Well. I’d intended for this to be something I would record and put out on The SF Signal podcast, but time has caught up to me on that. Life is an odd duck these days, and on the one hand, great things are happening for me – things I have spent a decade and change working towards, and on the other hand, well, things have gone to shit. I’ve read a lot of books about order and chaos and balancing the scales, and when I look at my life I can’t help but wonder if the Universe isn’t trying a little to hard to balance my life for me.
(Feel free to let up, Universe… Seriously…)
I have a few announcements that I’m gonna go through as quickly as possible, but I’ll warn you now, this could be a longer post than I intend as I sit down to write it.
I received an email from my friend John DeNardo, informing me that after 12 years (nearly 13), multiple Hugo Awards and nominations, and thousands if not tens of thousands of posts (having never missed a day, he tells me often and with a twinkle in his eye), SFSignal.com was going dark. I’ve known and counted DeNardo as my friend for roughly 7 years now, and no more stalwart and enthusiastic fan of all things speculative fiction has ever existed. Get him talking about genre and his eyes light up, he sits a little straighter, maybe leans towards you with a smile, the energy radiates out of him, and that unabashed giddiness is infectious and wonderful and has fueled SF Signal throughout its illustrious history. I know in my heart SFSignal, and John driving the ship, has done more to grow readership and expose new readers to great stories than any other single source on the web.
But nothing can last forever.
Running a site like SF Signal, putting out content every single day (again he tells me this often) is a grind. Having done a portion of that myself for the site for a short time, I can speak to this personally. It drains you. Working a full 40 hour a week day job and then coming home to another 4-5 hours of work on the website? I was single at the time and it was killing me. Imagine having to do that and have a family, wife and kids and maybe a dog or cat or six. I’ve no idea how DeNardo did it so well, so professionally, for so long. I tip my hat to him for that. And I thank him for it, too.
SF Signal has been the one-stop shop for all things spec-fic related and newsworthy for a very long time. Filling those shoes – well, no one really can. Because DeNardo is the heart and soul of that site, and without him there to greet you with a bagel and a smile, it’ll never be the same. It can’t be.
I will miss SF Signal immensely. There is a hole in the world now, and I don’t know how to fill it again.
Luckily, I have DeNardo’s cell phone number, so I can continue to text him pictures of frozen bagels from the grocery store, and he can continue to tell me bear claws are utter crap.
Ahh, friendship. 🙂
You may be aware that I host and produce The Hugo Award winning SF Signal podcast. You may also be wondering what will happen to that show once the site goes dark.
I’ve published 322 episodes to date, and John and JP – cofounders of SF Signal – have graciously allowed me to setup an archive here on my website – I’ll give a link when everything is official. This will enable people to continue to enjoy those episodes for as long as I can afford to keep my site and hosting going. So there’s some good news for you.
Moving forward? I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Certainly continue on with The Functional Nerds. But beyond that? Some people have suggested I should launch some new podcast using the same, convention-panel format I’ve done for years, just under a different name. Anealio and I have discussed launching a 2nd podcast under the Functional Nerds umbrella called ‘Extra Nerdy’, that would be a place for me to podcast stuff. Or I could do something here on atfmb again (I had a podcast here once, a long, long time ago).
I just don’t know.
What do you think? (Comments encouraged, please)
In other news, I am launching an audiobook production company. Yes, you read that right. I’ve had some things fall into place recently, and that includes some deals to produce audiobooks for people. The skills I use to engineer and produce podcasts translate quite easily and well to audiobooks. The equipment I have will also work nicely. I’ve been slowly remodeling an area in my basement for this very purpose over the past few months.
This is a huge opportunity and I can’t wait to be able to tell you more about it. Hint hint – that’s all I’m gonna say for now…
I have a few things moving forward on this front. I just turned in an essay for an Apex anthology. The first half of my book has been edited and sent back to me to work on. I’ve seen a sketch of my cover from the amazing Galen Dara. And there’s some other stuff percolating that I can’t talk about yet. But, overall, I’m ecstatic to have things coming out soon, and humbled by the opportunities presented to me on these fronts.
So. This is big news among a sea of big news stuff already on this post.
My mom has been struggling for a while now, with walking and mobility, with memory and speech, she fumbles for words and gives up a lot, saying, “I don’t know.” Her go to line is usually, “Oh, really?” when you talk with her.
She has been living with me for many years now. To date, she has been diagnosed with lung cancer – which we beat, severely broke her leg – which has healed, but continues to cause her issues, had to have her gallbladder removed – an adventure, to say the least, had physical therapy ordered for a frozen-shoulder – a long and arduous process that ultimately didn’t work very well, and has continued chugging along. But underneath it all has been this withdrawal of self. My brother noticed it before I did, really. When he lived in California and would talk to her on the phone, little things started to gnaw at him. Those little things have grown and progressed slowly but steadily.
Recently, I argued (endlessly) with my mom and convinced her to see a neurologist. Following her gallbladder surgery, she adopted a firm stance of ‘no more doctors, no more tests’. Being in the hospital was very hard on her, so I don’t blame her. But when stuff is wrong, you need to see a doctor and figure it out. So I argued with her (I know I already mentioned that, but you need to understand – this was difficult to get her to agree to) and finally got her, grudgingly, to agree to go.
He tested her for signs of a stroke – there were none. I wondered if, when she broke her leg, maybe she hit her head and because the leg break was so severe, no one caught the head injury. He said no, it didn’t look like that at all, but he ordered an MRI anyway.
The MRI results show that Mom has frontotemporal dementia. In short, her brain is shrinking and with it, taking her memories, her mobility and her words. Slowly. All dementia is a form of Alzheimer’s, though not all dementia is the Alzheimer’s most people hear about. Mom’s is rare, representing maybe 20% of cases. (Check that number.)
There is no cure.
We (my brother and I) are working to help her however we can. There are some medications that can alleviate some of the symptoms, and we’re trying them. But this is a difficult and brutal disease, and the toll it takes on everyone, great.
This has taken up a lot of my time in recent months, and the main reason the SF Signal podcast had to take a back burner.
It’s a thing.
So, that’s it. My updates for you.
Thanks to everyone for your continued support. Hope to see you at a convention soon.