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The World Needs Ordinary Heroes

For all the books on climate change and dystopias, is there a single one written from the point of view of the first generation facing it all head-on and trying to figure how to live, not just survive—and without imaginary superpowers or preordained destinies? We're leaving them to pick through the trash of the last century. That's a hell of a bequest.

It's a Matter of Distance

 A time will come when almost no one remembers the political fights of the early 21st century. It will no longer matter who is to blame for the continued destruction of terrestrial life and its ongoing consequences. It doesn't seem possible now, just four days before the US presidential election, but the results will be very much the same, in the long run, no matter who wins. The only real difference is how fast it will happen and how much suffering there will be. Even when we are forced into choosing the lesser of two evils, we are still responsible for the outcomes of that choice. There is no going back, and the way forward into a liveable future is narrowing. How much distance will be required before future generations won't even remember that there was once a way forward, and that it wasn't taken?

Seeds on Stone

 I spend too much mental energy on trying to justify the continued existence of the human race. The cost of the few true creators throughout our history, the intellectual and artistic flowers of the species, is waste: the unremarked lives and deaths of the billions who have contributed only their labor and their blood.  Their lives have enabled war, slavery and the plunder of the earth's riches.  They rise in rebellion only when they have nothing left to lose, when they've lost the fight to protect and sustain the conditions of their little lives. And in doing so, as often as not, they become the mirror image of their oppressors. The human species learns nothing from its own history, its past. It sees into the future only as far as necessary to get through another day, week, month. To say that humanity deserves the chaos descending on it, misses the point. That chaos is the inevitable outcome of species flaws that we have proven unable to overcome. The flowering of creative and

How Long Does it Take to Write a Novel?

It takes as long as it takes. Hard to believe that I've been working on  Deciphering Zach  for eight years. It started out with a different title, and a plot that barely resembles the story as I now see it. In all that time, though I've piled up tons of notes and questions to be answered, I've written only one chapter. I've never felt, until recently, that I knew how the novel should be structured. Nor did I feel that I really knew the two central characters: Zach and Harte. Now I'm close enough to solving those problems that I can move ahead and let the two boys reveal themselves fully.  Even though I know them better than I did at the start, I don't know everything about them. If I did, all I'd be doing is dictating, not creating. No one ever knows anyone completely, and that's just as true for writers as it is for anyone else. What's important is the discovery, which can take a lifetime, if you are lucky enough to be granted such a long relationsh

Late to School? Sorry, No Excuses Allowed

Great rant on John Scalzi's blog:  https://whatever.scalzi.com/2020/10/08/saved-by-the-bell/#comments  It struck home for a lot of people, including me. The insistance by most schools that even a few minutes of tardiness in getting to school deserves punishment. Quite amazing, though it shouldn't be, that the practice in force over half a century ago, when I was in school, is still the norm.  Does it take an extraordinary level of intelligence to realize that now, just as then, what school is for is to prepare the next generation of workers, train them to unquestioning obedience and acceptance of their powerlessness? It took me until high school to find my inner rebel, but when I did, school lost its power over me. My rebellion was quiet, and affected no one but myself, but it was enough to bring out the fangs of the adults around me. All that did was convince me that power was often exercised for power's sake, not for any justifiable or sensible reason. I wish there was a

Does The Pandemic Have an End?

    https://theconversation.com/how-do-pandemics-end-history-suggests-diseases-fade-but-are-almost-never-truly-gone-146066 The answer is "yes" and "no." Pandemic diseases do fade away, eventually, but can recur over time. The "Conversation" article turns to history for a brief, concise history. I suspected that something like Covid-19 could pop up somewhere down the line even after vaccines and stricter public health measures seem to have defeated it. That idea is something I've been intending to include in  Deciphering Zach , but hesitated for lack of specific knowledge.  The truth is that infectious diseases simply don't go away once they've appeared. Their danger may not be as great as in the past, but that is due to the continuation of conditions that favor their suppression: sanitation, medical interventions, vaccines. Bubonic plague still exists and takes a few lives most years, in the American southwest. Given the right circumstances, it

Dipping a Toe Back In

 Dreamwidth is perhaps a bit too obscure. Privacy, yes. Invisibility? Not exactly what I was looking for. What little I saw of the "new" Blogspot wasn't encouraging, but maybe I should try to give it a fair trial.  Question now is whether to repost anything from DW, or just begin fresh and then start crossposting from DW. The default theme is okay. Don't know whether I want to bother setting one up for myself.