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November 10, 2006

The Columbus Reading

Briefly: I think the Columbus reading went very well. There was a good turnout, and people seem to have enjoyed the reading and the general blather, and I got to meet a number of Whatever readers that I had not previously met in person. Hey, what do you know, we're all not just brains in boxes. And I got gifts! My friend Erica Hardesty showed up and gave me a very nice mix CD, which came in handy for helping me keep my sanity on the drive back home, in which traffic crawled to a stop for half hour to hour stretches not once, not twice, but three times, twice because of truly gnarly accidents (ever seen a semi with its engine sheared off and spread liberally across a half mile of highway? I have, now) and once because who the hell knows. Let me put it this way: I've driven home from Detroit quicker than I drove home from Columbus today, and Detroit is twice as far away. So thank you, Erica -- I bet you didn't know your eclectic taste in music would be so useful, so quickly.

I'd also like to take a moment to acknowledge Doug Triplett, who drove in from West-freakin'-Virginia to catch my reading. Here's the two of us:

Bet he got home before I did, though.

Photos here by Jeff Hentosz, incidentally, who also caffeinated me prior to my leaving Columbus, a maneuver that proved provident indeed, considering my drive back. But now I feel the effects wearing off, and I'm off to sleep. Catch you all a bit later.

Posted by john at November 10, 2006 12:32 AM

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Cassie | November 10, 2006 12:51 AM

My kids and I loved the song, John. I had no idea how beautiful your voice could be, how emotional, how evocative, in a song based on the first chapter of TAD. Please be sure to do it at every future reading.

My son now wants to grow up and be an author. If you find yourself in contention with him for a Hugo at some point, you have only yourself to blame.

Dave Klecha | November 10, 2006 08:10 AM

A year and a half ago, I was held up for about six hours due to a ninety car pile-up. So I've seen semis mangled in about as many ways as you can imagine.

Nice to hear everything else went well, though!

Adam Ziegler | November 10, 2006 08:20 AM

Thanks for coming. I wish I could have stayed longer. There was singing? Sorry to hear about the drive.

Having followed your blog for years now, it was a bit strange to see you in person. Certainly you've claimed to be a geek, and you've written some geeky things, but before meeting you it seemed like a rhetorical device; a sort of online persona. Nope. I get it now. You might be geeky enough to raise geekery to the realm of high fashion. That would be a fine thing for the rest of us geeks.

Also, nice fart joke.

Steve Buchheit | November 10, 2006 08:31 AM

Sounds like it was a great time. Man, sorry about the traffic, but what can you do. I once had to take a half hour detour (ain't living out in the sticks fun) because of a car/bear accident.

bensdad00 | November 10, 2006 09:39 AM

You do plenty of appearences in Ohio and at the conventions but howdo we fans get you to do a reading in Philadelphia? Promises of Caffeine and lively conversation? Bribery with beer, whiskey, and a good meal? Blackmail with things better left unmentioned on a public website? (This is a joke, really. I don't know anything. Especially about that night in that place with those people and those things.) How about crying? if I can get others to cry with me is that more persuasive or just pathetic?

Eric R. | November 10, 2006 09:50 AM

You're probably already aware, but in case you're not, there's a review of TAD on Bookslut.

John Scalzi | November 10, 2006 10:12 AM

Yup, I linked to it the other day.

Steve Buchheit | November 10, 2006 11:23 AM

Say, does that table cloth have clouds on it? Maybe, sheep shaped clouds? Or is that the stack-o'-books waitin' for the pen. That blue looks like a good match.

John Scalzi | November 10, 2006 11:34 AM

It's a stack of books.

Ron | November 10, 2006 11:43 AM

How about a tracklist on Erica's CD?


-et- | November 10, 2006 11:53 AM

That is West - By God - Virgina, son!

I may have been living in California for 40+ years, but if you don't get that right, I'll have to come back East to make you an offer you can't refuse! :-)

BTW, when I commented to you at Worldcon that you really ought to work your sense of humor into one of your novels, I knew that you had TAD coming, but I had no idea what it was going to be like. I'm pleased to see that you took my advice. :-)

With best wishes,
- Tom -

bill blum | November 10, 2006 11:58 AM

Was the pileup on 70 coming back, near the junction with 42, or elsewhere in that mess?

I used to drive from Springfield to Columbus on a daily basis, and quickly learned to get off of 70 ASAP heading westbound (typically at 42), and just take 40 to Springfield, where it rejoins 70.

Steve Buchheit | November 10, 2006 12:01 PM

Wow, waist high in books! They *did* print a whole bunch! Or maybe it's just judicial cropping. :)

John Scalzi | November 10, 2006 12:03 PM

Well, they are on a table. But, yeah, there's a bunch of TADs out there. Perfect for gift-giving!

Carol Elaine | November 10, 2006 12:03 PM

Finally picked up TAD yesterday (Borders in Glendale, CA) and started reading it on the busride home. Even put aside Lucifer's Hammer to dive into it.

Just finished Chapter 4 - good stuff there, as always. And you were right - you did have to start with a fart joke.

Steve Buchheit | November 10, 2006 12:19 PM

Sclazi, it's already on my list. By Xmas I should be ready for a bats-in-the-belfry good romp.

Steve Buchheit | November 10, 2006 02:02 PM

You know, one outside my own head. :)

John Scalzi | November 10, 2006 02:18 PM

Hey, did I say anything?

C | November 10, 2006 02:24 PM

My birthday is coming up and a good friend of mine told me that hes is giving me "the androids dream" He said he is reading through it before he gives it to me... Scarcely do you find a novel worthy of a birthday present (bathroom books don't count.) Can't wait!

Michelle K | November 10, 2006 03:29 PM

-et- / -Tom-

I think we should give him at least partial points for getting in the "West" and for not asking "is that near the beach?"

-et- | November 10, 2006 05:38 PM

"I think we should give him at least partial points for getting in the 'West' and for not asking 'is that near the beach?' "

True. However, I still think that he at least should do penance for his sin by singing "Country Road" at his next reading.

With best wishes,
- Tom -

Greyweather | November 10, 2006 06:52 PM

Great. I missed the singing and the interpretive dance. I thought I got there on time too.

Now, you mentioned last night that you might have seen my blog post about reading the excerpt from the first chapter of TAD on Amazon. I said that it was a different one, but looking at my post again I'm not too sure. If it was a Livejournal post that also mentioned Neil Gaiman and me being a cheap bastard, that one is mine.

If you did actually read that post, how on earth did you find it at all, let alone less than 20 hours after I posted it?

Thankfully I did manage to escape from B&N with my copy of Old Man's War. If they had seen what you wrote in it they probably would have thought I was trying to steal it though. ;-)

Greyweather | November 10, 2006 07:30 PM

Oh, one other thing. Your reading from Last Colony reminded me of something I saw just a few days ago on Neil Gaiman's journal.

John Scalzi | November 10, 2006 09:19 PM


"If you did actually read that post, how on earth did you find it at all, let alone less than 20 hours after I posted it?"

My spy network sees all.

Tom Nixon | November 11, 2006 12:37 AM

Hey John,

Any idea how many copies of your book sold with you there? I know many writers don't do bookstores anymore because books don't sell and attendance can be so poor.

Brian | November 11, 2006 12:43 AM

I used to drive between Dayton and Columbus all the time about 10 years ago. Was going to school at OSU. It seemed like the whole 5 years I lived in Columbus there was construction on 70 and it was often down to one lane. Traffic would often be completely stopped.

This spring I drove back to Columbus for the first time since 1998 and . . . there was construction and it was down to one lane in a few places.

It's like a permanent public works program between Columbus and Dayton.

John Scalzi | November 11, 2006 12:54 AM

Tom Nixon:

"Any idea how many copies of your book sold with you there? I know many writers don't do bookstores anymore because books don't sell and attendance can be so poor."

There were about a dozen people there and I think I sold an equal number of books -- the store had other books of mine in stock as well and people picked up some of those as well.

I'm not sure one should necessarily go in looking to sell a whole bunch of books at the appearance. The reason I did it was not to sell books at that moment, but because people who were there will talk about it and blog about it, and that does a fair amount of awareness raising. Over time it adds up, I think.

Wickedpinto | November 11, 2006 03:15 AM

Doug triplett is a big guy!

How tall is he? and he's one of those blessed few who can hold that much weight reasonably well.

Thats a BIG DUDE!

Doug? don't ever let me piss you off okay?

JR | November 11, 2006 04:00 AM

Ok, I just finished TAD. Simple question:

TAKK has digested several full grown humans in less than a few days time. Question is: What reasonable toilet in the future can handle this kind of volume?

I'm mean, wow. Earth’s future sewage capacity is truly mind-boggling. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around this sci-fi world. Sure, I can understand a fart joke (BTW, I was waiting for a 'silent but deadly' comment somewhere in there) but I fear you missed TAKK's toilet humor potential. Acuna could have at least complained TAKK was endlessly on the shitter. Or that he was backing up every toilet with human remnants and/or polyester. And oh, the fumes that must be created by digesting brains, stomach, bones, and other innards.

Anyway, I’ve grown fond this lovable wookie-who-eats, and I’m now awaiting a novel about his younger brother who gets into trouble with his Animal House antics while chugging foodstuff and alcohol with his frat brothers at near-capacity for his species. I only can hope his meal is laced with pot or Ex-Lax during the social mixer.

hugh57 | November 11, 2006 09:24 AM

I feel your pain on the traffic issue. I'm here in Chicago for WindyCon this weekend, and the combination of Friday afternoon and moderate to heavy rain made Chicago one giant parking lot yesterday. And this seems to be typical for Chicago, as there were no accidents that I could see, and fairly little construction. Just your average rainy day in the traffic chokepoint that is Chicago. Makes me appreciate the "normal" traffic in Cincinnati. :)

Ginny | November 12, 2006 11:23 PM

In that last photo you look like you could pass for comedian Jim Norton (see: eatabullet.com)


Doug Triplett | November 13, 2006 10:19 AM

Sorry I am so late wading into the comment section after the reading.

I had a great time in Columbus. I enjoyed getting to meet John. He was quite a lot of fun to talk to especially since he didn't run me off ofter most of the other people had left :)

I loved getting to find out that I am going to die a most grizzly death in the "jane" story.

I got 3 signed copies of books while I was there and had brought my TAD to get it signed too. I now have everything signed except my OMW and the Chap book. Yipee!!

Am I a big dude? Oh ya, I am 6' 2" and we'll keep you guessing at my weight. Don't worry about getting me mad, I haven't had to crush anyone since 4th grade.

Yup, it is West "By God" Virginia and nope, I don't live anywhere near the beach or Richmond. :)

I am looking forward to future readings and hope to meet more "Whatever" readerd then.

Thanks for the good evening John!!

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