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December Film Roundup:

[Comments] (2) The Crummy.com Review of Things 2021: Still alive and healthy, though that seems less of an accomplishment than last year. Looking through photos from 2021 shows some outings, some visits with friends and family, but thinking back on it it just seems like an annoying haze. At least we have Things, and the Review thereof, to keep us company:

Books

The crummy.com Books of the Year are: Endless Frontier by G. Pascal Zachary, Red Plenty by Francis Spufford, Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, and Becoming Trader Joe by Joe Coulombe and Patty Civalleri. All good stuff.

Film

As is traditional, Film Roundup Roundup has been updated. I had no problem coming up with a top ten for you, thanks in large part to '80s Month, which brought in a lot of classics I'd never seen:

Games

The Crummy.com Game of the Year is the fairly obscure Uurnog Uurnlimited, which sets up a traditional platforming challenge and lets you break it however you want. Runners-up: Slipways and Dicey Dungeons, as well as good old Spelling Bee and Wordle, which Sumana and I like to play collaboratively.

I spent less time in 2021 than in 2020 playing games, and more of that time on the best games of other years, especially Noita. My Noita fun ended with a bang, when I ended up in an incredible seed (470656790 -- try it out!) which basically let me legitimately see everything in the game I wanted to see.

My Accomplishments

My story "Mandatory Arbitration" came out in Analog, and I sold both of my non-bad 2020 stories: "Stress Response" and "When there is Sugar", to appear this year. (I actually just sold another story, but that happened in 2022, so more on that later.)

The Constellation Speedrun is still proceeding forward in a very un-speedrun-like manner. I wrote three stories in 2021: "The Coffeeshop AU" plus two Ravy Uvana stories, "The Letter of the Law" and "The Scent of the Governed."

[Comments] (1) January Film Roundup:

February Film Roundup:

Two Spacesuits: My story "Two Spacesuits" is published in the April 2022 issue of Clarkesworld! I wrote "Two Spacesuits" in 2017, and over time the subject matter—your normcore parents join a self-medicating Internet cult—has only become more and more relevant. I made a few minor edits in late 2021 to set the story during the pandemic, instead of the sprawling 21st-century untime you see in a lot of these stories, but everything apart from the obvious "curbside pickup" type stuff was there originally. Thanks to Neil Clarke for picking up the story.

"Two Spacesuits" has a heavy focus on one of my big writer themes: cognitive dissonance and the defense mechanisms we deploy to deal with it.

“You’re still doing it! Oh my God! You make up these stories to explain your behavior to yourselves. When one story falls apart you just switch to another one.”

As a writer I hope I don't come off solely as an observer of human frailty, but this is one of my favorite kinds of human frailty to observe. There's a bit of this in Constellation Games when Ariel and Dana are talking about Curic's ambivalence:

“We'd pick an option at random and create post hoc rationalizations,” said Dana. “Humans do it, too.”

In Situation Normal, Evidence causes this behavior as a side effect (this is why Evidence is called that!), and this is most clear in "We, the Unwilling," the SN bonus story, where Evidence pushes the POV character into ever more extreme states of cognitive dissonance:

“You ask the Internet about Captain Jim Kirk,” said Nor firmly, “and then we can do business based on a shared understanding of the facts.”

“I don’t want to,” said Kenta. There was nothing else to say. The only possible next step towards completing the mission was to avoid certain pieces of information.

Can readers expect a respite from further explorations of this concept in The Constellation Speedrun? My sources say no.

March Film Roundup: A real big month for movies that each parody a lot of other movies. But a real small Roundup of such movies, only two:

April Film Roundup:

May Film Roundup: After nearly ten years, it finally happened: we watched a movie on the last day of the month solely so I'd have something to put in Film Roundup. A busy month, I guess, with our viewing time spent on Better Call Saul (chilling!) and Strange New Worlds (excellent!).

June Film Roundup: In June, the theme was "wacky comedies." I am pushing for the theme for July to also be "wacky comedies," but running into some resistance. We may end up splitting the month, Solomon-style.

[Comments] (1) July Film Roundup:

[No comments] The Scene of the Crime: My new story "The Scene of the Crime" is published in the August 2022 issue of Clarkesworld! This is my second published Ravy Uvana story, after "Mandatory Arbitration", and I just did copyedits for "Stress Response", which will become the third one near the end of the year.

The first draft of this story was much more complicated, with a time loop and a parallel universe, plus with Dr. Miew denying to the end that there was any time loop at all. Way too complicated! A lot of writing the first draft is throwing ideas at the wall, and a lot of the second draft is seeing which ideas stuck to the wall and picking up the others.

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