Books of Wonder!

Those of you in the New York area, don’t forget the big event tomorrow!
[UPDATE: This event has already happened. Thanks to those who came.]

Justine and I will be signing and talking at Books of Wonder.

Here are the details:

Scott Westerfeld Blue Noon
Justine Larbalestier Magic Lessons
Markus Zusak The Book Thief
Sarah Durkee The Fruit Bowl Project
Linzi Glass The Year the Gypsies Came

Books of Wonder
18 West 18th St.
New York, NY

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Can’t come? Buy them anyway!

PS Thanks to all the great kids at UNIS and the Bronx Library Center for the last two days. We had a great time!

Darkling-Slaying Crop Circle

On the vast Midnighters spoiler comment thread, someone was asking what a tridecagram (a 13-pointed darkling-slaying star) looked like. So I was poking around on Google and discovered this:

That’s a thirteen-pointed crop circle! That’s right, even aliens are into darkling protection. (Aliens with lots of spare time, anyway.)

Here are some more crop circles, including the one above. They’re really quite beautiful. And frankly, they’re a lot cooler if mischevious humans make them by stomping around with compasses than if aliens whip them into existence with their stalk-cracking ion drives.

Or maybe midnighters make them, under the strict instructions of polymaths.

That would explain why they just appear in the middle of the night, after all.

Midnighters Comics 2

First off, the signings went well, and were blogged by Alia-Cat and Claire. Unfortunately, Justine was a bit sick, but she soldiered bravely on. (And is much better now, thank you.)

When we got back to NYC, what should be waiting in my electronic mailbox but more of Brianne K’s excellent Midnighters comics, which you may remember from this post. How happy-making!

These comics are based on Blue Noon, but they don’t give any of the plot away. Click here for the big version.

Brianne’s comics have a cool way of reflecting the books without lifting any actual scenes or dialog. It’s sort of like she’s drawing the stuff that happens between the chapters, during all those times when the Story isn’t in motion. As a writer, that’s a pretty cool thing to see. It’s sort of like my characters are really alive, and doing stuff without me.

Which is, I guess, what having readers is all about: making the world real enough to exist in someone else’s brain.

Goodbye Sydney

We’re leaving on our World Tour tomorrow, but before we go I’d like to say goodbye to lovely Sydney. Ages ago, I took a bunch of pictures of the Sydney Opera House. This building is famous and iconically Sydney-ish, and it’s practically required by law that a picture of it appear alongside every mention of this city.

But the usual pictures never capture how cool the SOH is in person. How alien and dazzling, and how much fun Dess would have with the sheer mathiness of it. So here’s me trying.

Of course, the classic view of its “sails” is pretty cool . . .

But what you don’t get from that distance is how much like a grounded alien spaceship the building is. As you get closer, the sails tower over everything, till you sort of expect them to swallow the tourists. This is a BIG building. It’s intimidating and jaw-dropping, like getting too close to a sleeping dinosaur.

Supposedly, the goal-state of every English garden is that you can point a camera in any direction and get a perfectly composed picture. The Opera House gets much closer to this state than any garden I’ve ever seen. As you walk through the sails, unexpected compositions appear all around you.

Sometimes they’re soft and curvilinear . . .

And sometimes they get that alien spaceship/dinosaur vibe again.

But the coolest feature of the Opera House is the tiles. Every surface is covered with them. The tiles come in several shapes, and are organized in patterns that reflect the curve of the sails. There’s this self-similar fractal thing going on, so as you get closer or step away, the same curves pop out at your eyeballs at different scales.

And the tiles are really shiny, so the sun gets involved in the whole transformative process . . .

The whole building has this totally math-ilicious-ness about it that I’m sure Dess would love. Walking among its shifting shapes is sort of what I imagine it would be like to be in her head at midnight.

To see what I mean, click here for a monster-big version of the tiles in action.

Cool, huh?

Overall, it’s my favorite piece of modern architecture in the world. I’ll miss it while I’m gone.

Midnighters Spoiler Zone!

Okay, some people want to comment about the ending of the Midnighters trilogy, but they feel bad about spoiling the ending for others.

So I am decreeing this post to be the Blue Noon spoiler zone!

unless you have already read all three Midnighters books.

So how does it end? He dies on the bus!

No, wait. That’s Midnight Cowboy, which is totally different.

Heh, heh.

But seriously, click on comments and let the spoilage begin!

UPDATE: Most of the conversations here have moved over to, the forum for all things westerfeldian.

Midnighters Kirkused & Boingled

Blue Noon, the last book of the Midnighters series, comes out this week. In fact, I’m hearing that it’s in stores now. Unlike J.K. Rowling’s, the bookstores don’t sweat my lay-down dates too much, so check around and maybe you can find it. (Or you can order it here.)

That means that the trilogy is complete! Color me w00t!

This is my first wrap-up book of a trilogy. Of course, Specials has already been written (arrives on May 9), but this is my first chance to hear from you guys if I’ve figured out how to make anything, you know, END.

Cory Doctorow was kind enough to Boing Boing the whole series today with these kind words and more:

The Midnighters trilogy is about a small group of misfit teens in a conservative town who all share the ability to inhabit the secret hour between 12 midnight and 12:01 AM, a secret hour when time stands still for everyone but them, when the light turns blue, when they gain special powers — the power to run tirelessly and leap buildings, even to fly.

This is pure wish-fulfillment for the kids, who are picked-on losers in their straight-laced school, harassed by the law and stuck in bad home situations. But it turns out that the secret hour is also inhabited by Cthuluesque Old Ones — ancient monsters trapped forever in the darkness of the secret hour. And these ancient ones must escape.

The trilogy tells the story of the kids’ defense of the town that rejects them, and of the ancient, wicked secrets there. If Lovecraft had a sense of plot and character, he could have written these.

Much thanks to Cory for all his support! And for his more than kind suggestion that I write better characters than Lovecraft. (Heh, heh.)

The book also got a fantastic (and starred review) in Kirkus, in which medium-strength SPOILERS appear:

But lately, the blue time has been occurring without warning during the day. Worse, the frozen hour is fracturing, and normal humans will soon be in danger from the darkling monsters that roam at midnight. The midnighters` friendship might be splintering, as well: Melissa`s new abilities frighten her friends; Jonathan thinks the coming apocalypse might be worthwhile if he can use his midnighter powers more; and Rex, now half-darkling, hankers after human flesh. Dess, meanwhile, realizes the algebra of midnight is more complex than even her polymath powers can easily comprehend. Even if they prevent the destruction of humanity, life—and the midnighters themselves—will be forever changed.

A powerful climax smoothly ties together the complexities of this original and well-drawn world.

Sweet. I hereby officially take back everything mean thing I ever said about Kirkus. Yoink.

To those of you not into the series (yet), the arrival of Blue Noon also means that the paperback version of Touching Darkness is out.


Hoverboard! +Blue Noon Countdown

One more week till:

blue noon

That’s right! Seven more days until the Midnighters trilogy reaches its mighty climax. In honor of this last week, I’m doing a tridecalogism countdown.

Today’s word is: “nonattendance.”

As in, “Rex is having a very important meeting tonight,” Dess said. “Nonattendance is compulsory!”

In unrelated news, here’s how to build a hoverboard from a leaf blower. Alas, this hoverboard will be really loud and only hover about as high as an air hockey puck.

But still. Hoverboard!

From BoingBoing, and thanks Bill!

World Tour!

Justine and I are only three weeks away to heading off on what we’ve been calling the “round-the-world jaunt that ate March.” This trip may kill us, but for those of you who live in Brisbane, San Francisco, NYC, or Bologna, it will mean a chance to say hi and get books signed.

Here’s our appearance schedule, starting with a trip up the east coast of Australia:

Saturday 25 February 2006
Aurealis Awards Ceremony
Brisbane, Qld

First a short hop up to Bris-Vegas for the Aurealis Award Ceremony. We’re both up for best Young Adult SF or Fantasy novel of 2005! Me for Uglies and Peeps, Justine for Magic or Madness. (I hope she wins, so I don’t have to make a speech.)

A little more than a week later, we fly across the Big Pond to California. We’ll be staying with friends, doing an interview with Locus Magazine, and doing two appearances:

Tuesday 7 March 2006, 7PM
Borderland Books
866 Valencia St
San Francisco, California

I’ll be sitting next to a big stack of Midnighters 3: Blue Noon and Justine will be signing her sequel, Magic Lessons.

And the very next night, doing the same thing, except here:

Wednesday 8 March 2006, 6PM
Books Inc.
Laurel Village
3515 California St
San Francisco

Then it’s off to New York for two weeks of hanging out with friends and making sure the NYC apartment hasn’t burned down, exploded, or become infested with parasites of some kind. For those of you within spitting distance of Manhattah, there’s one public appearance (so far):

Saturday 18 March 2006, 12-2PM
Books of Wonder
18 W 18th Street
New York City

But you aren’t allowed to actually spit on us. It’s just a figure of speech.

Finally in late March, we fly over to Italy for two things in Bologna:

25-26 March, 2006
SCBWI Before Bologna Conference

SCBWI is the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Justine and I are teaching three workshops together about writing for kids. One about synopses, one about slang, and one about regional voices. (Hey, if you want to enroll, it’s cheaper if you do it before February 15.)

And then the Fair itself starts:

27-30 March, 2006
Bologna Children’s Book Fair
Bologna Fair Centre – Piazza Costituzione Entrance

This is an annual event where pretty much every publisher in the young readers’ world comes together to schmooze, eat, drink, schmooze, and buy foreign rights. Justine and I will get to meet all the cool people who’ve translated our works into Italian, German, Japanese, Thai, Swedish, Chinese, Polish, Russian, Finnish, Hebrew, Spanish, and Slovene*. It promises to be full of multi-lingual conversations and good meals, because you can’t beat Italian cities with food named after them. (And that’s no baloney. Hah! . . . sort of.)

And at last there’s the mega-flight from Bologna, to Frankfurt, to Singapore, to Sydney. Followed by sweet, sweet death. (By which I mean, of course, sleep.)

*By the way, did I mention that So Yesterday sold in Slovene? You know, the language of Slovenia. The country Slovenia, next to Italy and stuff . . . Hey, Slovene is the new black, dude.

New UK Cover

Discussions of Midnighters characters have taken over recent comment threads, and Blue Noon is my next book out (March 1), so maybe it’s time for some more news from Bixby.

A while back I blogged about the new covers for the Midnighters series in the UK. Well, they’ve changed since then. Here’s a side-by-side view of the new and old:

The new one (on the right) uses the same image as the old, the photo montage from the back of the US edition. But the new cover gives it more space, without the overwhelming type treatment. And of course there’s the change to cursive text, which screams “Oklahoma gothic” to me. The whole thing has a creepier, scarier vibe.

Justine says it looks like an airport paperback, which is a good thing. I think it will sell books.

In the UK they’re all coming out a few months apart, so the other covers are already designed:

Cool, huh?

Midnighters on TV

Okay, so this is NOT a done deal, but . . .

According to Sci Fi Wire, the chances of a Midnighters TV show have gone up a notch or two. Because of the success of Supernatural last Fall, they’ve ordered a pilot script for Midnighters. See here:

Now all this means is that a writer (a guy called Darren Lemke) has been paid to write a script. If the WB like his work and see a future in the series, it is possible there’ll be a Midnighters TV pilot in Fall of 2006. (Or 2007?)

This would be a gas. I’ve always thought that Midnighters was the most TV-friendly of my series. I just hope they do a good job . . .

By the way, I got this link from Jonathan’s fan site, Midnighters fan sites seem to be proliferating, as witnessed by Morgan’s site, from which the excellent comics of my last post came.

Anyway, watch this space, and Jonathan’s and Morgan’s sites, for news about this possible series.

But when it comes to Hollywood, never, ever hold your breath.