Forum Meet-Up Transcript

UPDATE This meet-up went from 7PM-8:30PM US Eastern time, 10AM-11:30AM Sydney time, October 20-21, 2012.

You can click here to read all the questions and cross-talk, or you can just read my answers below. (Sorry for the slapdash formatting. I was typing pretty fast.)

Here’s a question! What color are Deryns eyes?

Hmm. They’re blue, right?

I’d like to know any tips you have on approaching edits/revisions.

1) Read your work out loud, even to yourself.
2) Let someone else read it and have them tell you the story. In other words, test to see how well they understand it.
3) Add zombies!

Also, Scott, do you know you are awesome?xp

Like most people, some days I do, some days i don’t.

But Justine chimes in: “Yes, he really does know he’s awesome. Don’t be worried about that.”


Ummm….what’s up with this new book you briefly mentioned a few blog posts ago?

I’m about 50,000 words into it, having just rewritten the first few chapters. It’s two novels interlaced with each other, kind of like the way Peeps had a non-fiction book interlaced with it.

Scott! ? I begged my way out of dinner with my grandparents for this ?

They will forgive you. Protip: Grandparents always do.

Brazil is looking foward to meet you in November. Are you going to just be only signing books or are you preparing something else?

I’m doing some speaking about Leviathan. With slides!

So there will be a tour soon? ?

Not till my next book comes out. Brazil is just now getting Leviathan (and Zombies vs. Unicorns) so Justine and I are going down there.

Also, what’;s the scoop on Shay’s Story 2?

Comes out Dec 6, 2012. Six weeks-ish!

Any hints as to upcoming books? You haven’t been very active in terms of publishing since Goliath.

Yes, I have been lazy. Taking a brain-break, kind of.

Coming to DC anytime soon, Scott-la?

Alas, no.

Also, can you give us any more details on the possible Midnighters TV show??? (I seriously like flipped out when I saw that post. I think my mother is a little worried with my sanity ?)

I don’t really know much. But I will blog when I do. I have started watching Chuck (those guys’ latest show) and it’s pretty good and quite funny.

Who are you voting for in the upcoming election?

Obama. (We have free healthcare for all citizens and residents down here in Australia, and it works much better than the US system.)

In addition to finishing your series of graphic novels, what other writing do you plan on doing?

See above! (The two interlaced novels.)

1) Do you remember me/recognize my name? We’ve made contact a couple of times before…If you say yes I’ll die, if no, I understand ?

I remember you all! (Well, more than you’d think.)

2) Although I know that some authors hate fanfic, you obviously don’t so will you read mine if I send it to you when I’m done? PLEASE IT IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN MOST AND IS LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER READ!!!!! (Although it’s not slash, your favorite apparently. Sorry…)

Who said slash was my favorite?? (It’s always interesting, though.) But sorry I hardy have time to read the books I’m supposed to blurb.

3) Did you know that you contradict you own rule regrading wa and la? Shay says “Hey Skinny-wa” to Tally during the ice rink scene in Pretties. I can’t find the page number because I don’t have Pretties now, but I swear it’s true.

Whenever stuff like that happens, the answer is: BRAIN LESIONS.

Do you have any theories as to why it seems that most YA authors lean more towards the left, politically speaking? (for instance, you, john green, cassandra clare…)

I think artists in general lean toward the left. thanks to a tendency to see the world from many points of view, rather than the U-S-A, U-S-A point of view. (A cartoonish way to say it, but I’m in a hurry here.)

Here’s a question.. How did you get the “different verison” of the WW1 idea?


Do you like Doctor Who?

It’s not really a thing for me. I’ve only watched one or two eps in my whole life. (One really old, one new.)

Im trying to write a steampunk comic book, and so do you have any tips for writing an awesome steampunk story?

Steampunk thrives on lots of research. Learn about Victorian era science!

Bluebells and Roses my favorite bunny-loving member wanted me to ask you what your favorite kind of bagel is?

EVERYTHING. (Or garlic.)

What is Hoffman’s first name? He is awesome, but I don’t know what his name is!

Um, that’s in the book, right? (I never know this stuff.)

Also, do you like Legend of Korra?



Recently changed to briefs.

Also, me and my boyfriend are planning on getting married in Germany (where he‘s from). Would you like to attend our wedding?


What’s fitzroys first name? And if you hadn’t decided, can it be Harold?

It’s Robert, because he’s named after the captain of the Beagle, the ship Charles Darwin traveled on.

1) Did you ever figure out EXACTLY how fabrication worked? As in, the how the DNA was extracted, modified, and then reinserted?

Not really.

2) If you did, could you explain the process to me?

See above!

3) Do all fabs come from eggs, or just the small ones like lorises? What about the larger ones, like sniffers and the Leviathan?

They all come from eggs. Some eggs are wicked big.

4) Do Darwin’s Laws of Fabrication apply to all Darwinist countries or just Britain? In other words, is it possible for, say, America, or Russia, or even Japan to create fabricated humans now that the war has “gotten real”, so to speak?

That would totally make good fan fic.

5) Regarding Uglies; any reason you chose Seattle as the Rusty Ruins?

Was LA, but then global warming made me have to move it north to keep the climate right. Plus, there’s good architecture in Seattle.

6) Have you checked out the Pretties RP I’ve been doing on here? (Probably won’t ask that but I want to XD)

No. Sounds cool, though.

7) What would be the best way to take out a Special OTHER than the electrofied arrow trick in Specials? (Gas, high powered rifles, rockets, direct impact from a moving vehicle, etc)

Irony is always the best weapon against facism.

Favorite historic time period?

Twenty years from now.

As everyone else is probably dying and wanting to know, what can you tell us on the progress of the Uglies movie? The last update we heard was that a draft of the script was being turned in at the time The Hunger Games had been released (:

That is also the last I heard. BUT there will be an image from the visual effects lab involved (just a trial balloon) released soon.

Do you like David Bowie, Pink Floyd or Queen?

Bowie tons, Queen some, Floyd not so much,

Also, what’s Alek and Deryn’s birthdays/what season were they born in?

Argh I don’t know. But probably not between early June and Late December, or we would have seen them have a party.

I’m curious, was this an oversight on your and your editor’s part, or were Zane and Tally just a bit misinformed and got lucky when the metal got heated enough to become pliable?

Yeah, I think the whole plan was fairly pretty-minded, but they managed to make them pliable. Also: BRAIN-LESIONS.

How did you get your book published? Did you just summit the manuscript to a publisher or did you get an agent?   

Got an agent first. This is always best. An agent knows which specific editor at a pub comany will like your book. If you send it in yourself, it just goes to a random editor. For example, if your book is abotu a space cat who solves crimes, your agent will know that Editor X owns five cats, and will read any book with cats in it with great enthusiasm. That’s why agents mostly live in NYC, so they can have lunch and find out who likes, cats.

scott how often do you spy on us? ?

On the WesterForum, very rarely. In real life, only when you’re outside.

Ps… do you remember that one time with that email I sent you with the news story? That stil makes me laugh

This I do not remember. SORRY.

If you could live in any era besides the current, which would it be?

Post-scarcity future.

Scott, what makes you decide between titling your chapters, numbering them or both? what are the benefits for each?

Chapter titles are hard, but they’re a good way to create anticipation. (A chapter called, “A Mysterious Explosion” will be read with a certain amount of anxiety.) However, a surprosing number of readers don’t look at chapter titles.

Chapter numbers are good for readers to refer to when talking about your books to each other.

Another question: Do you like the idea of Volger and Barlow being together?

I think it is inevitable that people will ship them, even though Barlow is married. They do match each other very well.

Will you be coming to Vic, Australia any time in the next 12 months?

I was just there for a wedding. But for an event, I’m not sure. I am doing the Adelaide Writer’s Festival in March, though.

What is your view on cliches in writing and how to avoid them (if they’re avoidable at all?)

As I said above, reading your work aloud will make the cliches (and other crappinnesses) more obvious to you.

If you could choose…..which Disney movie would you love to be a character in?

Anything where I can fly. So that’s probably Aladdin, or I have to be Mary Poppins.

Ok Well I just got a boyfriend Friday(<3), I am 14, how old were you when you got your first Girlfriend/(I don’t know if you are/were bisexual/bicurious when you were younger so)Boyfriend?

Congrats! My first serious gf was when I was . . . 15? But there were all these non-serious girlfriends before that. I was pretty crap at defining things until, like, age 27.

If you come to New York (like the Albany area) and I came to a real life meet-up would you rather me wear my “Special Circumstances” t-shirt or “Free Hugs” t-shirt? ?

SPECIAL t-shirt.

1) Which series of books are you most satisfied with?

The Leviathan series. Usually the most recent books please me most. (Just as I’m sure your parents like the youngest child in your family best.) ((HAHA JUST KIDDING)) (((Kind of.)))

2) Is/was it difficult writing the point of view from the opposite gender?

Not really. I think teenage girls think more about what they’re feeling than teenage boys, so it’s kind of easier to write from their POV, regardless of my own gender.

Why did you choose Clankers and Darwinists; why not another thing?

WHAT OTHER THING IS THERE? WWI was kind of collision between metal and flesh (first war with tanks, etc.) so I wanted to make that more literal.

Leivathan is quite different than Uglies series,why did you prefer that subject?


Are you coming to Michigan or Ohio any time soon? You did once in the fall of 2010, which was an abnormally cold fall/winter and it’s not always like that so don’t be afraid to come back!

No US tours for a while. I haz no books out.

Do people ever say anything rude to you about you being a writer?

In person? Usually not. But concerned adults write me all the time about whatever in my books. (Cutting in Uglies, alcohol in Uglies, the fact that pipe smoking is MENTIONED BRIEFLY in Leviathan, evolution being discussed. Apparently you are all VERY IMPRESSIONABLE.)

I don’t have any questions, but I just wanted to say hi.


Will you make a Europe tour?

Don’t know. No plans at the moment, alas.

When Behemoth will be finished in Turkey???

It isn’t yet? Hmm. Maybe the publisher is concerned about the Armenian heroine. You should write them and ask.

My brother just asked me to ask you if Deryn and Alek ever went back to Turkey or Japan.

Definitely. They travel the world solving things!

Scott, I always felt that Shay was maybe a little bit in love with Tally. Do you think that’s true?

Pretty much. Robin Wasserman’s essay in Mind-Rain is pretty good on this theory.

Will you ever come to Canada? Like, Ottawa or Toronto?

I did a few years ago. Sorry I’ve only gone to Vancouver lately.

You live near Ohio/Michigan Luna? I didn’t know.

I live in NYC and Sydney.

Do you like haunted houses?

Never been in one.

Does Dr. Cable have black hair or really dark brown hair? Or is she blonde?


Why does Lilit call Nene the Turkish word for “grandmother” if their family are Armenians?

It’s also used in Armenian communities in Turkey.

– How important is religion in the Leviathan universe with regard to the Clanker/Darwinist thing? Is it a general rule of thumb that Clankers = Catholics & Muslims and Darwinists = Protestants?

There’s probably a loose correlation, yeah. But not a rule. (I mean, the Russians are more Catholic than not, and they’re Darwinists.)

– Do you know if the Netherlands is Clanker or Darwinist?

Hmm. I’d have to think about that.

– And finally, do you know if the Russian Revolution happens in the Leviathan universe?

It does not! But hopefully they became a nice democracy at some point.

– Oh, and properly finally, is there a chance you might be doing some kind of UK/European tour at some point in the future ever?

No plans. (The answer to all tour questions from now on is “I don’t know and no tours are planned.”)

Any suggestion on how to get a YA book published?

Write a really good story! And take all the advice on my writing advice category.

1. why did you come up with a romance with zane in pretties?

That was an accident. I just had him as kind of an interesting character, and then sparks flew between them.

3. is there going to be an uglies movie?


Also, if the Midnighter‘s TV show does become a reality, what song(s) would you like to play during the opening/ closing credits?


Heading down to New Zealand any time soon?

Argh no more tour quessies answered, but Justine and I MIGHT go to that Aukland festival in the next two years.

I know this question might be a little annoying, but do Alek and Deryn get married after the series ends?


Another question! When did the Clanker vs. Darwinist thing first emerge in the Leviathan universe? Does it go way back, or is pretty new?

It is my thing!

Scott-la, have you seen the show Revolution? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

I haven’t watched it yet. TV shows in post-breakdown worlds always seem cheesy to me, and I am afraid it will suck.

OUt of all the places that you’ve visited on tours…..which has been your favourite?


What do you think about Slender Man?


Scott-la, are you a nerdfighter?

John and Hank are pals, but I don’t watch their videos. So I guess not.

Also, do you ship Borra or Makorra?

Strangely, I have no opinion on this. I just want to be Korra’s best friend for ever and ever.

Leviathan: The Movie……could it ever be a possibility?

A certain big movie star wants to make it but we can never guess the future.

Is Volger and his mustache behind the “I <3 Mustache” movement?

He planted the seeds long ago.

Do you follow any sports? If so, what sports.

Basketball and cricket. GO FEVER.

Scott: I named my puppy (Zane) after your book character (and a friend we know..) anywho… He turned out to be quite the handful. In case you were wondering, Australian Shepherd are a lot of work

All pets are work, because all relationships are work! This is the truth that they teach us.

How did you come up with the Wa and La thing anyway?

Based it on Japanese name suffixes. There’s a post on my blog about it somewhere. (Search on “suffix”.)

I was wondering if you had any advise for an aspiring actor/writer with confidence issues?

Hang out with people who make you feel good about yourself. Avoid the opposite.

Someone should name a dog “Smoke”


So did Dr. Cable officially start Special Circumstances in her city?

Nope. It had been around for a while, and she rose through the ranks and made it even moreso.

What your new book is about?

SECRET! But half of it’s a paranormal romance.

Crap so even elephantines come from eggs….


Scott-la as caring human being, I want to know–how are you doing today?

Slightly hungover from dinner party with Isobel Carmody last night. But enjoying you guys.

Do you think Alek and Deryn were annoying as little kids?

Deryn more than Alek.

What inspires you??

How cool the world is.

How do you get an agent? 

There are many books and websites about this! (And always check out Writer Beware.)

Do you like Iron Man?

I loved the comics when I was little. The first movie was good. Not exactly waiting with baited breath for the next, though.

Has anyone offered to make a Risen Empire movie?

It comes up occasionally, but no one’s ever optioned it.(But thanks!)

Did you have any fictional girlfriends as a child? (I have 27 and a half fictional boyfriends- including Alek, Davd, and Zane)

Hmm. I must have. There was a cartoon about Aladdin and there was a really cute girl in it. This is as far as my memory goes.

How do you feel about being in the “Steampunk genre”? Are you into the steampunk subculture? If so, what do you like about it?

There’s lots of really interesting discussions about colonialism, race, and science in sp culture, and I also like people making their own costumes from scratch. (That is, not based on a particular character. In sp, people tend to roll their own.)

Do you think that, on their way to Switzerland, Alek and his men played roadtrip-like games to pass the time?

Hmm. I think they did tutoring things, like fencing lessons.

Uglies’s Story is going to be realease in somewhere else outside EUA?

I don’t think so. No translations have sold.

Do you like fan fiction that is really crazy and off the wall?


you said you spent part of your time in New York. out of sheer curiosity, what part? i hope this isn’t too stalker-ish…

Mostly summer.

1) please co-write something with Brandon Mull. he’s pretty cool.

I actually haven’t read him. And I am not well-built for collaboration.

2) something about younger adolescent children? maybe 13 year olds?

Hmm. Middle grade is really hard for me, for some reason.

If you could live in any of the universes you created, which one and why?

Uglies. Hoverboards.

About how often do quotes from reviews you write appear on the books?

I blurb two or three books a year. (Out of 20 or so that I’m sent.)

Also Leviathan was nominated for the South Carolina Young Adult book award a few years ago. Congrats.

Thank you!

Also, which do you like better, Batman, Spiderman, or Superman?

Spider. Bat. Super. In that order. (And Spider-man has a hyphen!)

What’s your favourite David Bowie album. Mine’s a tie between Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Station to Station.

YOU ARE CORRECT IN THIS ASSESSMENT OF BOWIE’S WORK. (Probably Station to Station just wins.)

AGH yes I was wondering where in NYC scott lived so I can stalk him…

East Village.

As a writer do you find it flattering that people have a lot of interest seeing your work being brought to a visual platform (tv, movies)?

I’m all about the money.

ON THAT NOTE! DC or Marvel??

Grew up Marvel, but adulthood has leaned toward DC.

Can I make up Hoffman’s first name?


Also, Scott, you’re awesome for taking time to do the meet ups!

You are all awesome for your enthusiasm!

Do you go on tumblr?

I do not myself tumbl. But I do look at others’.

Também sou brasileira, Cristina. Se precisar de ajuda, é só falar.

Bom dia!

If I want to become a writer do I have to leave my nice comfortable Winter wonderland/God forsaking land where poplar bears dwell and move to NY or some big city? 

No. Writers can live everywhere. It’s our superpower.


Alas, no.

And I think that you should have justine get on and do a meetup with you sometime… ? (And hey, maybe you could just make it an author party… and invite other epic peeps too…… Just a thought

Hmm. Maybe next time she has a book out.

Scott I know from writing and reading YA books that it’s really hard to make cool human main characters, WHY IS THIS?! And you seem to have gotten better that it Deryn> Tally how did you manage to do this?

This is the mystery of fictional people. HOW ARE THEY SO COOL THEY AREN’T EVEN REAL?

What is working for the Society like?

Lousy pay, but quite exciting.

Also, new book: 1 protagonist, 2, or eight, and are they boys/girls/aliens of indeterminate gender?

Two protags, both female.

And even if you are satisfied more with Leviathan, I just want to say that Uglies is better in every way…


Inspiration to write in the first place?

My family are good storytellers.

HE PROBABLY KNOWS WHAT MY TUMBLR IS (i’m so so so sorry scott if so)

Now I will go look for it.

There’s an interview that you said your new book would be a meta-paranormal romance. Is that right? What does it means?


1. how did you come up with a relationship with zane in pretties

Like I said, it was an accident.

2. is there going to be an uglies movie???


How did you get the idea to have Dr Barlow as a character in the Leviathan series?

I always liked her as a real historical person.

What would Alek and Deryn think about Legend of Korra if they ever watched it?

Deryn would love it. Alek would be, all, wha?

Also, *gives you a piece of virtual strawberry rhubarb pie*


So what did Lilit do after Goliath? (Meet Adela and fall in love is my best guess.)

I think the two of them work for the Zoological Society.

Why did u decide to give David a complex haircut in the manga? He’s never been to a barber so shouldn’t he have kind of crazy person hair?

That haricut was supposed to look a bit hand-done. Like with a knife.

Dr. Barlow mentions on a number of occasions that she thinks the lorises are “defective” in the books. Was this her attempt at humour, or did she actually imagine them differently? If so, how different were her expectations for them?

She didn’t expect Bovril to bond to two people, because that’s only supposed to happen if the two people are in love. BUT SHE DIDN’T FIGURE OUT WHAT IT MEANT.

Where did you get your ideas for the Risen Empire?

From all the space operas ever.

Did Volger ever have a girlfriend?

This is unclear. He seems to be a fairly confirmed bachelor.

Right now I sent a lot of mails to the Publisher in Turkey

Let me know what they say!

I’d like to know what dystopian books inspired you.

Hmm. Movies like Mad Max, and books like 1984. And all the sf ever.

hey scott, it is against copyright laws if i were to make a t-shirt with a picture from one of the Leviathan books on?  like a screen-printed over the internet one?  i totally understand if it’s not, but if that’s the case, you should make official ones for us :3

It’s kind of against copyright law but if you only make 1 they will not arrest you.

Which vegetable would you rather be, a carrot or a zucchini?

Carrot. Because they’re smarter than zucchini and easier to spell.

My friend Cate would like to know what became of Jaspert Sharp? If you’re not too overwhelmed with questions that is.

He served his country well and became the captain of an airbeast one day. The end.

Oh, also, why do none of your book pairings say ‘i love you’ to each other? (off the top of my head, at least, I can’t remember any mutual exchange of the words.)

Doesn’t Zane say it to Tally? (But she doesn’t say it back, is what you mean.) That’s true. Maybe it’s more interesting that way?

Do you have an easier time coming up with main or side characters?

Side characters are much easier. They can be funny, without carrying all the weight. (Like being a cool uncle is easier than being a cool parent.)

everybody who ships adelit JOIN HANDS

*joins prayer circle*

do you like tea? if so what’s your favorite kind?

Chamomile and hibiscus.

The author of Percy Jackson said you need a well paying side job if you want to be a writer, is that true for the world or just in the U.S?

Everywhere. (Although Rick clearly does not need a side job.)

Scott, you’re awesome. Just saying. Also, what is your favorite Crime/mystery show?

Um, Fringe. (Is usually pretty crimey.)

Does anyone else ship Tazza and a random hydrogen sniffer?

No. No one does that.

I like the idea of Bovril and loris #2.

They are brood siblings!

What is your dream school? (doesn’t have to be a school that actually exists)

Hmm. A school where I learn all the languages every spoke, but in my sleep.

Why do you like garlic bagels so much?

Garlic is delicious. And it cures all diseases. (NOTE: GARLIC DOES NOT CURE ALL DISEASES.)

About 1 month ago you told me on Twitter that might come to Brazil soon. You told me to stay tuned. Is there something already programmed or is it just a desire of yours?

I’ll be there in late November. Sao Paulo November 24-25. Rio November 27-28. Watch my blog for more details, and these dates might slightly shift.

Thanks for answering our questions, I was texting my mom the play-by-play as she’s a big fan. (I got her to read your books hehe) I am ze winner. She says hi

Hi back at her!


98 thoughts on “Forum Meet-Up Transcript

  1. 1st comment! pretty useless this time, though… thanks for (almost) all the answers! came up with a few more questions/requests now, but i guess those will have to wait.

  2. Scott-la, thank you for talking to us; it really means a lot that you care so much about us!

    P.S.It is kinda eerie hearing/reading the words of the magical person who created worlds that suit me far better that the worlds I imagine myself!

  3. that took FOREVER to read
    uh ok lets see what should i say…
    well idk i liked the carrot and zucchini (HA I SPELLED THAT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME) question though

  4. That took a good half-hour to read.
    …And how could I forget about this???!?!?!??!?!!!?? It’s not like I was doing a whole lot at four today. *facepalm*
    Anyways, I love your sense of humor, Scott.
    I like zee airships!

  5. Mr. Westerfeld, thank you for this opportunity!

    And thanks for responding to my question, even though I was so clumsy!

    We, here in Brazil, we look forward to the release of Leviathan!

    I hope we can chat a bit in Sao Paulo, even with all my difficulties with the English language. Or at least a picture, lol.

    I hope we can make a beautiful and joyous reception for you!

  6. Aw, I so wish I could have participated. Ah, well, this was fun to read!

    Is it okay if my head cannon says Deryn’s birthday is May 21 and Alek’s is January 22? (For Alek’s, whatever month, I think it should be the 22nd because (I know it’s ridiculous but) I found a sort of horoscope thing that describes the personality of people born on 22nds and it fit Alek so well!)

    Is it okay for me to say, Yay, Obama! ? I despise Romney….

    By the way, if Deryn’s eyes weren’t blue I think the entire Leviathan fandom would’ve had brain glitches. I know I would’ve. It’s too incomprehensible to have them any other color. XD

    Anyway, reading this made me squee a lot.

    And for the person/people (I don’t know if it was the same person) who talked about religion and who asked about them getting married: So Alek is Roman Catholic, right? But Deryn is Scottish and during the Protestant Reformation Scotland became Presbyterian, which was a branch off from Calvinism, which branched off from Protestantism. I’m not sure if Deryn is Presbyterian (because that’s like a 400 year jump), but I don’t think she would be Roman Catholic. I don’t practice any religion, so I’m probably not the best judge, but I know my parents’ slight variants of Christianity caused minor problems (that were overcome) when they got married, but that’s decades after Deryn and Alek’s time. I think they would be more strict back then (but knowing Deryn and Alek that wouldn’t be a problem <3), I'm just saying….Any other comments, fellow fans? I spend large amounts of time considering things like this. XD

    And, if I go into science (which I most likely will not BUT) I will figure oyut how fabrication is done! And make the Leviathan! (But wait, does that mean the Leviathan came from a egg?)

  7. Thanks so much for doing a somewhat spontaneous meet up Scott 😀 I still think its really epic that you do this and I think more authors should start.

  8. @6 I spend an enormous amount of time also considering things like that as well. In my mind, when Deryn and Alek get married, the only one who would have an issue with their (assumed) difference in religions would be Deryn’s mother. I feel like that she would eventually get over Alek’s being a Clanker, an aristocrat, etc, but she’d really get hng up over the discrepancies in their religions.

    Also, I feel obliged to pose that age old question: Which came first, the Leviathan or the egg?

  9. Thank you so much Scott!!!!!

    (Not only did he answer all of my questions, but also commented on all of my stupid reactions to his answers! I didn’t even notice some until reading this!)

  10. And whilst this fun conversation was happening, I was painting children’s faces out in the cold for some thing that I volunteered to help with.

  11. being interested in Bio-Engineering myself, i can explain for anyone who wants the up-to-date way of genetically changing a species: extracting DNA is kinda complicated and i won’t get into that now unless i’m begged. after you’ve got a large enough sample to proportion how much of that species you want to be combined with the other species, it’s a bit nasty. the original species gets pregnant/ready to lay an egg, and the DNA sample gets injected into the developing young/egg. yep. OR, you could always cross-breed two animals if they’re genetically similar enough. like “Ligers”. however, unnatural hybrids tend to be unable to reproduce. in other words, a liger can’t mate with another liger to have liger cubs. i hope i didn’t fry any brains. my brain collapsed on me when i first learned this.

  12. Hey everyone! In case you’re interested, you can check out the cover of the upcoming Brazilian and Bulgarian editions of Leviathan by going to The Books of Scott Westerfeld site at

    Once you’re there, the easiest way to find them is to follow the links on the What’s New? page. And while you’re there, take a look around. There are hundreds of foreign editions of Scott’s books, plus a few surprise American ones you may not know about.

    Scott-la, like I always say: There’s your life falling off a cliff. No offense, but GO GET IT.

    …I’m sad now. 🙁
    But I got a quizilla and a miss literati account so yay!

  14. @16: Can I stand up for Scott-la here and say I’ve only watched the first two episodes? I didn’t have enough time and didn’t care enough to continue. I much prefer Sherlock and Criminal Minds.

    @14: That is so interesting! I checked out a bunch of books on it over the summer, but then I never got to them because I was lazy and did Camp NaNoWriMo. XD

  15. Sherlock ALL THE WAY! (sorry that’s a lot of caps, but I am obsessed. The ‘locked’ screen on my ipad is ‘I AM _ _ _ _ Locked, and my password is S H E R…)
    Although Dr. Who does occupy a large amount of my life as well. But I’m liking it less and less as it becomes more Americanized.

  16. @14: I believe Ligers are also highly unstable internally, and usually die very young. So bio-engineering has a long way to go.

  17. @21 the other thing is that you don’t have to go crazy and make confusing blends and breeds. you’re right about ligers, it was just a well-know example, and the same “rules” go for anything else. although Bio-Engineering like that has a ways to go, simple stuff as been accomplished. like, making your corn resistant to a certain disease to lessen pesticide use. or all those hundreds of different dog species that look so different but technically they all came from wolves: domestication breeding kind of falls under the large umbrella of Bio-Engineering. the one thing people tend to get confused about is how Cloning isn’t Bio-Engineering, which are sooo not the same.

  18. @Scorpio-Ferret Another, much more likely way for these creatures to be created is through Synthetic Biology. Synthetic Biology is when people are inserting new pieces of genetic code into the organism’s DNA and integrate it. However, coding is still expensive and they still need to understand what each gene does and how it reacts first.

  19. @Kaitlin true, it’s possible, i’m just pointing out ways to fabricate creatures with natural DNA sequences, not creating new ones. although once you analyze every last gene in your new strand, it would probably be easier to engineer an animal that’s got some really biologically different species in it… like what the Messenger Terns were described as in the Manual. but, say, Elephantines don’t even need to be fabricated, just bred to be that way like what people did to tame wild horses. but thanks for bringing up a very possible method that I overlooked.
    *virtual high-five to all science geeks!*

  20. My obsessiveness over Sherlock is not being helped any by the fact that both the leads have large parts in some of my favorite movies of all time (or movies that will be my favorite, since it hasn’t come out yet).

  21. “I mean, the Russians are more Catholic than not, and they’re Darwinists.”
    Russians are Eastern Orthodox, not Catholic.

  22. @28 tell me if i’m wrong but didn’t the Russians kind of shift back and forth? like, some of them are Catholic some Eastern Orthodox? ah well i suppose i’ll go ask my good pal Wikipedia…not

  23. Wikipedia is actually really accurate. A really high-profile science journal (the name of which I am blanking on) did a study where they compared articles from Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica and found that in the passages they looked at, there were the same amount of ‘serious errors’

  24. @30 which is why you become a stalker and find the email address of college proffessors so that you can get more accurate info. not that i do that, of course, but the whole “serious errors” thing is why i tend not to trust the internet, or many news articles in general. you never know who might be saying that they have majored in a subject and are simply lying. sorry about that.

  25. @27: YOU MEAN THE HOBBIT. Who’s going to the midnight show? I SO want to! I <3 LOTR+TH FOREVERRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Leviathan's right up there with them.

  26. @22: Yes, simple genetic modification and selective breeding have been successful. (But I want a Leviathan! …Some things will always stay in the imagination, unfortunately. *Sigh*)

  27. @34, the Leviathan won’t necessarily stay a figment of imagination. size is easily achieved through simple breeding techniques; and all living things have body cavities, so the passageways and bee and Huxley colonies can just be “built” in those. plus there’s still the Gondola space. so really, it’s a matter of keeping the insides sanitary. in case it’s not totally obvious, my brain is very science-oriented and i’m somewhat committed to making the “Leviathan” universe as real as possible. except Walkers and stuff are really bad for the atmosphere…

  28. @35: I can’t imagine the methane a Leviathan would produce would be good for the atmosphere either. But if a Leviathan is ever possible, it would be awesome.

  29. Still kicking myself that I missed it! Oh well… anywho, I’m VERY interested in this new novel… cannot wait!

  30. Just over a year ago, my friend and I wrote to Holly Black (an author about as good as Scot) and she wrote back. Do you think if everyone wrote him an email, Scott would tell us what his new book is about?

  31. WHOA THERE! DC? Are you kidding?! They can up with Batman! Seriously the only cool parts of Batman are the villains and his tool belt! Bruce Wane is a SERIOUSLY boring character (in my opinion, not trying to hate), I mean really though?! All he is is a business man who inherited money. Sorry…didn’t mean to rant, but now I officially hate my mom, who cut me off from the computer.

  32. Oh, and this is for everyone out there, The Last Airbender or Legend of Korra? They’re really close cuz I mean COME ON IT’S A POLAR BEAR DOG, it can’t get much awesomer, but I like TLA’s characters more

  33. @40 i watched lok but not atla so idk…but I’M GOING TO BE JOO DEE FROM ATLA FOR HALLOWEEN! i’m serious even my name matches her name

  34. @36 well methane is a gas, right? and so’s hydrogen and helium. and they’re both less dense than oxygen. so maybe that methane could be collected and put to use… i might be wrong, but theoretically everything can be burned, so if we did ever make a Leviathan, its rapid methane production could potentially help solve the energy crisis, assuming methane exhaust isn’t extremely bad…

  35. I read all of that,
    have another soon okay scott-la??

    AND CASSANDRA CLAIRE (never liked her, but still. cool.)

  36. @43: In comment #36 I was just making fun of the short-lived blaming of cow farts on global warming. *eye-roll* But I’ve heard methane can be used for energy too.

  37. Arrrghhh!!! This stupid hurricane has got Halloween canceled for the second year in a row!!! 🙁

  38. @46 please don’t get me started on Global Warming. i mean, the atmosphere and weather is such a complicated system! you can’t just blame one thing for it! and i am determined to make the Leviathan real. wait- maybe there could be super-strong, heat-resistant exhaust particle filters on the Walkers! I IZ GENIUS

  39. Ah, you guys make me happy when my Algebra II book and teacher contradict themselves and I get a completely different answer that is wrong despite the fact it’s what everyone else got. My mind is crumbling…. Confusing genetic engineering makes so much more sense….

  40. glad to help. heck, my mind is doing cartwheels, flip-flopping, and chasing its own (figurative) tail simply with Pre-Algebra. 🙁 but making the entire Leviathan universe possible is always more fun!

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