That Time We Made a World
"We went in the yard, took out the sawhorses and tools, and got to work. By mid-afternoon, we were making excellent progress, and I looked at our world, the way it hovered and shimmered there above the lawn, and I didn’t need anyone to tell me it was good."
The Writing Calculator
in The Oxonian
"For the past couple of months, I’ve been testing GPT3, a recent development from San-Francisco-based lab OpenAI, and while I’ve experimented with AI language models before, this is the first program that has me worried about the future of education and my place in it."
Real Rot: My Newfound Impatience with Antiheroes
in Cleaver Magazine
"Something is wrong with me. Last week, when I tried to re-watch one of my favorite TV series of all time, Breaking Bad, I made it through just two episodes before calling it quits. The writing still struck me as masterful, but I just wasn’t in the mood to follow an essentially good man into hell."
What We Yield
in Tahoma Literary Review
"When the king tides flooded Waikīkī and box jellyfish floated along Kalākaua Avenue, I failed to understand that it had anything to do with me. But two years later, when the number of applicants to the private high school where I was principal had declined by nearly fifty percent, I began to feel the stings."
in Hawai'i Pacific Review
"No one knew exactly why or how she died, but millions witnessed it in real time. Even though she didn’t breathe air, most agreed that she gasped at the end like a drowning victim. Queries of 'Siri, what happened?' and 'Siri, are you okay?' joined the hundred thousand others hanging in digital limbo."
The 33 The-ses: An article on an underappreciated article.
in The Writer
"'The' separates the known from the unknown. 'A boy' quickly becomes 'the boy.' 'The boy' becoming 'a boy' is far less common, and far more jarring."
In defense of ugly prose: The virtues of very bad sentences.
in The Writer
"I’m not talking about prose that is merely bad, i.e. incompetent or unrefined; I’m talking about prose that has been masterfully crafted to defy all of those received virtues and wear its ugliness on its sleeve – prose that aims not to shimmer and flow so much as creak and stink and ooze."
Editorial Outtakes from King of the Worlds
in American Short Fiction
"The difficult trick is to liposuck all the fat, keeping only the essentials and spreading them out over the whole novel rather than simply plopping them down all at once. If you’re going to remember just one thing from this introduction, this should probably be it: 'Spread, don’t plop.' I dare say it’s at least as useful as that old chestnut 'Show, don’t tell.'"
New Words Were Needed: How Modernism and Science Fiction have more in common than I might once have thought
in Futurism (Originally published in the New York Review of Science Fiction)
"What surprised me was how much overlap these 'genres' turned out to have — that is, that I enjoy Ulysses and 'A Martian Odyssey' for many of the same reasons; it's just that these reasons are operating at different levels of the text."