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November 27, 2006

A Special Edition of The Ghost Brigades

Last year, I and Tor Books made a special electronic edition of Old Man's War available for free to the folks serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; here in 2006, we're doing it with The Ghost Brigades. TGB is a follow-up to OMW but it's a stand-alone book; you don't need to have read Old Man's War to be able to read The Ghost Brigades.

So: If you're currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan and would like to receive an electronic edition of The Ghost Brigades to read and (hopefully) enjoy, all you have to do is send an e-mail from your .mil account to omw@scalzi.com and ask for it. As soon as I get your request, I'll send you an .rtf document (about 584kb in size), which you can format as you please for whatever you read things on.

Your cost: not a thing. You've earned some recreational reading, I expect.

In case you're wondering: The reason I ask for a .mil address is to confirm that you are currently serving. We'd like these electronic editions to go to the folks who are currently serving away from home and don't have ready access to things like bookstores. But aside from the .mil addresses, we're on the honor system here. I figure most people understand what we're doing here and will honor that. For the rest of you, the book is in the stores, waiting for your tender caress.

If you're not in the military but know someone who is stationed in Iraq/Afghanistan and who might want to know about this, by all means cut and paste the information here or send them a link. Also, of course, feel free to mention this in your own blogs and journals and link back here. I don't mind this getting around.

Once again, I owe a big thank you to Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Tor Books for allowing me to do this; it feels good to be with a publishing house that's willing to do something like this from time to time. I means a lot to me to be able to do it.

Posted by john at November 27, 2006 08:00 PM

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Whatever: A Special Edition of The Ghost Brigades Last year, I and Tor Books made a special electronic edition of Old Man’s War available for free to the folks serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; here in 2006, we’re doing it with The Ghost Br... [Read More]

Tracked on November 28, 2006 12:47 PM


Steve Buchheit | November 27, 2006 08:29 PM

That's a capital move, John. Good on you, PNH, and Tor. Bully, as my friends from over the pond would say.

BTW, was purchasing a gift for a favorite Uncle (who I don't believe currently reads your blog) today. It was a choice between TAD and 1461 (after much narrowing of the field). I figured enough people would be getting him standard reading material so I got him TAD for the good writing and entertainment. I have to control myself and not read it before sending (as it's still on my list).

KevinQ | November 27, 2006 08:39 PM

That's a good thing to do, John, and I hope lots of our service people take you up on it.


J | November 27, 2006 08:43 PM

Awesome man. Support the troops, even if you don't support the government.

By the way, I finally picked up a copy of Old Man's War from my local library. So, I'll now get to read something of yours other than the Whatever. Yay!

Alex S. | November 27, 2006 08:50 PM

...folks who are currently serving away from home and don't have ready access to things like bookstores

Does this include those stationed aboard a ship in the Pacific?

John Scalzi | November 27, 2006 09:01 PM

Alex S:

"Does this include those stationed aboard a ship in the Pacific?"

The entry specifies current service in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm not likely to go out of my way to do a check on where people are stationed, however. As I said, we're on the honor system here.

Steve Thorn | November 27, 2006 09:17 PM

You, Patrick and Tor deserve some kudos for the idea. Workng as contractor for the Air Force - primarily at WPAFB, I'll make sure this info gets around over there so it can be passed on.

And, cashing in a g.c. to Amazon for my birthday, I ordered The Android's Dream. Listed at #4,278. Nicely done! Soon, you'll be publishing in that hallowed Top 100, I just know it.

Patrick Carroll | November 27, 2006 09:30 PM

IOU $500. Please give me a way to send it to you that doesn't involve paypal, and it shall be done.

If I don't pay up, please feel free to burn me in effigy.

John Scalzi | November 27, 2006 09:33 PM

Uh, why do you owe me $500?

Anonymous | November 27, 2006 09:35 PM

I want to turn over cash to pay you for what you're doing for the troops. Sorry if I got excited.

John Scalzi | November 27, 2006 09:39 PM

Well, thanks, but that's not necessary. If you want to spend that much money, just buy the TGB or The Android's Dream and give them out as gifts; otherwise donate the amount to the charity of your choice. I would suggest one that offers support for veterans and military families and/or encourages literacy here in the US.

Timothy McClanahan | November 27, 2006 09:39 PM

Yo, Scalzi: When someone says they owe you money, DON'T ASK QUESTIONS! Heinlein would be ashamed of you for that. :)

Anonymous | November 27, 2006 09:40 PM


John Scalzi | November 27, 2006 09:47 PM

Timothy McClanahan:

"When someone says they owe you money, DON'T ASK QUESTIONS! Heinlein would be ashamed of you for that. :)"

Heh! It's possible. Of course, Heinlein was also a big fan of the concept of "paying it forward" -- i.e., helping out folks and then saying to them that you'd hope that they'd help out others in turn. This would be a bit of paying it forward, I'd say.

victor | November 27, 2006 10:21 PM

For your info, if you wish to read more free ebooks, we are a free online library located at www.bookyards.com We have over 11,000 ebooks, a news blog aggregator, and other useful links for your reading pleasure.

LAN3 | November 27, 2006 10:25 PM

Scalzi, I was on the fence about buying Ghost Brigades versus reserving it from the library, but in response to this, I'm gonna buy it next chance I get to buy books. I'm voting for your and your publisher's generosity with my wallet. Ditto Android.

Don't go changin'!

Robin Roberts | November 27, 2006 10:51 PM

Guess I have to buy a book now, John. Good job.

Major John | November 27, 2006 10:59 PM

I think I may have helped (along with Glenn Reynolds - I was his "Afghanistan Correspondent" in 2004-2005 and was quite hyped up to get my mitts on OMW when I got home) inspire your very nice gesture with OMW. Since I have returned from Afghanistan, I have managed to pick up a copy of TGB and AGTS...nice work on your part, and very generous to share with my brothers (and sisters) in arms.

Thanks, sir.

Wickedpinto | November 27, 2006 11:57 PM


Not in anymore, but AWESOME! I know that they are thanking you, if only they could have the paper though, but who knows, maybe they have a repro shop (we were once given free copies of "A letter to garcia" I think is it's title, if we requested it. That way they can enjoy it away from the monitor.


SFC SKI | November 28, 2006 12:44 AM

Thanks very much for your generous offer, it's support like this that really brings a smile to my face.

I bought OMW after I returned from IRaq last time, I look forward to reading TGB on the banks of the Euphrates this time.

Thanks also, for posting Agent to the Stars online, it made me laugh out loud and made mkes me lok forward to purchasing The Android's Dream once I finish this tour and get back to the world.

Buck | November 28, 2006 01:01 AM

Can my nephew in Iraq still get a copy of "Old Man's War" in this manner, or do I need to send him a former tree copy, then have him link for "The Ghost Brigades?"

He's a Marine combat engineer. I just got a forward from him of some photos of a Humvee chewed up by a IED that he and his crew had to assess and remove from the scene. It's real easy to forget how our women and men are in harm's way every minute of every day, while we debate the finer points of Coke Zero and bacon-laden cats.

John- every time I think you've topped out on being a righteous dude, you top yourself. This is a great gesture.

David | November 28, 2006 03:39 AM


Nicely done. I'll be sending out word of this to those I know in harms way. TAD was already on my Christmas wish list, but I will take your suggestion about sending OMW and TGB as gifts.

JR | November 28, 2006 03:45 AM

Commendable. And as you say, it will be on the honor system. Since I'm sure you are aware many hundred of thousand non-military folks have .mil addresses; like myself as a DoD contractor or many others who are govt civilians.

I once recall hearing the general axiom has been, for every warfighter you have about 10 support contractors/govt employees.

Regardless I think it's a fine idea, and has motivated my own plans to "pay it forward". Good work sir.

John Scalzi | November 28, 2006 06:13 AM


"Can my nephew in Iraq still get a copy of 'Old Man's War' in this manner, or do I need to send him a former tree copy, then have him link for 'The Ghost Brigades?'"

Actually, I wrote The Ghost Brigades as a stand-alone, which is to say you don't need to read Old Man's War to be able to get into this book. So sending him a copy of OMW is not necessary.

Retread | November 28, 2006 06:42 AM

What a generous idea. Thank you and (and Tor Books) for the gesture. On the 'pay it forward' theory, I'll be buying my own copy in a few days.

I recently finished OMW and enjoyed it very much.

Rajesh | November 28, 2006 10:57 AM


This is a brilliant idea. I don't suppose there's any chance your British publishers could extend it to the British Forces serving in these areas.

John Scalzi | November 28, 2006 11:13 AM


What British publishers?

Rajesh | November 28, 2006 11:17 AM


My mistake. I'd seen your fiction books on amazon.co.uk before & have them on my to buy list but hadn't realised they were US editions.
Your visit to Scotland for the Worldcon made me think you had a UK publisher.

Mike Williamson | November 28, 2006 12:50 PM

Just an inquiry, what about the troops in Bosnia? It rather sucks there, too, and that particular operation has been going on for over a decade. Two of my friends just deployed there, one leaving three teenage children at home with her husband, also Guard, who's also a federal police officer.

Of the three places, parts of Iraq are the most dangerous (with other parts being not bad at all), Afghanistan is the most desolate, and Bosnia is potentially the most dangerous, and seems to have been completely forgotten in the public eye.

John Scalzi | November 28, 2006 01:07 PM

Mike Williamson:

I specified Iraq and Afghanistan, but if a US serviceperson stationed in Bosnia were to request a copy, I'd be very unlikely to say "sorry, wrong regional conflict."

Anyway, the point of specifying the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict (and the .mil addresses) is to bring home the point to people that this edition really is for folks serving far from home and bookstores. As I said, I'll be on the honor system; people should use their judgment as to whether this is for them or not. And if they really don't know, it doesn't hurt to ask.

calnj | November 28, 2006 02:27 PM

I'm just curious... How many copies of OMW did you send out last year?

Such a cool thing for you to do!

CaseyL | November 28, 2006 08:51 PM

That's a terrific thing to do, John, and I hope a lot of servicepeople take you up on the offer.

I've been coming to this blog for months now - starting with the Pluto controversy, so my first experience here was seeing Athena's video commentary, and I was immediately hooked.

But, I blush to confess it, I hadn't actually read any of your work until last weekend, when I bought OMW. And stayed up until, oh, 3:00 am to finish it. I'm actually quite pleased by the timing - because now I get to go snap up TGB instead of having to wait until you're done writing it. And TAD, of course.

Fellow Peacekeeper | November 28, 2006 11:20 PM

Cool, how about non-US allies in the 'stan?

John Scalzi | November 29, 2006 12:12 AM

Nothing stopping them from putting in a request.

Nosmo | November 29, 2006 03:27 PM

Thanks for the offer, I forwarded it to our guys over in the box

Just waiting on Amazon to ship to me!


Mike Williamson | November 29, 2006 11:54 PM

Cool deal, John. You may get a request or two from Bosnia. My friends arrived in Kosovo last Wednesday. Happy Thanksgiving, eh?

Cindy | December 1, 2006 10:02 AM

Just discovered your books myself and loved them. I bought Old Mans War for my son-in-law for Christmas who will be going to Afghanistan this January. Will save the link and send to him once he gets settle. Keep up the great work. Thanks


Francis | December 3, 2006 01:18 PM

For those of us not .mil but who like eBooks can we buy one?
[%insert standard Baen-derived rant which I'm sure you have heard about 5000 times before]

John Scalzi | December 3, 2006 01:23 PM


No. Selling you one would be against my contractual obligations with Tor, to whom I licensed the electronic rights, but beyond that it would cut out of the revenue loop all the other folks who worked on the book, including the editor, art/layout designers, production folks, etc.

I'm sure there will be official salable ebook versions at some point; I'll let you know when that happens.

Thebastidge | December 4, 2006 05:18 AM

Thanks John, I'll be letting people here in Baghdad know about this.

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