High Thermidor, CCXXVI

Recent publications: short stories “Terminus” in Three-Lobed Burning Eye and “Heron of Earth” in Clarkesworld, and “Rupture & Complicity”, my review of the 2018 Clarke Award shortlist, in Strange Horizons.

Reading Yoon Ha Lee’s Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun recently:

I’ve been thinking about how we construct personal calendars as an emotional terrain for navigating loss. How much more useful this is than, for example, the tired Kübler-Ross stages of grief, which aren’t even a real thing but somehow still persist as a meme, perhaps because it’s so anachronistically gamified and well-suited to life in the neoliberal ascendancy, positing this return to productive social behaviour after processing the inconvenient deviation. Grief as a calendrical regime, however, is cyclic, not linear. It mingles with the rains in their season: expected, torrential, dangerous, fruitful. I’ve come to expect a certain harvest from Fructidor and Vendémiaire—and Germinal too, though one feature of a calendrical system is that the past recedes faster than the future approaches—pain, of course, and memory, but also a kind of unhomely restlessness, a potential energy. This is what appeals about the idea of a calendrical regime as a machine for doing work, rather than only for painful remembrances. Something vast and rotating, grinding the teeth of its gears, pulling, pulling gleaming bones out of the dark water.