Activity from jscalzi

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Submission Fees are Classist as F***
First this:

Nobody, and I mean, nobody, makes money off short stories, at least not the literary kind this guy is writing.

Then this:

I know that plenty of SF and fantasy authors are making solid amounts on self-pub short stories.

I have a strong suspicion, the proof of which would require more effort than I am willing to make, that there is a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 3:00 AM on September 23, 2017

The Book of Numbers
I've generally taken the Author Earnings reports with a grain of salt, because at least initially their methodology obtaining their information was sketchy to me (I haven't looked at their current methodology in any detail, but looking at the 2016 report there still seems to be a fair mount of "and then magic happens" to it), and because their eagerness to sort of hand wave over the sales/earnings areas they're not interested in order to paint a picture of an indie (and by… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 2:09 AM on September 23, 2017

potentially saving you hours of your precious life

MeFi's Own JScalzi's been there, done that. And "Redshirts" was optioned as a "limited series" to FX and has been languishing in Development Hell for over 2 years...

Not entirely accurate. It was optioned as a miniseries with a script written but FX passed (they decided they needed more "dark" stuff like Fargo) and then the option lapsed. Then a while later FX… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:09 PM on September 10, 2017

Let's talk about pies
I'm delighted Schednfreude pie made the cut here. That is all.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 4:53 PM on August 29, 2017

Did This Book Buy Its Way Onto The New York Times Bestseller List?
*puts on New York Times Bestseller hat*

Folks, publishers try to influence the NYT list all the time. It's not entirely a coincidence, as an example, that publishers schedule book tour dates at bookstores known to report into the NYT, with the hope that those (actual) sales will help push a book onto the list. Conversely, the NYT (and other entities that produce bestseller lists) are aware publishers will attempt to influence -- or outright game -- the system and will… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 3:46 AM on August 25, 2017

Journey through the centre of the earth
The antipode of my house is a a spot of ocean roughly halfway between Perth and main island of the Kerguelens archipelago. When I was in Perth a couple of years ago, it was interesting to be nearly as far as it was possible to be from home, and yet still on land.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:11 AM on August 18, 2017

I Needed Color
"The making of art does not belong to all of us."

lol, no.

Anyone can write or paint or play music or dance as much as they want. Aside from these things being professions they are also enthusiasms. In those cases it doesn't matter whether you "succeed" other than in the sense that it makes you happy. I'm unlikely ever to be a pro photographer or a pro musician, but I'll still take pictures and play my guitar because I like… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 2:16 PM on August 10, 2017
"Hobby painting is like masturbating, pleasurable, tension relieving, and really not something that someone should gold star in public."

Well, but, who died and made you Art King? I mean, I didn't vote for you.

I think your point that work displayed in public can be criticized is non-controversial. On the other hand, and to use your colorful metaphor, if there's a market/audience for this particular flavor of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 2:38 PM on August 10, 2017

"I think the attitude [of] that being an artist denigrates people who spend years working thru something."

Speaking as an artist (of the writer type) who spent years working and refining his craft, I don't feel in the least bit denigrated when someone else, regardless of their demographic laundry list of attributes, decides to try writing. On the contrary, I actively encourage it. Everyone who wants to write has to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 5:56 AM on August 11, 2017

"we dont say everyone is a tax lawyer."

However, what you are doing here is conflating a profession with creative exercise, and those are almost entirely separate enterprises, except for the relatively small common wedge of people whose careers are in a creative field. The vast majority of people who do things creatively -- and even do them in public -- are not professionals in their field (and alas, even those who are… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 4:17 PM on August 11, 2017

"In the end, the only person who got really screwed was Sting."
Mikey is really excellent at this. Nearly every installment is worth watching. I particularly recommend the Grand Budapest Hotel one. Speaking as a former professional film critic, he's got the goods.

(Disclosure: Mikey's my pal and we have had adventures together. But honestly, if I didn't think what he's doing was any good, I just wouldn't comment.)
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 10:00 PM on August 7, 2017

Stop Pretending You're Not Rich
It's pretty clear to me the inflection point that jumped me out of being part of the underclass to being part of the financial elite: getting a scholarship to the Webb Schools, a private boarding school for the various scions of the West. Once I was there I enjoyed all the privileges of the elite, despite the fact that when I went home, I was literally living in a trailer park. My school opened doors I would not have otherwise had open to me, and gave me a network I am still benefiting from… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 12:53 PM on July 29, 2017

“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

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