Apocalypse! There are lots of possible scenarios—the “Don’t Look Up” one, where a massive comet strikes the earth like a fist; Ragnarök, where the gods die too (sorry, Loki); the slow iron decadence of Kali Yuga; the Christian Rapture, with its “See you in hell, from heaven!” schadenfreude—but they all pretty much agree that A Big Thing is going to happen, and then you’ll see: we’ll all see. And our own unsettled moment of climate catastrophe and virus and political convulsion invites the constant rolling question, Is this it? is this it? Is this the end of the world?
In our afternoon reading: thoughts on Malika Moustadraf’s short stories, Kathe Koja in conversation with John Skipp, and more.
Make It Real
by Kathe Koja
Hey, boy, welcome to reality – David Bowie
When you write a book about reality, when I wrote this one, you need to consider what reality is, really. Is it tangible, physical? a rapturous hug from the one you love, a tasty cocktail sipped in the sun, a broken thumb, a lit cigarette, a stubborn headache, the view from a balcony? Or is it a metaphysical construct, an art school joke, a philosophical itch, a lone proverbial tree forever falling, falling? Is it emotional vertigo? Is it vertigo? What if reality defines itself? How would we know?
In our afternoon reading: revisiting the music of Laurie Anderson, an excerpt from Lauren Foley’s new book, and more.
The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
In our morning reading: interviews with Kathe Koja and Matthew Salesses, Kim Stanley Robinson on science fiction, and more.
All That Hunger
by Kathe Koja
If you write a book about a bottomless hole that appears in a cruddy storage room floor, and call it the Funhole (the hole, not the book, although the book was briefly titled The Funhole until its original publisher insisted on a title change to The Cipher), you are going to get asked a lot of questions. Some of them will be predictably droll, some will be existentially thoughtful, and the great majority of them will be about that hole. Specifically, what exactly is it, a monster? a process? a Freudian metaphor? And what exactly happens in there, why do horrible things—transformative, absolutely, but uniformly horrible—happen to anything that gets too close?
In our weekend reading: interviews with Kathe Koja and Adam Wilson, thoughts on Julianna Barwick’s new album, and more.