New Books and ARCs, 4/19/19

I may be in London right now but that doesn’t mean I can’t still show off the new books and ARCs that came to the Scalzi Compound this week! Here they are. What here intrigues you? Tell us all in the comments.

Happy Birthday, Kristine

This fabulous person who also happens to be my wife is celebrating a birthday today, and in the UK, no less. If you wished to convey your birthday felicitations to her, I would not look askance upon it. She’s the best person I know.

View From a Hotel Window, 4/18/19: Heathrow

It’s a parking lot, not only in an entirely different country, but in an entirely different continent! And Heathrow Airport is in the background, which is actually cooler than it sounds.

I’m here for Ytterbium, this year’s Eastercon, where I am a Guest of Honor, and everything is lovely so far. The convention begins properly tomorrow — today we relax, get some sleep in and prepare for the weekend. Three cheers for a lovely spring day in the UK.

How are you? Please describe in words that do not include “redacted Mueller report” in any way, shape or form.

Sunset, 4/16/19

Enjoy it because it’s the last one I’ll probably post for a bit — I’m traveling for a couple of weeks to places where buildings get in the way of sunsets. But this is a pretty one at least. It should hold you.

View From a Hotel Window, 4/12/19: Los Angeles

Los Angeles is looking a little noir today. 

And I had an adventure getting here; my connecting flight from Chicago was diverted to Denver when it was discovered that the toilets on the plane wouldn’t flush. I mean, fair call, and probably the right decision, but I had a meeting this afternoon I needed to be at. Fortunately it was rescheduled and I arrived for it literally to the second for when it was supposed to begin. Timing is everything.

Now I’m in my hotel room and on one hand there are friends to see, but on the other, room service and sleep. It’s going to be a tough call.

Reminder: I and Cory Doctorow are in conversation on Sunday afternoon at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. If you’re in LA, come down and see us.

The Springing of Spring, 2019

It’s a nice spring day here at the Scalzi Compound. I even went for a walk.

How is it where you are?

How Not to Congratulate Someone

I wrote this on Twitter today, and am posting it here both for archival purposes and also because, hey, it’s applicable in this medium as well.

A general statement because it’s happened to me more than once here on Twitter and elsewhere:

So, hey, if I’m noting a good thing happening in my career and your response to it is to dump on another author/creator in some way, you’re ruining it for me.

Now, here’s why (thread).

1. Because that author/creator you’re dumping on might be a friend, or someone I otherwise like and respect. It’s not fun to have someone else dump on your friends, even (especially) when it’s couched in praise for you.

2. Because success is not a zero-sum game: In nearly all cases I do not succeed by making someone else fail. Dumping on other authors/creators to praise me plays up the Highlander Theory of Success (“there can be only one!”) which is really not how it works at all.

3. Because when you dump on someone else while praising me, whether you know it or not, you leave me in the position of either having to say something about it, or saying nothing, which can be taken to be an implicit acceptance of the dumping. You make me police a happy moment.

4. Because, really, it’s kind of weird. It’s okay to just say “Congrats!” or some such without then going on to trash some other person. If you find yourself doing that, please give some thought to why you thought you needed to do that.

Now, I understand that some of you don’t intend to be rude or awful, you mean to be clever and funny. But remember that the failure mode of “clever” is “asshole.” Someone who is being trashed on will see your words but not your intent (as will everyone else). So think.

Also, I understand that some might feel that if the person you’re trashing on is (by your estimation) famous and/or rich, then maybe a little online trashing is par for that course. But a) ugh, and b) it doesn’t follow that you should do it in that thread. Make your own.

You don’t raise me up by trashing other people. You drag me down. And when you do that you make it less likely I’m going to share good news here, because I don’t want to have to wade through people trashing on friends and colleagues in what should be a happy moment.

So, please, keep in mind, for me and for others: You can be happy for the people you like without trashing other people. Give it a try. Thank you.

Top of the Heap, For a Bit

For a bit of time Sunday night and Monday morning, I was Amazon’s #1 author — not just for science fiction, or for science fiction and fantasy, but for all books. JK Rowling was number two, James Patterson was number six, and Stephen King was number ten.

So, that’s nice for me. I’ve been in the top five of the Amazon Author rankings before, but this is my first time at the actual top of the heap, and while I am as always reminding people that Amazon’s rankings are opaque and fiddly and not necessarily indicative of much other than Amazon’s opaque and fiddly rankings, still, it’s nice to be even temporarily on top of a list that includes Rowling and Patterson and King, and — well, every single other author who sells their work on Amazon, I suppose.

So, I’ll enjoy the moment, thanks. Mind you, it won’t last. But that’s all the more reason to enjoy it.

Sign of the Times

My friend Olivia came to visit Ohio for a few days, and so I showed her the sights of the area, including this particular traffic sign, meant to alert automobile travelers that this particular road is frequented by Amish buggies, so they should be aware of them. To Olivia’s disappointment we did not see any buggies this particular trip, and I was taking her to the airport to return home. But then I saw three buggies on the way home. The Amish, they hide, apparently.

I took this picture because I think there’s something resonant about someone taking a picture of a traffic sign about very old technology, and taking that picture using very modern technology. And of course I used my own cell phone to take this photo, so here we are. Techception.

Sunset, 4/6/19

There it goes, behind the neighbor’s barn. So long, sun! See you again in about ten hours, more or less.

Smudge Welcomes You to the Weekend

“You enjoy the nice weather, okay?”

Hope your weekend is a good one, folks.

The 2019 Hugo Award Finalists

Here they are! I have a ton of friends in here, and I’m thrilled for them all. I hope I will see them in Dublin this August!

Best Novel

  • The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
  • Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga)
  • Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan)
  • Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)

Best Novella

  • Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press / JABberwocky Literary Agency)

Best Novelette

  • “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, 29 November 2018)
  • “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections,” by Tina Connolly (Tor.com, 11 July 2018)
  • “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth,” by Daryl Gregory (Tor.com, 19 September 2018)
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “The Thing About Ghost Stories,” by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny Magazine 25, November- December 2018)
  • “When We Were Starless,” by Simone Heller (Clarkesworld 145, October 2018)

Best Short Story

  • “The Court Magician,” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, January 2018)
  • “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018)
  • “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington,” by P. Djèlí Clark (Fireside Magazine, February 2018)
  • “STET,” by Sarah Gailey (Fireside Magazine, October 2018)
  • “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat,” by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine 23, July-August 2018)
  • “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018)

Best Series

  • The Centenal Cycle, by Malka Older (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Laundry Files, by Charles Stross (most recently Tor.com Publishing/Orbit)
  • Machineries of Empire, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • The October Daye Series, by Seanan McGuire (most recently DAW)
  • The Universe of Xuya, by Aliette de Bodard (most recently Subterranean Press)
  • Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)

Best Related Work

  • Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
  • Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, by Alec Nevala-Lee (Dey Street Books)
  • The Hobbit Duology (documentary in three parts), written and edited by Lindsay Ellis and Angelina Meehan (YouTube)
  • An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953- 2000, by Jo Walton (Tor)
  • http://www.mexicanxinitiative.com: The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76 (Julia Rios, Libia Brenda, Pablo Defendini, John Picacio)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing, by Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon (Tin House Books)

Best Graphic Story

  • Abbott, written by Saladin Ahmed, art by Sami Kivelä, colours by Jason Wordie, letters by Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios)
  • Black Panther: Long Live the King, written by Nnedi Okorafor and Aaron Covington, art by André Lima Araújo, Mario Del Pennino and Tana Ford (Marvel)
  • Monstress, Volume 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
  • On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 4, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 9, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Annihilation, directed and written for the screen by Alex Garland, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer (Paramount Pictures / Skydance)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)
  • Black Panther, written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, directed by Ryan Coogler (Marvel Studios)
  • A Quiet Place, screenplay by Scott Beck, John Krasinski and Bryan Woods, directed by John Krasinski (Platinum Dunes / Sunday Night)
  • Sorry to Bother You, written and directed by Boots Riley (Annapurna Pictures)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman (Sony)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Expanse: “Abaddon’s Gate,” written by Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck and Naren Shankar, directed by Simon Cellan Jones (Penguin in a Parka / Alcon Entertainment)
  • Doctor Who: “Demons of the Punjab,” written by Vinay Patel, directed by Jamie Childs (BBC)
  • Dirty Computer, written by Janelle Monáe, directed by Andrew Donoho and Chuck Lightning (Wondaland Arts Society / Bad Boy Records / Atlantic Records)
  • The Good Place: “Janet(s),” written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan, directed by Morgan Sackett (NBC)
  • The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy,” written by Megan Amram, directed by Trent O’Donnell (NBC)
  • Doctor Who: “Rosa,” written by Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall, directed by Mark Tonderai (BBC)

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

  • Neil Clarke
  • Gardner Dozois
  • Lee Harris
  • Julia Rios
  • Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • E. Catherine Tobler

Best Professional Editor, Long Form

  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Anne Lesley Groell
  • Beth Meacham
  • Diana Pho
  • Gillian Redfearn
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

  • Galen Dara
  • Jaime Jones
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Yuko Shimizu
  • Charles Vess

Best Semiprozine

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
  • Fireside Magazine, edited by Julia Rios, managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, social coordinator Meg Frank, special features editor Tanya DePass, founding editor Brian White, publisher and art director Pablo Defendini
  • FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, executive editors Troy L. Wiggins and DaVaun Sanders, editors L.D. Lewis, Brandon O’Brien, Kaleb Russell, Danny Lore, and Brent Lambert
  • Shimmer, publisher Beth Wodzinski, senior editor E. Catherine Tobler
  • Strange Horizons, edited by Jane Crowley, Kate Dollarhyde, Vanessa Rose Phin, Vajra Chandrasekera, Romie Stott, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons Staff
  • Uncanny Magazine, publishers/editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, managing editor Michi Trota, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky, Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue editors-in-chief Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and Dominik Parisien

Best Fanzine

  • Galactic Journey, founder Gideon Marcus, editor Janice Marcus
  • Journey Planet, edited by Team Journey Planet
  • Lady Business, editors Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay & Susan
  • nerds of a feather, flock together, editors Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla and The G
  • Quick Sip Reviews, editor Charles Payseur
  • Rocket Stack Rank, editors Greg Hullender and Eric Wong

Best Fancast

  • Be the Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
  • The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Fangirl Happy Hour, hosted by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
  • Galactic Suburbia, hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch
  • Our Opinions Are Correct, hosted by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders
  • The Skiffy and Fanty Show, produced by Jen Zink and Shaun Duke, hosted by the Skiffy and Fanty Crew

Best Fan Writer

  • Foz Meadows
  • James Davis Nicoll
  • Charles Payseur
  • Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
  • Alasdair Stuart
  • Bogi Takács

Best Fan Artist

  • Sara Felix
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Meg Frank
  • Ariela Housman
  • Likhain (Mia Sereno)
  • Spring Schoenhuth

Best Art Book

  • The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, illustrated by Charles Vess, written by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press /Gollancz)
  • Daydreamer’s Journey: The Art of Julie Dillon, by Julie Dillon (self-published)
  • Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History, by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, Sam Witwer (Ten Speed Press)
  • Spectrum 25: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, ed. John Fleskes (Flesk Publications)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – The Art of the Movie, by Ramin Zahed (Titan Books)
  • Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, ed. Catherine McIlwaine (Bodleian Library)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Katherine Arden (2nd year of eligibility)
  • S.A. Chakraborty (2nd year of eligibility)
  • R.F. Kuang (1st year of eligibility)
  • Jeannette Ng (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Vina Jie-Min Prasad (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Rivers Solomon (2nd year of eligibility)

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

  • The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton (Freeform / Gollancz)
  • Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt / Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black (Little, Brown / Hot Key Books)
  • Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
  • The Invasion, by Peadar O’Guilin (David Fickling Books / Scholastic)
  • Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman (Random House / Penguin Teen)

ON STAGE AND FULL OF RAGE or at Least Doing a Reasonable Facsimile Thereof

Photo by Steve Petrucelli. All rights reserved to him.

Sure looks like I’m screaming the ever-living hell out of my lungs whilst doing my best Rob Halford imitation, does it not? In fact I’m singing a Disney tune. This one (and this variation of it):

Which is slightly more in my range than most Judas Priest songs, I have to admit. Also it was a lot of fun. Also I am a huge, huge ham.

This is from the JoCo Cruise, incidentally, which is already taking reservations for next year’s sailing (and which is already 90% booked, so, uh, hurry if you’re interested).

In a Last-Minute Casting Change, the Role of “Cat Who Lies in the Middle of a Stair, Causing the Humans to Carefully Route Around It” Will Be Portrayed By Smudge

Usually this critical role in the Scalzi house drama is played by Sugar, but clearly Smudge is proving an able understudy. Also, if you ever hear that I have died from a fall down the stairs, a cat will almost certainly be the reason why. Please act surprised nevertheless.

New Books and ARCs 3/29/19

Well, would you look at that, it’s another week, month and quarter of a year just about wrapped up. Hope it’s been a good one for you. Here’s this week’s collection of very fine new books and ARCs that have some to the Scalzi Compound. If you see something you like here, shout it out in the comments.

Look, It’s the First Moth of the Season

Surely a harbinger of spring!

Also, roughly 30 seconds later, Smudge tried to eat it. He was not successful and it flew away. Good for you, harbinger moth!

Here’s hoping that spring actually takes. I’m very ready for it.

Checking In On That Diet and Exercise Thing

As some of you may recall, I decided that one of the things I wanted to do, heading into my 50th year, was to drop my weight down to about 170 to coincide with birthday, which is on May 10. Mind you, what I really wanted to do was hit 180 going into 2019, and then ease into 170 over four months. As you can see from my top weight on Christmas Eve up there (for those of you who are sight impaired, I weighed 195.7 pounds that day), I didn’t quite make that goal.

With that said, this morning I was 178.6 pounds, which represents a drop of 17 pounds from that top weight, and also a fairly consistent and regular glide-down in weight from that top amount on Christmas Eve. 178.6, I will note, represents the least I’ve weighed since at least October of 2015 (when I clocked in at 180.1). Provided I keep at it, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility I’ll hit my weight goal somewhere near my birthday; even if I don’t I still plan on working toward that benchmark.

In case you’re wondering, the secret for me to dropping the weight is — surprise! — diet and exercise. Basically I’m eating fewer calories on a daily basis than I expend, and most days I spend about a half hour on the treadmill, which gets my heartrate up and burns roughly a candy bar’s worth of calories immediately, and gives me an overall larger number of calories burned for the day (because of a halo effect of having a slightly elevated metabolism). Basic diet and exercise is unsexy — I’m not doing keto, or intermittent fasting, or whatever, although if that’s done the trick for you, cool — but it’s working for me.

I also got myself a Fitbit Versa to track steps, heart rate, and such, and use the Fitbit site to track the calories that I’m putting into my body. Now, before anyone brings it up, I’m aware that a) calorie counts for food are deeply approximate, b) the data that my Fitbit tracks (steps, calories, etc) are even more approximate than that. I’m less concerned about exact calorie and step counts than I am getting a general idea of things, and also, being who I am, gamifying the diet and exercise helps me immensely. I certainly take the specific daily results with a grain of salt — and yet, I’m still losing weight.

The other thing is that I am genuinely now feeling better about myself than I was in November and December, when I had edged over 190 pounds. It’s not just that I was carrying more pounds than I am now, although obviously there was that as well. It was also a general unhappiness at the state of my body and how I was relating to it. I’m not someone who believes you have to be thin to be either healthy or happy — there are all sorts of body shapes that work for various people. What I do know, however, was the shape I was in was not what I wanted, and that it was worth it to start making an effort get to a place where I was happy with my body. I dislike exercising in a general sense — it’s kind of boring, no matter how one tries to spice it up — but I do like what it’s doing for me, both in terms of physical and mental health. So I’ll keep exercising.

(I do like that I’m getting better at exercising. I mostly do the treadmill, and when I started, walking at four miles an hour for 20 minutes wiped me out. Now I’m running the entire time I’m on the treadmill and when I’m done I don’t feel like I’m going to throw up. This is progress.)

Losing the weight and generally getting healthier was the goal; when I hit 170 I’ll do an assessment and decide what I need to do from there. One major new goal is likely simply be to maintain a baseline weight and exercise range, so I don’t find myself feeling unhealthy due to laziness and sloth. So no matter what, exercising and watching what I shove into my mouth is going to be part of the new normal for me. I’m about to be 50; there are worse things at that age, I suppose.

In any event: This is where I am, diet and exercise-wise, here in late March.

Zeus Wants You to Know That “Head On” is Now Available in Paperback in North America Today

It is very important to him that you are made aware of this critical information. Look at his face. It is very serious indeed.

Type Type Type

Spice has appointed herself my front-line editor today. She thinks my dialogue is fine but that my imagery needs work. She’s fussy that way.

New Books and ARCs, 3/22/19, With Extra Added Cat

Spice just hopped up while I was taking pictures of the stack and I figured, hey, books and cats, two things Whatever readers love a whole lot, why not get a picture of both? And here we are.

Do you see a title (or two, or more) in the stack that intrigues you? Let us know what it is in the comments.

I’m out for the weekend, so see you all on Monday!