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March 24, 2007

The New Kid in Town

The Android's Dream meets The Last Colony, an author copy of which arrived here yesterday. The meeting doesn't go well.

The cameraperson on this one: Athena. I think her hand-held, cinema verite style adds a certain authenticity, no?

Funny story about getting my author copy. For the last couple of days there were heavy rains, which flooded out the front part of my driveway and part of the road. So I'm sitting here in my office and I get a phone call, and it's the Fed Ex guy, who tell me he can get up to me. So I walk all the way out to the bottom of my yard, where I have to stop because there's a drainage gully knee-deep in water between me and the Fed Ex guy. So he ends up throwing my package to me from about ten yards away. Good throw, fair catch, touchdown. Thank God I didn't have to sign for it.

The Last Colony looks fabulous, by the way. It'll be another few weeks before it hits stores (it will in fact arrive perfectly timed for my book tour, the itinerary for which is now lovingly displayed on the gorgeous new Tor Books Web site -- yes! Tor books has a new Web site!) but it's totally going to be worth the wait. Patience.

As for The Android's Dream it gets a fine write-up in the new issue of Some Fantastic (pdf link to the latest issue here). The review is intensely spoiler-riffic -- it gives away oodles of stuff I'd want you to find out on your own, so be warned before you read (this has been an endemic problem for TAD reviews, I'm afraid, and I wonder why). That said, it has nice things to say about the book:

In all, Android’s Dream is a wonderful departure for Scalzi. Up till now, his SF work has resided within the confines of the universe created for Old Man’s War, but this book shows he capable of far more... I thoroughly enjoyed this frenetic romp that made entertaining use of any literary device Scalzi seemed interested in playing with. As much as I love his Old Man’s War series, I am looking forward to any other future diversions he plans on taking from that universe.

See, TAD? You're still beautiful and beloved. Now stop drinking.

Posted by john at March 24, 2007 12:01 PM

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Jim Wright | March 24, 2007 12:32 PM

The Last Colony looks fabulous, by the way

Uh, John? Shouldn't that be: The Last Colony looks fabulous, whatever. Isn't "By the way" your other blog? I'm so confused...

chang, who is not chang | March 24, 2007 12:36 PM

Damn, and I thought _I_ didn't get out much...

Just kidding, my pre-order for TLC is in at Amazon (which is holding up my TAD as well - super saver shipping rocks!) Can't wait to read 'em.

Christian | March 24, 2007 12:38 PM

TAD's performance was solid, but I wouldn't expect any Oscar nods - OMW had all of the good lines. I felt like I was watching a Mamet film at times, with a single shot lingering for the entire two minutes - but the hand held aspect made up for some of that.

It's shame that Mich Ultra didn't get any dialog, but I guess the SAG would have insisted that he was paid by the word. Nice use of the remotes as extras, but they should have milled around a bit more looking concerned (or tearful). I also have mixed feelings about the Eagles soundtrack, as that would have been more appropriate for a 70's period piece.

Still, I'll give it 2 and 1/2 stars.

John H | March 24, 2007 12:39 PM

You, er... I mean your books, have serious issues...

Anonymous Regular | March 24, 2007 01:04 PM

I shouldn't gossip, but... When I met TAD at a signing in October I could tell success wasn't going to be any kind of salve for whatever's blistering his soul. He had a couple in him then, I could smell it. When John went to the men's, TAD ripped off his dust jacket and started taunting Mitch Albom's For One More Day. "Waaah, I want my mommy, I want my mommy," like that. It was really embarrassing. The Rough Guide to the Universe had to knock TAD over and sit on his spine until John came back.

I don't even want to be in the store when he ends up remaindered.

Joe Sherry | March 24, 2007 01:09 PM

Spoiler-riffic? That review gives out nearly ever major twist you throw at the reader.

Still...he liked it, he really liked it.

TAD seems to have an inferiority complex.

Steve Nagy | March 24, 2007 01:35 PM

Most authors would shy away from examining the heart of darkness where an old book hides. This documentary effort brings a tear to my eye. Sniff.

One more reason you should win the SFWA presidency. You can bring books to life.

I'm going hunting for the other video right now so I can show it to my oldest, who is home for the weekend from BGSU. Don't know whether they'll get it or appreciate it, but I can always hope.

Kate | March 24, 2007 01:37 PM

Was that the Eagles, The New Kid in Town playing in the background?


Subtle like a brick on the head!

John Scalzi | March 24, 2007 01:44 PM

Kate, I'm sure it was coincidence.

Steve Nagy | March 24, 2007 01:50 PM

Thumbs up from the college grad, John. Though she says I'm the one who's weird. Heh.

Kate | March 24, 2007 01:51 PM

Mockery will get you everywhere, my dear.

Or wait, was that flattery?

In that case, HEY!

-et- | March 24, 2007 02:59 PM

The Last Colony looks fabulous, by the way. It'll be another few weeks before it hits stores (it will in fact arrive perfectly timed for my book tour, the itinerary for which is now lovingly displayed on the gorgeous new Tor Books Web site -- yes! Tor books has a new Web site!) but it's totally going to be worth the wait. Patience.

I'm pleased to hear those words, from several standpoints. First, even though my order is not with Amazon.com, given that Amazon is quoting 27 April as a shipping date for TLC, I was wondering if my copy would arrive here before you show up on your book tour. I'm also pleased to see the major update to the Tor Books web site, so that it no longer shows woefully outdated information. As a consumer, I have often found that an up-to-date publisher's web site can be very useful.

This brings me to a question. On the Tor Books web site it says that you will be at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Sunday, 29 April, but you have previously said here that you will be at the FoB on Saturday, 28 April. Since the Tor info is more recent and also includes a specific time and location on the UCLA campus, I assume that it is more accurate, but my passionate belief in Murphy's Law leads me to ask which date is correct. (I attempted to check at the FoB web site but they have NO info posted on when and where a specific author will be appearing.)

With best wishes,
- Tom -

John Scalzi | March 24, 2007 03:02 PM

The Tor site is the correct date.

PixelFish | March 24, 2007 03:19 PM

Awwwww...will it make TAD feel better if I make a trailer for it like I did for TLC? I mean, I can do sheep....Er. That came out wrong.

-et- | March 24, 2007 04:53 PM

The Tor site is the correct date.

Thanks for confirming that. By any chance are you going to be doing signings elsewhere in the LA area on Saturday, or should we expect to find you getting your fix in one of the local In-N-Out palaces? :-)

With best wishes,
- Tom -

Gea | March 24, 2007 04:56 PM

Props on the zebra striped couch in the background. If you ever decide to get rid of it, can I have it?

Chang, for rizzle. | March 24, 2007 05:30 PM

I like how Krissy is nowhere to be found in the videos. Does that mean she condones your exploiting Athena or you just did it when she crossed the river for supplies?

You know TLC is gonna just be t-drunk when your mysterious 2008 title comes out. Splitting bottles of Listerine with TAD on the back bookshelf.

Annalee Flower Horne | March 24, 2007 07:02 PM

Are you still accepting picturess from TAD sightings in interesting places? Because I'm finally landing a copy, and I'm in close proximity to large numbers of sheep (who, by the way, are terrifying when they're following you at night. All you can see is their eyes, man. Their eyes!).

I was going to try to take my copy out drinking in Dublin on St. Patrick's day, but wasn't able to claim it in time. They probably wouldn't have let me photograph it with the Book of Kells anyway, though.

John Scalzi | March 24, 2007 07:08 PM

Annalee Flower Horne:

"They probably wouldn't have let me photograph it with the Book of Kells anyway, though."

A tragedy for both of them!

Steve Buchheit | March 24, 2007 07:14 PM

Who knew TAD had a drinking issue? Ah, well, rough to no longer be the bright and shiney. Poor TAD. I liked you.

Anonymous | March 24, 2007 08:38 PM

Your tour is regretfully not coming to a town near me. Maybe next time.

culfinriel | March 24, 2007 08:40 PM

Maybe next time I'll remember to type in my name, too.

Dr. Phil | March 24, 2007 11:46 PM

Wait, John, are you saying that a FedEx employee actually used Airborne delivery? (grin)

Dr. Phil

Ted | March 25, 2007 09:12 AM

No Dayton stops on the tour? There's that gorgeous new Books & Co in The Greene that would be perfect for ya

rochelle | March 25, 2007 09:55 AM

Hmmm. I didn't see the American Library Association conference on that list of appearances. Well...WELL?! Minneapolis might be a possibility. It's my new Chicago, since moving to Wisconsin's "West Coast."

John Scalzi | March 25, 2007 11:31 AM


In fact I will be at Books & Co. That particular stop just isn't on the Tor itinerary for some reason.

Jess | March 26, 2007 01:55 PM

When the TAD sequel comes out there needs to be some kind of West Side Story-esque show down between the Android's Dream series and the Old Man's war series.

And what about Agent to the stars, where does he/she fit in to all this.

Matthew Appleton | March 26, 2007 06:15 PM

Sorry about the spoilerish review. I don't expect you to go reading my other reviews, but for what it's worth it's not my usual style to have so many in a review. Unfortunately, it was a little difficult reviewing TAD without getting spoilerish -- some of it was necessary in order to properly give an idea of the feel of the book as well give an good idea of the plot. I also felt that given that this was a comedy in the Shakespearean sense, making some mention of the happy ending wasn't too big a sin.

Having said that, however, I did reread my review after reading your comments, and in retrospect I did go a little too far. For instance, I could have made mention about the Nugentians and Dr. Atkinson without giving the whole joke away. Again, my apologies for that -- unfortunately, as I am also the editor, it's hard for me to re-read my own reviews with the same objectivity I maintain when editing other people's work.

I appreciate the feedback -- you didn't say anything about it, so I hope there's no hard feelings about my Phillies comment. Given that this season they will become the first professional sports team to lose 10,000 games in the history of its existence, it's hard not to think of them as more pathetic than either the Cubs or Nationals/Senators. :-)

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