Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a book review and send it to me at scott[at]slatestarcodex[dot]com before August 5th 2020.
Interested? Here’s the small print (written in normal-sized print, for your convenience):
Pick a book, then write a review similar to my SSC book reviews (examples). I’m mostly expecting reviews of nonfiction, but I guess you could review fiction if you really wanted and had something interesting to say beyond just “here’s the plot and I thought it was good”.
I’ll choose some number of finalists – probably around five, but maybe more or less depending on how many I get – and publish them on the blog, with full attribution, just like with the adversarial collaborations. Then readers will vote for the best, just like with the adversarial collaborations. First place will get at least $1000, second place $500, third place $250 – I might increase those numbers later on. Some winners may also get an invitation to pitch me any other pieces they have that they think would make good SSC posts. I may also release non-finalist entries somewhere else so people can read them – if you strongly object to me making your entry public, let me know.
Please send me your review in a .txt file (eg Notepad), attached to an email. I’m making this rule because otherwise you send me heavily formatted emails with lots of bold text and weird font changes and tables, and it’s really hard to post to SSC in ways that don’t mess up the formatting or look wrong. If you want formatting in your final posted review, please use a tiny amount of hand-written html – ie putting bold things in <b>bold</b> and putting links in <A HREF=”http://www.example.com”>links</A>. If you want to include images, please use <IMG SRC=”http://www.example.com/image.png”>. For quotes, <blockquote>quote</blockquote>. If you can’t figure this out, just send me the images and tell me where to put them. Don’t get Word or something to save your heavily formatted document as HTML or it will do horrible things that will screw me up when I try to make it into a blog post. If you can’t make or send .txt files for some reason, please paste your review in the body of the email in a way that follows these same principles. I don’t want this part to prevent anyone from sending something in, so if you don’t understand this and are scared of it, just send something in anyway and I’ll fix it up.
In your email to me, please also include the name you want me to attribute your review to – that could be your real name, your first name plus an initial, your pseudonym, etc.
You don’t have to register beforehand or let anyone else know you’re doing this. But if you want to avoid having someone else accidentally review the same book as you, you can post what you’re doing in the comments below and hopefully other people will avoid doubling up. I have vague plans to review Julian Jaynes’ The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind and Ezra Klein’s Why We’re Polarized before August, so you might want to avoid those too.
If you win, I will pay through PayPal or donations to the charity of your choice. I reserve the right to change these conditions in minor ways that don’t significantly inconvenience contest participants.
I’ll check the comments here for a few days and answer any questions you might have.
[EDIT: Please don’t submit reviews that have been posted on other blogs before. Reviews that have been posted on the r/SSC or r/themotte subreddit are provisionally okay, since I don’t want to disincentivize people from doing that, but I’ll try to come up with better guidance soon]