The Most Wonderful Time
Or So I'm Told
It is fifty five degrees and sunny here in Our Fair City, four days before the winter solstice. I don’t have time to look up whether that’s a record, but it doesn’t feel right. Still, we’re due for snow tomorrow. When you add energy to a system, you expect it to get less predictable. Imagine gently pushing a pendulum—then imagine tackling that pendulum and swinging off with it over the abyss, with all your weight and the messy twist of your anatomy.
I’ve been sick this week—don’t worry, not the bad sick, or any of the other less headline-news bad sicks, just normal childcare-derived crud of the sort that leaves you feeling like you’ve got a garden gnome shoved sideways about 2/3 of the way down your throat, and meanwhile the garden gnome’s extended family are going at your entire body with tiny padded hammers, trying to get you to cough up their second cousin. Which you’d be happy to do, if said second cousin’s hat and shoes would just dislodge from your esophagus for a second. Don’t get sick, y’all, is what I’m saying. Take your vaccines and wear your masks and just—avoid it if you can.
In lieu of total radio silence, here are a few bits of news.
LAST EXIT is coming out in just a little over two months! It’s hard to believe, and I’m strobing between excitement and terror, when I’m not being attacked by garden gnomes. Which is about the right mix for this book, I think. (Maybe including the gnomes?) Now you can read the first chapter! It’s online here, at the Tor Forge blog.
Last week Amal was planning to visit us in Cambridge, to catch up after the long absence of the pandemic. She was turned away at the U.S. border.
This has never happened before. I have a hard time expressing emotion directly. I burn hot and slow and deep, and add to that, I’m sick. I’ll settle, for now, with: I’m upset, and angry, and sad. You can read more from Amal on the subject here. It’s worth your time. And, if you don’t click through: she asks that people not ask questions or speculate in the comments. It’s a painful and difficult subject. I’ll echo that request here.
In the short term: we’d planned to visit Porter Square Books in Cambridge and double-sign stock for the holidays—so they, being heroes, laid in a supply of fifty copies of This is How You Lose the Time War. I’ve signed all of those, and Amal is sending something to compensate for the missing signature. If you’re looking for a last-minute gift, please consider ordering a copy of This is How You Lose the Time War from them! They ship anywhere in the US, and I believe they can still deliver orders by Christmas. They’ve been a wonderful store throughout the pandemic, and deserve your support.
I tend to stack up seasonal reads. October is all spooky books for me, and December is the solstice, and Christmas, which we celebrate. This year I’m rereading Wolf Hall, heavily spiced and rich with flavors appropriate for the season—though the plague bits hit harder, and to my surprise ring more of truth, than they did on my first introduction to the text. Meanwhile I’m listening to Hugh Grant read A Christmas Carol, and after that it’s Hogfather and The Thin Man and maybe The Dark is Rising, though I don’t know if I’ll fit that in this year. I wonder, dear reader: what do you return to, year after year? For comfort? For questioning?
Enjoy the dark days of the year. Keep your eyes open. Watch the night, and tell good stories. Better ones, if you can.