Hello From Budapest, 9/28/23

The photo is from the opening ceremonies of the Budapest International Book Festival, just before I went up on stage and was given the Budapest Grand Prize by the mayor of Budapest, who is very tall and not a little bit handsome, and who referenced my shoes in a later presentation (they’re my Bosch Doc Martens). I felt like a hobbit getting gifts from the elves. Also, hi, I am the first science fiction author ever to receive the Budapest Grand Prize, so I have that going for me, which is nice.

The rest of the opening ceremonies was excellent and included speeches by various folks including the Dutch Ambassador to Hungary (the Netherlands is the National Guest of Honor this year), and a couple of very cool musical performances. I was interviewed as the guest of honor, and then we all went to a meet and greet and schmoozed for a bit, which was fun. Tomorrow is my media day, which means lots and lots of interviews and chatting. This is always fun for me because I was a journalist for years, and it’s always wild and surreal to be on the other side of the microphone, as it were.

It’s been a good day, with very good people in it. Hope yours has been, too.

— JS

20 Comments on “Hello From Budapest, 9/28/23”

  1. I’ve not been to Budapest in almost 40 years, back when it was still a Soviet satellite state. I regret not visiting before the current government took hold. I hear most people there are wonderful and friendly. I hope you have a pleasant time.

  2. Starter Villain was fantastic!

    Couple of things –

    New headcannon – Kiva Lagos or one of her ancestors was genetically modified with intelligent dolphin DNA. I have chosen the hill I will die on.

    I absolutely LOVE the theme song you commissioned. So many great lines – “they’re all in crypto now”, “the early cat gets the bird”, and best of all, hanging that lampshade on the double entendre.

    (I’m going to assume she got to read an advance copy before writing the lyrics. If my high school career counselor had told me that there was a chance I could get an advance copy of a Scalzi novel if I learned to write music, sing, perform and produce it, I would have had a very different career path.)

    The theme song is EXACTLY what I would expect to hear over the closing credits of the movie. So… You have your assignment.

  3. If you get a chance, go out to the old Jewish Quarter. The Ruin Bars (open-air bars in bombed-out buildings) are fun, and nearby is my favorite restaurant I visited last year, Rosenstein Vendéglő.

  4. Any comments on the illiberal Orban state, and how a visit from a popular American science fiction author might or might not help prop it up? You know, I ain’t gonna play Sun City and all that?

    Posting a similar note on The Netherlands’ blogspot, but I’ve not known them to be likely to reply. . . .

  5. This being Budapest, I presume that the majority of the locals do not have English as a first language, although a significant proportion may have at least some fluency in English (especially those taking part in an International Book Festival).

    What I’m wondering is how much of the overall adventure is being conducted in Hungarian (and/or such other languages as may be spoken by festival attendees, mediafolk, hotel and restaurant staff, and the like), and what kind of a workout are you giving the local translator(s) they’ve almost certainly assigned you?

  6. Saw the picture of a suit and wondered when was the last time you were photographed in a suit? A quick google turns up nothing more recent than 2011…

  7. OMG! Just Googled the Doc Martens! Those are amazeballs! You’ve been holding out on us! You really MUST post a photo!

  8. Congratulations on your award! I’ve really been enjoying your posts—they add humor and brightness to the day.

  9. loving Starter Villain…

    I’ll avoid spoilers but one thing just leaped off the page,

    “It’s mutual assured destruction, with a subscription fee.”
    [REDACTED] nodded. “This is why we don’t have to blackmail anyone. They blackmail each other. And pay us the fee.”

    (so… IRL Netflix? Their next big thing for 2027? those long simmering rages between Brazil & Argentina are turned into a subscription service model for MAD….cutting off sports feeds in the last ten minutes unless..!? just ROFLing)


    technical writer for too many years, I cannot stop noting fiddly bits others shrug off…


    Starter Villain

    typo = there’s a missing double quote… guessing you’d intended “They were the ones who surmised… in paragraph starting “Of course,” I said. They asked me what happened


  10. =+=+=+=

    Starter Villain

    typo = Visit her online at whatever.scalzi.com and signup for email update here.

    suggest = Visit him online at whatever.scalzi.com and signup for email update here.

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