Issue #113: Pandimiki Diaspora
Pandimiki Diaspora There was disruption. And then there was The Disruption.
I remember the disruption that the World Wide Web had on publishing since the late 1990s. Just ask independent book retailers (since the launch of Amazon and Ebay). Just ask newspaper publishers who attempted to give away content for free on websites simply to garner more paid, print subscribers. (All of this is detailed in my book, DEEMED NONESSENTIAL.)
How did that go? Today, everywhere you click there is a “subscribe now” paywall.
And then came March 2020 and we were all sent home, dispersed away from the office from what we thought would only be a few weeks, and then it became permanent, because COVID-19 was all the rage. Forced to stay safe, be well, work in our pajamas, ad nauseam.
Dispersed to the living rooms and kitchens because of the pandemic. Pandemic Diaspora.
The diaspora works for those who need day care for parents, kids and pets.
For the rest of us, we sit back in our pandemic home office chairs and wonder what the hell happened.
Where there was once high spirits and physical and emotional camaraderie among our colleagues and peers, where and how we learned an awful lot, now there is loneliness and isolation broken up by our mugshot on a Zoom call. Where there was once mentoring, laughter and insight, now there is an email or two that just gets right to the point. Where there was once praise and good intentions, and sharing, now there is a Teams or cellphone text.
Gone from Zoom, Teams, Meet or whatever is the body-talk communication: the head movements, the quick grin, the smirk, lost in pixel translation.
In the Harvard Making Caring Common Project, it was noted in February 2021 that “the global pandemic has deepened an epidemic of loneliness in America,” according to its website. “Our report suggests that 36% of all Americans — including 61% of young adults and 51% of mothers with young children — feel ‘serious loneliness.’
Not surprisingly, loneliness appears to have increased substantially since the outbreak of the global pandemic.”
People around the world experienced an increase in loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, which, although small, could have implications for people’s long-term mental and physical health, longevity and well-being, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
People, the diaspora was not in any way a very good thing. It is going to stifle mentoring and networking in a big way and be detrimental to building a career.
Working from home flat-out stinks for all the reasons mentioned above.
You will see the aftershocks of the COVID-19 Pandimiki in the years to come. Count on it.
This two-volume collection includes RAY BRADBURY: NOVELS AND STORY CYCLES and RAY BRADBURY: THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, THE OCTOBER COUNTRY and Other Stories
BRADBURY: NOVELS AND STORY CYCLES
by Ray Bradbury
The Library of America
2021, 889 pages, $40
Amazing, isn’t it? SF writers have a sufficient disposition and ability to foresee the future, to observe what is coming. In his appendix and story notes to this collection of three novels, Bradbury talks about the Fire Man short novel he wrote (FAHRENHEIT 451), describing a scene which, written more than seven decades ago, foresees the future. From Page 811: “Elsewhere in the narrative I described my Fire Man arriving home after midnight and finding his wife in bed afflicted with two varieties of stupor. She is in a trance, a condition so withdrawn as to resemble catatonia, compounded of equal parts of liquor and a small Seashell thimble-radio tucked in her ear. The Seashell croons and murmurs its music and commercials and private little melodramas for her alone.” Earbuds? Seashells? Could it be Bluetooth? Bradbury remembers a time that he saw a couple taking a stroll in a real-life neighborhood on the Gold Coast, in which a wife had wires to a portable transistor radio in her ear. She was oblivious to her walking partner. It goes on. From Page 817: “I do not know whether tomorrow’s street will be full of human beings with Seashell thimble-radios whispering in their ears and all the world and its problems moved away from and neglected.” In the afterwords/story notes, the fantasy fiction magician gives readers a true-life tale of growing up in Waukegan, Ill., and transferring that experience during his imaginative and active childhood into what happens to the boys of the novels DANDELION WINE, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES and THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES. But a less repressive and censored future awaits us as Bradbury reacts to his own perceived future in FAHRENHEIT 451. Rocket summer is here. Just ask Elon Musk. We have overcome 1984 and 451 and perhaps, in Bradbury’s celebrations of our present and future, in these tales and essays, mankind may just have a future.
RAY BRADBURY: THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, THE OCTOBER COUNTRY and Other Stories
by Ray Bradbury
Library of America
2022, 979 pages, $40
Editor Jonathan R. Eller provides a most interesting list of footnotes to these tales, starting on Page 937, along with a chronology of Bradbury’s life (Page 919). I loved the footnote on Page 978, about lapis lazuli, the semiprecious stone on King Tutankhamen’s death mask, and what Ray’s mother had to say about King Tut in a long-ago conversation with her young son. Hilarious and classic!
Next time in True Review:
SNUGGLY TALES OF FEMMES FATALES
ed. by Brian Stableford
2022, 291 pages, $20
THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW MY FATHER KNEW Volume 1
by Peter Crowther
Cemetery Dance Publications
506 pages, $30
THE WISHING POOL and Other Stories
by Tananarive Due.
2023, 296 pages, $29.95
CASTLE OF HORROR ANTHOLOGY: THINLY VEILED SATURDAY MOURNINGS, Vol. 10
ed. by Jason Henderson and In Churl Yo
Castle Bridge Media
2023, 241 pages, $14.99
HORROR LIBRARY Vol. 8
ed. by Eric J. Guignard
Dark Moon Books
2023, 307 pages, $16.95