In honor of the fact that Avatar 2 is finally, actually going to release this year, here’s a satirical short story I wrote in 2017, back when we thought the idea of all those long-delayed Avatar sequels was a total joke.
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes. (~3,000 words)
A question recently got stuck in my brain and I can’t seem to shake it, in part because I don’t know how to answer it: when I’m old and at the end of my life, what will I want done with all my earthly possessions?
A hard science fiction novella about time travel, fine dining, and the utter collapse of human society—in that order.
Estimated reading time: 45 minutes. (~14,000 words)
In our current digital age, where anyone can self-publish anything they want, there’s more stuff out there than ever before—books to read, videos to watch, podcasts to listen to, etc—and more is coming out every day. Too much, even. More than anyone could ever keep up with, even if they vowed to only read/watch “the best” of every medium.
Content consumers have never had so many options. And content creators have never had so much competition.
It’s a commonly held idea that time seems to pass faster as we get older. That the seasons lasted forever when we were kids, and the years fly by now that we’re adults. That when we were young, each day felt like an eternity—because each day was a more noteworthy percentage of the entire time we’d been alive so far—and now that we’re older, a whole month can pass by in a snap—because what’s one more month when you’ve already been alive for hundreds of them?
I think this idea is wrong.
(Sorry kids, this post doesn’t apply to you. You aren’t allowed to read it I guess; it’s X-rated now. The X stands for “existential.”)
Recently, a video was released which set the long-dead Homestuck fandom aflame with drama. You don’t really need to watch it (I mean… unless you’re curious about the very troubled production of the Homestuck Kickstarter game). But to make a long story short: Andrew Hussie, the writer of Homestuck, made his first public comments on the Kickstarter game in years, and he unintentionally portrayed himself as a terrible businessperson and kind of an asshole.
This isn’t a post about that though. It’s a post about authors, how they engage with their fans, and how a bunch of stupid fandom drama made me ask myself: what kind of content creator do I want to be?
I always get sentimental about my projects and my progress with them around the new year. For the last few years, I would spend the last week of December writing up a Google Doc with a long analysis of how my year went, how I did in terms of accomplishing the goals I set for myself the prior year (which I usually failed to reach), and setting new goals for the next year (which, again, I would usually fail to reach).
Instead of doing that again this year, I’d like to put into practice some of that author transparency I’m always raving about, and share my year in review thoughts publicly, in blog post form.
So. What have I been up to for the last year?
I’ve never been drunk before.
I’m a big fan of the Pokémon franchise.
When it first came to the US, I was at just the right age of childhood for its megalithic multimedia-ness to consume me. I sunk hundreds of hours into each of the games, I collected the cards, I watched the cartoon—I even had a Pokémon fansite on Maxpages.com! (If you’ve never heard of Maxpages, imagine Geocities, but even less professional and even more overrun by little kids.)
At one point, my obsession was so great that I wanted to make a Pokédex website—a site that would list all 150 Pokémon and all of their Pokédex entries from each of the games. I even went as far as borrowing an “HTML For Dummies” book from one of my parents’ friends, so I could do it all myself the right and proper way.
… But I was just a dumb ten year old with better things to do (like playing Pokémon games for another billion hours, probably), so I didn’t get very far. Making a Pokédex website would stay a childhood dream in the back of my mind for the rest of my life.
Some time in early 2011, I discovered Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality—a Harry Potter fanfiction in which Harry is a child genius in math and physics and psychology and probability, and he gets his Hogwarts acceptance letter and finds out magic is real, and then he vows to use Science to learn how “magic” really works—among other ambitious goals, like wanting to reveal magic to the entire world, and end death forever by making everyone immortal.
It was unlike anything I had read before, and as a casual fan of both Harry Potter and nerdy things in general, I was hooked.