Five Things: July 13, 2020

What's on my brain today? I mean, besides my cranium? Trump goes after Dr. Fauci: Because Trump genuinely thinks it's more important to make him look good than it is for the CDC and its people to provide accurate and useful information to the United States public, which is why we … | Continue reading | 1 hour ago

The Big Idea: Steven H. Silver

Steven H. Silver knows just a bit about alternate histories: He created a well-respected genre award for stories in that subgenre. Now he's trying his hand at writing an alternate history: After Hastings. Where does his history take a fictional turn, and why? He's here to tell yo … | Continue reading | 9 hours ago

How I’m Spending My Saturday

Both playing the ukulele and making semi-arty illustrations of me playing the ukulele. Both are enjoyable! To me, anyway, which in this case is all that counts. Hope you're having a lovely Saturday wherever you are. | Continue reading | 2 days ago

A Note About Borderlands Books and Alan Beatts

This news story hit me like a punch to the gut. It features of accusations of sexual assault and domestic violence against Alan Beatts, the owner of Borderland Books. Borderlands is one of my favorite bookstores in the world; Alan is literally one of the first people I met in the … | Continue reading | 3 days ago

Five Things: July 9, 2020

Slow news day, am I right? Nevertheless, here are five things for you today: This just in: Trump not king. Which is to say the Supreme Court ruled against him today with regard to the release of his taxes to the State of New York, and didn't rule for him with regard to having to… | Continue reading | 4 days ago

The Big Idea: Catherine Asaro

Finally! An author brave enough to give an answer to The Question all writers get! The author: Catherine Asaro. Her newest book: The Vanished Seas. Her answer? Read on! CATHERINE ASARO: “Where do you get your ideas?” The dreaded question. It’s also a good one, deserving a good an … | Continue reading | 4 days ago

Back to College? Not Yet

I posted this on Twitter a little while ago (with, of course, Athena's consent): This comported with Athena's thinking on the matter, as it happens. But I am rather famous in this family for stressing the importance of getting … | Continue reading | 4 days ago

Goodreads’ 100 Most Popular Sci-Fi Books List: I’ve Got Some Stuff On It

Specifically Old Man's War, Redshirts, Lock In and The Collapsing Empire. Neat! Here's the full list for your amusement, perusal and commentary. In all it's an interesting list, and it's (reasonably) balanced between classics and newer work; the timeframe here ranges two centurie … | Continue reading | 5 days ago

The Big Idea: Sarah Henning

From the title alone, The Princess Will Save You suggests there will be some trope-flipping involved in the story. But as author Sarah Henning explains in today's Big Idea, flipping the trope isn't enough. There has to be more. SARAH HENNING: The Princess Will Save You is the sto … | Continue reading | 5 days ago

Five Things: July 7, 2020

It's thundering and storming outside, so let's see if I can get these five things out before my power cuts out on me. Donald Trump a father-damaged sociopath: Or so suggests niece Mary Trump in her new book about her uncle, and it's difficult to argue the point. Advance copies of … | Continue reading | 6 days ago

Dragon Con Going Virtual in 2020 You can click on that tweet for more information, but the gist of it is this: 2020 is a bad year for live events, and Dragon Con is no exception to that. Instead of in-person events this year will be an online experience, w … | Continue reading | 7 days ago

Back Into Quarantine

Covid infection numbers are up in Ohio, as they are in a whole lot of places, and in the US in general; I'm particularly looking at the infection numbers for Georgia, where I am meant to be at the beginning of September, and they are higher there now than they have ever been befo … | Continue reading | 7 days ago

On July Fourth, What to Get a Nation That Has Everything

It's simple: Your vote! (Provided you are a US citizen of legal age.) Have you registered to vote? If not, do so here, it's simple and easy. If you are registered to vote, then check your registration to make sure it's current. This is also (usually) simple and easy. This year vo … | Continue reading | 9 days ago

Smudge Wishes You a Very Fine Independence Day Weekend

"Please enjoy your long July weekend. Take it easy on the fireworks. Have a cookout with those in your social bubble, appropriately distanced, of course." (And here's a note from the human -- I'm out for the rest of the day! See y'all later.) | Continue reading | 10 days ago

A Note on the American Flag in 2020

I recently posted a couple of photos from my front porch and it was noted that we fly an American flag, which led to some comments about folks being reluctant to fly the flag considering the state of the nation and its leadership. While I understand the motivation there, I don't … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

This Tweet Did Not Age Well For those of you missing context. Was Cain at Trump's Tulsa event? Oh, my, yes he was. Thoughts and prayers to everyone attending that Mt. Rushmore rally this weekend. Wear your masks, folks. If you won't listen to me, … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

The Big Idea: C.T. Rwizi

Many authors have learned that just because a character comes out of your own head doesn't mean they won't fight you from time to time. Author C.T. Rwizi learned this very thing while writing Scarlet Odyssey. The details await you below. C.T. RWIZI: The big idea behind Scarlet Od … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

Nikon D780 Followup Report

I got my Nikon D780 in May as a birthday present for myself and explained my reasons for getting it (as opposed to a mirrorless camera) then. Today I archived the last couple of months worth of photos (roughly 2,000), and I thought it would be a good time to check in with how (an … | Continue reading | 12 days ago

Five Things: July 1, 2020

As I wrote on Twitter earlier today, well, the first two decades of 2020 are done. Let's get to the next few decades! And to start off, these five things: Trump, doubling down on being a racist piece of shit: This time by asserting that "Black Lives Matter" is a symbol of hate, w … | Continue reading | 12 days ago

The Big Idea: Alma Alexander

In this week's Big Idea for The Second Star, author Alma Alexander goes big... and then gets small... and then tells how it's all connected. ALMA ALEXANDER: There isn’t just one Big Idea in The Second Star – there are half a dozen of them, interwoven into a complex story tapestry … | Continue reading | 12 days ago

Five Things: 6/30/20

The last one of the month! Let's get to it. So will there be any more "Five Things" after today? I think so! It's a good, quick format for me, in that it covers a lot of territory regarding things I'm thinking about and/or want to share, and makes for lively comment threads that … | Continue reading | 13 days ago

Check In, 6/30/20

First, in my brain I had today, Tuesday, pegged as the first day of July when I took my break. I was genuinely taken by surprise yesterday when I looked at a calendar and it was the 29th instead of the 30th. Math is hard, y'all. Anyway, today was the day I put in my… | Continue reading | 13 days ago

The Big Idea: Dorothy A. Winsor

If you think creating a new world for your fiction means you've left behind the troubles of this one, you may be right -- but now you have to think about the troubles of the new world, and what they mean for your characters. Dorothy A. Winsor have some thoughts about new worlds a … | Continue reading | 14 days ago

The Big Idea: Max Booth III

Unusually, today's Big Idea starts with an author's note before the main body of the Big Idea piece. As you read, however, I think you'll see why author Max Booth III thought it important to put it in, and why some aspects of his new novel Touch the Night are almost eerily in syn … | Continue reading | 17 days ago

Taking the Rest of June Off

I woke up at 3am with a stomachache, and before that Krissy, who has been watching me stress out the last couple of days, has suggested that now might be a fine time not to look at the rest of the world for a bit. I think she's probably right, so I'm going to step… | Continue reading | 17 days ago

No Five Things Today

Read today's earlier piece from me instead, thanks. (And also today's Big Idea, because, hey, a Big Idea.) | Continue reading | 18 days ago

The Big Idea: Paris Wynters

For Issued, author Paris Wynters looked at marriage and the military, and a speculative way at combining the two of them to create her story. PARIS WYNTERS: Writing has always been a way for me to express myself creatively. Ask me to draw, you’ll get stick figures. Color, not so … | Continue reading | 18 days ago

Five Things: June 24, 2020

Hello! Let's get to today's five, shall we? Chair trouble: This morning I sat down in my office chair and kept going down; the pneumatic tube that regulates the height appears to have given out. Unfortunately my desk does not … | Continue reading | 19 days ago

The Big Idea: Katherine Addison

When Katherine Addison gets hold of the Victorian Era in her new novel The Angel of the Crows, she does things to it that no one expected -- possibly most of all herself. Here she is to tell you how and why she's done what she has, and why she had so much fun with… | Continue reading | 19 days ago

Five Things: June 23, 2020

Busy day! Let's get to today's five. Meet my newkulele: Get it? Huh? Huh? Huh? It's a Fender Fullerton Jazzmaster ukulele in Tidepool Blue; you can't tell very well in the photo but it's sparkly. I have several ukes in the house so I didn't really need a new one, but -- look! It' … | Continue reading | 20 days ago

Five Things: June 22, 2020

Hope your weekend was lovely. Let's get to the five things today! Trump's performance anxiety: Since I am, to put it politely, no great fan of our current president, you may accurately surmise that I'm having a nice little schadenfreude moment about the underwhelming number of pe … | Continue reading | 21 days ago

The Hugo Window

One of the weird bits about my life is that from time to time people speculate about whether I, John Scalzi, will ever win another Hugo Award. Mostly the conclusion is that I won't, although whether that's about me in particular, or about general forces in publishing and/or socie … | Continue reading | 21 days ago

Happy Smudgeversary!

Two years ago today we found this adorable little jerk in the field across from our house, demanding to be paid attention to, and also, fed. We took him in and fed him and made him part of the family. It's not been boring since. People ask me if he's a good cat. I say… | Continue reading | 22 days ago

Five Things: June 19, 2020

It's Juneteenth, and for probably the first time, almost everyone seems to know that. Here's five things I'm thinking about today: Trump sure seems to want a riot: His "warning" to potential protestors of his Tulsa rally is very much of the "please actually do this, I need to sho … | Continue reading | 24 days ago

An Addition to the Site Disclaimer

For roughly all of its existence, this site has had a Site Disclaimer, Comment and Privacy Policy page, and from time to time I will make updates or emendations to its text. Today I made a fairly significant one and I'd like to talk about it a bit. Here's the update: This site fe … | Continue reading | 24 days ago

Five Things: June 18, 2020

I'm back from the dentist! What five things am I thinking about now? Here they are! Trump stuffed on DACA: Aaaaah, there's that contentious 5-4 ruling I thought we might get earlier in the week. And because it was written by Roberts, it's one of those "it's not that your intentio … | Continue reading | 25 days ago

And Onward to the Next 25

A quick thank you to everyone for all your kind thoughts and wishes regarding our 25th anniversary. We had a good day. And now we're off to the next 25! (Well, I'm more immediately off to the dentist, to get a crown. But you know what I mean.) Also, here one more photo from yeste … | Continue reading | 25 days ago

Five Things: June 17, 2020

It's my wedding anniversary today, so I'm zooming through this one. I'm sure you'll understand. Here's today's five! Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben head toward retirement: Because 2020 is the year when companies finally realized brands explicitly referencing slavery times and/or peddl … | Continue reading | 26 days ago

25 Years

I don't want to say that it doesn't feel that long ago, because, well, it does feel like a while ago now -- in the course of twenty five years for ourselves, our friends and families, children were born and grew, loved ones passed and were mourned, careers were made and sometimes … | Continue reading | 26 days ago

Five Things: June 16, 2020

I've been out running errands! Fully masked and observing social distancing! Here are five things anyway. Date-a-versary! 27 years ago today, Krissy and I went on our first official date, at the El Presidente restaurant in Visalia, followed by dancing, which is kind of our thing. … | Continue reading | 27 days ago

The Big Idea: Doug Engstrom

Doug Engstrom is thinking about today's troubles and woes, and how some of them rely on people one thing and corporations... doing another. From there it's just a hop, skip and jump to the world of his new novel, Corporate Gunslinger. DOUG ENGSTROM: One of the things that’s appal … | Continue reading | 27 days ago

Five Things, 6/15/20

Slow news day today, amirite? Here are five things. 26 years ago today I proposed to Krissy. Now, maybe this is not the top news story of the day for the rest of you, but for me, you know, it's pretty significant. Also, in case it's not evident and you've not heard this story bef … | Continue reading | 28 days ago

The Big Idea: Ryk Spoor

When thinking about epic fantasy, how epic is epic enough? And at what point might things become too epic for a single band of heroes? Author Ryk Spoor has opinions on these questions, and how they helped to inform his latest (epic!) novel, The Mask of Ares. RYK SPOOR: Epic fanta … | Continue reading | 28 days ago

To Talk, Or Not

Easyrihiner asks, in the comment thread from yesterday's Five Things post: What’s your take on authors/artists that aren’t talking about current events right now? I don't attach a value judgment to it. There are any number of reasons why a creative person isn't commenting on curr … | Continue reading | 29 days ago

Five Things: June 12, 2020

I've been busy moderating comment threads today, but let's see if there are five things in the world I want to talk about: Tucker Carlson losing advertisers for being a blatant racist, again. Because, I mean, this isn't exactly the first time, is it? Which does leave hanging just … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Generation X and Trans Lives

So, I'm going to preface this thing I'm about to write by being as clear as I can be about this, so there's no confusion or ambiguity on this score: Trans women are women, trans men are men, trans non-binary folks are non-binary folks, and trans rights are human rights. I'm non-s … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Five Things: June 11, 2020

Here's today's big news! In five convenient bits! I got a haircut: Which I recognize is not big news for everyone else, but which feel significant for me, since it's the first one I've gotten since the quarantine started. I went to my usual person, whose salon was recently re-ope … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

The Big Idea: John P. Murphy

The creative advantages to anger: Are there any at all, ever? John P. Murphy says... perhaps! And explains how they were put to work in his novel Red Noise. JOHN P. MURPHY: Red Noise is about anger. I wrote it in 2017, at a time when a lot of us were angry for good reasons.… | Continue reading | 1 month ago