Let’s be clear about something

I was gonna put this on Twitter, but suddenly I feel like putting it somewhere I can link to it later might be useful.

I have grown excessively tired of the (somehow, surprisingly) large number of people who are claiming that “no one could have predicted” COVID-19. In general, actually, I’m tired of the phrase “no one could have predicted” altogether, which generally means that plenty of people already did predict it and you just weren’t paying attention.

Y’all, damn near any educated person could have predicted this, and most of them have at some point or another. You don’t have to be an epidemiologist or even a doctor to realize that the most dangerous kind of virus for causing a pandemic is the type that 1) has a lengthy period where you are contagious but not symptomatic and 2) has a relatively high mortality rate once the symptomatic period begins. Literally everyone who has ever read The Stand or seen a movie about a disease could have put this together. Fucking Dan Brown predicted it in his last book, and he’s a damn idiot. It’s not that fucking complicated.

Furthermore, if the person currently running our country into the ground is able to fire something called a “pandemic response team” and if there is something called the Center for Disease Control whose budget he is able to cut … what that means is that yeah, people predicted this. There are entire fucking literal organizations composed of people whose actual fucking job was to predict exactly this and to notice it as early as possible when it (inevitably, because viruses evolve, which is also something no educated person is surprised by) does actually happen.

If something terrible were to happen and everyone were to look around and no one could figure out whose job it was to help fix that thing? That might be something that nobody predicted.

This? Everyfuckingbody predicted this was going to happen, sooner or later. Everybody who was paying the slightest bit of attention, at least.

Fucking stop it.

2:55 PM, Saturday April 11: 514,415 confirmed infections and 19,882 Americans dead.

Some book musings

I’m basically done with the “break” part of my break; I have the weekend and then I’m back to work on Monday. Usually by this point at the break I’m climbing the walls and chewing on my extremities; for the most part, other than yesterday’s post, I’ve managed to avoid going slowly crazy. I’ve gotten a fair amount of stuff done over the break. What I haven’t done is any of Luther’s stuff. It’s all been Clark Kent nonsense over here for the last couple of weeks.

My first priority in 2019 has to be to decide what to do with Skylights. I have so many half-written drafts of the sequel, under more than one title, that it’s frankly kind of ridiculous. That may or may not be the cover. It may or may not be the title. And once I have the sequel written I have to decide if I’m doing a second edition of the first book. A second edition wouldn’t be too different, but the first book already mentions things that didn’t happen in 2018 (because 2018 was, comfortably, The Future when I wrote it) and the events of the book are at this point far too close to Now for comfort. If nothing else, I need to remove specific dates, and probably rewrite the prologue to give the story some breathing room. I don’t think I can tie the events of the story so close to something that happened in 1984, for example; it just makes Gabe too old.

(20-minute break while I research the FAFSA and explain how taxes work for a former student; I avoid using the phrase “this would be easier if I adopted you.”)

Anyway, point is I gotta figure this shit out. And I probably should have reformatted some of my books to get them away from CreateSpace and over to Ingram over the break. And maybe done a new banner, since the one vertical banner I have is Skylights-focused. I should probably have one for at least one more of my books.

Point is, I didn’t spend as much time being Luther over the last couple of weeks as maybe I should have. And now I need to figure some stuff out over the next couple of days. This week shouldn’t be too hard (he said,) so I should have some brainspace left to get things done when I get home from work. And who knows? The next couple of days might be hugely productive.

Just, like I said, I’ve got some decisions to make, and a weight to get off my back.

What have you been putting off lately?

GUEST POST: Science Fiction and 2016, by CompGeeksDavid

It’s Monday!  And I’m home.  At least I hope I’m home.  And sleeping.  And hopefully not suffering from con crud after spending the weekend in the company of 70,000 unwashed nerds dedicated fans.  

I suspect today may be the day where I need a guest poster the MOST, really.  And looky!  David from Comparative Geeks is here to save me!

(And watch, this will be the post where I have to make sure people behave in the comments.  Do not make me smite you while I am crabby and tired.)

(Also, thanks to all of my guest bloggers for saving my butt while I was in Chicago!)

I started blogging back in the last presidential election cycle. And I started out with a crazy thought: what if the candidates presented their positions in the form of a science fiction story? A short tale of what they think the world will look like in 4 – or 8 – years, if they are president. Their stances are great and all, but between the balance of power between the branches, local versus federal, and the fact that they don’t want to fix everything or they’re not going to have anything to run on next time… well, their stances don’t necessarily tell us anything.

Of course, by starting blogging with something like this – without actually having followers – you end up sitting by yourself pondering. And I couldn’t figure out myself what it would all look like. The easier one was actually doing the reverse: thinking of how the parties would write a story of what the country would look like in 4 years if their opponents won… The usual sort of negative politics were sadly easier to consider than a positive vision of the future.

With Jetpacks?Well, we’re in a new cycle, I’m guest-blogging on a blog where there’s been plenty of political talk, and there is a much more interesting presidential race going on… so what might the future look like if the different candidates win?

Drumpf is of course the one that makes this seem like an easy exercise. Because it’s science fiction, and if there’s something we love in science fiction, it’s dystopias. Because that’s where pretty much every non-Drumpf supporter in the world likely expects his presidency to be headed: global dystopia. Recession if we’re lucky; World War 3 if we’re not. And the most dystopian I can think is a World War 3 with the US and Russia on a side, with Europe and their ally China (maybe?) against. And nukes. Probably nukes.

Good God, ya’ll.

Unfortunately, I could also see – somewhere amidst the Drumpf followers – there being folks who might turn to assassination. I could also see, if one of the other Republicans somehow wins the nomination, that they might pick up Drumpf as a Vice-President, to bring the party together. Meaning, I could see someone “voting-in” Drumpf via assassination. So I’m not liking how things look with a GOP win at all.

Even worse, that same logic applies with a Hillary win. We’ve got people all riled up. And there’s a whole lot of anti-Hillary sentiment, built on 20 years with her in the spotlight. So it’s easy to see dystopia here, too: and the who’s-the-Vice-President here is a bit fuzzier, but important. Unless, in the same logic as above, it’s Bernie…

I’m not sure I see the same result with a Bernie win. But I also see him having a Republican Congress – and not a whole lot happening. But it would open our politics up, so that’s something… and maybe there’s an increasing relationship with Europe, with other socialists.

I think for most people right now, staring ahead at this year… the best result we can hope for might really be for nothing much to happen the next four years. But those are my thoughts. Now it’s open to you – what do you think the country looks like in four years? Whichever candidate. Let’s discuss in the comments below!

THE FARTENING, PART III: Holy Hell, that didn’t last long.

I am forced to announce, with no small amount of shame, that the experiment known as The Fartening has ended.  Because holy shit, this looks like nothing more than it looks like caked-on vomit on the side of the toilet bowl, the kind you didn’t clean off because you were sick as fuck and the best you could do was drag yourself to bed.
IMG_1528I was not expecting to make Soylent a lifestyle choice.  I was expecting to have the intestinal fortitude necessary to make it through at least half of the packages before giving up the ghost.  But no.  Sadly, I cannot do this.  That right there is exactly how far I got into my final cup of horror mud, and I done drunks all I can drinks and I can’t drinks no more.  I simply cannot get past the goddamn texture of the stuff, and I refuse to continue torturing myself with it in hopes that it ends up magically catching on somehow.  So I give up.

If anyone is interested, I’ll ship you my remaining six packages and six bottles of oil for $40, which is way less than they’ll charge you.  Just drop me a line in comments.

In which what’s old is new

PhoneTold my wife yesterday that if the rest of break was as busy as Sunday was, I wasn’t going to have to worry about going crazy to get back to school again like I usually do at the end of a long break.  So far today I haven’t quite kept up yesterday’s activity level– took the boy to the eye doctor’s office and puttered about in the house a bit but that’s been about it.  Hoping to get some writing done before my wife gets back home with him in a few hours but if I end up spending the whole day playing Dragon Age I’m not gonna feel too bad about it.

Have you ever taken a toddler to an eye appointment?  My kid knows the alphabet well enough to handle a standard alphabet thing but under six or so they all use pictures for the “identify this small item” part of the test.  They’re all black and white, high-contrast clip art pictures– there was a horse, a Christmas tree, a house, a car and a truck, things like that.

And, well, that.  The icon up there isn’t exactly the one in they presented him but it’s really really close.

See the problem?

It came up, and I raised an eyebrow at it.  The doctor happened to be looking my way at the time.

“We don’t worry about this one so much anymore,” he said.

“Phone!” my kid hollers.  The doctor is openly surprised.

This fascinates me.  A phone, to my kid, is a magic glass rectangle that isn’t attached to anything.  He’s three– he’s never seen a rotary dial phone.  My only guess is he recognizes it from one of his books or a TV show we’ve watched, because hell if I know how he knows that otherwise.

The future!