Hey, Kids! SciFi Comedy Improv!

So, about two and a half years ago, Mary Robinette Kowal and I did a show at Borderlands Books in San Francisco called “John and Mary Show You Their Shorts,” in which she and I presented a bunch of short humorous pieces that we wrote — some with her by herself, some with me by myself, and a couple with the both of us. I’ve put up audio files of the evening before, but now someone with the YouTube handle of “Zombie High Fives” has posted video of most of the entire show (minus the q&a periods). To which I say: Sweet!

Here’s the entire set (seven videos, about an hour’s worth), but I’m going to embed on of the video here, the one called “The Petmaster 2000,” which Mary and I did as an improv bit, i.e., we were totally making it up as we went along. I think it ended up being pretty good. You tell me.

If you enjoyed that then go check out the rest of the evening. It was a lot of fun, at least on our end.

The 2010 Award Pimpage Post

As I do each year in the first week of January, it’s time for my annual reminder to literary award nominators what works of mine are eligible for various award type thingies in the current year time frame period. Yes, it’s unseemly, but it’s also grasping and self-serving!

And what do I have for your consideration and delectation this time around? Well:

Best Novella:

Best Novelette:

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form:

  • The PetMaster 2000” (Live improvisational science fiction comedy, written and performed by Mary Robinette Kowal and John Scalzi)

Those are the works I have that are generally eligible. In the case of the Nebulas and the Norton (SFWA’s YA award), as a consequence of its switchover to a new nomination system, there’s a one-time 18-month eligibility “year,” which means that for the Nebula and Norton Awards only, Zoe’s Tale is eligible for Best Novel consideration.

Some notes:

* In addition to the categories above, I’ll note that for the Hugos I am also eligible for the Best Fan Writer category (I won it in 2008) and that Whatever is now likely eligible in the Best Fanzine category. However, in both cases I suggest people pass up the chance to nominate me or the blog in these categories. In the case of the Fan Writer category, I’m still of the opinion that there are many excellent fan writers who have not won the Hugo in that category but should, so that award still needs to be spread around (current Fan Writer Award winner Cheryl Morgan believes the same thing, incidentally). As for Whatever, it won me both a Fan Writer and Best Related Book Hugo; it’s been Hugo awarded sufficiently, I think.

* I recognize my noting “The PetMaster 2000” being eligible for the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form will raise a few eyebrows, but, you know what: Mary and I are being pretty funny there, it does meet all the qualifications for the category, and in any event this is a category where they gave a Hugo for Gollum screaming at people on MTV, so let’s just say we wouldn’t be the strangest thing ever nominated in the category. Take a listen and consider it, if you would.

* That said, when you’re considering the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form Hugo category, I hope you will also give some thought to Stargate: Universe, the show for which I am currently Creative Consultant. Ten episodes have shown here in the US and Canada, and they all have something to recommend them (although if you had to pin me down on one, I’d suggest the mid-season cliffhanger, “Justice”). I’m proud of this show and I think we’ve done some good television, and I would be delighted to see that reflected in the nominations this year.

That’s my award pimpage for 2010.

The Complete “John and Mary Show You Their Shorts”

Flickr photo by Bluesilver
Flickr photo by Bluesilver

John Nichols, who recorded my and Mary Robinette Kowal’s reading at Borderlands Books on January 16th, has thoughtfully chopped up the audio files of the performance into the individual stories and events, thus keeping me from having to do so myself, for which he wins my eternal gratitude. So for those of you who are interested, here are the links to the whole event. Each link will take you to Mr. Nichol’s site, where the audio will stream for you, with the exception of “The PetMaster 2000,” which I posted here earlier as a downloadable file.

The Performance

Denise Jones, Super Booker” (Read by both of us)
Nails in my Feet” (Mary)
Missives From Possible Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results” (Me)
Trip, Trap, Tripping” (Mary)
The State of Super Villainy” (Read by both of us)
Evil Robot Monkey” (Mary)
The PetMaster 2000” (Science Fiction comedy improv from the both of us)

Before & After

Pre-show chatter (~20 minutes)
Post-show Q&A (~25 minutes)


Encore chatter/Kodi doesn’t miss me

Thanks once again to John Nichols for recording and posting these. It was a heck of a lot of fun, and I’m glad those of you who weren’t there get a chance to listen to it.

Also, if you click on the picture above, it will take you to an entire photo set of the evening, taken by Flickr user Bluesilver. Also much fun.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Science Fiction Comedy Improv!

Photo by Bluesilver on Flickr
Photo by Bluesilver on Flickr

As many of you know, last Friday Mary Robinette Kowal and I did a reading at Borderlands Books in San Francisco, in which we read a number of our short pieces, mostly humorous, and generally had a pretty good time. What you may not know is that in addition to reading, we tried something fairly dangerous, namely, science fiction comedy improv. Yes, that’s right, as a special treat/punishment for the folks who came out, Mary and I came up with an idea and ran with it, and tried to make it funny. Because we’re insane like that.

How did it go? Well, you’re about to find out, because below you’ll find the streaming audio for what we came up with, “The PetMaster 2000.” Mary plays a woman whose science fictional home technology has gotten a little out of control, and I play the rather notably unhelpful customer service representative she has the misfortune of contacting. We had fun, in any event, and it seems the audience did too. At least, at the time it seemed like they were laughing with us, not at us. Which is what you want.

The original audio was recorded by John Nichols, who brought the digital recording device you see in the picture above (behind Ripley, the Borderlands Books hairless cat). He’s got the entire appearance, which was something like 2½ hours including pre- and post- chatter, over on his site, and at some point I’ll chop the whole thing up into reasonable-sized chunks and post the mp3s here. But in the meantime I’d like to thank him for bringing his recorder and kindly providing me with the files. He rocked for doing so, and in general our audience rocked for coming out and making Mary and me feel like rock stars through the entire performance.

Anyway: Science Fiction Comedy Improv! Enjoy.

The PetMaster 2000

(Clicking will open the file in your browser (provided it can handle mp3s), or you can right-click to save the file. Yes! Save it! Forever! Give it to your children! And their children! And so on.)