My friend A. had mentioned a while ago going to see John Scalzi this week as part of his book tour. Scalzi is a well-known (maybe the well-known) blogger and science fiction author, and is supporting his latest book, The Last Colony.
With my Mom having departed yesterday, and since it looks like I won’t be going to WisCon this year to have him sign his latest books, I asked Andrew if I could tag along (read: sponge a ride off of him), and said yes (or words to that effect). So around 5:40 we piled into his car and drove over to Half Moon Bay to the Bay Book Company.
One meal at Round Table Pizza later (mm-mmm!) we arrived at the store. It’s been a while since I’d been there, and I’d forgotten that they’re a quite charming, cozy little book store off Highway 1. Usually I only stop in downtown when I’m in Half Moon Bay. All the posters on top of the bookcases announced that they get quite a few authors in for signings, so they must work hard to get on the list for authors like Scalzi; no doubt it’s a big boost to their business.
I bought a copy of Colony when we arrived, and then John emerged. He surveyed the crowd of 25 or so people, saw me, pointed and said “Michael!”
Okay, that was unexpected, but yes, I’ve met John before, before his first SF novel was picked up for publication, even, as well as twice at WisCon. I’m always flattered that he recognizes me, but really, he’s no dummy and he’s clearly got a good memory, so should I expect any less? (Actually, I have an idea of why I find it flattering, but try as I might I can’t put it into words. It has nothing to do with his being a published author, and more to do with his intelligence, wit and self-confidence. I’ve felt similarly about a few other people, notably my friend Bruce, who I think shares many of his best qualities with John.)
Lest I go on too long about that, my read on John is that he’s amazingly excited to be going on this book tour, but also a little apprehensive about seeing so many people whom he doesn’t know, even if they are fans of his. I guess seeing them at a convention is one thing, but “out in the wild” is something else. But that’s just my read; John’s able to manage and entertain an audience pretty handily (better than I could, that’s for sure), so I’m sure he’s got nothing to worry about.
He entertained us with tales of getting his books published (he was quite fortunate to have his first published novel noticed and bought by an editor due to publishing it on his Web site), getting covers chosen for his books (like cover blurbs, the covers themselves are mostly a marketing concern), and some of the work he has in the pipeline. Not to mention running for president of SFWA.
And then he signed books. A. said to me that he’s never been big on signed books. I’m not into them per se, but I enjoy getting things signed as a keepsake of the experience of meeting the author. It helps fix the memories in my mind, and sometimes I come away with some fun stories.
In this case, it was just fun seeing Scalzi again. I hope he has a great time on his tour. If you get a chance, go see him; it’s worth the trip.
(P.S.: I may end up in a photo in his blog, as he posted one from last night’s Seattle gathering. I’ll let you know if I get [further] immortalized in bits.)