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February 03, 2006

Writing Blah Blah Blah, 2/3/06


Above: An impressionistic representation of the next 18 months (or so) of my life -- all the contracts I've signed for the three-book deal I have with Tor, the topmost contract there being for The Last Colony, the third book in the OMW series. If you're wondering why there are so many contracts, it's because each book has five copies of the contract I need to sign. After they are countersigned, one copy goes to me, one copy goes to my agent, one copy goes to my editor, one copy goes to legal, and one copy is shredded to make a paper-mache voodoo doll likeness of me, into which my publisher will stab steely knives should I wander too far from a deadline. Strangely enough, those are the contracts you always get paper cuts on. Coincidence? Doubtful.

While I'm navel-gazing here, some general notes about Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades:

* First, some good news about Old Man's War (at least, good for me): I've been told they're going back for a second printing of the trade paperback. The first printing of the trade paperback was about three times the first printing of the hardcover, so to burn through enough of them in a month to necessitiate firing up the presses for a second go-round is pretty happy-making. If you bought a trade paperback version of OMW, let me just say: You rock. You also rock if you bought it in hardcover of course. Oh, hell, you all rock. I'm just full of rock love today.

* Second, some news for those of you attending Boskone. As you may know, Boskone happens on the weekend before the release The Ghost Brigades, but because it's damn fine convention of damn fine people, and because the NESFAns have been so kind to OMW, we're making an effort to get a good-sized shipment of Ghost Brigades copies into the dealers' room. I want to stop short of making an iron-clad promise they'll be there -- it's a quantum physics universe and anything can happen -- but right now it looks good. So, if you're going to Boskone and you've been wanting to snag Ghost, cruise through the dealer's room. And remember I'm happy to sign books.

* Third, The Ghost Brigades is going to be featured on and in the Barnes & Noble Explorations site and newsletter next month (and this month, it's got a nice review of Tobias Buckell's Crystal Rain -- go Toby!). I'll certainly remind y'all when it goes live there, but in the meantime, let me share a bit of the upcoming Ghost Brigades review by Paul Goat Allen, which I've been given permission to excerpt:

"Scalzi has been compared to science fiction legend Robert A. Heinlein for good reason: his smooth blend of hard science fiction, military sci-fi and space opera is addictively readable and his breakneck pacing and surprisingly deep character development makes his novels practically impossible to put down. Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades and subsequent installments in this loosely-knit saga could very well be the early 21st century's answer to Asimov's Foundation series - it's that good."

Yeah, it's hard to complain about a review like that. So I won't. Good of me, I know. Of course, now I have to make sure The Lost Colony doesn't manifestly suck. Fortunately, I was planning on trying for that anyway (no doubt to the relief of my editors).

And now you're caught up with me.

Posted by john at February 3, 2006 12:41 PM

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Tracked on February 4, 2006 11:12 AM


Matthias | February 3, 2006 02:45 PM

Not only did I buy a hardcover version - but also a paperback so that I don't have to take the HC out of it's shrine every time I want to read it again. 4 times so far. ;-)

Ryan Freebern | February 3, 2006 02:45 PM

While I'm navel-gazing here

I, ofc, read that as "novel-gazing".

Gabe | February 3, 2006 02:48 PM

What a life to lead. One day I hope to live it as well.

John H | February 3, 2006 04:32 PM

Any news on Questions for a Soldier?

John Scalzi | February 3, 2006 04:46 PM

They should be mailed, I think.

Jim | February 3, 2006 06:03 PM

Speaking of books, I recieved my copy of the chapbook today, which I enjoyed immensely. However I must question the authenticity of the signature in the back. Are you willing to swear it is in fact yours and not a forgery by Athena?

John H | February 3, 2006 06:04 PM

I'm pretty sure I didn't get mine yet. Do you know if the leatherbound edition was on a different schedule?

John Scalzi | February 3, 2006 06:36 PM

I believe the deluxe ones may indeed be on a different schedule -- the Deluxe versions of "Agent" come out after the regular release, I recall.

Jeff | February 3, 2006 09:42 PM

Picked up the trade paperback on the weekend, and I'm loving it. By the way, none of the bookstores in Montreal ever seemed to have a copy of the hardcover on the shelves, so this was the first edition I had come across.

John Scalzi | February 3, 2006 11:00 PM

Yup. The hardback could be hard to find in stores; this was something we were aware of in a more than anecdotal sense. This was one reason why the trade paperback first printing was so much larger.

James P. Wall | February 4, 2006 12:49 AM


Old Man's War has proven impossible for me to locate in Australia, in any bookstore, be the cover hard or soft. Any word on upcoming Antipodean distribution? While we're here, I can't find Nigel Calder's Magic Universe anywhere either, but I will concede that this is hardly your fault. Or...is it?

John Scalzi | February 4, 2006 10:52 AM

Nigel Calder owes me money. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Tor has the rights for Australian distribution, so I suppose it's up them to get copies there. You might check with your local bookstore to see if it can be ordered; that usually works.

Michael G. Richard | February 4, 2006 11:28 AM

I've just ordered the paperback of Old Man's War from Amazon.ca

I'll let you know what I think after I've read it.

Sue | February 4, 2006 12:26 PM

I just got back from a cruise to Mexico and Belize. While we were on the ship, I had an OMW sighting. If I'd had my phone with me, I'd have snapped a picture of him without disturbing him. I didn't, and didn't think he'd be very amused if I went up to him and said, "Sir, would you mind if I run back to my room, get my camera, and come back to take a picture of you reading that book?" Because, well, that just sounds weird.

John Scalzi | February 4, 2006 12:55 PM

Still very cool! Thanks, Sue!

Tim | February 4, 2006 03:14 PM


How big is the printing for TGB compared to the HC of OMW?

Justine Larbalestier | February 4, 2006 05:33 PM

James P Wall: Don't know where you are in Australia but I know that Galaxy in Sydney and Pulp Fiction in Brisbane definitely have copies.

John Scalzi | February 4, 2006 10:30 PM


If I remember correctly, the initial printing for "Ghost Brigades" will be about 7700. That's about twice the original first printing of Old Man's War.

Dawn B. | February 5, 2006 07:31 PM

By the by, I FINALLY saw a copy of OMW in stores on the shelf and it pleased me. Yay B&N. Although it was the SFBC edition (trade), which frankly confused me.

SaraS | February 5, 2006 09:02 PM

The trade paperback of OMW made it to the Barnes & Noble out here in Missoula Montana. They had 2 copies. Well, now they only have one :)

Looks like a good choice for my flight to Chicago tomorrow morning...

Andrew | February 6, 2006 12:58 AM

Tor has the rights for Australian distribution, so I suppose it's up them to get copies there.

Really? Bugger. Tor tend not to distribute their books to Australia, so It's unlikly you'll appear on the shelves outside specialty bookstores.

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