Activity from jscalzi

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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

New York Times? Get a rope!
As I said elsewhere, I might put guacamole ON my peas, but I would not put peas IN my guacamole. There's a difference.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 3:17 AM on July 2, 2015

"...and I realized that it was a really beautiful day."
I'm really proud of my friend.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 7:49 PM on June 25, 2015

Lotho Sackville-Baggins does not make the list
Just from the headline alone, I know this piece would be on The Toast. And I was right!
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 5:03 PM on June 23, 2015

2015 Nebula Award Winners
"What? No John Scalzi? "


It looks suspicious when I do.

(Moves eyes shiftily, hides cabal membership card)

Speaking as the former president of the organization which gives out the Nebulas, I'm deeply pleased with the outcome this year. Very good nominees, very good winners. 2014 was a high water mark in recent years for SF/F and I think the Nebula ballot reflected that, as do the Locus and Campbell/Sturgeon lists.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 11:45 AM on June 8, 2015

"The real rare bird is the writer who debuts after 40."
I had my first novel published when I was 36; I won an award for "Best New Writer" when I was 37; the year I got that "new writer" award I had been writing professionally for 17 years. I tell people, truthfully, that I needed every one of those 17 years to pick up that particular award.

I also tell people that if I had had the same sort of success at 25 that I had at 36, when my first novel came out and did well, that I almost certainly would have… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:06 AM on May 22, 2015

the most emotionally affecting music is what was popular when I was 13
Dan Wilson, the lead singer of Semisonic, has done all right for himself since; he co-wrote and produced "Somebody Like You," for Adele, winning an Album of the Year Grammy as a result. He also won a Song of the Year Grammy for "Not Ready to Make Nice" which he co-wrote with the Dixie Chicks. That's a pretty decent second act.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 9:32 PM on May 20, 2015

The Accidental Swami
"I'm not the greatest ambassador for the test... My favorite movie is Groundhog Day, which doesn't pass the Bechdel Test"

Actually it does, because it has the three women who get a flat tire talk about the flat tire very briefly before they realize Phil Connors is changing their tire (See scene beginning at 1:40 here).

Note that this is the very definition of barely squeaking over the finish line,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 4:45 PM on May 10, 2015

The Hardee's-Carl's Jr. Line
Hardee's doesn't have the Bacon Western Cheeseburger. Fuck those dudes.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:42 PM on April 23, 2015

Poor Ivy League Students
I resemble this article: I was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from high school, much less go to college, and I went to the University of Chicago (not an Ivy, but consistently ranked in the top ten universities). I was poor and there was a (very) brief time when I was in college where when I went home for Christmas I had no home to go to. I ended up crashing with friends for the entire holiday.

For all that I integrated pretty well. One reason for… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 7:43 PM on April 22, 2015

"We decided that our first record of the '90s ought to be different."

Because "101" holds the same place in the Depeche Mode discography that "Rattle and Hum" does in the U2 discography: The indulgent live album that signals when the band started believing its own press releases. U2 did manage to eke one more great album after that moment (Achtung Baby); Depeche Mode hasn't, although Ultra was pretty good. Some good singles since then, but, albums, no.

With that said, Violator is a magnificent album.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 3:03 PM on March 21, 2015
Damn it, 101 came out before Violator, completely invalidating my complaint.

(turns in Depeche Mode Fan Club badge)

(walks away, weeping)
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 3:43 PM on March 21, 2015

Oh, I think he's been doing just fine.
posted to MetaFilter by jscalzi at 6:31 PM on March 21, 2015

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