It felt like a mini science fiction convention at Powell’s Books on Tuesday when John Scalzi visited Portland for a special author event featuring geeky musical duo The Doubleclicks

The seats were filled with people spilling into the aisles to see the popular Hugo Award winning (Redshirts, 2013) author who is currently on tour promoting his newest book, The End of All Things, the most recent book in the Old Man’s War series.

“Portland has always been good to me—there’s always been a good turn out,” said Scalzi.

Because of that, he declared, this particular event would have something special none of the other tour stops would have— an opening band!

The Doubleclicks performed their song “Nothing To Prove” to tumultuous applause, which turned to grins of anticipation as Scalzi himself picked up an instrument.

“I always say, if you bring a ukelele, I will play it,” said Scalzi, ” …which is more of a threat, since I’m not good at playing the ukelele, but this doesn’t actually stop people.”

John Scalzi and the Doubleclicks
“This is my first time playing with them… so it will be entertaining, if nothing else.” —John Scalzi

Despite this, and perhaps because he had a “confident backing band,” Scalzi and The Doubleclicks performed a unique take on The Cure’s “Friday, I’m in Love.”

Although the event was ostensibly about his newest book, Scalzi made the choice not to read from The End of All Things, or any other of his published works.

Instead, the audience got an exclusive preview of an upcoming story called The Dispatcher. The story is so new, Scalzi just finished writing it before going on tour.

I’d tell you about it, but I can’t, under pain of ninja.

In all seriousness, as he wrote on his blog, it’s his first foray into the urban fantasy genre. And no, “it’s not about chain smoking elves.”

To learn more, you can either wait until it comes out on Audible later this year, or catch Scalzi on tour.

scalzi at author eventJohn Scalzi made sure to leave plenty of time for Q&A which he believes can be the most fun part of an author event and he’s no stranger to weird questions.

He promised to respond to any question put to him.

“Someone asked me if I’d rather have wings or a tail… and I went off for like 10 minutes,” said Scalzi, referring to a previous event.

There’s always rumors about the next Scalzi book hitting the silver or small screen but he didn’t have any details to share.

“With anything related to Hollywood, they give you an option check, but there’s lot that can go wrong between there and putting it on the screen.”

“You can’t celebrate until Season 3,” he joked, “Until then, I just keep cashing the checks.”

Scalzi also talked about his involvement in the charity book cover “pose-off” with Jim C. Hines.

Recreating cover art featuring “women in fundamentally ridiculous and impossible poses,” Scalzi, clad in black slinky dress, had to hold an awkward pose “for like, 5 minutes, while my wife figured out the camera.”

Scalzi says he’d consider doing ridiculous things again for charity.

“I posted that online. You expect me to be ashamed?” Scalzi said.

author scalzi signing books
Inevitably, Scalzi was also asked about the 3.4 million dollar publishing deal that made headlines earlier this year.

The deal is a 10-year contract with Tor for 13 books.

Among the proposed books is a sequel to Sci-fi crime thriller Lock In and another book in the Old Man’s War series. There will also be a brand-new space opera “with lots of lasers and explosions.”

We look forward to seeing what he writes next.

Check out the rest of John Scalzi’s tour schedule to see if he’s coming to a city near you!