Portrait of Athena, February 2019

She came home for the weekend so I was able to grab a few photos of her. This one turned out pretty well.

Still writing that thing, so back to it.

I’m Out Until Monday, So, Here, Have Some Flowers

And on Valentine’s Day, too! Awwwwwww.

I’m out because I feel like it but also because I have a project to finish. So, unplugging from the Internet to get done. As one sometimes has to do. See you all next week.

Love Death & Robots Trailer

Why would I bring this trailer to your attention? Oh, no reason. No reason at all. Still, you might want to block out some time on March 15 to see the series. Just because.

(Note: the above trailer is very noisy and probably NSFW.)

Today In “I Regret Nothing”

Yesterday I reached 160,000 Twitter followers and polled my followership with how they wanted me to celebrate: A preview from an upcoming work, a song, a cat picture or a “burrito.” The burrito won. This is what followed.

***

HUMANS OF TWITTER:

It is time.

Yesterday, having reached 160k Twitter followers, I promised one and all that I would make a VALENTINE BURRITO to mark this momentous occasion.

I have done so. And recorded its creation for you.

LET US BEGIN THIS BURRITO JOURNEY TOGETHER NOW.

STEP ONE: The raw ingredients are purchased and assembled.tortillas, cherry cordials, gummi worms, raspberry preserves, marshmallow creme, heart-shaped cakes, butter.
STEP TWO: The individual portions are measured out and prepared.One tortilla, one cake, two cordials, six gummi worms, and the marshmallow creme and raspberry preserves.
STEP THREE: A generous base of marshmallow creme is slathered onto the tortilla.Fun fact: Marshmallow creme is hella sticky.
STEP FOUR: The raspberry preserves are added to the marshmallow creme.Fun fact: This tortilla now looks like a crime scene.
STEP FIVE: The heart-shaped snack cake is torn to shreds and placed on the raspberry preserves. Not symbolic or anything!This is all pink and red and white and oh Jesus what have I done.
STEP SIX: The chocolate cherry cordials are sliced, poorly, and added to the pile.Seriously, chocolate cherry cordials have no structural integrity to speak of.
STEP SEVEN: Gummi worms added for color and texture. They have nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, but sometimes you just need that extra kick, you know?Fun fact: We will all die and worms will eat us, except the cremated people, who never think of the poor, hungry worms.
STEP EIGHT: Tortilla folded into a burrito shape, and slathered with butter.Fun fact: This burrito is, like, eighteen million calories, all of them empty, like my soul.
STEP NINE: The burrito commenceinates its fryination!Fun fact: This technically makes this burrito a chimichanga!

STEP TEN: The burrito is golden brown and now ready to eat.

And did I eat it? Well…From the outside, you would not imagine this to be a hideous hellscape of mish-mashed sugary flavors!

Here I am, eating the thing.

WARNING: You are not prepared.

Another look at the inside of the Valentine Burrito.Fun fact: It looks like a unicorn barfed into a flour tortilla.

Thank all 160k of you for following me here on Twitter. You made me make this burrito. I do not regret it, and yet I will never ever do this again, unless lots of money is involved.

The end.Hey, want a bite?

Followup tweet:

A Ring Around the Moon, 2/13/19

It was big and bright and I had Krissy come out and look at it, and then I tried to take a photo of it with my Nikon, and you can barely see it in this exposure:

I also took a photo of it with my Google Pixel with Night Sight on:

Now, I should note that if I put my Nikon on a tripod and took a longer exposure, the ring would be much clearer, and I might do that a little later. But for now, Google Pixel to the rescue.

Update:

In Which Smudge Is Convinced That He Will Get Food From the Dinner Table If He’s Cute Enough While He Reaches For It

Meanwhile, Spice, in the background, knows better.

How You Can Make Anything Sound “Science Fictional”

Be descriptive and detailed, yet vague. For example:

“The transparent portal slid open and the creature, radially asymmetrical, used its ambulatory stalks to cross the threshold. The creature, covered in keratinous extrusions and small, dead plates, swiveled its perceptual array, hoisted on a third stalk, and used its electromagnetic sensors to locate what it was searching for: the anti-entropic chamber. It spotted the chamber and moved to it. Using yet a different stalk, which divided into smaller stalks at its terminus, the creature defeated the magnetic field employed to seal the chamber.

“Therein it found its prize: A pressurized cylinder of carbonic acid, mixed with bonded ethyl and hydroxyl groups. The stalk that defeated the chamber’s magnetic field acquired the cylinder and carefully manipulated it open. It placed the contents in a staging area, where cursorial perceptual tests were conducted, before conveying those contents to a connected cavity, designed to chemically process cylinder’s former cargo.

“There, in the humid dark, the desired reactions commenced.”

Shorter version:

“A person opened a sliding glass door, walked through, located the fridge, opened it, got out a beer and drank it.”

Thank you for coming to my writing workshop.

Sunset, 2/7/19

Another week down. Enjoy the weekend!

Day Jobs, Creating, and the End of the World

Because I assume most people lead full, rich and happy lives that do not revolve around the Internet, some of you may not be aware that a couple of days ago Writer Twitter blew up because a writer and editor named Jason Heller wrote a thread about day jobs, the first post of which was this:

(click on the tweet for the full thread)

Writer Twitter blew up at this advice and thread because the general mass of writers on Twitter consider this absolutely terrible advice (including, in the interest of disclosure, me). Things got testy, as they do on Twitter, because it’s Twitter, and a bit of the plot was lost. But now, a few days later, I think it’s worth looking again to see why this is still pretty bad advice in most cases, and also to note the few circumstances when it is not.

Let me preface by saying I’m pretty sure that the place Heller is coming from is something along the lines of “don’t let fear keep you from the work you’re meant to do” and also “seize the day.” Which, if that’s indeed where he’s coming from, is not bad advice! The time you have now is all the time you will ever have in the world, so if you’re not making the time within it to do the things you want to do with your life, you’re cheating yourself. Don’t do that. Do the things, creatively, you want to do. It will take time to get to the level you would want to be at, so starting sooner is better than later.

However (and this is where Heller is giving bad advice, and why Writer Twitter blew up at him), not only are having a day job and following your dreams not mutually exclusive, much of the time a day job is the thing that allows one to continue working toward those dreams, because it provides the things people need in order to live life generally, including money, health insurance (in the US, at least) and the relative stability that alleviates stresses in one’s life. Stresses like “oh, shit, how am I going to pay for rent this month” or “I’m out of my medications and can’t afford any more, which means I might die” or “I can’t feed my children, what’s up with that, the state frowns upon starving one’s progeny.” All of which can, in fact, put a damper on one’s creative drive.

Now, Heller addresses this by noting that he was punk and had been poor and didn’t expect a middle-class standard of living anyway. Well, that’s fine for Heller. But not everyone wants to be punk, and not everyone romanticizes poverty as an acceptable lifestyle if you have the ability to make a different choice. As it happens, I also have stretches of poverty in my history, occasionally of the “we don’t have a place to live and also here’s a box of Raisin Bran, let’s try to make it last a week” sort. I find valorizing that sort of scenario as an acceptable lifestyle choice odious, especially if other people are involved and are essentially hostages to your choices. Desperation almost never leads to art (and especially, good art). It mostly leads to making poor choices to get through one’s life because poor choices are the options one has.

But at least you have time to work on your art if you quit your day job, yes? Well, no, not really. Speaking again from experience, poverty and desperation are really time-intensive. One still has to live in the world, and when you’re poor and have limited resources, navigating a world designed to cater to people who can solve problems with money takes effort, and time, and the willingness to thread through all the barriers that are put up against the poor in our society. At least if you have a day job, the hours that you aren’t able to fill with creative work are exchanged for money (and health care, and 401(k)s, and such).

(Not to mention that even people who are full-time writers and creators aren’t always exactly clocking in eight hours a day on art. I do four hours a day max when I write because after that my brain is like “I’m done being creative for the day.” Sometimes I’ll get two hours. Sometimes less. So what do I do with the rest of that time? Shit, I could do a day job with that time — and did, for years, because I was working as a freelance writer and consultant. It was fun making money after my brain turned into a flan!)

Heller says in his Twitter thread that “You can and should say ‘fuck you’ to conventional wisdom and throw yourself off the cliff and see if you can learn how to fly on your way down.” Okay, but here’s the thing about that: Never in the history of the world has anyone ever thrown themselves off a cliff and learned to fly on the way down. Physics is not conventional wisdom. What people who fling themselves off cliffs do is accelerate, falling faster and faster, until they hit the ground and die, or if they’re lucky, merely break every bone in their body and take months or years to recuperate, if they do at all. Jesus, Scalzi, it’s a metaphor, I hear you say. Sure, it is, but look at the actual metaphor and what it says: See if you can do the thing literally no one else has ever done. It’s gonna be awesome! Meanwhile, right here by the cliff is a trail that will lead you to the bottom safely — sure, it’ll take longer to get to the bottom, but your arrival will not be occasioned by a broken, shattered body, and along the way you may have time to think and plot and strategize, so that when you arrive where you want to go, you have a plan for where to go next. Sexy metaphors are sexy, but there are better ways to actually lead one’s life.

“It’s so fucking harmful that we’re instilling writers with this dull, gray terror of taking risks or hurling themselves recklessly into their passion,” Heller writes in his Twitter thread. But I think his position is, intentionally or not, disingenuous. First, and again, it’s not either/or — one can take massive risks and live dangerously in one’s creative life, and still have a day job, and a comfortable material existence. Indeed, when one’s basic physical and psychological needs are met, one does not have to expend mental cycles on those needs and has them available for one’s creative work. Second, it’s not actually “fucking harmful” to tell writers (or any other creators) it’s all right to acknowledge they live in the world, and the world is set up in a way that they have to navigate, and also, can navigate and still have time for their passion.

Third, as noted by Annalee Flower Horne in her own Twitter response, some people like their day job and find it a source of validation and inspiration. That’s right, you can actually enjoy your day job and find it fulfilling! You might even use it as a wellspring for your creative life! And even if you don’t, you might still decide that as a person, you are living your best life with your day job and a creative job. It’s possible! And for some people, even essential.

The short version of this is it appears either Heller doesn’t know you can live dangerously and passionately in art and comfortably in world, or is aware of it, but is kinda contemptuous of it. If the former, well, he’s been told now, by lots of people, over and over, and it’s up to him to internalize it. If it’s the latter — and it might be, as his thread comes off as dismissive of people who aren’t willing to throw themselves off a cliff — then, as he might say, that’s a choice. It’s also not a choice everyone else has to make, or is often the best choice they could make, either for themselves or for the other people whose lives are tied to theirs.

Mind you, Heller may also believe his advice is predicated on a ticking clock. As he declares at the onset of his thread, “The world is ending.” So, here’s the thing about that: The world’s not ending, either physically or with respect to humanity. Physically, the world will end in five billion years when the sun, as a red giant, expands to engulf the planet. You will probably not be around for that. Before then, the world will still be here.

Now, that’s probably not where Heller is going; he’s probably suggesting that “Creeping fascism + global climate change = end of the world for humans.” And to be sure, it’s not a great combination. But then, in the 1980s, “Cold war + Mutually Assured Nuclear Destruction = end of the world for humans.” In the 1930s, “Rise of fascism + economic ruin of nations = end of the world for humans.” In the 1910s, “The First Global War + virulent supervirus = end of the world for humans.” In pretty much every era the equation is “[social/political issue] + [existential threat to human supremacy on the planet] = end of the world for humans.” It’s not to discount that creeping fascism and global climate changes are serious problems we need to address. Please, let’s. It’s to say there is always a potential end of the world.

And yet in every era, people created and held down day jobs! It’s possible to do, even when staring down the gaping maw of nothingness and oblivion. You can do it! If you want to! Also, the world’s probably not actually ending — it’s changing, but that’s not the same as ending — so maybe don’t use that as a serious assessing factor. Even with global climate change, it will take several decades for it to suss out. You’ll probably be dead for the worst of it anyway. Meanwhile you still have bills and need to eat (and also, hey, maybe agitate politically against global fascism and climate change denial, that would be awesome of you).

So, in sum: Yeeeeeeah, you don’t usually have to quit your day job in order to throw yourself into your art. And in fact, most of the time it’s probably not a great idea. So maybe don’t.

After all this, you may ask, when should you quit your day job to throw yourself, recklessly and passionately, into your art? Well, alone or in combination:

1. As Nick Mamatas notes in his own Twitter thread, if your day job (whatever it is) is giving you a life no better than what you would get being a starving artist anyway, why the fuck not?

2. If you have a spouse/partner/family who has a stable income/benefits and is willing to support your freeloading ass while you whittle away at your creative work, then, sure. But also be sure to acknowledge, to yourself if not to anyone else, that you’re catching a hell of a break here.

3. If you hate your job with such a passion that it sucks your will to live no matter how well it pays or how awesome the benefits, then you should probably consider leaving that job regardless of any creative aspirations. However, maybe see if there’s a different job with similar pay/benefits you could move into, one that doesn’t make you want to collapse into a ball, before just ditching it all. It’s amazing how fast the money runs out.

4. If you’re already financially doing so well with your creative work that your day job is acting as a drag to your income (which can happen!).

5. You are independently wealthy and you’ve been keeping a day job mostly as an affectation and/or have been awarded a grant (or book advance!) large enough to cover your life expenses for years as you create.

6. You have no dependents, are of a social demographic where taking years out of the labor pool to fuck about on a creative endeavor will not be taken as inherent flakiness (hello, straight white men!), and think starving in a cold-water bedsit is a cheeky adventure to be experienced, not a fate to be avoided.

Otherwise? Consider your day job may be a positive, not a negative.

In the end, the enemy of creativity is not a day job, or indeed, anything else that might exist in your life other than your creative impulse (which includes but is not limited to family, friends, spouses, pets, hobbies, politics, entertainment and the world in general). The enemy is you — and your choice to use any of the above not to engage in the creative life you believe you should have. The world is not ending, but you will. You will not be here forever. You have to make the decision to throw yourself into your art, with whatever time you have. If you decide it’s important, then you’ll find the time. Even with a day job. And all the rest of the world, ending or otherwise.

Once Again It’s 8pm and I Have Not Posted Anything Today, So Please Enjoy This Song From a 90s Australian Band

The Falling Joys, enjoyed by many Australians and maybe seven Americans, back in 1990. This song is “Jennifer,” which is pretty great. Hope you like it.

Whoa, It’s Almost 8pm and I Totally Forgot to Update Today, So Here’s a Picture of Smudge

I figure this will hold you until tomorrow. Have a good night!

Hey, Let’s Talk Awards For a Bit: A Handy Guide For Dealing With Them

So, in my time as a fiction writer, I’ve been nominated and/or was a finalist for a fair number of awards, and in some cases I’ve even won them. And in the course of more than a dozen years of being nominated/becoming a finalist/occasionally winning, I’ve learned some things about the process, which I would like to share with you today.

This is not an exhaustive list of things I’ve learned, merely a selection of pertinent points that I think would be useful to others. Some of these are (or should be) obvious; others less so. Ready? Here we go.

First, general thoughts about awards.

1. Awards are nice but not necessary for a career. Meaning that you can have a long, happy and maybe even profitable career writing (or acting, or playing music, or whatever, although for the purposes of this essay I’m focusing on my own creative field, which is writing) without once winning, or even being a finalist for, a single award. I can, off the top of my head, list at least a dozen hugely successful science fiction/fantasy writers who have never been near a Hugo or Nebula short list, and yet they are creating interesting and delightful work, selling that work and building fervent, devoted audiences.

This isn’t to say awards are entirely meaningless: They can make a difference (and I will give a personal example of this presently). But there are other ways to build a thriving career. And to paraphrase a saying, a happy audience will get you through times of no awards rather better than awards will get you through times of no audience.

Commensurately:

2. Some of the most important works in a genre or field come nowhere near an award. Here’s a question for you: What major awards, genre or otherwise, did The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy win when it arrived in 1979? The Hugo? The Nebula? The Locus? Nope, nope, nopeity nope. According to the Science Fiction Awards Database, the only award of any note that Hitchhiker won was the Australian Ditmar Award, for Best International Fiction (It was nominated for the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo for its radio play version, but did not win). And yet Hitchhiker was hugely successful, selling millions of copies, spawning multiple sequels (none of which had much award luck either), being adapted into multiple media, and fundamentally remapping what humor was in the genre of science fiction.

The three novels which comprise The Lord of Rings were eligible for the Hugo (which was getting its start in the early 50s) but were never nominated, and at the time the series garnered only the now-extinct International Fantasy Award (it won the very last one, in point of fact), of which I had never heard, prior to looking it up. Tolkien’s major award recognition would have to wait until the 70s and The Silmarillion. But no one (or at least no one who is not foolish) would suggest anything other than that The Lord of the Rings is foundational to the modern genre of fantasy, for all the good and bad that represents.

The point is that awards are nifty and fun, and also, they are no better at guessing what is enduring and influential in a genre than any other method. Sometimes the awards get it right — William Gibson’s Neuromancer, which put cyberpunk on the map, won the Hugo and Nebula in its year, and its echoes are still reverberating through common culture — but sometimes they don’t.

Also:

3. Award winners sometimes win for reasons other than being “the best.” For example, the Hugos have a “ranked choice/instant runoff” voting process, which means sometimes a work that was not the majority (or even plurality) choice can win the award as other works are eliminated and their votes reapportioned. Sometimes juried awards settle on a compromise candidate when the votes aren’t there for the works the jurists feel the most passionate about. Sometimes people award their vote not because the particular work stands head and shoulders above the other finalists but because the voter thinks it’s good enough and also it’s the author’s “time” (conversely, sometimes a voter would rather run their arms over a cheese grater than vote for a specific author, regardless of the quality of the work in question).

None of this means a winner isn’t worthy of winning; one makes the assumption that, barring direct and obvious gaming of the actual nominating process, all the finalists are of a certain, reasonable competence and quality. It does mean that lots of factors go into the process of selecting a winner, not all of them straightforward.

But that’s all right, because here’s a real thing:

4. Winning an award is not always as important as being a finalist. I can speak to this personally: In terms of my career, it was far more important for me to have been nominated for the Best Novel Hugo award in 2006, than it was for me to win it in 2013. Why? Because in 2006 I was new to the field, and having my first novel nominated was a thing, especially when coupled with the nomination for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. I was the first person in more than twenty years to get nominated for the Campbell and Best Novel in the same year, and it changed my status in the field from “who is John Scalzi” to “oh, that’s John Scalzi.”

I didn’t win the Hugo that year (nor should I have: Spin by Robert Charles Wilson won, and deservedly so), but it didn’t matter because the boost put me in a different career orbit. When I did win the Best Novel award, several years later, it was great, and I loved it, and I wouldn’t trade the experience. But careerwise, it wasn’t a transforming event. It was a confirming event. My professional career didn’t change all that much after I won. Whereas being nominated earlier was transforming, and ultimately more important to my career.

The takeaway from points one through four is simply this: Awards! They’re neat and fun! Enjoy them! But they’re not everything, and winning them isn’t always as important as you might think.

With that in mind, if you are nominated, or become a finalist for, an award, here are some things for you to consider:

5. Enjoy the hell out of the ride. Enjoy the congratulations, the happiness others have for you, and the moment in the spotlight. If someone tells you to dial it back, you have my permission to ignore them, because this is a personal and professional highlight, and you deserve to dance around like an over-caffeinated monkey (literally and figuratively) if such is your joy. Let them be all muted and circumspect when/if it’s their turn to be nominated for something in the future. You do it your way.

The flip side of this is, with the happiness comes the anxiety of “Oh God, what if I win? What if I don’t win? What if people don’t think I deserve it? What if I don’t deserve it? Now do I have to get nominated every year or I’ve tumbled into the abyss of failure?” So, quickly:

  • If you win, great! Enjoy it.
  • If you don’t win, that’s fine, too.
  • You totally deserve it.
  • The people who think you don’t deserve it: Meh, their opinion, not one you have to worry about.
  • You don’t have to get nominated every single year from now on. And you won’t!

The point is: This is a moment. It’s for you to enjoy. Enjoy the moment! Don’t worry about what happens after the moment, if you don’t want to. Give yourself permission to be happy.

6. The other finalists aren’t your competition, they’re your peers. I mean, yes, they are your competition, in that only one of you is likely to take home the award (sometimes there’s a tie. Don’t count on it). Buuuut, look back at point three up there. It’s a real thing. Again, whatever wins deserves to win — and that’s because any of the finalists probably deserves to win. All of the finalists have produced work that is award-caliber, and that includes you. You can be justifiably proud of that, and you can look at the field of finalists and be content that you deserve to be in their company (and equally importantly, they in yours).

I’ve been nominated for the Best Novel Hugo five times and the years I lost my “peer group” included Robert Charles Wilson, George RR Martin, Ann Leckie, NK Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, Charles Stross, Yoon Ha Lee, Cory Doctorow, Mur Lafferty, Ken MacLeod, Ian McDonald, Robert J. Sawyer, Kim Stanley Robinson and Michael Chabon. The year I won, my peer group included Seanan McGuire, Saladin Ahmed and Lois McMaster Bujold. I mean, are you kidding me with this? I get to put my work in the same field as the work of any of these writers? How can you not pinch yourself and consider yourself lucky?

All of us got to have that moment where we were placed in each other’s company, and each of us can be proud of the association. Some of these people were friends before we were finalists together. Some of them became friends afterward. Someone goes home with the award but everyone in the field gets to have this moment of fellowship and perhaps even friendship. Guess which lasts longer and feels better. Be happy with your new peer group.

7. Practice your zen. With every award, there will be people who will proclaim loudly that there’s something wrong with who is a finalist, who won, and come up with all manner of reasons why things happened the way they did, some nefarious, and some just petty and dickish. Sometimes the focus of their ire might be you.

Remember that some people are always going to kvetch and complain and it’s not your job to validate their grievances or to agree with their assessment. You’re not responsible for their opinions and it’s not your fault they’re upset. That’s on them. If it’s just general whining and complaining, it’s often best to just let it go — everyone has their opinion and you don’t have to engage with them (especially because, no matter what, you’re already on the finalist slate, so you have that going for you, which is nice). This is especially the case if they’re not complaining to you directly, just venting somewhere you might happen to see it.

Beyond this, there are the occasional trolls and dickheads who will try to engage you, because they’re assholes or because they have a social/political agenda they think they’ll further by enraging you and/or making you unhappy. You can engage if you like — and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I’ve poked the more reprehensible of this species just to watch them spin in tight little circles — but usually it’s like wrestling the proverbial pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. Also, if you don’t have straight white dude privilege (or experience of dealing with assholes on a regular basis) it can get overwhelming. So generally I suggest just blocking or muting these dudes if they decide to bring their grievances to you. You don’t owe anyone your attention, especially a troll.

Just remember it’s almost never the case that everyone in the world is going to be 100% happy with any finalist slate for anything, and that you don’t have to justify your presence on one. Your presence is its own justification.

8. Pro tip: Assume you won’t win, and be ready to be happy for the person who does. There are a few reasons for this. One, statistically speaking, you generally have a 75% to 80% chance of being correct, so it’s always a safe bet. Two, freeing yourself up from worrying means you can enjoy being a finalist for itself, without additional angst and angina. Three, it gives you an opportunity to enjoy the work and the personality of the other finalists, and to remind yourself that you’re their peers (and they’re yours). Four, if you do win, you can be happily surprised.

This does not mean that you should assume you won’t win because your work isn’t good enough — don’t be the person who runs themself or their work down in order to shield themself from a disappointment. Your work is good enough (otherwise you and it wouldn’t be a finalist) and you can be assured that’s not an issue. Again, see point three above. The point here is not to psyche yourself out of wanting to win. Want to win! It’s allowed. The point is to give yourself permission to be happy with how far you come even if you don’t win.

As for being happy for the person who wins when it is not you, well, why not? It does you no harm, and it means that in the future if you should win an award, you will likely have one more person happy for you. Can you be a little sad you didn’t win? Sure! Everyone wants to win, and you don’t have to pretend that you don’t. Be a little sad! But you can do that and still be happy for someone else.

(Also, sometimes it’s actually easy to be happy for someone else. The last Hugo I lost was to NK Jemisin, who capped off a remarkable three-peat Best Novel win at the Hugos. Her winning, aside from being richly deserved in itself, represented an appropriately seismic recalibration of where the center of our shared genre now resides. It’s hard to be churlish about not winning when you get a front row seat to literary history. As I’ve said before and will probably say again, I’ve never been happier to have come in second.)

9. If you do win, share the love. Thank your editor. Thank your agent. Thank your cover designer, and copy editor, and everyone else you can think of. Thank your partner. Thank your kid. Thank your dog. Have good, kind and true words for your fellow finalists. I’m not going to say be humble — I mean, you just won an award, that’s pretty great — but be mindful of the people who helped you to that award, and the peers whose work your work stood with to get there.

Also speaking as someone who knows: It helps to write something out beforehand. Really, do that.

10. Win or lose: Get back to work. When I won my Best Novel Hugo, I allowed myself a whole week to enjoy the fact — and then, I had to get back to what I was doing, which was, writing the next thing. When I lost my last Hugo, I also gave myself a week (mostly because I was traveling to another convention and it’s hard for me to focus on the road), and then got back to what I was doing, which was writing the next thing.

Win or lose, awards are a moment, and the moment ends, one way or another. On to the next thing. Always, on to the next thing.

Head On a Finalist for the Audie Award

There are worse ways to start a week than to find out one of your novels is a finalist for an award. Head On is a finalist for the Audie Award (that’s for audiobooks), in the category of science fiction. Other books that are finalists in the category:

  • Artemis, by Andy Weir, read by Rosario Dawson
  • Black Star Renegades, by Michael Moreci, read by Dan Bittner
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Hexagonal Phase, by Douglas Adams and Eoin Colfer, read by John Lloyd, Jane Horrocks, Sandra Dickinson, Susan Sheridan, Jim Broadbent, Mark Wing-Davey, Geoffrey McGivern, Simon Jones and a Full Cast
  • Planetside, by Michael Mammay, read by RC Bray

Nice company to be in. Also, the version of Head On that made the finals is the read by Wil Wheaton, although I think honestly it had to have been a coin flip between his and Amber Benson’s narration, both are just that good.

I’ve been a finalist for the Audies several times before and have won twice. It’s always a delight to be a finalist, and I’ll be happy to win if I do but not at all disappointed if I don’t. It’s a very fine finalist field, and also, you know, why be greedy.

Likewise I have a number of friends whose work are finalists in many other categories: Here’s the full finalist list. 2018 was, if nothing else, an excellent year for audiobooks. Congratulations to all the finalists!

The Difference a Day Makes

The top picture here is from yesterday, roughly at 10:30 am, and the second picture here is today, just a bit after noon. By this evening all that snow will be gone because it’s currently 48 and we’ll get up to 57. As a reminder, a couple of days ago we were in negative temperatures. Winter has become this very weird season around these parts. Mind you, I personally prefer 57 to -8. By rather a lot. I’m not entirely sure we’re meant to have 65 degree temperature swings this quickly, however. Just another thing for us to come to terms with.

Sunset, 2/1/19

A hazy shade of winter.

New Books and ARCs, 2/1/19

Whoa, February already. And to start the month off, please enjoy this very fine stack of new books and ARCs that have come to the Scalzi Compound. What here is ringing your bell? Tell everyone in the comments.

Back at Home

And my in-house editor is ready to go!

Also, it’s cold as balls right at the moment: -2, without windchill. Yes, I know other places in the US are colder at the moment. You know what? -2 is cold enough. This isn’t the Freeze Your Gonads Off Olympics. And if it is, I’m happy to let someone else take the gold.

I think I’m done traveling for a whole month. I don’t even know what I’ll do with myself. Actually I do: I’ll write. It’s kind of my thing.

Hope if it’s cold where you are that you’re keeping warm. And if it’s warm where you are, well. Have your smug little moment, I suppose.

View From a Hotel Window, 1/27/19: West Hollywood

My hotel room overlooks a dog park, how cool is that?

As I believe I noted before, I’m here in town for a couple of days to have meetings and schmooze and maybe even see a friend or two, as one would here in the City of the Angels. Should be fun.

How was your weekend? Tell all!

View From a Hotel Window, 1/24/19: Chicago

Mmmmm… snowy parking lot. 

I’m in Chicago for personal reasons (no public appearances, sorry), and then I’ll be off the Los Angeles for meetings (also no public events). My life is interesting.

This is it for updating here today, but if you need more of me, I and Leigh Alexander did an AMA over at Reddit earlier today (I literally got off the plan, opened up my laptop, and did it at an O’Hare gate) where we talk about science fiction, writing, and other stuff. I may have hinted at interesting stuff there I’m not supposed to tell people about yet. Just saying.

Today’s Thing I Am Not Okay With

Google’s spellchecker attempting to correct “all right” to “alright.”

NOT OKAY WITH THAT, GOOGLE.