6 min read

Letter of News: Star Crossed, Signed Copies of Time War, Readercon, MusicalSplaining, and Project Pizza

A colourful sunset over the Outaouais River framed by bare tree branches, with two empty picnic tables in foreground.

Dear Friends,

It's been almost two months since I've written to you. Partly this was due to receiving guests and writing secret things in the woods, and partly due to being in the streets demanding ceasefire now and a cessation of the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. I will not mince words about this. If you're in Canada, this informational google doc is updated almost daily with information and direct actions you can take to pressure our government into withdrawing its support for genocide by demanding a permanent ceasefire. If you're in the US, Jewish Voice for Peace has many tools for coordinating direct action. I hope that wherever you are in the world you're finding ways to work for the liberation of all people.

Feeling utterly incapable of talking on the internet in a way that is separate from the urgency of relentless atrocity means that I've accumulated a good deal of news to share in the interim. I hope to get one more newsletter out after this before the end of this wild year, but in the meantime, here's what's what.

Star Crossed: Love Letters

Star Crossed: Love Letters
Star Crossed is back! This lovingly illustrated book is full of characters, settings, and new ways to play that will help you enrich and enhance your sessions of the two-player tower-based game of forbidden love!

Ever since This Is How You Lose the Time War came out in 2019, people have been asking me if I've played Star Crossed, Alex Roberts' beautiful two-player game of forbidden love. I've long been deeply honoured by the comparison (not least because Roberts' For the Queen is one of the games of my heart, that I literally carry with me everywhere like a Tarot deck on the off-chance I can convince a group of people to play it with me, which, before you say anything, is a totally normal thing to do).

Anyway Max and I were absolutely bowled over to be invited to contribute to the forthcoming Star Crossed expansion! And we had tremendous fun coming up with a pairing to spark player imagination: as Alex writes, "In Tender is the Knight, a solitary dragon and the knight sent to confront them find a surprising connection." Back the project to see a truly fantastic illustration by Sovanny Vorn, and, you know, to get the expansion, which is going to be amazing. There are only five days left to back it!

Get Signed Copies of This Is How You Lose the Time War

As in years past, Perfect Books – my favourite local independent and a bookstore at which I worked as a teenager – is the shop that will most reliably have signed-by-me stock. I check in with them regularly and keep them in signed books as needed; I can also pop in to inscribe things given reasonable notice. They'll also ship anywhere in the world provided you pay for shipping.

If you want books signed by Max, your best bet is to reach out to Porter Square Books.

If you want books signed by both me and Max – well, the world is inimical. It is currently very hard for Max and me to be in the same place, especially in any book-event-having capacity. But while Max was visiting – did I mention Max was visiting? – early last month we attempted a scheme to supply people with double-signed postcards of Time War that could function as fun ephemera and/or book plates of a sort. If you'd like one, Porter Square Books' Cambridge location has, at time of writing, about 12 remaining.

That said, there's a possibility that Max and I will be in a public-facing same-place situation in July of next year, because –

Readercon Invited me to be a Guest of Honour!

Along with the magnificent Rebecca Roanhorse, I'm scheduled to be a Guest of Honour at Readercon 33, from July 11-14 at the Quincy Marriott in Quincy, MA. This means more to me than I can easily say; Readercon was one of my first conventions, one that I loved enough to volunteer with for a few years; it's a site of many career firsts, including where I first met Max, and where we launched Time War together in 2019. I hope I get to see many of you there, and bridge the gulf of the last five years with talk of books and belting of folk songs and showtunes as is tradition.

Speaking of which –

MusicalSplaining: Notre-Dame de Paris

I was a guest on one of my favourite podcasts! Musicalsplaining is a show where musical-hating filmmaker Kaveh Taherian and musical-loving writer Angelina Meehan watch musicals and talk about them. The project is drawing to a close, but I'm thrilled to have gotten to slide in under the wire to talk about the very first musical with which I ever became obnoxiously obsessed: Luc Plamondon's Notre-Dame de Paris. You can listen to the episode here, or wherever you get your podcasts!

NYTBR Columns

Due to the state of the world I think I missed sharing my October column, which has perhaps my favourite title of any I've yet been assigned. In it I covered books by Malon Edwards, Melinda Taub and Karen Lord.

This month's column is a double-sized one in anticipation of the holidays, and my last one of the year (though on Monday they'll run my Top 10). In it I cover Vajra Chandrasekera's The Saint of Bright Doors, Avi Silver's Pluralities, Cadwell Turnbull's We Are the Crisis, Michael Mammay's Generation Ship and T. Kingfisher's Thornhedge. I hope you find something to enjoy among them.

Project Pizza - Ends at Midnight Pacific Tonight!

I got to contribute the tiniest piece of silly doggerel to a really fantastic cause!

For the past few years Shing Yin Khor and Eron Rauch have been co-organizing a pop-up store to raise money for food insecurity causes in Los Angeles. Here's what Shing has to say about it:

I get to corral wonderful artist friends and throw a pizza party where we get together and produce a pile of amazing original art. We raised $8000+ last year, which is a new record, and we were hoping we could break it this year!

This project has become something so important to me and my friends - it is hard to feel like we can do something quantifiable about the ills of the world, but we KNOW that for this project, just drawing a slice of pizza can rescue hundreds of pounds of food that gets redirected to our hungry neighbors.

You can support us RIGHT NOW by buying a slice of pizza or a party pack! They are only available for a very limited time(the store closes at MIDNIGHT Pacific on Saturday, December 2nd).

My contribution is a concrete poem titled "This Is How You Lose the Project Pizza War" that Shing turned into art with their hand-writing and colour sense, and it'll go out as a thank you card to anyone who buys a slice of pizza-art.

Shaped like a slice of pizza (with the title as the crust), text reads as follows: A mass a melt a topping felt by roof of mouth in burning dealt but spicy heat cannot compete with hungry maw admits defeat but hunger too now beats retreat our victory at last complete as bellies full we rest, replete: pizza's neat and we did eat"

Get 'em while they're hot!

Now that the year's review-reading is done I get to spend a little more time on reading strictly for pleasure, so I've picked up Alix Harrow's Starling House, which I've been saving for precisely this time; I bring this up partly to recommend that you all read Alix' newsletter, which most recently also provided a delicious reading guide. I also hope to finally, finally get to read Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series for the first time in the month most appropriate to it, and to finish Thus Was Adonis Murdered, which Stu and I have been reading to each other in sleepy snatches before bed after Max recommended it highly.

I'd love to know what you're looking forward to reading in the darkening time of the year. It snowed today in that way that sleeves tree branches in white and makes the morning feel like the miracle it is. Meanwhile afternoon light slants in thin and golden as a delicate tea; night falls like a heavy blanket at half past four. I hope you're finding, and being given, time to rest; I hope you're finding, and giving, love and kindness and support as the world hurts everywhere.




Selfie in which my dark wavy hair is down around my shoulders and spilling over a pale yellow t-shirt depicting a Palestine Sunbird. I'm wearing watermelon-slice earrings and raising two fingers in a peace sign.