Watching “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Edition” For the First Time

On New Year’s Day, my local Cinemark was showing a 6 o’clock viewing of the extended edition of the first Lord of the Rings movie. I’m not sure why it was, but it was and I decided that I should see it. I’ve heard a good thing or two about it, so I figured it was […] | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Today in What the Hell is This

Is it a seed pod? An alien ship? Will I go to sleep and whatever was in here will hatch and take my place in the universe? I took this picture a couple of days ago and honestly it’s been haunting me ever since. I’m open to guesses, is what I’m saying. — JS | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Glasglow Worldcon Commits to Hugo Process Transparency

The folks at the Glasgow Worldcon, which is this year’s Worldcon, have officially opened up the nomination process for this year’s Hugo Awards, and in the emailed press release announcing the opening of the process (mirrored on social media), it has tucked in this paragraph, with … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Feedly Hiccup

Which is not the name of my next band but is a problem people have noticed with the RSS feed when they use Feedly, which is that for whatever reason posts from here arrived not in a timely fashion but in bunches. Why? I have no idea why, and for the moment at least it […] | Continue reading | 4 months ago

New Books and ARCs, 1/26/24

January is heading toward the door, but there’s still time for another stack of new books and ARCs that have come to the Scalzi Compound. Any titles here you would like to take into February? Share in the comments! — JS | Continue reading | 4 months ago

In Which I Am Absolutely No Fun For Anyone Until, Like, May

In the last week or so I have received five queries about showing up to online book clubs and four requests for podcast appearances, and while it is genuinely delightful to be wanted — thank you! — my schedule for the first few months of 2024 is already packed with real world/onl … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

40 Years of Writing

Today is apparently the 40th anniversary of the debut of the Macintosh computer, which is interesting in itself, of course (all the tech sites have their “what does it all mean” articles about it up, here’s one of them), but the anniversary of the Mac also means that this year is … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

MacBook Pro M3 Max Initial Thoughts and Impressions

I’ve lived with my new MacBook Pro M3 Max 16-inch laptop for a week now, and have been using it about the house for various things, so now is a good time to note thoughts about it, its performance and its overall value. Spoiler: It’s lovely, but there are a couple of things I do … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

If You Have A Burning Hatred For “The Lion King” Remake And Two Hours To Spare, This Is The Video For You

When I saw The Lion King (2019) in theaters, I could not for the life of me explain to others why I hated it so much. I couldn’t even really figure out just for myself what about it irked me so badly. I kind of defaulted to the usual remake complaint, which is that it’s a soulles … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

“Starter Villain” an Alex Award Winner

This literally just happened, the above is a screen capture from the actual awards ceremony. For those who don’t know, the Alex Awards are given yearly by the American Library Association to ten books written for adults that they feel are excellent for teen readers as well. And t … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

What’s Up With Babel and the Hugos?

There’s a new controversy with this last year’s Hugo Awards, involving, among other things, a number of potential nominees declared ineligible for not-at-all-clear reasons, including R.F. Kuang’s novel Babel, which was a presumed front runner before the finalist lists came out. R … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

View From a Hotel Window, 1/19/24: Novi, MI

Well, this certainly looks frosty, doesn’t it. I am here in Michigan for my first convention of the year, the Confusion convention. It’s the one I consider my “home” convention, despite the fact it’s three hours away, in no small part because it’s the first non-Worldcon conventio … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

An Interesting Behind the Scenes Look at Some Old Man’s War History

As many of you know, Old Man’s War at one point was optioned for television at Syfy. What you might not know is what happened while it was optioned there and why it never made it to the small screen. Well, screenwriter Jake Thornton, who was half of the writing team on one take o … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

I Spent All Day Downloading Software, Here’s a Song For My Mom’s Birthday

I’ve mentioned this before, but when I was a very small kid, my mom looked enough like Janis Joplin on the cover of this album that I thought it was her. It was not, but inasmuch as Joplin was my mom’s favorite singer at the time, I think she was flattered. It’s my mom’s birthday … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Newest Bit of Tech to Arrive at the Scalzi Compound

It’s a Macbook Pro, and it arrives at a confluence of a few events. The first is that the Mac Mini I bought a couple of years ago for music production turns out to be more than a little underspecced for what I’ve been doing; I keep bumping up on processing limitations and am also … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Big Idea: Alexander C. Kane

A murder of crows, a clowder of cats… a collaboration of quislings? In Scum of the Earth, author Alexander C. Kane takes a hard look at the sort of person who works for the invader, and in this Big Idea, explains why these turncoats were the perfect subject for his tale. ALEXANDE … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Caption This Photo

I’m very curious to know what you think Smudge is saying, here. — JS | Continue reading | 4 months ago

I Have No Idea Why This Song In Particular Has Been My Weekend Earworm, But, Here You Go

Because as we all know, the only way to get rid of an earworm is to pass it on. Fortunately it’s a good song! It’s a story song about a loser who deserves to be a loser (doing a stint for non-support? Loser), but who laments being a loser nonetheless. And by Jim Croce, who […] | Continue reading | 4 months ago

A Note on New Book/ARC Posts

Which is: They’ve been missing the last couple of months, primarily because I dropped the former Twitter, which was once of the primary outlets for me talking about the new books and ARCs that have been coming in, and I have to figure which, if any, of the other various social me … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Big Idea: Mark Elsdon

True story: When the publicist for Gone for Good? Negotiating the Coming Wave of Church Property Transition contacted me about the possibility of doing a Big Idea, I asked “So, did you know I recently bought an old church?” The publicist had not, but we both agreed the fact I had … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

RIP, Terry Bisson

Here’s his obit at Locus. A sad day for science fiction. — JS | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Big Idea: Beth Cato

Hungry for a fantasy heroine that’s as relatable as she is badass? Look no farther than Beth Cato’s newest novel, A Feast for Starving Stone. Come along in her Big Idea as she shares a bit about the story she’s cooked up. BETH CATO: I sometimes joke that people can tell I write f … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Today in “Incidents Just Waiting To Happen”

To be clear, among the cats in the house, it’s usually Smudge who is the real butthead of the three, probably because he’s a dude cat, and because of all three cats, he’s the one who is most proudly a chaos engine. However, every now and again Sugar sheds her pretty princess pers … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

I Played Video Games To the Near Exclusion of Everything Else Today, So Here Is My Favorite Fountains of Wayne Song For You, In Lieu Of Actual Thought

Because it’s a wistful, beautiful song which fits the moment. Have a happy Sunday evening, y’all. (PS: I don’t regret playing video games all day. Sometimes you need a “play video games all day” day.) — JS | Continue reading | 4 months ago

A More Than Trivial Amount of Snow Has Finally Arrived

Not quite enough to completely blanket the lawn, but more than enough to make the roads slightly hazardous. Winter is finally, without a doubt, here in Ohio. We’ll get a slight uptick in the temperature for the next week, but then down to the 20s. It’s January. Seems fair. I unde … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The First Sunset of 2024

More accurately, the first sunset visible from my house so far this year. The other days had setting suns, but they were obscured by a thick batting of clouds. Today was the first day the sun was visible on the horizon. And it looks good. I will take it. — JS | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Perhaps the Greatest Award I Have Ever Won

In 2007 my friend Norm Carnick decided to make a fantasy football league and asked me if I wanted to join in. Despite having very little interest in professional football or indeed most professional sports at all, I said sure, because why not. 16 years later, I’m still in it. Eve … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

What I Have Eligible for Award Consideration This Year, 2024 Edition

This year, it’s two things: Best Novel: Starter Villain, Tor Books, September 2023, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, editor; Best Novelette: Slow Time Between the Stars, Amazon Original Stories, June 2023, John Joseph Adams, editor. Oh, and technically my EP of music Between the Stars is … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

New Movie Column Up at Uncanny Magazine

I’m writing a column on science fiction and fantasy films at Uncanny magazine, and my new column is up. Tangentially it’s on The Marvels, the most recent film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Less tangentially, it’s about the problems of widely expansive entertainment universes, … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Big Idea: Sean Patrick Hazlett

World powers rise, and world powers fall, and in between, as editor Sean Patrick Hazlett explains in this big idea for Weird World War: China, there are opportunities to tell some stories. SEAN PATRICK HAZLETT: In global affairs, the term “Thucydides’ Trap” has often been used to … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

It’s 2024. Are you Registered to Vote?

To clarify because the nitpickers will pick nits: If you are a US citizen aged 18 or above (OR, will be 18 at the time of the next US presidential election, on November 5, 2024), are you registered to vote? And if you are registered to vote, are you sure your registration is upda … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The 2023 Exit Photo

Not exactly a surprise in terms of expression, I’d say. As I’ve noted before, 2023 was pretty good for me, and I have reasonable personal expectations for 2024 even as I realize that we’re heading into another election year and that is likely to be a mess. Let’s all look for good … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Thirty One: The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride is possibly the ultimate in comfort watches, so much so that even the framing device of the film is about the story being beloved and comfortable — it’s the story a loving grandfather tells his (slightly) ill grandson, even if the grandson would rather play his … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Thirty: Pride and Prejudice

Because I am a shallow and terrible person of poor breeding and low station, I am not much for the written works of Jane Austen. To be clear, I am not singling out just Jane Austen here; most of 19th century English language literature is a rough ride for me because it jars my br … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Twenty Nine: The Nice Guys

Shane Black writes like cocaine feels. Nervy, twitchy, moving quick, with a lot of words coming out at once, which while entertaining, may or may not be directly relevant to the discussion at hand. He also writes about the sort of scenarios where cocaine (at the very least) might … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

My Professional 2023

If you’re lucky, you get to look back at some years and go, “yup, that was a career year.” 2023 was one of those years for me. In no particular order: 1. The Kaiju Preservation Society won Locus, Alex and Ohioana awards, and was a finalist for the Hugo award (and the Dragon award … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Twenty Eight: Return to Me

Return to Me may be the gentlest romantic comedy I have ever seen. There is not a single sharp edge to it, nor does it want one. This film delights in the coziness it’s created for itself. The movie has very little risk to it; at no time in the whole of the movie are […] | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Twenty Seven: Pacific Rim

Here’s a fun fact: Pacific Rim is Guillermo del Toro’s rebound relationship. In the early 2010s, del Toro was meant to direct a film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness for Universal Pictures, with James Cameron producing and Tom Cruise as the star. Madness … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Twenty Six: Sleepless in Seattle

It is late June 1993, and you are me, and you are about to go on the third date in two weeks with this impossibly out-of-your-league woman you’ve somehow managed to attract to yourself. You don’t know much of anything when it comes to romance (trust me on this one), but you know … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Twenty Five: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

It’s Christmas Day, the presents are unwrapped, the kids are off playing with their new toys and/or video games, you had your big family gathering on Christmas Eve so today consists of leftovers and a long empty stretch of time, and you’re a nerd. What will you do? You will lie o … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Twenty Four: A Christmas Carol

Every generation gets its own A Christmas Carol, in the original or in adaptation, and in fact will likely get several. The generations before mine had the 1951 black and white version with Alastair Sim as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, and a 1970 musical version with Albert Finne … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Twenty Three: Tangled

To the extent that such a thing can be said about any film that makes more than a half billion dollars worldwide and was its studio’s major release for its year, I think that Tangled is something of an afterthought in the most recent era of Disney Animation Studios domination, cr … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

New Music: Next Halloween I Will Be a Dolphin (Instrumental)

The short version of this is, I thought too much about an off-hand comment someone said on Bluesky. And yes, I did think of some lyrics to go with them. Maybe one day I’ll do that version. For now, here’s a quick and drone-y instrumental version that would not be entirely out of … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Twenty Two: Stranger Than Fiction

When I do author events, and open the floor to the audience, one question I frequently get is if any of my characters ever develops a life of their own, and start doing things I didn’t intend or expect. This is a trick question because it’s actually two separate questions, and th … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Twenty One: A Knight’s Tale

One of the things I absolutely adore about A Knight’s Tale is that it makes no pretense at historical accuracy anywhere within its length. Notionally the film takes place in 14th Century Europe, but the film’s opening credit sequence has a jousting tournament crowd stomping along … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The Big Idea: Debbie Urbanski

For her novel After World, author Debbie Urbanski thought about humanity’s place in the world as we understand it… and then went beyond. What does that mean and where does our species ultimately fit in? The author is here to tell that tale. DEBBIE URBANSKI: In my novel After Worl … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

Trying Out Underground Sushi

Last week, I was informed by a friend that my favorite bar in Dayton, Tender Mercy, had a new sushi restaurant located in the back part of it called Dozo. One of my favorite bars has contained an entire sushi restaurant in it for the past three months and I didn’t even know?! Obv … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The December Comfort Watches, Day Twenty: Addams Family Values

The Addams Family started off as a series of macabre cartoons by New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams and have to date spawned several television series and events, both live action and animated, two separate series of movies, one live action and the other animated, plus a Broadw … | Continue reading | 5 months ago