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October 10, 2006

The Last Colony Auction Winner; Announcing "The Sagan Diary"

All right, now it's official: The winner of the auction for the super-exclusive edition of The Last Colony is Bill Schafer, publisher of Subterranean Press, who bid $5,000 for the book. So that's $5,000 that's going to the John M. Ford Book Endowment. I'm happy and flabbergasted at that amount. Happy because this helps Mike Ford's memory will now be honored in perpetuity in the best way: by funding reading at a public library; flabbergasted because, dude, someone bought something I wrote for $5,000. That's a not insignificant amount of money. So many thanks to Bill for fronting that sort of cash.

Now, it takes nothing from Bill's remarkable generosity to note that in addition to The Last Colony, he was also interested in the fact that I promised that I would write a short story for the winner of the auction if the bids got to $5,000 or above. He's been interested in having me write a story for him in the "Old Man's" universe, not unlike what I did in "Questions for a Soldier," and this was (heh) a fine way to get me to agree to do it. And I have.

So: I'd like to announce pre-ordering is available for "The Sagan Diary," a novelette-length (approx. 12,500 to 15,000 words) tale, told from the view of Jane Sagan, that takes place between the events of The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony. This novelette marks the first (and only) time I've told a story from the first-person position of Jane Sagan herself, and I can promise that this will be a most interesting view into the "Old Man" universe. I don't think I've made any secret that in many ways I think of the "Old Man" series is about Jane; she's the only character in all three novels, and she grows in each of them. So now having an excuse to get inside her head fills me with glee. I'm looking forward to sharing this with you all.

(For those of you who might be worried that Bill is somehow taking advantage of my generosity by getting a story from me and then turning around and selling it, I'll note Bill is treating the $5k like an advance, and that if that's recouped, he'll be splitting the profits from the sale with me. This strikes me as an entirely fair deal.)

"The Sagan Diary" will be published in February, 2007 but is available for preorder now, and will be available to two editions: A fully bound cloth hardcover for $20 (it says $25 on the announcement page but $20 on the order page, so I'll go with the price on the order page), and a signed, leatherbound edition for $45. Both will also be nicely illustrated and will come to about 100 or so pages; they'll be very attractive little books to add to your official collection.

The signed deluxe edition also comes with a nifty twist: If you pre-order the signed edition, you'll be added into the book itself on a special "In Memoriam" page as a member of 3rd Platoon, Company D, whose fate will play a role "The Sagan Diary." So if you want to officially be a part of the "Old Man" universe, this is how to do it.

One other thing: If you get the signed edition, and you have contributed any amount to the John M. Ford Book Endowment, let Subterranean know; they'll knock $5 off the signed edition. It's Bill's way of saying thanks for supporting the endowment. If you haven't contributed to the endowment yet, you can go here to do so. I do hope you'll contribute regardless.

If you'd like to pre-order "The Sagan Diaries," here's the Subterranean Press order page.

I also want to thank everyone who bid on The Last Colony. I was honored and humbled that so many of you were willing to put down hundreds of dollars, both to get a crack at the novel and to benefit Mike Ford's legacy. For both of these, I do thank you from my heart. You are good people, and I am glad to know you.

Posted by john at October 10, 2006 08:28 AM

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Rich | October 10, 2006 09:44 AM

My name in the book, Holy Printing Presses Batman!!
That was a very smart idea and was enough to get me to pony up the extra money to purchase the limited edition.

Patrick Shepherd | October 10, 2006 10:19 AM

Score another order for the limited edition. Two goodies in one package: new words about the OMW universe, and an ego boost of my name in print - what's not to like?

Nathan | October 10, 2006 10:19 AM

I think the auction was a terrific idea and Bill's winning bid, just outstanding! I sincerely hope and beieve that you will both see a profit, even though neither of you did this with profit in mind. You both deserve it anyway.

I've just placed my order to be posthumously bound in leather. Gee, I feel like a Pharoh or something.

John Scalzi | October 10, 2006 10:24 AM

Yeah, Nathan, but in this case your brains aren't dragged out through your nose with a needle. So that make you better than a pharoh, actually.

David Kirkpatrick | October 10, 2006 10:35 AM

I'm in for the limited too. I spend entirely too much of my budget at SubPress already. I'd already picked up the 'Questions for a Soldier' hardcover, and this'll be a nice accompaniment. I donated to the John M. Ford Book Endowment earlier (I live in the Twin Cities, so it's doubly-good: a great cause, and local to boot). Besides, it'll be interesting to be dead and still get to see the memorial.... I hope I died well.

Jeff B | October 10, 2006 10:37 AM

Fantastic idea, John. (Do you have any other kind?) Two questions:

1) I don't see a cut-off date on the order page for ordering the Limited edition. Is there one?

2) Say I wanted to order copies for my sons, and have their names on the 'In Memoriam' page rather than my own. Can that be arranged?

John Scalzi | October 10, 2006 10:45 AM

Jeff B:

1) I don't know that there's a specific cutoff date for the limited edition. I suspect that it would probably be best to get the order in before the end of the year, however.

2) Send an e-mail to Bill Schafer (the e-mail is on the order); I'm sure it can be arranged, especially if it's going to be their copies.

Bill Schafer | October 10, 2006 11:03 AM

The price of the trade edition is indeed $20>

Jeff B: We'll announce the cut off date later. It will be right when we go to the printer. And sure, you can order multiple copies. When checking out, list the names of those other folk you'd like listed among the following.

Thanks to everyone who's been so enthusiastic about this project thus far. It's going to be fun.

Bill Schafer

Dennis | October 10, 2006 11:18 AM

The "Diary" won't spoil anything in "The Lost Colony", will it?

John Scalzi | October 10, 2006 11:23 AM


Of course not.

Chang who lives on Bagels | October 10, 2006 11:59 AM

How much to get this line put in the book:

I yelled "Terhune, ya big lummox! Duck!" a millisecond too late. The big oafs head exploded in a spray of BrainPal, SmartBlood and SmartTobaccy. I said that stuff would always kill him.

So? How much?

Carol Elaine | October 10, 2006 12:04 PM

I would totally pony up the extra money for the deluxe edition, just to see my name as part of the OMW universe, if it weren't leatherbound.

What can I say? I'm a former ethical vegan (still vegetarian). I don't do leather.


I'll pre-order the non-leathery edition and just enjoy the story.

Adam Rakunas | October 10, 2006 01:44 PM

Sweet! And reporting for leatherbound duty!

Nate Trost | October 10, 2006 02:02 PM

I cannot pass up the gift potential of the limited with the name inclusion. Superb idea, alas I can only justify springing for one!

Pete Bekisz | October 10, 2006 03:20 PM


You're not giving YOURSELF enough credit. Let's face it, dude -- you just sold a copy of a novel for 5K. Not only that, but the fact that you created this idea to benefit a good cause is worth mentioning too.

My hats off to you, Bill, and everyone who bidded. I was planning on bidding myself, but by the time I checked the thread, it was already way out of what I could afford.

When it's all said and done, I think you're honestly an altruistic person. And there's not too many of them around anymore.

bensdad00 | October 10, 2006 03:56 PM

I'm onboard for the dead moo-cow version as well - and also going for the assignation of the Memorial to my sons (John, is it creepy that there are (at least) two of us who feel this way about our children?)

John Scalzi | October 10, 2006 04:02 PM

I don't know that it's creepy, but I hope your kids are, you know, not six or something. This story is going to be of the same maturity level as the novels -- i.e., there will be violence and likely some profanity and discussion of sex.

Richard Daniels | October 10, 2006 04:08 PM

Sex, violence and cussing, my name in it, your signature in it! All wrapped up in leather.

$45 is the bargain of the year

Patrick Vera | October 10, 2006 04:22 PM

I just ordered my leatherbound edition.

I do understand that just by ordering the limited edition I get my name in the book right?

John Scalzi | October 10, 2006 04:38 PM

Patrick: Yup.

Nathan | October 10, 2006 06:35 PM

Hey Scalzi,

Is there any chance you'll be assigning ranks in the same order that people placed their orders.

It'd be fun knowing I'd get to boss around a bunch of space soldiers.......well, from the beyond, at least.

Gwen | October 10, 2006 06:36 PM

Hmm...dead trees, dead cows, dead people. Sounds good to me!
One fully-leatherbound limited-edition signed book with a character with my name in it sold! (Well, not yet; I have to get the person with, you know, a *bank account* and my money to buy it, but it's as good as sold.)

Jon Marcus | October 10, 2006 08:18 PM

Congratulations and thanks, Bill!

Leatherbound goodness. Mmm, count me in! But...how many of those 12,500 words are gonna be on the In Memoriam page? :)

Jeff B. | October 10, 2006 08:29 PM

"I hope your kids are, you know, not six or something."

No, no. Two boys, eighteen and twenty-two. They'll eat this stuff up.

John, I probably have one/one-trillionth the traffic you do, but I've plugged this on my blog nevertheless.

Bill Schafer: Thanks for the clarification. I'll be sure to order soon.

Ted Lemon | October 11, 2006 04:56 PM

You know, if you're so bullish on the Baen Webscription model of sales, it would be really nice if you could figure out a way to include this story in that model. No offense, but I really, really don't want a hardcover book. I like your writing, and I want to support you as an author (not that you need my support) and I totally understand the attraction of a hardcover book, having opted for hardcover myself when given the choice.

But as a reader of a nice piece of fiction, hardcover sucks - the book is heavy, and it takes up a ton of shelf space, and it doesn't fit in my backpack if I'm traveling. So your hardcover-only policy is, if not making a criminal out of me, at least making it so that I read your books at my parents' house, where they don't mind being buried under dead trees. And once I've read the book, best intentions aside, I have no real reason to buy a copy when it comes out in paperback, so you wind up losing a sale.

Karl Cook | October 11, 2006 10:59 PM

content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">

Ahhh, Scalzi-

This is one of the reasons I click in day after day- to have an
opportunity to have my name memorialized in the back of a limited
edition leather-bound volume for all posterior, er... posterity- what a

Not to mention the fact that you're approaching literary sainthood with
the auction idea for the John M. Ford Book Endowment. Really. What a
guy! Krissy should be proud.

Thanks, John.


Karl Cook | October 12, 2006 12:48 AM

Apologies for the crude html, and of course I signed up for the leather-bound volume.

Bryan Price | October 12, 2006 08:39 PM

Get my name in one of your books? And get it signed?


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