The Other One

Hi, Whateverites. (Whateverians? I know a group of lions is a pride and a group of wolves is a pack. What does one call a large group of Whatever readers?) I’m the other one. Well, not necessarily The Other One, but certainly an other one. One of your other guest bloggers here for the next six weeks, my name is Mykal Burns.

Tangent alert! My mind works in a somewhat non-linear fashion, so I often drift off on tangential spurs in the middle of a conversation (or blog post.) I do always try, sometimes successfully, to bring it back around to the subject I began with. In this case, I’m thinking about science fiction character names. Do you know what I like best about John Perry and Jane Sagan from Scalzi’s Old Man’s War universe? I can easily read and pronounce their names. Many science fiction authors think that because their characters come from other worlds, they need names like Zapldrk Nuumsphoqx. My problem is that every single time I read a name like that, I will try to pronounce it correctly in my mind. Every time, throughout the book. It breaks the rhythm of my reading and really slows me down. A note to sf/f authors: why you gotta make it so hard? Anyway, the point is, while my name is spelled Mykal, it is pronounced like “Michael.” Don’t let the weird spelling slow you down. Besides, many people just call me “Burns.”

Annnd…we’re back. By way of introduction, here’s a bit about me:

First, I have to tell you something that I know will cause some of you great consternation; you may be tempted to stop reading anything that I post here altogether. Fight that urge. My admission? I don’t have a cat.

Even now, I hear many of you grumbling toward your computers. Why would Scalzi choose a guest blogger without even the possibility of adorable kitteh pics? I want you to know that I understand your feelings. There are certain expectations when one comes to the Whatever, and it would seem that I’ve let you down on this one, even before I’ve begun. There is hope, though. I have friends with cats; maybe you’ll get pictures of them. I also occasionally shoot photos of other amusing subjects, so I’ll do my best to fill this gap that I have unwittingly created.

I like to follow bad news with good, so on the upside, I suspect that I am the guest blogger who has known Scalzi the longest. I saw a comment in one of the other threads asking for embarrassing secrets, and if anyone is going to have those, it’ll be me. John and I met sometime around 10 or 11 years old, so I’ve even got stories from the awkward teenage years. I try to maintain a fair level of confidentiality, but if I get stuck for material (or if I’m properly bribed) I may have to bring some of those stories to light.

In keeping with local custom, I expect to spend the next six weeks writing about Whatever strikes me as blog worthy. I’ve got fairly varied interests, so I hope there will be at least a little something for everyone. Though I usually lurk, I’ve spent a good bit of time over the years reading the comment forums here, and I’ve always been impressed by the level of discourse amongst Whatever readers. It’s a sharp bunch here, and I hope to keep you all engaged and somewhat entertained. I also look forward to an opportunity to take a more active role in the conversation.

Thanks for having me and the other guest bloggers. I am honored to be in their distinguished company, and to have a chance to hang out here with you. Now let’s have some fun.