Author Spotlight: John Scalzi

Book cover from Amazon

How did you first discover John Scalzi? For me, the military science-fiction story of Old Man’s War introduced me to this sarcastic, politically-opinionated, inventive author. For a friend, the entry-drug was the science-fiction satire Redshirts. Maybe you were one of the firsts, finding him through his blog “Whatever” back in 1998.

No matter where you first heard about him, you will be seeing books from him for a long time to come. He has signed a 10-year, 13-book deal with Tor.

Ten years.

Are writers allowed that type of economic security? I mean, he has plans now to help pay for his daughter’s college. That can’t be healthy – like opening the curtains in the den while the writer is typing. They aren’t allowed to see the sun or know where their next check is coming from.

But then John Scalzi always has been a maverick in the field, sneaking in fiction field through his non-fiction website. From there he released chapters online of a new novel he was writing, which got him an editor. That is when he became a staid, predictable and respectable, big-press author.

For all fifty seconds.

Convincing the big-press to try the serialization technique popular with self-published authors for one of his books destroyed any illusion of staid and predictable¬†real quick. Another experiment meant trundling off to a small press because he wanted to prove he didn’t just write humor, happy books. Any time his readers start deciding what his style should be, he changes it up.

So now he has sold out, getting a multi-million multi-year deal.

Sold out is bad. Right?

Except he always meant this to be a career, so money is kind-of a necessary part of it. And he never has ceased his highly politicized blog, so selling-out is really hard to define when the boy ain’t exactly going to ever accept a muzzle.

The only thing a reader of science fiction should expect from Mr. Scalzi is he is going to try something new … very soon.


Information for this blog was drawn from several sources, more notably from an interview with Andrew Liptak: “I aspire to be a cockroach” published March 22, 2017 by The Verge.