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February 04, 2005

Little Bits

Just a bunch of little things going on:

* I got my author's copy of the Science Fiction Book Club version of Old Man's War this afternoon, and I found the differences interesting. The cover is glossy where the Tor version is not; the book itself is black where the Tor version is blue; the texture of the paper is noticeably different. The words, of course, are the same. Which to my mind is the important thing, and why I would make a piss-poor book collector; I couldn't possibly care less whether I have a first edition of something so long as all the words are there. Having said that, I am looking forward to the special editions of Agent to the Stars, but those really are going to be rare editions.

In any event, should you ever see me at an event and want me to sign your book, don't worry if it's a club edition and not a bookstore edition. I'll happily sign either.

* Had a nice chat with the Tor folks today, in which I was told that the size of the second printing is getting bumped up. Go, OMW! We also chatted about the paperback and about The Ghost Brigades, and we all agreed that what The Ghost Brigades really needs is some Ewoks. No, no, not really. I'm just seeing if you're paying attention. Really, no Ewoks -- indeed, nothing Ewok-like. Unless, of course, I put them in just to have them brutally slaughtered and dressed out like rabbits to be stewed.

* Recently someone asked me in e-mail whether, given the success of OMW, I was tempted to lord it over all who opposed me over the years (the actual wording of the e-mail was different, but that was the basic sentiment). The answer is: Not really. First, let's note that success here means a good-sized handful of positive reviews and also a fair amount of publicity in the blogosphere (the latter as influential as the former -- if not more so -- in moving copies of the book), resulting in the sale of (to date) a few thousand copies of the book. This is all excellent news, of course: I'm gratified that reviews have been good, chuffed (to use an Aussie term) that the bloggers have had my back for this book, and very pleased that the hardback seems to be selling above expectation. So yes, I'm feeling OMW is successful.

However, I am not feeling that it is so successful that I can be a vengeance-taking dickhead and not experience a massive karmic whiplash. Maybe if I had gotten a million-dollar advance, sold a few hundred thousand copies of my book, gotten a big fat movie deal and had Katie Couric lobbing me softball questions on the Today Show, I could move from happily pleased to raging asshole without consequences. But I didn't, I haven't, I haven't and I don't, so I can't, because then there would be. Perspective is an important thing.

Second: Even if I wanted to wreak vengeance upon my enemies, who would they be? I regret to say that I haven't really made any enemies of consequence, and certainly not any in the writing arena. When I was in college, I took a creative writing class and the professor said in the first class that he wouldn't read any science fiction, so it might be fun to send him a book, considering no one else in that class (to my knowledge) has published so much as a joke in Reader's Digest. But I doubt if he remembers me, or would actually care, and that would take a lot of the fun out of it.

Outside of that professor, I can't really say anyone else rises to the level of a nemesis, either. There are people I know who dislike me and/or dislike my writing, to be sure, but none of them are of any real consequence in my personal life or my career, so I can't actually rouse myself to care what they think. And notwithstanding the occasional and generally pointless piss-fight I'll get into here on the site (which are usually ultimately of very little consequence in the real world), I don't think I go out of my way to make enemies, particularly of other writers; to do so would be to violate Rule #8 here. It takes a lot of effort to make enemies, basically, and I don't really have time for that.

So, no: No being a jerk for me -- or at the very least, no being a jerk because of Old Man's War. I guess that leaves me plenty of opportunities to be a jerk for other reasons, although I hope I'll avoid those for the most part as well.

Posted by john at February 4, 2005 08:08 PM

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Comments

Soni | February 5, 2005 01:22 AM

You know, if you really wanted we could probably all chip in and get you an archnemesis for, like, your birthday or something. I mean, all the cool kids have one.

Paul | February 5, 2005 01:24 AM

You know the old saying: living well is the best revenge. And, I can guarantee you are living much more "well" than any damn university professor. I'll still be waiting for the paperback, though.
-Paul

Mark Ensley | February 5, 2005 04:17 AM

So do some writers actually get pissy when someone asks them to sign a book club edition? Do these same writers get their panties in a bunch when asked to sign paperbacks?

I'm genuniely curious, because I've never gotten a book autographed and am unsure of the ritual forms involved.

I understand that royalties for book club aren't what they are for hardback, it's a cheaper product all around, but how do they compare for paperback?

Christopher Davis | February 5, 2005 11:10 AM

Mark: There are some authors, I'm sure, who get unhappy about all sorts of things (the existence of used book stores, etc).

Most of the ones I've encountered are happy to sign even old beat-up paperbacks (modulo issues like limits on number of items per pass through line, or "must buy it here" policies for bookstore signings), because it means that the reader cares enough about the work to want it signed.

Dave | February 5, 2005 03:57 PM

I think you could add Ewoks without slaughtering them. Just make them vicious and blood-thirsty. Think the rabbit from the Holy Grail. Actually you could add some Gungans too... have THEM stay jocular and affable... but in reality they're being raised as meat by the Ewoks.

Heartless Ewoks. They'll do you a treat, mate!

Jaquandor | February 5, 2005 08:37 PM

No enemies at all? Wow, you need one. Hmmmm...how's this:

"OMW reads just like what you'd expect from some pansy liberal who thinks his little girl is just oh so cute! When will he realize that the child-free among us are the only truly happy people on the planet! Down with Darwin, and long live the Confederate States of America!"

Does that work? :)

John Scalzi | February 5, 2005 09:16 PM

God, that's beautiful. Excuse me while I wipe a tear from my eye.

PiscusFiche | February 6, 2005 08:57 AM

This is going to be relevant in about 20 seconds, I promise: BTW, I was playing World of Warcraft online with my boyfriend and brother last night, and we were going through a certain area last night where we needed to recruit some extra people for our team. Now it's pretty common to talk in abbreviations because your typing skills go all to hell while trying to run away from night elves or murlocs or in the midst of pitched battles. So you will see people saying "grats" instead of "congratulations" or "BFD" for "Blackfathom Deeps" or "XR" for "Crossroads." So last night while waiting for people to show up, I kept seeing various guild members type out OMW, OMW, OMW over and over again. Before you get too excited, THEY weren't talking about your OMW, but of course, because I read this site, that was the first thing that leapt to mind. I soon figured out that it was "On my way", but apparently other people were trying to speculate in channel what OMW might mean. Some of them thought it was "Oh my word," and eventually I volunteered that I had thought of your novel. I had a couple of people ask me about the novel--which I haven't read yet--but I pointed them at your site, and mentioned the favourable comparisons to Heinlein you keep getting in reviews. So hopefully you will have a few new readers soon.

John Scalzi | February 6, 2005 10:38 AM

Heh. It certainly would have been strange for them to think about my novel in context to World of Warcraft. But it's cool you mentioned it! Thanks.

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