public appearances

“Don’t be evil”

I gave a private Bad Monkeys reading at Google’s Kirkland offices this week. It was a fun gig—nice crowd, including some video-conferencers dialing in to listen from another site (Boulder, I think). The reading and Q&A session were videotaped, and should eventually show up on YouTube.

Lisa and I also got taken to lunch in the Google cafeteria, a Las Vegas-caliber* all-you-can-eat buffet that has got to be one of the nicer perks of working there. In between trips to the carving station (mmm, roast lamb), we had an interesting, Bad Monkeys-inspired conversation about the potential (ab)use of search engines as intelligence-gathering tools. Among the things I took away from the discussion:

(a) Google’s internal culture is open enough that in order to turn the company into an arm of Homeland Security, you’d either have to corrupt the majority of the employees, or be a lot cleverer than the U.S. government has shown itself to be lately.

(b) Notwithstanding (a), it’s actually very difficult to strip out all identifying information from search records. So…

(c) When researching your world domination plan, you probably don’t want to be Googling reviews of your latest novel during the same session you look up the death ray schematics.

* * * * *

*No Keno runners at the Google buffet, but that just shows they understand probability.

So that’s where they all went

During the signing following last night’s reading at Third Place Books, I noticed a number of people had copies of Bad Monkeys with gold “LOCAL AUTHOR” stickers on them. Since I’d seen Third Place Books’ stock and knew they didn’t use stickers like that, I asked what was up, and learned that these copies were from Costco, which reportedly has a stack of Bad Monkeys next to the Harry Potter books. It wasn’t the discount that had led these people to buy from Costco, though — it was the fact that Costco’s copies were first editions. Unfortunately, because Costco is not a rare bookstore, they don’t understand about condition, and I have a feeling those stickers are going to be the kind you can’t remove without a chisel.

If you’re ever invited to give a reading at Pulpfiction Books in Vancouver, BC…

…you should go. It’s a nice little store with a very friendly staff. Conveniently located, too: three blocks from my hotel, ten blocks from the Amtrak station, and an easy hike to downtown. I had a great time, both at the reading and after.

This was my first visit to Vancouver in almost twenty years. I recalled it being a lot like Seattle, and it is, but what I wasn’t prepared for is how much it also reminded me of New York City. Not Manhattan—it’s too short for that—but the outer boroughs, Queens especially. Something about the architecture of the high rises made me feel like they’d been transplanted from the Rego Park or Elmhurst of my youth, and there’s also an elevated train, which every time I passed under it had me thinking about Flushing and the IRT number 7. Even the slummy parts of Vancouver felt more like East Coast urban decay than West Coast.

Next Bad Monkeys event noon tomorrow (8/11) at Seattle Mystery Bookshop

I have conflicting info on this, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a signing, not a reading. Drop by and say hi if you’re around.

Last night’s event at Elliott Bay Book Company went well—Lisa and I arrived an hour early and got in some quality browsing time. On the way home we stopped at Metropolitan Market and found the September issue of Men’s Health. As promised, Bad Monkeys was featured in the “Must Have” section. At least, the cover art was—I don’t know if it was an oversight or they just ran out of space, but there was no actual review accompanying the picture. Oh well.

Publication party pictures

Courtesy of Tegan Tegani, some pictures from the Bad Monkeys publication party…

Here we see fellow local author Ted Chiang watching in amused fascination as I set up the scene I’m about to read. Or maybe he’s just studying my hand gestures:

Then, at signing, I flash my demon red eyes:

And here I am with Lisa, who looks remarkably cheerful after printing and cutting roughly one zillion Bad Monkeys cards:

No pics from Tuesday night’s reading at Powell’s, but if you imagine these same photos, minus Ted and Lisa, and with much taller shelves in the background, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what it looked like.

Off to a good start

Yesterday’s reading and publication party at Queen Anne Books was a rousing success. Thanks to the many people who came, and thanks to Tegan and the rest of the staff for being such great hosts. I should have pictures soon.

Tomorrow morning I catch the train for Portland, Oregon. I’ll be reading at Powell’s City of Books at 7:30 P.M. Also, this week’s Powell’s newsletter should have an essay I wrote about the origins of Bad Monkeys.

One other piece of good news, we found out over the weekend that Bad Monkeys has already gone to a second printing, so early demand has been higher than Harper expected. (N.B. to collectors, the first edition isn’t sold out, it’s just been fully distributed—most of the copies currently in bookstores should still be firsts, but do check the copyright page for a “FIRST EDITION” notice [directly above the line that says “Designed by Emily Cavett Taff”] to be sure.)

Bad Monkeys reading in Vancouver, BC

A little over a week ago I got an email from Christopher Brayshaw, the owner of Pulpfiction Books in Vancouver, BC, asking if there was any way he could tempt me into adding his store to the Bad Monkeys book tour. I and my corporate masters at HarperCollins are only too happy to please, so it’s been arranged, and I’m tentatively scheduled to appear on August 16th at 7 P.M.

About the book tour

The Bad Monkeys book tour is starting to take shape. So far it’s pretty modest—readings and signings in a bunch of places in Seattle and a visit to Powell’s in Portland (on July 31st)—but we’re not done making arrangements, so those of you who are farther afield and want to see me shouldn’t despair just yet. A lot depends on whether we can get the orbital mind control lasers focused on Oprah (Cormac McCarthy is supposed to pass along targeting coordinates, but so far no dice).

A list of confirmed tour dates can be found on the “Readings and other appearances” page of my website.