How I Totaled My Car (PS: I’m Fine)

Athena Scalzi

On December 12th, I went to my friend’s ugly sweater party at her house in Columbus. After a few hours of socializing and dancing (badly), I ended up starting my trek home at around 2:30am. It’s not the longest drive in the world, but it is long enough to be a pain in the ass, especially in the middle of the night.

It only took me about ten minutes to get out of Columbus, and then it was smooth sailing on the interstate. It was one of those times where it seemed like there was truly no one else on the road, except the occasional semi all the way in the right lane. Maybe it’s because it was so late (or so early).

I was all the way in the left lane, going the usual highway speed of about 75mph, when suddenly there was a tiny little piece of something in the road. I ran over it and thought, huh, I wonder what that was. Then, for the briefest second, I saw a destroyed car in the right lane, and by the time I looked back at the road, there was huge piece of something in the road.

It was large enough, in fact, that upon running over it, I caught air, my airbags went off, my front tires popped, and my vehicle was immediately totaled.

With my ears ringing and my eyes wide from being stunned by the airbags, my first thought was did that really just happen? and my second thought was I should pull over.

And so I pulled over into the left shoulder, threw it into park, and immediately got out to breathe in the non-smoky, freezing night air. The adrenaline hit was instant, and I knew it was why I started shaking immediately, separate from the cold. Upon getting out, I realized I hadn’t gotten over enough, and part of my car was still in the left lane. I pushed aside the airbags and got back in, and tried to pull over more, but my car was completely dead. The underside had been ripped apart by whatever I hit, and fluids from my engine were gushing out onto the pavement.

Again, I got out and looked back at the car that I had seen. The smashed car was across the highway from me, and it looked like it had been rear-ended so hard that the back half was pancaked into the front half. Obviously, it had been in a collision, so where was the other car? I looked ahead on the highway, and it was so dark out I almost missed it, but there was the other car, flipped upside down in the middle lane.

Immediately, I ran towards the flipped over car. All I could think about was how there were probably people trapped inside, hurt or dying, and I wanted to help. It was further away than it looked. Turns out highways are pretty massive.

Upon reaching the car, I called out, “Hello?” Immediately I heard the sound of someone on the inside banging on the windows.

“Help me! Let me out!” they yelled. I tried pulling on the doors, but they were locked, or maybe just stuck, but either way I couldn’t open them.

“I can’t get the doors open,” I replied. It was then that a semi blew past me a few feet away, and it occurred to me that I was quite literally standing in the middle of the I-70. I looked back to see if there were any other cars coming, considering that they could smash right into the flipped over car (and me) if they were traveling in the middle lane, and in looking back I saw that a highway patrol officer had pulled up to the smashed car I initially saw.

“The cops are here, I’m going to tell them you’re trapped,” I told whoever was inside.

I ran back to my car and saw the cop standing by the other car talking to someone.

“Help!” I yelled. They both looked over and the cop yelled back, “Stay there!” I stayed put and waited for him to run over to me.

“Someone’s trapped in their car!” I pointed to the flipped car, which was barely visible, to which the cop said “my god,” and ran to it.

The next thing I knew, three more patrol cars and three ambulances showed up. I stayed by my car and stood in a place that I was easily visible, and was approached a couple of times by different officers asking me if I was hurt. I kept saying no, then they’d go off and deal with something more urgent.

As I stood around, I decided to look around some more and take pictures, because I found the whole thing kind of interesting and figured this was a pretty rare occurrence. In doing so, I followed the trail of red metal from my car back to where I hit the thing in the road, and I discovered that it was the back axle of the first car I saw. One of the tires was still attached.

They shut down the highway by laying down a line of flares, causing a traffic jam. I thought about how much I would’ve hated to be stuck in traffic at 3am.

Eventually, a paramedic came up and asked the same thing I’d been asked a dozen times, and while I assured him I wasn’t hurt, I mentioned that I was cold, and it was starting to make me numb. So he took me to one of the ambulances and let me sit inside to take my information until another officer was ready to take my statement.

“Is there someone hurt? Does anyone need this ambulance?” I asked as I stepped in. “I don’t want to take it if someone else needs it more.”

“No, no one is hurt,” he replied. “The other two drivers are fine, you all refused treatment so no one is getting taken to the hospital.” All three of us were completely uninjured? That seemed lucky.

After a bit, an officer came and told me to come with him to his car, and I sat in the front seat and filled out a paper giving my statement. The guy from the first car I saw was sitting in the back seat doing the same thing.

“Where’s the other guy?” I asked the officer, who then informed me the other driver was impaired, so he was in the back of a different car (most likely in cuffs). Then, a tow truck came and started taking my car away.

The officer got out to do something, and I turned around to talk to the guy.

“Okay, what the hell happened?” I asked. He told me that he was traveling in the center lane going about 70mph, when suddenly this other car came flying up behind him, going at least a hundred if not over. He claimed that he tried to get into the right lane to get out of his way, but in the middle of doing so was smashed into and went spiraling out of control, meanwhile the car that hit him flipped over.

Somebody came and picked that guy up from the scene a few minutes later. Meanwhile me and the other driver got taken back to the station. I sat in a room and waited for my ride. The impaired guy was put in the room next to me, and I heard the officers tell him he was going to jail, and then I heard him start sobbing.

I got picked up at around 5am, and it was about another hour and a half before I was able to lay down in bed and finally sleep.

Long story short, there was an accident, I was just minding my beeswax when I suddenly hit the debris from the accident. My accident was considered separate from the other accident. I was not cited for anything and was assured by the officers many times that I was at fault for nothing, no one was hurt, and I don’t know if the impaired driver ended up getting actually sentenced to jail or if he just got his license revoked. I got a new car the next day (a used car), and started driving again immediately.

Now, it’s been almost three weeks and I feel okay. Though, things in the road scare me far more than they used to. I never realized how much shit there is in the road all the time. Plastic bags, soda cans, branches, there’s so much that we just casually run over everyday and it obviously doesn’t affect your car or anything.

But there have been several times over the past three weeks when it wasn’t just a can. I was driving to the grocery store and there was an entire full trash bag in the other lane. Like one of the heavy duty black trash bags. Another time, I was on the highway again and there was a huge board of wood laying in the road that I had no choice but to run over. Shortly after that, there was an entire tire!

Sometimes, you hit things, and it’s just a little bump, other times, you hit an axle and it destroys your car.

So, yeah, my anxiety has been a little higher. I’m hoping it goes away after a while. Here’s a selfie I took while I was in the cop car.

It’s New Years Eve! Don’t drive drunk! You could flip your car. Or kill someone. You know how it goes. Have a great holiday!

-AMS

Looking Back on 2021

2021: Not a great year! Its major claim to fame is that it wasn’t as bad as 2020, which I expect and bluntly fucking hope will go down as a real bottom-scraper in the annals of the 21st century, but let’s all agree that “not quite as bad as 2020” is not a huge recommendation for a year. I mentioned last year around this time how 2020 looked good for me on paper but was miserable in reality; I can say that 2021 looked less impressive on paper than 2020 — I didn’t publish fiction of any sort this year, for one thing — but was I think a much better year overall for me, both as a human and as a creator.

Let’s recap some of the personal highlights:

1. Wrote The Kaiju Preservation Society and saw it get positive reviews in all the publishing trades (including Library Journal, that review is official as of tomorrow) and otherwise do pretty darn well in its 2021 run up to publication in March;

2. Wrote the third installment of the Dispatcher series, which will debut in audio in the second half of 2022;

3. Got the Dispatcher series optioned for TV;

4. Saw “Automated Customer Service” premiere as part of Love Death & Robots, Vol. 2, and win an Emmy;

5. Bought a silly guitar;

6. And also a whole damn church;

7. Was Guest of Honor at Dragon Con — again! Although in person this time;

8. Was nominated for a Hugo for the Interdependency series;

9. Made a little bit of music;

10. Got a dog.

Plus there were some other things that happened in 2021 that I can’t talk about (yet) but which were definitely positive developments; maybe I’ll get to tell you about some of them soon. There were some of the usual disappointments and annoyances as well, because life is never 100% perfect. On balance, however, a definite step up from the year before.

I will celebrate the upswing and hope it augurs well for 2022 and beyond. I do think “2022 and beyond” are going to take a lot of work, to be clear. But I’m in a better place now to face it all than I was twelve months ago. So, come on in, 2022. I’ve been expecting you.

— JS

Prepping for the New Year

Krissy’s family has a tradition of making menudo for the New Year, which aside from Krissy’s family’s Mexican roots, is probably because menudo is also a traditional hangover cure, which some people might need on the morning of January 1. Krissy’s dad (who was actually of German descent – go figure) made the best menudo, and after his passing, Krissy has taken up the task. The prep takes a while, and menudo is best when it’s gotten a little time to let all the ingredients get to know each other. The soup making begins today so it’ll be available for tomorrow and New Year’s. Prepping and planning ahead for best results in the new year: There’s a metaphor here.

On the subject of prepping for the new year, I’ve been thinking about plans and goals for 2022. In terms of resolutions I might have, they are basically the same ones I had for 2021, which in turn were the goals I had for 2020: Structure time better, and make more time for reading, music and friends, not necessarily in that order, and maybe spend less time on social media. 2020 blew up those goals for me, but I did a little better with each of them in 2021. I’m hoping to do even better with them in 2022.

But more than that, what I want to do in 2022 is plant some seeds, both in terms of my career and my personal life: start earnest and intentional work on some strategies and plans that will have a long-term payoff rather than a short-term benefit. You may recall that we bought a church this year; that was a slightly unexpected head start on what I’m talking about here. We didn’t just buy it for fun. We bought it so we could have a headquarters for things we want to do and build on in the coming years. It’s a statement of purpose for ourselves as much as anything else.

Which is, I’m not going to lie, something I personally need. I’m not sure it would come as a surprise to many of you if I note that I am both ambitious and lazy, in almost equal measure; There is a lot that I want to do, and also, I’m easily bored and happy to occupy my time with naps and Twitter. So it helps me to have a plan and a mission statement and maybe also a concrete material investment to remind me to get my shit together and do the things I actually have to work at a bit. I’ll still have time for naps and Twitter when I’m done with that other stuff.

(It also helps that I’m bringing Krissy more into this stuff. She most emphatically does not have the lazy gene.)

Somewhat unintentionally, there may be an arc to the last few years for me. 2020 was the year a lot of things fell apart for me (and for everyone else, to be fair); 2021 was in many ways a year for me to rest and regroup; 2022 is hopefully the year I’ll start building some of the structures and practices that could carry on for me for the next several years. It’s the hope and plan, anyway. I’m optimistic. But then, I often am.

— JS

My Top Two 2021 Songs

One was a big hit! The other was from a video game! And, uhhh, don’t really have that much in common sonically. Welcome to me.

If you have a song or two from 2021 that spoke to you (and actually from the year, not just something you like generally), put a YouTube or other generally accessible link to it in the comments. I can always use new music, even as the year is getting old.

— JS

Whatever Best of 2021 (Athena Version)

Athena ScalziHello, everyone! It is I, the junior Scalzi, returning to bring you a few of my favorite pieces I wrote this year. Since I haven’t been writing for the past couple months, I have a smaller selection of posts to choose from than some people on this blog, but I guess that makes the selection process easier for me, anyway.

Before we begin, I’d like to take this time to thank everyone for the happy birthday wishes last week, it means a lot to me! I really appreciate the warm wishes, and for those of you that asked about how my semester away from the blog went, I am planning to write about that soon, so bear with me a little longer.

Back to the matter at hand, 2021 was, as it surely was for everyone, an interesting year. It’s definitely one for the history books, anyways. I have no hope that 2022 will be better, but I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see. Optimism aside, here are some of my favorite posts from this year:

I was going to go for ten, but I threw a couple extra ones in there, hope you don’t mind. And I hope you have a great day! I’ll be back very soon.

-AMS

Thoughts on Whatever in 2021, and in 2022

This was an interesting year for the Whatever, in my opinion. It was a pretty good year for Athena Scalzi content in the eight months she was blogging regularly, and a very good year for Big Idea features. It was a middlin’ year for me, though. I wrote some very good work here this year, but I wrote less of it — this was a year heavy on short bits, cat pictures and other fillers than it was on longer, more thoughtful pieces.

I can think of some reasons for this, but most of them devolve to the same culprit: Burnout from the last few years, and recovery thereof. I think it’s fair to say that I had a breaking point of some sort in the last month of 2020 and the first month of 2021, as did a lot of other people. When the change of administration happened, the rush of relief I felt channeled first into getting Kaiju written on a very tight schedule, and then into writing up the third Dispatcher installment, and then mostly just… resting my brain, honestly. In point of fact, what I needed for most of 2021 was down time. I’m lucky to have the luxury to take that time, and I did.

As a result, the one writing thing that is contingent on my doing it between pay copy — the Whatever — got less of my attention than it usually does. I don’t feel particularly bad about that fact, mind you, and even if I did it wouldn’t change the fact that I needed to curate my brain cycles a little more heavily in 2021 than I had in years previous. This web site is free! You get what you pay for! And you get whatever I decide to give! That said, it wasn’t really until the latter part of this year that it solidified in my thoughts what I was doing, and wasn’t doing, here in 2021.

One reason I noticed it is that in the last month, I’ve been feeling (slightly!) more ambitious about what I’m doing here on the site. A slow year is fine, and I needed it. But my brain is feeling at least a little more recharged, and now — 2022 willing, cross fingers, knock on wood — I have some plans to do more writing on the site in the coming year. And a desire to do so, which is actually important. This will need to be balanced with the need to write pay copy and tend to some other projects (hey, did you see that The Dispatcher got optioned?), but I’m feeling optimistic. We’ll see!

(As an incidental side quest to writing a bit more here, I’d also like to bump up visits; 2021 visits were down slightly from 2020, although about equal to 2019. Some of that comes from writing a bit less, and Athena stepping away from regularly contributing in August. Some of it is the continual struggle of any site away from the current social media standard bearers. The online experience is highly centralized these days. This is not really a complaint, since I do perfectly well on Twitter and through my public Facebook page. But I would be happy to convert some of those folks to folks who visit here from time to time as well.)

It’s nice to feel a bit ambitious for this site again, and hopefully it’ll be fun writing here in the new year. Thank you, as always, for coming along for the ride, whatever the ride is at any one time.

— JS

Brief Review: Don’t Look Up

I liked it a lot, which is not surprising as it combines two of my favorite things — astronomy and satire — into one movie, and then also gives me an excellent cast and a pretty good script. I would have liked it more, I suspect, if we weren’t currently living through a pandemic in which a great many Americans believe an actual virus that could kill them is a fake government plot which nevertheless can be counteracted by consuming enormous piles of horse paste, an idea that they were given (or at the very least encouraged in) by their chosen political idols. So the idea that a planet-killing comet could be met with indifference at best and gleeful avarice at the worst is a little on the nose for 2021.

But if you’re going to whistle past the graveyard, at least this film can carry a tune (literally, as Ariana Grande shows up to sing a song about the end of the world). It’s fun to see Leonardo DiCaprio play against type as a socially awkward nebbish of a scientist; Jennifer Lawrence is more in her own wheelhouse as a sarcastic millennial, and is unsurprisingly good at it. Plus there’s Meryl Streep, Streeping it up Streepily as the sort of President of the United States I fear we’re cursed to have more of in these latter days.

It’s all done well, and all more depressingly likely than I prefer. Satire is harder to do than it used to be. That’s not this movie’s fault. It’s ours.

— JS

(Probably) My Last Self-Portrait of 2021

And I look skeptical! Of what? Well, what have you got?

We’re now in that week between Christmas and New Year, in which days, hours and even minutes mostly lose meaning, so maybe I’m skeptical of the very nature of time itself. Seems a reasonable position to have, at least through January 1st.

How are you in this post-Christmas moment?

— JS

Review: The Matrix Resurrections

Big question first: Is The Matrix Resurrections the first sequel to The Matrix that is actually essential to the story of this universe?

The answer to this is: one, there was already an essential Matrix sequel and it’s called The Animatrix, thank you very much; two, from a cinematic point of view this film was absolutely not necessary in any way whatsoever. But! It is kind of fun if you like meta on top of your meta, stuffed into a cavity of more meta and then served up on a lacy bed of even more meta, and also, it’s clear that Lana Wachowski, who directed and co-wrote this installment without her sister Lily, with whom she co-directed the previous three live-action installments, is working through some stuff here, with regard to where she last left these characters and this setting. So, good for her that she did that and managed to get Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow to pay for it all.

What’s this about meta? you ask. It’s this: The film knows you’ve seen the previous films (even the ones you sarcastically say don’t exist) and also, the film knows you know that it knows you know this. It knows that (spoilers for a two-decade-old film trilogy) you know both Trinity and Neo are dead, of impalement and christly electrocution, respectively, it knows you know that Morpheus has been recast, it knows you watched both the trailers and the various interminable YouTube dissections of the trailers by beardy monotone nerds sitting in front a green screen, and it knows you know that Lana Wachowski, brilliant as her work has been (and here I stan Speed Racer, forever and ever, amen) could probably use with a hit at this point in her career.

So, fine: The film loads all that into the first hour of the film in a way that is absolutely designed to make this movie’s TV Tropes page an impenetrable wall of text. Which, by the way, I think is pretty damn great; really, at this point, the only way the movie could have dealt with all of this was to haul out the largest possible lampshade and hang it on film and tell you to just fucking deal with it. As someone who plays with meta all the time, and will again, just you wait, I’m happy to see Lana Wachowski and the other screenwriters run toward this problem rather than away from it. Full points! Well done!

Once the meta is done and dealt with, mind you, it becomes Just Another Matrix Movie, which, well, fine: action sequences, very pretty people dressed like bougie goths in expensive sunglasses scorpion-kicking interchangeable enemies (literally, they call them “bots” in this one), some philosophical pancake-flipping that grinds scenes to a halt (again, literally in this film) and which would cause eyerolling from the adjunct professor who taught you (or, if you saw the original in the theater, your kids) Philosophy 101, and, of course, the occasionally doomed love between Neo and Trinity, now with the added psychological weight of both actors being 20 years older, which — more points! — the film leans into rather than trying to pretend these two aren’t in their fifties at this point. The nuance of what their relationship means, to themselves and to the Matrix universe, is nice to see.

All of this is stuff you’ll like if this is the sort of the thing you like, and not if you don’t. At this point the question of whether the Matrix sequels need to exist is moot, since they do and we just have to accept that fact (I will allow that The Matrix itself neither required nor necessarily invited sequels; it was delightfully self-contained. But success breeds sequels, necessary or not, and if nothing else, I bow to the Wachowskis for getting Warner Bros et al to cough up $300 million for what are basically two live-action anime films, as well as an actual anime collection with the spare change). The question at this point is how well this sequel exists in the context of everything else.

This one has its ups and downs. On one hand, this one does all right tying up loose ends and getting everyone up to speed and explaining why, after Revolutions, which promised enduring peace, we have to go through all this Matrix shit yet again (and how Neo and Trinity are, you know, not worm food). On the other hand the recasting of a couple of roles (Morpheus most obviously) gives this film the feel of a national touring company version of a successful Broadway show, in which the two leads from the years-ago original run come back for a limited engagement in Chicago with the rest of the cast filled with kids who were in elementary school when the show made its debut. The cast is fine! It’s not quite the same, however.

(There are a couple of actors from the previous films showing up here. One of them looks like how Robin Williams looked when he escaped from Jumanji. The other has been slathered in makeup which tries to suggest they do not have a pair of the most impressive cheekbones in Hollywood, and doesn’t succeed particularly well.)

There’s another thing about Resurrections that is another layer of meta, which is that this is the first film in the series made after the Wachowskis transitioned, and the whole series began to be looked at through the lens of the trans experience, which in itself has an additional layer of irony given how “redpill” was been used as a metaphor by awful cis bigots to make their shittiness seem hip and in-crowd. First, of course, fuck those people, they’re awful, and second, while I strongly suspect this film will go a long way to punt their shittiness out of the conversation around these films, which in itself is an absolute good, I’m also aware I’m not otherwise qualified to go that deep into the dynamic of transness and the Matrix films, and will leave it to others to better essay. I will say I’m happy it’s out there openly now.

Again, The Matrix Resurrections isn’t essential, but it doesn’t hurt the series and ultimately may give its overall storytelling slightly more coherence. Moreover, from a storytelling point of view, and like the original film, it seems to neither need nor invite a further sequel. Will it get one? It depends on how much it makes and how well it does on HBO Max, and, I suppose, on the cartilage elasticity of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. On the latter score, CGI and virtual universes can only do so much.

— JS

Whatever Best of 2021

Charlie looking pensively into the future, with the caption "So that was 2021? Huh. Interesting, I guess."

2021 was an interesting year for me in terms of writing here; it was a year with a lot of round number anniversaries, plus the ongoing COVID pandemic, plus, you know, creeping authoritarianism. These themes are reflected in this annual Christmas Eve “best of” list, although there are other topics as well, just to, you know, keep things jazzy. A solid list, for a shaky year. Here’s to better 2022 for all of us.

— JS

23

Back when Athena was very young, we didn’t tell her when her birthday was; she would know when her mother and I would suddenly burst into her room one morning, bearing a cake and singing “Happy Birthday.” Now, at age 23, Athena is aware of when her birthday is, but Krissy and I still enjoy bursting into her room with a cake and singing to her. Family traditions! Silly and yet important.

Athena tells me this is her “Golden Birthday,” which I am told means her age (23) matches up with the date of her birthday in the month. What this tells me is that people born in February 29 never get a golden birthday, which seems vaguely unfair. Be that as it may, it’s an excuse to make this birthday a special occasion among special occasions, so, why not.

I’ve posted many times before about how happy I am Athena is my kid, so I don’t need to go into it right now, except to say that I still continue to feel that way. I would not ask her to be other than who she is, and who that person is, is pretty terrific. I do hope that on this Athenamas, you tell someone you love — child, partner, family member, friend — how important they are to you and how glad you are they are in your life. I feel that way about Athena. It’s a good feeling.

— JS

New Books and ARCs, 12/22/21

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these, partly because I’ve been strangely busy at the end of the year, partly because physical book deliveries have slowed down a bit, and partly because, well (waves at the world). Nevertheless I wanted to give this hefty stack of books a moment in the sun before 2021 came to a close. What here is calling to you on a long winter night? Share in the comments.

— JS

Name Your Cookie

This afternoon I made a comment on someone else’s tweet about oatmeal raisin, and chocolate chip, cookies:

This immediately sparked a (fortunately merry) war about the relative values of these two types of cookies, with so much back and forth that Twitter actually put a debate warning on the conversation. Which wasn’t needed, to be clear, people weren’t being actual assholes, although there was a lot of fun staking out cookie territories.

We don’t need to replicate the Oatmeal Raisin vs. Chocolate Chip discussion here; if you really want to take sides, go over to Twitter and have at it. But it did make me mildly curious as to what cookies were people’s favorites, when they actually had a preference. As much as people were touting the two types of cookies mentioned, one or the other can’t be everybody’s favorite.

So satisfy my curiosity: What’s your favorite cookie? Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle, something else? Here as we approach Christmas, it seems a timely yet enjoyable topic to essay. Share your opinions in the comments. I’ll be taking notes for what to bake (or, honestly asking someone else to bake) over the next several days. My sweet tooth thanks you in advance.

— JS

The Dispatcher Optioned for TV; “Kaiju” Excerpt at Tor/Forge Blog

These are two separate things! But they happened at around the same time (i.e., as I was on a plane home from Worldcon), so they’re being put into the same post.

First: Dispatcher optioned for TV, as reported by Deadline. This write-up is accurate (except the part where the story takes place in a distant future; that’s not a thing) and I’m excited to see where things go from here. Please be aware that at this point everything is super early in the process so I have absolutely no answers to any questions you might have about where it might end up, who will be cast, or, really, anything else. We’ll see! It’ll be a grand adventure. I can say I’m pleased the Dispatcher stories has a shot at making the jump into a new medium. I think the world could make for a great series.

Second: Read the first chapter of The Kaiju Preservation Society! In which our protagonist finds the early COVID-era job market a little rougher than expected. It’s a very fine chapter which sets the tone for the whole book but doesn’t really have any spoilers for further action, so it’s good for a casual glimpse into the world. Hope you enjoy it (and remember if you pre-order the book through Subterranean Press, I will sign and if desired personalize your copy)!

Busy day.

Also, I’m back from Worldcon. I had fun. Possibly more on that later.

— JS

Hello From Worldcon

Please enjoy this lovely hotel lobby tree, full of festive yuletide goodness. Things are progressing nerdily here at the convention, and today I had a signing and I moderated a panel on book series, which is somewhat fitting as I am up for the Best Series Hugo this year. The actual panelists said wise and trenchant things. Beyond this, the current plan for the rest of the day is… lie around and do little. I am very good at this plan.

Hope your mid-December weekend is restful and pleasant.

— JS

View From a Hotel Room 12/16/21: Washington DC

We’re in town for the first December Worldcon ever (I almost said first winter Worldcon, but then I remembered the Southern Hemisphere is a whole thing), and the current temperature outside is 63 degrees, which is not particularly December-y for DC, but is certainly pleasant to walk around in. Good to know the days before the climate apocalypse will be nice, I guess. My Worldcon schedule is relatively light this year: a couple of things a day and otherwise some time to see people (masked and vaxxed, of course) and also to have a vacation with Krissy. It’s been lovely so far.

Hope your Thursday is likewise lovely wherever you are.

— JS

Kirkus Review of “The Kaiju Preservation Society”

It has some not-insubstantial spoilers so I’m going to avoid pointing directly to it for now, but it’s pretty darn positive, and this is a key observation:

“Despite the absurdity of the premise, the book isn’t entirely escapist fluff. Sure, it bubbles with the banter and snarky humor readers expect from this author. But it’s also a blunt and savage swipe at tech-bro/billionaire culture, the Trump administration, and the chaos and tragedy that result when powerful and rich people set themselves against science and scientists in order to profit from disaster.”

Not wrong! The events of the this book take place between March of 2020 and March of 2021, so it would have been, shall we say, inauthentic not to at least make some note of the state of the world at that time. And it’s fair to say I was working out some stuff. There’s some irony in what is (in my opinion) one of my lightest novels also being one of my most overtly political, but, well. This is what happens when you write in the present tense.

Be that as it may, Kaiju is now 3-for-3 with positive reviews from the publishing trade outlets, for which I am delighted and thankful. You never know! So I’m glad.

(Also, a reminder that if you pre-order Kaiju from Subterranean Press I will sign and even personalize your copy!)

— JS

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