it went out of tune too easily, so I retuned it to the usual arrangement and am learning how to use it that way. It’s a bit of a challenge, in no small part because the frets are so tiny. I don’t exactly have monster hands, so I’m kind of amazed how anyone plays these things.

I am not a good guitar/uke player. I am sufficiently competent that if I play a song other people my recognize what it is I am trying to play, and I continue to get better, although I don’t suspect I will ever be all that good. The thing is, I don’t care. I play because I like to play and it brings me happiness to do so. It’s a good enough reason.

The Speculative Literature Foundation Announces a Working Class Writer Grant

This is a really interesting idea. From the grant page:

Working class, blue-collar, poor, and homeless writers have been historically underrepresented in speculative fiction, due to financial barriers which have made it much harder for them to have access to the writing world. Such lack of access might include an inability to attend conventions, to purchase a computer, to buy books, to attend college or high school, to have the time to write (if, for example, you must work two jobs simply to pay rent and feed a family, or if you must spend all your waking hours job-hunting for months on end). The SLF would like to assist in finding more of these marginalized voices and bringing them into speculative fiction.

You are eligible for this grant if you come from a background such as described above, if you grew up (or are growing up) in homelessness, poverty, or a blue collar / working-class household, or if you have lived for a significant portion of your life in such conditions, especially if you had limited access to relatives/friends who could assist you financially. We will give preference to members of that larger pool who are currently in financial need (given our limited funds).

There are of course more details at the link above.

I don’t think it would come as much of a surprise that I think this grant is a good idea. Writing is easier when you have a little bit of headspace to do it in — a headspace that’s not crowded with worries about work and bills and whether the super-old computer you write on is about to implode, taking your work with it. That’s what I see that grant offering: That little bit of headspace to let creativity happen.

Again, details at are the link. Check it out and share it with folks for whom it could be useful.

RIP, Peter O’Toole

There was very little he was in, cinematically, that he didn’t make so much better than it would have been without him. Even the crap films, of which, alas, there were a fair number in the 1980s. But then again, there was also My Favorite Year. Which was so good. If you’ve not seen it, see it. See it now.

Book Signing is Done

Just finished signing at Jay and Mary’s. There were a lot of books to sign. Thanks, folks, for supporting my local bookstore. It means a lot to me.

Now having the post-signing lunch. Carnitas here I come.

What I’ve Written In

I was talking with a friend recently about word processors, which prompted me to think about which word processors I’ve used to write books. For the record, and for the curious, here’s what each of my novels have been written in, in order of their writing (not publication).

Agent to the Stars: Microsoft Works (the “basic” version of their office suite, which it no longer makes)

Old Man’s War: Microsoft Word

The Android’s Dream: Word

The Ghost Brigades: TextEdit

The Last Colony: Word

Zoe’s Tale: Word

Fuzzy Nation: Word

Redshirts: Begun on Google Docs, finished on Word

The Human Division: Started on WordPress, Finished on Google Docs, with one chapter written in Pages

Lock In: Word

For my non-fiction books, five (my three “Rough Guide” books, my two “Book of the Dumb” books) were written in Word, three (Coffee Shop, Hate Mail and Mallet) in WordPress because they were blog posts first and then pasted into Word for the final document, and one (24 Frames) in Google Docs, and then again pasted into Word for final compiling.

Metatropolis (which I edited) and The God Engines (novella) were also written in Word.

It’s not a terrible surprise to me that I end up using Word quite a lot. One, it’s been around in one form or another for 30 years, and its formats and feature set are the industry standard; everyone in publishing uses it. Two, as a consequence of one, I am used to it and therefore when I use a word processor that doesn’t look or act like it, I get discomfited — it messes with my chi, as it were. There are writers who are still using dead word processors on equally dying computers because they’re used to the formatting and don’t want to mess with their workflow — George RR Martin and Robert J. Sawyer are famously dedicated to the antediluvian processor WordStar, for example — and while my devotion to Word is nowhere near that strong, I understand the urge. When you find something that works, you don’t mess with it.

That said, I stray from the path when I have a reason. I wrote Ghost Brigades on TextEdit because at that particular moment I just wanted a very simple word processor, and the aesthetic of TextEdit appealed to me (I wrote Ghost Brigades using the Optima typeface, which looks great on a Mac and pretty much like hell on PC — don’t ask me why). Also I had a Mac at the time and didn’t want to spring for another copy of Word. For Redshirts, I was curious whether Google Docs are robust enough for novel-writing. At the time the answer was no, which is why I switched back to Word. With Human Division I originally started writing in WordPress because I wanted to be able to let my editor have immediate access to what I was doing — I was writing “episodes” and I wanted him to be able to get at them as they were individually completed. But it turned out WP wasn’t as good for that as Google Docs was, in part because it lacked editing tools useful for the publishing industry.

These days I’m reasonably impressed by Google Docs with the caveat that as I understand it there is a practical limit on the size of an individual document, and that size is smaller than that of most of my novels. For The Human Division that wasn’t a problem because I made each episode its own document, but for Lock In it was something I needed to consider, which is ultimately why I went back to Word. Another reason: Word now saves to SkyDrive, which I can access either with my desktop or laptop, so one advantage of Google Docs — accessing text from anywhere — is now replicated (well, sort of. My desktop and Win8 laptop both have Word on them, but my Chromebook needs to access the Web version of Word, which kinda sucks at the moment).

The next novel I write will be the sequel to Human Division, and I haven’t decided which processor I am going to use yet. I am inclined to write on Google Docs, as I did for its predecessor, but if I’m using my desktop, I can configure Word to display two pages side-by-side, and while might not seem like a big deal, in fact being able to see what I’ve just written without having to do a lot of scrolling turns out to be useful to my writing flow (it’s because, among other things, it helps me keep the flow of my dialogue consistent). I’ll decide the closer I get to the actual writing.

(Before anyone asks about Scrivener or [insert your other favorite processor here], rest assured I try almost all of them just to see if I will like them better than my defaults. So far, it continues to be Word in the lead, with Google Docs as the understudy. If find something else I like better, trust me, I will let you all know.)

Jogging in the Snowfall

Because my wife is a badass that way. Meanwhile, I am inside, warm and chubby. That’s teamwork.

While I Am Out and About, a Question to Keep You Occupied

It is:

A musical artist/band of your choosing will cover a holiday song also of your choosing (that they have not, to your knowledge, already covered). Which musician and which song do you choose?

For me:

Robert Smith and the Cure, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Your turn.

William Beckett in the House

So, next weekend musical artist William Beckett is coming to my house to do a concert, which I think is pretty nifty, since we’re all fans here in the Scalzi household. As invites we bought and passed out copies of his latest album Genuine & Counterfeit, which is a fine album that I recommend to all y’all. But as not everything we’ve asked him to play is on that album, I’ve created a Spotify playlist of the songs we’ve requested, so that those coming to the house will have some familiarity with the rest of the tunes. This post is mostly for them, but hey — you can listen along too. Enjoy.

Last Day to Order Signed/Personalized Books From Me for the Holidays

Yup, the headline says it all. Details, in case you don’t see the sidebar.

Sunset, 12/11/13

Complete with a sun pillar giving the sunset a nice, Mordor-like glow.

Don’t Live For Your Obituary

Image borrowed from here.

Via Nick Mamatas,this article about writer Colin Wilson, who passed away in the last week, which begins: 

How dismayed the late Colin Wilson would have been if, through some of the occult powers in which he believed, he had been able to read his own obituaries.

The man whose first book The Outsider caused him to be lionised in 1956 by the literary greats of the day has been remembered in several blogs for his later novel Space Vampires, which inspired a famously trashy Hollywood film. In the broadsheets, the life of a self-proclaimed genius has been given the faintly amused treatment favoured by obituarists when dealing with a life of eccentricity or failed promise.

Yet there is sort of heroism in the way that Wilson, having been abandoned by those who once praised him, remained loyal to his own talent, living a life of writing, reading and thinking –probably in that order.

The article, which you might be able to tell from the excerpt, is playing both ends of the game with regard to Wilson (which is why Nick pointed it out, I suspect — to mock it). Wilson would be dismayed, but on the other hand he did what he wanted, but on the other other hand here’s a checklist of things to avoid if you want your obits to be properly reverential.

And, I don’t know. One, I think if Mr. Wilson is still sentient after his death, he’s got other, more interesting things to think about than his obits; I suspect at that point worrying about your obits would be like worrying about the end-of-year assessment of your kindergarten teacher once you were out of college (“Nice kid. Hopefully will figure out paste is not for eating.”).

Two, if Mr. Wilson had any sense at all — or any ego, which by all indications he certainly did — then he recognized (before he passed on, obviously) that to the extent he and his work will be remembered at all, obituaries, transient news stories that they are, are insignificant. He’ll be remembered for the work, and the status of the work in the context of history is not settled at the time of the obituary.

Salient example: Gaze, if you will, on the New York Times obituary for Philip K. Dick, on March 3, 1982. It is four graphs long (the final two graphs being two and one sentences long, respectively) — which for a science fiction writer is pretty damn good, when it comes to obits in America’s Paper of Record, but which, shall we say, does not really suggest that Dick’s notability would long survive him. Now, look at the voluminous record of writing about Dick in the NYT post-obit — an index of five pages of thumbsuckers. Pre-death, I find one note about Dick in the index, and it’s one of those Arts & Leisure preview bits.

So, yes. The obit was not the final word, because the work continues — or at least, can. In Dick’s case, the majority of his fame has come after his death, alas for him. He (nor any of us) would not know that from the four paragraphs in the NYT on 3/3/82.

I noted it before and will like do so again: As a creative person (or, really, any other sort of person), you have absolutely no control how history will know you, if indeed they know you at all. For most creative people, to the extent they are remembered at all, they will be remembered for one thing, because the culture at large only has so much space for any of us. You won’t get to choose which one thing for which you are remembered. If, for Wilson, the one thing he’s remembered for is Space Vampires rather than The Outsider, then that is still one more thing for which he is remembered than the billions of us who go to our graves and are swallowed up by them. So well done him.

But even then, the culture’s memory is not infinite. Wilson’s work, one way or another, is not likely to survive the vicious cultural culling that happens over the course of time; it’s unlikely to be remembered by anyone but academics in a hundred years, or even them long after that (nor, to be clear, will mine, or the unfathomably large majority of works being created today). The good news is the judgment of the obits will have passed from this world long before then. And in any event the sun is going to swell up into a red giant in five billion years and likely swallow up the planet, so that’ll be the end of all of it.

(Obit for the sun: “A long, pedestrian life followed by a brief illness; survived by Jupiter, three other planets and numerous moons and comets. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Orphaned Trans-Neptunian Objects Fund.”)

I don’t know Mr. Wilson to any degree — I am one of those who knew him best for creating the source material for Life Force, which was a terrible movie — but my wish for him was that he lived the sort of life where he didn’t actually care what his obits said, and instead enjoyed his life and left work that had the possibility of speaking for itself, over time. If you’re a creative (or indeed any other) person, let me suggest you don’t worry about your obits either. As well as you can, live the life you want to live and make the work you want to make. After you’re gone, it’ll all be sorted out or not. You won’t be around to worry about it. Focus on the parts you’re around for.

Francis and Snowden (and Time Magazine)

Time has named Pope Francis its person of the year, and I have to say that I’m down with that; the only other person I would slot in the position would be Edward Snowden, and Pope Francis is at least the more optimistic choice between the two (and also admittedly the safer choice, in terms of who still reads Time on a regular basis).

I’ve noted before that as an outsider to the Catholic Church, I admire the fact that Francis is making a point to say that the Church needs to be in the world and serving the poor, and that its priorities recently have drifted too far from that core mission. Critics have noted that Francis represents a change in tone more than substance so far, which I think is a reasonable if incomplete observation. But I also think that one has to start somewhere, and where Francis has started from is important. Tone in this case does actually matter.

The Catholic Church and I will never agree on many fundamental things; that’s the deal when one is an agnostic who doesn’t believe in the existence of a god, or as a necessary corollary, that Jesus was the Christ. But to the extent that I understand the message of Jesus, and to the extent that the Church sees its mission as serving Christ’s message, I see Francis turning the focus of the Church toward that message. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that.

For those who grumble that Snowden got robbed — a fair assessment, even if I’m perfectly happy with Time’s final choice — the New Yorker explains why, in the opinion of writer John Cassidy, it’s not even close that Snowden had had the most impact on the world’s news in the last year.

I think that’s correct, and I think that Cassidy’s note that the full page NYT ad that several tech companies placed the other day, calling on the US government to better protect the privacy of everyone’s data, would probably not have happened unless Snowden disclosed all that the he knew, possibly because the bland, not-obviously-sinister technocratic surveillance regime that’s developed since 9/11 doesn’t feel like oppression or an invasion of rights in the same way that someone stomping down your door does, and anyway it didn’t impede that the technology companies needed to do for their own purposes.

In any case, on a personal note, I certainly feel sorrier for Snowden than Pope Francis. Francis, no matter what, still gets to be Pope, which is a nice gig. Last I heard of Snowden, he’s living in a country not his own, eking by doing tech support, and if he ever tries to leave Russia he’s got a perfectly reasonable fear of being snatched up and then living the rest of his life in a SuperMaxx cube. For those of us old enough to have been slathered by USSR propaganda, there’s some irony for you.

Interview with

Last Thursday I was in scenic Newark, New Jersey to meet with the folks at Audible, who publish a number of my audiobooks, and will publish my next book Lock In as well. As part of my time there, I did a Q&A with Steve Feldberg, Senior Director of Editorial Business Development, in front of the Audible staff. The video boils the hour-long interview down to a tidy 26 minutes and covers a number of topics about me, about the current state of the business of publishing and about the upcoming novel. Enjoy.

And Now, Just in Time For Your Afternoon Lull, Dogs! In Snow!

Two neighbor dogs wandered over to play with Daisy, and oh! What fun they had in the snow. I thought it might cheer up your afternoon to see them at full frolic.