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January 20, 2005

Some Excellent OMW News


Two bits of good news for Old Man's War:

1. The Science Fiction Book Club Winter 2005 magazine came today, and I'm delighted to see that they've devoted a full page to OMW, as you can see here (it's page 11, in case you're wondering). Hopefully it'll entice some people who haven't heard of me before. As a bonus, the magazine also gives a shoutout to the Whatever up on the top of the page. So if you've come here from reading about this place in the SFBC magazine: Howdy! Make yourself at home.

2. I mentioned recently that I would feel OMW was a success if it made it to a second printing in hardback. Well, it has -- a reliable source tells me they're rushing to get a second printing out there even as we speak. Needless to say, I'm mighty thrilled to hear it.

Provident news, I think, as I head toward a science fiction convention.

I may not update again until Monday, so if I don't, have a great weekend.

Posted by john at January 20, 2005 03:32 PM

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Kait Mackenzie | January 20, 2005 04:17 PM

Wow! Congratulations to you! That's fantastic news. I haven't been able to track OMW down yet, but it sounds like soon it won't be so hard to find. =)

John Scalzi | January 20, 2005 04:19 PM

Indeed -- hopefully that will be the end result of the second printing.

Bill Peschel | January 20, 2005 11:00 PM

Congratulations, John. That's great news!

Kristy | January 21, 2005 12:06 AM

Glad that SFBC gave you a page in the "real" newsletter! I just got a promotion from them in the mail (6 books for 50 cents each, yadda yadda) and was very disappointed not to see OMW listed. See if I join their club now!

Soni | January 21, 2005 12:42 AM

Super congratulicious, dude. I feel like one of the investors who bought into Apple when it was still a garage-band affair and got to watch it rise to stardom (but, you know, without the cash dividends - eh, such is life). Too utterly cool.

cb | January 21, 2005 08:19 AM

I feel the same as Soni. Where do I send the money? Gotta plan for retirement you know. :-)

Sue | January 21, 2005 08:52 AM

I'm about 150 pages into OMW now and enjoying it far more than I expected to, given that I'm not an SF fan. I was tickled to notice that John Perry and I share the same birthday, and while I'm sure that's a coincidence, I'll just pretend it's not.

Dave Pittman | January 21, 2005 09:32 AM

I'm about 75 pages deep and I like the hook. I'm excited for my train rides and lunch breaks!

Tripp | January 22, 2005 03:27 PM

cb and Soni,

I feel the same way! Also, after the last election, it is relief to find out other people agree with me about what is high quality.

What is weird in that John seems like a normal, regular guy. Aside from his talent, of course.

Brandon | January 23, 2005 12:03 PM


He hasn't broken into super-stardom yet. I imagine that when he becomes a real celebrity, he'll grow the tentacles and beaked maw. You know, something to really look at.

Justin Anderson | January 24, 2005 08:54 AM

Congrats, John! That's really great to hear. Any word on the size of the print run?

John Scalzi | January 24, 2005 09:44 AM

Justin: The second print run should add a couple thousand more copies. The book is selling briskly but is not a best seller. At least, not yet.

Justin Anderson | January 24, 2005 02:25 PM

Sweet. I know roughly nothing about the publishing industry, but I'd think that (especially for a new novelist) just having a second printing that's larger than the first for a hardcover is a very good sign.

Collin | January 24, 2005 04:03 PM

I'm 61 pages in and enjoying it as well. The only thing that depresses me is how little time I have to read.

Laura | January 24, 2005 11:44 PM

I have my copy, I have my copy, I have my copy...and I am soooo happy. This enthusiastic Canadian purchaser (thanks John) is now happily reading OMW.

I predict that this is the start of a beautiful relationship, as John will continue to have more printings done for his books, and then have to start producing more books.

Roger | January 28, 2005 11:59 PM

I'm glad the book is getting popular, I enjoyed it very much. I thought it was very optimistic. I have a little quibble though. I caught a shrew, about the size of your thumb, once when I was a child and it starved to death in just a few hours. No one told me you had to feed it about every hour. It has to do with the ratio of skin area to body volumn. Skin area increases by the square while volumn increases by the cube. Big things have huge volumn to skin ratios so they keep warm easily. Tiny things have it just the opposite and they have to eat to keep their body temperatures up. So I doubt the inche size humans. There could be inch size mammels (there are -- shrews) but they wouldn't be human no matter how long the evolutionary period and number of tries. Likewise, chitin is a poor conductor of heat. It limits the size of insects to about hand size or they burn up inside. The volumn to skin area problem. Also there is a limit to the air tubes. Rather than have lungs which oxygenate blood that goes to each cell, insects have branching hollow tubes to each cell. Apparently that doesn't work with large bodies. So there are no giant bugs. Not here; not anywhere. Still liked your book. Hope you often get to look at a girl it hurts to look at. I liked that part too.

John Scalzi | January 29, 2005 05:36 PM

Re: minature mammals and big bugs --

Yeah, I get a fair number of people commenting on that stuff. My standard response is that because I describe something as humanoid or looking like big bugs doesn't mean that these are *exact* analogues to orders of life found here on Earth.

Rather than saying that small human-like creatures *can't* exist, I find it more fun to speculate on how you would *create* one -- say, by the creatures evolving a hyperefficient intergumentary system, which allows for heat retention, or a more efficient metabolic system, or (in the case of their tiny little brains)more efficient mental processes that don't require the same amount of whatever the equivalent of gray matter is. Likewise, the large bug-like creatures in the book would obviously not breathe like the insects here on Earth (I imagine they have lungs of some sort).

I would agree that in both cases, these creatures would be unlikely on Earth, particularly if they did evolve from (repectively) mammals or insects as we understand them here on the planet; but the book is on Earth only briefly. Out there, evolution need not follow the path it did here.

In any event, I don't find these creatures any *less* likely than, say, the Skip Drive, which almost no one quibbles with.

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