Sine Q&A Non - July 2020

Friday Open Thread (on Saturday)

Dear Friends,

Thursday night, purely by virtue of existing in a body halfway through its 35th year, I pinched a nerve in my back so badly that I couldn’t sleep or breathe deeply or do anything but sit cross-legged with spine erect while mainlining ibuprofen. Today it’s as if the past 40 hours (initially I wrote “years”, this is the millennial condition) have been a terrible nightmare from which I’ve woken into a beautiful summer’s day, humidity a soft rumour on the edges of birdsong and cool breeze.

I don’t entirely know what to do with this; it has the feeling of a metaphor missing its tenor. But it’s July, and for many of you it’s a holiday weekend, and I wish you joy of it. I hope you’re all able to breathe deeply, to sleep, to do more than sit so still that pain can’t find you.

For my part, I have work to do and I’m looking forward to it, and that feels like a gift.

Tell me what’s bringing you joy, or small pleasure, or relief lately?



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Friday Open Thread (with Winston)

Dear friends,

This week has been, to put it mildly, absolutely terrible, & I’m struggling to, among other things, meet a deadline.

So I would like to tell you about Winston.

Winston is a Welsh corgi who does not belong to me but who nevertheless has possession of the whole of my heart. He is my absolute favourite neighbourhood dog and he is perfect.

When I took this photo he was three months old; he is now almost a year old but still very much a waggly-bottomed pup who makes the world a better place purely by existing. There are days where Stu or I glimpse him from the window and shout “IT’S WINSTON!” to each other and drop whatever we’re doing in order to press our faces against the glass and gaze at him as he floofles past; we sometimes call hello to his very patient and indulgent humans, with whom we’d have sidewalk chats in the beforetimes.

Winston makes me helplessly overwhelmed with joy, with gratitude, with love, and I wish this for you.

If you’d like to share something that makes you feel similarly delighted, please do. Otherwise, have a restful and restorative weekend; maybe drop in on the panel I’ll be on at the virtual Locus awards, with Cadwell Turnbull and Andy Duncan, Saturday at 12PM PDT / 3PM EST, if you’re so inclined!

Take care, keep safe, and be well.



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THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR on Audible UK for £3 Today Only

Dear Readers,

This is not the catch-all post I’ve been half-writing for weeks now (soon!), but it is a one-day-deal situation I wanted to make sure you know about: Audible’s having its annual Birthday Sale, and Audible UK has selected This Is How You Lose the Time War to be part of it! This means that if you’re a subscriber, you can get the audiobook for £3 today only. (If you’re not a subscriber, in any region, you can get it for free with the 30-day trial.)

I’m absolutely dazzled by the audiobook, by Cynthia Farrell (Red) and Emily Woo Zeller (Blue)’s performances. I got to “meet” Emily at the Virtual Nebula Awards Weekend (more on which in a subsequent mailing) and learned from her that she and Cynthia recorded their performances totally separately, without hearing what came before each of their parts, and I found that really staggering — it sounds like they’re responding to each other, to me. Actors are wizards.

Beyond the pure joy of hearing the parts I wrote brought to aural life by Emily, it was also a treat to get to experience Red’s sections so fulsomely; by the time I was listening to the audiobook I’d been through multiple editing passes where I had to just comb through Blue’s chapters over and over while Max went over Red’s, so I feel like I got to actually experience Red’s parts almost totally as a reader instead of as writer/respondent.

If you give it a try, I hope you enjoy it!

Wishing you all the best,


Friday Open Thread (with Juneteenth)

Dear friends,

I’ve been reading a lot about Juneteenth today, which I first heard of perhaps five years ago, and have lately been learning more about. I’d like to recommend reading this piece by Jelani Cobb in the New Yorker and this piece by Tochi Onyebuchi at (from last year). The former is short; the latter is long. Take Cobb’s piece as a frame in which to place Onyebuchi’s.

I said this on Twitter about Onyebuchi’s piece:

But hey, it’s open thread time! Following this call by Amistad Books —

I’d love to ask you to recommend two (2) books you love that are written by Black people. (The limit is to avoid reduction to lists & to encourage sharing why you love them specifically!) I’ll start:

The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar (which I reviewed here)
Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi (which I reviewed here)

So much love to you all. Fight for the liberation of all sentient beings.

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