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August 14, 2006

A Special Message for Scott "Pluto Hayta" Westerfeld

As many of you may know from this comment thread, Scott Westerfeld, noted author of Peeps and the upcoming The Last Days, while otherwise a perfectly cromulent human, is nevertheless a confirmed Pluto Hayta, dedicated to the proposition that our smallest planet is not, in fact, a planet at all. Well, I told this little fact to someone very special, and this is what she had to say on the matter.

Posted by john at August 14, 2006 08:23 PM

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» Plutonic Hate from
The ‘Is Pluto A Planet’ debate has stired the ire of Cthulhu over at John Scalzi’s site. Go check out the hysterical video recorded by Scalzi in response to fellow writer Scott Westerfeld’s ‘Pluto hate’. This is wh... [Read More]

Tracked on August 17, 2006 10:49 AM


John Scalzi | August 14, 2006 08:38 PM

Also, the first person who asks me about my deadline dies. That is all.

Alison | August 14, 2006 08:54 PM

Tell Athena she has a young fan: when the video started playing, it caught the baby's attention, and she demanded to be held on my lap to watch the video. When Cthulhu ate Scott, Petra clapped her hands with glee.

John Scalzi | August 14, 2006 08:55 PM

Well, and who wouldn't?

Christopher | August 14, 2006 09:00 PM

Oh yeah, the part where Cthulhu eats Westerfeld is totally the best.

Watch, now Scott's gonna come in here and tell us we all pronounce "Cthulhu" wrong or something.

Clearmoon | August 14, 2006 09:06 PM

Apparently the Great Old Ones think Pluto is a planet, too.

JonathanMoeller | August 14, 2006 09:15 PM

Oh, great. Once the High Tyrant of the Imperial Plutonian Empire learns that we, pathetic meatbag Earthlings, have *dared* to question his planet's, er, planetness, he'll unleash the Dread Legions of the Imperial Plutonian Armada upon Earth. And because Pluto's very small, the High Tyrant is naturally quite insecure, and so in blatant overcompensation the Dread Legions' Galatic Death Sloops are enormous and weapon-studded. They'll vaporize Earth in about three seconds.

Just fricking great. Only three more years and I'd have paid off my car. Thanks a LOT, Pluto-haters! I hope the Plutonians' dreaded Bowel-Void Rays hit *you* first!

Gabriel Malor | August 14, 2006 09:19 PM

Awesome. Freakin' awesome.

John H | August 14, 2006 09:34 PM

Well, I only hope that Mr. Westerfeld was able to complete his novel - I would be awfully disappointed in him if he managed to get himself eaten by Cthulhu before getting a first draft off to his editor.

(Please note that I made no mention whatsoever of our host's own deadline, as he has threatened bodily harm to those who do...)

Joe Hass | August 14, 2006 09:35 PM

Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that while this was going on, Krissy was throwing another $20 into the "Athena Therapy Jar" while muttering, "He could've done this with the dog. The dog doesn't need therapy. But no...he does this with our daughter. (deep sigh)"?

John Scalzi | August 14, 2006 09:37 PM

Nah, she was out of the house. What, you think I do this stuff when Krissy's around?

Chang | August 14, 2006 09:38 PM




Say, John? Don't you have a dea- ELDRITCH GODS AT MY DOOR!!! Iyaa! Iyaaa! Yog-Soggoth! The beats with a thousand young! A goat ten-thousand fold!!

(I wonder if they have VOIP in Ryleh?)

Jeff Hentosz | August 14, 2006 10:13 PM

Just be careful, Scalzi Family Players. I think they probably have ways of dealing with Great Old Ones and their minions in Australia. I saw The Shout, so I know.

Jon H | August 14, 2006 10:39 PM

" The beats with a thousand young! "

Cthulu does Drums 'n Bass?

Hugh | August 14, 2006 10:40 PM

I don't unerstand. According to his site, Scott is a YA writer. Why is he deliberately offending his core audience with his haytin'?

Stephen Eley | August 14, 2006 10:42 PM

And if you think that's bad, wait til you see what happened to the guy who hated black holes.

Chang | August 14, 2006 10:50 PM

Jon H


Hugh | August 14, 2006 10:58 PM

By the way, John, either Athena is a better actor than Jake Lloyd, or you're a better director than George Lucas.

Or both. :)

Ron | August 14, 2006 11:22 PM

But...Cthulhu is not from Pluto.

scott westerfeld | August 14, 2006 11:24 PM

Scalzi, I will admit one thing: your choice of Plutophantic deities was inspired.

Cthulu invented in 1928 by an American.
Pluto discovered in 1930 by an American.

Cthulu conceived of as "elder god."
Pluto conceived as "actual planet."

Cthulu worshipped with phrase: "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."
Pluto worshipped with phrase: "But they told me it was a planet back in grade school!"

Old Ones "might have invented a cosmic framework to account for their occasional defeats."
-At the Mountains of Madness
Plutophants "have rather desperately attempted to concoct solutions which keep Pluto a planet, but none of these are at all satisfactory, as they also require calling dozens of other objects planets."

Cthulu: ultimately a fictional god (and a plush toy)
Pluto: ultimately a Kuiper Belt Object (and an animated dog)

Firebyrd | August 14, 2006 11:26 PM

Wow. Makes me glad I'm all for Pluto being a planet. Being eaten by Cthulu was /not/ on my agenda for this week.

Your kid is so cool.

Chang | August 14, 2006 11:27 PM

Oh, snap, Scalzi-san! You gonna let him get away with that? Huh? Huh?

Kevin Q | August 14, 2006 11:32 PM

Your daughter is wearing a t-shirt that says "I Have Issues."

Never has a t-shirt slogan been so appropriate.


John | August 14, 2006 11:47 PM

I don't care if Pluto ends up being a planet, a midget planet, or a kuiper belt object.

I do care that the only other Pluto some people know about is an animated dog.

As long as I am around, no one shall be allowed to forget that Pluto is also a Black Cat! And was a Black Cat long before a dog or a planet.

If you forget Pluto is a black cat, you might get buried alive. He was a creation of Edgar Allan Poe, after all.

Not a Pluto Hayta. Not an Edgar Hayta either!

doubt | August 15, 2006 12:06 AM

Is Scott going to be in Anaheim next week?

I think I want to shake his hand.

Ian Mathers | August 15, 2006 12:15 AM

I want to be clear that I mean no disrespect to the rest of the Whatever, but this... this is the best thing you've ever put up.

marty | August 15, 2006 12:18 AM

>doubt | August 15, 2006 12:06 AM
>Is Scott going to be in Anaheim next week?
>I think I want to shake his hand.

Yeah, better get that done before Cthulu eats it...

(and why does Scott have a german accent??)

Excellent work :)

Simon Haynes | August 15, 2006 01:28 AM

Great response (and I like the new comment boxes.)

No way am I mentioning your deadline. Uh-uh.

Timothy McClanahan | August 15, 2006 02:54 AM

And in other comments on this horrific display of Pluto-bashing, various sages were quoted in the news today:

"Don't be hatin'!"
- B-Rad

"I pity the fool who disses Pluto!"
- Mr. T

"If you hate Pluto, you hate America! If you hate Pluto, you're with the terrorists!"
- Donald Rumsfeld

"He hates *Pluto*?! Dude, don't be dissin' my dawg! Huhhuh!"
- Goofy

"Who the hell hates Pluto? It's the smallest planet in the solar system - it's the baby, for god's sake! Hating Pluto is like hating Tinkerbell. This torques me off so much, I think I'm gonna go dig up Clyde W. Tombaugh, and turn him into a zombie. Then I'm gonna guy a gallon of tequila, take Zombie Tombaugh with me in my 1967 Ford Galaxie, and roadtrip across the country to kick this sorry son-of-a-bitch's ass. And then when he's down and begging for his life, I'm gonna let Zombie Tombaugh bite him south of his Kuiper Belt."
- Denis Leary

David Goldfarb | August 15, 2006 03:24 AM

Boy, is your daughter a natural-born ham.

(And I too like the little box thingies.)

Harry Connolly | August 15, 2006 03:38 AM

Plutophants "have rather desperately attempted to concoct solutions which keep Pluto a planet, but none of these are at all satisfactory, as they also require calling dozens of other objects planets."

I wouldn't mind having dozens of planets. In fact, that would be completely cool!

rhiannon_s | August 15, 2006 06:52 AM

I want to petition them to rename Pluto as Yuggoth now!

Steve Buchheit | August 15, 2006 07:30 AM

What I think is great, and that has gotten lost in this Pluto debate, is that up until now there has been no accepted definition of a planet. I mean, we’ve ultra-defined Tomatoes as vegetables and added Ketchup to the list of accepted school lunch vegetable-servings. Western culture has had Planets longer than Tomatoes (tomatoes are a New World plant as I remember), but we’re only now getting around to saying what they are? Sorry, even if you disagree with Pluto being a planet, it’s grandfathered in. Next you’ll be telling me we don’t have a standardized definition of star or moon.


Steve Buchheit | August 15, 2006 07:41 AM

But they're plush and velvety Elder Gods, so it's okay. :)

Annalee Flower Horne | August 15, 2006 08:34 AM

I'm heartily amused that 'plutophant' is actually catching on.

and that right there? That was Athena For The Win. Ah man... "My spleen! My liver!" I died from the funny.

Tripp | August 15, 2006 09:58 AM

Oh boy, it is getting into her blood. I know from experience how seductive the acting bug can be. Sure, it is all fun and games and applause and entertaining Aunt Bessie at family parties but the next thing you know they are living hand to mouth and talking about marrying a drummer (shudder).

It is not too late to start teaching the joys of accounting. With enough work you might be able to trick her into thinking there will be plenty of time for acting later.

John Scalzi | August 15, 2006 10:03 AM


"talking about marrying a drummer (shudder)."

You're aware I play drums, aren't you?

Mary Robinette Kowal | August 15, 2006 10:18 AM

"You're aware I play drums, aren't you?"

Well, that explains everything. And the video was inspired.

Tripp | August 15, 2006 10:30 AM


You're aware I play drums, aren't you?

Well, yeah, but I've never held it against you.

Before you ask - French Horn. Yeah, that's right. Bring it on baby!

Steve Buchheit | August 15, 2006 11:14 AM

But "playing drums" is a different category than "making a living playing drums."

(and I'm trumpet, tuba and guitar)

Alice | August 15, 2006 11:29 AM

Steve Buchheit - There isn't a standardized definition of a planent, just like there isn't a standardized definition of a continent.

Scott Westerfeld - Even though i to-tally (insider Westerfan joke there - re:Uglies) love your work, and you're one of my top-ten favourite YA authors, Pluto is so a planet, yo.

Annalee Flower Horne | August 15, 2006 11:40 AM

RE: we'd have to name other things planets:

"I don't think I'm alone when I say I'd like to see more and more planets fall under the ruthless domination of our solar system." -Jack Handy.

PS: "How can you tell if there's a drummer at your door?" "...the knocking keeps getting faster and louder and fasterandlouder..."

(I'm a drummer, but I'm afraid my bad drummerjoke skills are superior to my actual drumming skills).

Steve Buchheit | August 15, 2006 11:42 AM

Alice, I thought the standardized definition of a planet is what the IAU is getting ready to publish? I could be wrong though.

Also, I was mostly being sarcastic. Tomatoes are really fruits, but they were categorized as vegetables for taxing purposes. I was making an (obviously lame) joke by comparing the two.

Just to set the record straight, Pluto is a planet. Does that mean there are going to be a lot more planets? Heck yes. Ya’all gotta get over it.

John H | August 15, 2006 12:17 PM

You're aware I play drums, aren't you?

So how come you don't work paradiddles into your prose?

Annalee Flower Horne | August 15, 2006 12:44 PM

Steve, it's possible that I'm talking out my ass, but I'm fairly certain that the 'tomato debate' is actually totally specious.

As a botanical classification, Tomatoes are fruit because they're the seed-producing part of a flowering plant. As a culinary classification, they're vegetables, because they're served with dinner and not with dessert. These two classifications are completely unrelated and therefore not mutually exclusive. The tax thing should have been just a matter of clarifying whether the tarrif exemption applied to cullinary or botanical fruit.

Jon Hansen | August 15, 2006 12:47 PM


Favorite line: "Aaaah! My spleen! My liver! Aaah!"

John Scalzi | August 15, 2006 12:54 PM

What really cool about that is that the whole thing is pretty much uncoached; i.e., Athena's making up all her words and actions. I didn't feed her any lines. Ace comedy timing at age 7.

Steve Buchheit | August 15, 2006 01:09 PM

Yeah, but there’s something about giving your impressionable child Plush Elder Gods as toys that I just can’t agree with. That would be like Christian kids playing with Nerf Crucifixes but in a darker, more sinister way. I mean, what’s next, taking Shoggoth for show-and-tell?

John Scalzi | August 15, 2006 01:13 PM

Why not?

Phillip J. Birmingham | August 15, 2006 01:23 PM

So how come you don't work paradiddles into your prose?

Who wants to read a story about getting groped by a poltergeist?

John Scalzi | August 15, 2006 01:32 PM

Oooh. That's better than what I was going to write (which was "because then all my writing sounds like Neil Pert lyrics").

scott westerfeld | August 15, 2006 01:43 PM

Okay. My full answer is up.

For those of you hoping for grandfatherization or massive planet inflation, the History section will be very disappointing.

Steve Buchheit | August 15, 2006 01:47 PM

What’s next, Nyarlathotep as a bath toy? Oh, the inhumanity insanity. (And yes, I know Toy Vault makes a stuffed Nyarlathotep)

I was visioning more of a Parent-Teacher conference where you had to explain why your child’s pet ate one of the other kids. “Sorry, Tommy, but it’s really only a bio-machine. It didn’t mean anything personal by eating you. Tekeli-li and all that.”

Tripp | August 15, 2006 02:20 PM

I thought 'a drummer' is what you called someone with no musical talent who likes to hang around with musicians?

Out of fairness I do know one French Horn joke. To save space I will simply state the punch line: He sure held me funny though.

Dane | August 15, 2006 02:35 PM

I'm not sure which is more-- disturbing? bemusing?-- that T-shirt, or the fact that your daughter has a stuffed Cthulhu doll to play with.

Where can I get one for my daughters? :-)

John Scalzi | August 15, 2006 02:52 PM


Here you go.

Steve Brady | August 15, 2006 03:17 PM

Is that the medium, John, or the mini?

John Scalzi | August 15, 2006 03:38 PM

The medium.

Alice | August 15, 2006 04:21 PM

Steve - Scott Westerfeld actually has quite an entertaining rant, called "The Front of the Can" on the subject of tomato classification (i.e. as a fruit or a vegatable) on his website. you can find it in the stories section.

Timothy McClanahan | August 15, 2006 08:20 PM

I've also seen some awesome Cthulu house slippers on the net somewhere, if you're up to looking for them. Google for them. (Ha! Take that, Google lawyers!)

Jon | August 15, 2006 08:31 PM

I am sure by now someone has told you the principal difference between a drummer and a large pizza. If not, it's that a large pizza can feed a family.

But French Horn players always keep their hand shoved up where it looks like it doesn't belong. Creepy.

Steve Buchheit | August 15, 2006 10:08 PM

Alice, finally found it. I’ve rewritten this post several times, because that’s the mood I’m in this week (other weeks and days may vary) and none of the logic lines end well (flame war, yo’ momma arguments, etc and I want to keep the good vibes going). I can’t help but draw more synchronistic lines between the Vegetable/Fruit and KBO/Planet arguments. I started it as a lark and a stupid sarcasm, and now it has become a Michael Meyers Object. No matter where I go, how far I run (in heels, don’t ask), light the damn thing on fire and it keeps coming back. So for now, I’m going to put down the tomatoes and back away slowly.

whump | August 16, 2006 12:33 AM

1. I have the Cthulhu house slippers (I won them at a fund raising auction for Clarion West.) Photos forthcoming.

2. Cthulhu ate Scott first. Doesn't that mean that Scott won (for some definitions of winning?)

David Dyer-Bennet | August 16, 2006 10:39 AM

I wanna know more about why Cthulhu was chosen to represent Pluto. I can't help remembering that's where the Wormfaces had their big base in Have Spacesuit, Will Travel?

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little | August 16, 2006 12:07 PM

What, and presumably there's something wrong with the way Neil Peart lyrics sound?

(For the sake of argument, we will not speak of "Dog Years". Or, um, "Color of Right." In fact, we can skip most of Counterparts and Test For Echo for this argument. My point stands, dammit!)

John Scalzi | August 16, 2006 12:09 PM

Sure it does, Nicole. Sure it does.

Alissa | August 16, 2006 12:54 PM

Hey, I'm one of the regular commenters on Scott's website, and I have to admit, I love the video. Every writer needs to be eaten sometime, keeps them in their place lol jk. The little girl should be happy with the latest news that Pluto is staying. Although haveing three more planets to memorize might not have such a positive effect on elementary shool kids...

Michael M Jones | August 16, 2006 12:54 PM

Oh, Scott, Scott, Scott.
Pluto's a planet. Who cares if it gained its designation through somewhat shady, ill-informed means back before we knew better? I say we let it stay a planet until such time as it tells us it wants a change.
Scott, I love your work, but any man who hates Pluto is probably a Commie pinko leftist mutant spy traitor. Prepare to be "dealt with." :>

On a sidenote, I once gave the infant daughter of a friend one of the little plush Cthulhus... I wonder whatever happened to her.

Greg | August 17, 2006 02:07 AM

"my spleen! my liver!"

It is the official opinion of this commenter that all future scientific disputes be settled in this manner.

Christy Marx | August 17, 2006 02:00 PM

Can I borrow your kid? I have some neighbors that need to be dealt with....

Rivka | August 17, 2006 11:22 PM

Oh god. Wow. I hope that someday my daughter grows up to be a little like Athena Scalzi.

lalaith | August 18, 2006 09:49 AM

sorry i am a random troll brought here by livejournal link. i just wanted to point out that this whole argument reminds me of "the man who went up a hill and came down a mountain". i have a five year old son (Loki), who has already memorised the planets. he has a mobile of said planets in his room. am i supposed to tear one off of the mobile and unbalance it? let us keep our Pluto a planet.

Xopher | August 18, 2006 01:48 PM

lalaith (or is it Ialaith? Damned internet fonts), if your son is at all aptly named, he'll tear it off himself and give it a matching counterorbit with Earth, then sit back and laugh while it all goes smash.

"Götterdammerung!" he'll exclaim. "And with a pseudo-planet ball of ice!" Then he'll laugh so manically that you'll have to hit him with a hammer to shut him up (this will not injure him, however...divine child, mortal hammer, no harm no foul).

Tink | August 20, 2006 01:51 AM

This...just wow.

This makes me unbelievably happy. XD Cthulhu rules your face.

Your daughter is extremely adorable.

And, Scott, while I love your books...this guy wins, 1)because his daughter is cute and 2)because he got her a Cthulhu doll.

---I have the Valentino Cthulhu plushie. =D

Alien | August 25, 2006 05:32 AM

Earthlings, it was bad enough that you doubted our existence, worse that you laughed at Outer Space, but now you even call Planet 9 from Outer Space, the origin of Plan 9 from Outer Space, a Planet no longer (sob). Earthlings, you will be punished. Not only will we implement Plan 9 and resurrect Dracula, but Plan 9B and get Bela Lugosi out of the grave AS WELL, and make more awful movies with him. Ha! Speechless, aren't you? That is right; you are right to be struck with terror at the power of truth. Yes, be afraid, because Plan 9B is on its way being implemented RIGHT NOW...

Vikram Punathambekar | August 27, 2006 01:59 AM


That was a very nice video. Your kid is cute too.

I'm sending this link to fellow Pluto lovers. : )



Dossy Shiobara | August 28, 2006 11:35 AM

Man, I'm not sure what's cooler ... Athena's "why do you hate Pluto?" line, her awesome T-shirt, her plushie Cthuhlu puppet (must get one for my daughters now), or the "Hate Pluto -- Get consumed by eldritch gods. It's just not worth it." tagline.

I always thought Pluto was where all those immigrants live ... you know, Pluto Rico. Just goes to show what *I* know. :-)

D'Glenn | August 28, 2006 12:15 PM

Annalee (two weeks ago) -- if the knocking keeps getting louder, it's a drummer, if the knocking gets faster, it's a guitarist (how do you get a guitarists to slow down? Put sheet music in front of him) ...

... and if it's a singer at the door, they can't find their key and don't know when to come in.

And what do folks mean about tomatoes being treated as vegetables because they're served with dinner? Does that mean I have to give up peanut-butter-and-salsa sandwiches?

amqueue | August 29, 2006 04:01 AM

Hey, my daughter had a smaller Cthulhu doll that she used as a muse for her fanfic writing, circa 4 years ago. She'd cuddle it while she thought, and perch it on her head while she typed. It got replaced with the Goth-ulhu doll, and she sleeps with it. It seems completely appropriate to me that Cthulhu will eat any writer who dares to make pronouncements about aspects of the solar system.

Anonymous | October 1, 2006 11:01 PM


DiscountNinja | November 12, 2006 07:45 AM

That's amazing, never before have I seen such a well presented arguement to keep Pluto as a planet.

I mean, if Cthulhu tells me it's a planet, I@m gonna' believe him. I happen to like my liver ans spleen.

Also, Athena has to be the coolest child, ever.

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