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April 18th, 2014

http://zettaelliott.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/revisiting-white-privilege-in-publishing/

http://zettaelliott.wordpress.com/?p=6697

indexI’d been planning to write an essay on the bias against self-published books/authors when I unexpectedly received an invitation to write on that very topic for a popular kidlit blog. I thought about seeing The Railway Man tonight but I think instead I’ll stay put and get this essay out of my head. I’ve met with a couple of author/illustrators this week and hearing their perspectives on publishing reminded me that walking your own path can be a long, lonely journey. How many friends will I have left if I stay the course? I’ve also started to feel like a broken record, which is why I’m turning away from advocacy for a while. Reflecting tonight on “the myth of meritocracy” led me to revisit another guest post I wrote for The Rejectionist back in 2010. Here’s some of what I had to say 4 years ago:

I have a sequel that’s waiting to be written, but I’m very creative when it comes to procrastination and so I found myself thinking of other advantages white writers might experience here in the US (though I suspect this also applies to Canada).* Like McIntosh, I do not mean to suggest that these advantages are “generalizable” (experienced equally by all writers who are white).**

1. You can submit a manuscript and it will likely be judged by someone of your race—even at a multicultural press.

2. You can query a number of agents who have extensive experience selling manuscripts by authors (and to editors) who share your race.

3. You can be pretty sure that the book buyer in a large chain or indie bookstore is someone of your race.

4. You can be pretty sure that your book—if it’s lucky enough to get reviewed by the major outlets—will be assessed by someone of your race who operates with an appreciation of your culture’s particular literary tradition(s).

5. You can attend numerous children’s literature conferences with programming that reflects your interests and/or your culture, you can network with industry professionals who share your race, and otherwise feel comfortable as a member of the majority.

6. You can write about anyone who lives anywhere and be accepted by many as an extraordinarily creative person and/or an expert on topics outside of your lived experience.

7. You can participate in a literary event and trust that your invitation was based on the merits of your book, not your race.

8. You can be pretty sure that the person responsible for acquisitions and programming at most schools and public libraries shares your race.

9. You can be pretty sure that most major award committees are composed primarily of people who look like you.

10. You can trust that disappointing sales for your book will not be attributed to your race (or to members of your race being unable/unwilling to read).

11. You can expect that your book will be displayed in stores and shelved in libraries according to its genre, and not according to your race.

12. You can be pretty sure that a (white) editor will not call your (white) characters’ language “too formal,” nor will you be expected to make hardship and racial conflict the central focus of your book.

13. You can rest assured that your book will be considered “universal” and will therefore be promoted widely and not only to a “niche market.”

14. You can trust that your book will be for everyday use, and not for one particular “heritage month.”

15. You can expect to be invited to give school presentations all year round, and not only during a designated “heritage month.”

16. You can trust that your white protagonist will not be depicted as a person of color on your book’s cover.

Getting published is hard—I think all aspiring writers would agree with me on that point. And race isn’t the bottom line here, but it is a factor in one’s ability to navigate the incredibly homogeneous publishing industry. I don’t mean to suggest that whites are incapable of editing manuscripts by and about people of color; there are many wonderful books that are the product of such collaborations, including my own picture book, Bird (plus one of my closest friends is a white editor!). Really, I’m talking about cultural competence, and that can be demonstrated by anyone who has taken the time to learn about a culture not their own. But as Peggy McIntosh points out, there’s rarely any penalty for whites who choose to remain oblivious. Instead, PoC pay the price and we see that reflected in the dismal statistics compiled by the CCBC: in 2009, out of an estimated 5000 books published for children, less than 5% were authored by PoC. We could conclude that writers of color simply aren’t good enough to be published in greater numbers. Or we could reach a conclusion that’s closer to the one McIntosh reaches in her essay:

For me, white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one’s life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own. These perceptions mean also that my moral condition is not what I had been led to believe. The appearance of being a good citizen rather than a troublemaker comes in large part from having all sorts of doors open automatically because of my color.

My father used to call me a troublemaker, and initially I rejected that label because it felt like a cruel mischaracterization—sure, I asked a lot of questions, but why should I accept the status quo if it served others’ needs and not my own? I now realize that as a black feminist writer, making trouble is what I do! I likely won’t be thanked for my complaints about the lack of diversity in children’s publishing, but that’s ok. Being unpopular just might mean that I’m doing something right…["Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." -Ed.]

*Many thanks to Doret and Neesha for their suggestions as I compiled this list.

**McIntosh concludes that “since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need to similarly examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.”


April 17th, 2014

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/17/todays-new-books-and-arcs-41714/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/?p=24309

Some lovely books and ARCs in this stack — and now I want to know which look desirable to you. Share in the comments!


http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/17/hungarian-cover-of-the-human-division/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/?p=24307

Keeping once again in the basic template established for the OMW books by the publisher. I am assuming that these two gentlemen are Harry Wilson and Hart Schmidt. In which case, they’re kinda more dreamy than I imagined them. Which is fine!


http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/17/the-four-levels-of-discrimination-and-you-and-me-too/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/?p=24302

I’ve been talking about sexism recentlymy own and others — and I have to say I’ve found it increasingly exasperating to see the massively defensive response of “not all men are sexist” that inevitably follows. One, because it’s wrong (more on that in a bit), and two, because the more I see it, the more it’s obvious that it’s a derail, as in, “Holy shit any discussion of sexism makes me uncomfortable so I want to make it clear I am not sexist so I’ll just demand recognition that not all men are sexist so I can be lumped in with those men who are not sexist and I can be okay with myself.”

(I also note a fair correlation between the men who demand acknowledgment that men are not all sexist and the men who show some general hostility either to women or to the idea that they are being actively sexist through their own words or actions. But then, I don’t really find this correlation all that surprising.)

The silver lining to this exasperation is that it’s been making me think about sexism, and the more general concept of discrimination, more carefully. At the crux of the “Not all… ” formulation, it appears, is the (honest or otherwise) assertion that in order to participate in discrimination, one has to actively and with malice aforethought choose to discriminate — in order to be sexist, one has to be a sexist, in other words (or to be racist, one has to be a racist; in order to be homophobic, one has to be a homophobe, etc).

And, well. No. In fact, you don’t actively have to go out of your way to discriminate in order to participate in discrimination — that’s kind of the point. Some of that is already built into the system that everyone is part of. You get it, positively and/or negatively, no matter what; everyone does. You may then also decide to support discrimination in one way or another, and that’s the thing that changes you from being (for example) sexist to being a sexist. But to deny that baseline discrimination we all deal with because you’re not by your own lights actively trying to promote that discrimination is silly. It’s there, it’s real and it’s measurable, and you take part in it, one way or another.

But where does the line get drawn between being [x]ist and being an [x]ist, as it were? Let me posit what I think are four (very) general states of discrimination, as a way to suss out my own thoughts on the matter.

(And here is where I add the following disclaimers: One, these are my own thoughts, not rigorous research. Two, people who routinely and rigorously study discrimination may find this delightfully naive. Three, I acknowledge that the following framework is both very general, simplified and “chunky,” as in, reality is a great deal more subtle than four easy-to-conceptualize levels. Four, this is a work in progress. Got it? Okay, then:)

So, here are four basic levels of discrimination as I see them, each building on from the other, each with generally increasing negative effect on those discriminated against:

Level One: Ambient – This is the discrimination that is given to you, by society in general, by the particular groups you participate with in our general society, and by immediate influences (i.e., family, friends, teachers and authority figures). Your own ambient mix of discriminatory things will vary due to all of the above, as you drill down from the general to the specifics of your own life. But that doesn’t mean you avoid discrimination (or its effects); it merely dials in what particular discriminatory things you are more strongly influenced by. Everyone is influenced by the ambient discrimination, which is why, in fact, everyone is sexist, racist, classist, etc — we all got given this stuff early, often and before we could think about it critically. This is the baggage we deal with.

Level Two: Advantageous – This is the level where you realize that sometimes discrimination works for you, and you take advantage of it… or at least, are willing uncritically to accept the benefits of it. You may or may not wish to acknowledge that you have these certain advantages, and when you do acknowledge it, you may or may not try to assert that those advantages don’t apply to you specifically, i.e., that you didn’t get an automatic benefit due to discrimination and instead what benefit you’ve accrued is due to something intentional about you (“No one ever gave me anything! I worked for it all!”). But your recognition and acceptance of this advantageous discrimination is neither here nor there about a) whether it works for you, b) whether by participating in it, you’re helping to reinforce that discrimination.

Level Three: Argumentative – This is the level where you take on board the idea that discrimination is desirable in some way (usually in a way that benefits you directly, or benefits a group you belong to, so you accrue general and indirect benefits), and as a result you argue for and/or defend discrimination. This can take on a number of forms, from the relatively benign (the “not all…” argument) to the not at all benign (arguing that being a slave in the US was not so bad, or that women aren’t mentally composed to do math or physics or computer programming, or that Muslims are naturally inclined toward violence, as examples), and the use of rhetorical process to drive a discussion of discrimination either away from recognition of discrimination, or toward a different topic in order to control and contain the discussion.

Level Four: Antagonistic – The level where you choose to actively set yourself against others due to their differences from you, by (as examples and not limited to) acting to obtain or calling for limits to their freedoms (or to maintain current, actively discriminatory practices), actively minimizing their participation in society, either in general or in a specific subset, threatening them by word or by action and/or encouraging others to do the same.

So: I am sexist in that I have a raft of general assumptions and expectations about women and men that I got just from living in the world that I do; some things seem “girly” and “womanly” to me while some other things seem “boyish” and “manly.” But I am willing to argue that I am probably not sexist, because I don’t, for example, believe that men have inherent rights and privileges that women should not, nor do I believe women’s roles are lesser or subservient to men’s, nor do I, say, threaten them with rape or violence when they say or do something I dislike.

But of course that’s an easy formulation, isn’t it. We don’t really do or say anything useful if we only acknowledge the most extreme examples of discrimination as evidence that someone is a bigot in one way or another. This is part and parcel of the “not all…” assertion — one, that the ambient discrimination in the world doesn’t count when considering someone’s discriminatory assumptions and behavior, and two, that somewhere along the way, there’s a big, bright line at which one can say “hey, now you’re being a sexist/racist/homophobe/whatever.”

And, you know, I don’t think it works that way. Ambient discrimination makes us discriminatory. We all do it; we’re all that way because that’s what we get all around us. What makes of us not a sexist, or a racist, or a homophobe, or whatever, is what we choose to do when we recognize our discriminatory behaviors or attitudes (or have them pointed out by others). If you work to minimize them going forward, in yourself and in your larger world, then you’re probably not a sexist/racist/homophobe/whatever. If you sort of shrug, and go, yeah, well, that’s life, then, yes. You’re totally a sexist/racist/homophobe/whatever. You don’t have to wait to claim that title, or have it justifiably applied to you.

(And yes, before the angry straight white male brigade descends, this applies to everyone, not just straight white men. If you’re not aware of it already, please bone up on the concept of intersectionality. But let’s also not pretend that straight white dudes aren’t first among equals when it comes to these issues, please. You all know my thoughts on my own social group by now.)

So. Am I, John Scalzi, sexist, and racist, and other forms of discriminatory? Yup. That stuff got built in, mostly when I was young and/or wasn’t paying attention. It happened to you, too. Sorry. But I also try to work against being a sexist, and a racist and other such things, by seeing those things in myself and working to correct them, and to correct them outside of myself as well. Am I work in progress? Yes. I’m not perfect at it, either. I show my ass from time to time. But I’m happy to keep on progressing. It’s a lifetime effort.

What I hope is that because of that effort, the ambient discrimination that people will get born into and participate in will suck less in the future than it does now. That’s what I can do, and what you can do, too.


April 16th, 2014

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/16/more-on-the-limited-signed-print-edition-of-unlocked-from-subterranean/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/?p=24299

Subterranean Press has has more news of the signed, limited edition of the “Unlocked” novella — and if you pre-order in the next couple of days, US shipping will be free. Free, I tell you! SubPress does excellent versions of my work, and this one will be no exception — I’ve already seen the layout and it’s lovely.

Remember that the printed version of “Unlocked” actually is limited, as in, once this signed edition is all gone, there will be no more. So if you want one, move fast. Here’s the pre-order page.

Also, for those of you interested in getting a signed version of Lock In, but are uncertain if you will be able to track me down on my tour, SubPress is also offering pre-orders of signed versions of the novel  – i.e., I will haul my carcass to the SubPress offices, sign a bunch of copies of Lock In, and then they will ship a copy to you, should you be inclined to have one. And you do! I know you do. I can see it in your eyes.


http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TobiasBuckell/~3/-aYkBWi1CkY/

http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/?p=9126

Marissa Lingen must have read Hurricane Fever really quickly, as I only just got the advanced reader copies that are sent out to reviewers on my doorstep. Marissa has this to say:

[He]… has married the thriller style to actual knowledge of the Caribbean as something other than a vacation destination and fun extrapolative bits of SF–shark-based bio-paint, awesome!–so that it is a superior grade of thriller. If you’re an SF reader who dips into thrillers from time to time, or if you have a dedicated thriller reader in the circle of people for whom you buy presents, Hurricane Fever (out in July) should definitely make your shopping list.

Hurricanefever

[US & Canada: Hurricane Fever, July 1st 2014, ISBN: 978-0765319227 - Amazon - BN - Indie Stores]

[UK & Commonwealth: Hurricane Fever, July 3rd 2014, ISBN: 978-0091953539 Del Rey UK

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TobiasBuckell/~3/ChjjHhKqsTE/

http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/?p=9127

What is Storium? From the Kickstarter:

“Storium is a web-based online game that you play with friends. It works by turning writing into a multiplayer game. With just your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can choose from a library of imaginary worlds to play in, or build your own. You create your story’s characters and decide what happens to them. You can tell any kind of story with Storium. The only limit is your imagination.

Storium uses familiar game concepts inspired by card games, role-playing games, video games, and more. In each Storium game, one player is the narrator, and everyone else takes on the role of a character in the story. The narrator creates dramatic challenges for the other players to overcome. In doing so, they move the story forward in a new direction. Everyone gets their turn at telling the story.”

(Via Storium — The Online Storytelling Game by Storium / Stephen Hood — Kickstarter.)

Stephen Hood, one of the creators of Storium, approached me at Worldcon with an iPad in hand. We’d pinged emails back and forth, but there in the San Antonio convention center he briefly showed me the mechanism for online game play using story.

I didn’t grow up lucky enough to have role playing games around. But I’ve always loved seeing that it existed. After some conversation, I could see that it would awesome to set up some of my research and notes for the Xenowealth into background material for a playable Storium module.

So I agreed to set the Xenowealth up as a stretch goal for Storium.

If you loved Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, Sly Mongoose, or The Apocalypse Ocean and enjoy role playing games… well, you should check out Storium!

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/16/i-woke-up-late-and-my-brain-is-mush-so-while-i-reboot-it-heres-25-minutes-of-cat-vines/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/?p=24297

You kids have fun with this. I’ll be back later.


http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2014/04/16/spoiling-spoily-spoilers/

http://justinelarbalestier.com/?p=11508

I used to hate spoilers. I didn’t care what it was—a book, an ad, a shopping list—I didn’t want to know what happened until it happened. I wouldn’t read the back of books or movie posters or reviews. I wanted to know as little as possible before going in. I thrived on surprise.

Now this would sometimes backfire. If I’d known a bit about Taken (2008) I would never have watched it on the plane. I just saw that Liam Neeson was in it. I used to like Liam Neeson. He was dead good in Rob Roy.1 But Taken? Worst. Most Appallingly Immoral. Movie. Of. All. Time. If I could unwatch it I would.2

Taken and a few too many hideous final seasons of TV shows like Buffy and Veronica Mars3 have made me more inclined to be spoiled so I know which shows to stop watching. I still wish I’d known not to watch the final season of The Wire. Such a let down after four brilliant seasons. Especially that fourth season. Wow!

I also don’t enjoy books that deal with people dying of diseases. Especially cancer. I’ve lost too many people I love to that disease and I just can’t deal. The few times I’ve accidentally read such a book I have been deeply unhappy about it. And, no, it doesn’t matter how good the book is. Me no want to read about it.

Gradually, I have become considerably less hardcore about spoiler avoidance than I used to be. Partly for the reasons mentioned above and partly because in this world of Twitter, and friends who can’t keep their bloody mouths shut,4 it’s getting harder and harder to avoid them.

My spoiler stance has also shifted because the last few times I was spoiled—on both occasions it was a TV show—it made my viewing experience more pleasurable, not less.5 Which was quite a surprise let me tell you.

Rest assured I will stick to my policy of not spoiling here. I was once 100% in the no-spoilers camp. I understand!

Besides there are plenty of books/TV shows/movies that if you know what’s going to happen next you might not bother. Because what-happens-next is the main thing they have going for them. Don’t get me wrong those books/TV shows/movies can still be fun but they don’t make me want to read/watch them more than once.6

I’ve been enjoying HBO’s Game of Thrones largely because I’ve read the books. I like seeing how it translates to screen. Knowing that the red wedding was imminent made watching it more tense not less and I got the added pleasure of seeing other people’s reactions. On the couch next to me and on Twitter.

I think another shift in my opinion of spoilerfication was writing Liar: a book written specifically to have more than one way of reading it. I made a big song and dance of getting folks not to spoil it because I felt that knowing ahead of time what the big secret was would shift how a person read the book. Particularly as there’s no guarantee that the big secret in the book is true. So if you went in knowing what that big secret was you read the book with that in mind and likely with the expectation that the big secret was true. I wanted readers of Liar to be open to figuring out how they felt about the big secret as they read, not to go in with their minds already made up.

It was a pain. I was chastised several times by people who said my call for readers not to spoil was me being a hypersensitive author trying to control my readers. That once my book was published it was no business of mine whether people spoiled it or not. And they’re right. But I was requesting, not ordering. It’s not like I have the power to stop anyone from spoiling if they want to. There are no spoiler police I can call.

Don’t get me wrong if I was to publish a book like Liar in the future I’d still want people not to spoil it. To this day I am made uncomfortable when people describe Liar as a [redacted] book because for many readers Liar is not a [redacted] book. Those readers think the big secret is a big ole lie. And there’s loads of textual evidence to support them. I deliberately wrote it that way.

But the whole thing was needlessly stressful and made me want to write books where spoiling makes no difference. Like romances. Knowing ahead of time that the hero and heroine get together? Well, der, it’s a romance! It’s not about that, it’s about the how, and you can’t really spoil the how. Because the how is about the texture of the writing not about particular events.

I’ve also come across readers who were told that Liar was a [redacted] book who read it and decided that it was definitely not a [redacted] book and that being spoiled really didn’t affect how they read it.

I was unspoiled reading E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars and I’m glad because I had no idea where it was going. It was a very pleasurable and [redacted] surprise. I’m looking forward to rereading to see what kind of book it is when I know what happens. Double the pleasure!

And, Emily, you have all my sympathy for trying to get people not to spoil it. They will. Which is a shame cause it’s a hell of a surprise. But the book’s so excellent I think in the long run it won’t matter. Besides I know for a fact that there are plenty of readers who are going to enjoy it more knowing the big secret before they start reading.

TL;DR: I’m chiller about spoilers than I was but I won’t spoil you.

  1. What? I like movies with kilts.
  2. I find it very hard to stop watching a movie once I start watching it. It’s a curse. But Taken may well have broken me of the habit.
  3. Both of which are (mostly) otherwise genius.
  4. Youse know who youse are! *shakes fist*
  5. It also let me know when to close me eyes during a certain gruesome scene.
  6. Which is frankly a relief. There’s already too many books etc I wish to read/watch multiple times. I don’t have enough time!

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TobiasBuckell/~3/y2N061f3Kgs/

http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/?p=9122

Looks like the new covers for the Xenowealth books are popping up online for eBook purchases, at least at Amazon:

Xenowealthamazon

As a reminder, the series is being relaunched this December as trade paperbacks. It’s a very exciting thing to see happening.

The trade paperback can be preordered via your favorite local indy store or via Amazon or B&N. The summary and cover are not yet updated, they’re just pulling from the original mass market, but the December 9th launch date is for real. The ISBN is 9780765338402 for those who need to know.

April 15th, 2014

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/15/damn-it-i-cant-make-it-to-gaymer-x2/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/?p=24292

I’m sad to say that for various reasons, including ones involving my personal (i.e., non-public) schedule, I’m just not going to be able to make it to GaymerX2, where I had been scheduled to be a Boss of Honor.

This makes me very sad, because, one, I was really looking forward to it, and two, everyone who will be there is certain to be having a whole bunch of fun and I won’t be there to have it with them. But some things you just can’t avoid, and this is one of them.

Before anyone asks, no, this announcement is unrelated to this bit of news. This was something else entirely, and I had been in communication with the GaymerX2 folks about it for a while. Tried to make it work, and sadly, just couldn’t. The GaymerX2 people were very cool during the whole situation, however, and I thank them for it.

Sorry to everyone who was looking forward to seeing me at GaymerX2 this year. If it means anything, I hope to be in the Bay Area for a public event at some point this year — perhaps on tour, or at another event if not. Either way, I’ll hopefully see you all before the end of the year.

And for those who are wondering: Why, yes, I totally encourage you to show up for GaymerX2, even though I will not be able to attend. It’ll still be a ton of fun. And that’s a lot of fun to be had.


art every day

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http://zettaelliott.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/art-every-day/

http://zettaelliott.wordpress.com/?p=6691

6a00d8341c630a53ef01156fa83a02970c-800wi1I’m trying to write my second screenplay. I wrote my first, Brother’s Keeper, in 2007 after finding out about a contest for emerging writers; the deadline was just a month away and so I ordered a book (How to Write a Movie in 21 Days) and got to work. This time I’m adapting my novel, Ship of Souls, and submitting it to the Sundance Lab. Another long shot, but deadlines force me to get work done. I’m hoping to have these 5 new chapter books ready by the end of the month because I’ve got book fairs on May 10 and June 1. The Sundance deadline is May 1 but I only have to submit the first five pages of my screenplay. In my mind’s eye I’ve seen all my novels unfold on screen, so I don’t think this should be too hard. My other goal for spring break is to nourish my imagination by consuming art every day. On Sunday I went to see “Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties” at the Brooklyn Museum. I was struck by Barkley Hendricks‘ gilded portraits and the way artists in the ’60s formed collectives and used their art to raise money for the cause. On Monday I visited Katie Yamasaki‘s studio, which made xzavierme feel like a kid in a candy store. I’ve bought some of Katie’s prints for my nieces and nephew but the truth is, I wanted those prints for myself! I got to see her new collages and hear about her books-in-progress. We talked about the possibilities of publishing and the limitations. It’s time for a new model and my friend Rosamond gave me some advice about starting a not-for-profit. We went to St. John the Divine to see the phoenixes—they’re stunning. And today we’re going to see the Carrie Mae Weems retrospective at the Guggenheim. Tomorrow? Maybe the Studio Museum of Harlem or the new Muppets movie. I want to see a play this week and may go to St. Ann’s to see Red Velvet. This is New York—there’s no reason anyone should be starved for art, least of all our children. I’ve got an essay brewing on the role of art in education. Break won’t last forever but somehow I’ll find time for it all….


http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/15/announcing-unlocked/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/?p=24286

As you all know, I wrote a novel called Lock In, which is a near future thriller, set in a time where a disease called “Haden’s Syndrome” has caused millions to be trapped in their own bodies. That novel is going to be out on August 26 (August 28 in the UK).

What you don’t know is that I also wrote a novella, “Unlocked,” that’s set in the same world. This novella is an oral history of Haden’s syndrome: How it started, how it spread, what it did to the people who contracted it and to the nation and the world as we scrambled to contain the disease and then help those afflicted.

I wrote the novella early this year, and for two reasons. One, while Haden’s syndrome is pretty well addressed in Lock In, the novel takes place in a time where the world has been living with the disease for decades, which means society has already made the changes that come with such a momentous event. I wanted to explore how we got there, and the novella let me do that. Two, I’ve been wanting to do something in the “oral history” format for years — I actually intended to do a two-book series in the format before World War Z came out and took the wind out of those particular sails — and exploring the progress of Haden’s syndrome offered a fantastic opportunity to let me finally get into that format.

So I wrote the novella, mostly for fun and my own curiosity. When it was done, I realized it would make for a great way to lead people into the world of Lock In. Tor agreed, which is why it’s releasing “Unlocked” as an eBook on May 7. All the details for that, including how to pre-order are here.

But wait! There’s more! For those of you who prefer a printed version, there will also be a limited edition signed hardcover version from Subterranean Press — more information on that (including for pre-order) to come. And if you prefer your novellas in audio, that version will be coming from Audible in the reasonably near future as well. More information on that one, too, as we go along. So, really: Whatever format you like your Scalzi, it’s going to be available for you.

I’m very excited that “Unlocked” is getting out to you. It was a blast to write and I think you’ll get caught up in how the world you know today changes into the world of Lock In. I can’t wait for you to experience it.


http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/15/write-a-check-get-an-entirely-unrelated-check/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/?p=24284

Oh, boy, Tax Day! That’s when I find out how much my refund is!

(Checks paperwork)

WHAT?!??!?

(Writes check to IRS, grumbles)

Well, at least I got this check today:

That’s right! I am now verified on Twitter! It’s your assurance that whenever I write about gremlins, it’s really me, and not, say, Mary Robinette Kowal, posing as me for nefarious purposes. And what a relief that is. For all of us.


http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/14/my-festival-of-books-panel-written-up/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/?p=24282

For those of you who were wondering how my panel at the LA Times Festival of Books went this weekend, there’s a short writeup of it here. It’s accurate with the small clarification that that I didn’t say I wrote in screenplay format, rather that my books often have three-act structure (which is a standard screenplay format).


April 14th, 2014

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/14/jetting-toward-ohio/

http://scalzi.wordpress.com/?p=24280

As one does after a fun and productive weekend in Los Angeles. Or at least as I do. You may do differently. Hey, I don’t judge.

Whatever back to full speed tomorrow.


April 13th, 2014

Gone Revising

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http://www.gwendabond.com/bondgirl/2014/04/gone-revising.html

This is just a quick note to say that posts here will be scarce for the next month. With edit letter in hand and mind, I'll be busy revising Secret Project, employing some of my favorite techniques...

Jean_harlow_1932_red_head_typewriter

Optimized-macdonald-dog-typewriter

Typewriterwonderwoman

 ...and occasionally muttering "We all go a little mad sometimes." The best.

I'll drop by here if there's news, and I'm sure I'll still be on twitter and occasionally on the tumblr machine. And back with more regular stuff after deadline.

April 12th, 2014

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/12/off-to-the-la-times-festival-of-books/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/?p=24278

So all the business I have going on in real life means I won’t be here much today. Enjoy your Saturday anyway.


April 11th, 2014

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TobiasBuckell/~3/hErdZhRpChc/

http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/?p=9119

Someone asked what the biggest surprise about living with five year olds is. For me it’s been their uptake of devices.

Technology is something that was invented when you were past adolescence, I saw that written somewhere. My kids, because I design eBooks, have had iPads lying around (or use our iPhones) since they were babies. It isn’t technology to them.

It’s natural, and I expected to see them use and fumble around with user interfaces with the apps we’ve curated for them.

What blew me away was when we let them play with Siri on the iPhone. For a while, they would just try and ‘talk’ normally with Siri, and then laugh hilariously at the response, as Siri wouldn’t ‘get it.’

But then they began to hone in on the idea that Siri could present them things they wanted. And within a few days, I realized that was going to be something interesting. Because they shortly proceeded to ask Siri “Siri: show me Paw Patrol (a show they like) videos online.”

Now, where they picked up the concept of ‘online’ I’m not sure. But they did. Or at least that adding that word (possibly because Siri said ‘I don’t know what that is, but there’s a list of things online’ at some point). But they know that asking for #thingtheywant and #online results in a search, which often has what they want. (This spills over into other things. ‘Daddy, can you show me a video of how the solar system got made’ is one I get asked frequently.)

So within minutes, they were watching youtube clips of their favorite show.

I wasn’t sure about Siri technology making the leap to mainstream, but the fact that my kids have figured it out means that I think this is here to stay. They’ll expect it.

Just like I expected TVs to get touchscreen. Not because it makes sense. All the reasons for TVs not to get touch technology makes sense.

It’s going to happen because when my kids hit the age they can make purchase decisions, they expect it. I know this because my TV is covered in finger swipe marks from where they will walk up to it absently when they can’t find the remote, and tap it. Then realize that ‘oh, the TV is dumb’ and walk back and look for the remote.

Fascinating.

I was recently talking to a grandmother in town who told me about her kids proudly not letting kids access any sort of technology. Frankly, as a digital native, I’m more interesting in staying a step ahead of mine and teaching them responsible use.

The reason I say that is that I didn’t have cable or TV until college. As a result, I’m horrible about monitoring my use of it. I inhale it like an addict when I have it (one reason I don’t have cable anymore), but my wife, who grew up with TV, can just sit in a room with it on and do other things. It might be that we’re different personalities, but I suspect it might have a lot to do with the fact that she learned to do homework or other activities with people (family) while the TV was on. I struggle with that.

Not coincidentally, a lot of people I know who have grown up with the internet often struggle to figure out how to pair productivity with online accessibility (witness the success of apps like Freedom, that turn off the internet).

So I’m hoping my kids will be able to handle connectivity as digital natives, and not be like me.

I find it fascinating to see when they want to have stuff on the TV, versus when they want to curl up with an iPad together for a show. Or when they want books. Or when they want the book on the iPad. Or read to. And that they will often turn off the devices to go jump into a box to make a fort.

So far they seem to self-regulate better than most adults I know, though I’m sure as parents we’ll keep an eye on it.

But what’s fascinating about the Siri online search anecdote (something we monitor very closely), is the fact that I read a novel once where the characters, at any age, had access to a phone-booth sized terminal into a central computer that was basically wikipedia. And anyone at any age could ask the computer anything, and it would tell you. And the sf-nal extrapolation was: this changes everything.

So my kids basically have that in a handheld device, unless I lock everything down tight. And even if I do, the moment they hit an age where they can access someone else’s device, same deal. So it’s going to happen. They’re going to grow up in that information rich world.

A totally science fictional world from my childhood’s perspective.

And that is the wildest thing about having five year olds, to me.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TobiasBuckell/~3/n_6lB6ztr30/

http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/?p=9118

Five years ago. Doesn’t seem all that long. But I’ve ended up with two five year old kids running around the house.

How did that happen?

Twins

Their current hobbies include re-enacting memorized lines from Frozen, bedazzling open surfaces of the house with stickers (where do all these stickers come from? I don’t remember buying them, they just seem to… happen), and heckling me in my office when they get home (“did you finish the book today, daddy?” “No, I’m a quarter of the way through.” “Well, you should finish it soon.” “I know.” I once explained to them that I get paid if I write a book, so they sometimes add in “You know, you’ll get more monies if you finish the book.” Me: “Trust me, I know.”).

They’re wildly creative, funny as all hell, opinionated, and too smart by half. I hope they take over the world.

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