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November 26, 2005

The Editorial Process, Revealed, Kinda


Pictured: The second pass of page proofs from The Ghost Brigades, which I need to comb through for any remaining errors/inconsistencies/things I want to take out. After this, any errors that remain become part of the quirky character of a first edition printing, to be enjoyed by bibliophiles for years after they've been corrected in second and subsequent editions. At this point I expect most of the truly egregious errors have been dealt with; be that as it may, I'll be reading closely to make sure.

Aside from grammar, spelling and continuity issues, what has changed from the original manuscript to the second pass page proofs you see before you? Well, since you asked:

1. Sentences have been rejiggered so that when the entire text is exposed to certain mystical numerology practices, it no longer reveals the coordinates of the secret island where Jesus, Buddha and Jim Morrison engage in an eternal, bloody pillow fight over the future of humanity.

2. A talking, bow tie-wearing walrus named "Chumley" no longer plays a critical role.

3. The sentences of every character no longer end with the phrase "Arsenal Rules OK".

4. Holographic cameo from endearing, confetti-throwing comedian Rip Taylor excised from Chapter Six. Likewise, Chapter Eight now lacks crowd-pleasing star turns from former "CHiPs" stars Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada.

5. 73-page radio address by the character Jane Sagan outlining the fundamentals of my new philosophy of "Rejectivism" has been gently lifted from the text and will now be available as a stand-alone limited edition novella from Subterranean Press.

6. Patrick Nielsen Hayden suggested, and I agree, that I don't actually have to note that all the character's nipples crinkle happily whenever there is a spot of good news.

7. The final confrontation between the forces of good and evil no longer erupts into a colorful Bollywood-like musical number.

8. The members of the "Ghost Brigades," who as you may recall are born as fully-sized, combat-ready adults, no longer have crystals in their hands that flash ominously when they turn five years old.

9. Combat uniforms are now made from a substance other than taffeta.

10. Characters no longer stop every five pages to conspicuously enjoy the products of my corporate sponsors Anheuser-Busch, RJ Reynolds and Spanky Sam's S&M Tie-Up Emporium and Bait Shoppe (home of America's first dual-use sex toy and fish lure, "The Wiggler").

Don't worry. These will all make the "Uncut Edition" that will be released after my sordid, sordid death. Which, I am reasonably certain, will involve "The Wiggler" in some way.


Posted by john at November 26, 2005 10:36 AM

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Bill Blum | November 26, 2005 11:56 AM

Were you ordering off the secret menu of plot devices, or something?

Patrick | November 26, 2005 02:35 PM

No Rip Taylor? I'm totally not buying your book now.

Martin Wagner | November 26, 2005 02:43 PM

Been hanging out at The Onion a lot lately, have we?

Cavan | November 26, 2005 02:44 PM

Ah, good, the philosophy has been removed. This makes my nipples crinkle happily.

John Scalzi | November 26, 2005 02:51 PM

Martin Wagner:

"Been hanging out at The Onion a lot lately, have we?"

Ahhh, you're just upset because I took out the three-breasted robots, too.

Andrew Cory | November 26, 2005 03:35 PM

Wait, how can you self consciously steal from Heinlein and not have crinkly nipples?

John Scalzi | November 26, 2005 03:36 PM

Well, the crinkly nipples are still there. We just don't have to talk about them.

Martin Wagner | November 26, 2005 03:47 PM

Yeah, I am upset about the three-breasted robots, dangit. They were what made the crinkly nipples work!

John Scalzi | November 26, 2005 03:49 PM

In triplicate!

Anonymous | November 26, 2005 05:37 PM

Mmmm. The Wiggler.

Mary | November 26, 2005 07:19 PM

So are you changing your blog tagline to "Crinkling nipples in happiness since 1998"?

Bill Peschel | November 26, 2005 07:34 PM

So the homage to the sublime brilliance of "Small Wonder" and its influence on the hermeneutic code found in OMW is still in? Good man.

Bob | November 26, 2005 07:34 PM

I look forward to Rejectivism becoming the nucleus of an amusing and possibly republic-threatening political movement in 20 or 30 years.

JonathanMoeller | November 26, 2005 09:26 PM

The musical number should totally stay in.

Kevin Q | November 26, 2005 09:31 PM

Is the final text going to be decorated with snowflakes, like the proofs above? It's a daring touch - I like it.


Bruce Arthurs | November 27, 2005 01:29 AM

6. Patrick Nielsen Hayden suggested, and I agree, that I don't actually have to note that all the character's nipples crinkle happily whenever there is a spot of good news.

An occasional, subdued "spung!" will suffice.

TLD | November 27, 2005 02:17 AM

removal of #s 7 and 9 just blew your shot at selling the movie rights...what will the director and costume designer have to work with now??? and when they were choosing the next Pope (and wanted a candidate who would draw in the Latin and South American populations) i personally thought Erik Estrada was the PERFECT choice. charismatic, Latin American, appealing to several generations...what's not to love? he may be down, but he's not out! hey, Erik Estrada for President (we could do worse). besides, at this point, i think he could use the work...

Bill, "the Wildcat" | November 27, 2005 08:15 AM

Darn! I would have enjoyed that "Bollywood" musical sequence. Perhaps you should put that in a future special edition. It worked for "Star Wars," after all. Wait. It did work for "Star Wars," didn't it? Hmmmm...

archipunk | November 27, 2005 05:48 PM


I was SO looking forward to a science-fiction novel with "Tennessee Tuxedo" references.

Maybe next time...

Mark Ensley | November 27, 2005 08:52 PM

I look forward to Rejectivism becoming the nucleus of an amusing and possibly republic-threatening political movement in 20 or 30 years.

I think the most you should hope for is to have a Rejectivist be the Chariman of the Federal Reserve Board for several administrations. Of course, it's entirely arguable that this could be "republic-threatening".

liz | November 27, 2005 09:34 PM

If nipples are no longer a barometer of happiness and mood, I'm really not sure how to comprehend the emotions portrayed. Heinlein-esque, my ass.

La Gringa | November 28, 2005 07:25 AM

Dude, the nipple thing worked for George R.R. Martin.


John Scalzi | November 28, 2005 08:32 AM

Now I have the mental image of George RR Martin's crinkled nipples. Thank you so very much.

Amanda | November 28, 2005 09:34 AM

Hey, at least it's not a mental image of George RR Martin and The Wiggler.

... Oops. :D

Christopher Davis | November 28, 2005 12:25 PM

What, no mention of "venom cock"? Does that mean it's still in? (Er...maybe that's not the best phrasing for that sentence.)

John Scalzi | November 28, 2005 12:33 PM

Oh, man. Don't even drag me into that "Venom Cock" thing.

lee | December 20, 2006 06:42 PM

i dont know if you are interested
but this site is a googlewhack

of rejectivist and queue


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