Metatropolis Trade Paperback Out; More on Midnight Star; Reminder about Holiday Books

Headline says everything, doesn’t it?

1. But to begin, Metatropolis, the Hugo-nominated near-future anthology that I edited, has finally come to trade paperback form. And in the five years since the anthology came out in its original form (audiobook), the stories in it have only gotten more pertinent — which is to say that reality has tuned itself more to this future than it was back in 2008. I don’t know how to feel about that, personally. But I do know that the stories by Jay Lake, Toby Buckell, Elizabeth Bear and Karl Schroeder stand up excellently well (and mine is okay, too). Its arrival in trade paperback form positions it nicely for holiday gift giving, hint hint, nudge nudge. More on that in a minute.

2. For those of you interested in Midnight Star, the video game I’m working on, gaming Web site Pocket Tactics has an in-depth look at the game, the first of three installments (the second and third installments will be up later today and tomorrow). They cover some nifty ground in this interview, including play mechanics and the need to get people right into the game.

3. To back to the whole “holiday gift” thing, a reminder that I’m signing and personalizing my books for the holidays, through my local bookstore, Jay & Mary’s Book Center. So if you know someone who would love a signed book under the tree (or wherever you may place such thing), here are the details.

Now I gotta go write things. Excuse me.

Metatropolis: Green Space Out Today + Metatropolis Trade PB On the Way

Congratulations to my former Metatropolis collaborators, who have done it yet again and created a second sequel to our original Hugo-nominated shared world audio anthology, this one called Metatropolis: Green Space. Original Metatropolitans Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake and Karl Schroeder and joined this time around by Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Scholes (both of whom were also on hand for the Audie Award-winning first sequel, Metatropolis: Cascadia) and Seanan McGuire. Yeah, I suspect you’ve heard of all these authors, right?

I am really delighted that this series has done so well. Fill your ears with it right now. 

Speaking of which, the first Metatropolis anthology, which had made the leap to print, is coming out in trade paperback format in a month: November 13th, to be exact, i.e, just in time for the holidays (it’s also still available in audio and eBook). And now you know what to get everybody on your list. Uh, along with of the individual authors’ other books, too.  Because books are the perfect gifts, print, audio or electronic. Trust me on this one.

METAtropolis: Cascadia is Out

For those of you who enjoyed METAtropolis — and enough of you did that it became the first audiobook nominated for a Hugo — I’m delighted to inform you that today its sequel METAtropolis Cascadia is out and available for your listening pleasure. M:C not only reunites four of the five original authors of METAtropolis (Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake and Karl Schroeder) but adds two additional fabulous authors to the mix: Mary Robinette Kowal and Ken Scholes. Each contributes a story focused on the area and themes originally covered by Jay Lake in his METAtropolis story “In the Forests of the Night.”

But wait, there’s more! Each of the stories in M:C is narrated by an actor who performed in the Star Trek universe: Rene Auberjonois, Kate Mulgrew, Wil Wheaton, Gates McFadden, Jonathan Frakes and LeVar Burton, all of whom do a spectacular job reading the words of the authors (you can see the voice talent discuss their work on the project here).

Basically METAtropolis: Cascadia is a big ol’ ball of geek joy. I think you’re going to enjoy the heck out of it. I know I have. I hope you’ll give it a listen.

METAtropolis Out in Germany + Sequel News!

If you happen to be in Germany, or, really, any German-speaking country, today is the release date of the German version of METAtropolis. Look how bright and shiny it is! You just want to go up to it and hug it. Go and buy seven.

In other METAtropolis news: Hey, did you know there’s going to be a sequel? Well, there totally is. I’m going to cut and paste project editor Jay Lake’s announcement of it:

I’m pleased to announce that On November 16th, Audible.com will release METAtropolis: Cascadia. This is the sequel to METAtropolis, was nominated for both the Hugo Award and the Audie Award (the top honor in the audiobook industry), as well as being published in print by both Subterranean Press and Tor.

This project was edited by me, with work from five other very fine writers. The intention was to focus on just one of the regions covered in the original METAtropolis. This audio anthology deals with the Pacific Northwest, and the successors to Cascadiopolis, subject of my story in the original volume, “In the Forests of the Night.” My own story is a direct sequel, some forty years after the first piece, which explores the direct consequences of the fate of Cascadiopolis. The others take different directions into this same future.

The line-up is:

Here’s the blurb for the anthology:

“As the mid-21st Century approaches, the Pacific Northwest has been transformed — politically, economically, and ecologically — into the new reality of Cascadia. Conspiracies and secrets threaten the tenuous threads of society. The End of Days seems nearer than ever. And the legend of the mysterious Tygre Tygre looms large.”

Very, very cool, and with an excellent line-up of writers. I wasn’t able to join in this time around due to other commitments, but as you can clearly see, they did just fine without me. I’ll be picking up my copy in November, because I’m looking forward to hearing how this world continues. It’s going to be awesome.

Dude, I am HUGE in Germany + METAtropolis Review

Look at this kickass ad for the German version of The Android’s Dream, off the German iBookstore, in Germany:

I love it when publishers spend money advertising my books. Makes me all warm inside, it does. I mean, above my normal metabolic rate (Update: Someone noted that in the US at least the iBookstore doesn’t do “co-op” payments, so if that holds true in Germany as well, its presence there means someone at Apple in Germany is a fan. WHICH IS EVEN BETTER). Thanks to Yannick Posse for sending it along so I could geek out to it.

In other me-related news, here’s a nice Bookgasm review of the Tor edition of METAtropolis, which as you all know is out now in the bookstores and pining for your touch. Money quote:

Tor is now releasing the work for the first time in a general trade format, and fans of the post-recession-apocalypse genre should rejoice at that… [This] is an impressively cohesive story collection, offering a varied sample of post-recession literature. Not quite post-apocalyptic, in that the world has not ended, and yet definitely set in the post-recession years, the tales provide a frightening glimpse into what could very well be our future if events continue as is.

I will say it’s been sort of unsettling to watch parts of METAtropolis come into phase with reality over the last couple of years; it’s not necessarily one of those times you want to be able to say “told you so.” But it does make for interesting reading, if I do say so myself.

My METAtropolis “World Without Oil” Haiku Contest Winner

It is from Wendell Shank, because I giggle every time the image it provides pops up in my head:

Mennonite cousins
Laugh at my rookie attempts;
I’m a buggy noob!

In other news, “Buggy N00b” is the name of my next band. It will be all-acoustic, of course. And no, for oil-related reasons, we won’t be doing a world tour.

That said, as noted earlier, this was a tough contest to judge, because there are a whole lot of genuinely excellent post-oil haiku in the contest thread. I really do recommend cruising through it and reading them. Some of them are funny, some of them are poignant, and some of them are even hopeful. I have to say this has been one of my favorite contests I’ve run, so far.

Want to know who won the other METAtropolis contests? Here they are:

Karl Schroeder’s winner

Jay Lake’s winner

Elizabeth Bear’s winner

Tobais Buckell’s winner

Congratulations everyone who won, and thank you to everyone who played along.

Oh, and: Hey! The Tor edition of METAtropolis is now out! Look for it in your local bookstore or at your favorite online retailer. And yes, it’s available electronically too, via Amazon, iBookstore, Barnes & Noble and other electronic outlets. Go get it and make five of your favorite science fiction authors very happy.

On When I’ll Announce My METAtropolis Contest Winner

In short: When I get home and have a bit of time to depressurize and see family. So expect it in the evening, basically. I will say that you guys aren’t making the awarding easy — there are a lot of good haikus in there, of all sorts.

Reminder: METAtropolis Contests Final Day

Hey kids, remember that we’re running five different contests to give away copies of the Tor edition of METAtropolis, which officially comes out tomorrow. You have the rest of the day to get your entries in, and then we’ll announce winners.

My contest is here, and here are the contests of the other METAtropolis writers:

Elizabeth Bear

Tobias Buckell

Jay Lake

Karl Schroeder

My own contest is pretty crowded up at this point, so check out the other contests and participate in them as well. Remember that you can enter each of the contests, so you don’t have to pick and choose — enter them all! When your shiny new copy of the Tor edition of METAtropolis shows up in the mail to the envy of your friends and neighbors, you’ll be glad you did.

METAtropolis Contest, One of Five: Win the Tor Edition!

As many of you are no doubt aware, on June 8, the Tor edition of METAtropolis hits the bookstores. Naturally, we the authors of METAtropolis are excited about this fact. We’re so excited, in fact, that we want to share our joy by having a contest, the winner of which will receive a free! copy of the Tor version of METAtropolis.

But we’re not satisfied with running just one contest — why should we be? There are five fine writers of this Hugo-nominated anthology! — so each of the authors is running a contest of his or her own devising. If you go ’round to each of our Web sites, that means you will have five chances to win a free! copy of METAtropolis. How excellent is that.

Here is my contest:

In the comment thread to this entry, write a haiku about life in a future post-oil world. A haiku, just in case you need the definition, is a three line poem with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third (it’s actually slightly more complicated than that, but that’s the definition we’re going with for now). So, for example:

Our car rusts out back
Raccoons live in the back seat
And peer through windows.

Your haiku can be funny, serious, poignant, whatever you like, it just has to reflect a day when oil is gone (or near enough gone that the little that remains is a hot commodity). It doesn’t have to be dystopic — hey, we might just get out of the oil era alive, you know — so don’t feel you have to write The Road Warrior in seventeen syllables. Although that would be cool, too.

So: write no more than three haiku per person, and drop them into the comment thread by 11:59:59pm Eastern on Monday, June 7. Then check out the other contests as well. We’ll each announce our winners on the 8th — that’s the release date — and have the books shipped to you.

And now, follow these links to the other contests!

Elizabeth Bear

Tobias Buckell

Jay Lake

Karl Schroeder

Enjoy, have fun, and good luck!

German METAtropolis Cover

I think it’s pretty. It’s also the first German cover of a work of mine (or in this case, a co-work) that doesn’t feature a laser-shooting spacecraft. So that’s cool, too. For those of you who are wondering, a) my name is bigger than everyone else’s because I sell well in Germany and therefore they want to play up my name and b) it was the publisher’s decision to do that, not mine. Hey, we all got paid equally, at least. For those of you of a Teutonic persuasion, this hits German bookstores in October.

This is also an excellent time for me to remind all of you that the Tor version of METAtropolis is also imminent, as in, it’ll be out here in the US/Canada in just a couple of weeks; June 8, in fact. Don’t worry, I’ll be reminding you between now and then, I’m sure. I just wanted to pop it up on your radar, however, if you’ve not already gotten it via the Audible audio version or the Subterranean Press limited edition. WHY DON’T YOU OWN EVERYTHING I DO ALREADY? WELL? WELL?!!?! Sorry, that just popped out. Point is, hey, look: Jay and Toby and Karl and EBear! And also me. You want some of that.

New METAtropolis Edition Coming From Tor, Mid-2010

For those of you who hankered after a printed edition of METAtropolis but didn’t get to the limited edition put out by Subterranean Press before it sold out, good news: I’ve just signed the contracts for a new, non-limited edition of the anthology, which will come out through the good graces of Tor Books. Right now the scheduled (but tentative) street date is mid-2010, which is not nearly as far away as you might think.

Naturally I am hugely thrilled about this; between this, the Hugo nomination (only the second one for an anthology, ever) and its successful audio and limited runs, this has been the Little Anthology That Could, for which all credit goes to my fabulous collaborators and co-conspirators Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake and Karl Schroeder. I was lucky enough to sort of nudge myself next to them and bask in their awesome.

I’ll post more details when I get them, including a more specific date of release. And until then, remember that the audio version is still out there for the listening. And for those who play their audio books old school, there’s now a CD version of it as well, in both conventional audio and MP3 CD flavors.

METAtropolis and Hate Mail Notes

Some quick book news:

Subterranean Press tells me that they are down to their last 150 copies of the print version of METAtropolis, which means it’s very possible it will be sold out on release date (!). There’s no plan at the moment to reprint the hardcover, and no deal in place for a softcover version, so if you want to get it in print, well, hurry.

SubPress also tells me that it is down to the last 75 signed hardcover copies of Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, which as you know is the book I just won a Hugo for, and doesn’t expect to keep them in stock long, so again, hurry if you want one. Also a reminder that if you buy it through Subterranean directly, you’ll also get shipped the Waiting for Athena chapbook as part of the bargain.

And while we’re at it: Remember that you can also get the limited signed edition of The Last Colony from SubPress (it should be shipping reasonably soon), and that the holidays will bring my fantasy novella The God Engines and the chapbook “Judge Sn Goes Golfing.” Save up!

And for the limited edition completists, I’ll note SubPress has recently acquired the limited edition rights for Zoe’s Tale, so that’s on the slate for the future. Yes, apparently I like working with Subterranean Press.

METAtropolis Starred Publishers Weekly Review

This is nice: METAtropolis’ upcoming print version just got a starred review in Publishers Weekly (scroll down for the review), which said, among other things:

Editor Scalzi (Zoe’s Tale) and four well known writers thoughtfully postulate the evolution of cities, transcending postapocalyptic clichés to envision genuinely new communities and relationships… Each story shines on its own; as a group they reinforce one another, building a multifaceted view of a realistic and hopeful urban future.

Nifty. It’s nice to see the anthology getting some reviewer love. To be clear, as editor of the project I’m getting a bit more credit than I should; Toby Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake and Karl Schroeder made my editing job one of those “collect stories, get credit for their work” gigs. On the other hand, if all editing gigs were this fun, I’d do more of them. And then when would I get my writing done?

Speaking of which, off to hit my daily quota.

METAtropolis Booklist Review, Plus Hugo Thoughts

METAtropolis, which has you may recall is nominated for a Hugo this year in Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, has gotten the first review for its book form, from Booklist, and it is excellent:

Scalzi and his contributors/collaborators have created a fascinating shared urban future that each of them evokes with his or her particular strengths… Originally an audio anthology, this stellar collection is a fascinating example of shared world building, well deserving of a parallel life in print.

This obviously makes me happy. The anthology was designed for audio, but it’s good to see that it’s successfully made the transition to print. In case it’s unclear, the print version is not a “novelization,” it’s the complete text of the original stories by Jay Lake, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Karl Schroeder and myself. It’s all there (text-wise), baby. It’ll be out in July; the audio version, of course is out now (and is part of the Hugo Voter Packet).

Speaking of the Hugos, I’ve been asked a number of times whether I think METAtropolis actually has a chance in its Hugo category, inasmuch as it’s a tiny audiobook presentation up against The Dark Knight, Wall*E, Iron Man and Hellboy II, all of which cost over $100 million to make and market, and which have brought in an average $570 million in worldwide box office.

Bearing in mind I’m not unbiased about this, and that, in fact, I’ve enjoyed all the other nominees in the category quite a bit, my answer: Yeah, we do have a chance. The thing is, as massively successful as these films have been, METAtropolis is not competing against them in the arena of worldwide public opinion; we’re competing against them in the arena of Hugo voters, which is a few thousand science fiction fans who are almost by definition rather attentive to the works nominated in each award category. The average guy on the street has not heard of METAtropolis, but the average Hugo voter has — and since along with many other Hugo nominees we’ve made it easy to check out the work by putting it into the Hugo Voter Packet, I think that helps put us on more equal footing with our other category nominees than we might otherwise be.

More than that, if I may crow on my fellow METAtropolis nominees for a moment, I think the world that Jay, eBear, Toby, Karl and I have created in METAtropolis, both in our mutual worldbuilding and in each of us writing our stories, stands toe-to-toe with the worldbuilding of any of those films — and unlike those films, who had the benefit of creative crews numbering in the dozens and production budgets in the millions, there was just the five of us, collaborating through e-mail. For that matter I think the people reading our tales (Michael Hogan, Scott Brick, Kandyse McClure, Alessandro Juliani and Stefan Rudnicki) do as good a job of making our world real as the actors in those films do for their worlds — and what they have to do it with is our words and their voices, without the visual and production assists other actors have. My point is, on the level of dramatic presentation — and of entertaining our audience — we’ve got the goods, same as every other nominee in the category. I think the Hugo voters will hear that when they check us out, along with the other works.

So, yes: We have a chance, just like every other nominee. That’s all we can ask for. We’ll be at the ceremony in August waiting to see what the voters decided. If we win, we promise to jump up and down like monkeys on the stage in celebration. Not that this will sway any voters. But still, it’ll be fun too see. It’d be fun to do, too.

The Sounds of METAtropolis — Free For a Limited Time

The folks at Audible.com are very excited that METAtropolis has been nominated for the Hugo Award for  Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form — it’s that whole “hey, we’re breaking ground by being the first audiobook nominated for a Hugo” thing. The Audible folks are also aware that when you’re an audiobook up against The Dark Knight, Wall*E, Hellboy II and Iron Man, which combined brought in a couple billion in worldwide box office, you’re sort of the underdog, aren’t you.

So Audible decided to help even the odds by offering up METAtropolis for free, for a limited time. Go to the page I just linked to, sign up for Audible if you haven’t already done so, and then get your personal copy of the world that Elizabeth Bear, Toby Buckell, Jay Lake, Karl Schroeder and I have imagined (and which Michael Hogan, Scott Brick, Kandyse McClure, Alessandro Juliani and Stefan Rudnicki perform for you as narrators). If you’re a member of Anticipation, this year’s Worldcon (or, alternately, plan to be one), this is a great way to get a listen at a groundbreaking Hugo nominee. We’re excited and proud to have gotten on the ballot, and hope you’ll consider us when you vote.

As the editor of METAtropolis, I want to take a moment to thank Audible, and particulary Steve Feldberg (who produced the project for Audible), for giving folks a chance to sample this work. Their support for the project has been awesome, as you can see. So if you like METAtropolis, please consider browsing the rest of Audible’s offerings for something else to pick up and enjoy. Thanks.

Metatropolis Review at io9

Over at io9, Charlie Jane Anders takes a swing through Metatropolis and comes away impressed:

These feel like cities where anything can happen, from getting your skull cracked to discovering your life purpose. And most important of all, when I was done reading about this future dys/utopia, I wanted to spend a lot more time there.

Excellent. Of course, if things keep going as they’ve been going, Charlie is going to spend a lot more time there, if you know what I mean. But I guess we’ll be unwillingly dragged across that bridge when we come to it.

Metatropolis: Now Award-Nominated

Hey, this is very cool news: Metatropolis has been nominated for an Audie, which are the awards for audio books, handed out by the Audio Publishers Association (here’s a pdf link to the entire Audie nomination slate). We were nominated in the “Original Work” category, which of course makes perfect sense. Here’s the entire list of nominees for the category:

  • Brainstorm, by Mariette DiChristina, Narrated by William Dufris, Macmillan Audio
  • Louis Vuitton Soundwalk, China: Beijing, by Stephan Crasneanscki, Narrated by Gong Li, Soundwalk
  • Many Things Invisible, by Carrington MacDuffie, Narrated by Carrington MacDuffie, Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Metatropolis, by John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell and Karl Schroeder, Narrated by Michael Hogan, Alessandro Juliani, Kandyse McClure, Scott Brick and Stefan Rudnicki, Audible, Inc.
  • The New Adventures of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, by Various Writers, Narrated by Stacy Keach, Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Sugar Pop Thoughts, by Shayna Lance, Narrated by Shayna Lance, CoolBeat Audiobooks

Naturally I’m very happy about this, and especially happy for my fellow Metatropolitans Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake and Karl Schroeder. A bit closer to hope, I hope this helps convince folks to at least consider Metatropolis for the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category for the Hugos this year — those don’t have to be all movies, you know.

If you haven’t heard Metatropolis yet, here’s a link to the audio version (it’s also on iTunes) — and for those of you who prefer text, remember there’s an upcoming hardcover edition as well. See: We’ve got you covered.

Metatropolis ARC; eBear Giveaway

Hey, look what I got:

It’s the ARC for the printed version of the Metatropolis anthology, and I have to say it looks great: cool cover, great interior design, and rumor is, the stories inside are not so shabby, either. The people who get it (and it could be you!) are definitely going to pet its sleek covers and call it precious. Heck, I’m doing it already.

Speaking of Metatropolis, the lovely folks at Subterranean Press, which is publishing the printed version of the anthology, are hosting a special giveaway featuring the work of Metatropolis collaborator Elizabeth Bear:

We have THIRTY copies of the mass market paperback of BLOOD & IRON, each of which is good to a free home, U.S. residents only, sorry. If you’d care to have people email me their name and postal mailing address to subpress@gmail.com, the first thirty recipients will be sent out a copy of the book next week. Have them put “Blood & Iron Giveaway” in the subject thread so we can quickly sort them out from the usual mail. You should note that we won’t be responding to emails. As this is just a fun giveaway for us, and not intended to be a time sink, we need to do it quickly and cleanly, and move on to the next bit of nonsense we have scheduled.

So what are you waiting for? Free book! Free Elizabeth Bear book! Hurry! Before they’re all gone!

Update, 11:02 am: They’re all gone. Stop sending e-mails, please.

The Printed Metatropolis

It’s been a busy day for updates about Metatropolis, and here’s the biggest update of all, which is also one of my big January announcements:

I’m pleased to announce that Subterranean Press is taking pre-orders for the printed, hardcover version of the Metatropolis anthology, which will ship this August. It includes all the stories in the audio version of the anthology, now in handy-dandy printed form. You know, for those of you who prefer the voices inside your head, the not the ones brought in from the outside.

This version comes in two flavors: the standard hardcover edition, and the special, signed limited, which will feature the signatures of all the authors (Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake, Karl Schroeder, and me). There will be only 200 copies of the signed, limited edition, so if you want it, the time to get it is pretty much now.

I’m really excited to have this version of Metatropolis coming up, because while I’m obviously biased, I think the anthology well and truly rocks, and I’m happy it’ll be available in both print and audio. Also, having seen the layout and design of the printed version, I can tell you that this is one pretty book. You’re going to want to hold and pet it and give it a special name. Trust me on this one.

Metatropolis Reviews; Award Pimp Addendum

Two new reviews of Metatropolis in the last week. The first, over at Green Man Review, is ecstatic (“METAtropolis will win a Hugo if there’s any justice in the universe. Yes, it’s that good”); the second, at Strange Horizons, is somewhat more tempered. It’s nice to see people still talking about our little project in any event.

Also, and related, when I did my Award Pimpage 2009 post earlier in the week, I left off my Metatropolis novella “Utere Nihil Non Extra Quiritationem Suis,” because I wasn’t sure whether being read as an audio production qualified as “publication” for the purposes of the Hugos and other relevant awards. I have since been assured by people who would know that, indeed, audio presentation qualifies as publication, so I’ve added it as something for folks to consider when they’re considering their nominations.

That said, if you are considering my novella here, I hope you will strongly consider the other stories in the collection as well, since (putting on my editor hat), of the five stories in it, mine is the least impressive. Mind you, I think my story is perfectly good. I just think the others are better. Also remember that for the Hugos you can consider the whole audio project for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. Which would be a kick, and would keep you from filling in that last Dramatic Presentation, Long Form slot with Space Chimps. Which would be its own reward, I’d say.