Activity from jscalzi

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“The objective is to normalize the discussion so it’s not otherworldly”
This article was interesting to me because over the course of my daughter's childhood we went from upper middle class to somewhat wealthy, in a small, rural blue-collar town. We're not obnoxious about it (no gold-plated vinyl siding on the house, etc), but it's a small town and everyone knows everyone's business. At one point some of my daughter's classmates asked her point blank whether she was rich. At which point, she asked us, her parents, about it.

So, in fact, at… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:40 AM on May 21, 2017
"I hear jscalzi's loaded. You lure him into the alley and hold him down while I take his wallet."

Won't work. My manservant handles all my petty cash.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 3:30 PM on May 21, 2017

“If an evil monarch forced you to choose...”
In order of ditching:

1. Apple: I own very little Apple hardware (at this point an iPad Mini which I got because I'm working with a company developing a mobile game for iOS), and have typically found Apple's ecosystem a little precious. I could lose them and hardly notice.

2. Facebook. I use it because everyone I knew prior to 1995 is on it, but my presence on it is fairly limited and bland. I could simply tell everyone on it that if they needed… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 8:02 PM on May 11, 2017

Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year

"But there isn't an author alive who NEVER gets rejected!"

Actually, I've never had fiction work rejected. I sold the very first short story I wrote for submission, and as for the first two novels I wrote, I put them on my Web site rather than submit them to publishers, which is where editors found them and made offers for them. Subsequently, I've never had a novel proposal rejected, and I don't usually write shorter… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 4:12 AM on April 14, 2017

"I have judged his behavior for myself, and I do not feel safe"
Following up on Gelatin's post:

What makes it worse in this particular case is that OdysseyCon has a harassment policy -- which apparently it thought inoculated it from criticism from having a known harasser on the staff, in a guest-facing position. Surprise!

With regard to harassment policies, I don't take credit for their spread, but I will note that after I posted the piece saying I wouldn't attend a convention without one,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:57 AM on April 12, 2017
Tad Williams, another OdysseyCon Guest of Honor, has decided not to attend.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 12:49 PM on April 13, 2017

How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
For us, the division of parental responsibilities was not too difficult. My wife worked out of the home and I worked in it (I was a writer even then, although mostly doing corporate consulting), and I was also at the time a night owl, so it went like this:

5am - 8:30am: Mom handled all the things.
8:30am - 5pm: Dad handled all the things.
5pm - 11pm: Mom handled all the things.
11pm - 5am: Dad handled all the things.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:13 AM on March 27, 2017

OMG Kitties
Naomi is the best and I was thrilled when she won the Hugo last year. Well deserved and also wonderful recognition for a writer who's spent years in the trenches, doing the work.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 12:56 PM on February 28, 2017

I thought these were jeans!
I've worked from home for 18 years now, and I find that generally speaking the isolation doesn't really bother me in the slightest. I'm pretty well self-contained and self-amusing, and also (and I think importantly) I started working from home simultaneous to the rise of the earliest social media (blogs, AIM, etc) and the interaction I got from that was sufficient for my needs. These days it can actually be too much -- I sometimes have to literally disconnect the DSL from the router in order to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 7:47 PM on February 6, 2017

your people will wear cardigans and drink highballs.
I was a movie critic when this movie came out and one of the more amusing things I saw related to Addams Family Values was a "For Your Consideration" ad for the film in Variety, which included the suggestion of "Eat Me" for Best Original Song. It wasn't going to happen (and didn't), but I kind of love that they made the effort.

I am also one of those who is of the opinion that Values is better than the first film; in fact substantially so. The story… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 12:49 PM on November 23, 2016

I got a rock.
As I noted on Twitter, everything about that list is wrong.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:55 AM on October 28, 2016

“’s an extremely handy collection.”
As someone who works with one of these Big Five, I suspect they look much bigger from the outside than they do from the inside. A number of these imprints are little more than a marketing category and a logo on the spine. As examples, take "Orb," published by Tor/Forge (which is part of the Macmillan house), which is essentially the house label for previously-published works that Tor has gotten the reprint rights for and is now putting out in trade paperback. The back-end of Orb is… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:47 AM on October 26, 2016

How to Take Home "Garbage Bags Full of $20s"
"Coincindentally, as we type, mefi's own scalzi is on his way to New York Comic Con, where he will be signing 'a limited edition poster to celebrate the Audible-exclusive release of his audiobook, The Dispatcher'. Comic Con is of course nothing like Worldcon, but authors these days have to keep their feet in both types."

In fact, I'm typing this from my hotel room in NYCC, a few blocks from the Javits, where NYCC is going on.

I do in… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 3:12 AM on October 7, 2016

Bless his heart.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 10:31 AM on October 6, 2016

Dance, Mantis! Dance for Michael's pleasure!
Zorak is possibly one of my top five animated characters ever. Rest in peace, Mr. Croker.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 7:42 AM on September 19, 2016

Dolly Parton + Pentatonix
One of the great pop culture discoveries of my life, as a younger man, was the realization that the almost-caricaturish pop culture version of Dolly Parton I was aware of was only the public-facing facet of a woman who was an amazing songwriter, an incredibly savvy business person, and a woman who managed to be progressive, on her own terms, in an industry, culture and planet that doesn't reward women doing any of those things.

Learning that made me face some of my own… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 1:20 PM on September 17, 2016

• author totally misunderstands Internet in way that sounds profound
Alexandra Petrie is a treasure.

Every genre has its problematic tropes and authors.

It's good to have more than straight white male authors in your reading list, and I fully endorse this practice, but remember to come round to some of us again from time to time, please.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 3:16 AM on September 10, 2016

The Secret Furry Patrons Keeping Indie Artists Afloat
It's interesting how those on the lowest rung of the geek hierarchy seems to be the most decent folks

What's really going to bake people's noodles is the fact there are quite a few furries who are published authors, both writing furrycentric work and stuff that is not furry-oriented, and that at least some of them do very well for themselves. The geek hierarchy is a multiply-branching ouroboros.

In my time in SF/F I've met a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:47 AM on September 1, 2016

It's a feel-good story
What happens if you watch it somewhere there's not a phone? Has this been answered? Would Skype or a Google Hangout suffice?
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 2:13 PM on August 24, 2016

An apartment roughly the same size as the coffin you'll be buried in
I'm looking forward to making one of those cute little apartments in one of our spare rooms. Just for the fun of it.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 5:10 AM on August 24, 2016

Queering up the big screen... in teensy tiny steps
Movies are sold globally, especially big, loud ones. Not every market is where the US is (which is still not that great) in terms of being okay with LGTBQ representation. So it gets toned down/written out/barely addressed. It's bullshit, but it's the reason.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 12:11 PM on August 17, 2016

how many have you read?
Well, I like this list.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 5:18 AM on August 10, 2016

Spizzenergi and Creed: Not That Far Apart
Tried to connect G.G. Allin and Glenn Branca and the site said it didn't have Branca in the database. Therefore, I win.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 1:08 PM on July 14, 2016

Do you have the votes?
454/339. Book tours and 21 years of marriage have created a landslide.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 7:41 AM on June 22, 2016

The Happiness Gap
We've been pretty happy as parents but I can say with some certainty that much of that has been tied into the fact that many of the pressures of child-raising were mitigated in our specific situation. Because I am a writer and had a (very) flexible schedule, I could also be the stay-at-home parent, which relieved a lot of child care issues.

When we did take our daughter to child care, it was through the community college my wife was attending (at the behest of her… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 1:36 PM on June 17, 2016

Pusheen in Real Life
Distinct and notable lack of Pusheenosity.

(lights torch)

(sharpens pitchfork)
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 8:24 AM on June 17, 2016

Capturing-- or creating-- the too-perfect picture
The camera lens and sensor (and before the sensor, the film in the camera) are not the equivalent to the human eye, and what comes out of the camera isn't what a human eye would see -- it's what a camera would see. The camera has already made "choices" about what the image is in the design of its hardware and software. When I see a picture straight out of my camera, more often than not what the camera "saw" is not what I saw, because of the differing nature of my eye and my… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:26 AM on June 14, 2016

Fandom Explained
If your work gets its own fan fiction, it's a good sign you just might be able to pay your mortgage through this writing thing. It means people are so excited about the world you've created that they can't wait for you (but will likely be there when you show up again).
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:49 AM on June 10, 2016

Advice to Students from an Iguana

"One of my most dearest teenage memories is getting a handwritten letter from one of my favorite authors. If I had gotten referred to a websites publicity guidelines I would have been crushed."

Eh. I don't mind crushing teenagers, when it comes to thoughtless assignments from their teachers, who apparently think I don't have anything more pressing to do with my time. I think it's a reasonably valuable lesson for them -- and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 7:32 PM on June 5, 2016

“She’s creating it, and whatever she creates becomes part of the story.”
I wrote about this topic a long time ago (when Rowling announced Dumbledore was gay and people freaked out a little about it), and when I wrote about it the point I made was that authors always know more about their universes than goes into the books -- they pretty much have to -- so when an author speaks about something relating to their universes that's not in the books, unless it directly contradicts what's in the printed work, then it should be considered canon, on the grounds that the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 8:06 PM on June 1, 2016
Quinbus Flestrin:

"Copyright conveys a limited monopoly over various aspects of written works to the author, but the right to define canon isn’t specified as one those aspects."

Well, no, that's entirely wrong. I literally own my universes (and will for 70 years past my death, which is sort of ridiculous, but even so), so regardless of whatever people want to pretend about the universes I create,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 4:04 AM on June 2, 2016

"It's entirely reasonable to read Catch-22 and analyze it and interact with it without reading or acknowledging the existence of Closing Time."

Sure, as a casual reader. But your thesis adviser is probably not going to be happy with you when it comes time to write your final paper. Heller wrote Closing Time specifically as a companion piece to Catch-22, and it revisits several characters… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:01 AM on June 2, 2016
I'm responding to several posts here so this will be long.


"My professors put in serious effort breaking down my adherence to authorial intent."

I don't think there's anything wrong with challenging and interrogating the intent of authors, to be sure -- authors are unreliable narrators of their own process because they are human, and there are some things they… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 10:43 AM on June 2, 2016

"jscalzi, the concept of 'canon' is simply shorthand for a particular set of conversations about fictional works"

No, it's not. What you're describing is "commentary." "Canon" is about the authoritative content/design of the universe in question. These are in point of fact separate things. Describing commentary and canon as the same thing is like calling a whale a giraffe.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 11:37 AM on June 2, 2016

Quitting Your Job to Pursue Your Passion is Bulls***
Speaking as someone who hasn't held a "day job" in 20 years, I am a HUGE proponent of the day job for creative folks particularly. Most people who do creative work don't get hugely compensated for it and are likely never to be. Trying to string together a living from a creative field is often an exercise in alternating panic and desperation, and after one's mid-20s, the desire to eat something more than sodium noodles is a powerful thing. A day job pays you, gives you a margin and can… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:14 AM on May 30, 2016

The day we discovered our parents were Russian spies
I literally just finished reading the story, and I thought to myself, "this is something that is going to show up on Metafilter." And guess what!
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:49 AM on May 7, 2016

Puppies All the Way Down
"Though various fixes have been proposed the future of the award may be in doubt."

No, it's not. Or at least it's not in doubt by the organization that actually runs them, which I suspect will happily continue doing so indefinitely.

Likewise, what matters is not the nominations but the final result. Last year the Puppies tried to game the system and were unceremoniously bounced out of the award, and what did win… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 1:28 PM on April 26, 2016

If you care, here’s how it all went down.
I wasn't in love with the Oingo Boingo sideswipe in the piece; they were rather better than Wyman's dismissal of them. Otherwise this was fun to read but basically a high school reunion recounting of an old pointless argument by someone who probably should have let it go by now but still has a couple of grievances he wants to hash out. I suspect it was therapeutic.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 3:03 PM on April 13, 2016

Greatest Living Americans Bracket
My final four: Dolly Parton, Elana Kagan, Meryl Streep, Toni Morrison.

Came down to: Dolly Parton and Toni Morrison.

Winner: Toni Morrison.

Fight me.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:50 PM on March 17, 2016

World's largest cruise ship, "Harmony of the Seas"

MeFi's own Scalzi is a regular guest.

Not just a guest but on staff, as I'm co-head of the JoCo Cruise literary track with Patrick Rothfuss. This year we brough NK Jemisin, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction on board as guests, and had events that included Michael Ian Black, Wil Wheaton and Allie Brosh, among others. They were of course all very fabulous.

I'd say that generally speaking… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 7:33 AM on March 11, 2016

Dr. Pimple Popper
She and I went to high school together and were (and are) friends. She's fab. That is all.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:38 PM on March 9, 2016

The Dumbest Boy Alive
I don't see what the problem is. You can totally work out five times a week, every other day.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:09 AM on February 19, 2016

I liked The Daily Show, but then it changed chefs and no one goes there anymore.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:44 AM on February 5, 2016

The science of Resting Bitch Face
My wife's default face is "I'm going to cut you" and one of the things I love about her is that she doesn't give a shit whether you're bothered by it or not. It is quite literally not her problem.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 7:27 PM on February 2, 2016

Something's Coming
I liked Cloverfield if for no other reason than it was lovely to see mopey, self-absorbed yuppie types get reminded that in fact they're not the center of the universe, and then, eaten.

The 10 Cloverfield Lane trailer seems like the movie is like The Purge with kaiju, and I don't know if that's going to get me into a theater. But with Goodman and Winstead in it, I'm willing to be convinced.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 8:33 AM on January 15, 2016

“...left a trail leading right back to his door”.
Half of the top 20 accounts on MetaFilter are sockpuppets of jscalzi or cstross, right?

(burns sockpuppets)


posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 1:44 PM on January 13, 2016

I’m in control of my actions basically all of the time
I don't drink and never have, but in general I haven't found it to be a problem socially because I'm generally not socially awkward about it, which is to say, get me in a bar with a lot of tipsy people and it's not immediately apparent that I'm not tipsy as well. Which is another way of saying I don't make other people feel socially awkward about it, I suppose. Plus at this point all my friends are aware I'm more than happy to drive their inebriated asses home if necessary, so my not drinking is… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 11:35 AM on January 3, 2016

"Only a story. Only the most important thing in the whole world."
Anecdotally speaking, I've found no penalty to writing non-white and/or non-male lead characters in science fiction books. My last novel, which consisted of four novellas, had women characters as the lead in two of them, and the book before that had a non-gendered mixed-race character and a woman as the lead characters. The next major release of mine (an audiobook novella) has a Hispanic man and black woman as the primary characters. No problems selling the books to publishers, no problems in… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 11:07 AM on January 3, 2016

"...sometimes the writing goes well and sometimes it doesn't"
To echo what cstross said, I've noted before that GRRM and I write at roughly the same pace, in terms of words produced. I just put mine in several books while he puts his into a single one. He's writing at a perfectly good clip. It's just the books are so friggin' huge.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 7:09 AM on January 2, 2016
For those asking, I'm writing two novels this year but neither one is scheduled for '16. Tor wants time to plan marketing, and I'm down with that.

My major release for '16 will be an audiobook novella entitled "The Dispatcher." No set date but it's on schedule for release this year. It was written last year (finished in August, in fact), which goes to cstross' point that there's more that goes into work coming out than just us typing up words on our end.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 10:01 AM on January 2, 2016

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