April is here, though up where I am there is still a lot more snow than flowers.
The weirdness continues, all around the world. Sometimes it is hard to recall how much has changed in just one month.
Regular readers of my Not A Blog and the Wild Cards website know that I usually do an April Fools post. We have had some great ones over the years, even fooled a few people. Not this year, though. None of the ideas we were playing with seemed quite appropriate, with everything that is going on. Or maybe I just wasn’t feeling very funny.
Science Fiction writers are supposed to be good at predicting the future (that’s a myth, actually, but never mind), but I have to confess, I have no notion where or when any of this is going to end. I can see half a dozen branching alternatives, some of which are very grim indeed, and some much less so. One does not want to be too alarmist, of course. But at the same time, it would be folly to be too dismissive of the dangers. All we can do is shelter in place, keep an eye on the news, and take this day by day.
The Jean Cocteau Cinema and Beastly Books remain closed. When I first shut them down a few weeks ago, it was only for a month… the idea being that we would re-evaluate on April 15 and see where things stood then. As I write this, on April 2, that April 15 date is looking wildly optimistic. If things change at all in the next two weeks, they are likely to be changing for the worse, not the better. Most likely, then, both cinema and bookstore will need to remain closed… for how long, I have no idea.
Our mail-order service at Beastly Books remains open, however. Unlike Amazon, we don’t sell toilet paper or medical equipment, so nothing will take priority over your book orders. Take a look at the selection at https://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/signed-books/
All our books are autographed, and reading is one of the best ways to pass the time while quarantined. (I know I am doing a lot of it). Also, truth be told, your book purchases will help us keep paying our staff at the cinema and bookstore, since there is no other source of income at present. And we have some great, great titles in stock.
In other virus-related news, conventions and festivals and sporting events continue to cancel or postpone all over the world. Including SF cons. Some of them, I fear, may never come back, since — in some cases, not all — venues and hotels are refusing to let the events out of their contracts, which means the sponsoring organizations could have huge debts with no income to help offset the costs. This year’s Nebula Weekend is going virtual. Some of the writer’s workshops at which I sponsor scholarships — Clarion, Clarion West, Odyssey, and the Taos Toolbox — may need to do the same. None of them have made that determination yet, since the workshops are still months away, but I know all of them are exploring their options.
The biggest news in that regard is that this year’s worldcon, CoNZealand, has also decided to go virtual. I know what a difficult decision that was for the Kiwis, who have worked so hard bidding and winning the con, and dreamed so long of bringing fandom to their magical island. New Zealand is one of my favorite places in the world, and Parris feels the same way. We have been there several times before, and I know we will visit again… just not this year, alas. I gather that pushing the con back to late 2020 or early 2021 was not feasible, for various logistical reasons, which meant that going online was the only real alternative to cancellation. How that will work, I have no idea. No one does, really. It has never been done before. The technical aspects are going to be daunting, no doubt… but I know that everyone concerned is going to do their best. Fingers crossed.
If there is a silver lining in these clouds, this will give me more time to finish WINDS OF WINTER. I continue to write every day, up here in my mountain fastness.
Want something to read while you’re waiting? This would be a good time to check out my Wild Cards series, if you haven’t done so already. There are twenty-nine of them (some still in the pipeline), which should keep you reading for a good long time. If it is more Westeros you want, and you just know A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, take a look at A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS (the Dunk & Egg novellas) and FIRE & BLOOD (wherein you will find the source material for the new HBO series, HOUSE OF THE DRAGON). And there are some other wonderful writers out there as well. The QUILLIFER series by Walter Jon Williams is the best work WJW has ever done, and I am really enjoying the new AFTERSHOCKS series from Marko Kloos.
Need something to binge watch? The third season of OZARK is riveting, HBO’s recent Stephen King mini-series THE OUTSIDER is a faithful, engrossing adaptation of his novel, and the DOCTOR SLEEP film is very good as well. I am also really enjoying THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA, an adaptation of the Philip Roth novel that seems more timely than ever before. And WESTWORLD and BETTER CALL SAUL are must watch too.
However you spend your days, my friends, stay safe.
Current Mood: anxious