Ever wonder who was the first kid to keep a wallet on a big chunky chain, or wear way-too-big pants on purpose? What about the mythical first guy who wore his baseball cap backwards? These are the Innovators, the people on the very cusp of cool. Seventeen-year-old Hunter Braque's job is finding them for the retail market.But when a big-money client disappears, Hunter must use all his cool-hunting talents to find her.
Along the way he's drawn into a web of brand-name intrigue-a missing cargo of the coolest shoes he's ever seen, ads for products that don't exist, and a shadowy group dedicated to the downfall of consumerism as we know it. I enjoyed Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series so I was curious to see how I'd like one of his books that was set in the real world. I thought he did a great job with the characters of Hunters and Jen.
Debate Class Summer Projects. You have two assignments to complete over the summer break. The Debate Blog. You will be required to submit a minimum of four (4) responses to the Clark Debate blog. Do not wait until the end of the semester to complete – doing this as an ongoing process allows the other. (You don't think about us much because we are invisible.) So yesterday, Scott Westerfeld; The early summer sky was the colour of cat vomit. Uglies, Scott Westerfeld; After a year of hunting, I finally caught up with Sarah Peeps, Scott Westerfeld; It's hot as hell in Martirio, but the papers on the porch are icy with the news.
They were unique, likable, and memorable. I also loved the historical facts that Westerfeld put in the story. And like the Uglies series, So Yesterday makes you think about how things work in our society--specifically, how we decide what is cool and what isn't. It seems like such a silly topic, but as Hunter points out, there's big money to be made in cool. People really do pay ridiculous amounts for the cool label.
My only complaint about this book (besides a few swear words that I wished weren't there) was that I wanted more from the ending. I'm not sure what--but it just seemed like Hunter went through so much to try and help his friend and got so little. (But then maybe that was the point--people who are all about cool aren't good friends.) Also, I never quite understood why the Jammers invited Hunter and Jen to the launch party. But all and all it was a book worth reading. This is one of Westerfeld's earlier YA novels. That shows in the writing.
So Yesterday lacks the fast pace, engaging characters and tight plot typical of the author's later YA books. The too aptly named Hunter is a self-professed 'cool hunter' - someone who seeks out the latest trends before they're trends. Hunter is employed by large corporations to pass on his finds and take part in focus groups so that those expensive marketing campaigns that keep the mega-corporations afloat don't fizzle.
Hunter's rather mundane world takes a turn for the exciting when he meets Jen, an innovator who makes the trends rather than following them. Jen and Hunter stumble into a conspiracy to upset the marketing status-quot and restructure the cool pyramid as they investigate a possible kidnapping.
The book's characters are unique and memorable though some have a tendency to lean toward the cliche. Hunter and Jen are likable but they exist in a plot that isn't well fleshed out and lacks a lot of depth. Overall the book feels light and insubstantial - where's the story? This is a couple of incidents loosely held together without any compelling impetus or drive. Hunter and Jen sort of bounce along with the story and are still bouncing when we leave them - reacting to their world but not changing it and not wholly a part of it. This is definitely not Westerfeld's strongest work, but you can see traces of the novels that came later and were much, much better.
This may be my favorite Scott Westerfeld book. I enjoyed Uglies, Pretties, etc. But lost interest in the series about half way through. I really liked Westerfeld's unique take on vampires in Peeps. This is Westerfeld taking on Culture Jammers, Fad, Fashion, Trends, Conformity, and Modern Consumerism. It's an romance/mystery/social commentary/adventure set on the streets of Manhattan, following one weekend in the life of a 'cool-hunter' - a teen who earns money spotting new 'cool stuff' to sell to corporate amerika for mass production. It's a romance, between a trendsetter/analyst and an innovator/free-spirit.
It's a mystery, as Hunter (the cool-hunter)'s boss disappears. It's social commentary, as I spent the whole book trying to figure out if it was completely realistic, or if it had a twinge of speculative fiction. It's an adventure, as our heros navigate the waters of seizure-causing Pokemon, faux-magazines, and unbranding in search of the perfect shoe (and/or boss). The only thing that got on my nerves was the author's refusal to name brands. Normally, this would have added a star in my book, but in this case, Westerfeld makes a point of not naming the brand, then gives clues that make the brand identity obvious. I think this does the opposite of what the author intends - I spent mind-power identifying the brand instead of glossing over it, giving more attention to the brand, not less. I don't like bending my mind around clues with the prize being the word 'Visa.'
It kind of feels like a slap in the face. Maybe that's the point. But really, read it. It still feels very current - and that could change any minute now.
Let's talk about the cool pyramid. At the zenith, we have the Innovators. These are the first ones to do something new - rock a backwards baseball cap, get two piercings in one ear, wear boots on the outside of their pants. 'When you meet them, most Innovators don't look that cool, not in the sense of fashionable, anyway. There's always something off about them. Like they're uncomfortable with the world.' At the next level reside the Trendsetters.
They are the second in line to follow a new trend. They usually watch out for innovations so they can make 'em spread, because they are usually watched by the 'regular people.' 'Unlike the Innovators, they are cool, so when they pick up an innovation, it becomes cool. A Trendsetter's most important job is gatekeeper, the filter that separates out real Innovators from those crazy people wearing garbage bags.' Below, we have the Early Adopters, the first people with a new item - 'they test and tweak the trend, softening the edges.' Vital difference between these and the Trendsetters: 'Early Adopters saw their stuff in a magazine first, not on the street.'
Further down, the Consumers. 'The people who have to see a product on TV, placed in two movies, fifteen magazine ads, and on a giant rack in the mall before saying, 'Hey, that's pretty cool.'
At which point it's not.' Rounding out the bottom are the Laggards. 'Proud in their mullets and feathered-back hair, they resist all change since they got out of high school.' Where do you rank? Follow Hunter, a Trendsetter in New York City, as he meets Jen, an Innovator, stereotypical to the description. They get involved in a mystery, trying to find who's behind the plot to unravel the cool pyramid as we know it.
Intriguing story - it will definitely make you look at 'cool' in a whole new light. I listened to this on audiobook, and I'll rate that the reader was decent.
Nothing bad but nothing truly exciting either. Made me wish books words made into radio serials with multiple actors. The book itself was decent. It was funny in most places.
And had the sarcasm and jeering that a teen would have. I didn't expect it to be a mystery (I admit I chose it without knowing what it was about, but simply because it was an audiobook and was easily available to borrow) so that was interesting. Teens investigating something is a fun concept because you know their resources are limited and they aren't taken seriously by adults, so you hope that they achieve above average feats. The plot was interesting because it was a part of society I wasn't familiar with - big businesses consulting teens on pre-launch and commercials and 'cool-hunters' and 'innovators,' or people who break the trend and march to their own beat and influence others inadvertently.
I liked it up until the points where the theory about 'cool' and the corporations deciding what's cool for us were really approached. I'm not a fan of big-business and it's affect on American culture and morals, so this part really turned me off. I'm not sure what the moral of the story is, besides to be an innovator yourself. I guess that's an important theme for teens, and that's what they think about. The book did have that benefit: reminding me how important it was to be cool when you were a teen, so you could impress everyone - and now as an adult it's more to claim your independence from others thought, or just to impress those that are close to you. The emphasis on being a predetermined 'cool' is what made me give the story two stars though. I didn't think there was much for teens to learn from it.
Relatable, yes, but not very redeeming in its value to make up for the frequent language or materialism. Warnings: Sex - nope. Violence - nope. The protagonists are chased by a scary looking bald guy in a dark building. Sadly that's the most exciting part of the book. Language - a lot of taking the Lord's name in vain. Some other farmer's curse words.
But too much of the former for me to be completely comfortable.
The Obsessive Refreshing Experience has been an interesting experiment in group dynamics, but not as much fun as I’d hoped. Everyone racing to comment has been kind of disruptive to the discussion threads here, and probably to your lives as well. Maybe it’s time for a change. So this is the last giveaway that goes to the first commenter.
We’ll have to think of something more interesting. (And maybe not based on being fast, you know?) In the last comment thread, Kim suggested that I ask a trivia question and see who answers first. That’s still time-based, but it could be more fun and less random.
So here’s a trivia question, and the first person to post the correct answer wins a sampler! (That’s right, I’m giving away two samplers today! Oh, the excitement!) Question: In my book there are two characters who each have two last names (but both in different ways). Who are these characters? Please identify both characters by their one first name and two last names. Is this question slightly confusing?
It’s supposed to be. If you post a partial answer, don’t blame me if someone steals it from you and wins with the whole answer! Let the games begin. Also, let’s use this comment thread to come up with some other ideas. Is there any way to do this where you don’t win based on timing at all?
My next post will be in 48 hours, give or take 15 minutes. First: You are all terribly sophisticated. Trust me, you are. It’s in this article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Apparently, teen readers are much cleverer these days, reading more and better books.
A nice change from the usual under-researched gloom about “young people these days.” These days rule. Second: I have a cool announcement for you. This became official a while back, but the time has come to reveal it here...
New Jersey has selected as its young adult book for 2007! I wrote So Yesterday in 2003, after returning from my first year in Australia.
I’d been away from New York for eighteen months, and the book is sort of a love letter to the city. It’s also about marketing and advertising, and is the first of my “obscure facts books,” which include the NY-centric and. Also says that the protagonist of SY, Hunter, is the character in my books who’s most like me.* Hmm. Obviously, I’m very excited and honored that teen-folk all over the Garden State will be reading it. Thanks to everyone who made it happen. As the first of my One Book One State duties, I’ll be in Elizabeth, NJ next week, talking about So Yesterday and answering all questions! Date and Time: Wednesday, March 14 6:00 to 7:30 Place Elizabeth Public Library 11 South Broad Street Elizabeth, NJ (908-354-6060 ext.
7235) Here’s a! Hope to see you there. ______________________________ *If I was 17 and much, much cooler.
Yes, I may be in Thailand, but I’m working terribly, terribly hard on my next book. So it wasn’t me who found these videos on YouTube, I swear. I’m working way too hard. But here they are: for has lots of cool split-screen energy.
Check out the casting. And, although it’s not really about, does give you some idea how much work goes into making people in magazine ads into pretties. (In some ways, Photoshopping inspired the trilogy more than cosmetic surgery.) And here’s another about extreme retouching. A must watch. It’s like the operation unfolding before your eyes.
And finally, I mentioned in a, but include it here for completeness. Can you guys find any more? (One link per post, please, or my spam filter has a whole bag of zap with your name on it!). A few days ago, wrote about character names.
She and I agree pretty much on this issue: We don’t stress out insanely about finding the one and only true name that magically brings a character to life. When I hear other writers talk about that stuff, I wonder if perhaps it’s a way of procrastinating to avoid the real work of getting inside character’s head. (That is, knowing their favorite breakfast condiment, shoe size, and relationship to Pluto.) But people are fascinated with names, or at least the people who write me fan mail are, so without further ado...
Here’s the first episode of “Why I Chose the Names I Did,” which is all about my first YA series,! Jessica Day Her working name was Gillian Flood, which I still think rocks. “Gillian” is the name of a pal of mine (who managed to get a law degree in the time it took me to write the whole trilogy: congrats!). Alas, my heroine’s name was destined to change. The “Flood” went early on, in the proposal stage. Basically, an editor at the packaging house happened to have the last name “Flood,” and they found the confluence a bit weird.
So someone chose “Day,” for obvious reasons—indeed, too obvious, some might say (including me). I didn’t raise much of a fuss at the time, because this was not where I wanted to fight my battles. So “Gillian Day” it was. After the book was done, one of the higher-ups at HarperCollins decided she didn’t like “Gillian.” My frequent shortening to “Gill” sounded fishy to her. “Jillian” was proposed, but that spelling felt like a spike in my brain.
The issue languished, and the book’s protagonist remained unnamed until late in the editorial process, when I not-so-brilliantly suggested Jessica/Jess as a replacement. (See directly below for why this was dumb.) And thus Jessica Day was born. Dess Dess (no last name) was always named “Dess.” As she puts it in The Secret Hour, it’s supposedly short for Desdemona, but secretly short for “decimal.” I think Dess’s name is perfect, quick-witted and math-geeky, just like her.
Alas, it friggin’ rhymes with Jess. I didn’t even notice this until an editor had run the Search-and-Replace right before the page proofs were produced for The Secret Hour.
All those Desses and Jesses next to each other, causing eyeball fatigue! Some readers have written to say it makes their brain hurt, others don’t notice at all. In Touching Darkness, I pay a swift homage to this issue: Beth turned from her cooking. “You have a friend called Dess, Jess?” “Yeah, it’s a mess.” At least one highly visual reader said it got even worse for him when this next double-S feminine name was thrown into the mix... Melissa Melissa is the first of a Westerfeldian breed: interestingly crazy women whose names begin with M. Later in Midnighters we meet Madeleine, and readers of will see the tradition continued with Minerva (more on her in a later episode of this show). Some might suggest that David’s mom in, Maddy, also fits this profile.
That’s probably a bit unfair, though Tally might think otherwise. But within the midnighters’ world, the m has tons of connections, which brings us to... Madeleine The initial M makes Madeleine a typographical sister to Melissa.
Plus they’re both mindcasters, misanthropes, and malcontents. But more importantly, a madeleine is a pastry with a history. Savor this, if you will...
Photo credit: You see, a madeleine features heavily in, Marcel Proust’s book in which a man eating a madeleine has a memory flashback, vast chunks of the past skittering out of his mind for the next 800 pages, all because of the familiar taste. That’s right, it’s exactly the sort of effect that touching a mindcaster can have (and, of course, mindcasting uses tastes as its central metaphors for people’s thoughts and memories). Touching Darkness, and indeed the whole Midnighters series, is all about the rememberance of things past... Rex Greene “Rex” means king, which makes the name pretty ironic at first.
He’s supposed to be the leader of the midnighters, but he’s somewhat shaky, as kings go. Of course, by Blue Noon Rex is more of a. I have no idea where “Greene” came from. Jonathan Martinez Jonathan’s name also just came out of nowhere. Of all the characters, he’s the only one whose last name is a data point about him. After all, he’s Hispanic and has some plot-related knowledge of Spanish.
(Also, it would be lame to set a book in Oklahoma without a Hispanic character, especially given the importance of history and colonization in the series.) “Martinez” is pretty common, just as Greene and Day are. In fact, all the midnighter characters have vaguely generic last names, as if they’re just being slotted into historical roles handed down over the generations. But maybe that’s overthinking it... Other Characters Don Day: as in “dawn day”?
An appalling combination that also didn’t occur to me until too late. Beth: for some reason, the ultimate little sister name. Jessica’s Mom: She has no first nameI What’s up with that?
Well, Jessica is really much closer to her mom than her dad, so while she often thinks of him as “Don,” her mom is only ever “Mom.” A subtle but effective way to show family dynamics. Constanza Greyfoot: I just love “Constanza” as a slightly overblown name for a comic character. And of course ( spoiler alert!) her last name is a big deal in Books 2 and 3. Cassie Flinders: Matthew Flinders was an early European explorer of Australia, where I started to write the series. Cassie herself is an explorer of the Blue Time.
Jaeger Lecoultre Atmos Clock Serial Numbers. Well, “Cassie-Anne” was going to be my name if I’d been a girl. (Tell no one.) Angie: is a friend of mine who was house-sitting for us while I wrote The Secret Hour. You see, I was telling her how to pay bills and fix the toilet via email, just as the Darklings told Angie what to do via... Or something. That’s all I can think of. Are there any of your fave Midnighters characters I’ve missed? Actually, that was fun.
I’ll write soon about character names in my other books, ending up with The Last Days, of course. Which is (did I mention?)! If you haven’t read the series and your interest is piqued, feel free to go buy.
The contracts for the movie option are finally signed! That took a while. Now, a quick note about options: This doesn’t mean that the movie will be made!
It just means that a production company has paid me for the exclusive right to make a film. So do not send your acting resumes to me yet. Because like, why would you send them to me?) Still, it does get us one step closer. Now that the contracts are signed, I can finally tell you who the producers are. But first: You may remember a where I promised glorious prizes to anyone who could guess the book and the producer. Well, nobody got both exactly right, but Corn on the Cob almost got one of the producers correctly, which I didn’t think would happen at all. Corn wrote: “Okay my second guess is a documentary type thing of the Uglies/Pretties book by Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 911, Bowling for Columbine).” How random was that guess?
Okay, so it wasn’t Uglies, and it’s not Michael Moore. But it is one of the other producers of Fahrenheit and Columbine, a guy called. Two decades ago, he also worked as an assistant director on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, to which I can only say: “Dude, we’re not worthy.” On So Yesterday he’ll be working with Maria Gallagher. Maria is the author of the Stinky Boys Club books, and has produced a lot of advertising and a Madonna video. Actually, both Maria and Jim come from the world of slick, high-end advertising satirized in So Yesterday.
Back in November, I met with them to talk about how to make So Yesterday a movie, and I think they and their ideas are very cool. They want to render the book’s info-dumps in visual form, and put the critique of advertising and marketing onto the screen, somehow. It’s going to be exciting to see how it all comes out. So Corn in the Cob, email me about receiving your fabulous prize.
You didn’t get it exactly right, but I didn’t think anyone would get even remotely close. So color me w00t! (And wish Maria and Jim luck.) This just in! Justine’s has been nominated for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards! Read about it.
First among cool stuff is the fact that has been boingled! To witness said boingling. (And for Justine’s response.) I really like Cory’s capsule reviews. They always elucidate plot and theme from an interesting angle (as seen here in his ). He’s an adult sf author, but it seems the new wave of cool YAs has started to draw him over to the dark side. Also, he knows the value of the pull-quote: “ Magic or Madness... Has everything it takes to be an instant classic for smart, curious kids who look to fantasy for more than escape—who look to fantasy literature to stretch their understanding of the real world.” Sweet.
And here’s few other newly learnt cool things that I forgot to mention in my post about: 1. The words “” translate perfectly into Finnish. The phrase makes no sense in French, and the book’s publishers in France,, don’t know what to call their edition yet. “So Yesterday” also makes no sense in Swedish, so that edition will be called: So what the heck does “Ute/Inne” mean? Pretty much what it sounds like if you say it in a mock Swedish accent: “out/in.” In other words, “what’s hot/what’s not,” except backwards. Reading the tagline, “en roman av Scott Westerfeld,” I started wondering why roman means “novel” in so many Indo-European languages (including English, in loan-phrases like roman-a-clef). It was also bugging me in Bologna, where the word was all over the place; in French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian, novels are called romans or some such word.
I decided to go poking around in the OED, and in retrospect the answer seems pretty obvious. The earliest uses of the term applied to “romances”—long romantic poems, that is—the precursors to the modern novel. So if anyone ever disses you for reading a romance novel, you can always point out that all novels were romances originally.
So chew on that. So I forgot to mention last month that the of my book has been released.
The guy who reads it, whose name is also Scott, has won all sorts of awards, including one for reading science fiction. (Man, they have awards for everything these days.) He’s been named a “Golden Voice” by Audiofile magazine, which is like being a Grandmaster at chess or something. He does about 50 titles a year, which sounds like an insane schedule.
(Us Scotts are a driven people. Boom Boom Indian Song Free Download. ) Here’s of Scott. And here’s what he looks like: I haven’t bagged a copy yet, although I will when we get to New York. But I did hear a snippet at the iTunes Store. It’s very weird to hear someone else read my work aloud.
And I read to each other while we’re working on novels, and I’ve developed a definite style of delivery. So my first reaction was, “That’s not how I’d do it.” That’s silly, of course. My guess is that over the long run (it’s six and a half hours!) my deadpan style would be deadly dull. He’s the award-winning pro, after all.
There’s a good reason why authors mostly don’t do their own audiobooks, just like we don’t paint our own covers. To hear it yourself, go to Audiobooks and search on “Westerfeld”. You can buy it on iTunes,. And this is interesting. You can an “MP3-like” version for only US $9.99!
And I are only three weeks away to heading off on what we’ve been calling the “round-the-world jaunt that ate March.” This trip may kill us, but for those of you who live in Brisbane, San Francisco, NYC, or Bologna, it will mean a chance to say hi and get books signed. Here’s our appearance schedule, starting with a trip up the east coast of Australia: Saturday 25 February 2006 Brisbane, Qld First a short hop up to Bris-Vegas for the Aurealis Award Ceremony.
We’re both up for best Young Adult SF or Fantasy novel of 2005! Me for and, Justine for. (I hope she wins, so I don’t have to make a speech.) A little more than a week later, we fly across the Big Pond to California. We’ll be staying with friends, doing an interview with, and doing two appearances: Tuesday 7 March 2006, 7PM 866 Valencia St San Francisco, California I’ll be sitting next to a big stack of Midnighters 3: Blue Noon and Justine will be signing her sequel,. And the very next night, doing the same thing, except here: Wednesday 8 March 2006, 6PM Laurel Village 3515 California St San Francisco Then it’s off to New York for two weeks of hanging out with friends and making sure the NYC apartment hasn’t burned down, exploded, or become infested with parasites of some kind.
For those of you within spitting distance of Manhattah, there’s one public appearance (so far): Saturday 18 March 2006, 12-2PM 18 W 18th Street New York City But you aren’t allowed to actually spit on us. It’s just a figure of speech. Finally in late March, we fly over to Italy for two things in Bologna: 25-26 March, 2006 SCBWI is the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Justine and I are teaching three workshops together about writing for kids. One about synopses, one about slang, and one about regional voices. (Hey, if you want to enroll, it’s cheaper if you before February 15.) And then the Fair itself starts: 27-30 March, 2006 Bologna Fair Centre – Piazza Costituzione Entrance This is an annual event where pretty much every publisher in the young readers’ world comes together to schmooze, eat, drink, schmooze, and buy foreign rights.
Justine and I will get to meet all the cool people who’ve translated our works into Italian, German, Japanese, Thai, Swedish, Chinese, Polish, Russian, Finnish, Hebrew, Spanish, and Slovene*. It promises to be full of multi-lingual conversations and good meals, because you can’t beat Italian cities with food named after them. (And that’s no baloney. Sort of.) And at last there’s the mega-flight from Bologna, to Frankfurt, to Singapore, to Sydney.
Followed by sweet, sweet death. (By which I mean, of course, sleep.) *By the way, did I mention that sold in Slovene? You know, the language of Slovenia. The country, next to Italy and stuff... Hey, Slovene is the new black, dude.
Those are not my words, but the headline writer of The Melbourne Age, the biggest newspaper in Australia’s second biggest city. A bit blush-making. The article, by the excellent Mike Shuttleworth of the, is a result of winning the Victorian Premier’s Award down there.
It’s a great big article in the A section, with a big-ole photo of me in my, ahem, coolest T-shirt: Jennifer Soo Yes, that’s me looking off into the future of literature. Or maybe flexing my imagination, or thinking, “Hope I don’t look like a wanker.” I’m always exceedingly nervous about any picture of me appearing that I don’t have TOTAL control over. Not to mention articles that quote me rattling along before breakfast on many cups of coffee. But Mike managed to make me sound smart, and Jennifer made me look (passably) cool. Much thanks to them both.
For a password, go to. (If you’re already a Sydney Morning Herald reader, you don’t need one.) And it starts: Scott Westerfeld describes his lifestyle as “bi-summeral”. For the past five years, the laconic, softly spoken Texan has moved between Sydney and New York with his partner, Australian Justine Larbalestier (herself a young-adult fiction writer).
They met at the Nebula Awards in New York in 2000 (“How geeky is that?” he asks) and now they divide their time between apartments in Manhattan and Surry Hills. Westerfeld is a writer of young adult fiction, living the perfect life for exploring the teenage cool world. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including So Yesterday, a whip-smart thriller about a New York trend-spotter and a culture-jamming scam... All very blush-making. Post navigation.