Austin is awesome, and BookPeople is even more awesome. They’ve brought some truly amazing authors to town–last year, I met Brandon Sanderson. Earlier this year, it was Patrick Rothfuss. This time, it was John Scalzi.
Scalzi’s pretty awesome.
I will admit that, until last year, I hadn’t read anything by him. I picked up Redshirts and read it, before it won the Hugo. I’m pretty sure it was actually before it was even nominated. (Hipster reader achievement: Read books before they’re cool.) It was fun and funny, but I wasn’t blown away. The Codas felt odd, and the whole thing didn’t quite take itself seriously enough. I knew my dad had some Scalzi, but I didn’t look any farther into it, mostly due to my massive TBR bookcase. (Or two.)
That being said, I knew he was moderately famous, and when it was announced that his Old Man’s War series will be adapted for TV, I put those books higher on my priority list.
Then came the announcement that he was coming to town. Intrigued, I grabbed The Android’s Dream and Agent to the Stars from the store, and borrowed the Old Man’s War series from my dad. Unfortunately, I was only able to read Android’s Dream and Agent before the signing, but they were both fantastic. Andoid’s Dream, in particular, blew me away.
They were good enough that I bought everything of Scalzi’s that I could, the day of the signing. Count me in as his fan. I managed to get 11 of his books signed, and I’m hitting myself over the head for forgetting to bring Redshirts. (Hardcover, 1st/1st, too. It was hiding on my bookcase, [Which is double stacked; I only have 1 in my apartment.] and I missed picking it up. 😦 ) Also, this happened.
So yes, I got an extra copy of The Way of Kings and had Scalzi sign it. No, you don’t get a picture of it. I’m showing it to Sanderson first, to see what he has to say. 🙂 (I’m actually now on a quest to get copies of The Way of Kings signed by as many other authors as I can.)
Anyway, the signing itself. Like Rothfuss, Scalzi did a reading/Q&A before the signing, which lasted an hour. It was the most fun hour ever. He read from his upcoming sequel to The Human Division, and went through one of his old blog posts, then answered questions ranging from writing to how he washes clothes when he travels. He had us all rolling on the floor the entire time. At the end of the evening, I was seriously wondering why he is not a comedian. He loves speaking, that much is obvious. I guess he simply loves the writing more, which is fine by me. He’s a spectacular writer.
I had, quite literally, the best seat in the house. I was directly in front of Scalzi, with not a single other person in front of me. It made things even better, and it was totally worth arriving a bit over an hour early to save my seat.
Scalzi’s signing wasn’t as packed full as the one for Rothfuss, but we did reach the fire-martial enforced seating limit at some point, and people had to stand in the back. This delighted Scalzi, as he and Rothfuss had been discussing the fact on Twitter that morning. It was a good turnout, and the crowd loved him.
The signing line itself was quite long, and I was kicked to the back for having too many books. In all honesty, this was fine by me. I ended up second to last, and it was probably 2 hours after the Q&A ended that I actually got to meet him. The lady in front of me was a huge sci-fi/fantasy nerd, and had come through the line again, like I had, because she had too many books. We spent the entire time chatting about favorite books and authors, conventions and events attended, and all kinds of awesome things like that. It was very nice to meet someone else who speaks my language and understands my obsessions. At the end of the signing, she even gave me a ride back to my apartment. (It was late, the busses had stopped running.)
The man behind me had something quite special too. In addition to Scalzi’s books, he had a small book of writing prompts, the kind of thing you would use with a child just getting into creative writing. Each prompt had a lined page with it for you to write a very short story. This man had signed, original stories by Lev Grossman, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, and a pantheon of other amazing names. I must admit, I was incredibly jealous of some of the authors that he had met, and the fact that he’s got stories from all of them. Here’s Scalzi doing his entry. (Oh, and the man drove down from Houston to come to the signing, and was heading back that night. I want to be able to do things like that some day, when my favorite authors go on tour.)
Overall, it was a delightful evening, and I’m really glad I went. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you have the opportunity to see an author whose work you enjoy, especially if it’s an individual speaking event, DO SO! These people love their fans, and they have been, without exception, some of the nicest and most entertaining human beings I have ever met.