I Wrote About The Future; Then It Happened
So, you might have noticed a bit of a lack of blog posts over the winter. Well, this time it’s not (just) depression eating me alive. I made a thing — two things, actually.
Consider this a soft reboot, and a perfectly good starting point in the series. Book 3, The Meaning Wars, follows two characters: Sarah, the weary Behavioural Criminal arrested for associating with dissidents, and Crystal, a wormhole engineer dissatisfied with her marriage and the safe, boring jobs she’s been taking. Linked by friendship and their Martian origins, the two women fight ongoing trauma to reclaim their senses of self.
Book 4, Poe’s Outlaws, finds Crystal and Sarah pursuing intersecting paths. Sarah has become a smuggler, wrapped up in a rescue mission to save a revolutionary leader (who happens to be her inspiration and her crush). Crystal is taking a much-needed vacation, but an old flame, the one who got away, is about to throw her life right back into chaos. The only way out? Friendship, teamwork, and possibly, a revolution. It’s a beach episode featuring queer love, aliens, and derring-do.
I’m working on book 5, A Jade’s Trick. I’m past the halfway point, but for a few months, I got completely stuck. Part of it was debating on the tone for the ending. War threatens, and I had no idea how to resolve the conflict. Should I choose something idealistic, where the corrective safeguards of the system work, or something drastic and grim, a more realistic vision of power dynamics? I couldn’t choose, and it felt like a very abstract question.
Then war came to Ukraine, and I got a tiny taste of what it might be like to stand in Crystal’s boots.
Being in the late? portion of a pandemic, as very hurried politicians insist we are, and having that pandemic overlap with the disruptive attack on the American election (followed recently by a halfassed attempt to do the same here in Canada, with the farcical embarrassment of the trucker protests) [links], I wasn’t exactly expecting more calamities. But the universe isn’t really into following scripts or plot arcs or anything sensible like that — no, those are human constructs meant to carve chaos into coherence. I wasn’t counting on a paranoid, ruthless dictator deciding that the lull after the second pandemic Olympics was the perfect time for his colonial power-grab.
And I really wasn’t prepared for the war to affect me personally. In addition to the fact that my male partner is Ukrainian, a very dear friend is a Kievan native. She has been displaced by the conflict, and she and her mother are scrabbling to make ends meet in a different city. Hopefully, this displacement won’t be permanent.
We’ve set up a fundraiser to help her and her mom while these events are going on. This is a fundraiser to help her and her mom not only get a tablet for her to work on as a graphic designer (her laptop is in Kyiv…), but also to help them get by for the next while. Her mother’s job at the library is kind of out of commission right now, and it’s possible that they’ll have to emigrate elsewhere for safety.
Before this whole war thing got started, I also knitted her a sweater inspired by Yoongi of BTS’s famous — and expensive — designer yellow sweater. Proceeds from the sale of the pattern will also be going directly to Katya, to help with resettlement costs. There is a chance that we’re going to have to help her migrate to Canada, so anything you can give will be greatly valued.
Thank you all for reading my work and checking out these fundraisers. If you can’t give, please share this article on social media.
Michelle Browne is a sci fi/fantasy writer and editor. She lives in Lethbridge, AB with her partners-in-crime and their cats. Her days revolve around freelance editing, knitting, jewelry, and learning too much. She is currently working on other people’s manuscripts, the next books in her series, and drinking as much tea as humanly possible.