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Wherein I go on a bit

I emailed in corrections to page-proofs for Cast in Secret today, and I would be feeling slightly virtuous about the fact that they actually got done if I hadn't spent quite so much time catching up on the after-affects of living life under a rock. But Adam Wilson, the long-suffering person to whom the task of levering such things out of me has gone, declared himself satisfied. So that's that book until August 2007.

I like the cover.

In book related news, Luna has bought 2 more novels, set in the same world, with the same characters, as the previous CAST books. The first book is tentatively titled Cast in Fury; I can't actually remember what the second of the two was tentatively titled – but I'm not so great with titles, so maybe that's for the best.


The aforementioned Rock I was living under? It's been really, really slow to shift, but it has moved (and I owe sdn email, and I'm working on it), enough so that I can cheerfully stroll the blogsphere again. It was pointed out to me what feels like weeks ago that John Scalzi had declared his intention to run for SFWA as president, or, as we like to call it in some circles, scapegoat, and I was curious about this. Curious enough to read his platform, and the platforms of the ticket that he felt he could not support. In general, I like a school of thought that substitutes complaining with action – and in general, if I do not feel that I can see a solution to a perceived problem, I try very hard not to complain; if I feel I can see a solution that I would be in all ways unwilling to sacrifice my time or money to address, I generally also try not to complain. Yes, I'm flawed. Yes, I complain. But let's stay for a moment in the realm of theoretical.

To call Mr. Scalzi's platform wildly optimistic is both accurate and cynical. But looking at what Mr. Scalzi manages to do with his time – his novel publishing schedule, his three blogs (three!), his various briefly mentioned non-fiction gigs, and his actually having a life – I'm not 100% sure that he couldn't accomplish some of what he intends in a meaningful time-frame. I think he actually has a clear idea of what kind of work this would be, and he's willing to try it anyway. I have no sense that he expects to get any significant cache out of it.

Michael Capobianco is the only presidential candidate on the ballot. It's probably not a huge secret that it's bloody hard to find some poor sod who has the time and energy to be available around the clock for free, and Capobianco has done solid and non-confrontational work for SFWA in the past in a variety of roles. Mr. Capobianco's running mate is Andrew Burt. Derryl Murphy has declared as the write-in candidate. eta: both Mr. Burt, who is on the ballot, and Mr. Murphy, who is not, are running for VP.

What is interesting to me, in the Scalzi toss of the hat, is his relative positioning. He doesn't spend a lot of his time over at sff.net in the SFWA area – but he spends more time than I think I have in a day on-line. He spends a crazy amount of time trawling the net and looking for things that are – in a word – cool. Cool things are often new technologies, or delivery systems – he was in the first wave of authors who put his novels up for free downloads. He's tried a bunch of different things – and he's not afraid to try a bunch more different things.

What he doesn't have is any real experience with the organization itself – and it's the organization that he's proposing to lead. Some will argue that this means he will either be forced to reinvent the wheel – because he won't know offhand what won't work – or he won't have the contacts and friends in the various committees to be able to get things done.

Maybe. But what he does have, at the moment, is an astonishing amount of good will and hope from the newer writers who've never become involved in SFWA because they felt it was either not relevant to them, or not up to speed with their medium (many of the writers who would qualify for active status as it currently stands have simply failed to join – for a variety of reasons. One, I think, is the growing importance of electronic markets, which Scalzi understands, and which many more traditionally minded SFWAns don't appear to. Check ksumnersmith's recent post for a solid example of exactly what I mean. No, I don't believe he paid her to write that. Joking. Just joking.)

What SFWA does need is some of that energy, some of that awareness of the SF publishing world that exists outside of its current boundaries. What it would benefit from immensely is Scalzi's high profile on-line, and his continuing ability to draw a crowd. These are things we probably can't buy – but if they're offered, we should think really, really hard about passing them up.

Comments

( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
magicnoire
Mar. 28th, 2007 02:43 am (UTC)
I saw the listing for Cast in Secret on Amazon the other day so that was a bright spot. Can't wait to see the cover! And great news about selling more books set in the world. :)
msagara
Mar. 28th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC)
I admit that, never having been the world's most visual person, I don't actually -have- a scanner, or I would scan the cover and put it up behind a cut. It's more in keeping with the first than with the second cover, but I like it better than the first book cover; it's purple in tone, where the first one was all blues. My son's godfather on the other hand is perfectly adept at things and, more to the point, owns a scanner, so I'll try to make him scan it and send me the file.
kchew
Mar. 28th, 2007 03:16 am (UTC)
We don't have a scanner that works, unfortunately; he'd likely take a photo of the cover, photoshop it, and then pass it back.

If he comes over to use your printer tomorrow afternoon before he goes to club, then you can snag him.


next_bold_move
Mar. 28th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC)
I am always glad to see a post from you, and if it contains news of New
Book(s), so much the better!
estara
Mar. 28th, 2007 04:27 am (UTC)
ditto! Two more, wohoo!
janni
Mar. 28th, 2007 03:38 am (UTC)
I'm honestly torn on the presidential election right now. Still thinking, still not sure how I'm going to vote. (Now, if we were only voting on vice president, my ballot would already be in the mail.)

Also, I think because I write mostly middle grade and YA these days, I've gotten used to SFWA being not quite relevant to me--but to change that, we'd need someone who actually knows YA as it is (and not as Heinlein tried to make it), and that's another couple steps beyond anyone who's thrown their hat into the ring. (But, no time, no complaining, as you say, so stopping now. :-))
book_wench
Mar. 28th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
As someone who works in a bookstore, I have to say I heartily agree with you. The real action in fantasy these days is over in the kids & YA department. I still see the normal old sf fans shopping the adult sf section, but there are people of all stripes asking for various YA & IR titles. And there's been a steady migration of what I would classify as the old-style fans in the direction of the kids' department as well.

I could go on and on, but perhaps that's better done on my own page.
janni
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
Yes! I tend to go to the YA section first these days, and only maybe visit the SF/fantasy section after, even though it used to be my first stop.

And the fantasy shelved as YA looks very different, too. Appealing to a very different--and broader--audience. I honestly think a lot of old time writers both don't know much about YA, and don't understand how huge YA SF/fantasy has become.

And then there are all the people getting their fantasy fix in the romance section, who would never even think of perusing the actual fantasy section.
book_wench
Mar. 29th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
You've got a good point about how different YA sf looks. IMO, some of the best covers in any genre are coming out in the kids' sf sections. And I think that makes it more difficult for those readers (who are, after all, growing older with every passing day) to find what they're looking for in the adult section. I have long thought that the genre was doing itself a disservice by making all the books look alike. I know the reasoning is that it will be easier for fans to pick out the books at the airport or in Walmarts, but that doesn't address potential fans in bookstores.
msagara
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
You could go on here :D!

I think that one of the things I often see when people are commenting on books is an absence of those same people in the bookstores. If you never read much on-line and you formed opinions based solely on what you could walk in and pick off of shelves, I think the sense of doom and gloom about the state of genre would be much smaller.

There is a ton of stuff being published in YA these days, and I have to say that some of the grimmer and edgier books in the last 10 years that I can think of are published as YA (FEED comes to mind and stays there).
movingfinger
Mar. 28th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC)
The real action in fantasy these days is over in the kids & YA department.

Yes, this is true. But part of it, I have begun recently to suspect, is that publishers are putting YA tags on books that would not say 10-15 years ago have been accepted as YAs. YA as a meaningful genre tag is beginning to collapse.
book_wench
Mar. 29th, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC)
I think that's definitely true, not only for books like FEED, but for less, er, daring stories. There's lots of stuff in YA and IR that would have been published in the adult sf section a few years ago.

Not being an sf author, I was unaware that a sense of doom and gloom was hanging over it. As a bookseller, I don't think that's called for at all. Customers don't care where in the bookstore the book is, they only care if they like it. At my particular store, we transition from the adult sf section to the YA and back constantly.
dsgood
Mar. 28th, 2007 05:39 am (UTC)
I misread "Cast" as "Cats," resulting in a different set of titles.
msagara
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
I misread "Cast" as "Cats," resulting in a different set of titles

Well, the next book is about the Leontines, so maybe this is appropos...
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
andpuff
Mar. 28th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
What he said.
msagara
Mar. 29th, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
if he continues to mock me, there may be a change in his state sometime soon...

ummm, and how is your guitar?
andpuff
Mar. 29th, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
Broken but fixable. I'm taking it in tomorrow.
rolanni
Mar. 28th, 2007 10:52 am (UTC)
Mr. Capobianco's running mate is Andrew Burt. Derryl Murphy has declared as the write-in candidate.

Just a slight correction: The person who is running for vice president is Andrew Burt. I...personally doubt... that Mr. Capobianco tapped Mr. Burt for a "running mate". Mr. Burt happens to have volunteered to run, and if he wins, as he almost assuredly will, Mr. Capobianco will be constrained to work wtih Mr. Burt and the others elected to the Board (who happened to volunteer to run).

I, personally, wish that Mr. Scalzi and Mr. Murphy had gotten their acts together somewhat sooner in the process and gotten their names on the d**n ballot so we could have actually had a contested election, but that's just me.

*Sigh* SFWA: if it's not one mess, it's another.

And on the important side of the world: Cover scan! Cover scan!
msagara
Mar. 28th, 2007 11:39 am (UTC)
Sorry -- I think because I knew that, I filled in the VP category beside their names in my own head, which is clearly not in the text.

My understanding from the ElectionBlog is that Mr. Burt had prevailed upon Mr. Capobianco to run; Mr. Capobianco has said that his preferred VP is Mr. Burt as he feels they will get more done together; I believe I could find both statements on that blog although my youngest is trying to get me to explain -- at exactly this moment -- what I'm writing, and the explanation is not, sadly, taking.


msagara
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)
I, personally, wish that Mr. Scalzi and Mr. Murphy had gotten their acts together somewhat sooner in the process and gotten their names on the d**n ballot so we could have actually had a contested election, but that's just me.

This is probably going to sound strange, but some combination of Capo and Scalzi as a ticket would work very well for me. Because the organization as it is currently constituted is one that Capo has shown he understands and can finesse, but it is clear to me that the organization needs to be much more than it currently is, and I actually think Scalzi has built up enough interest and good-will over the years that he could move us handily in that direction.
msagara
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
Umm, not that replying to my own posts is going to be a habit, but I wanted to add that one of the ways in which I think Scalzi can accomplish this is simply by being interested in SFWA, by being enthusiastic about it -- I think we'll get new people on the strength of that alone. But if we get new people and we have the same old structure, I'm not sure in the end we'll keep the new people -- because while it's a nice idea that we should join to serve, I don't think, in the end, it's an entirely practical one.
rolanni
Mar. 28th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
This is probably going to sound strange, but some combination of Capo and Scalzi as a ticket would work very well for me.

Oh, now that's an interesting thought. Alas, it won't happen this year...

(Deleted comment)
janni
Mar. 28th, 2007 02:28 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I think the whole culture of the SF world needs to change--the community seems to be overly proud of its brashness and rough edges, but what I think the younger generation may really want is a dose of politeness and professionalism.

It seems there maybe are signs in other places that this is beginning to change, but one look at the SFWA lounge on a bad day, and why would anyone new want to join?
msagara
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I think the whole culture of the SF world needs to change--the community seems to be overly proud of its brashness and rough edges, but what I think the younger generation may really want is a dose of politeness and professionalism.

I think the point is that it is changing, and perhaps the obvious core group of SFWAns isn't changing with it. And those that are, often keep their heads low, or go about their business in venues that better suit them.

But that said, I think that Griefcom, and EMF and the Legal Fund are all very worthwhile endeavours; I've never had call to use any of them; I like the fact that they're there as a last resort.

janni
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
But that said, I think that Griefcom, and EMF and the Legal Fund are all very worthwhile endeavours; I've never had call to use any of them; I like the fact that they're there as a last resort.

Yes. Those, combined with Writer Beware, are the reason I will always renew my SFWA membership if I can.
falcongirl
Mar. 28th, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
Yay! New books! Thank you!
dendrophilous
Mar. 28th, 2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
Wonderful news about more CAST books! I just read Cast in Courtlight and Cast in Shadow (in that order) this weekend and loved them. I'm really looking forward to reading more.
sartorias
Mar. 28th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Very glad to see you out again!
book_wench
Mar. 28th, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)
Fabulous news about the Cast books! Congrats. I can hardly wait, although I'm even more excited about the House War book next year. But the Cast books are, for me at any rate, tremendous fun.
drenilop
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
Luna has bought 2 more novels, set in the same world, with the same characters, as the previous CAST books.

In previous Michelle-worlds, this has meant, "the storyline got too long for one book so it got split off." Can we take this as similar - continuation of the original plot in expanded form - or is it a new set of world-saving-required crises?
msagara
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)
In previous Michelle-worlds, this has meant, "the storyline got too long for one book so it got split off." Can we take this as similar - continuation of the original plot in expanded form - or is it a new set of world-saving-required crises?

Ummm, no, that would be HOUSE WAR *wry g*. The CAST books are, in as much as I'm capable of it, books that are meant to at least sort of stand alone -- this would include the first 3 as well, so I'm possibly not yet as good at that as I should be. So there's an arc in the background, but events in the foreground are sort of supposed to stand alone. Well, it the sense that episodic television structured the way a Buffy season is, would.

But HOUSE WAR did kind of split a bit. In pretty much exactly the "oh, I've run out of pages" way the West novels generally did >.<.

drenilop
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:26 pm (UTC)
LOL :-) Whatever the reason, I'm glad to see it - yay for you and more for me! :-)

Do you have an estimated publishing date for HOUSE WAR 1 yet? My 'forthcoming fiction' list is getting a bit bare, and if I don't get something else new soon I may reach the state where I re-read Robert Jordan books....
falcongirl
Mar. 28th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
Oh hells, no! That's almost as bad as being consigned to re-reading Eddings, only longer and with less plot resolution per book. Do you need suggestions? Have you read Lynn Flewelling?
-T
drenilop
Mar. 28th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
I've actually not head of Flewelling. Can you make a suggestion where to start? Lately I've picked up (and discarded) Trudi Canavan (insufficient character development), Alma Alexander (4-5 books condensed into 2 with huge gaps), and Sharon Green (series incomplete/I've never seen someone work sex and promiscuous partnering into fantasy novels like that before). All in all I've had bad luck picking authors on my own lately.

... though, now, as I glance at the spines on the bookshelf beside me, all three of those complaints can probably be reduced to "EOS needs a better editor." Perhaps I should just avoid EOS?
falcongirl
Mar. 28th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
Oh yes. She has two same-world series, but the second set of books is a prequel-history that seemed to assume the later trilogy had been read first, as it seemed to assume that the reader would know more about the political undercurrents than were detailed.

Start with 'Luck in the Shadows' and read the Nightrunner series first. The prequel-history begins with 'The Bone Doll's Twin'. Flewelling was the author that was flung at me when I finished Michelle's books and George R.R. Martin had delayed 'Feast' again.

EOS has kind of been on a bad track lately. Kim Harrison is an amusing read, but it's fluffy and filled with vampiric UST and an abusive relationship that makes me want to smack the main character upside the head. Bujold's main character has settled into marital bliss and her secondary series just made me facepalm by the introduction of wolf spirit/human hybrid cliche, although she redeemed it.

-T
(Biblioaddict? Moi? .. maybe just a little.)
drenilop
Apr. 2nd, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)
Thanks... Turns out the local library HAS the set the begins with _Bone Doll_, but not the other, so I guess I'll be starting there anyway. :-) I'll manage. If I can get through Michelle's _Sun Sword_ series without having read the _Hunter_ pair, I think I can get through anything. LOL

I'll return the rec with Diana Pharoah Francis's _Path_ series. They're not high literature, and in points they go a bit fast for me, but for a first effort they're pretty good for a light read. And they're not EOS. :-)
starlady38
Apr. 2nd, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
Well, I won't complain if the storyline did get too big for itself in the Cast books either. I just read Cast in Shadows and Cast in Courtlight this past week and loved them, though I never would have thought they were meant to stand alone. ^_^ If I were permitted to be pesty, I would second the question about the status of House War voiced below. The Cast books reminded me that I miss reading about Essalieyan.
twiegand
Mar. 29th, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
Glad to see the good news. I must wait, I know but I want it NOW!
( 40 comments — Leave a comment )