“John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular,” the Audiobook, Read by Me, John Scalzi

Quick recap: John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular is a parody of an ebook by an obnoxious bigot who is obsessed with me, and I said (full details here) that if people raised $2,500 for Con or Bust, which funds science fiction convention memberships for people of color, I’d create an audiobook version of it. That happened. Then I said if we hit a stretch goal of $10,000, I’d also commission a song about me not being very popular. And that just happened! Whoo-hoo!

It will take me a bit to organize the song (update, 9/1/15: The song is commissioned! It’ll be a few weeks before it’s ready! Patience! It’ll be worth it!), but because you lovely people got us to an amazing $10,000 for Con or Bust in under 48 hours, I decided not to make you wait any longer for the audiobook. Here it is, with my love and appreciation.

First, the complete book, in one 40 minute chunk!

And now, the individual chapters:



Chapter 1: How it Begins


Chapter 2: John Scalzi’s Blog is Not That Interesting and No One Reads It


Chapter 3: John Scalzi Does Not Understand Satire as Well as I Understand Satire

(Note: This chapter contains reference to a piece I wrote about rape, and despite its humorous nature as parody, may be triggery for some folks.)


Chapter 5: John Scalzi Did Not Get Me Thrown out of the SFWA


Chapter 5: John Scalzi’s Deal With Tor is Not a Very Good Deal


Chapter 5: John Scalzi is Not a Very Popular Author






And for those of you who want to download the files: Complete Book|Prologue|Chapter 1|Chapter 2|Chapter 3|Chapter 5(a)|Chapter 5(b)|Chapter 5(c)|Afterword|Appendices

(Update, 9:09pm: Kate Nepveu of Con or Bust has created an Audible-like audiobook file of the complete book, which you may find here.)


And if you did enjoy this, and have not already done so, may I suggest you donate to Con or Bust, and help people of color attend science fiction conventions? That would be awesome. Thank you! And song to come!

103 Comments on ““John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular,” the Audiobook, Read by Me, John Scalzi”

  1. After listening to this, I find fault with the inability to circle parts of this audio with red pen. How are we to make links between this and the secret conspiracy without being able to mark out sections with the clear red ink of proof? Perhaps you’ve done this DELIBERATELY.

  2. I just love Con or Bust. It’s a worthy cause for our community. I can’t donate right now, but I’ve been able to spread the word and get a couple of cons to sign on and offer memberships to Con or Bust. Love your work!

  3. I did not realize that you weren’t just going to read it, you were going to do it in character! It is great but I feel like I should send you some throat lozenges now.

  4. I assume there was quite a bit of spittle to clean up after recording, but it was worth it! Laughed, laughed, laughed through all the Chapter Fives.

  5. I suppose it is interesting (somewhat) reading about two guys pissing on each other’s shoes. But I’m not a big fan of petty politics.

    However, if John Scalzi is not a very popular author, I wish I was so unpopular. ;>) Congrats John, I do enjoy reading your books. They move at a fast pace and keep me glued to the pages.

  6. Who is this Pratt guy? I’m not being facetious; I seriously don’t know and I don’t want to Google him to give them the hits.

  7. @Sami: Pratt is a fairly transparent parody of a real-world hatemonger who also likes to invoke the name of God in his nom de guerre. He is the creation of SFF writer Alexandra Erin, who has also done other parodies along these lines, albeit on a smaller scale.

  8. Sami: Theophilus Pratt is a parody of the leader of the Rabid Puppies, the folks who tried to hijack the Hugos with slate voting. That person recently self-published a self-congratulatory book about how terrible people who aren’t racist sexist jerks are, and, amusingly enough, it was edited so badly that it had two Chapter 5s. This from a guy who slated his way on to the Hugo ballot as Best Editor. Twice.

  9. I read the print version of the parody. I have to ask, does the original book it lampoons really have duplicate chapters, and is it really written in this style? If so, how can anyone take it seriously?

  10. Robyn Bennis brings up an interesting point… in all seriousness, could both the eBook and the audio version of this fine parody be nominated for a Hugo within their respective categories?

  11. wagnerel, most parody involves a bit of fun house mirror distortion, emphasizing certain features at the expense of others, but the original is still… well, before I even decided to write the parody, I was livetweeting my read-through. Here’s the thread. If you click through all the mores, there are some screen shots, including a gem I refer to as “All The SFWA President’s Men”.

  12. I think it wise to warn people who will read the e-book edition and/or listen to this audio adaptation that you should not do so while drinking liquid beverages, particularly carbonated ones, and particularly when the audio narration gets to the part about Scalzi in his web on top of the mountain of lies. Seriously. My husband almost had to do CPR, plus it’s dangerous with electronics.

  13. Very nicely done! The sheer moistness of your voice is appropriately disgusting.

  14. MVS:

    Yes, both the print and the audio would be Hugo eligible (in the categories of “Best Related Work” and “Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form”, respectively).

  15. “Mr. Pratt” sounds eerily like an excessively creepy and conservative law professor of my acquaintance. This is why I died laughing while listening to the prologue and will have to come back from the dead to hear the rest.

  16. @MVS and @Robyn: Theophilus Pratt was a special guest reviewer in the series of reviews by his close friend and colleague John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired) earlier in the year. You may want to look at those and consider their wider body of work and their worthiness for awards in appropriate categories.

  17. I hope no cats were annoyed in the recording of this audiobook. And that you warned your wife and child to flee the house while it was being done, lest they call 911 because they thought you were having a stroke.

  18. Also, maybe avoid the beverages while reading Ms. Erin’s Twitter recap of the original work being satirized. Not just for what she says, but also because of the excerpts she puts up from the actual book. Which makes Pratt’s book all the more impressive, really. Because it actually seems to be more restrained.

  19. Congratulations, John. I look forward to the song being sung lustily at filks at cons.

  20. Making my Hugo nominations now.
    (As I WOULD, being a WOMAN.)

    The husband and I enjoyed this. I had to explain to him what parts were made up. Hint: not the ones he thought.

    I hope you had a spit shield on your mike. Your characterization was primo, going more and more unhinged as it went along. The snorts and “heh” were just icing on the cake. Also liked your Srs Bzness voice announcing the chapters. You could try voice work if this whole writing thing doesn’t work out (which we know it won’t, as this book proves).

    We ARE amused. (And yay for Con or Bust)

  21. Wait, we’ll have to decide whether it should be nommed (nom! nom!) as Best Related Work or Best Fan Writer. Otherwise we won’t know what to tell the Secret Cabal, our legions of minions, or Mrs. Knipperdowling.

    And do we nom Theophilus Pratt as BFW, or Alexandra Erin?

  22. Does the real RSHD really talk like that? Yeesh. Fingernails on a blackboard (remember blackboards? get off my lawn).

  23. Thanks for the link, Alexandra Erin. Hazardous to read at the keyboard whilst drinking iced tea. And thanks for reminding me that humor is often the best response when faced with such unpleasant people.

  24. I think the book itself is “Best Related Work”, Scalzi’s reading is “Best Dramatic/Short”, and Alexandra Erin is “Best Fan Writer”.

  25. Xopher

    Wait, we’ll have to decide whether it should be nommed (nom! nom!) as Best Related Work or Best Fan Writer. Otherwise we won’t know what to tell the Secret Cabal, our legions of minions, or Mrs. Knipperdowling. And do we nom Theophilus Pratt as BFW, or Alexandra Erin?

    We nominate Ms. Erin for Best Fan Writer. That way, we can include the book and the Puppy children’s book reviews by “Pratt” and “Upton” as a packet of fan satiric writings together. There’s not much point in trying to nominate Scalzi’s audio version of the book for Short Form Dramatic as it will just lose to t.v. shows. But a live performance with Scalzi and guest readers at Wheaton’s W00tstock event might not be amiss.

  26. Scalzi has a future in voiceover work. Someone needs to animate this thing and put it on youtube.

  27. Did you say you commissioned a SONG? Here, have another for free—

    There’s a famous SJW
    Who thinks that he’s so great
    But really, he’s not worthy
    To be on my Hugo slate

    He isn’t very funny
    He writes inane sci-fi
    And when he sees I’ve told him off,
    How Scalzi’s gonna cry!

    Watch me take down Scalzi!
    Watch me take down Scalzi!
    Watch me take down Scalzi!
    Give him all I’ve got!
    Watch me take down Scalzi!
    Yappy, crappy Scalzi
    Twerpy, derpy Scalzi
    He thinks he’s so hot

    I posted nasty comments
    Screamed till I was deaf
    He tried to grade my hate mail
    So I gave him an F

    He banned me with his hammer
    And his smirky little grin
    And now he thinks he’s locked me out
    But really, he’s locked in

    Watch me take down Scalzi!
    Tacky fracky Scalzi
    You just think he’s ballsy
    His readers all are bored
    Watch me take down Scalzi
    His incoherent scrawlzi
    Vapid and banalzi
    Give him No Award

    Who cares about his blog? (Whatever)
    Who cares about his book, Redshirts?
    Who cares that fandom gapes and mentions sour grapes
    When I rant about my myriad butthurts?

    Who cares about his so-called satire?
    Who cares about his old farts’ war?
    His Book of the Dumb is clearly autobiographical
    What’s fictional’s his deal with Tor

    I love to pick on Scalzi. Wouldn’t be him if I could
    You’re dreaming like an android if you think he’s any good
    Don’t be fooled by his apparent popularity
    No one really likes him, but I’m sure they’re fond of me

    If it weren’t for SJWs his sales would really drop
    It’s all the left’s conspiracy, we have to make it stop
    He’s such a sissy beta-male, He should have his own sex
    And when I’m done with him, Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s next!

    Watch me take down Scalzi!
    Watch me take down Scalzi!
    Make him feel so smallzi
    Stomp on Zoe’s Tale
    Watch me take down Scalzi!
    Yucky, sucky Scalzi
    Break up his cabalzi
    He’s so full of Fail.

    Watch me take down Scalzi!
    Hear me caterwaulzi
    Rage and scream and squallzi
    Tell him that he stinks
    Scorn and pity Scalzi!
    I don’t care at allzi
    (And please, when Scalzi reads this
    Someone tell me what he thinks!)

    (May be sung to “Smash the Frickin’ Fairies”, by Tom Smith, music GoH at Sasquan. Youtube of the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TK1aYEzf9w )

  28. That… was a surprisingly good reading. I think you really nailed the “nutbar ranting about things he is but dimly aware of” voice.

  29. @Miles Vorkosigan:

    Thanks. I laughed. I recognized the tune when I got to the first chorus.

  30. It occurs to me there’s nothing to keep us from nominating Erin as BFW AND nominating the book as BRW. I don’t know how I’m going to fill up my BRW slots anyway.

    But my nominating ballot (my first ever, thank you Sad & Rabid from a hard-core SJW) will DEFINITELY have this on it somewhere.

  31. Hah oh man I’m only through the first few parts but this is so excellent and I’m so glad this came about! I absolutely adore con or bust and have donated to them in the past. Unfortunately this time around I wasn’t in a position to since I was laid off recently but without them I wouldn’t have been able to attend Sasquan15 (since no job = time to go but not so much on the funds for membership. Luckily airfare was miles and hotel room was split between 5 so not that bad) and I’m so so glad I was able to as it was a marvelous time.

  32. how in the world did you channel the spirit of Wallace Shawn? maybe you just channeled Vizzini


  33. It would be very difficult to find anyone, for any amount of money, to write a better song than the one Miles V. posted here. And I say this in spite of the fact that Miles is both a friend and a fellow denizen of the filk community. (I laughed myself silly.)

  34. I thought the voice of Mr. Pratt had distinct shades of Vizzini. Which seemed highly appropriate.

  35. @Miles V: That is a terrific song! How much do we have to raise to get someone to record that? Not only was I impressed with how you worked in all the titles, I lost it when you got to “banalzi” and again at “cabalzi”. Good show. Whoever writes the “official” one has a big standard to live up to.

    @Kat G: I don’t know as it’s going to be automatically shut out (or it wouldn’t be in a non-Puppy year). Remember, the video of “F Me, Ray Bradbury”, and Chris Garcia’s acceptance speech for Best Fanzine have gotten nominations in DPShort. So if the TV year isn’t too impressive, it could happen.

  36. Wait, I’m confused. I thought this was supposed to be a parody of Teddy’s writing?

  37. Despite my lngstanding avidance f listening t audi bks, despite my aversin to wrks that are nt n a printed hardcpy page, and despite my general Luddite attitudes, I was beguiled by the respnses here, and I unmuted the speaker n my laptp lng enugh t listen t the recrding that Mr. Scalzi made f Ms. Erin’s wrk.

    And nw my spuse has been awakened by hts of laughter, the baffled cats are cntemplating me with cnsternation frm the tp perches f the cat tree where they fled in respnse t the spluttering guffaws, and the key between i and the p on the keybard of my laptp is nnfunctinal after having been sprayed by a muthful f a gd chardnnay.

    Thank yu, Mr. Scalzi and Ms. Erin. My spuse and cats may nt agree, but I’d say the cllateral damage is well wrthwhile.

  38. Donation made – great cause. Cons were/are a big part of our formative years back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Never been to KC before …

  39. @Lurkertype–I’ll leave that up to Scalzi. If the song meets with his approval (and Tom’s. I know Tom and he’s always been fine with my parodies of his stuff before, but I’m not going to presume just yet), then I’m fine with him raising what he wants off of it and applying it to Hugo participation or any other cause.

    Because, you know, he could probably use the money, not being very popular and all whereas I myself am quite popular. :-)

  40. “Someone needs to animate this thing and put it on youtube.”

    Whoever does this should make sure there’s a skull on a shelf in the background. One of these dipsticks who’s obsessed with the feminist Anita Sarkeesian inexplicably puts a skull into the background of his videos.

  41. Merus: Unfortunately in the more recent movies professor skull has moved on to better things.

  42. That was hilarious! I was unsure if I would be able to donate before the deadline, but I think it will be ok now. Sending money tomorrow morning.
    I loved the extra sound effects, the hissy sneering/snickering was perfect, and yes, I was also reminded of Wallace Shawn as Vizzini. Perfect. (Does Ted really sound like that?)

  43. Did you get confused and read the -actual- “book” instead of the parody? While very funny, this text all sounds identical to a certain individual’s frequent public rants about you…. But then, that’s been one of my complaints about this whole mess: it’s so hard for me to tell what’s parody from what’s not.

  44. I am listening to this while doing errands. The “Whatever” use-mention elision gotcha is fun!

    I remember that Ashok Kondabolu, in one of the Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Podcast episodes, mentioned that he and Das Racist, while on tour, would listen to YouTube rambles by racists, since some of them have super soothing voices and it’s fun to laugh at them. There’s something similar here.

    Also, I will have to remember the sandwich where the butter is lies and the bread is also lies.

  45. Pardon a French reader who lacks references (though a fair bit about SP/RP&Hugos), but is John mimicing someone’s voice here ? Anyway, well done Ms Erin & Mr Scalzi, humour is the best weapon against inflated egos.

  46. That made my day! Thank you Alexandra Erin and thank you John. You’re showing what the fandom is really about. Donated to Con or Bust earlier and I also bought the ebook. Keep up the good work Alexandra and John!!

  47. Please if done on YouTube or in public wear one of your better regency dresses. Why do I see another stretch goal coming on? I’ve started setting up my nomination ballot. I’m surprised by how many categories I already have a number of slots filled in.

  48. @Tasha: I’ve been setting up my nominations too. And this work is on it, believe me. As Dramatic/Short, Alexandra for Fan Writer, and the ebook as Related Work.

    Drama/Short is my fullest category right now, with this and 2 episodes of “Person of Interest”. I looked up the title of the series finale (viewers who remember Harold talking to the Machine [sob] will know why I’m nominating it), and it’s… wait for it… “YHWH”.

    I’ve also got “Cat Pictures, Please” for Short Story, so right now my ballot is all artificial intelligence and organic stupidity. Hee.

    Point of fact: John does not actually own any Regency dresses, he has to borrow them from MRK. But as she is the most gracious person alive, I’m sure she’d lend one out should it be needed.

    @Col. S: Your comment got a LOL from me; please award your keyboard a LL.

    @Miles: Well, sure, there’s big money in filk!

    Query: has anyone been unfortunate enough to hear Teddy speak, and does he sound at all like this? I’m thinking the accent/nasality is true to life.

  49. On his blog he posted a little speech that he made to gamer gate in Paris (to give you a hint at some search terms, won’t link here).

  50. Mr Scalzi, if you get an award for this please please please accept it in character.

  51. @Lurkertype I keep forgetting MRK only loans the dresses.

    I’ve got several semiprozines as well as fanzines & fan writers (or whatever those various categories are called LOL) with a number of possibilities. I have tons of magazines & anthologies from this year to read for the various categories on my kindle or stacked by my bed. I also need to look over the books I’ve read on Goodreads to see which are from this year and eligible and check my notes on those for my thoughts.

    This will be my 5th (?) year voting but my first nominating. I’d hoped to nominate for 2015 but my membership was all messed up and it took a while to get things straightened out. :(

  52. Mr. Scalzi or Ms. Nepveu, would either of you be willing/able to share the final total that was donated to Con or Bust as a result of this challenge? We can tell that it was in excess of the $10K stretch goal, but it would be lovely to know just how far over the top this project went.

    Thanks again to both of you, and especially to Ms. Erin, for a most amusing and gratifying weekend. Got a good start on my Hugo nominations list already….

  53. Sure–I had an update in the other thread but not here! The current total is $11,002.59 (from 365 different donations), plus John’s matching $500.

    I still haven’t come up with a better word than “amazing” for it, even though it’s later in the morning. Thank you all so, so much.

  54. Just listened to the prologue and love the voice. Yes, Wallace Shawn is much in evidence. Was that an aesthetic choice, or just a happy accident?

    I have no particular desire to ever see the face or hear the voice of Tedious Bore, but if he made a reaction video I’d happily make an exception.

  55. I always knew you were hilarious and a talented author, but who knew you could act?! That wheezy, drooly and spittle-covered delivery salted with speech impediment was genius.

  56. If this illustrious work requires it, one presumes MRK might be able to make John his very own dress. Although they are enough of a size that borrowing would save her much time, perhaps a few alterations. It is, of course, the accessories which would make or break the outfit.

  57. (ack, no WP I wasn’t done!!!)

    In addition, listening to this when the blog header is Loppy’s SOON photo makes it even funnier. Although Loppy is much more dignified and handsome as a rule.

  58. Welp,I haven’t read any of Voldevox’s writings, but if this is satire of them….HOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOY.

  59. Lurkertype —

    I second your PoI nom but would you consider “If-Then-Else” instead of “YHWH”? To me, it’s a better crafted episode and certainly the most SciFi of the series. And if the end of that ep doesn’t tug your heartstrings, I don’t know what will. I grant you the tragic end of “YHWH” but, to me, it was a lesser episode, the end of a grueling, relentlessly downbeat season rather than the surprisingly twisty and sometimes funny mid-season ep.

  60. Enjoyed your reading of the audiobook tremendously. It’s nice to know that you have a fallback position, if this writing thing doesn’t work out for you.

  61. This was a thing of beauty and everybody involved should feel good. I haven’t laughed so hard since I started school again.

    Thank you, “Theophilus Pratt.” Your mockery of my least favorite RSHD is a shining star of pure awesomeness.

  62. @Nick/OC: “If-Then-Else” is my other nomination, fear not. I liked the twistiness, and it too has the emotional punch. And certainly a different, very sci-fi POV!

    Honestly, anyone who’s not watching “Person of Interest” has been missing out on the bestest SF show of the past 4 years. Binge them on Netflix and be ready for the mid-season return!

  63. @Erin – your blurb on Sellfy is wrong: it contains *100%* more Chapter 5’s than the competition. You express an increase as a proportion of the *original* value, not the end value.