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August 30, 2006

The Scalzi Award


Here I am with fellow Campbell nominee Brandon Sanderson (whose excellent Elantris and Mistborn you ought to go buy, like, now), who clutches the first (and probably only) Scalzi award. And what is the Scalzi award? Well, I'll tell you. During the Worldcon, I was chatting with the folks at Larry Smith booksellers, when a couple of guys came up to me and asked me if I wouldn't mind signing a triangular-shaped piece of LEGO for them. Well, it's not actually the most unusual autograph request I've ever had, so, okay. As I was signing we chatted; one of them mentioned he worked for a bookstore in Utah, and that recently they had a signing for Brandon, at which more than 200 people turned out. I think I said I wished I had turnout like that.

Fast forward to the party after the Hugo award, and finally all is revealed: The guys I was chatting with were good friends of Brandon's, and with my signature as a guide, they crafted their writer pal the Scalzi award, a consolatory prize for losing the Campbell to me. Apparently Brandon had adopted me as his nemesis, as you can see in the following revealing photo, in which he pre-emptively curses me for winning the award which should rightfully be his (this one is good, too, because it comes complete with fist-shaking action). In my hand, incidentally, is the great pen Scalzibane, to be driven into my heart on the day Brandon defeats me in literary competition, or in mortal battle, or, perhaps, in the race to the last muffin in the green room.

All of which, I must say, endears Brandon to me immensely. I wish I were a more suitable nemesis, but I just find all of this damn funny. Brandon was the other first-year nominee on the Campbell ballot this year, so he's got another year to make that award his. Based on his books -- and the imminent threat of Scalzibane -- he's got one of my Campbell nomination slots for 2007. Get ready for sushi, Brandon.

Update: Isaac Stewart, architect of the Scalzi Award, tells his story here.

Posted by john at August 30, 2006 01:46 PM

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Steve Nagy | August 30, 2006 03:08 PM

You should have had him model the diadem. Then he's sure to win the award.

Harry Connolly | August 30, 2006 03:16 PM

Elantris is a terrific book.

Natalie | August 30, 2006 03:27 PM

Mistborn was an amazing book. Completely blew me away. Thought it was better than Elantris which was really really REALLY good, too.

shawn | August 30, 2006 04:06 PM

There's more backstory on the "Scalzi Award" You can see it at brandon's site www.brandonsanderson.com or at isaac stewarts blog www.nethermore.com/blog. Funny stuff.

John Scalzi | August 30, 2006 06:03 PM

Steve Nagy:

"You should have had him model the diadem. Then he's sure to win the award."

No, no, no. Wearing the Campbell tiara/diadem/thingie before actually winning it is bad luck. That was another instant tradition, started Saturday morning, when Elizabeth Bear, who was wearing the tiara (as the outgoing Campbellian), asked me if I wanted to try it on and then attempted to put it on my head. I shunk away, saying "No! It's a jinx!" So there you have it.

Peter Ahlstrom | August 30, 2006 07:02 PM

I must see a close-up!

Isaac, by the way, is not only the architect of the Scalzi award but also the artist of the maps and bumper artwork found in Mistborn.

John Scalzi | August 30, 2006 07:07 PM

Really? That's cool!

Steve Eley | August 31, 2006 12:37 AM

Wow. He's got great teeth. (As is very evident in one of those photos.)

I was on a panel moderated by Brandon on Sunday -- "In Defense of Escapist Literature." He was very proud of his Scalzi Award, and showed it off to the audience. Hell of a sharp guy, too. He took a panel topic that was arguably a cliched time-filler and made it interesting and vivid. In the absence of anyone present willing to attack escapist literature, he pulled out quite a few colorful stories from his time as an MFA student.

David Goldfarb | August 31, 2006 03:29 AM

"Isaac" has two a's and only one s. (I think you made the same mistake in the Worldcon entry.)

John Scalzi | August 31, 2006 07:39 AM

I'm sure I did. I have a problem with the name almost all the time.

Isaac Stewart | August 31, 2006 10:03 AM

John, thanks for link! And congrats on the Campbell. (And thanks for correcting the spelling of my name; you wouldn't believe the misspellings I've seen of it. Most people just double every letter and call it good.)

Steve Nagy | August 31, 2006 10:28 AM

John Scalzi:

"No, no, no. Wearing the Campbell tiara/diadem/thingie before actually winning it is bad luck."

A very good point. And I don't have any problem accepting the observation as fact, since you refused and consequently won.

The next question might be whether or not the Scalzi Award should pass on to the next first-year runner up.

John Scalzi | August 31, 2006 12:03 PM

I suspect they'll have to bring their own LEGO.

Peter Ahlstrom | August 31, 2006 01:10 PM

Only wearable items must be passed on.

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