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May 10, 2006

Specials, Plus Free Pimp Zone

As long as I'm on the subject of books, Scott Westerfeld's latest kick-ass book Specials was officially released yesterday and is kicking ass in the Amazon rankings (it's at #270 as I write this). The simple reason for this: Scott writes the YA you wish you could have had when you were a young adult: It's smart, sly and too cool for the room, which is what every kid wants to be (also, with this series, Scott's been blessed with book design which won't make young readers embarassed to be seen with the books, and you know that helps a lot). Basically, in addition to writing great stories, Scott also gets exactly the right attitude in his work. This is spot-on zeitgeist stuff, and that's a hell of a lot harder than it looks. Get it for a teen you know, and give it to them after you've read it yourself.

Having done the full-on friend-pimp, I now open the floor to the rest of y'all: Feel free to pimp yourself or those whose stuff you love in the comment thread. Tell us what's good out there in books, music, online writing or whatever, and don't be shy about pimping your own thing. Come on, you're worth a self-pimp or two.

Posted by john at May 10, 2006 01:28 AM

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Martin Wagner | May 10, 2006 03:19 AM

Well, lemme think. Pimpage....All that's new is that, in addition to the nonstop F&SF book reviewing I do on my own site, I've joined the team over at Bloody-Disgusting.com, a kewl horror site, as one of their "classic horror" movie reviewers. This means I'm the guy who'll be covering all the old Hammer, Karloff, Lugosi, Christopher Lee stuff, plus whatever forgotten obscurities from the 70's and earlier I can force on these guys. They've just posted my first submission, a review of the 1967 Hammer opus Quatermass and the Pit, and I've just turned in Eyes Without a Face. Nice to branch out.

Brandon | May 10, 2006 08:22 AM

Loving the new Gnarls Barkley cd. The new Springsteen album also is pretty damn cool, and it's very kid friendly which allows you to a) not listen to children's music and b) expose them to Springsteen and Seeger. Woot! New Pearl Jam is fantastic too. So far, a pretty damn good spring for music, and Guster has yet to release their stuff so it will only get better.

As always, SuburbanJoe my site for info on games, science and my pathetic life is available for the perusal of all. Huzzah!

marrije | May 10, 2006 08:25 AM

Hey! Happy Birthday!

Also, Justine Larbalestier's Magic Lessons is great, but you knew that already.

John Scalzi | May 10, 2006 08:39 AM

Yeah, I did. Justine's excellent, and so are her books.

John H | May 10, 2006 08:55 AM

I finished Specials over the weekend and it was very good. It manages to wrap everything up in the Uglies trilogy while leaving you wanting more. The whole series is excellent.

And I second marrije's views on Magic Lessons, the sequel to Justine's first novel, the equally wonderful Magic or Madness.

Other Stephen | May 10, 2006 09:10 AM

Justina Robson - Natural History

All of the post-human craziness without pages of physics diatribes that will be obsolete within 5 years.

What I liked best about this book was that while it would be considered "soft" SF, this is not light material. Ms. Robson is able to show the point of view of a typical person who understands the interfaces of the technology that they use but wouldn't be able to explain the underlying science. I found this a refreshing change after reading several "hard" SF books in a row.

That's enough pimping for me today. You know, Pimpin' ain't easy.

eliza | May 10, 2006 09:18 AM

Ooh, thanks for reminding me. I've been waiting with bated breath for Specials to come out. This, when I have books two and three of the Midnighters to read, too.

As for pimpage? I read Doppelganger, a debut novel by Marie Brennan and I really loved it.

TChem | May 10, 2006 11:50 AM

Sweet!! In the last week, I happened to read Uglies and Pretties, and was wondering when the next one would be coming out, though I hadn't actually checked release dates yet. Glad to know I don't need to wait for the denouement.

Mary | May 10, 2006 11:53 AM

Thanks, John.
I'd like to pimp Jim Butcher's latest Dresden novel, Proven Guilty. It was a quick read and a great tale. The series keeps getting better.

Andy Richardson | May 10, 2006 12:11 PM

Since this post was about YA lit. I'd also like to mention Rob Thomas (the guy from Veronica Mars, not the singer). His YA stuff is as good as it gets. I teach 9th grade, so I've read my fair share. Happy birthday!

Matthias | May 10, 2006 01:49 PM

No problem - here's one of my best lightpaintings to date:

For more check out my Flickr Set "Light in Motion":

Kelly Swarts | May 10, 2006 02:02 PM

Happy birthday, John. I hope it is a good one.

Stephen G | May 10, 2006 02:11 PM

Occasionally I do spoof commercials for a certain science fiction convention. (Why? Because I need to be more geeky, duh.) As an example, I give you Soylent Green Baby Food:


John Scalzi | May 10, 2006 02:29 PM

That's just sick, Stephen. And funny.

Cecily | May 10, 2006 03:05 PM

Music: Chris Koza! JoAnna James!

art: Me!

Lars | May 10, 2006 03:15 PM

I think pimpage, by definition, is a service provided for someone other than one's self. But I guess if you want the job done right...


That's a link to the first installment of a novel I'll be posting entirely online. If you'd like an alternative to John's comparatively optimistic take on the future of humanity -- with all the advanced technology and whatnot -- this is just the story for you.

P.S: I think you have to be a member of DeviantArt to post commments, so you can email your insults to larsnbohr@hotmail.com

P.P.S: John what are you doing posting? I thought you were going to go have fun.

John Scalzi | May 10, 2006 03:19 PM

Well, I'm doing a lot of thing, including occasionally posting comments. Don't worry, I'm having fun.

claire | May 10, 2006 03:48 PM

my copy of specials came from amazon packaged together with peter orner's the second coming of mavala shikongo, which i haven't finished yet (i've finished specials) but you should all read. peter was one of my instructors in my mfa program. no, it's not speculative. and yes, specials is worth a read or two. i read it in two sittings, it goes down that smooth.

Chris Gerrib | May 10, 2006 04:01 PM

Enjoy your birthday, John! Two pimps, one not-entirely self.

Jeff Duntemann is having an interesting discussion on ebooks and his idea of an ebook "Gumball Machine" over on his Live Journal site.

Speaking of ebooks, my novel "The Mars Run" is posted (free and complete) over on www.privatemarsrocket.net for your reading pleasure.

Leigh | May 10, 2006 04:34 PM

Shameless self pimp for Spies & Secretaries. www.spiesandsecretaries.net

All should read it because it is fun and includes old ladies with machine guns. What could be better?

Camper English | May 10, 2006 06:15 PM

Since you asked...
My book is
Party Like a Rock Star: Even When You're Poor as Dirt
. It's not for young adults so much as immature ones over the drinking age- people who graduated from college but never left the keg party behind. Woot!

scott westerfeld | May 10, 2006 10:15 PM

Happy Birthday, dude, and thanks for your continuing pimposity. Just got the word that Specials has actually cracked the NY Times bestseller list at number 6! (The children's chapterbook list, that is---the one they created to get J.K. Rowling out of Salman Rushdie's face. Nyer, nyer.)

So this is me, shamelessly re-pimping, um, me.

Go eat cake.

John Scalzi | May 11, 2006 07:07 AM

Whoo! Go Scott!

Josh | May 11, 2006 08:49 AM

Okay, well, here's the geek site I'm currently working for:


And here's an author everyone should know, but doesn't:


You may remember John posted some time ago about those 49-cent stories on Amazon? Halpin is there, if you want a taste. Personally, I prefer his longer work.

Dan Layman-Kennedy | May 11, 2006 11:32 AM

This seems as good a place as any to plug one of my favorite bands, Boston's Jim's Big Ego. For one thing, John and Jim Infantino are beginning to resemble each other in startling ways; and in any case, I imagine there would be much appreciation hereabouts for songs like this one.

mk | May 18, 2006 04:24 PM

A belated thanks for recommending this book - I promptly bought it online for the teenager in my life. When it arrived, she read the back, made a face that indicated 'this sounds interesting but I'm not going to look enthusiastic in front of you' and then held it up to me and tapped the front cover. "This is the final volume of a trilogy." "Yes." [leaning forward with very patient, you-dumb-adult look] "That means that there are two more books that come before this one." Hint taken. Two more books on the way, just in time for summer break.

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