May 11th, 2009


Essays on Scott Westerfeld's Uglies Series

As some of you may know, I'm not a writer of non-fiction. I did my time in the fields of Academe, and mostly, it gave me blisters. When I left those fields for the wild expanses of Fiction (speculative or otherwise), I swore I'd never write an essay again.

I changed my mind, of course. Not often, and on a case-by-case basis. One such case being when Scott Westerfeld asked if I'd contribute to an anthology of essays on the Uglies series.

Well, duh.

First of all--Scott. A scholar, a gentleman, and an extremely smart dude who is interested in many of the same themes and concerns as I am. Second of all--Uglies and its sequels (Pretties and Specials, as if you didn't know). I loved the series when it came out, and pressed it on everybody I knew. Another writer had already taken the topic that first leapt to my mind (language and slang), but nobody had taken propaganda. So I did.

I still don't like writing non-fiction. Logic tends to do strange things when I take hold of it. Plus, I was out of practice. I whinged. I moaned. I rewrote the blasted thing from the ground up no fewer than 5 times. I stayed up until 2 in the morning--on purpose--drinking tea and poking at paragraphs until they stopped dashing about madly and started doing the work for which they would be paid, if they would only behave.

And then I finished it and handed it in and promptly forgot all about it. Until this afternoon, when my 2 author's copies arrived in the mail.

The book is called Mind-Rain. Scott Westerfeld is the editor, Benbella Books is the publisher, pub date is in June. It can be pre-ordered. Powell's, unfortunately, has conflated it with the already-existant The Unauthorized Harry Potter, which pairing I dare not contemplate too closely or my brain will implode. The cover is striking (the designers are clearly taking "Ugly" very, very seriously here), the other essays excellent. I still can't bear to look at mine.

(Edited to add title of actual book.)