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March 01, 2007

The Winner of the "Come Up With a Contest to Give Away a Copy of 'Coffee Shop'" Contest!

The winner is Jacob, who came up with this idea:

It's 2009, write a review of Scalzi's new novel (bonus for including a throwaway line incorporating the world of tomorrow)

Excellent. However, I'm going to amend it in two ways:

1. The phrase "the world of tomorrow" will be optional;

2. Everyone should write a scathing review. Because those are more fun to read, anyway.

No, don't start writing those reviews yet. I'll post the official contest thread next Monday. Until then, start planning what horrible, horrible things you are going to write.

This should be fun.

Jacob, drop me an e-mail with your address so I can send your book to you.

Posted by john at March 1, 2007 09:27 PM

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Chang, father of pangolins | March 1, 2007 10:47 PM

I am positively giddy and light-headed with the prospects of this...

Jeremiah | March 1, 2007 11:32 PM

Ooooh this could be fun.

Jim Wright | March 2, 2007 12:31 AM

This just might be the best contest ever. Scathing, I like it, count me in.

PixelFish | March 2, 2007 12:33 AM

Mmmmm....scathing with a side of bacon. This should be fun.

Hogwallop | March 2, 2007 04:31 AM


Just HOW scathing can we be?

John Scalzi | March 2, 2007 07:13 AM


Well, I don't know. Just how scathing can you be?

Dean | March 2, 2007 07:33 AM

The Scathing World of Tomorrow... I like it.

(Off to look up synonyms for Teh Suck in Roget's Thesaurus)

Steve Buchheit | March 2, 2007 07:49 AM

Hmm, all weekend to sharpen the scath. Mmm, cutty goodness.

Tim Walker | March 2, 2007 10:24 AM

Wow, I *have* my own copy of "Coffee Shop", and I still want to light this candle about eight different ways.

Nathan | March 2, 2007 10:26 AM

Ooooh! Another opportunity to not win a Scalzi contest.

In preparation, I shall spend the weekend listening to Jethro Tull's "Scathing Away".

Djscman | March 2, 2007 10:55 AM

I just hope nobody's feelings get hurt. Because in the world of tomorrow, racial, religious, and anti-alien-hive-mind epithets are thrown about with aplomb.

Eric (a different one) | March 2, 2007 11:12 AM

Scathing (no stars)

Having boiling water poured over me so I could write a scathing review really, really hurt. And then, while I was at the hospital, someone explained to me that it was supposed to be a "scathing review of a John Scalzi book, and that I wasn't supposed to review "scathing" at all. Plus, they also told me that I was supposed to write it in 2009. So now I feel really stupid.

But, just so my effort wasn't a total waste: scathing really hurts. I know I already said that, but it bears repeating. Also, it's more expensive than it seems when you factor in the lengthy inpatient stay, the costs of painkillers, the price of the skin grafts, and the follow-up visits. If you're not insured, you definitely should not try this. Also, the scarring tends to be permanent, which may be something that leads to awkward questions at work once the bandages start coming off. While it's certainly a more memorable experience than most movies, much of the remembrance comes from being unable to fully bend your arms and legs or swivel your head. Also, if you're thinking of trying this at home, please close both your eyes and keep your mouth shut. (The only good part of my hospital experience should have been the box of chocolate a friend sent, except I have no longer have taste buds.)

All in all, I have to give this experience no stars out of five. I hope you found this review helpful.

Anne C. | March 2, 2007 11:20 AM

"Wow, I *have* my own copy of "Coffee Shop", and I still want to light this candle about eight different ways."

Me too! I might just write one and put a caveat on the post that says "if I win, the runner up gets the book."

Anne C. | March 2, 2007 11:24 AM

...and congrats, Jacob, on the well deserved win. That was a really good idea.

Brian | March 2, 2007 11:25 AM

Don't want to be too much of a nitpick, Different Eric (especially considering the ordeal you went through), but if you used boiling water, wouldn't it then be Scalding you just reviewed?

John Scalzi | March 2, 2007 11:30 AM

Different Eric, I have to concur with Brian, here. For best results, a scathing should be done with fire, as opposed to a scalding, which is done with very hot water. I don't want to say your scalding was without benefit -- I'm sure you learned something -- but it's not on point.

Todd | March 2, 2007 03:52 PM

Just how profanity-laden are we allowed to get? Or will it be proven once again that profanity is the crutch of an inarticulate motherfucker...

Evan Goer | March 2, 2007 04:41 PM

Hmmm. John, do we actually have to go so far as to read the book? Or can we follow the more traditional method of simply reading the back cover and then writing whatever we think would bring more traffic to our blog/magazine/newspaper/podcast?

John Scalzi | March 2, 2007 04:45 PM

Evan Goer:

Inasmuch as you'll be "reviewing" a book that doesn't exist, I say you can do it however you like.


Swear as much as you'd fuckin' like. But it'll take a really choice string of profanity to impress me.

Jacob | March 2, 2007 04:59 PM

Thanks Anna. And thanks again, John!

Evan Goer | March 2, 2007 05:01 PM

Oh jeez, I completely missed the '2009' part.

Hmmm, already with the sloppy and selective reading. I think I've got a lock on this one. :)

The same Eric as the earlier one | March 3, 2007 11:42 AM

The dictionary says a scathing is a harm caused by high temperatures, especially by fire, although I think you might be scathed other ways as well. Somewhat oddly, the word seems to be used as metaphor more than literally, anyway: lots of scathing criticism, but most people in fires simply get burned.

You're right that "scalding" is a better word choice, but to be honest my biggest regrets about the earlier post (aside from hospital bills) are:

1) Not closing a quotation after the word "book" in the first paragraph, and;

2) Only realizing this morning that I missed a perfect opportunity to make a groan-inducing Ellison reference when talking about my scalded taste buds.

richard | March 4, 2007 08:42 AM

Well, I'm going to hold off reading the book or any reviews or synopses of it until I've written a review of just how bad it is. You don't want to get too close to something that you're going to write a scathing review of, and avoiding the subject entirely before writing is a good method to accomplish that.

John Scalzi | March 4, 2007 11:48 AM


Again, the review in question will be for a book which does not exist, not any books I've actually written. I'll make sure to make this perfectly clear in the contest itself.

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