May 31, 2013

John Scalzi Event

The dude in the cap looking at his book on the
far left is a Guy from my book club!
For the end of his three week author tour in promotion of The Human Division, John Scalzi appeared at Decatur's own Eagle Eye Bookshop.  Fun was had by all.  Or at least me.

The Human Division is a continuation of the Old Man's War series.  He released each chapter online one per week from sometime in January to sometime in April.  Since I've only read  the first two books in the series, I did not read the episodes as they were released.  For those of us that waited, he and his publisher included two extra little stories.  This apparently made the people who got the online episodes grumpy.  But it's not like they'll never get them.  He's going to release them to the online subscribers as well.  They just thought they'd give a little something to us book buyers first for a change.  Just goes to show you can't make everyone happy.

Anyway, he read one of these shorts and it was pretty funny.  There was a bit in the middle which referred to the previous events of the book.  Seeing as how this was a hardcover release event and many may not have read it yet, he glossed over that section by reading, "Spoiler spoiler spoiler Spoiler! Spoiler-spoiler-spoiler.  Spoiler!  Spoilery spoiling spoiler."  Good way to handle that.

An animated reading.
Next he did a very animated reading of a post from his famous and (in internet years) amazingly long-lasting blog.  It's a post called "Who Gets to Be a Geek?" and is a response to something kind of douchy someone wrote on CNN.com.  He prefaced the reading by saying the author of the original piece, while not exactly taking it back, has somewhat grown in his thinking after Scalzi's wonderful response.

After that was a very warm, welcoming and spirited Q&A session.  It was all the more remarkable because I'm sure he's heard them all a million times, even just on this three-week tour.  He even took a somewhat dickish question about his work being "derivative" seriously and gave a fun former-philosophy student answer about it being more of a "Hegalian conversation" with other texts rather than just simply derivative.

During the signing I let a very old fellow with a cane come up with his friend in front of me to get their books signed.  I realized he was an old friend's father and recalled his stupefying collection of hardcover science fiction and fantasy which fills both his and his daughter's houses.

When I got my turn I asked Mr. Scalzi a brief question.  He mentioned on his blog some time ago about dreaming of Harlan Ellison one night.  He found it odd since even though he's been at many science fiction conventions, he hasn't actually met Mr. Ellison personally. Ellison, if you don't know, is known for not participating online much but did in fact comment on this blog post and invited Mr. Scalzi to introduce himself if their paths should ever cross.  I asked if he had since met Mr. Ellison.  It turns out that Scalzi is finishing up his tenure as the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) President and has had the pleasure of talking on the phone with Harlan.  By "having the pleasure" I mean that since Harlan is a Grand Master, he feels it is his right to call the President of the SWFA pretty much any time of the day or night and rant about whatever seems to be stuck in his craw.  Scalzi wholeheartedly agrees with Harlan's take on this and has enjoyed a number of late night phone rants with the Grand Master.

Hopefully, in the future, Mr. Scalzi will become a Grand Master and have his chance to call up the President of the SFWA and enjoy the same benefit.

P.S. I bought and paid FULL RETAIL PRICE for the HARDCOVER of The Human Division so I could get it signed.  This is a big deal because I often go to author events but I rarely actually do this.  I prefer paperbacks, audiobooks and ebooks.  I'm not a hardcover fan.  I also don't particularly like to stand in line to get books signed.  I'm much happier hearing what the author has to say.  But both to support the store hosting the event and to support an author I have, so far, not spent much money on for the amount of pleasure he's given me, I felt justified in blowing my allowance on this one.  Still need to read two other books in the series before I get to it though!

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