And Now, the Title of the Novel I Just Completed, Plus a Very Little Amount of Detail About the Book

So you’re here to learn the title of the novel I just completed.

Excellent, because I’m about to tell you the title of the novel I just completed.

The title has four words, three of which are nouns, and one of which is a definite article. Twenty-seven letters, of which twelve are vowels, which strikes me as a statistically large amount.

Are you ready? Are you excited?

Fine! Here it is, then.

Not the actual cover, I’m just using some stock art I bought for the occasion.

What is it about?

It’s about a society that preserves kaiju! Look, it’s all right there in the title.

Why do kaiju need preserving?

Because otherwise they might spoil.

Is that a serious answer?

Maybe.

Seriously, is this, like, “preserving” as in saving an endangered species, or “preserving,” like pickling something?

Dude, do you know how large a jar you’d need to pickle a whole kaiju?

So, the first.

No, I’m legitimately asking how large that jar would need to be. Asking for a friend.

I’m now beginning to doubt that this is an actual title of an actual novel.

BWA HA HA HAH HA no seriously it is, honest.

Seriously?

Sure, why not.

Damn it, Scalzi!

All right, fine, seriously serious, this is the title of my next novel.

Can you give us any details about the book?

Sure. It’s about kaiju. And friendship. And explosions.

That’s it?

Pretty much covers it, yes.

You know that kaiju really can’t exist, right?

Why not?

Because of the square-cube law.

Oh, okay.

(Pulls up the file for the novel, starts to drag it into the trash)

Wait, stop! I didn’t mean I wanted you to delete your novel!

You didn’t?

(drags it a little further toward the trash icon)

No!

You sure????!?

(wiggles the file over trash icon)

I mean, I’m sure you as a science fiction writer already knew about the square-cube law and have thought of some innovative and creative way to get around it!

There, that’s better.

(moves the file away from the trash)

I’m sorry I doubted you.

You should be.

Why did you write this novel?

For money.

No, I mean, what inspired this particular idea?

Oh. Honestly I don’t know, the idea literally clunked into my head one day and the next I started writing it. But really, who doesn’t love a good kaiju?

Nearly the entire citizenry of Tokyo?

I mean, fair point.

Do you, in fact, offer anything new to the whole kaiju mythos?

Not at all, I have shamelessly stolen everything from other, better creators, barely stopping to file down the serial numbers.

I’ve heard that about you.

Really, I am just the worst.

One day you will be punished for your crimes against literature.

I know. But in the meantime, here we are!

Does this book resemble any of your previous books?

It’s more toward the Redshirts side of things than not.

So metatextual, snarky, and positively steeped in pop culture?

Well, I meant it was short, but, sure, those things too.

When will it be coming out?

2022.

Why then?

Because that’s when Tor wants it to come out.

But I want to read it now!

Then you can purchase the NFT version which I am happy to auction for ridiculous amounts of cash and/or cryptocurrency. The opening bid is six million dollars.

Seriously?

Nah. NFTs are terrible for the environment. Just be patient, okay?

Will you be having any new fiction coming out in 2021?

Probably. Stay tuned for more updates.

Final question: How many times does the word “fuck” appear in this book?

Well, as a hint, the original working title of this novel was Fuck! A Kaiju!

Is… that true?

Sure, why not.

— JS

69 Comments on “And Now, the Title of the Novel I Just Completed, Plus a Very Little Amount of Detail About the Book”

  1. A Fictional Hubbard – California – Allison is an avid reader and novelist, writing romance under the name Allison Martine and literary science fiction as A.M. Hubbard. Her debut romance novel, 'dibs,' is available on Amazon. She is represented by Naomi Davis of BookEnds Literary Agency.
    Allison Martine Hubbard

    If it’s like Red Shirts with a bit of Fuzzy Nation, I’m down for some pickled Kaiju.

  2. Patrick Johanneson – Canada, eh – Patrick Johan­neson writes sci­ence fic­tion and fan­tasy, works elbow-deep in WordPress code, teaches judo, and volunteers at a small indie cin­ema. He lives in Man­i­toba with his wife Kathleen.
    Patrick

    I would read Fuck! A Kaiju!, honestly, though I’m not sure how many libraries would shelve it.

  3. Ooh, sounds fun. Especially since one of my friends is an ethno-crypto-zoo-musicologist*. His first big hit** is about a kaiju! He may well want to read this.

    This is all true.

    *One who interviews monsters and writes songs about them
    **Thing he performed at Clown Cabaret in DC back when that was a thing

  4. Coming out in 2022 because Tor wants it that way.

    I was going to ask how long the editing, advertising, printing, takes. I now have a good idea.

    And I had to look up what a Kaiju is (in the sense that it’s anything.)

  5. I assume you answer the “What type of burrito would Kaiju eat” question in an authoritative manner because, well, who else would do so?

  6. Or, could it be about a band of geeky film preservationists, struggling to transfer classic Godzilla movies to digital media, while being chased by evil DC and Marvel minions bent on erasing everything not canonical to their own franchises? Will they be joined by a secret cabal of Irwin Allen afficionados? And which side will the ST:TOS fans take?

    I’m getting all tingly here…

  7. I love the fact that you have cultivated a triumvirate of audience, body of work, and author persona where we’d frankly believe anything you say about this novel. That discussion in the post may as well be a real one.

  8. I expect this to deliver on every level of my expectations (like “Pacific Rim” did) and perhaps exceed them (like “Redshirts” did). I’m in.

  9. Re: Bill and the importance of punctuation

    Either one fewer or one more exclamation point would have put this in a very different section of the bookstore :) It might also have been a collaboration between John and Chuck Wendig, I think.

  10. lkeke35 – I am a Librarian Clerk in the Midwestern US. Its my job to know stuff (or at the very least, admit I know nothing, and go find out!) I love SciFi and Horror, Books, Movies, and television shows. I celebrate Blackness all year round. I am intolerant of intolerance.
    Lakitha K Tolbert

    You pretty much had me at the word “Kaiju”!

  11. Does this mean you will be having a crossover with “Overly Sarcastic Productions” and replace the “Ban Hammer” with a “Comment Kaiju?”

  12. Ironically our sci-fi book club just decided to watch Godzilla vs Kong and was just complaining that there’s no good kaiju books out there to read with it.

  13. I was there before.

    Now I am triple there.

    (And now my housemates are annoyed at you because I startled the hell out of them when I started laughing out loud at the title).

  14. I’ll be looking forward to the title theme soundtrack. Got any pull with Blue Oyster Cult? They’ve done work on the subject.

  15. Dear Wayne,

    That’s a typical pace for an SF house, but mainstream publishers can go from manuscript-delivery to copies-in-the-bookstore in under five months, although that’s a push. Six is common though.

    Think of best-selling authors, the ones you see at the airport book stands, who turn out two novels a year. They ain’t working years ahead.

    pax / Ctein

  16. Dear John,

    Wielding the Mallet of Loving Pedantry…

    (because it’s fun… and annoying)…

    Biological systems don’t follow the square-cube (3/2 power) law, they scale as 4/3 power and sometimes even 5/4 power. Has to do with the branching, near-fractal nature of biological structures.

    Now you’ll have to wholesale rewrite the book, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Ever-helpfully yours,

    Ctein

  17. I’m curious – is there a deal for a movie adaptation already? I’m writing for a film website in which a title like “The Kaiju Preservation Society” will be a good enough reason to run to the theatre (ok, when we’ll have theatres back, but that’s another story).

  18. Not my choice of topics but what the heck. I’m sure it will be entertaining. I look forward to sitting by the pool and reading it in ’22

  19. I once convinced a friend to read “Boneshaker” with nothing more than the phrase “steampunk zombies.” I suspect that this one will take even less work to sell to certain people.

    Knowing that you are a fan of (at least the original) “Pacific Rim”, I am imaging something like that mixed with a bit of “Redshirts” and a dash of “The Android’s Dream”. I’m sold. Bring it on.

  20. 12 letters out of 27 is 44.4%. This whole article has 2742 letters, 1165 of which are vowels (including y), for 42.5%. So the title is a pretty good representative of your writing. For reference, the King James version of the Bible has 3,224,231 letters, 1,261,062 of which are vowels, which comes out to 39.1%. So apparently you’re just barely more vowelly than the bible. Maybe have your GP look at that next time you’re in.

  21. When I googled “Kaiju” and saw that it meant “strange beast” my first thought was “Scalzi wrote a book about Donald Trump?” But I knew that couldn’t be true, especially “The Preservation of . . .”, so now I have to wait to find out what’s afoot.

  22. You and @TheAuthorGuy should do a shared universe thing together. Although I’m not sure any universe is ready for that combined level of snark.

  23. I would pay more for this if it was called Fuck! A Kaiju! Maybe an alternative cover (even if only a file to download and print yourself) could be offered. (Kameron Hurley did this once and so my copy of The Stars are Legion is proudly “Lesbians In Space”.)

    @Patrick waaay upthread: All the librarians I know would shelve it and fight anyone who tried to stop them. Well maybe not the grade school librarians but they would certainly want to.

  24. How big a jar for a kaiju? Well, bigger than the kaiju, at least. It also depends on whether said kaiju goes in whole or in pieces . . .

  25. I’m another one who had to look up the word “kaiju” to find out what it means. I’d had no idea there was a collective word for these things.

  26. Is the title locked down as in it’s already going out in the datafeeds to Edelweiss, or is it the real title as in that’s what you submitted it as, but publishers often change book titles?

    Which raises a question, actually: Has Tor ever changed a title on you/asked you to change a title? Or has everything published with the title you submitted it under?

  27. A couple of observations:
    1. I think that if you removed the first exclamation point from the alternate title, you’d get the same meaning as The Kaiju Preservation Society.

    B. If you were to sell a copy of the book as a NFT, the money you would make would most likely be the only money you could make off of the book, as the owner of the NFT would have the ability to post the book for anyone to download for free, while maintaining his ownership of the NFT. Stupid, but true. Cryptocurrency and its derivatives are extremely weird.

  28. Whee! A new novel! Looking forward to it!

    If this is translated into Japanese, will it be called 「モンスター保護協会」? I mean, “kaiju” (「怪獣」) means “monster” which would be written 「モンスター」(“monnsuta-“) in katakana, and English words are usually written using katakana.

    (And yes, I realise that in English, “Kaiju” refers to a specific type of monster. That’s the good thing with loan words – they can be more specific in the language they’ve been loaned into than in the original language. Just trying to be clever here ;) )

    (And also – the librarians in my circle of friends would immediately order a book if the title was “Fuck! A Kaiju!”)

    (Also also – probably they would if the title was missing the exclamation mark in the middle, too…)

  29. Ctein @ March 23, 2021, 4:35 pm

    Thank you for the reply. I’d not compare Mr. Scalzi to the “airport authors” as, from what I’ve read/heard, many of those books tend to use formulas with just the names and locations changed. With plug-and-play, the editor would check spelling and go to print.

    Other authors (looking at you, Tom Clancy) would string a boatload of words together, send it to the editor, and the editor wouldn’t bother cutting out the 30% of the books that was crap since it sold so well.

    I’ve no idea where this book would fall, but I’d guess the editor would actually spend some time actually, you know, editing. And that would allow for the time it takes to get to market.

    (I actually like editors as they make the product better – and I’ve tried to just stop reading a book when I encounter the first error as it suggests that the author, or editor, just don’t give a crap.)

    So there’s the extent of what I know, or believe I know, about the process.

  30. I don’t recall ever asking John to consider changing a title. If I’ve forgotten such an episode I’m sure John can correct me. Some excellent authors are chronically terrible at titles. Some are reliably good at them. John is in the second category.

    And to answer a different question, the reaction of Tor management to hearing the title of this novel, back when John had just begun to write it, was pretty much that of commenter Lakitha K Tolbert, above: “You had us at the word kaiju.”

  31. Patrick Nielsen Hayden:

    We did change one title! The second book in the Interdependency series was originally “The Widening Gyre,” but both you and Tor UK editor Bella Pagan were lukewarm on it, not in the least because no one (including me) was 100% sure how to pronounce “gyre.” We went with “The Consuming Fire,” which was both a better title and gave me a kickass moment in a speech a character had during the book.

    Other than that there have been no title revamps. We usually get them right the first time.

  32. I loves me some giant fighting monsters, particularly if they are fighting giant robots. In my perfect world, a Transformers/Godzilla crossover would get all my money.

    I recently read a short fiction (I’ll try to find the details on it for all of you) about a biologist trying to preserve the eggs of a giant monster that wiped out the west coast, and it was good enough that it stuck with me.

    If it isn’t out until 2022, when will I be able to pre-order?

  33. It’s not just the size of the jar, can you imagine how many gallons of vinegar, tons of pickling spices, and how much energy required to bring all that to a boil?!

    Wait – is there a difference between preserves and preservation?

  34. I’m imagining a charity pitch where the Kaiju Preservation Society is telling people they need to purchase more Q-Ray emitters to keep Godzilla on Monster Island. Legal review for the text and pictures which accompany it is extremely expensive, because the margin between “please send us money to preserve the Kaiju” and “Tokyo is a nice city, it would be a shame if something happened to it” is razor-thin.

  35. (With apologies to the Kinks…)

    We are the Kaiju Preservation Society
    God save Ghidorah, and others of notoriety
    We are the Gamera Appreciation Society
    God save Megalon, and Mothra too for variety

    We have the “Strange Beast” Japanese-language syllabus
    God save Rodan, Dogora and Reptilicus
    We have the knowledge, expertise and experience
    Won’t you help us to protect the Mysterians?

    (That’s all I’ve got so far.)

  36. “Why did you write this novel?

    For money.”

    Hee hee thanks I needed a giggle just now. Congratulations on finishing it, intrigued to hear it is on the Redshirts side of things. Also I literally had to Google ‘kaiju,’ so thanks for (again) educating me. :-)

  37. I really want to read this book, but I also don’t like being taunted with empty threats. So I say do it. Delete the file. I’ll give you a dollar.

  38. I am so excited I’m squeaking a little! There are very few things in life I love more than kaiju and snark. I can’t wait to read it!

  39. Thanks for making the point about NFTs and the environment. At best I’ve only heard that mentioned obliquely.

    I get the value of the NFT, but there’s got to be a better way (and wtf is this? As I type, a piece about NFTs on CBC radio’s Q comes on!)

  40. You say it is in the vein of “Redshirts’. Okay, so funny, sad, exciting, and leaving the reader with some incredibly deep thinky thoughts. I’m in.

  41. Obviously, “pre” means before, and “serving” has only a couple of meanings. The question, is it serving as in “To Serve Man” or is it serving as in tennis?

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