Every once in a while I see someone complaining that the representation in a certain book, or a certain film or other media, feels shallow and cynical – that the author is merely “ticking boxes” of what kind of people to include, rather than engaging more deeply with marginalized readers’ concerns.

This kind of complaint isn’t always on the mark – sometimes it assumes things about the author’s motivations that aren’t correct. But it is possible to just tick boxes – even from a position of good intent – when you could be doing something more.

In fact – dramatic confession time – I used to approach representation this way myself.

(Read the full post on Substack)

THE INFINITE Advent Calendar, Week 6: Pinterest

Only two more weeks until THE INFINITE drops into bookstores!

Today’s Advent Calendar goodie is a Pinterest board – or really, it’s that I updated the Pinterest board I use for the whole series. All the original pins for THE OUTSIDE and THE FALLEN are still there, plus I’ve added three new sections just for THE INFINITE:

  • Cover references. (I adore the cover art by Fred Gambino for this book – it depicts a very special scene from near the end of the book and I won’t spoil the context or what it means! But I can share these reference pictures I assembled while we were puzzling out what to put on the cover – they’re early examples of just what kind of cosmic horror entity we’re encountering here.)
  • NEMESIS-1. There are flashbacks in this book to the origin of the Gods, and this section assembles some aesthetics and vibes for those sections – both the supercomputer labs where the actual God-assembly is happening, and the dire climactic conditions outside.
  • Battle of Jai. We all know a big battle is coming in this book! Here’s some of the coolest suitable battle art that I could find – including big orbital warships, things crashing and blowing up, and even Outside-style monsters flying through the skies.

Many of the earlier sections of the Pinterest board (such as “Characters” and “Ruins of the Chaos Zone”) are all still quite relevant to THE INFINITE.



ICYMI: The Best of Everything Is True

I love to do yearly retrospectives / top 10s and this year I’ve done one using my own proprietary formula! (Not all that proprietary, really. Substack has its own idea of which are the “top posts,” but it strongly favors paywalled posts, doesn’t integrate with WordPress – necessary when my Autistic Book Party posts, for backwards compatibility reasons, are still posted there – and doesn’t automatically separate the posts by year, so I just ran my own numbers for the visible stats on each of my 2022 posts and guessed wildly at how to weight things like hits vs comments vs likes.)

So what were the best posts on Everything Is True this past year? Let’s count them down!

(Read the full post on Substack)

The Midjourney Mess, part 2: Turing problems

I’m thinking more about image- and text-generating AI, and one point I want to make is that this current mess isn’t just a failure of ethics – it’s a failure of evaluation more broadly. It’s not just that the tech industry didn’t think carefully enough about whether producing this kind of AI would be harmful; it’s also that the other questions we asked ourselves – whether a creative AI was effective, whether it was “really” creative, and so on – were the wrong questions.

(Read the full post on Substack)

Cool Story, Bro: My Favorite Books I Read This Year

I’m not going to do an award eligibility post this year, because the only new thing I published in 2022 was the poem “Google Glasses.” (A LOT of big things planned for 2023 though, so stay tuned! Sometimes writing careers are like this, just unpredictable cycles of boom and bust.)

I would very much like, though – as we move into award nomination season – to share with you some of my favorite things I read. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so we’ll do books this week, and short stories / poetry in the new year.

(Read the full post on Substack)

THE INFINITE Advent Calendar, Week 3: Content Warnings

This week is maybe a little less light-hearted than other weeks, but I know it’s something some readers really need! I’ve finished a list of content warnings for THE INFINITE, which is now up on my official website. (I also realized that my official website… did not actually have a page for THE INFINITE yet. Whoops! That’s fixed now.)

The list of content warnings comes in two versions – a short list of topics, and a longer list explaining what happens that involves each of these topics. The longer list may, of course, have spoilers. You can choose whichever list suits your needs better.

THE INFINITE Advent Calendar, Week 2: Heroes Quiz

I love these silly little quizzes, so I’ve made one to help us count down to THE INFINITE! Find out which hero from the Outside series you are, here:


Possible results include Yasira, Tiv, all seven of the Seven, or Qiel Huong.

(If you’re more of a villain person, don’t worry – the villain quiz is coming in Week Five. 😀 )