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.