“The difference is entirely one of setting.”

I sure miss Ian Banks. And Ian M. Banks even more.

Simon Stephenson has written a beautiful piece about Banks, published on Tor.com. It starts like this:

It was the day my grandmother exploded.

That might just be the greatest opening line ever written, and I am allowed to say that because I did not write it. It is the opening salvo to Iain Banks’ 1992 novel The Crow Road.”

Every time I read a Banks book I’m inspired to be writer and intimidated that I’ll never be as good as him. As soon as I get home I’m going to grab my paper copy of The Crow Road and read it again.

Uh oh…

It seems that 2020 is not quite finished with us. The Rona is surging in the US and across northern Europe. US daily new cases have moved from 30,000 only a few weeks ago to over 70,000 yesterday! The seven-day moving average of new cases is tilted sharply upward (below), and the deaths will inevitably follow in 2-3 weeks. The University of Washington COVID-19 model, by now pretty well calibrated with reality, is predicting 390K US deaths by February 1st. 390K! President Biden will inherit a broken economy and an out of control pandemic. He’s got his work cut out for him.

Closer to home, there’s an outbreak in my Dad’s assisted living facility. Four residents and three staff have tested positive. Bad, real bad. At least we’re in KY and can respond quickly if either Dad or Phyllis get sick. It’s a helpless feeling, nonetheless.

One bright spot. Biden’s predictive polling lead seems to be holding up, and here in Louisville there are Biden/Harris signs everywhere. Everywhere. And I haven’t seen a single Trump sign, unlike what we saw in the vastness of the Great Plains, covered with MAGA manure. So, good for Louisville, a progressive town in a sadly-still-backward state.