I can’t claim to have ever cared much for the work of the Wachowskis: the Matrix (the first one) was pretty but left me cold, and I frankly haven’t sat through the entirety of any of their films since. But Sense8 looked interesting, and oh my god it is.

It’s sort of a slow build, with a lot more focus on the characters and their connections in the first couple of episodes, but it pays off; I cared more about this cast than about the cast of any other recent show with the exception of Orphan Black. I was invested not just in their safety but their happiness and their relationships.

The relationships! I don’t know if I have ever seen a story like this that portrays love–romantic, platonic, and familial–in such an adorable, moving, believable, and non-cloying fashion. The handling of the queer characters is exceptional. There is a trans character played by a trans woman! Who is confronted with realistic resistance from family and other characters! But is in a loving and sexy relationship! And is defined by characteristics other than the fact of her being trans! I mean, one would have hoped that Lana Wachowski would handle this well, but you never know.

In fact, while the show does have lots of cool mind-talking and body-hopping and crazy shit, it’s as much if not more about the newly-forming connections between the leads, and the ways that they are forced to confront their secrets–there’s a neat safe motif (as in a big metal box that locks) early on that calls attention to the fact that nearly all of these people have something big locked away that is going to bubble up to the surface as a result of becoming bonded with one another.

There is also abundant action of a few varieties: sequences that poke fun at the Wachowski’s own signature operatic violence; action that solves short-term problems while creating longer-term ones; and your basic cathartic over-the-top violence-solving-problems action. One could wish for more of the former two and less of the latter, but there’s a lot going on with this action–each of the characters has different skills, and sometimes they can be there to help each other, and sometime they can’t, and sometimes they handle things in a pretty unconventional way. Shout out to the great Doona Bae, who gets to kick the most ass.

I am just gushing here, so I will stop, but come on! Gorgeous cinematography; amazing use of scoring and soundtrack; calling out and responding to verbal misogyny; hot kinky sex; just, like, ALL THE THINGS and ALL THE GOOD and I am in love with the cast and I can’t wait for another season. Y’ALL SHOULD WATCH.

Glitter & Mayhem Available!

Hi folks! Just wanted to let you know that a new anthology that I’m a part of, Glitter & Mayhem, edited by John Klima, Lynne M. Thomas, and Michael Damian Thomas, is now available! You can learn more about it here. My story, “Apex Jump,” concerns a rural Minnesota roller derby team who find themselves skating against a team from a long, long ways away. The early reviews are very positive, so check it out!

I went outside and read a Jack Vance story in the sun

I went outside and read a Jack Vance story in the sun.

Winter is traumatic. Vonnegut said that November and December were not Winter, they were Locking, and March and April are Unlocking. Vonnegut was right about so many things, and yet I’m not sure I agree with him about this. Winter isn’t just about putting things away, it’s about scorching the earth. Winter tears things down. Spring is about rebuilding those things again, stubbornly, even grimly at times, despite the shock of the cold that bleaches all the color from the ground and strips the trees naked.

I wore sandals. It happens that I am out of socks, so I started a load of laundry before I left the apartment. I sat on a bench in a park and read in the full sunlight. I burn easily. I may have burned already.

In my youth I was one of those weird kids who didn’t like to play outside with other children. I sat inside and read instead. I was allergic to many things, including loud groups of people. I am still allergic to many things. It wasn’t until many winters had passed that I really came to appreciate sitting outside. Even if a runny nose or hives followed.

It has been a long, long winter here. It is orgiastically beautiful today. There is a feeling in my chest like a sob of relief trying to escape. I went outside and read a Jack Vance story in the sun.


Today would have been Fred Rogers’s 85th Birthday. Mr. Rogers, for me, has been one of those cultural figures whom I loved as a kid, derided as a young adult, and appreciate even more now that I am old enough to recognize how challenging it is to maintain that kind of gentle love and compassion in the face of, well, the world.

Yesterday was the 10-year anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war, or really the second Iraq war, unless you are an Iraqi, in which case I’m sure it’s called something else. My preferred name for it would be long, profane, and contain a lengthy list of war crimes committed by the leaders of my country, so I won’t include it here.

I understand that there is a need to mark important events, but there are anniversaries I don’t care to think about, and the Iraq War is one. On the one hand, it’s a bloody, wasteful, criminal mistake that my country made, and that’s worth reminding people of so that they don’t do more bloody, wasteful, and criminal things, even though they probably will anyway. (Mr. Rogers, grant me optimism and patience.) On the other hand, this country does bloody, wasteful, and criminal things on some scale pretty much every day, and I don’t need my life to be an endless list of them. I don’t have the stamina for it.

Some anniversaries should be noted. Personal milestones, sure. Birthdays. Three years sober. Four and a half months since the time you and your SO first made eye contact across a crowded room. Why not? I mostly stick to the big ones, but there are a few holidays I’d like to add to the calendar, like, say, Johnny Cash’s birthday, or Dorothy Parker’s, or Fred Rogers’s. But I’d rather think of March 19th as the first day of Quinquatria than have it be a remembrance of something so shameful.

Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: Episode Two Released

The second episode of the serial is out today!

In which Joy portals to the UK to interview the mother of the missing professor, but may be in danger of being disappeared herself.

If you haven’t ordered it yet, you can do so here.

Remember that 1) It’s $1.99 for the whole thing, not per episode, and 2) You can get a free Kindle reading app for your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

A couple of people have asked about availability outside of the U.S. The latest information I have is that while it won’t be serialized elsewhere, the complete e-book and the physical book will appear in Canada, the UK and Australia at the same time as it does here. Unfortunately, that won’t happen until October, but I promise it will be worth the wait!

More to come!

Gooseberry Bluff Launch Day

In honor of launch day, I did a questionnaire with Jodi Chromey at Minnesota Reads:

Today is the launch of Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The Thirteenth Rib a new Kindle serial by all-around awesome David J. Schwartz. This harkens back to the old-timey days when authors, like Charles Dickens delivered fiction serially. The ‘Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic’ will follow “Joy Wilkins, an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Magical Affairs, as she starts her first semester of teaching and investigating the alarming activity at this school of magic on the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota.”

I know, right?

Anyway if you want to know more about David, here’s the part I’m stealing from his bio: He is the author of the Nebula Award-nominated novel Superpowers as well as the novella The Sun Inside. He has written more than twenty-five short stories, which have appeared in such publications as Strange Horizons, The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror collections, Paper Cities, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and the World Fantasy Award-nominated anthology Twenty Epics. You should probably just follow him on Twitter, he’s funny

Now on with the show!

What book(s) are you currently reading?

I just finished Louise Erdrich’s The Bingo Palace; I’m working my way through all of her books, slowly. I’m also reading Italo Calvino’s The Uses of Literature , a graphic novel by Leia Weathington called The Legend of Bold Riley, and a soon-to-be-released book by my friend Rick Bowes, Dust Devil on a Quiet Street.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? Who?

Many! Sally from Encyclopedia Brown was probably the first. Eowyn was a big one. As I get older it takes more for me to fall for anyone, though, whether real or fictional. I have a little bit of a thing for Albertine Johnson from Louise Erdrich’s books, but that may be because I still don’t know her that well. Shy, quiet folks are so intriguing, or at least I hope they are, because I am quiet and shy.

If your favorite author came to Minnesota, who would it be and what bar would you take him/her to?

If my favorite author came here it would probably be the mid-eighties, because my favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut and if I was to bring him back to life I would choose to have it be at a time when he seemed a little less unhappy than he did later. Not that the eighties were a happy time, or that I would be of legal drinking age, but let’s not overthink this. Was Sweeney’s around then? I think I’d take him to Sweeney’s, and have some bourbon perhaps, and talk about what an asshole Ronald Reagan was. Is. Time travel is confusing.

What was your first favorite book?

The Poky Little Puppy

Let’s say Fahrenheit 451 comes to life, which book would you become in order to save it from annihilation?

Don Quixote in the original Spanish. Might as well aim high!

What is one book you haven’t read but want to read before you die?

I tried reading Remembrance Of Things Past (or are we supposed to call it In Search of Lost Time, now?) at one point and simply couldn’t get through the first book. Someday I’ll try again, though I won’t force myself to read it if I hate it again. I think it’s important to read the classics, but I also think it’s important to give yourself permission to put a book down if it isn’t doing anything for you.