Sydney Sizzles

My apologies for not posting, responding to comments, or answering much mail for the last week or so.

I’ve been finishing the rewrites on Specials, which included writing a totally new ending—a much better one, I hope. I have to turn the book in tomorrow night, so that it can be released on schedule. (Maybe early! I’ll let you know.)

In a related story, Cory Doctorow gave the Uglies trilogy a lovely write-up on Boing Boing yesterday, pushing my Amazon ratings into three figures. (I believe that is a w00ting offense.)

In the meantime, Sydney weather has been weird. On New Years’ Day, temperatures reached their historical record for this time of year . . . at 11AM! By 2PM it was the second hottest day on record in the city ever. The temperature? 45 Centigrade. But what’s that in Farenheit? Ah well, allow me to give you Americans a little lesson in metric.

As readers of Uglies know, I’m a fairly metric guy, and I think we’ll all be metric-users at some point in the future. But temperatures are much harder to convert than most measurements, because the zero-point is different. Metric uses the freezing point of water; US measurements use the freezing point of salt water. (Which I find slightly random.)

So when I came to Australia I learned this handy Centigrade poem:

30’s hot.
20’s nice.
10’s a jacket.
Zero’s ice.

Pretty easy, huh? Except you will note that 45 isn’t in there!

Well, to assist your imagination, we have this handy photograph:

That’s from today’s Sydney Morning Herald. It’s happening not terribly far from us.

This is the arid continent, after all. When it gets up to 45, things start to burn. At present there are 27 bushfires out there blazing on the edges of Sydney. I live in the middle of town, so you don’t have to worry about me. But do give a thought to the fireys (as they say here) who are out saving people’s homes.

And just so you know, 45C is 113 Farenheit. A hundred and thirteen!

Here’s the weirdest thing: After the southerly breezes finally arrived last night, the termperature dropped freakishly fast, down to 20C (68F). The discrepancy was so great that this morning when Justine and I made breakfast, the air that spilled from the kitchen cupboards was still noticeably hot—like opening an oven.

How weird is that?

Specials will be finished tomorrow, and I’ll start blogging more and answering fan mail again. Thanks for all your patience.

WARNING: The comment thread of this post contains massive spoilers if you haven’t read Pretties.

55 thoughts on “Sydney Sizzles

  1. That’s crazy about the weather out there…

    I can’t wait until Specials comes out… or Last Days for that matter. I just finished Peeps New Years Eve. I was reading it all through a game of movie Scene It, but I finished the book in time to get back to the game and win the tie breaker game for my team with my knowledge of Disney movies that I’ve never seen (+ Princess Mononoke). 🙂

  2. Yay! Early would be good for Specials. I just finished Peeps a few days ago as well; and I loved it, of course. Thanks for the Celsius poem.

  3. That would be totally awesome if it got finished early! My whole class is reading Uglies and my teacher gave us like 2 months to finish it, but i loved it so much that i finished it in a day. Then that night I went out and bought Pretties. It must be so weird being that hot! Thanks for the poem, it will help because my friend lives in Australia and is always talking about centigrades and I never know what degree that is!

  4. wow thats HOT. it rarly gets that hot in pheonix.

    great news about specials!!!! i cant wait. but i do wish you would write like 5 more books on uglies-hint, hint. i hope it gets finished early.

    that thing metric stuff. wow why cant america be normal and use the metric system. like i read on the dess blog from midnighters, its all by 10s so it would be really easy. but no the government laughs at us while we struggle over acres, yards, feet, and more crap

  5. That is absurdly hot, and hard to imagine. Its 36 F here right now, and we’re expecting 7 – 18 inches of snow tomorrow. Damn Northeast….

    Great news about Specials! I can’t wait, so early would be fantastic…

  6. poor north east so unloved. its a bit nippy here in california (actually its like 65) but lots of rain. i wish it would snow i miss it *tear, tear*.

    little question scott… does it snow often in australia? i know it probably never does in sydney but other places (that are not in the mountians) well just wondering.

  7. Sorry about all of you in the cold, cold snow. The heat has gone away, and it’s certafiably perfect here today. The bush fires are getting under control, though it could be a bad summer.

    Amy: It does snow in the mountains in Oz (they even have the Snowy Mountains), and down south in Tasmania. But yeah, never in Sydney. We get awesome killer hail here, though, like most hot places.

    Only a few more edits to make, and I’m done . . . !

  8. Hey, im gunna get to the point your my favorite author and i love the uglies seriesbut what the heck wer u thinking in pretties?!?!?! i mean how culd you make Tally like ditch david and go totally with…Zane(?)….i mean i just don get it!!! and then she goes with shay and becomes a special!??!! wat the fo? i ges ill just hafta wiat for Specials but i was pretty shocked!!! cant wait for Specials and Ima buyen Midnighters as soon as its out! LOVE MIDNIGHTERS! okay thanks! buy!

  9. well it made me very sad also when she took zane, it made me angry that she evn had to decide. but she was forced to be special.

    but you know you have a great author when he can make you all emotional over a fake character. (but they seem so REAL, you hardly think they are fictional). so the shows that you are a GREAT author scott, because you made taylor angry.

  10. Actualy Amy I live in phoenix, Az and yes in the summer is does get hot here, usualy up to 116 F during the summer. I expect it to be worse this year, seeing as how global warming is melting the entire earth.

  11. You know, we’ve been having really bad brush fires around the DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth for all you non-Texan’s)area. I’m in a residential suburb, thank goodness, but a lot of people have lost their homes around here. Of course, the temperatures are no where near the 100’s, or 40’s, or whatever you call them, we’re just in a really bad drought. Haven’t had good rainfall for nearly a year. The same thing’s happening in Oklahoma, whereas California is getting flooded. Crazy American weather patterns.

    On a side note, love your books Scott, can’t wait for Specials.

  12. It snowed for 23 hours today, resulting in a foot of snow. You are so lucky, I miss the warmth. It’s currently 20 degrees farenheit right now, I still don’t know Celcius, even though my dad is English. I guess I should know it by now. At least I don’t live in Boston, the snow must already be brown there.

    Well I’m super excited for Specials to come out, it’s going to be so good! All of your books in that series are good. Well the two that are out.

  13. ” but you know you have a great author when he can make you all emotional over a fake character.”
    Agreed. 🙂

    I was thinking about it today, and isn’t it neat how when you read a book the…atmosphere, I guess you could say, of the book is pretty instantly burned into your head. Just after the first few words you already have everything pictured…Heheh.

    P.S. -.– .- -.– / ..-. — .-. / .–. .-. . – – .. . …! / -.-. .- -. – / .– .- .. – / “-.– —“!

  14. well i am glad its hot here, well sort of. i wish it would get cold in winter at least.

    bailey- yes i get the “atmosohere” too. like one day durring summer i read for like the whole day (man, did i feel like a loser when my friends called). but when my mom called me for dinner, i was like still in book-land or somthing. totally sketchy. but i love the way that feels (wow i sound like a person that does drugs)

  15. so wait:S I just finished Justines book “Magic or Madness” and she said that January is the middle of summer…and now there are fires going on there…wait so does that mean that winters in august there or that its always summer? wow, I never though there would come a day that I regreted not paying attention in Geo class..

  16. i thought it was the opposite of the U.S. i.e.-july-ish is winter, january-ish is summer
    is that right? if not, well then, you learn somthing new everyday!!

  17. Hey! Well, this is my first time posting, so hello to you guys! =)
    Anyways, I love your books Scott!~ You are an incredible author. But you already know that, don’t you? =) hehe. Your books are so good, that in the middle of watching King Kong the movie in theathers, I was thinking of reading the rest of ‘Uglies’. So its either the movie was really bad, or your book real good. I’d go with your book being really good. Lol. Anyways, not all Americans are reading your book, I hope you know that. I’m a Canadian. (But I wasn’t born there). I like how you write so detailed and you have everything so planned out and terrific. I’ve been reading nothing but predictable books, and I was glad when I came across your book. Everything was unexpected. Like; When David really liked Tally. Well, I kinda had a feeling Tally would make herself turn pretty, and I was totally glad. Alright, I better stop writing. I write too much. As usual.

  18. Hey, it’s cool to hear how many of you have strong reactions to my books. That you find them emotional, dizzy-making, or thought-provoking. I’ve always thought that it’s kind of magic how a bunch of squiggles on paper can do that to anyone’s brain.

    And to those of you who’ve been snoozing in geography: Yes, the southern hemisphere is all reversed, seasons-wise. August is colder, January hotter, March is autumn, and September is spring. (Actually, those last two are harder to remember, because the difference is more subtle.) That’s cause the tilt of the earth that causes seasons is a north-south one.

    Also, the school year down here is a calendar year. That is, you start a grade in February and summer break starts in December—so you still get the summer off.

    The weirdest thing, though, is the screamingly hot New Year’s Eve and xmas songs in the stores experience.

    One other thing about seasons: The whole summer/spring/winter/fall arrangement is really a northern temperate-centric thing. Nearer the equator (where a lot of Australia is) you get more of a wet season and a dry season. Like, there aren’t very many deciduous trees here, more ferns and such, so not many leaves fall in autumn. In fact, the word “fall” isn’t used as much to describe the season . . .

    Anyway, enough science for today.

    But if you want to read a YA novel about the freakiness of shifting seasons, Justine “Magic or Madness” is a good place to start.

  19. I couldn’t send this through your email, computer problems. 🙁
    Dear Mr.Westerfeld,
    A while back I finished reading “Uglies” and absolutely loved it! Recently, when I was at Barnes and Nobles( one of my hang-outs) I was walking past a table of books and “Pretties” caught my eye. I realized it was the sequel and finished it in one day. Do you have any idea when “Specials” should be out? I can’t wait! I’m a seventh grader at the local middle school here in Martin County, Florida. United States and there doesn’t seem to be a place close to me where you’ll be making one of your appearences. They all seem to be out of country or in New York. :-/ I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love your books. I also enjoy to write. I enjoy writing stories, poems, pretty much anything that comes to mind. I hope to be a journalist, or an author, like you when I get older. I would love if you wrote me back. My email address is I’ll make sure to check my email everyday! Thanks dearly, you’re one of my inspirations.
    Your Biggest Fan,

  20. i totally agree with Taylor, i cant believe she just ditched David like that (altho that may be my soft spot for characters like David that are independent and that i have an understanding of). GET SPECIALS IN STORES NOW *begs* i need to find out what happens to David and tally, and shay, and Dr. Cable, and the New Smoke, and Zane……… *stares at date and counts the months weeks day and seconds left until specials comes out*
    ok and isnt the whole earths tilt season thing not geo but science? hehe i find it not that unstrange to think of it being hot in december cuz i live in Tucson and just the other day people were walking around in shorts and tank tops. altho the whole cold in june and july thing just throws me off cant even begin to imagine…..

  21. i totally agree with Taylor, i cant believe she just ditched David like that (altho that may be my soft spot for characters like David that are independent and that i have an understanding of). GET SPECIALS IN STORES NOW *begs* i need to find out what happens to David and tally, and shay, and Dr. Cable, and the New Smoke, and Zane……… *stares at date and counts the months weeks day and seconds left until specials comes out*
    ok and isnt the whole earths tilt season thing not geo but science? hehe i find it not that unstrange to think of it being hot in december cuz i live in Oro Valley and just the other day people were walking around in shorts and tank tops. altho the whole cold in june and july thing just throws me off cant even begin to imagine…..

  22. I just ahad to say:
    i hate you. (zane)

    ok, thank you.
    I miss David.

  23. I so agree with you Mindy I wanted Telly to leave him there and let him die! I know thats mean but I didn’t like him.

  24. Aww, you guys are mean! 😛 I liked Zane and David. I couldn’t decide who I liked better so I just continued reading to find out who she picked. Though, I was a little dissapointed when she picked Zane….but you know, there’s another book. I’m sure we’ll either be very pleased or very put off by it, so why worry, eh? 🙂 Hahaha. My sister is reading Pretties now. I’m reading some other book about a girl and some druggy or something…Heh.

  25. girls and druggies are always fun. I actually ready Uglies in a book group, and after I finished it, I harrased the librarian into putting Pretties into cirulation early, which I read in a day. But now, I’m the only one in the group whose read pretties, and they are less then thrilled with me….
    So the trick is to not give away anything from pretties when discussing uglies. hmm…

  26. Yay on Specials. I absolutely must know when it comes out. BTW, I also spent the last week in an environment that was 45 degrees. Ferenheit. Warmest winter yet. It’s usually negative 45 degrees.
    When does Specials come out? My teacher and sister absolutely must know , like myself. If you don’t tell me I’ll…I’ll…can’t exactly say I’ll kill you because of terrorists and all. I KNOW! I won’t read it. Wait. That would defeat the whole purpose of the threat. Hmmmm……….must think.
    (Question: In Canada, do cows say MOOOO, EH? Hee hee hee.)

  27. Forgot someting. Just read So Yesterday. WAS AWESOME. By the way, I, too, like David more than Zane.

  28. Yay david is definetly better altho zane isnt too bad, i dont know wat i would have done in Tally’s place but certainly nothing as drastic………

  29. i know i loved so yesterday too(just finished it).

    and i like both of them(zane and david). but i do like david more. david liked her BEFORE she was pretty. i wish she could be with both. darn-it scott why did you put zane in??? and peris-dont even get me started-why did he stay? grrrrr. you made many people angy (well mabey only me on the peris thing). -but that is (as i said before) evidence of a good writer.

  30. oh wait…….another thing. about the shoes from so yeserday, i was thinking about what they looked like(i had this cool image BTW). then i wondered, *i wonder how they are gonna put them on screen. if they really are the coolest shoe ever , then everone will want a pair. then they will have to be like mass produced . and sent to different countries(like hungary)*.

    so i was just wondering scott.

  31. Oh dun get mad at tally for picking zane. after all she was made to forget david rite? n she was really confused after that. n if it weren’t for zane, she would never have seen david again anyways. but still… i do feel sorry for poor david. maybe specials will like him better….lolz…

  32. WHATTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!! Nooo!! Now i know what is going to happen! I’m still looking for Pretties and OMG SHE PICKED ANOTHER GUY OVER DAAAAAVVIDDDDD?! LMFAO NO WAY! I love david =( and about this zane guy, is he the one on the cover? Hey Scott, maybe you should make a forum on your site. Or.. is this the forum?
    Oh, and this is adressed to “LooLoo” from above:
    (Question: In Canada, do cows say MOOOO, EH? Hee hee hee.)
    Answer: No they do not. But thats pretty funny =)

  33. well im SOOOOOOOO sorry for telling you what happend. but you find out quick its in the 4th or 5th chap.

  34. Hey, i just came on here to tell you I loved uglies! now im dying to read pretties. ugh! i just read someones comment about pretties and now i know the ending! but im going to get the book neways. when is specials(?) coming out or is it already? thanks for a great read.

  35. Eek! I totally forgot about Pretties. I’ll have to go read that. Anyways I’m looking forward to Specials!

  36. Hmm… I wonder if Zane will die. Or become completely pretty-minded again. 🙁 T’would make me sad, but Tally can’t have both David and Zane, and things look pretty grim at the moment… I think he’s too far gone to become a Special…

    Here’s to hoping you’re having fun in toasty Sydney Scott! It’s just raining here over in Washington… darn the weather.

    Yay for Specials perhaps being early (and for a renovated ending)! ^__^

  37. OMGSH
    why do you all hate zane??? if it wasn’t for him tally would be pretty mindled forever! still she could have just left him and went back for him in the future….

    we learned about the weather thing in world studies

    Well i guess thats it!

  38. i just had to say, that “uglies” and “pretties” are two amazing books. I almost never find a book that i just cant put down. My friend lent me uglies.. and I finished it that night. the next day, I made my mom drive me to her house to pick up “pretties” I couldn’t wait another day for her to bring it to school. Again, I finished “pretties” in one sitting. I would like to tell you that your an amazing author, but im sure you already know that. Im am so excited for “Specials” to come out. Honestly, I’m stoked. When is it coming out by the way? I want to book that dayy off from work to read it 🙂 Very curious to see what happens, she becomes a special i know that much. Im mostly curious about the david/zane thing. Personally.. I hope she picks david, because your first love never truely dies. Besides, if she wants to espape again she can’t run off with zane who knows nothing clearly david is the better choice. Don’t even get me started on Shay, oh God. I was disapointed when Peris you know.. didn’t jump I was really hoping he would be cured and Tally and him could be best friends forever. I guess that didn’t happen, but who knows what will happen in the third? I certainly don’t. Anyways, when should “specials” be coming out? because.. im am dying to read it. You don’t even understand how badly I want to read it. well, hoping (scrath that) praying for an answer.

  39. Both uglies and pretties are my favorite book of all time. I wish i hadnt read them right now so i could read them again. Because i can never read books twice. I cant wait til specials comes out. I cant read anything else im two exited about specials.

  40. Scott,

    I am completely blown away by your novels!! As a teacher of 7th grade Lang. Arts, in Austin, Texas, I try to expose myself to teen literature as much as possible because 1. I LOVE IT and 2. I can recommend great books to my students. It has been several years since I read a teen fiction book and was totally blon away by the “other worldliness” of the novel.
    Your books are thought-provoking and spin-tingling!!! They are in a word amazing!!! Thank you for sharing such amazing characters and worlds with the rest of us. : )
    As a side note, as one of your older readers, turning 29 this Saturday to be exact, I would like to speak about the whole ZANE/DAVID controversey. . . . Love it love. Whenever it happens and whoever it happens with. True, David allowed Tally to see her true self and that took love and faith in her. AND- she destroyed his community, way of life, and family as a result of that. (IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!) BUT, Zane, Zane allowed Tally to blossom, and he blossomed with her. Their is a kinship and a love that has grown there that does not EXCEED the love she and David had, it is DIFFERENT!!! True love is difficult and sometimes it takes heartwrenching decisions to maintain that love or shatter it forever. Only Tally knows what she can bare in her heart and soul. Zane chose her as much as Tally chose him.
    Those of you who are still searching for that first love, remember what choices Tally had to make and I bet after you go through a few bouts of falling in love and then realizing that it doesn’t ALWAYS last forever, you will forgive her and some might even sympathize.
    Again, thanks for the wonderful writing. I can’t wait to share these book with my students!!!

  41. I can’t wait for Special’s to come out! I have a question though: When I was looking on Amazon, it said the book was a hardback; is it coming out as a paperback later?

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