TROY — Science fiction fans of all ages were charmed by a recent appearance of New York Times best-selling author John Scalzi, who was hosted by Troy-Miami County Public Library on Monday.
At the appearance, Scalzi read selections from his writing, conducted a question-and-answer session, and offered autographs on written materials.
Scalzi explained that as he began his career in science fiction writing, he initially debated which of his favorite genres he’d rather explore.
“I was about to go to my 10-year reunion,” Scalzi said. “I knew I had to have written a novel, because all the people I went to school with would ask. I decided to write one, but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to write a murder mystery or a science fiction novel, so I flipped a coin. It came up heads, so I wrote science fiction.”
Scalzi, who has resided with his family in Bradford for 17 years, said that coordinating to appear at the Troy Library was a sensible fit for his touring schedule.
“I’m local, and I like doing stuff for local libraries when I can,” Scalzi said. “They asked me if I’d like to do something, and it was just a matter of scheduling. We tried to do it for the end of the year, but I was finishing a book and things got hectic. The book came out a couple weeks ago, and I was doing a tour anyway, so I said, ‘If you guys want to tack on to the end of the tour, we can absolutely do that.’ It was great, because for this particular tour, I didn’t have a Dayton area stop.”
Scalzi’s new book, “Head On,” is notable for its blend of his two favorite genres — science fiction and murder mystery.
“It is a murder mystery that takes place in a future sport that is played by people piloting androids,” Scalzi explained. “Because they’re androids, people aren’t supposed to get killed, but somebody does. FBI investigators then have to figure out who did it and why.”
Scalzi offered words of encouragement to aspiring writers at the appearance, insisting that success in writing is now accessible from anywhere as long as the writer is persistent in finishing work and submitting it.
“The good news is that you don’t have to be anywhere near a publishing house, because they don’t take walk-ins,” Scalzi said. “You submit by either mailing or e-mailing your stuff in. What I would tell people is put your butt in a chair, get your writing done, submit it, keep submitting it, and while you’re submitting, write something else. Keep doing that until it happens.
“It is like any other skill — the more you do it, the better you get at it. Maybe one day it will happen for you.”
For more about the author, visit www.scalzi.com and www.tmcpl.org.