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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Another fake Scalzi "bestseller"

I think we can safely assume, on the basis of this UK cover, that Tor Books is going to be purchasing another dubious one-week appearance for John Scalzi on the New York Times Bestsellers List.

I mean, who could doubt that a book that has been reviewed so positively will fail to meet with anything less than overwhelming enthusiasm from the science fiction book-buying community?

Readers might wonder whether Scalzi can write another space opera that shares the elements that made his Old Man’s War series so popular but be sufficiently different to feel fresh. Both include political plotting, plenty of snark, puzzle-solving, and a healthy dose of action, but there’s just enough here that’s new for this to avoid becoming a retread. There’s nothing groundbreaking, but you’ll still want to find out what happens next.
- Kirkus Reviews

Unless you've been a professional reviewer, you may not be able to read between the lines well enough to understand what the reviewer is actually saying in his review. You see, when you want to say something positive about a mediocre book, but also want to avoid completely sacrificing your credibility, the trick is to say nice, cute things about the author that he can run off and happily quote, while assiduously avoiding any overly positive statements about the book itself that will come back to haunt you once the readers discover how mediocre it is.

But that's neither here nor there; the fact that McRapey wrote another snarky mediocrity is hardly a surprise. The real question is: how could Tor Books possibly know, six weeks before the first book in the series is published, that the forthcoming series can be described as "The New York Times Bestselling Series"?

UPDATE: Amazing. Tor Books has somehow known that The Collapsing Empire would be a New York Times Bestselling series since June 27, 2016, 10 months prior to its scheduled release! That must be some killer psychometric prediction software they've got there. That, or they've already set aside the cost of a one-week "bestseller" in the marketing budget.

Labels: , ,

115 Comments:

Blogger Mr.MantraMan January 31, 2017 11:03 AM  

6 weeks to troll up a Wes Crusheresque twitter melt down

Anonymous Steve Canyon January 31, 2017 11:04 AM  

Woodpulp that would have been put to better use for the manufacture of Charmin

Anonymous Steve January 31, 2017 11:05 AM  

plenty of snark

Oh, goody.

Anonymous Longtime Lurker January 31, 2017 11:07 AM  

Vox said, The real question is: how could Tor Books possibly know, six weeks before the first book in the series is published, that the forthcoming series is "The New York Times Bestselling Series"?

Wow. Tor put that claim on the cover of a book that has not even been released yet. Perhaps Tor is going by pre-sales? But does NYT count such things toward best seller status?

Blogger OGRE January 31, 2017 11:11 AM  

"plenty of snark" is just what every fantasy and sci-fi book needs.

What would Tolkien have been without his masterful use of snark?

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 31, 2017 11:15 AM  

Between the "psychic" cover and the back to back backhanded "praise" from the reviewer, I think that calling it mediocre might be a stretch, Vox.

Second week bargain bin might be a more appropriate classification.

Blogger Gaiseric January 31, 2017 11:16 AM  

In retrospect, that quote from the Wall Street Journal doesn't sound like a compliment.

Blogger MisesMat January 31, 2017 11:16 AM  

Tim Ghral debunked the myth of the "New York Times Bestseller" long ago:

https://booklaunch.com/the-truth-about-the-new-york-times-and-wall-street-journal-bestseller-lists/

Basically, the "bestseller lists" are rigged from the beginning by big publishers. A better question is: Why is Tor furiously propping up John Scalzi when there is much better talent out there?

Anonymous A Most Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents January 31, 2017 11:18 AM  

The real question is: how could Tor Books possibly know, six weeks before the first book in the series is published, that the forthcoming series is "The New York Times Bestselling Series"?

Well, sure they can. After all, Hari Seldon works for Tor now.

Blogger YIH January 31, 2017 11:18 AM  

TBH, I have my doubts he's even actually read that book. Maybe he generally likes Scalzi, maybe read and liked Old Man's War, but only read a synopsis or a chapter or two of this one. Then it's off to the keyboard to praise this newest effort.

Anonymous Alexander January 31, 2017 11:18 AM  

Scalzi has not had a good time, on pretty much anything, since the GodEmperor won the Cherryblossom Throne.

Anonymous fop January 31, 2017 11:25 AM  

You mean John Scalzi the 6'3" badass ex-marine?

Blogger bearspaw January 31, 2017 11:25 AM  

If anything, the title seems prescient.

Anonymous ZhukovG January 31, 2017 11:28 AM  

What an uninspiring title. 'Fun with Dick and Jane' is more attractive.

Anonymous Nathan January 31, 2017 11:31 AM  

Well, Carlos Slim's blog is revamping its criteria yet again to hardcovers only...

Anonymous Eduardo January 31, 2017 11:32 AM  

Well obviously the selling point is Scalzi's name, not the Title. Hence his Name is in BIG LETTERS, bigger then the title.

Blogger JCclimber January 31, 2017 11:33 AM  

What kind of fool puts the author's name so much larger than the title?

I understand that Tor is betting their franchise on this guy, but doesn't anyone over there realize that they don't have Stephen King on the payroll here? And even Stephen King novels have the author's name smaller than the book title.

And yes, the Wall Street Journal quote is the best they could excerpt from a review? Ouch.

Blogger GAHCindy January 31, 2017 11:38 AM  

Snark is lazy. Why would anybody want a book with "plenty" of it?

Blogger lowercaseb January 31, 2017 11:39 AM  

Such poetry in the title. He truly is the muse for the 21st century.

Since he finished the project, that means he escapes his wife and daughter's stewpot for another day.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 January 31, 2017 11:42 AM  

The sad thing is, it could be a good novel (all things being equal, of course).

But because of the behavior of Tor and Scalzi, I wouldn't even bother reading a review of it.

Anonymous Eduardo January 31, 2017 11:44 AM  

Oh come on you don't wanna hear about the a Cosmic Trump being defeated in BOOK TWO O_O!?! which will also be the last book muhahahhahaha (Shao Khan laughter)

Blogger Trid January 31, 2017 11:49 AM  

"What kind of fool puts the author's name so much larger than the title?"
The kind that market to drug stores and Wal-Mart.

Anonymous Deplorable Winning January 31, 2017 11:50 AM  

I'm confused. Is Scalzi's The Collapsing Empire about SJWs in general, the MSM, or just an insider's tell-all about Tor Books? Or is it merely a personal diary?

Anonymous Athor Pel January 31, 2017 11:51 AM  

"... plenty of snark...
...avoid becoming a retread...
...nothing groundbreaking...
- Kirkus Reviews


The praise is glowing...

cause it's radioactive.

Blogger 4499 January 31, 2017 11:51 AM  

To be quickly followed by "The Collapsing Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Collapsing Jedi."

Blogger cheddarman January 31, 2017 11:52 AM  

Looking forward to the witty, realistic and riveting dialog, based on real life experiences of the award winning author, about gay Space Marines owing each other sexual favors.

Blogger cheddarman January 31, 2017 11:53 AM  


watch out, Chuck Tingle! Scalzi's got your number!

Blogger Salt January 31, 2017 11:53 AM  

Eduardo wrote:Well obviously the selling point is Scalzi's name, not the Title. Hence his Name is in BIG LETTERS, bigger then the title.



Meh! Stephen King does it too. Michael Criton, Dan Browne, they all do it.

Blogger VFM #7634 January 31, 2017 11:55 AM  

Both include political plotting, plenty of snark,

Even Kirkus is flat-out calling Scalzi a Gamma.

Anonymous Jon Bromfield January 31, 2017 11:56 AM  

Love this line:

"...but there’s JUST ENOUGH here that’s new for this to avoid becoming a retread." (emphasis mine)

Scalzi, you are damned with the faintest of praise.


Anonymous jakob January 31, 2017 11:58 AM  

Most of these reviews are as indistinguishable as these books and their authors themselves are. Current day genre fiction reviewers have all the critical capacities and good taste of an average dung beetle addicted to bromazepam.

Anonymous jakob January 31, 2017 12:01 PM  

Also, this book is the one whose excerpt, being the opening of the novel, started with a Scooby Doo reference in the very first sentence? Bless me...

Anonymous Eduardo January 31, 2017 12:01 PM  

Really?

I guess the covers here in Brazil are different let me chack out on the amazing yahoo search-like-a-N00b engine

Yeah you are right. Funny I can swear that I saw a cover with Stephen's name small. Well I guess the argument applies to them too, their names are what gets ya. that and the Boogie Man

Blogger Cail Corishev January 31, 2017 12:10 PM  

"...but there’s JUST ENOUGH here that’s new for this to avoid becoming a retread." (emphasis mine)

Heh. It's like the episode of News Radio where a reviewer calls Bill "adequate," and he spends the episode trying to convince everyone he thinks adequate is high praise.

Someday I hope to find a special girl who thinks I'm "just enough" better than a retread.

Blogger Shimshon January 31, 2017 12:11 PM  

That review has just the right combo of negs to turn Scalzi on. Squee.

This is what they can safely excerpt from the review to put on the cover:

"...you’ll [...] want to find out what happens next."

Or:

Scalzi continues to be [...] good at his brand of fun but think-y sci-fi adventure.

Anonymous nope January 31, 2017 12:11 PM  

Haha, love that review... You know that the novel is good stuff when even the Kirkus reviewer obviously struggled to produce positive sounding review. That as lukewarm as it gets.

Blogger Jack Aubrey January 31, 2017 12:12 PM  

336 Pages. Asimov's "Foundation" is only 320 pages. Clearly Scalzi has written the greater work.

Anonymous CarpeOro January 31, 2017 12:15 PM  

@17 They are hoping that you'll see the author name and be gullible enough to buy it.

The review may as well have read:
"Rises to new levels of adequacy. You've seen nothing yet. The new book "John Scalzi" by Collapsing Empire will remind you of something else, but read it anyway."

Blogger pdwalker January 31, 2017 12:23 PM  

@2 Steve, that's a suitably subtle dig. I tip my hat to you Sir!

@3 Steve, I see what you did there.

And yeah, that review... is so positive, that I bet many of the authors publishing with Castalia are just shaking in their boots right now.

Blogger lowercaseb January 31, 2017 12:25 PM  

cheddarman wrote:

watch out, Chuck Tingle! Scalzi's got your number!


...Scalzi's astonishingly proficient new novel reads like an better than original work by the master. He's working out new twists, variations that startle even as they satisfy. The novel's tone is right on target, sentimentality balanced by hardheaded calculation, know-it-all smugness moderated by innocent wonder. This virtuoso debut pays tribute to SF's past while showing that well-worn tropes still can have real zip when they're approached with ingenuity in his new 2018 breakout novel: BUTTSEX DINOSAUR

Anonymous Thcalzi January 31, 2017 12:25 PM  

John Scalzi disgusts me in every conceivable way.

He could very well be gay. Or a tranny. Or something. If he/she/zhe were to come out and say zhe is a homosexual, that at least would make sense and zhe'd earn some respect for being honest.

Just look at the still image of this youtube video...
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2017/01/22/what-i-did-with-my-weekend-2/

Scalzi seems to be saying "Oh thtop, you're tho bad! TeeHee!"

But as it is now, zhe's just an ankle-biting virtue-signalling man-child degenerate, spreading cringes far and wide across the land, longing for someone to put it out of its misery.

I sometimes prefer you wouldn't post these. On the other hand, it is uplifting in a "however many things may not be going my way, at least I'm not John Scalzi" sort of way.

Blogger Stilicho January 31, 2017 12:27 PM  

(raises hand) they're using the same predictive modeling that proved Hillary could not lose?

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) January 31, 2017 12:32 PM  

no one else thinks that the cover is likely as lacking in excitement, gravitas and storytelling as the prose inside the book is?

no? that's just me?

oh.

well the only thing i've got to say then is:
It's Judge-A-Book-By-It's-Cover rape!

seriously, who did they have do that cover? Literally Wu? that's awful, and an awful editorial choice. there are no characters, no action, nothing discernibly interesting and the entire palette is shades of green, grey and white.


you know what it does have going for it? straight lines. it's got a bunch of those.

the funny thing is that it appears that the drafter has the nose of the ship(?) off axis from whatever the fuck that protuberance over the "JO" is supposed to be.

which means that the drafter ( you can't call this clown a painter ) hasn't even figured out Vanishing Points yet.

http://phase2.infogalactic.com/info/Vanishing_point

Anonymous BluePony January 31, 2017 12:40 PM  

"maybe read and liked Old Man's War,"

I confess that I did. I even liked the first sequel. It was Campbellian "humanity versus the universe" type of stuff I hadn't encountered in a while.

It was the third book where it all went wrong. I recall Amazon reviewers shocked at the change in tone by the end of the book. People were asking, "Hey, John, did your leftists friends finally get to you?"

I often wonder if he sits there writing now, and deleting whole passages of decent stuff because it might offend his fake progressive friends or prevent him from touching his wife for a week. Does the money make it better?

Blogger tron3dfx January 31, 2017 12:43 PM  

"plenty of snark" ...
Gotta love that, nothin' like a good dose of snark to brighten your day! And we all know how much the lefties love their Snark! Awesome! Yowzer!

Blogger Shimshon January 31, 2017 12:43 PM  

Another review blurb to use:

"...include[s] political plotting, plenty of snark, puzzle-solving, and a healthy dose of action..."

It's impossible to cleanly excerpt anything from the review that can be quoted without some negative lint sticking to it.

Blogger buwaya January 31, 2017 12:46 PM  

The original cover was very different -
http://www.tor.com/2016/05/24/announcing-john-scalzi-the-collapsing-empire/

The original seemed much better though still a cliche.

Blogger Jose January 31, 2017 12:47 PM  

That review scalzied all over the book.

Anonymous BBGKB January 31, 2017 12:48 PM  

whether Scalzi can write another space opera that shares the elements that made his Old Man’s War series so

Space Collapse: now with more blowjob arbitrage.

before the first book in the series is published, that the forthcoming series can be described as "The New York Times Bestselling Series"?

My guess is Blowjob arbitrage. We did see a pic of Scalzi with blue lips the other week.

Anonymous Hairy Seldom January 31, 2017 12:55 PM  

Hi, I work for Tor and I'm here to predict that John Scalzi's latest book will be a best seller. It's not been easy for him to change from writing Science Fiction to sports fiction, but he did it and from a new perspective. Most sports fiction is all about the players and their relationships with team mates, family, friends, you know. But John Scalzi's brilliance shows up when he writes about a sports official with a secret sorrow that is slowly eating him up inside. It's gritty, it's humorous, it's touching, it's a different perspective on baseball entirely, and yes, there's that special John Scalzi touch of snarky humor.

My firm grasp of pyschohistory leads to only one conclusion, and that is Collapsing Umpire will be a best seller.

Blogger lowercaseb January 31, 2017 12:59 PM  

A coworker looked at the cover and decided that the novel was

JOHN SCALZI
by
The Collapsing Empire

Anonymous AzDesertRat January 31, 2017 1:10 PM  

The Kindle cover is much better. Looks like it was done by the same person(s) who did the "Old Man's War" artwork.

Blogger YIH January 31, 2017 1:21 PM  

buwaya wrote:The original cover was very different -

http://www.tor.com/2016/05/24/announcing-john-scalzi-the-collapsing-empire/

The original seemed much better though still a cliche.

Hit the link, yes that cover is better. Went to the preorder here link.
From the butterball itself:
3. It’s not finished yet, but will be (knock wood) within the next couple of months.

4. It’s meant to be the first book in a possible series, but I will, as is my usual practice, write it to be enjoyed as a stand alone.

5. This is important: The marketing copy I gave to Tor for the book (and which you see at the link) is preliminary and while the basic concept is correct, some details may change a bit. See number 3.

My original assumption was correct, the ''review'' came from a snippet of the (forthcoming?) book. I've seen more honest Amazon reviews.
It's the equivalent of a movie review from the 5 minute theatrical trailer.

Anonymous Jon Bromfield January 31, 2017 1:22 PM  

"The review may as well have read:
'Rises to new levels of adequacy. You've seen nothing yet. The new book "John Scalzi" by Collapsing Empire will remind you of something else, but read it anyway.'

You can expect these other glowing reviews:

"Scalzi has never written anything better!"

"Friends of John Scalzi will enjoy his new work!"

"Perfect for those late nights when sleep will not come."

Blogger FUCK GOOGLE January 31, 2017 1:27 PM  

I don't understand why some people are so enamored of snark. It might do for the occasional off-the-cuff comment, but if you are writing something well in advance why would you not go for something insightful, interesting or even ACTUALLY FUNNY?

Snark is easy to do and even more easily forgotten. I can't think of a single memorable moment of "snark", but I can think of plenty of hilarious memories, or even memories of someone saying/writing something profound. Telling me that a book has plenty of snark as a main selling point is a great way to ensure I never read it. How about entertaining me or making me think instead of being the gamma mean tranny in the back of the school room making passive aggressive comments about everything in front of you? That's probably too much to ask from Scalzi.

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor January 31, 2017 1:32 PM  

The Collapsing Empire could be a new nickname for Tor Books.

Blogger GK Chesterton January 31, 2017 1:33 PM  

Reading your fiction Vox and his...your characters are so much better. They are human. His are not. Even if I think his style is slightly better (which allows him to imitate easily).

Blogger Hugo Smith January 31, 2017 1:37 PM  

"Plenty of snark..."

You would have lost me there even if I didn't know who Scalzi is.

Anonymous BBGKB January 31, 2017 1:42 PM  

"Scalzi has never written anything better"

Reading your fiction Vox and his...your characters are so much better. They are human.

Even the goblins protecting the hobjews in the attic from SSlayer orks are human in "The Hobjews of Wiccam Fensboro"

Blogger Bogey January 31, 2017 1:50 PM  

Did you see that comment under the Kirkus Review? The face of the average Scalzi reader pretty much sums it up.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 31, 2017 1:54 PM  

On a brighter note, my hardcover Summa Elvetica arrived from Amazon today. Looking good!

Blogger Beowulf the Geat January 31, 2017 1:55 PM  

"Plenty of snark", yeah no kidding.

Blogger Bogey January 31, 2017 1:57 PM  

"You would have lost me there even if I didn't know who Scalzi is."

...and I would have to agree with you. Gamma Cucks just love that shit, count me out.

Blogger Matthew January 31, 2017 2:01 PM  

In May 2016, the cover art was going to be from "the artist notable for defining the look of Microsoft’s Halo game series, among others."

http://www.tor.com/2016/05/24/announcing-john-scalzi-the-collapsing-empire/

In June 2016, it changed to "designed by Lisa Brewster from Blacksheep".

http://www.torbooks.co.uk/blog/2016/6/20/cover-reveal-the-collapsing-empire-by-john-scalzi

Or is this just a US/UK difference?

"Blacksheep is a design studio specialising in food and beverage, delivering a complete guest experience through a multidisciplinary approach."

http://blacksheep.uk.com

It's lulz all the way down.

Blogger Bard January 31, 2017 2:05 PM  

One of the slickest writers huh.
What's he covered in? Or was the "l" a misprint?

The title should have been "Spaceship with Green Background"
That is just as exciting.

And snark. God I am sick of these people.

OpenID randkoch January 31, 2017 2:24 PM  

That's the U.K. version of the cover. The U.S. version is the same as before.

The publishing industry needs to join the 21st century. Perhaps John Scalzi can lead the way. (My own attempt at snark inspired by Scalzi.)

Blogger Cail Corishev January 31, 2017 2:27 PM  

I've been hazy on the difference between snark and sarcasm, so I looked it up. I'm finding "snark" defined as "sarcastic comment," so that doesn't help. I know there's a real difference, but couldn't put my finger on what exactly. "Snark" is supposed to be a portmanteau of "snide" and "remark," so I suspect the snideness is what sets it apart. There's something sneering and oily about snark that you don't get with straightforward sarcasm.

That's the best I can come up with. Might be an interesting topic for someone who gets it better, because I'm not finding much out there.

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) January 31, 2017 2:31 PM  

47. buwaya January 31, 2017 12:46 PM
The original seemed much better though still a cliche.



far, FAR better.

Blogger Matthew January 31, 2017 2:49 PM  

We shouldn't, in making our snide remarks, lose track of the point of the original post:

In June 2016, the UK arm of Tor published a cover for a book which comes "out on 23rd March 2017", emblazoned with the claim that the SERIES is a New York Times Bestseller.

Blogger Matthew January 31, 2017 2:49 PM  

They'll doubtless change the cover now, and Vox can claim credit for that.

OpenID randkoch January 31, 2017 2:51 PM  

68. far, FAR better.

The U.K. one wouldn't have been bad if it was self-published.

Tor UK obviously has a smaller budget. This is something we should have been expecting as the publishing empire collapses.

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) January 31, 2017 2:51 PM  

"We are very excited to reveal the bold and brilliant cover for THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE"

what is this, i can't even ...?

64. Matthew January 31, 2017 2:01 PM
http://blacksheep.uk.com
It's lulz all the way down.



you realize that this is FAR beyond, "Women Ruin Everything" and into "That Pooch Is Well And Truly Fucked"?

Lisa Brewster is in danger of having her entrails extracted through her butt if Phoebe Taylor doesn't ease off on the suction a bit.

female "artist" does explain the Drafting Fail though.

maybe for the 2nd cover Lisa can dribble some menstrual blood out of her vajay-jay? that way she can dispense with attempting Perspective that, you know, actually works. and she can add Red to her Greens and Greys. 2/3rds of the way to a fully functioning spectrum wouldn't be a bad aspiration ... for someone making a living as an 'artist'.


disclaimer:
Rowena could actually handle Perspective and a full Palette, i am well aware that not every woman is an incompetent social climber, this post was made for comedic purposes and should be taken only in moderation and liberal modification on the part of the reader with additional periods.

you special snowflake, you.

Anonymous FP January 31, 2017 2:53 PM  

@47

That cover is better. Makes me think of the Homeworld games.

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) January 31, 2017 2:55 PM  

71. randkoch January 31, 2017 2:51 PM
Tor UK obviously has a smaller budget.



Tor US ALREADY BOUGHT a cover which was worlds better than that Green Hell which got commissioned by Tor UK.

you are going to have a really goddamn hard time explaining to me how paying Lisa in Pound Sterling to create a new cover from scratch would be *less* expensive than simply cross licensing the US cover.

Blogger Worlds Edge January 31, 2017 2:55 PM  

There's quite a few Advance Reader Copy (ARC) reviews already up at Goodreads...

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30078567-the-collapsing-empire

From reading through a few of them, in all honesty it sounds like a decent bit of world-building populated by some of the most cringe inducing characters speaking some of the most annoying dialog you'll find anywhere. Difficult to say, though, since the people doing the ARC based reviews are goony beard men and pink haired she-twinks. And I mean that literally wherever a picture was used for the reviewer's profile.

A few select nuggets, lest this post go on at War and Peace length...

Angie - Rated it 5 stars
Imagine a far-future story of political maneuvering by interstellar nobility in the mode of Lois McMaster Bujold or Catherine Asaro. Season it with a touch of the Foundation universe and a nuance of John Hemry. This sounds like the ingredients for a good read. Give it to a talented “word chef” like John Scalzi, with his trademark sense of humor and skill with plots and characters, though, and he will turn it into a SUPER read.

In the Collapsing Empire multiple human-settled worlds are governed by the Interdependency. In addition to the ruling emperox (Yes, the title is emperox, not emperor. I have no idea why.)


etc.

Alex Sarll - no rating
But the great empire of the Interdependency is ultimately more focused on its own perpetuation, and on the finely balanced interests of the corporations which hold most of its power, than it is on the continued survival of the human race. Even when prevented with the scientific evidence, they’d rather muddy the water with rival theories than risk upsetting the status quo, doomed as that status quo may be.

It’s a global warming allegory, isn’t it? Which in itself is not remotely a problem. One of the uses of SF is to show us the present in new lights, pointing out our foolishness in fresh relief. But I’m not convinced this particular example adds much to what anyone sane (which is to say, nobody in a position of world power as of January 20th) already knows. I mean, maybe that’s the point – Scalzi writes the sort of good old-fashioned SF which even Republicans and Puppies* could go for, so maybe when they read this a few of them might have their own (energy efficient) lightbulb moment?


Aww, wasn't he just precious? And so on. There's other crap, about Emperox Mary Sue or something...

Maddalena rated it five stars
The most conspicuous, striking - and ultimately amusing - character remains however that of Kiva Lagos, representative of the Lagos trading House and my absolute winner in case of a contest among the novel's figures: she is brash, outspoken and uncaring of any behavioral or diplomatic convention, and she peppers her speeches with an amount of profanity that would give the Expanse's Avarasala a run for her money - although, unlike the more eloquent Avarasala, her four-letter vocabulary is exclusively limited to the f* word in all its declinations… Needless to say, I loved Kiva since she first appeared on the scene: only a skilled writer like John Scalzi could deftly manage such a foul-mouthed character, and the endless stream of expletives hovering like a cloud around her, and at the same time turn Kiva Lagos into a reader's number one choice for… well, heroine.

Umm, wut? Eh, sorry for the length of this comment. But these people do go on. And on. And on. And note that I only grabbed small pieces of the magnum opuses these ARC reviewers were yarking up.

Anonymous LurkingPuppy January 31, 2017 3:05 PM  

Matthew wrote:We shouldn't, in making our snide remarks, lose track of the point of the original post:

In June 2016, the UK arm of Tor published a cover for a book which comes "out on 23rd March 2017", emblazoned with the claim that the SERIES is a New York Times Bestseller.

Accompanied by the text: “This story is set in a brand new universe” (emphasis added). Yow.

bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) wrote:the funny thing is that it appears that the drafter has the nose of the ship(?) off axis from whatever the fuck that protuberance over the "JO" is supposed to be.

which means that the drafter ( you can't call this clown a painter ) hasn't even figured out Vanishing Points yet.

Or it could be something deliberately angled downward or outward on a canned 3D-model rendering that they bought and pasted in. Notice that the ship is lit by a different color than the green all around it, and the lighting is coming from the wrong direction too. Look at the self-shadowing on the lit side of the ship straight up from between H and N, then look at the moon in the background on the left.

Blogger Geir Balderson January 31, 2017 3:15 PM  

#56 BINGO!!!
Scalzi's next novel will be, An Old Man, in a Red Shirt, Snarks His way though the Green Sky in a Cool Space ship-like Thingy!

Anonymous City Galaxy January 31, 2017 3:16 PM  

Is it a bestseller? Tor may have been looking at the amazon kindle ranking of 5,745 for Scalzi's most recent (released this December) book "Miniatures". Vox Day's most recent (also released this December) book is at 43,843. This sales number doesn't capture all sales numbers, but it does suggest a situation.

I'm not sure that I agree with everything Scalzi says, but his message, judging by the sales numbers of all of his books, means something to his readers. He has thought through his ideas and presented a consistent coherent message. His readers have rewarded him.

Anonymous Velnor January 31, 2017 3:28 PM  

The last book i've read from John Scalzi was The Last Colony. I admit i enjoyed it, until the point in which i was able to tell that he went on holiday to Italy and he did not like a young boy showing interest for his daughter. Understandable somehow, from a father's point of view, but... putting it in your novel, and killing the boy? Seriously? I really want to think that he did not use the real name of the boy for his character, but have the feeling that he did.

Anonymous Be Deplorable, Not Afraid January 31, 2017 3:29 PM  

I wonder if Tor will compost the books they've agreed to buy back from Amazon and B&N, or if the books will just be dumped in the same landfill as the Atari ET cartridges?

Blogger VD January 31, 2017 3:33 PM  

Vox Day's most recent (also released this December) book is at 43,843. This sales number doesn't capture all sales numbers, but it does suggest a situation.

The numbers you cited means John's latest book can barely compete with one of my books 17 months post-release. As it happens, my non-fiction sells rather more than my 900-page novels do.

Your attempt to change the subject won't work. And your suggested explanation is incoherent. Is "Miniatures" part of the same series as "The Collapsing Empire"?

Blogger John Wright January 31, 2017 3:34 PM  

@8
"Why is Tor furiously propping up John Scalzi when there is much better talent out there?"

What happened is that Mr Hartwell passed away and Mr Daugherty retired.

Tor made it perfectly clear that they no longer were willing to do business with more talented authors.

They are no longer in the business of selling SF. They are in the business of pushing PC.

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) January 31, 2017 3:53 PM  

76. LurkingPuppy January 31, 2017 3:05 PM
Or it could be something deliberately



oh, it's deliberate all right. that doesn't make it any less "not shitty".

face it, even by your own analysis, the painting is a coherent whole:
incompetent in almost every respect.

why you think that an 'artist' who has demonstrated incompetence in EVERY other aspect of composition and execution does actually grasp the rudimentary aspects of a single part of the discipline ( Perspective ) is beyond me.

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) January 31, 2017 3:54 PM  

82. John Wright January 31, 2017 3:34 PM
Tor made it perfectly clear that they no longer were willing to do business with more talented authors.



went to B&N last weekend.

number of John C. Wright books on the shelf? zero.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 31, 2017 4:06 PM  

number of John C. Wright books on the shelf? zero.

I'll be ordering hard copies of every JCW book Castalia prints (I already bought the ebooks).

Go thou and do likewise, he said (preaching to the converted, I fear).

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 31, 2017 4:08 PM  

They are no longer in the business of selling SF. They are in the business of pushing PC.

John, have your politics and religious beliefs affected your sales? More importantly, would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

Blogger Cataline Sergius January 31, 2017 4:09 PM  

Scalzi's brilliantly layered and mindbogglingly vast world building in a single word...emperox.

PNH paid a million and some change out of pocket for "emperox."

Anonymous Eduardo January 31, 2017 4:09 PM  

About the update and being a word nazi:

"Our universe is governed by Physics!!!!"

Which means:

Our Universe is governed by the description of phenomena in the universe!!!

You couldn't solve this even if you attempt to go for figures of speech as if the synopse writer is trying to say that The study of A is part of A so when he says The Study of A he means A actually.

Or maybe... They mean nature is Physics O_O? no wait that can't be right.

Anonymous City Galaxy January 31, 2017 4:20 PM  

VD wrote:The numbers you cited means John's latest book can barely compete with one of my books 17 months post-release. As it happens, my non-fiction sells rather more than my 900-page novels do.

Your attempt to change the subject won't work. And your suggested explanation is incoherent. Is "Miniatures" part of the same series as "The Collapsing Empire"?


It looks like they were released at the same time, for some reason.

Tor may be guessing that, because of the sales of Scalzi's most recent book, the next book(s) he writes will sell well enough to become a bestseller. The Scalzi brand, as Mike Cernovich would say, encourages readers of his previous books to buy his next book.

What is a brand? Consistency and coherence is an answer, if an imperfect one. I understand some may dislike Scalzi. He injects some of his political ideas into his fiction. But, as Cernovich has said, some ruthlessness and willingness to betray your followers is useful to you. If friends or publishers want, and will pay more, for certain political views in fiction, then the writer has to make some decisions.

Anonymous Bz January 31, 2017 4:22 PM  

They should reorganize the cover a little bit though. How about this, put the publisher on top instead:

TOR
THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE
by
JOHN SCALZI

There. That's better.

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) January 31, 2017 4:25 PM  

85. 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 31, 2017 4:06 PM
Go thou and do likewise, he said (preaching to the converted, I fear).



nah, i pay John in free meals. *wink*

Blogger tron3dfx January 31, 2017 4:27 PM  

Nay, deep in the bowels of SNARKLAND the saga begins: Scalzi holds forth his court with pink wizards among the candy-apple kingdoms and, and, oh forget it, you get the point!

Blogger lowercaseb January 31, 2017 4:34 PM  

John Wright wrote:They are no longer in the business of selling SF. They are in the business of pushing PC.

If I write for Tor, perhaps I can create a PC story and with a deft use of allegory, sneak in some SciFi past the censors.

Blogger VD January 31, 2017 4:35 PM  

Tor may be guessing that, because of the sales of Scalzi's most recent book, the next book(s) he writes will sell well enough to become a bestseller.

You're really reaching.

Blogger lowercaseb January 31, 2017 4:37 PM  

...but that might have to wait until I master the mystery of comma use. I really have been spoiled by edit buttons on other sites.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 31, 2017 4:46 PM  

Well, it may be an Asimov ripoff, but it has more of a Dune vibe to me:

...setting up key players along the primary travel corridor of an empire overflowing with complex interactions among nobles, politicians, business interests, and an unstable physical environment. The Interdependency is a collection of far-flung, human-colonized, barely habitable planets strung together by the Flow, a naturally occurring, limited-access, faster-than-light network. The planets are governed by the concept of obligate mutual reliance and ruled by those who control access to the Flow, but a change to the Flow that would leave established planets isolated to die seems imminent. This would disrupt the plans of the ambitious noble Nohamapetan family, which is involved in a rebellion raging on the outermost planet of End...

compared to:

Set in the distant future amidst a feudal interstellar society in which noble houses, in control of individual planets, owe allegiance to the Padishah Emperor, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose noble family accepts the stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis. As this planet is the only source of the "spice" melange, the most important and valuable substance in the universe, control of Arrakis is a coveted — and dangerous — undertaking. The story explores the multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the forces of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its "spice".

Restrictions on space travel...noble, aristocratic families...interplanetary business interests...political intrigues...planetary rebellion....

Won't be reading it in either case, but couldn't help noticing the similarities to another classic work.

Anonymous City Galaxy January 31, 2017 5:21 PM  

Cail Corishev wrote:I've been hazy on the difference between snark and sarcasm, so I looked it up. I'm finding "snark" defined as "sarcastic comment," so that doesn't help. I know there's a real difference, but couldn't put my finger on what exactly. "Snark" is supposed to be a portmanteau of "snide" and "remark," so I suspect the snideness is what sets it apart. There's something sneering and oily about snark that you don't get with straightforward sarcasm.

That's the best I can come up with. Might be an interesting topic for someone who gets it better, because I'm not finding much out there.


VD wrote:Tor may be guessing that, because of the sales of Scalzi's most recent book, the next book(s) he writes will sell well enough to become a bestseller.

You're really reaching.


Is this some trademark Scalzi snark? Scalzi has been a more consistent and coherent snarker.

Blogger Bear Brubaker January 31, 2017 5:29 PM  

Amazon rank takes into account how much money they are making from a book. Miniatures is a limited edition $40 hardcover and a $6 eBook. That means even a few copies will generate a ton of profit. For each $40 hardcover sold through Amazon, a competing book would need to sell close to 30 copies to end up at the same rank. Since the eBook of Miniatures is also overpriced, it ends up skewing the rank the same way.

If you had 100 fans willing to pay you $100 each for a limited edition hardcover, I would imagine that the Amazon rank would somewhere in the sub-1000 range.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit January 31, 2017 5:32 PM  

Worlds Edge wrote: In addition to the ruling emperox (Yes, the title is emperox, not emperor. I have no idea why.)



...ox I think I might have an idea.
Rent free.

Anonymous Longtime Lurker January 31, 2017 5:33 PM  

@87: PNH paid a million and some change out of pocket for "emperox."

First comes Emperox. Then comes Maalox.

Blogger Dave January 31, 2017 5:42 PM  

"He has thought through his ideas and presented a consistent coherent message."

"Consistency and coherence is an answer, if an imperfect one."

"Scalzi has been a more consistent and coherent snarker."



Hmmmm...

Blogger Feather Blade January 31, 2017 6:00 PM  

MisesMat wrote:Why is Tor furiously propping up John Scalzi when there is much better talent out there?

They've paid him a significant advance for the privilege, and they have to make back their money somehow.

Blogger Silly But True January 31, 2017 6:11 PM  

The Collapsing Empire.

Are we so sure this is actually a scifi novel and not a nobfiction history of Tor?

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) January 31, 2017 6:45 PM  

the concept of obligate mutual reliance

wut?

if one party can command "obligation" from other parties, there's nothing "mutual" about it.

is this written by that clown who was telling us about Darwinian Equality?



Worlds Edge wrote:
In addition to the ruling emperox (Yes, the title is emperox, not emperor. I have no idea why.)


neutrality. of the gender fluidity kind.

the little shit is ripping off Ann Leckie now.



97. City Galaxy January 31, 2017 5:21 PM
Is this some trademark Scalzi snark? Scalzi has been a more consistent and coherent snarker.



by which you mean, if you were doing this on Scalzi's blog you'd have already gotten the Loving Mallet of Correction.

Blogger Cataline Sergius January 31, 2017 7:10 PM  

@WaterBoy

I don't know. I think Dune is beyond Scalzi's ability to ripoff

The background of the Foundation itself was lifted from the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Asimov was the first to set it in space so congrats there Issac but I think it's fair to raise the question of "how good was it?"

Well...Dune, it ain't.

I've read Dune repeatedly since I first read it in college during the nineteen-eighties. I made it through Foundation exactly once.

Except for The Mule I can't really remember any of the characters. They all fail the Cataline Character Test. Which goes like this, without describing anything they did or what they look like, tell me about the characters.

Nothing, I'm drawing a blank. Leto, Paul, Stilgar, Jessica, The Barron, no problem telling you about them but I can't really tell you anything about Hari Seldon and that guy is my fucking avatar.


What this book sounds like to be is a pastiche prequel to Lois Bujold's Barrayar stories. Now Scalzi is in no way as good as Bujold but a half thought out, slapped together version of her universe isn't beyond him.

Anonymous Chorius January 31, 2017 8:06 PM  

Bear Brubaker wrote:Amazon rank takes into account how much money they are making from a book. Miniatures is a limited edition $40 hardcover and a $6 eBook. That means even a few copies will generate a ton of profit. For each $40 hardcover sold through Amazon, a competing book would need to sell close to 30 copies to end up at the same rank. Since the eBook of Miniatures is also overpriced, it ends up skewing the rank the same way.

If you had 100 fans willing to pay you $100 each for a limited edition hardcover, I would imagine that the Amazon rank would somewhere in the sub-1000 range.


The amazon ranks are just using kindle sales.

Anonymous LurkingPuppy January 31, 2017 8:30 PM  

bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) wrote:why you think that an 'artist' who has demonstrated incompetence in EVERY other aspect of composition and execution does actually grasp the rudimentary aspects of a single part of the discipline ( Perspective ) is beyond me.
No, I think someone else's computer did the perspective projection, and it's the only correct part of that cover image.

Anonymous Selling Out at the Dollar Tree January 31, 2017 8:39 PM  

I wonder if this book will end up at the Dollar Tree. I couldn't stop laughing when I saw hardcovers of Connie Willis and Saladin Ahmed's Hugo nominated first novel on the shelves right by spiral bound notebooks and spatulas. Even at $1 each, I didn't think they were of value.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 31, 2017 9:36 PM  

Cataline Sergius @105: "I don't know. I think Dune is beyond Scalzi's ability to ripoff...What this book sounds like to be is a pastiche prequel to Lois Bujold's Barrayar stories."

I dunno, as I haven't read Bujold's works.

But if The Flow is dependent on some melange-like unobtanium, we'll know for sure.

Anonymous John Scalzi Unfinished Asimov Project January 31, 2017 10:06 PM  

For fans of K-pop, I can't help but cite the first comment under the latest video from Red Velvet as a locus classicus of the kind of reviewing Vox alludes to above:

One Hannah Kim writes: "Let's not say it's disappointing because red velvet actually worked hard to prepare this and this is supposed to be their best era where sm [i.e. SM Ent, their company] will promote them a lot. If the publics reaction isn't good, sm might stop paying attention to rv and that ain't good"

lolzozlz sigh. Well, it's sadly funny because it's true.

OpenID foreverwhat February 01, 2017 8:39 AM  

I actually liked John Scalzi's OMW series, up to the Last Colony. Those that followed were too similar. Since then all his other books have basically the same characters spouting the same snarky sarcastic lines. Nothing wrong with snarky or sarcastic but it has become way too predictable and tiresome with his writing.
Regardless that he is a cry-baby liberal who is intolerant of anyone with a different opinion, if he would write something good I would most likely read it.

Blogger Subversive Saint February 01, 2017 9:50 AM  

"One of the slickest writers..."

If that was said if me I'm sure I would not take it as a compliment.

Blogger Shirley Márquez Dúlcey February 01, 2017 11:38 AM  

The line about a "bestselling series" was on a pre-release tease of the cover. It was corrected to "bestselling author" in the final version, which is factually correct; Scalzi has appeared on the NYT bestseller list. Whether those appearances on the list were helped along by Tor is a question that I will not address, as I don't have enough information.

Blogger Brian Niemeier February 01, 2017 12:34 PM  

Scalzi showed up at Peter Grant's claiming that the NYT bestseller blurb is a placeholder on a UK only first draft cover. But it's still live on Amazon US.
http://archive.is/IuWEI

Blogger Mike Boutot February 01, 2017 3:53 PM  

You're such a weird little cuck, Theodore. Scalzi is more successful than you. Your lot in life is to suckle his success teat from the sidelines.

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