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The Well, Actually

I first met Anne Lamott in the 90s, via her book Bird by Bird. Someone told my mom about the book and she said she wanted to get it for me, because it was about writing. We gleefully crossed paths with the hardcover (in a bookstore! gasp!) some weeks later, and brought a copy home. It is a book I return to so frequently that its spine has begun to split.

One thing from the book I hold tightly to is the idea that writer’s block doesn’t really exist (your experience may be different, of course, as we are all different humans). It’s more that the creative well inside ourselves runs empty, and we have to allow it to fill again before we can put anything else onto a page. I find this true in my work, that if I haven’t taken something in, I can’t put something out. Lately it feels like there isn’t enough time to take anything in.

This isn’t to say that I’ve been lax — I’ve seen Infinity War, after all, so Important Works are being consumed. I’ve recently finished Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit and A Human Stain by Kelly Robson; I’ve started reading The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton.

I’ve read a writer friend’s drafted manuscript; I’ve read a writer friend’s drafted script; I’ve pondered a writer friend’s poems; I’m taking care of my mom as her memory continues to degrade; I’ve edited stories for an anthology I’m joint editing; I edited stories for Shimmer and those are endless, aren’t they; I formatted the May Shimmer not once but twice because of scheduling conflicts; I assembled the cover design for the May Shimmer; I’ve read an excessive amount of slush and we’re still not caught up.

I edited 60k words of manuscripts for my main freelance gig; I’ve explained exactly why plagiarism isn’t allowed; I’m reading another 200 pages of manuscript for another freelance gig; I have an edit to handle for a Kickstarter reward; I handled three other edits for other Kickstarter rewards; I’m figuring out why the hell the hood over the stove suddenly doesn’t work and oh it’s just the dumb solder on the light that doesn’t allow it to sit flush and actually illuminate; I’m trying not to scowl at the Mormons who broke my doorbell, but c’mon man; I added almost 11k to the Anubis manuscript in April…what.

I’m a little staggered by that last fact there — I didn’t expect that number to be anywhere near that high. I’ve felt very empty when it’s time to work on my own shit; some days, it doesn’t happen, I’m not gonna lie. Some days, you open the file and have nothing to give. Some days, maybe you don’t even get to open the file.

Some days, though, you open the file and add 500 words. Maybe it turned out to only be a session of plotting, of getting people out of a metaphorical corner. Maybe it was 50 words and no more.

Those words add up, though. Small chunks? Keep going.

At writing group, I suggested we talk about everything we’ve accomplished in the time since we last met. I think it’s easy to look at our work and say “omg look at everything I haven’t done.”

Okay, but look at everything you did.

If literally all you’re doing is queuing up video games when you get home and losing yourself for days, then maybe we need to reconsider our choices, but I sure as heck have been exploring Assassin’s Creed Origins when I have bits of time. You could have been writing during that time, someone is thinking right this very second. And no, I don’t think I could have been.

Wells need refilling.

Sometimes that means you need to go pet cats in ancient Egypt.

Neko Atsume, Egypt edition


Not Always Graceful

Goodbyes aren’t always graceful.

You can’t always plan for them.

Sometimes we know.

Sometimes they come out of left field and sock you in the face like a baseball.

If you haven’t seen Infinity War, you may want to skip this entry. I have no idea what I’m going to say, but suspect a spoiler might leap up and grab you when we least expect it.

Mostly, the movie has me thinking about goodbyes, and how we aren’t always given the space or time to properly process them. This movie ends with a cliffhanger, if you want to call it that. I would call it a pause, because we know there will be more Avengers films. We know certain characters will be returning.

We can also guess about two or three who may not.

But the end of the movie puts a lot of things on hold, leaves a lot of storylines without resolution. I’m okay with that, because it made things feel more real. For all the aliens and super powers, for all the portals and witty quips, the end of the movie feels real, because there’s no time to breathe or to understand what we just saw.

It doesn’t make sense. Death is like that.

It isn’t fair. Death is like that.

It makes you want to scream. Death is like that.

Two stories hit me hardest here — oh hey, here come the spoilers, I can feel it.

First, Gamora. If I have to see or read about another man who said “I love you,” and then killed the woman he just said that to, I’m probably going to hurl the world into the sun, It’s too real. And here I was just advocating that the end of the movie was real so I was okay with that.

But watching another woman get fridged so a dude can complete his Utterly Nonsense Plan?

Were we supposed to be shocked that Thanos actually did love her? Was Gamora’s surprise intended to foster ours? It only made me angry, watching him cry over her, over knowing that he was about to kill her to make the universe a “better place.” Fuck that.

Second, Peter Parker. The movie opens with Tony having dreamed that he and Pepper were pregnant; the movie opens with Tony feeling it’s time to be a dad. The movie ends with Peter turning to ash in Tony’s arms, after Tony has, perhaps unintentionally, spent the movie being a dad to him.

I can’t even with that. Even though we know Peter’s coming back (hi, movie contracts). But. BUT. Even as I can’t, I CAN, because apparently I contain multitudes. If time is reset, and they remember this timeline, how does that change who they are going forward? If the reset button erases memories, that will mean this film was a waste.

Goodbyes aren’t always graceful. Those on screen, in a book, or in real life. I’ve had people vanish without warning. They may as well have turned to ash in my hands. Some of those people never came back. A few of them did and I’m never ever letting them go again.

No matter all the magic and wonder and portals and pryotechnics, goodbyes are sloppy and imperfect, and so is Infinity War. So though it makes me angry, I think I understand it.


Say the Thing

Writing can be really weird, right?

In my current WIP, I’m alternating points of view for my chapters, which means that at some points of the plot, I’m not in what I think must be the ideal POV for the moment — and as I keep writing, I continue to discover that I’m entirely wrong, and that the POVs I’m using are layery and flexible so as to accommodate what I’m doing, because what I’m doing impacts everyone there, so…

This moment is Eleanor’s, so why am I in Virgil’s POV?! But then I noodle around with Virgil and Something Reveals Itself, and everything is really layered and Doing Things and well, okay.

Sometimes, we need to chill out and let the brain do the thing. At some point, you trust the process.

This past weekend was the first official meeting of Writing Group, which doesn’t have a name and I’m not sure if it will get a name, but we shall see. This is my first in-person group in about forever, so I hope I don’t fuck it up.

I like the idea that there are people who will hold me accountable when it comes to getting shit done. Surely I am good at this on my own, but let’s not be silly: there are many areas in which a girl could stand to improve.

Mostly — and perhaps this is ridiculous — I am going to need someone to hold my hand as I write the book after the last Anubis book. Right now, it looks like a yawning abyss, an abyss that isn’t even really interested in gazing back at me, so yeah.

Having time (making time) to focus on craft and intent should be good. Also, SNACKS.

Yesterday’s novel writing involved throwing everyone into significant jeopardy, hooray? And because I didn’t think I was in the right POV, I kept wanting to delay one chapter, because then we’d be with Eleanor, and not Virgil, because WHAT was his investment in this scene, really.

But I leapt into the jeopardy and trusted Virgil to tell me his shit, which he did, and I’m pleased and astonished with how it turned out. This is a reminder that usually, there’s no point in dragging a thing out or hiding information from your reader.

I am also reminded of the one editorial note I got from Marion Zimmer Bradley on a submission I made to her Fantasy magazine. I cleverly tried to obscure a thing my heroine was grasping in a sand dune, because I wanted suspense and intrigue and mystery machines. MZB wrote on the page “doorknob!” and I have never forgotten this (nor have I thrown that page away). It is infinitely more interesting to say my heroine found a doorknob/door beneath a sand dune than show her touching something vague and round and unnamed.

SAY the interesting THING always.

Let your character DO the THING.


Egypt Doings

Curly sheep at Meroe

In case you don’t know, I’m crazy for ancient Egypt. If I can read it, watch it, play it, I’m there.

The Mummy? Yes.

Amelia Peabody?! Absolutment.

Stargate? Yes!

Joann Fletcher escapades? Yes!

What about that book in Gail Carriger’s series where they finally go to Egypt?! YES.

Gods of Egypt?! EVEN THAT.

Immortal? Yes. (A French film from 2004, based on a 1980 graphic novel, that involves Egyptian gods sometimes playing Monopoly, and Horus gets really rapey, and just UGH. Was it worse than Gods of Egypt? Good question.)

Assassin’s Creed, Origins?! Eventually — I’m not made of money.

Tomb Raider? Duh.

The Pyramid? Yes, chiefly because it involves Anubis, which…well. The entire thing is hilarious.

What about that episode of Highlander where Duncan walks around with a naked Nefertiri? Give it to me!

Naturally when I saw a show on Netflix called Egypt, I clicked on through. Feed my hunger, Netflix!

Egypt is a series produced by the BBC–apparently there are only six episodes (?!), of which I’ve seen two now. And it’s a strange, strange thing. The episodes recreate historical events in Egypt, namely white-centered historical events, like Carter and his search for Tut’s tomb. They’re also going to cover Belzoni, who was really a jerk (yet somehow also brings in my love of carnivals, as he was a circus strongman before he started raiding Egypt for its treasures), and then the Rosetta Stone discovery/translation.

The Carter episodes were almost hilarious, because they centered Carter as the hero (I mean, of course they did), and how he’d been screwed over by those he worked for, but also by the dude who was in charge of being sure Egypt got to keep Egypt’s treasures. And are we supposed to be outraged that the white archaeologists couldn’t haul anything and everything out of the country, thanks to the Department of Antiquities? I just wasn’t. Howard Carter, that burial tomb isn’t yours, no matter what digging permit you’ve been given. Back UP, sir.

What’s fun about the show is watching them recreate the tombs and the nature of that entire world. It’s so easy to lose yourself there, to put yourself in Carter’s shoes as he hammers through a wall and shines a light through. Also, when he finds the intact tomb seal. Just… Ahhhhhhh. What a moment that must have been.

This is the intact seal Carter found on Tutankhamun’s tomb. *screams*

I’m 20k into the writing of the last planned Folley & Mallory book, but I guarantee, my Egypt love won’t stop there. I’ve loved that world too long to let it go. Excited also to read K. Tempest Bradford‘s steampunk Egypt book, too, and vicariously take part in her upcoming Egypt journey.

Ahhhhhhhh EGYPT.


Multipass Saw Her Standing There

A few years back, this blog had a feature called Multipass, which ran on Mondays. It was widely read and acclaimed (ha no) and had adorable post titles based on song lyrics and here we are again! Today, four things make a multipass.

Over the holiday weekend, I put Fellowship of the Ring into the DVD player (the four hundred hour version, naturally) while I baked all the carrot cake that was fit to eat. After Fellowship concluded, in went Two Towers. I only got through the first disk there before real life called me away. But!

It’s been a heck of a long time since I’ve seen the films and gosh, they look old. Granted, I’m not looking at a blu-ray version, but the digital elements are often really obvious. Oh technology, what’re you doing to our media anyhow?

It’s funny how the films struck me, and also how the sweeping battle scenes haven’t aged well — at least for me. They feel cold and heartless, whereas you get smaller scenes like Eowyn offering Aragorn her awful stew and there’s loads of subtext; she’s highly into him because he saved her world, he’s like 87 and trying to still be polite when he’s ready to run away with the elves because he knows he looks fine while barefoot on a chaise lounge. These small moments payoff when we see Eowyn confront the Witch King, because we’re like “yes, girl, that’s who you are,” but the bigger battles of warg vs. Rohan farmer don’t carry much emotion. They’re all spectacle and little else.

Clarkesworld Year Nine (Volume One) is out, and I’ve got a story in its pages. “Pithing Needle” is one of a duology that I wrote for CW (the other being “The Cumulative Effects of Light Over Time,” in the Upgraded anthology).

These two stories take place on a fucked up Earth where an alien vessel has crashed and all manner of insanity is streaming out of the ship’s remains. The aliens are weird and humanity is made stranger for our contact with them. I laugh when I think of the reviews these stories received, one reviewer saying I was “obsessed” with this story, because I’d published two different versions. The stories are in conversation with one another, is all; they show very different aspects of the world and character. If that’s obsession, okay. In writing this multipass, I found this amazing article by Octavia Cade about aliens and eating and horror and food, which includes “Pithing Needle,” and just wow. Thank you, Octavia.

(The other thing about this story is, I remember being distinctly thrilled to appear along side Helena Bell’s “Lovecraft.” Oh my stars, that story.)

Volume One is out now (more here!); volume two hits later this year, and I’ll have a story in there, too — it’s one of my favorites, “Migratory Patterns of Underground Birds.”

Four years ago, Masque Books published a digital edition of my book, Watermark. They had no interest in publishing it in paper given how badly Rings of Anubis was selling (or do we call that not selling?) — but I sure did, and now that the contract with Masque has come to a close, Watermark is available in paperback!

Watermark tells the story of a kelpie, sent to the human world as a punishment. Pip lives between worlds, not fully remembering why she was expelled from Otherworld, the fairy world that stands on the eve of its own destruction. Pip meets up with other unseelie fae in the human world, some of whom are convinced she can save Otherworld, others of whom contain the memories she can no longer access.

It’s a kissing book, okay?

It’s also a book about losing things and finding second chances in the ashes. It’s about the hope that those closest to us are never quite gone.

Leave a comment on this multipass and I’ll enter you in a giveaway for a copy, okay? Okay! I’ll draw at least one name at the end of the week, April 6.

You can read chapter one here!

I spent Lent away from Twitter again — searching my blog proved I did that last year, too. It’s good for the brainmeats.

I’m ~15K into writing the next Folley & Mallory adventure, which is also the last planned book in that series. I realized something about the book last week, because why have one neat timeline when you could have three braided together — because the subtext of these books has always been mothers and daughters and how they both love and hurt one another, sometimes with intention, and these things need some form of resolution. We can’t be all spectacle; we need to understand the pain so we can fully enjoy and appreciate the confrontation with the Witch King.

They’re taking the jackals to Isengard!

Wait, I’ve mixed my medias.

Leave a comment! Win a book! Multipass! (International is fine!)


They’re good reads, Brent

I use Goodreads a lot — at least as a reader. As a writer, I try to make sure my stuff is listed, and beyond that I try not to fuss, because reviews are ultimately not for writers, they’re for other readers.

One thing I lovehate about Goodreads is the yearly reading “challenge.” You can specify how many books you want to read in a year as a goal, and as you mark your books read through the year, GR keeps track of what you’ve read.


GR will also tell you how many books ahead/behind you are.

Which implies there must be a timed schedule to one’s reading challenge, and I call bullshirt. (Thanks, The Good Place, I love you.)

I think I understand why they do it. It probably does help some people, especially possibly younger readers who may need that structure. If, for instance, you say you’re going to read 52 books in a year, GR presumes you’re going to read a book a week to get that done. But…not necessarily? What if you read two books in a week? What if you read nine books one month and only two the next? According to GR, you sure are forking up your challenge.

GR thinks I’m four books behind right now, because I haven’t updated, nor have I finished some of what I’m presently reading. But every time I pop into GR to examine New Books I Possibly Need, I see that I’m allegedly four books behind. Pfft.

(There’s also this little anxiety inside when I see that I’m behind, because I know that I’m not, but it says that I am, but I know that I’m not.)

I think it’s a ridiculous assumption for GR to make; you read how fast you read. Here’s your goal, GOOD LUCK, no stress, just read as you like and record when you want, and oh my gourd, who cares if you aren’t keeping to a schedule.


Go read a book.



artist, Duy Huynh

I don’t tend to think of myself as disabled, but then I’ll be out with friends, and I’ll notice that oh, sure as heck, I’m– Is that the word?

When I was sixteen, I was in a motorcycle accident with my boyfriend; we hit the back end of a car that pulled out in front of us, flew over the car, and hit the pavement.

Instantly, I couldn’t feel my left leg, and distinctly remember asking M if he could see my leg. Where had it gone? It was there, he assured me, and then passing motorists had stopped, summoning help, one putting his leather jacket under my head.

Sprawled in the street, there was no pain. In the ambulance, that’s when the pain kicked in. In the hospital, I could see the x-rays, my left femur broken neatly in two. M broke his in two places.

I had to learn how to walk again — but couldn’t put any weight on the leg for three months. Doctors put a metal rod down the center of the bone, and any weight on it might bend the rod and break the bone all over again. (M broke his femur again when he tried to walk too soon.)

I was excessively good about not putting weight on the leg. Being out of school for so long, I had a tutor who would bring me lessons as I attempted to keep up, but when I got back to school, still on crutches because I couldn’t walk without them, I discovered I might not graduate anyhow. I had a gym requirement to fulfill.

That was a strange experience — who doesn’t graduate because of gym? Obviously, all worked out — I was encouraged to do what I could, because they didn’t view me as disabled. It was all only temporary.

But it’s not, of course. My leg will always be with me.

When I was in sixth grade, I broke my right ankle; that’s a break that has never given me trouble since, and usually I’d say broken bones are like that. They hurt like fuck, but your body does an amazing job of healing and moving on.

But then you take a bone like the femur and everything’s different. You can’t stand, you can’t walk, and when you learn to walk again, you feel like a huge toddler; you hold on to walls, onto tables.

Your leg never feels quite right. It’s always weaker. You find you’re more flexible on the side where you were broken, because the other side never relaxes enough to quite let you go; the other side of you is going to hold you up come hell or high water. You’re uneven.

My left leg is shorter than my right; not by a lot, but enough to make it noticeable to me when I’m wearing long pants. I am certain no one else has never noticed. The scars from the surgery — those have been noticed.

It’s worst in the winter. When it’s cold. You’d think that being encased in the middle of my bone, that rod wouldn’t bother me or get, of all things, cold, but it does. The whole leg is cold and never works right quite; the knee doesn’t have all its feeling; the joints are cosplaying the Tin Man and are in dire need of oil.

And this changes the way I walk.

I walk a lot — I love walking, let me put some music on and go. But in the winter, when it’s colder, I slow down.

This weekend, my friends outpaced me as we walked the city streets. I felt a little ridiculous, going slow and falling behind and walking alone, but also knew not to push the leg. Pushing the leg makes it tire, and makes the knee more likely to give out.

I’m slow in winter, and when it came to doing flights of stairs at the end of a long day, I opted for the elevator. Two flights of stairs, but I knew my leg would be aching for it. I couldn’t keep up.

And I felt different for the first time in a long time. Unable.



Sometimes, when I’m feeling blue, I remind myself that Jupiter is out there in the dark, and it’s full of amazing and endless storms and it’s beautiful, and I feel better.

This is not to say it’s always that easy! The weekend, without question, sucked. I made a bad judgment call at work and had to clean up a mess, but once that mess was sorted? Monday was a revelation. I guess this thing had been hanging over my head — I knew it was coming, I could just feel it, and once it DID come, and was handled, and passed… Whew. It was like a long exhale. (Hey, waiting to exhale — such a thing.)

And now, we’re back on track, I’ve got awesome people who’re eager to work on this project, and it’s going to be amazing. We’re doing good work. And I’ll know better next time. It’s important to know who can you depend on, who is going to buckle down and do the work.

The flip side of that is, being delighted when someone you trusted to do the work really hits it out of the park. So if I was disappointed on the one hand, I was happily astonished on the other. I love working with good and talented people.

Progress continues on the next book, Anubis #6. I’m working in small chunks for a few reasons, I think.

First, it’s the last planned book and well, approaching the end of a thing is kinda crappy. I’ll be sad to say goodbye, even if I later return to this universe. It’s also terrifying, right, because that means the next book is totally new and different and filled with people we don’t know as well as we know these people and maybe it’s the book that helps me finally (finally dear god) land an agent and maybe it’s the book that finally (finally) does something and breaks out and is not everything I’ve written up to this point which has vanished in a lukewarm bog of shrugs.

HEY. Wow, that’s some uncertainty and pressure there. Ha ha Next Book, you gotta do it ALL. And the next book runs away in terror, see.

But that uncertainty sits there while I contemplate this next book and it chatters and yeah. I’m not where I wanted to be at this point in my “writing career.” I work hard, really hard, and maybe it will turn out I’m not a novelist and I’ll be sad about that, and… Yeah, not sure what comes after that “and,” really.

Jordan Peele talked about writing Get Out:

“I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible. I thought it wasn’t going to work. I thought no one would ever make this movie. But I kept coming back to it because I knew if someone let me make this movie, that people would hear it and people would see it.”

We talk about perseverance a lot, but I’m not sure if we know exactly what that looks like. We come to the desk, or the table, or the notebook, or the Sunken Place every day, we sit down, we do the work. Over and over and over and over and sometimes, we still don’t make it. And so we try again. And again? It’s the journey not the destination?

Someone once told me my most valuable trait was that I kept showing up. I am always here, doing the work. The work doesn’t always pay off. But I’m still here.

Just like Jupiter.


Dissolved Girl

Massive Attack is playing, see, low and dreamy and then gone. Last night I got the news that another friend died, and sometimes it feels like that’s all this world is. People leaving.

The tulips are forcing their way out of their bulbs though, and this is supposed to be a great metaphor, isn’t it — proof that despite winter (was there ever such a thing), life goes on.

However. The past two years, the tulips have come early, and have lacked blooms. They are empty stems, crushed under the inevitable spring ice storm that will come. They should bloom pink.

The garden should riot from pink tulips into purple vinca and back into pink peonies. But these years, it’s a smudge of green and then a mash of brown because the ice carries the color away. There was purple the year Prince died — it felt like the vinca bloomed solely for him.

I’m reading A Journal of Solitude by May Sarton; it is a journal she kept over the course of a year, detailing the challenges and pleasures of solitude, of gardening and animals and yes, grief.

In the last section I read, a friend of hers had died; he’d been old and fading for a while. My friend was not so fading; her death was unexpected. When I heard of it, I wanted to cry, wanted to feel something more than the soft “oh” that came from me.

It feels like —

There’s nothing, really, I guess? It happens so regularly now — they say this is how it goes, one day you wake up and everyone is dying, everyone has discovered exactly how borrowed all this time is, everyone must be off, even if (especially if) unexpectedly. You can’t help but think if only the people who needed to die would die.

And does that feel like anything?

Last week, I found unexpected common ground with a friend and it felt like exhaling. That is the last thing I clearly remember feeling. Then work packed itself back in and it was just time to get stuff done.

Black is the color of my true love’s hair comes on the playlist next — oh, tiny knife in the heart. Is that when I stopped feeling anything? When he left not once but three times. (But then, I do feel a thing, a secret thing that I cannot say, and they say this is how it goes too, that you can’t own up to the truth, because doing that often means devastation. How vague and coy you are, walking around the thing you want to say.)

Today, I hope to return to the novel. The novel is the place where all things can be said, because it’s not me saying them. It’s someone else entirely. It’s a shape-shifting jackal who has this conflict and absolutely not me.

The tulips are pushing their way into the world. They will get half way there, and the ice will come.

They say this is how it goes.



I fell in hard love with the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. I loved the first book (Annihilation), and didn’t really make plans to read the others, because I thought for sure one would be enough. As it turns out, I was entirely wrong (so wrong, so wrong, oh golly), and after watching the film Annihilation, I find myself wanting more of this weird world, Area X. Like, a coloring book would be amazing.

This isn’t going to be a real movie review — whatever “real” means, but I wanted to jabber some about the journey this film takes and the journey it took me on. I was surprised to find myself having to remember to breathe over the course of the film. Even when something terrifying isn’t happening, your bones still vibrate in your skin like it’s about to happen, and you’re holding your breath so the terrors don’t find you. Though of course they do. Find you. (The score is monstrous in its own right, looming.)

Terrors? Is it horror? I mean, in a way. A woman’s personal horror. A woman’s story. The story of the women who accompany her into The Shimmer (heh, hey, is it full of badgers /in joke). This movie is unique in that we journey with five women into the weirdness. It’s women’s hands and eyes doing the work. It’s women working together to discover what the fuck is happening in Area X. It’s women. It’s rare.

The book and movie differ, of course. I guess some folks are upset or annoyed by this. I used to be upset when movies differed from books I loved, before I was a writer. When I became a writer, I realized you could do different things with a page and with a screen. They don’t always match up. In my wanderings to read more about this film, someone said it was like having a dream of the book, and that’s so right on.

It’s intense. It doesn’t let up, not even at the end. It doesn’t allow you to breathe, or scream — hey, how about that scream? You know the one. I’m still thinking about it days later.

I guess Paramount totally punted on this film, not advertising it and booting foreign release to Netflix. It’s a shame. Wait, no, it’s stupid. Before the film in the theater I went to, there was a piece about “cerebral scifi,” which this film totally is — but it mentioned films like Under the Skin, and Arrival, and Ex Machina. Is this film too smart for a wide release? Is this film too female for a wide release? I don’t know what Paramount is thinking, but I’m reminded of The Shape of Water and how it also got a pretty quiet launch.

The more I think about this film, the more I like it. There’s a lot going on. Are there book-things that I missed? Sure. But guess what? Those things remain in the book. The awesome thing about this world is, we can have both versions. We can have the book and we can have the movie, which is a dream of the book.

Do I need to say how great Natalie Portman is? Probably not, so let us praise Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez and Tuva Novotny. Jennifer Jason Leigh, also great, but unnerving! Ahhhh! (And okay, yes, Oscar Isaac. Let us praise the way the light of Annihilation moves across that face of his. Gasp, Elise, reducing the male lead to his looks? Yeah.)

This film stole my breath; there’s one scene in particular that left me staring and kind of holding myself, and I don’t know if it’s because of the horrors, or if it’s because of the women — women going where men have only gone, women exploring, women knowing. That’s a hell of a thing.