This week I tried to plow through a book that is almost certainly excellent in small doses. For this week’s review at Black Gate, I wrote about the first volume of The Apocalypse Triptych, an anthology series edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey. Adams is the King of All Anthology, and Howey’s been on my TBR list for some time. Their table of contents is full of awesome people. The stories I was able to make it through were all glorious specimens of their kind. Alas for me, the first volume of the triptych, The End Is Nigh, requires that every single story lead up to the end of its world. One stunning end of the world story, well, that you can withstand, even if it’s powerful and keenly felt. Two dozen end of the world stories was more than I could face, and I had to put the book down about a third of the way through, precisely because it succeeded so well on its own terms.

Meanwhile, my six-year-old has tightened his professional focus. For a while, he started half his sentences with, “As a rock scientist, I …” Now he plans to be a rock scientist who does field work on exoplanets, thanks to a NOVA episode about the Kepler telescope. Boy, was he upset when we told him interstellar travel would take more than a human lifetime. He scowled for a couple of days, then proclaimed his solution: He would replicate himself into an entire ship’s crew of clones, and make new versions of himself every time one of him started getting old or died. That way, several of him would make it to every one of the exoplanets he wanted to study.

I like imagining this solution for several reasons. It more than satisfies my parental hope to see my child outlive me and, better yet, guarantees fulfillment of the classic parental curse, May you have children just like yourself! Oh, this week especially, I enjoy picturing my son grown and wrangling a dozen of his young clones while they demonstrate the full range of his problem behaviors.

Why are both my kids’ problem behaviors so out there this week? Because next weekend we move into our new house. We’re packing again, leaving my father-in-law’s place after eight long months in limbo. The kids want their own rooms, and a mammal for a pet, and all the other benefits of moving, but they’re not so sure about all this change. Leaving their grandfather behind is probably their least favorite of the changes to come. We’re a little giddy, a little crazy, a little hair-triggered. The end is nigh!


Sarah Avery

October 2016

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