Shay’s Story Trailer

I had a great time at the Somerset Festival, and met lots of cool writers and students. My thanks to everyone for showing me such a great time, and congratulations on another successful festival.

While I was gone, what should appear in my inbox but the REAL TRAILER for Shay’s Story! (Not to be confused with the humble home-made trailer of a couple of weeks ago.)

Check it out:

If you want to see it bigger or embed it on your own site, head on over to YouTube. You can also see it super-big on my video page.

And finally, I’m doing a meet-up over at the WesterForum this Tuesday night, March 20, at 8PM US Eastern. Note that with the time change in the US, that means 11AM here Wednesday morning here in Australia, and midnight Tuesday in Britain.

Anything else? I would think not.

My Comic Con Schedule

Update!
I’ve added my signing times below. I’ll be signing three times during Comic Con. Sorry I forgot!

I’m headed to Leaky-Con tomorrow, and will be on panels all of YA Lit Day, also known as Wednesday. That schedule is right here. (It’s been sold out for ages.)

Next week, July 20-25, I’ll be at Comic Con in San Diego! (Also sold out.) For those of you coming, here’s what I’m doing:

Thursday, July 21
4:30-5:30 Comics for Teens— Comics creators Cecil Castelluci (Plain Janes), Hope Larson (Mercury), Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole), and Gene Luen Yang (Level Up) come together for a discussion of what makes a comic fit a teen audience. Do books for teens have something special that books for kids and adults don’t have? Moderated by Scott Westerfeld (New York Times bestselling teen author). Room 26AB

Saturday, July 23
1:00 – 1:50 Saturday, July 23
Signing at the Mysterious Galaxy booth, #1119.

Sunday, July 24
11:15-12:15 Building the World of Leviathan, an Illustrated Steampunk Series— Bestselling YA author and Comic-Con special guest Scott Westerfeld (Uglies, Midnighters) discusses how illustrated adventure novels disappeared in the early 20th century and how he worked with artist Keith Thompson to create one for the 21st, Leviathan, a steampunk reimagining of WWI. Lots of visuals (and some secret news about Uglies). Room 6DE

Signing after Scott Westerfeld Spotlight
Smart Pop will be handing out free copies of Mind-Rain at this signing.
Comic-Con Autograph Area
AA18 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

2:45-3:45 High School Bites— Let’s face it: High school sucks enough without having to add a constant thirst for blood, going all furry under a full moon, or being hunted by all of the above. But for these YA authors, going back to high school was the best decision they ever made. Scott Westerfeld (The Uglies series), Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone), Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness), Debbie Viguie (Once Upon a Time series), Anna Carey (Eve), and Heather Brewer (The Vlad Tod series) discuss their characters’ formative years with moderator Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy. Room 5AB

Signing after High School Bites
Comic-Con Autograph Area
AA3 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Also you might want to check this out:

Thursday, July 21
7:00-8:00 The Scoop at Simon & Schuster!— Get the inside word on Simon & Schuster’s upcoming books and the chance to win exclusive prizes! Lucille Rettino (marketing director), Elke Villa (senior marketing manager), Carolyn Swerdloff (associate marketing manager), and Anna McKean (publicity manager) give you the scoop on upcoming books from exciting authors, including Cassandra Clare, Scott Westerfeld, Orson Scott Card, and Becca Fitzpatrick. Hear what is going on with S&S’s hot properties — Star Trek and The Smurfs — and get a chance to win exclusive giveaways. All attendees will receive a limited edition T-shirt for Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince. Room 9

That’s it. I hope I get to see some of you while I’m on the road the next two weeks!

(I will be getting Fan Art Friday up this week, though, even if I’m not at home.)

Various Cons and Walker Wednesday

Hey, all. Sorry I haven’t been posting much, but I’ve been acclimatizing to New York and getting rested for a summer (and fall) of travel and appearances! The Goliath tour will start a few days before September 20, when the book comes out. I DON’T KNOW YET where I’ll be going on tour, but I’ll post here when I do, and in the meantime I’ll be doing a few events on my own.

Event 1

I’ll be at Comic Con in San Diego, July 20-25! As always, it is sold out. But for those of you coming, here’s what I’m doing:

Sunday, July 24
11:15-12:15AM Building the World of Leviathan, an Illustrated Steampunk Series. Bestselling YA author Scott Westerfeld (Uglies, Midnighters) discusses how illustrated adventure novels disappeared in the early 20th Century, and how he worked with artist Keith Thompson to create one for the 21st, Leviathan, a steampunk re-imaging of WWI. Lots of visuals (and some secret news about Uglies).

There’s another panel about teen comics that I’ll be in, but it’s not confirmed yet. It will probably be Thursday, July 21, 4:30-5:30.

Event 2

I’ll also be at Leakycon in Orlando FL, from July 13-17. I’ll be appearing there for Lit Day, July 13, a YA-fest run by the tireless Maureen Johnson.

Sorry, but Lit Day also appears to be sold out! For those of you who are coming, here are the bits with me:

All Wednesday, July 13
10:00-10:50AM
Let’s Talk about Vampires: Let’s just do it. Let’s just talk about vampires. Why do people love these toothy freaks? Is there any new territory? Will they ever go away? Do we really want them to? We’re just going to talk about vampires, because someone has to. (GT I)
With: John Green, Scott Westerfeld, Robin Wasserman, Barry Goldblatt, Jennifer Laughran Moderator: Maureen Johnson

11:00-11:50AM
The Scott Westerfeld Experience: Scott Westerfeld discusses working with an artist to create his illustrated steampunk series, Leviathan. He reveals hitherto unseen artwork from the final book in the series, Goliath, and from his latest top secret project. (AT I)

12:30-1:20PM
Love and Romance: What’s the deal here? Common wisdom says girls demand these things in their books and boys dislike them… but is that true? How do authors decide how to handle the squishy bits of life? How is LGBTQ literature bringing a fresh perspective? How far can scenes go? Is there really a difference between a love story and a romance novel? This panel wants to be in a relationship with you on Facebook, so you know it is serious. (GT II)
With: Ally Carter, John Green, Kate Schafer-Testerman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephanie Perkins, David Levithan Moderator: Robin Wasserman

1:30-2:20PM
I Was a Teenage Author: Think all published authors start out writing works of pure, undiluted genius? Think your work is terrible and you’ll never get anywhere, ever? Be prepared to be amazed. Authors read actual works from their tortured teenage years, giving you hope and inspiration to keep going. (TT IV)
With: Scott Westerfeld, David Levithan, Libba Bray, John Green, Robin Wasserman, Stephanie Perkins Moderator: Maureen Johnson

And at 2:30 I’ll be signing. (Dude, Maureen is a harsh taskmistress. WHY ARE THERE NO BREAKS?)

And finally, it’s time for another Walker Wednesday, the extremely infrequent feature on this blog where I share images of Clanker-ish or not walking machines. This one is from Japan’s Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and has the lovely name “HRP-4C humanoid.”

And it walks kinda like this:


(via io9)

Hmm. Not quite Uncanny Valley, and not quite human-like. Just sort of . . . disturbingly careful.

There’s a weird thing about walkers, whether they have a face or not. Because they walk, like us humans do, we see their walking in human terms. Their movements look angry, or jaunty, or drunken to us, in a way that cars (or anything else with wheels) never quite do. And as a novelist, that expressiveness makes walkers more interesting to me than other kinds of machines.

Not that you can’t write an evil car, like Steven King’s Christine, but it’s still very different, dramatically and novelistically speaking, when a machine stands up.

I think the world will get much more weird when more of our devices start to walk around.

Blue Mountains

We had a great time in the Blue Mountains, so I thought I’d share some snaps and movies with you guys.

The Blue Mountains’ most famous landmark is probably the Three Sisters, which are not in fact siblings but three sticky-uppy rocks. Early-rising tourists are rewarded by seeing them backdropped against the awesome mist coming up from the Megalong Valley.

Yes, it’s called the Megalong Valley, but not because it’s mega-super-duper-long. The name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning “Valley Under The Rock.” (Well, it was thought by early European explorers to mean “Valley Under The Rock,” but early European explorers don’t really have a good track record with this stuff. Megalong could also mean, “Why are you asking me all these stupid questions, easily sunburnt invader?”)

In any case, the Three Sisters are cool:

As you can see, the valley is almost completely unspoiled. No roads in, so you descend into it with a vertiginous walk down among the Sisters.

Yes, that walkway looks crowded, but the valley below is huge. Even mega-huge. So it’s easy to find yourself completely alone after walking down a few paths. Well, alone except for the ubiquitous bellbirds, so named for their bell-like cries.

Turn up your volume and put on headphones for this video, the bellbirds make a strange and awesome sound. This is only two singing here, but when the whole forest is full of their cries, it makes for a mesmerizing soundscape.

This is my new iPhone wallpaper, because I love me some Australian bark:

We also saw a lyrebird. They are excellent mimics, but this one was quietly digging for grubs, and so did not mimic, or even taunt us.

For those of you who worry about such things, the collective noun is “a musket of lyrebirds.” They have cool tails.

As we climbed out of the valley, I got this shot, proving that the Blue Mountains is beautiful. Not bad for a place only 90 minutes from Sydney.

Click here for the bigness!

That’s it for now. See you on Friday.

French Steampunkery

From November 10-14 I was in attendance at the Utopiales Festival in Nantes, France. As usual for a conference, I was on a lot of panels, discussing subjects like alternative history (uchronie, as the French say) and the ethics of plastic surgery (with a real surgeon as my co-panelist). As I have about zero French, so all of this was done with headphones on, a simultaneous translator slaving away in my (and my audience’s) ears. That in itself was kind of science fictional.

But perhaps the coolest (and certainly the most photogenic) experience happened outside the festival, when a cohort of sf writers and I visisted les Machines de l’ÃŽle à Nantes.

Nantes was the birthplace of Jules Verne. As such, the city has a historical connection to science fiction in general, and steampunk-y type stuff more specifically. The city leaders are cognizant of this, and about five years ago handed over a disused dock area to a totally Clanker-tastic workshop of street theater mad scientists, who created the Machines of the Isle of Nantes.

Here are two shots of the island’s most famous inhabitant, a mechanical elephant that was an inspiration for the Ottoman walkers in Behemoth.

elephant

It’s made of wood, not metal, which is quite trippy. You can actually ride this thing around, though it had a broken leg when we visited. (Sad face. Feel better, elephant.)

elephant2
Click on this one for a closer look.

But there’s much more on the island than just the elephant. The Machines group is currently working on a huge carousel of sea creatures, including this awesome steampunk grouper!

steamgrouper
This one also needs a closer look. Click!

All this stuff moves, of course. Behold the steamgrouper in action:

Go to Youtube to watch this bigger.

And, of course, no self-respecting steamgrouper would be caught dead without its own personal steamsquid!

steamsquid
Again, click for the largeness. You know you want to

Needless to say, seeing these creations in the flesh (um, the metal?) was amazing. It impressed on me how alive machines can seem, even when their movements are strange and otherworldly, or aggressive and disturbing. You can see how people from Jules Verne all the way to Mark Pauline have fallen in love with things mechanical, and how a whole clanker culture might have come into being.

It was a total education. Vive les Machines de l’ÃŽle à Nantes! (For more photos from our visit, check out the blog of sf writer Petes Watts.)

poster

If you know any French and want to read about my visit there, check out this link.

And one last thing! There’s an auction on right now to support SpecFaction NSW, a sf and fantasy group in New South Wales, Australia. Check out all the stuff for sale, including many cool signed books and an otherwise unavailable print from Leviathan signed by both me and Keith. This is a one-of-a-kind in the world thing.

Note that the auction is in Australian dollars, which are a bit smaller than US ones. Also, the shipping is listed as being from Australia, but the work is currently in the US, so the shipping won’t cost as much as you’d think if bought by a USian.

France Is Next

I’ll be in France the next couple of weeks, so here’s my schedule there:

Utopiales Festival
Nantes, France

Jeudi 11 Novembre
13 h 00 pm : conférence : Littérature adulte et Littérature jeunesse : Quelles frontières
14 h 00 pm: dédicace

Vendredi 12 Novembre
10 h 00 am : conférence avec les jeunes lecteurs
11 h 15 am : interview en anglais par des adolescents
16 h 30-18 h 00 pm : Conférence
18 h 00 pm : Dédicace

Dimanche 14 Novembre
11 h 30 am: conférence : L’Uchronie : un genre européen ?
13 h 30 pm : Rencontre
après-midi : dédicaces

Apparition Publique à Paris, France
Mardi le 16 Novembre
16 h-18 h
Virgin Megastore
Centre commercial des Quatre Temps
92 La Défense
Métro: Grande Arche de la Défense

Also, So Yesterday is out in Italian now, under the awesome title Fashion Killers.

anteprima-fashion-killers-di-scott-westerfeld-L-lifNtc

That’s the busiest cover for SY in a while, but it’s kind of cool.

And here’s a video review in Italian:


Ganked from here

Can anyone translate this? To do so would make me happy.

Genre Cooties

So I go on tour, where I get to see loads of kids who are full of awesome, and who build crazy stuff like this for me:

jeffersonwalker

But then I come home to discover that the internet got stupid while I was gone. And not just regular internet stupid about cats or politics, but stupid about steampunk!

Perhaps the prime example is this post from the normally incisive Charles Stross, surely the most banal thing he’s ever typed. I mean, pointing out that the Victorian era was imperialistic? Racist? Sexist? Had lousy labor laws and no class mobility? Like no one in the steampunk world was considering this?

News flash: the online world of steampunk is constantly engaged in exactly those issues:
Check out
these
articles
for a
start.
(Just added this one.)

Stross then challenges the world to write a “mundane steampunk” novel that would reflect the true nightmarishness of the long 19th century.

Um, we might begin with the book most associated with the current wave of steampunk, Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker:

The Blight gas had poisoned the natural systems until the creeks and streams flowed almost yellow with contagion. Even the near-constant patter of rain could not be trusted. The clouds that dropped it may have gusted past the walled up city and absorbed enough toxin to wash skin raw and bleach paint.
But the Blight could be boiled away; it could be filtered and steamed and filtered again. And after seventeen hours of treatment, the water could be safely consumed… But first, it had to be processed. It had to go through the Waterworks facility, where Briar Wilkes and several hundred others spent ten or fifteen hours a day, hooking and unhooking brass cylinders and tanks, and moving them from station to station, filter to filter.

Yes, the current emblematic book of steampunk is totally Dickensian, but no one pays attention to that because it’s got zombies and airships, and therefore must be a madcap lark. Because this whole conversation has been about flap copy, not actual texts.

By the way, I think I’m the first person in this whole internet kerfuffle to quote text from AN ACTUAL STEAMPUNK BOOK. And thus I win.

No wait. I win because the awesome kids who read my books built me a frickin’ Tesla cannon:

teslacannon

Now, agreed, many steampunk cosplayers aren’t engaging with the greater questions inherent in the subgenre. Some even dare to dress up as aristocracy, and inherited titles are a bad thing.

But, dude, in mainline SF the single most popular costume is an imperial stormtrooper. And imperial storm trooping is RATHER MORE BAD than inheriting titles.

Not to go flat out into Sturgeon’s Law mode here, but space opera is a subgenre of which an astonishing percentage is crap, both aesthetically and politically, and which gluts the bookshelves far more than steampunk. But no one will be declaring how much they hate it, because it’s been around long enough that old people aren’t bothered by it.

And yes, this is about YOU being OLD, steampunk-haters. (In spirit, not in years.)

THIS is why I don’t write for adults. Their heads are all full of genre cooties and “Taj Mahal? Nah, don’t like tombs.” Whereas a kid will come home from the library with a mystery, an sf novel, an autobiography, and three books about sharks. That’s how kids read, and when something’s cool and fun and awesome (or weird and gnarly and thought-provoking), they don’t worry about how many times it’s been mentioned on io9, or whether it’s that-genre-Fortnight on Tor.com.

In a word, they’re way cooler than you are. Deal.

And here’s a great story: At the school where they built the contraptions pictured above, a bunch of kids were dressed Edwardian. So at the end of my presentation I asked, “How’re you finding those clothes?” Of course, the middle schoolers hated them, and we went from a few simple observations about clothing to a free-ranging discussion of classism, sexism—the girls hated the clothes a lot—and much more. When you’re doing steampunk right, it’s all there in the details.

Anyway, thanks to all my fans who came out. You’re awesome. Sorry to bore you with this rant, but certain adults needed a Teslashing.

Still on Tour . . .

ALERT! Behemoth is out NOW in Australia. Enjoy!

I’m heading off to Texas, but I wanted to share some cool reviews, interviews, and images from the Behemoth tour so far. In no particular order:

You can now download Behemoth, read by the awesome Alan Cumming, as an audio book! Click to download from Audible or iTunes.

Check out this guest post I did for Figment, about the art of the Leviathan series.

And here’s another post I did for the Steamed blog, which is cool for all things steampunk.

Here’s an interview with me at Eve’s Fan Garden.

And here’s a slightly spoilery review of Behemoth at Boing Boing.

I AM ALL OVER THE INTERNETS.

But I’m also on tour, so if you live in . . .
Austin, TX
New Orleans, LA
Alpharetta or Decatur, GA
Raleigh, NC
Cincinnati, OH
Ft. Thomas, KY
Naperville, IL
Novi or Ann Arbor, MI
Provo, UT
Nantes or Paris, France
Miami, FL
or Vancouver, Canada . . .
Then please check out my Appearances page for when I’ll be near you.

Right now, there are exactly a hundred comments on the Behemoth spoiler thread. Maybe we should keep going there for book discussion, and use this thread to talk about the interviews or whatever.

And now, because I missed Fan Art Friday, here are some fan art images from the tour!

First, a great life-size version of Alek, which greeted me at River Dell Middle School.

IMG_0051

And here’s Deryn, me, and the artists! (Sorry I forgot your names!)

IMG_0053

And the drawing on the left was given to me at a signing in Pennsylvania by Patrick. It’s modeled on a real WWI propaganda poster, but changed to show Clanker sensibilities!

IMG_0039 copy

Behemoth Out! Thread of Spoilage!

Behemoth is out NOW in the US, Canada, and in the UK! (Sorry, Australia, you have to wait till October 12.) The audio book, read by the awesome Alan Cumming, is also out now.

For a bit more about the book, click here for an interview with me on Tor.com about researching Behemoth, writing process, and FOOD.

I’m on tour right now and will attempt to blog from the road, but it may be patchy.

Am I coming to your town? Well, do you live in . . .

New York
Houston, Allen (near Dallas), or Austin, TX
New Orleans, LA
Alpharetta or Decatur, GA
Raleigh, NC
Cincinnati, OH
Ft. Thomas, KY
Naperville, IL
Novi or Ann Arbor, MI
Provo, UT
Nantes or Paris, France
Miami, FL
or Vancouver, Canada?
Then please check out my Appearances page for when I’ll be near you.

And finally: THE COMMENTS ON THIS THREAD ARE SPOILERS!
ABANDON NARRATIVE TENSION, ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE . . .

fourcoversUK_US

What Happens on Tour

Look what I got today . . .

hohf

And as you can see, I ignored the label. Bwah-hah-hah! (But seriously, don’t try this at home, or especially at your bookstore. I’m what you call an expert, with years of training that keeps me safe.)

Now, some of you have been asking in the comments of my tour details post exactly what my appearances will be like. That is an excellent question!

Here’s roughly how they go:

1) The events are in a bookstore and somewhere between 30 and 100 people show up. These numbers seem to be completely random. (Sometimes at book festivals or other large venues, hundreds appear.) Those who come early sit closer, but no one is turned away! You can always buy my books at my appearances.

2) First I do a half-hour talk about how Leviathan came to be, and how Keith and I work together. This presentation has many slides of his boo-tiful art, which allow me to make hilarious visual jokes! Later in the tour, my schtick is smoother, but it is always stirring.

3) Next I answer all your burning questions about everything—the Leviathan series, the Uglies books, the Midnighters and New York trilogies, my adult books, writing advice, or whatever you want to know. Pro tip: Raise your hand early on when everyone else being a weenie, and your question will be answered.

4) I sign stuff. This can take a while, but your patience is rewarded by me signing pretty much anything put in front of me. I pose for pictures too. In case of very long lines, some stores have rules, like, two things signed for every book you buy there. And I would strongly encourage you to buy at least one book at the store hosting the event. I mean, it’s in your interest to keep them in business! (But please come up and say hi, even if you are penniless.) And please assume I don’t how to spell your name, even if it’s “Rick.”

5) Sometimes Justine is there. If you like her books and say so to her, she will not harm you. She may even sign things or amuse you in other ways. But there are no guarantees!

That’s it, really. So if you live in or near . . .
Exton, PA
West Chester, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Glen Rock, NJ
Houston, TX
Allen (near Dallas), TX
Austin, TX
New Orleans, LA
Alpharetta, GA
Decatur, GA
Raleigh, NC
Cincinnati, OH
Ft. Thomas, KY
Naperville, IL
Novi, MI
Ann Arbor, MI
Provo, UT
Paris or Nantes, France
Miami, FL
or Vancouver, Canada . . .
then please check out my Appearance page for when I’ll be there.

See you on tour!