Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

(Locked Patreon post is here.)

I had covid, so it didn’t really seem fair to get it again, but at least I knew what was coming for me: a sore throat, some aches, and then some boring days where I was testing positive but feeling fine. In fact, this time, I tested positive only once and after that threw out a steady stream of negative results even as I was wallowing in pink-eye and misery. There were a couple of new symptoms, but they all let go suddenly, literally in hours, in the strangest way. We’ll see what this week looks like.

The worst of it was the pink-eye. I couldn’t see very well, and every so often my eyes would (ewwwwwww) gum themselves shut. Reading: out. Watching shows: nope. Quiet needlework: no, indeed. I did read a fair number of books, wincing and tearing my way through, because I can’t imagine what I would do if I were sick and didn’t have this. Among them, the Morgaine trilogy of C. J. Cherryh, which I read when it came out and hadn’t gone back to. And really, it’s wonderful. Cherryh is a fantastic writer. Her characters and situations are great, her settings are lovely. It’s sword and sorcery wrapped around a SF kernel, and I loved it, every bit of it. The prose and the characterizations still read as very modern, and so much more elegantly written than a lot of current writing. This is one of the heartbreaking parts of being a writer: ultimately, being even the best writer of your time (if that’s true) is meaningless unless the canon, the holy-fucking-canon — if not this canon, then the next — takes you seriously.

This has been a lot on my mind, as I am simultaneously on the hiring commitee for a new assistant professor with some spec fic focus, and reading a lot of graduate applicants, many of them interested in KU because of SF. In both groups, many of the applicants mentioned specific writers, but only a very few managed to talk about a writer who was not the 2023 version of the Usual Suspects. The canon changes and needs to change, and it will change again and again. This isn’t about that. But it is about how writers like C.J. Cherryh and R.A. McAvoy and Suzy McKee Charnas did great work, genre-changing work — and now the only way I can buy their books is used paperbacks from Abebooks. I fear this for Jim Gunn’s books, as well.

Anyway, the thing that did get me through a couple of days was the Medieval Death Trip podcast. I coule lie in bed with a cool cloth over my eyes soaking up whatever vilenesses were pouring out of my eyes as listen to…various saints having their eyes put out. So that was a thing.

This week I am feeling much better. We’ll see how it plays out!