Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Truth be told, I haven’t read a lot of John Scalzi’s books.  I’ve read a few short stories, and I’ve read REDSHIRTS, but for the most part, my main exposure to him has been through his wildly popular blog, WHATEVER.  He’s probably one of the most reasonable, sane people online, and he has an interesting way of dealing with trolls.  When I found out he was going to be at C2E2, I was hoping he’d be doing a signing.  When I got there and found out that he was only going to be doing a panel, I sighed.  Not exactly what I was hoping for, but I would definitely settle for it.  Luckily, it fell between two other panels I’d been planning on, so my schedule wasn’t damaged too much.  Much to my glee, it was announced during the panel that he’d be signing in a half an hour.  Much to my horror, I realized I would be in the Vertigo panel at the time.  I vowed to skip out when it came to the Q&A portion, but I’ll write about why I stuck around that one for the duration in my coverage of this panel.  Suffice it to say, Vertigo ended a bit early.

Unfortunately, it was still going to be tight.  In 15 minutes, the convention floor was going to close.  I had to rush in, find the Anderson’s booth, and hope that the line wasn’t too long.  At the Anderson’s booth, I was then told that he was signing at table 12 in the celebrities section.  I hurried over there only to find table 12 empty.  FUCK!  But wait, there’s Scalzi over at table 13!  I made it, after all!

In fact, he was just signing stock books for Anderson’s by the time I got there.  He very politely invited me to step up, and I asked if he would sign REDSHIRTS for me.  He did, and as he did so, we talked about the awesome panel that he’d done with Alex Hughes.  He said he’d had a lot of fun, and that he’s glad to have had such a good time.

While I spoke with him, I noticed a paperback edition of THE HUMAN DIVISION.  For those who don’t know, he’s been releasing this book in serial format online, charging a small fee for each part.  It’s scheduled to be published in one print volume later this year, and it blew my mind that it was just there on his table.  I asked if he was selling it early, and he said no, it was just a promotional thing.  It took everything in my power to not pick it up and at least leaf through it.

Some people say he’s kind of abrasive, but he was probably the most affable guy I met at the convention this year.  He couldn’t have been nicer to me, and also to his fellow panelist, Alex Hughes.  Hughes is fairly new to all of this (I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this was her first panel ever), and even though she seemed a bit nervous, Scalzi did his best to put her at ease.

I felt bad that I hadn’t heard of Hughes before all of this, and she was sitting next to Scalzi at the signing.  Those who know me know I’m always open to books I haven’t tried, so I asked her for the first book in her series, and it seems pretty awesome.  It’s about a telepathic junkie in the distant future facing off against a serial killer who murders people with his mind.

Things were winding down at that time.  I was going to mention the issue of SUBTERRANEAN that Scalzi had edited, but I didn’t think I had the time.  I was going to jokingly mention that he’d rejected my story for it, but truth be told, I wound up reading the magazine, and my story wouldn’t have fit in with everything else in there.  He was right to turn me down.  [Incidentally, that story was “Amber” and can be read in my new book, TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE.]

Scalzi and Hughes are excellent people, and if you have the chance to meet them, I would recommend it.  If they’re ever on another panel again, and if you have the chance to attend, don’t skip it.  You’ll regret it for a long time to come.

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