Activity from jscalzi

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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

Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Short Fiction Recommendations Online
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:54 AM on December 26, 2015

Stream The Beatles

(Also, Actual Beatles is the name of my Plastic Ono Band cover band)
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 10:29 AM on December 21, 2015

“Some books are clearly disappointing, however.”
I have no problem with big advances.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 2:59 PM on November 26, 2015

Is this some snobby, elitist, aesthetic thing?
What I get from the article is that both Schulz and Watterson eventually got what they wanted, which was control of how their intellectual property was handled. The difference was in how each chose to handle that intellectual property, which was a result in the two of them being -- surprise! -- two different people, with differing philosophies about exploitation of their IP.

Inasmuch as in both cases the actual creator of the IP got the final say on the disposition of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 12:40 PM on November 19, 2015

“...the novella is not an immature or effeminate novel.”

"As though the real, fundamental problem with the novella is that the author can't read his own name on the spine from across the room."

The prompted me to see if I could read my name on the spine of one of my novellas from across the room.

Answer: Yes.

So I have that going for me.

As for the argument that a novella is something other than a story longer… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 5:10 PM on November 10, 2015

"That's a very, ah puppy-ish view of things."

Meh. It's a very practical view of things, to be sure. I didn't find the Puppies notably practical, either in their arguments or their execution. Also, when one is talking contracts, one does have to be practical, and one has to be specific.

"Note that a fair view classic sf novels would arguably be classified as novellas by… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 11:27 AM on November 11, 2015

Not paying your writers SUCKS.
My rule of thumb on these matters is pretty simple: If anyone running a site is planning to make money from the writing on the site, then writers are at the head of the payment queue. Without the work the writers do, no one would get paid. Again, pretty simple.

None of this is new, mind you. Back in the mid-90s, the misc.writing newsgroup would get constant bombardment from "editors" who were planning literary sites of some description or another and would… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 5:24 PM on November 9, 2015
Matt D:

"But the exposure thing is entirely real."

You can get just as much exposure -- if not more -- being paid than not, however. There is a fairly strong correlation between venues that pay and venues with significant reach.

Let's also take care to note the difference between someone doing their own thing and a site (or other organization) profiting from the labor of others while not compensating them for… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 5:55 PM on November 9, 2015

"The unique platform and reach our site provide"
To paraphrase Beyonce: If you liked it then you should have put a check on it.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 8:58 AM on October 28, 2015

Harriet Klausner (1952-2015)
Speaking as someone who was reviewed by her, I can say with authority that at least a few of her reviews of my books strongly suggested either she did not read them (or read them entirely), or read them so quickly that the review synopsis of the work did not at all resemble the actual book.

Was I mad about this? No. She was reviewing books on Amazon, on her own time, for fun, and regardless, she was almost always positive about the book. Essentially,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:53 AM on October 24, 2015

In a universe at a slightly different frequency
Speaking as someone who was "denied" a spot on the ballot this year, I think it's time to let this year's Hugos go. They're done, in the books, over. Additionally, many of the books/works on this alternate ballot (again, including mine) were nominated/finalists for, or won, other awards, in genre and outside of them. There was recognition to go around, even with the Hugos temporarily gamed for the year.

There comes a time where chewing over past events just… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 2:50 AM on September 20, 2015

You literally cannot pay me to speak without a Code of Conduct
A conference whose organizer literally refuses to have a code of conduct/harassment policy is one I wouldn't even consider being an attendee at, much less a speaker.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 8:35 AM on September 3, 2015

How the ballpoint pen killed cursive
My handwriting has always been atrocious; my cursive even more so. I am content that these days my use for a pen is largely confined to signing books. I can't even imagine trying to write a book or even a short story by hand, using a pen of any sort; I would stab myself through the eye with that pen long before the story was written.

(That said, my preferred pen is a gel-ink ballpoint, 0.7mm tip -- ink comes out smoothly and is perfect for my writing… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:07 AM on August 30, 2015

“producing much fruit, or foliage, or many offspring”
I'm a fan of King, which I don't think would be surprising to anyone, although I think his best length is short -- his novellas and some of the shorter novels (although both IT and The Stand are exceptions to this general rule). But when all is said and done, Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight pack a very high ratio of awesome to pages.

I think it's difficult at times to really assess "profligacy." A few years ago I pointed out that George RR Martin and I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 8:08 PM on August 28, 2015

The creative apocalypse that didn't happen
Slightly tangential, I think it's very positive that creators have more avenues and opportunities to connect with audiences; what I find a bit less positive is the tribalism that's popped up relating to the mechanics of that connection. It's always been there in music as far back as I can remember ("indie" vs. "major label" artists), but it's also happening in other creative fields now, including publishing, where I live and work. I find it less than positive because I think… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 8:07 AM on August 20, 2015

"But are these new avenues and opportunities translating into more (or even the same) money as before?"

Anecdotally, a lot of the musicians that I know in "nerd rock" (Paul & Storm, The Doubleclicks, Marian Call, etc) seem to be accessing money via Kickstarter/Patreon/etc that would have been difficult for them to get to in another era. And of course there are a number of self-pubbing writers, particularly in… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:12 AM on August 20, 2015

Do Ya Rock Hard or Rock Soft, That's What I Wanna Know
Systematic in the streets, empathetic in the sheets.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:05 AM on July 25, 2015

What happens when you talk about salaries at Google
As someone whose "salary" was made public recently, a couple of thoughts:

1. I think it makes sense for people to talk about how much they make, because the more information people have about what their peers make (for various versions of what "peer" might mean), the better equipped everyone is to ask for fair compensation for their work, and to be aware when their own compensation is out of line, either positively or negatively.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 8:19 AM on July 21, 2015

Chuck Not So Amuck
Thirding praise for Michael Maltese. Legitimately one of the funniest people in the history of film and TV, and gets nowhere near the recognition for it that he should.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 10:09 AM on July 18, 2015

The Thunder From Down Under
I've gonna put a lighter up for the Falling Joys, here. Lovely early-90s band, never made it particularly big over here in the US, sadly.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 5:32 AM on July 16, 2015

Keep your day job, Ted. On second thought... DON'T.
I just assumed Harry Shearer leaving the show was a "work" that they planned to keep the series in the news.

posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 1:58 PM on July 7, 2015

It doesn't have my book on it.

(flips table)

(It's a dollhouse table)

(I'm very weak)
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 12:17 PM on July 6, 2015

“Don’t Worry About Money, Just Travel”
In my 20s I had very little desire to travel; I was busy building a career and I was having a hell of a lot of fun doing that. In my 30s my daughter was too young to understand or enjoy a lot of travel, so we didn't do a whole lot of it then, either. Here in my 40s people ask me to make appearances all over the world, my kid is old enough to enjoy it when we take her, and when I'm not traveling on someone else's dime, I have the means to afford the trip and enjoy the experience better.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 8:14 AM on July 4, 2015

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