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August 03, 2006

Various Bits of Bookpimpery

In the mail today: The Rough Guide to Blogging, from (naturally enough), the folks at Rough Guides. I have to admit that the first thing I did when I pulled it out of its package (other than suck at a finger I ripped open on the package's staples) was to check the index to see if I was in it anywhere. And indeed I am, on page 178, where this very site is described: "Writer John Scalzi maintains this entertaining blog, focused mainly on his job as an author." It's not just a job, you know. It's an adventure.

A quick glance through the books shows it to be what a Rough Guide should be: Easy to read, lots of useful information, good advice on how to get started, and tons of links to popular sites. I imagine other bloggers will be doing what I did and checking the index to see if they made the cut; I can see a few of them going Why am I not listed? I'm on the A-list, damn it! We are a petty, petty lot, we bloggers.

Anyway, on first read I can say this is a really fine book to give to that friend of yours who's been muttering something about wanting to start a blog but doesn't know where to begin. This will get them up to speed pretty painlessly. And if you get them this, that's one less conversation explaining the difference between Blogger and Typepad that you'll have to have. Which leaves you more time for what's important, like beer and video games.

While I'm thinking about books, two folks I know personally will be getting their books on this year's preliminary Nebula ballot: Toby Buckell, for Crystal Rain, and Mark Tiedemann, for Remains. For those of you not up to speed on the Nebula selection process, the books on the Nebula prelim list are the ones from which the short list will be selected. That's pretty damn cool.

I've blathered about Toby's book before (it's got parrots!), of course, but I've missed out on saying too much about Remains, which is a shame because it's a fine and twisty book. It's also been a bit of a stealth awards performer: In addition to its Nebula prelim listing, it was also a finalist for the 2005 Tiptree Award, and Tiedemann's otherwise been a finalist for the Philip K. Dick award. That's a nice rack of accolades. I'll probably talk about it more at some future point, but for now I'll just say it's worth checking out if you're in the market for something new to read. Congratulations to both Mark and Toby.

While I'm on the topic of congratulations to authors, congratulations to Pamie (aka Pamela Ribon), whose second novel Why Moms Are Weird hit the stores on Tuesday. I ordered it instantly, of course; Pamie is one of the funniest humans I know, and she was one of the first "old school" bloggers (that'd be bloggers who were blogging before the turn of the millennium, yo) to get a book deal. So it's always a good day when a book by her gets out into the world.

Finally, if I may be a bit self-serving, two new reviews of The Ghost Brigades are out today, one at SFFWorld ("The Ghost Brigades is a rewarding, entertaining read and keeps the reader guessing"), and another at my pal Jim Winter's site, where Jim declares "Okay, this is pure buddy pimpage, but it's also a sincere, honest review." And then he rips me apart. Okay, not really. He likes the book. But I had you going for a moment, there.

After all that book pimpery, I now declare the comments a book pimp thread. Pimp the book you're reading now! Pimp a book your friend has written! Pimp your own book! It's all good, although I will ask, to differentiate this book pimp thread from other self-pimp threads, that you pimp only books that have been physically published. E-books, etc can wait until the next self-pimping thread.

Have at it.

Posted by john at August 3, 2006 01:01 PM

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Comments

John Scalzi | August 3, 2006 02:16 PM

Whoops! There was a double post here and I accidentally deleted both instances instead of just one. But I also fixed what it was noting. So its work here is done.

Brian Delambre | August 3, 2006 02:28 PM

Pimp a book. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson came out last Tuesday. I read a galley of it, and thought it was great. In fact, I didn't really believe it could be that great, so I started it again. After I finishing it twice in a week (something I have not done since my original reading of Enders Game)I can say this is an incredible new author and a great first book of a series. It's great because I finished it (twice) without realizing it was a series until I saw bk 2 and 3 advertised on his web-site. Also, I heard good things a book called Old Mans War.
Brian

Chang | August 3, 2006 02:32 PM

Christ Almighty form the monkey Madonna, I got a pile of books by the bed and no time to read them. But here goes.

I hereby pimp Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels Altered Carbon and Broken Angels. Good ripping stuff, weird technology, hard boiled SF and some pretty poenoegrabbic sex scenes. Whoa.

My book willl be published in 9,000 years, 8,500 years after it takes place. In the meantime, you can download the theme music here

Michelle | August 3, 2006 02:34 PM

I've never commented here before, although I've been lurking for just ages. Anyway, not 20 minutes ago I finished reading a book that this particular group of people would probably enjoy. The Brief History of the Dead, by Kevin Brockmeier. The guy can write a pretty sentence, that's for sure.

Ron Avitzur | August 3, 2006 02:41 PM

Letters to a Young Mathematician by Ian Stewart is a fascinating current insider's view on what mathematicians do, how they think, and how their professional community operates.

Mary Robinette Kowal | August 3, 2006 02:53 PM

Oh goodie!

Twenty Epics - Epics have lost their charm. There was a time when you finished an epic. When an epic left you feeling not discontent and exhausted, but joyous, melancholy, rejuvenated, satisfied -- left you feeling that you were a better person for the experience. TWENTY EPICS will bring that feeling back. In ten thousand words or less.

Other Stephen | August 3, 2006 03:19 PM

Natural History - Justina Robson
Nicely balanced, not too much "Hard SF", but not soft fantasy either.

Sandra | August 3, 2006 03:23 PM

book pimpage - Elizabeth Moon's "Trading in Danger"
and Joan Opyr's "Idaho Code". The latter is a comic mystery, but very funny, light read.

Kero aka Kevin | August 3, 2006 03:38 PM

Book pimpery: Lee Childs books, the best ex-military police man who wanders the earth looking for adventure series evar!

Not so much sci-fi as thriller in case that wasn't clear.

Chris Gerrib | August 3, 2006 04:25 PM

First, I'd like to ditto Mary Robinette Kowal's recommendation of "Twenty Epics." Her contribution to that work, "Bound Man" is worth the price of admission alone.

Second, I have a novel out, a hard-SF adventure / space pirates thingee, called "The Mars Run." It's getting (generally) good reviews. To read it (or buy the dead tree version) click on my name.

Dave Smith | August 3, 2006 04:53 PM

I actually just bought Twenty Epics and its on its way via Amazon. Also, not too long ago I finished Scott Lynch's Lies of Locke Lamora, and that is easily one of the coolest books I've read this year.

Mitch Wagner | August 3, 2006 05:07 PM

Got my copy of the cliches issue of _Subterranean_ magazine a week or two ago, and brought it with me to read on vacation. Excellent! The best thing since sliced bread! Sh-wing! It totally rocked.

(Did you all get how I endorsed the cliches magazine by using cliches? Wasn't that very clever of me?)

John Scalzi | August 3, 2006 05:12 PM

Oh, Mitch. You are so clever.

Dane | August 3, 2006 05:21 PM

I am a rapid fantasy fan. Right now I am finishing the most recent adition to Steven Erikson's series called Malazan Book of the Fallen. It is full of "military"esque action and more dead bodies then you dare shake a stick at lest they reanimate and devour you for the taunting.

I am also frustrated by the hanging end of George RR Martin's series Songs of Fire and Ice. Not to put any spoilers here but he ends a character after spending the last two books building the character up...and then had the gall to make the death rather pointless and tragic. That's usually enough to make me loose interest but for some reason it just made me want more. GRRM is a harsh, harsh mistress...

To top my book pimp-brownie with drizzled fudge, I am enjoying a readership of four. My very own book (nearly in it's final form) has been read by four other people. Two are relatives so they don't really count but the other two have no affections toward me and have both asked when it is going to be published...to which I can only say "uh" and change the subject.

There. Now I am a pimp. I may just run out and buy 24" wheels for my Corolla...maybe some zebra shag for the dash.

Jim Winter | August 3, 2006 06:31 PM

Sex, lies, and insurance fraud are weighing down my car and screwing up my gas mileage. Please go to http://www.jamesrwinter.net/NCS.html to find out how you can help.

Only my liver will resent you for it.

GTD Wannabe | August 3, 2006 06:38 PM

Oooh, pimping books. Lovely. By the way, Scalzi, I love your books. I cannot wait for the next one to come out!!!

I'm currently reading Bolo! by David Weber. Anything by David Weber rocks my world. The Bolo concept, created by Keith Laumer, rocks my world. The combination of the two - oh my! Military SF, self-aware big-assed tank-like things. Great characters. One even made me cry.

Simon Haynes | August 3, 2006 07:40 PM

I'm reading "Mortification - Writers' stories of their public shame". After this book you'll never approach a reading, signing or public appearance in the same way again.

Nathan Sharfi | August 3, 2006 07:58 PM

I finished Mao: The Unknown Story somewhat recently, and it was an illuminating read.

Michael Capobianco | August 3, 2006 09:13 PM

As of today, The Rough Guide to Blogging is not available at towerrecords.com, and neither is Privilege of the Sword, which puts their efforts to get you to link to them in a slightly different light. In fact, there's no mention at all of books on their home page.

Martin Wagner | August 3, 2006 09:42 PM

Well, as usual, I'll pitch in by plugging the last 441 books I read. Just click my name.

John Scalzi | August 3, 2006 09:51 PM

Michael Capobianco:

Yeah, that's a little weird. I'll swap out the links.

Mary | August 3, 2006 10:04 PM

Pimpage! I /heart/ the pimpage.
I'll offer up Tanya Huff. She's got a new Valor book coming out in December. But after reading all of her books, I say you really can't go wrong with any of them.

Jacob | August 3, 2006 11:04 PM

I just read Spin which is awesome and Pastwatch which is not.

Sharon | August 4, 2006 12:04 AM

I found a book (sans young Mr. Potter) that my 11 yr old nephew really liked! Kingdom Keepers, by Ridley Pearson. Holograms! Disneyworld after hours! Pirates!

Bill Schafer | August 4, 2006 11:12 AM

I liked LOCKE LAMORA so much that I bought three novellas set in the same universe.

Bill

www.subterraneanpresss.com

Gina | August 4, 2006 04:49 PM

I wouldn't be pimping my books, but you ASKED!

"Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet: 101 of the Most Perplexing Questions Answered About Canine Conundrums, Medical Mysteries and Befuddling Behaviors"

and

"Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet: 101 of the Most Perplexing Questions Answered About Feline Unfathomables, Medical Mysteries and Befuddling Behaviors"

both co-authored with Dr. Marty Becker, will launch on "Good Morning, America" (unless we get bumped for some awful news event) on Oct. 10.

YAY!

RG | August 4, 2006 07:09 PM

I'm currently reading Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading by Maureen Corrigan, the book critic for NPR's Fresh Air show. I got bored with books about writing, so now I'm reading books about, uh, reading. So far it's interesting, although I've never heard of three-quarters of the books she names. Still, I like her prose and she's the lit critic I could never be.

Kurt | August 5, 2006 09:22 PM

Pushing Ice, by Alastair Reynolds

A pretty good read and the science didnt seem to far beyond what is currently possible.

Shades of Rendevous with Rama but good non the less

Smurf | August 5, 2006 09:26 PM

I'm only on the D List myself... but I do rule the f*cking D List.

Richard Daniels | August 6, 2006 07:38 AM

I hereby offer up Every Neal Asher book written, especially "The Skinner" which is beyond my talents to describe meaningfully. Also "Scar Night" by Alan Campbell, which I'd best describe as Gene Wolfe and Tim Powers re-imagine Gormenghast. Pimping done!

Kevin Bradsher | August 6, 2006 05:59 PM

Anything by Neal Stephenson!
Especially "The Baroque Cycle" trilogy. Fantastic heavy-duty reading.

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