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New York Times Book Review today:

"On Fragile Waves is a tremendous and almost unbearable work of witness. It is devastating and perfect."

A friend with family ties recommends and as folks doing good work that will remain on the ground after NATO withdrawal.

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If we stopped all other carbon emissions today, Bitcoin emissions alone would blast past the 2°C target. Other cryptocurrencies add another 50%. You cannot support both Bitcoin and reducing emissions without massive cognitive dissonance.

Sold three books I did not wish to keep and did not make it out of the bookstore with the money.

The gentlest, most voluntary shakedown ever.

"A Love Letter to Libraries," which is a gentler essay than usual, came out in this month's issue of Uncanny Magazine.

New York Times Book Review today:

"On Fragile Waves is a tremendous and almost unbearable work of witness. It is devastating and perfect."

EZRA KLEIN: What’s a novel you’ve read recently that you would recommend?

TED CHIANG: So I recently read this novel called “On Fragile Waves,” Lily Yu. It is a kind of magic realist novel about a family of Afghan refugees who are seeking asylum in Australia. And I found it powerfully affecting. So I think, yeah, everyone should check that out.

I am... not great at telling people about things in a timely manner, but Worldbuilders will be interviewing me today on Twitch at 5pm PT/7pm CT. Live only.


"I remember talking with Paul Mourset...about the American ambassador in Paris at the time. arrogant bounder. He was a millionaire, of course (apparently that's necessary in such a position), and spoke no French nor any other language, and did countless things like referring to Frenchmen as frogs in the presence of other Frenchmen or announcing publicly that French apples weren't fit to eat and sending ostentatiously to Oregon for large shipments of American apples."

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2.xi.38 (Nov 2, 1938):

"The truth is that it is and will be much pleasanter for me to read book after book of silly 'mysteries than to make myself work. Of course, if I were a real writer, predestined, dedicated, I'd work in the face of everything.... But as it is now, I feel almost hysterical at the thought of concentrating on one thing. I am never left without interruption (here are the self-justifications!) for more than fifteen or twenty minutes..."

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Last night I finished Stay Me, Oh Comfort Me, compiled from the journals of MFK Fisher right before she wrote the masterpiece that is How to Cook a Wolf (1942), in which, between the ages of 25 and 33, she divorces, remarries, watches Hitler take Paris, and cares for her second husband as he loses his leg and then his life. These are an extraordinary picture of the artist in embryo: doubt, resignation, careful observation.

In the Mar/April issue of Poets&Writers, Laura Maylene Walter interviews me and two other talented debut writers (Eman Quotah, Nancy Johnson) about launching a first novel during the pandemic. I'd subscribed to P&W for years and always hoped to be in there someday.

Perseverance persevered while we perseverated.

As with the secret goals in Untitled Goose Game that only reveal themselves once accomplished, I had no idea my life goals included being trolled by Ted Chiang and cheerfully heckled by a bookseller (I heckled back), but it turns out these are included, and now complete.

I'm in conversation with Karen Joy Fowler for Grass Roots Books (Corvallis) tonight at 7pm PST, then with Ted Chiang for Third Place Books (Seattle) on Friday. Third Place Books has signed copies; Grass Roots has signed bookplates; you can get books faster there than via Amazon.

Also I may have talked Karen Joy Fowler into sharing a little of her historical novel coming out in 2022 tonight.

Got to sign University Bookstore's stock today, which was wonderful and surreal. If you're in the Seattle area, consider dropping by and buying something, not necessarily my book. It's hard times for small bookstores.

Brief essay on the art of asking for help, and also an events schedule for February. I'll be speaking with Ted Chiang, Ken Liu, Karen Joy Fowler, Matt Bell, and Sam J. Miller at various fine purveyors of books, virtually.

2 Hours Of Squid To Relax/Study/Work To, or Krill Waves Radio, from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

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