View From the Hotel Window, 9/5/14: SF, Plus Stuff, Plus Open Thread

The view out my hotel window is not hugely inspiring today, unless I want to do a San Francisco version of Rear Window, but on the other hand I get to stay in this hotel room for three whole days. Which is three whole days on not having to wake up early to catch a plane. Which is awesome. I slept ten hours last night. Which is also heaven. San Francisco is heaven, is what I’m saying, even with this window view.

For those wondering why I didn’t post this picture yesterday, it’s because I was so busy I didn’t actually get into my hotel room until 11pm. My check in earlier in the day was literally dropping off my bag and then hopping back into a car two minutes later to get down to Google, where I had an event. Then a few very nice hours hanging out in Mountain View with my friend Diana, and then the event at Books, Inc, which was lovely could be.

Event tonight: Petaluma, at Copperfield’s, at 7pm. It will be a ton of fun, so if you live north of San Francisco, please come, and bring every single human you know. Tomorrow, I will be at Borderlands Books in San Francisco, one of my favorite bookstores on the planet, for an afternoon event: 3pm.

Other Stuff: One, editorial cartoonist Ted Rall, whom I have known for years and consider a friend, gives me a cameo in his cartoon today. And yes, this is why I do carry at least a little cash on me (for what little good it would do me in the scenario Ted posits). And I do like that he drew me with a little more hair.

Two, this little tidbit, which I will use a tweet to convey:

(For those of you wondering about terms here, “front list” means newly released books. Books that have been out for a while are “back list.” So Lock In is the best selling new science fiction book out there this week. Back list best seller is almost certainly Ender’s Game.)

Three: For those wondering, the tour is going fantastically well, although I am slightly discombobulated. I am on tour time, not real time, which means I have frankly no idea what day it is any more, as I am outside the rythym of the days. I had to confirm with my wife this morning that today was actually, in fact, Friday. It’s a pleasant discombobulation, but it’s also a bit weird. I mean, I’m a writer — it doesn’t usually matter to me which day it is anyway. But now it’s even more so.

Finally: I’m opening the comment thread here for a couple of days to let folks talk about whatever they want. Because why not? Chatting amongst ourselves is fun. So: How are you? Are you on tour time too? Tell me. TELL ME.

54 Comments on “View From the Hotel Window, 9/5/14: SF, Plus Stuff, Plus Open Thread”

  1. I’m glad you embrace tour discombobulation. From the fan’s perspective, it is worth it. I attended your Denver event. I’ve never been to an author event before. It was a blast. Nice dancing. Thanks for visiting. Please come again. And, I neglected to mention, when you were happily signing my books, that I love your work.

  2. Has anyone else read Rachel Lewis’ paradox series? I just finished the second one, Honor’s Knight, last night and I’m enjoying the heck out of the series, Seems like the kind of thing that fellow Scalzi fans might enjoy.

  3. Yay San Francisco! I’m looking forward to your event tomorrow and am trying to convince my husband to come along. This is a great city, so I hope you’re enjoying it.

  4. Glad to hear the tour is going well! I enjoyed your visit to Raleigh last week.

    Great advice regarding the audible versions of Lock In. One chapter each for Wil and Amber. You may have spoiled me for life.

  5. The Seattle event was great, glad to see you there! (I was the guy behind the girl with the first edition Old Man’s War, near the end of the line). The reading had me looking forward to The Divisioning!

  6. Anyone sampled both audiobook renditions of Lock-In? I started out with Ms. Benson, because female readers are few and far between with my customary listening material. She’s good, with great voices for the different characters, but a peculiarity of Mr. Scalzi’s writing makes her hard to listen to for this novel. Scalzi seems to use “so-and-so said” as a dialogue tag quite profusely. This is a perfectly fine stylistic choice, and isn’t really noticeable when reading the novel silently. But, Ms. Benson tends to pause after each quotation in dialogue, switch back to narration voice, then intone the dialog tag. As a result, you here “he said”, “I said”, “she said” over and over again. It’s noticeable, and pulls me out of the narrative. I switched to Mr. Wheaton, who seems better at “reading past” the tags without switching voice so I don’t notice them. On the other hand, Mr. Wheaton doesn’t distinguish character voices as well as Ms. Benson does, so there’s that, but he is a fast, fluid reader, which suits my listening pretty well. (I typically listen to books on 1.5x speed, and had to turn it down to 1.25 because he reads so quickly. The only other reader I’ve ever had to slow down was John Lee, who reads some of Alastair Reynolds’s novels.)

    Anyway, I’m enjoying the novel. It’s fairly short; I may be able to finish it before Mr. Scalzi’s appearance in San Diego on Monday.

    And as an aside: we need a separate word to describe the work done by people who read audiobooks aloud: audioreading? readalouding?

  7. This is how I learn that you danced for them in Denver, but not for us in Seattle?

    I thought of a question I wish I’d asked, but it relates to the spoiler for Lock In that came up at the Seattle event, so I won’t ask it here.

    Google Goggles looked at the picture of us that I got on my phone (, and it tagged it as “Arthur C. Clarke.” At first I thought there was some science fiction author confusion, but then I looked at the image it linked to: Google recognized my shirt and thought I was Mr. Clarke.

  8. I was in San Francisco last weekend for the latest installment of family drama. Would much rather be there on a book tour (or anything book-related, in fact).

    In other news – since you ask – I am fretting and fidgeting because I have not yet received my SubPress copy of “Lock In.” There may be an Incident at my post office.

  9. Are bookscan results available to us mere mortals, or do you have to be a credentialed author or editor to look up authors in the system?

  10. Glad you’re getting a chance to sleep in the same bed for more than one night, and I hope it helps to recombobulate you at least slightly.

    No tour time here. I don’t have that intersting of a life.

    My spouse got Lock In out of the library earlier this week, and after reading the comments/feedback about it here, I decided to glance at a page or two. Didn’t plan to actually read it as I am not a big fiction reader, just wanted to get a glimpse of what others were commenting on.

    Well. Three hours later, I handed the book back to Spouse with the comment “you’ll like this one, I did.” So congratulations, Mr. Scalzi, on successfully seducing a nonfiction-only reader into reading (and enjoying) your fiction. I particularly enjoyed the multiple layers and levels, and especially the ambiguities that I suspect were very intentional and that I know were very artfully done.

    The night after I read the book, I had the wierdest dream about talking to Mr. Scalzi. He was telling me that he uses a ten-key calculator to actually do his writing, and I was fascinated by how he could convert digits to text. He had just punched in the numbers 9 4 7 into his calculator and was about to show me how he turned that into words when I woke up, and I was quite annoyed at not getting the rest of the story.

    So tell us, Mr. Scalzi, how DO you convert those numbers to text?

  11. Nice to see you at the Mountain View event last night. Just a few blocks from my house, so could not get more convenient than that! (for me anyway). I know you probably don’t want to give out your hotel location, but curious which place in SF has THAT view?

  12. I forgot to address the “tour time” question. I’m not technically on tour time, but as paraents of a three-year-old and a six-month-old we’ve been getting less-than-optimal amounts of sleep recently. I don’t foresee that changing any time soon.

  13. If Mythago happens to read this, will you be at the Borderlands event? I had intended to go to the Mountain View one, but it kind of snuck up on me and I might try for the SF one instead.

  14. At first I thought there was some science fiction author confusion, but then I looked at the image it linked to

    The capability represented by that error is actually pretty amazing.

    So does that mean that Google considers all people who wear the latest fashionable thing to be the same person? Is that a philosophical position?

  15. Sad to have missed you in Seattle on Wednesday, but on the plus side: the rock opera I’m in opens tonight! Congratulations on the tour success and the chart opening.

    As to the Ted Rall… I remember being told ten years ago that a service I was trying to use (FedEx) would not accept cash. Not new.

  16. I believe Joseph Finn meant to say Rachel Bach’s Paradox series (not Rachel Lewis). Others might remember her better as Rachel Aaron (her actual name), author of the Eli Monpress fantasy series.

    I think the Paradox books were really fun, in any case! She does plan to eventually write more books in that setting.

  17. Matt W: and thus in German the noun “Vorleser/in” and verb “vorlesen” :-)

    JS: hah, I am amused and unsurprised to know that some things go subtly wrong on tour much as they do during fieldwork…

  18. chacha1 – I talked to SubPress since I hadn’t received my copy of Lock-in yet. They said that while John had signed/inscribed all the books, the majority of the shipment had dinged up dustjackets, and they were waiting for replacements before they shipped off the books.

    Now I’m trying to decide if I buy a copy now to be able to read it sooner, or try and practice patience and wait for my signed copy to arrive…

  19. No Cache Accepted:

    It was still number one when I just checked incognito, with no cookies activated. But, you know, if it falls, so be it. All glory is transient.


    I don’t think it’s generally available, no. You could buy a subscription but it is very expensive.

    Colonel Snugglesdorf:

    I will tell you in the next dream.

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  21. Borderlands – so awesome! One of my faves as well. They did a super job of getting all of Lois McMaster Bujold’s books so she could sign them for me (this was before I knew about her relationship with Uncle Hugo’s).

  22. Reading Lock_In now, really enjoying it. And now I want chocolate, thanks to the above spam-bot.

  23. I saw that Rall cartoon and at first just laughed, thinking, “that’s really random.” But then I managed to get myself fairly agitated thinking that I was missing some referential connection to your fiction. I’m relieved to hear it was just a random-friend-poke thing. (I haven’t read everything, so maybe I just haven’t come across the connection. Regardless, I think I can stop thinking about it now…)

    If my only cartoonist friend ever draws me, I hope he will make me thinner.

  24. Still listening to Wheaton’s version of Lock In (having finished Benson’s) on my twice-a-week walk to school. I like Benson’s better, but Wheaton’s isn’t at all shabby.

    In other news, school is eating my brain (MPH, Epidemiology, 3 weeks in after a 7-year gap since the last time I was in school). And yes, Lock In holds up quite well when you know a bit about epidemiology!

    The mention of Uncle Hugo’s made me nostalgic for it, even though I’ve only been there once. And I’d really like some of that killer baklava I bought on the way back to Elise M.’s house. And I miss Elise too!

    Hope your tour continues to go well. I’m envious of your 10 hours of sleep.

  25. In the preceding post, Scalzi mentions the “right wing SF/F …sphere.” I didn’t know there was such a thing. Lacking imagination as the ‘wingers are, what could they find to write about? Ronald Reagan conquering alien worlds? Sarah Palin abducted by little green men to be their queen? Who is an example of a right wing SF writer?

  26. Yeah, that whole brain being eaten by school thing? I second that! I’m taking 2 Math-type classes and 3 computer science classes and programming at my half-time job and trying to arrange an Open Source workshop and manage a social life and, and, and…. Discombobulation and overstimulation are both happening! But this weekend, if I finish the what-if.xkcd book and I have free time, I’ll start on Lock In (YAY!!)

  27. I’m partially on tour time! We got home about 2 am from the Seattle event. I don’t bounce back like I used to. My son is in the first week of school like Space between the Numbers, but my daughter is in the “last two weeks before I start university so I really should stay up all night” mode so I’m feeling quite split.

    We really enjoyed the Seattle event. Great to have a reason to go to an awesome book store. I really appreciated your thoughts about writing the other. Your attitude about your privilege is one reason I’m glad my son is a fan of yours.

    My son loves the shirt! Thanks so much for sharing your time with us!

  28. Matt W, I usually just say “narrating.”

    I’m not on tour time, but as a print journalist, I often have to stop and think what day it is — the day I’m living in, or the day whose paper we’re working on — especially since world news is often dated as being from tomorrow.

  29. Had a great time at your reading in Austin, and enjoyed meeting you afterward. Thanks for signing my brother’s copy of Lock In, and good luck on the rest of your tour!

  30. I’m glad you came out to Petaluma, and glad pie is apparently a thing here. (Bad local, must get pie.)

    I wanted to make sure I thanked you for tweeting back at me and encouraging me to come out to the event in spite of awkwardness. Getting out of the house for random adventure is difficult, especially random adventure that involves a room full of people. But I genuinely had a good time. I wish I could have stayed to actually meet you, but browsing a bookstore when you can’t purchase anything is just cruel and unusual treatment of oneself.

  31. Tina, as an awkward person, I’m glad you had fun. The world outside isn’t always terrible. Are random internet hugs helpful?

  32. We’re in the “going crazy in the throes of a million last details” before we do our own version of Tour Time. On Wednesday, The Beat Goes On Marching Band (Portland, OR all-adult band) heads to China to represent the U.S. at the Shanghai Tourism Festival. Pretty sure the combination of gigs, sightseeing, and serious time change guarantees “tour time”. Wish us luck!

  33. Just a note for UK folks – I found the trade paper edition of Lock In at my local Waterstones bookstore yesterday. Next on the reading list!

  34. My kids were at your Chapel Hill event. They said they had a great time. Thanks for comin to NC.

  35. Thanks for introducing us to Ted Rall! I am also a member of the “always carry cash and pay your credit cards off monthly” gang, and the SF writer in me does sometimes worry about someone flipping a switch and virtually disappearing us.

  36. Congrats on the NYT bestseller list, seems to be going very well for you. Please remember us peasants when you’re a Hollywood big shot, we promise not to look at your hacked naked selfies.

    Though of course the all-powerful librul limp-wristed SJW media obviously cooked the books so you’d achieve bestseller status, as your book doesn’t feature Real American Menz conquering the universe with their precious bodily fluids, so its success has to be a conspiracy…

    Presumably the frothosphere is still whining about a certain other author outselling you? I can’t be bothered to look.

  37. When I finally made it to the post office on Wednesday, I discovered two parcel pick-up cards in my mailbox. To my surprise it was a double dose of Scalziliciousness. Both Lock In and the Old Man’s War boxed set. Decisions, decisions……

  38. Not tour time, but recovering from conference time after spending nearly a week on the other side of the country. I enjoyed seeing you in Chapel Hill and was sorry you were only in Seattle this past week…if you’d gone to Portland as well I maybe would have confused you by asking for signing of crossword puzzle on two different sides of the country. Congrats on the best seller list! I took my copy from Flyleaf traveling and devoured it the first travel day.

  39. Not on tour time but have been working half days – the 12 hour version.
    I was very happy to have been able to attend the event last night. My car battery died and I arrived later than I would have liked but just in time to see you almost knock over the book display you were looking at. I was so excited to see you before the event I couldn’t think of anything else to say but “hi” and don’t even remember the book you were looking at.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the readings and meeting you afterward. You were kind and generous with your time, Thank you for signing my books. I will treasure them.
    You do have an Auntie Di and she loves you, Krissy, Athena, Daisy and the cats :-D

  40. What a blast we had listening to you today at Borderlands. You are as funny in person as I thought you’d be, and better looking, ha!

    And it was surprisingly moving and validating what you said about being a straight white man and everything that goes along with it. I know it’s frustrating that it takes men to say something for it to be taken seriously…as a woman who’s been online for 20 years, I’d kind of hoped things would get better sooner. But thank you for doing your part, and know that it does very much make us feel not so alone. The world our daughters will inherit will be much better for your presence in it.