All Hail the Pizza King!🍕👑

The latest issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is hitting newsstands, e-readers, and mailboxes, and I’m pleased to brag that the Pizza King himself graces the cover (and my story “All Hail the Pizza King and Bless His Reign Eternal” graces the interior).

Need your copy? Order online: paper or digital. Wanna review it on GoodReads? You can! (There is currently one review up, and the reviewer didn’t finish the story because it was “gross.” I respect that decision; it has a solid basis. Know your limits, my Dear Readers and Best Belovéds!)

THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION

July/August, 71st Year of Publication

NOVELETS

  • “Spirit Level” – John Kessel
  • “All Hail the Pizza King and Bless His Reign Eternal” – David Erik Nelson
  • “‘Omunculus” – Madeleine E. Robins
  • “The Monsters of Olympus Mons” – Brian Trent

SHORT STORIES

  • “Knock, Knock Said the Ship” – Rati Mehrotra
  • “Last Night at the Fair” – M. Rickert
  • “Bible Stories for Adults No. 37: The Jawbone” – James Morrow
  • “Madre Nuestra, Que Estás en Maracaibo” – Ana Hurtado
  • “A Bridge from Sea to Sky” – Bennett North
  • “Crawfather” – Mel Kassel
  • “The Staircase” – Stephanie Feldman
  • “The Shape of Gifts” – Natalia Theodoridou

POEMS

  • “A Quartet of Alphabetic Bubbles” – Mary Soon Lee

DEPARTMENTS

  • Editorial by C.C. Finlay
  • Books to Look For by Charles de Lint
  • Musing on Books by Michelle West
  • Film: Darkness Visible by David J. Skal
  • Science: What the Heck is an Analemma by Jerry Oltion
  • Curiosities: The Contaminant by Leonard Reiffel (1978) by Thomas Kaufsek

Cartoons by Arthur Masear, Arthur Masear, Danny Shanahan, Kendra Allenby, Nick Downes, Nick Downes

Cover: By Alan M. Clark for “All Hail the Pizza King and Bless His Reign Eternal”

Turn Off Our Screens, Open Our Eyes

I want to write about the protests I saw yesterday, with my daughter, who is an 8-year-old string-bean, blonde and strong.

There are the protests we see on our screens—the photogenic protests, the darkness and fire, the police taking a knee, screams and smoke, rods and shields. We all see one picture, and we all feel the protests are one thing. 

But they aren’t. Even in one place, on one street, they are many things at once. 

I saw two protests yesterday, here in Michigan. 

The first was a lone Black woman—young, maybe just a girl. She stood flanked by the trees at the edge of Washtenaw Ave—four lanes of fast traffic, a commercial strip connecting this town and the next. She wore a blue surgical mask and gloves and a plaid shirt, buttoned to the wrists and neck, despite the heat. Her head was bowed over a wide cardboard sign, particolored letters:

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

The other protest was a march down Industrial Ave—which is exactly what it sounds like: an industrial strip of carpet stores and auto shops, a car wash and a bowling alley, the old rail line running along the backs of their lots. I stumbled into this protest with my daughter, after going to the hardware for lumber and locks and candles and a garden hose.

We watched them pass. They were silent. No songs, no shouting, no slogans. It was like no protest or rally I’d ever seen, not in decades of attending protests (occasionally to protest, but far more often to watch or report or chaperone teens).

This was like a funeral procession. So quiet. So steady, implacable. Not mournful; dignified.

Many ad hoc and improvised signs, scraps of cardboard, mostly BLACK LIVES MATTER riffs. One said “DO NOT AVERT YOUR EYES.” And so I did not—it was only in seeing that sign that I realized that it was my inclination to do so, even though I’d come down the street specifically to see what I could see.

Those who walked were Black and White. Young. They wore their masks and shorts and t-shirts—it was hot, and the sun fierce on the street.

Another sign, the largest, a flattened refrigerator box, read:

STOP KILLING BLACK PEOPLE

The sign’s bearer was extremely light skinned, a Black & White son in black shorts and t-shirt. My heart always goes out to the kids who are neither fish nor fowl. I’m with you, brothers and sisters: The world constantly demands we not be half of what we are. 

I raised a fist. Eyes turned to me, fists raised in acknowledgement, and my heart stopped.  It was like being saluted by ghosts. 

The procession had a police escort. An SUV slowly rolling to the fore to clear traffic, another slowly rolling behind, protecting the procession from the impatient cars piling up. No lights. No sirens. A couple more SUVs scurried ahead, blocking each intersection before the procession arrived. Like school crossing guards.  

What are you seeing where you are?

“My plans vs. 2020,” but automated

My plans2020

DISCLOSURE: This is totally automated, ’cause that just feels a lot more honest to me right now. Images are from Lorem Picsum, which makes this sorta gag incredibly easy, and is a great tool when you’re mocking up a website/design and just need the graphical equivalent of lorem ipsum.

Kind of a coin-toss what I love about this most…

… but I think it’s maybe that this patent was issued in 2007, and still looks so damned olde-tyme Cold War Fallout™ goofy. Patent diagrams are their own artistic genre, and I love it:

image of patent application for bra that converts to particulate-filtering face masks

Incidentally, as it turns out bra pads actually make pretty decent DIY face masks for coronavirus.

(all props to Harper’s for the image)

I’m a lifelong Michigander, I’ve been to Isle Royale, and I can confirm that this is a true and accurate assessment of that stony archipelago…

…and, in fact, one of its most charming aspects:

This artist is living her best life, in my humble.

source: I Illustrated National Parks In America Based On Their Worst Review And I Hope They Will Make You Laugh (16 Pics)

A Poem for a Time of COVID-19 Quarantine 🦠

This poem—penned by a UU minister—has been circulating among my Jewish congregation, and I’m inclined to endorse the advice: Take a page from the Jewish playbook, folks. We know a thing or two about surviving long (quasi-)confinement and social distance.

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love—
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

—Rev. Dr. Lynn Ungar (Unitarian minister)

The Michigan House GOP Website is shilling for a term paper mill? #PureMichigan

OK, I need a headcheck, folks. It looks an awful lot like http://GOPhouse.org/

  1. Is the (semi-)official website for Michigan House Republicans (for example, their official Facebook page links to “MiHouseRepublicans.com” which currently redirects to “GOPhouse.org”)
  2. Is shilling for a term paper mill:

Is there something really obvious going on here, like my local DNS being poisoned? Or does the MI House GOP just have a really crappy web hosting situation? Or deeply untrustworthy staff? Or a deeper commitment to the free market and entrepreneurship than I’d previously imagined?

Who do I even call to ask about this? ’cause I’ve gotta believe that the MI House GOP has a better fundraising model than this.

Lil help, Internet?