Scott Westerfeld's Blog

April 15, 2014

As you know, I’ve already revealed the cover of Afterworlds, three posts ago. But I also wanted to show you the cover of the special advanced readers’ copies (ARCs) sent to bookstore owners and the like, because it’s seriously my favorite promotional object of my entire career:


afterworlds ARC


Now, I know that looks like the back cover, but it’s the FRONT, because the blurbs were so funny that Sales was like, “Put them on the front!” (And yes, they are real blurbs. Thanks to John, Maureen, and Shannon!)


Alas, only 200 copies of this were printed, and they are hard to acquire. I only own three, and you can’t have them!


For those of you in the trade, there will be many more ARCs with the real cover, at places like Book Expo America. (I’m signing there!) But I love that these silly ones are in short supply.


So collectible.


Also, I knew this thing was long, but now that it’s here in physical form and 599 pages, I realize how THICK that is:


IMG_2447


As you can see it’s 5cm (2 inches) thick, almost twice as fat as Justine‘s next book, Razorhurst. Which is her longest book yet.


Of course, I’m cheating because it’s really two books (Darcy’s book and the book about Darcy). But still, I win.

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Published on April 15, 2014 21:43 • 78 views

April 11, 2014

Here’s a longer video from The Creator’s Project (a Vice and Intel collaboration), about the Future of Storytelling work that the USC School of Cinematic Arts World Building Media Lab has been doing with my Leviathan series.



What interests me about this project is that it’s a form of extreme rpg/fan fiction. They’re taking the raw materials of the world of Leviathan and building it into a digital environment that’s both interactive and useful for telling extended stories, often with different characters, altered timelines, and crazy new beasties. For me, it fires the same brain cells as when you guys write fan fic, that sense that my and Keith’s world keeps echoing out there somewhere in other people’s brains, where those characters (and new ones) get to have more adventures.


So thanks to the students at USC and their sponsors, and to all you guys who write fan fic and generally let your imaginations roam.


Here’s my previous blogpost about the project, and the post on The Creator’s Project blog.

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Published on April 11, 2014 17:42 • 59 views

April 4, 2014

For the next week, I’ll answer any non-spoilery questions about my next novel left comment thread of this post.


afterworlds_200


Let me answer a few obvious questions, just to get them out of the way:

Afterworlds comes out September 23, 2014.

It will be published by S&S in the US and UK, Penguin in Australia, Pocket Jeunesse in France, and Eksmo in Russia.

More countries/languages to come!

I will be going on tour (no firm schedule till late summer).

No movie or TV deals on Afterworlds yet.


Over to you guys now. Ask away!


(Note: Questions about other books will be mocked or ignored!)

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Published on April 04, 2014 22:41 • 136 views

March 28, 2014

Tomorrow (Friday) at about 2PM EST in the US, the cover of Afterworlds will be revealed on Entertainment Weekly’s web site!


UPDATE: IT HAS HAPPENED

HERE IS THE LINK

HERE IS THE COVER:


afterworlds_450


HOPE YOU LIKE IT. THE BOOKS COMES OUT SEP 23.


________


I’ve already seen the cover, of course, and it’s quite awesome! The best thing is, it gets better once you’ve read the book. Like, there are meanings in this cover, which are subtle and cool.


The cover will appear on this blog shortly thereafter. Actually, it might be a couple of hours, because it’ll be super early here in New Zealand. (I saw a kiwi bird today. They are hilarious.)


Also tomorrow, but at 5PM EST, I’m doing an “Ask Me Anything” at Reddit, the front page of the internet. It’s most of the authors represented in Humble Bundle 3 (which you can still go buy right now by clicking here! Eleven books for $13!) So that’s me, Holly Black, Dia Reeves, Justine Larbalestier, and many more.


THIS ALREADY HAPPENED. CLICK HERE TO READ IT.


My day tomorrow will be busy, so I’m going to bed now. Here is a picture out my hotel window:


nz


Elves are everywhere.

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Published on March 28, 2014 01:56 • 21 views

Tomorrow (Friday) at about 2PM EST in the US, the cover of Afterworlds will be revealed on Entertainment Weekly’s web site!


I’ve already seen the cover, of course, and it’s quite awesome! The best thing is, it gets better once you’ve read the book. Like, there are meanings in this cover, which are subtle and cool.


The cover will appear on this blog shortly thereafter. Actually, it might be a couple of hours, because it’ll be super early here in New Zealand. (I saw a kiwi bird today. They are hilarious.)


Also tomorrow, but at 5PM EST, I’m doing an “Ask Me Anything” at Reddit, the front page of the internet. It’s most of the authors represented in Humble Bundle 3 (which you can still go buy right now by clicking here! Eleven books for $13!) So that’s me, Holly Black, Dia Reeves, Justine Larbalestier, and many more.


Click here to attend the AMA. You’ll have to sign up as a Redditor to ask questions (free and quick).


My day tomorrow will be busy, so I’m going to bed now. Here is a picture out my hotel window:


nz


Elves are everywhere.

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Published on March 28, 2014 01:56 • 227 views

March 19, 2014

A couple of days ago, a new Humble Bundle featuring my book Uglies launched!


Excitement!


But what, you may ask, is a Humble Bundle?


It’s a set of e-books (or video games) that are sold together to raise money for charity and for the creators of the books.


Here’s why it’s cool:


1) It’s super cheap. In fact, you pay whatever price you want. The only limit is, if you pay less than the average of all previous purchases, you only get four of the books. But if you pay the current average or more, you get the two “locked” books as well (one of which is Uglies). The average payment currently stands at US $10.87. Not too bad for six books! And if you pay $15 or more, you also get an audio version Cory Doctorow’s Homeland.


But wait! There’s more! A set of mystery books will appear soon, and you’ll get those books too if you pay the average or more. So many books for a bit over ten bucks.


A slightly helpful infographic:

hb3


2) Humble Bundles support charity. In fact, you can choose how much of your payment goes to charity and how much to the creators (and you also can tip Humble Bundle for providing the infrastructure). The charities for this bundle are WorldReader, a global literacy charity, and the SFWA emergency fund, which helps science fiction writers who find themselves bankrupted by medical bills.


3) All the e-books are DRM-free. You can use them on any device and make as many copies for personal use as you desire. (We are trusting you not to be pirates. Please do not be pirates.)


4) The books are good:

The Best Days of Our Lives by Wil Wheaton

Tithe by Holly Black

Jumper by Stephen Gould

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier

Mogworld by Yahtzee Crowshaw

Uglies by me

Homeland (exclusive audio version) by Cory Doctorow

Plus bonus mystery books by mystery authors! (I am fancy and already know what they are and they are great! Note: Not actually mysteries in the genre sense. More like YA.)


In other words, a combination of classic and new YA, and some nonfiction to boot. Plus secret bonus books, which is fun.


As I write this, 12,950 bundles have sold, raising $136,889.60!


Anyway, to buy the bundle simply go to humblebundle.com and cough up some bucks. Do this within 12 days!


So why am I participating in this process?


1) I will get some money out of it. That’s cool.


2) Money will be raised for two fine charities. Global literacy means more readers in the world, which is good for me and for civilization, and emergency medical funds for sf writers are often needed. (I live in the socialist hellscape of Australia, so my medical bills are guaranteed for life. But I have lots of friends who might need this one day.)


3) People will read Uglies for this almost free price and then go buy other books by me for real money. (An old trick.)


4) People who come to buy Uglies will get exposed to the other books on the list, which will be good for those lovely authors! (The reverse is also true, but covered under 1 and 3.)


5) It seemed like the cool kids were doing this. And it’s fun to watch the counter go up and more money appear.


Still not sold? Because, like, all you guys already have Uglies? Surely this video will change your mind:



More Uglies TV show news here soon! (But not instantly, because Hollywood.)

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Published on March 19, 2014 22:45 • 285 views

March 13, 2014

Publishers Weekly has a lovely article about my next novel, Afterworlds, which comes out September 23.


Click here to read it.


The piece has lots of interesting details about the book, and some bonus news about the super secret Uglies deal I’ve been working on for the last few months. (More on that in the next few weeks, right here!) Also news about my “How to Write YA” book, which also comes out this year, and which will be serialized on this very blog.


And just to round things out, here’s the lovely cover from the Hungarian edition of Goliath, painted by Richárd Vass:


Goliat hungarian


There will be lots more in this blog about Afterworlds as the year goes on!

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Published on March 13, 2014 15:01 • 141 views

February 5, 2014

Last July, Justine and I taught at the Alpha Workshop for Young Writers, a science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing camp for people 14-19. It was tons of fun (pic here) and we learned a lot. So when Alpha asked me if I would lend space for their fund-raising and young-writer-recruiting blog tour, I said yes.


So here’s a post by Sarah Brand, an Alpha alum, talking about how workshops and the communities they form help us all to become better writers.


dotted line


In the summer of 2006, I attended the Alpha SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers for the first time. As I boarded the plane to Pittsburgh, easily the farthest I had ever traveled on my own at that point, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Being a somewhat anxious, awkward girl, I didn’t know whether I would make friends. But maybe I would learn more about writing, or how to get published. Maybe Tamora Pierce, who teaches at Alpha every year, would look at my novel. (I had brought a printout of all 300 pages just in case.)


I was right about some things, and wrong about others. I did learn a lot about the craft and business of writing, enough to recognize that my novel still needed a lot of work. (Tammy didn’t look at it, which was definitely for the best.) And though I was anxious and awkward, and though minor disasters kept happening to me—getting stung by mysterious bugs, making my parents worry by forgetting to call home, and the like—I felt completely at home with the workshop’s staff and the other students. Something magical was happening.


After ten days, the workshop ended, and I went home. But something was different, something that had never happened to me after any summer camp before: I kept in touch with my fellow Alphans, regularly, via LiveJournal and email. We commiserated about school and traded drafts of stories for critique. Even months after the workshop, I felt as close to some Alphans as I did to other friends I had known all my life. Maybe geography had cruelly scattered us from California to New Zealand and everywhere in between, but we were united by our love of making stories happen, and bringing strange new worlds to life.


In 2009, after I had returned to Alpha twice more—once as a second-year student and once as a staff member—fellow Alpha graduates Rachel Sobel and Rebecca McNulty founded the alpha-crits community, which soon became the way many Alphans stayed in touch. In addition to trading critiques, we celebrate each other’s writing accomplishments and publishing successes. For four particularly memorable months, the moderators ran the “700 words a day or shame!” thread, which resulted in Alphans collectively writing 875,799 words in that time. Also, every year as the deadline for the Dell Magazines Award approaches, eligible Alphans frantically write and revise stories for the contest, and everyone pitches in to give critiques with an extra fast turnaround time. (A couple of months later, we all join in the nail-biting until the finalists are announced.)


Importantly, the members of alpha-crits encourage each other to write things and send them out, continuing the time-honored Alphan tradition of treating rejections from agents and editors as a badge of honor. (Rejections, we have all learned, mean that you are writing things and sending them out, and that is always a step forward, even if it doesn’t feel like it.)


Even if I had never attended Alpha, I think I would still be writing. The entire course of the last eight years of my life would be different, sure, but in the end, telling stories is part of who I am. But being part of a community of such fabulous writers—not only brilliant and talented, but also uniformly encouraging and kind—has made the journey much easier, and a lot more fun.


And lest you might think I’m the only one who feels this way, I reached out to other Alphans to get their thoughts. Alpha graduate Marina Goggin had this to say: “One thing I hear a lot that I would never expect out of a two-week workshop is that Alpha changes lives. This is absolutely true…  Being part of Alpha makes you a part of the writing world—even if you haven’t been published yet, someone you critiqued probably has been. Someone you know just got an agent, or a job at a publishing company. While I’m working to improve my writing, I’m encouraged by the fact that other Alphans have already been through the same process and are there to help me through it in turn.”


“I have a whole community of writer friends who I can go to for advice or encouragement should I ever need it,” added Alphan Mallory Trevino.


***


If you are between the ages of 14 and 19 and love writing science fiction, fantasy, or horror, you should apply to Alpha! This year’s workshop will be held July 25-August 3 in Pittsburgh, PA, and applications are due March 2. Everyone else: if you like the sound of Alpha and want to help the workshop, please consider donating to our scholarship fund, which helps students who couldn’t afford to attend Alpha otherwise. All donors receive a flash fiction anthology, written and illustrated by Alpha graduates, as a thank-you gift.


Sarah Brand attended Alpha in 2006 and 2007. She writes young adult science fiction and fantasy, and her fiction is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

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Published on February 05, 2014 14:23 • 117 views

January 31, 2014

Just wrote a post for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), the organization that compels tens of thousands of people to write tens of thousands of words every November.


For those non-November months, NaNo has a series about rewriting your first draft, called “What Now?” And given that my next novel is about a young writer who is rewriting her novel, it seemed sensible for me to contribute.


This might be useful for those of you who are rewriting, and for the rest of you, I briefly discuss the themes of my new novel, Afterworlds.


Click here to read it.


Here’s the pull quote in fancy letterings:


tumblr_inline_n09zigEHck1r0x68m

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Published on January 31, 2014 19:07 • 124 views

January 25, 2014

For the last couple of years, the USC School of Cinematic Arts World Building Media Lab has been working on a project based on my Leviathan series, in partnership with Intel. I visited the lab last July, and took lots of cool pictures, but have been waiting for them to reveal their work publicly before jumping in. They have, and I am.


What the lab is doing is a combination of high technology and storytelling, or what some of them call “extreme Leviathan fan fiction.” They’ve created a 3-d virtual model of the airship, both inside and out, backstories for all the crew members, and a host of ancillary material, like diaries and historical timelines (more detailed than any in the novels).


This expanded world can be experienced in a lot of ways. As print:


intel


Or by walking around in the 3-D models of the airship using VR helmets and interact with the characters, which is what I’m doing here:


IMG_2267


Or in a large group of people, interacting in 3-D with the story-stuff using tablet tech, like here at CES:



Leviathan @ Intel CES Keynote from Tawny Schlieski on Vimeo.


Obviously, this is pretty cool. (Note: The whale in that footage can only be seen through a phone or tablet, so many of the people there couldn’t see it. But a lot could, as you can hear from the cheers.) And it’s pretty overwhelming to walk into the labs at SCA and see all these smart people working in my world. It’s not unlike encountering fan-fiction archives based on my work, except this one has a multi-million-dollar budget for multimedia. In terms of material detail, this kind of world expansion takes Leviathan well past where Keith and I did.


And really, this is “future of entertainment” that people blather about. Not any specific technology, like tablet-3D or VR helmets, but this cooperative, expansive world-building. Whether it’s created by corporations who command massive resources and a stage at CES or a few thousand fan-ficcers typing quietly in the night, the thing that’s cool is the same: Someone gets inspired by my text (and Keith’s illustrations, of course) and deciding that this world MUST GET BIGGER, and, by jove, they’re the person to do it.


Of course, this is also the past of entertainment, when nobody “owned” stories, and everyone added to whatever was being told around the campfire. But new technologies do expand the ways we can make stories bigger, both in the objects we can create (3-D models!) and the ways we share them (Deviant Art!). So yeah, it’s not just the campfire anymore. It’s more like a campfire that’s linked to all the other campfire, and we can control the flames.


By the way, I love SCA’s redesign for the Leviathan itself, even though it’s not the bowhead whale of Keith’s (still canonical!) illustrations:


img-whale1


Anyway, I have more of this stuff to share with you (Click here for more from their press kit), but I have the rewrites for Afterworlds due on Monday, so I really should stop procrastiblogging and end here.


Hope you’re having a lovely new year.


(Bonus Info: That Uglies news that I’ve been promising you almost fell through, but then it didn’t. And it will be released for public consumption sooner or later.)

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Published on January 25, 2014 14:53 • 175 views

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