I’ve been thinking lately about Tuckerization, that thing where authors will put a friend (or possibly the winner of a charity auction) into a book they’re writing. It’s kind of cool to come across, particularly if you don’t know it in advance. Our own Fran Wilde has been Tuckerized at least three times that I know of — by Steven Gould, Elizabeth Bear, and me. I routinely put the names of real people into my fiction. It just seems a fun thing to do.
All of which got me to thinking, what works other authors might wish to have been Tuckerized in. And, on the off chance that some Novelocity readers might be interested, I reached out to a few and asked them. Here are some of the replies I got back:
Alyx (A. M.) Dellamonica has already been Tuckerized, along with her wife, Kelly Robson, and their cat, Rumble. All three appear in Behemoth, by Peter Watts. Because they’re in a Watts books, they of course come to a bad end. She also points out that she’s named for Alyx of the Joanna Russ books. As for future Tuckerizations, she’s hoping one of her students will be wildly successful and stick her in a work of theirs.
Former New Orleanian James Cambias assures me he has never (consciously) Tuckerized anyone. He would have liked to have been in Neal Stephenson‘s Baroque cycle. He thinks he’d have made a good Scientific Revolution-era savant or perhaps a Jesuit.
Emmie Mears, whose latest novel, Look to the Sun, was published just a few weeks ago, says she has to go with David Eddings‘s The Belgariad/Malloreon because she would have loved to join Silk and Polgara and Mandorallen and Velvet in all their adventures.
When I asked Kij Johnson, she immediately responded that she would love to have been a crew member on the Bree in Hal Clement‘s Mission of Gravity. She feels she would have made a fantastic first mate to Barlennan.
Past SFWA President Russell Davis felt this was a really difficult question, if for no other reason than you can’t predict what kind of Tuckerization you’d get (throwaway character? villain? sidekick?) and that there are some worlds where that might really matter. Having made that point, he nonetheless picked being a character in The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Lots of opportunity to meet a bad fate in that book!
Juliette Wade, who shares my interests in matters of a linguistic nature, would love to have been tuckerized by Ann Leckie in Ancillary Mercy, and assures me it would have have been a total thrill, even if she were just a minor security character or something.
Kevin Hearne tells me he’s already had the best tuckerization: his Star Wars name was revealed by Chuck Wendig in Life Debt, where he appears as Hern Kaveen, a bearded Pantoran who is the personal bodyguard of Mon Mothma.
And the last word this month goes to Walter Jon Williams who once sought out a Tuckerization from Jack McDevitt who was auctioning off the chance to name a starship in an upcoming novel. Alas, it was a cash auction and Walter only had $65 on him and was quickly outbid. Thus the world was (for now at least) deprived of reading of the USS Walter Jon Williams.
And that’s all I’ve got for you this month, other than to point out that Max Gladstone stopped short of Tuckerizing me in his latest Craft Sequence novel, Four Roads Cross. There’s a throwaway line in there that perpetuates a Twitter gag he and I have tossed back and forth for months, to the consternation of our mutual editor at Tor Books.
Lots of different holidays are coming up in a few weeks. Take my advice, celebrate all of them. Be kind to your loved ones and to some total strangers too. Dress warmly and get plenty of sleep.
Lawrence M. Schoen holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology; has been nominated for the Campbell, Hugo, Nebula, WSFS awards; won the Cóyotl award for Best Novel of 2015; is a world authority on the Klingon language; operates the small press Paper Golem; and is a practicing hypnotherapist specializing in authors’ issues.
His previous science fiction includes many light and humorous adventures of a space-faring stage hypnotist and his alien animal companion. His most recent book, Barsk, takes a very different tone, exploring issues of intolerance, friendship, conspiracy, and loyalty, and redefines the continua between life and death. By the time you read this, he should have finished the first draft of a sequel which will be landing on his editor’s desk any day now. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife and their dog.