Geektastic: anthology of nerdy fiction and comics

Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci's wonderful anthology of nerdy fiction and comics, Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd was a great read: the short fiction ran the gamut from soul-searing angst to high comedy and all the territory in between. Of particular note were Scott Westerfeld's "Definition Chaos" (a story about a gun-toting gamer and his nutsy ex-girlfriend transporting $80,000 by train to Florida to pay for a con's hotel deposit); Garth Nix's "The Quiet Knight" (a disabled LARPer finds his true self in boffer armor); Lisa Yee's "Everyone But You" (a baton-twirling midwesterner reinvents herself in a Hawaiian high school); Kelly Link's "Secret Identity" (the book's top piece; a novella about a girl who travels to New York to hook up with a man she met in an MMORPG, despite the fact that doing so will reveal to him that she has lied about her identity); and Libba Bray's heartbreaking "It's Just a Jump to the Left" (a girl discovers she can't escape her life at Rocky Horror)

Intercut with the stories is a series of charming one-page comics drawn by Hope Larson and Brendan Lee "Scott Pilgrim" O'Malley. — Read the rest

Young adult authors for Obama

Lauren McLaughlin sez, "Young Adult author Maureen Johnson launches new Obama social networking website. Many YA authors will be blogging there, including Judy Blume, Scott Westerfeld, Meg Cabot, Holly Black and many more. From the mission statement:"

YA for Obama is a community of YA writers and readers and friends who have joined together because of our commitment to Future United States President Barack Obama…This is a social networking site, which means that when you join (it's free!

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200 free copies of my next novel, Little Brother, for high-school newspaper reviewers

My next novel, Little Brother, is coming out in about six weeks, on April 29. It's a book for young adults, about freedom, surveillance, and how technology can be used to free you or to lock you up. It's about a gang of hacker/gamer kids in San Francisco who use technology to restore freedom to America, despite the damndest efforts of the Department of Homeland Security to take it away in the name of fighting terrorism. — Read the rest

Conclusion of Westerfeld's Uglies and Pretties trilogy is out

Specials, the conclusion of Uglies, Scott Westerfeld's amazing young adult science fiction trilogy, has just been published. The Uglies trilogy is an adventure story about a totalitarian dystopia where social order is maintained through rigid stratification of society: young people are surgically modified at 16 to a statistically average concept of perfect beauty, whereupon they become "Pretties," ready to live their lives as productive, vacuous members of society. — Read the rest

Mood-altering cat parasites make women friendly and men into jerks

A parasite that causes rats to sacrifice themselves to cats may also change human behavior, making women more outgoing and warmhearted, and men more jealous and suspicious. The Toxoplasma bacteria protist is shed in cat feces, which are eaten by rats; infected rats become fearless in the presence of cats, which makes them easier to catch, which, in turn spreads the disease to new cats. — Read the rest

Hairworms brainwash grasshoppers into watery suicide

Shades of Scott Westerfeld's brilliant vampirism-as-parasitic-infection novel Peeps — New Scientist reports that a worm that thrives in grasshoppers and crickets somehow convinces its hosts into drowning themselves, leaving the worms in a better breeding position:

The parasitic Nematomorph hairworm (Spinochordodes tellinii) develops inside land-dwelling grasshoppers and crickets until the time comes for the worm to transform into an aquatic adult.

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Vampire novel as a work of first-rate science fiction

Scott Westerfeld is a hell of a writer and a hell of a nice guy. He's prolific as anything, and he hops between genres with amazing, acrobatic effortlessness. I met him a couple years back at the World Science Fiction Convention in Toronto, and I liked him so much that I was actually reluctant to read his books — it's really rotten to meet writers whom you really get on with and then discover that you don't much care for their books, so sometimes it's safer just to avoid their works (neurotic as that may sound). — Read the rest

Cool-hunter detective story

I just finished Scott Westerfeld's "So Yesterday," a novel about cool-hunters working for Nike who stumble upon a shoe that's so amazingly cool that they can't figure out why it bears a red-circle-slash No Logo modifier. Nor how said cool anti-shoe relates to the mysterious disappearance of their boss, the head cool-hunter wrangler. — Read the rest