Annotated Excerpt: THE ANNUAL MIGRATION OF BIRDS by Premee Mohamed (ECW Press)

MohamedP-AnnualMigrationOfCloudsCAI wrote The Annual Migration of Clouds all in a rush in 2019 after seeing a single tweet from an entomologist I followed (I didn’t even read the paper right away!) containing the phrase ‘heritable symbiont.’ My imagination yanked the reins from my hands and went galloping across a blank document I think literally hours later; dimly I suspected the paper was probably about Wolbachia, a bacterial genus that inhabits some insects and affects their reproduction and behaviour, but I was too excited about the possibilities for a human disease. And ofcourse there are human diseases and syndromes caused by infections that affect our behaviour, as well as examples in various other species (Cordyceps is the obvious one, but there’s also Toxoplasmosis, many infections that cross the blood-brain barrier, certain parasitic infections of the gut, etc).

As I created this heritable symbiont, I began asking myself: How can I craft a story out of this though? What we have here is a premise. The premise is: What if there was a disease with a long latency period, invisibility to testing, and uncertain transmission, that affected your behaviour and maybe even your thoughts, and you were never sure of your own free will? It wasn’t a plot. Continue reading

New Books (December-January)

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Featuring: Elliot Ackerman, Bae Myung-hoon, Ava Barry, Eula Biss, Sexton Blake, Melissa Broder, Bryan Christy, Glenn Dixon, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, David Ebenbach, Richard Falkirk, Paul French, Walter Isaacson, Alma Katsu, Cassandra Khaw, Andrew McCarthy, C.K. McDonnell, Graham McNeill, Premee Mohamed, Amanda Montell, Dan Morain, S.J. Morden, Samuel L. Popkin, Tahi Saihate, Anthony Veasna So, Charles Soule, Dana Stabenow, Wallace Stroby

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Guest Post: “Influences & Inspirations” by Premee Mohamed

MohamedP-BeneathTheRisingMy parents said I was talking at eight months, and I believed them because many of my cousins also started super early; they said I was walking before I was a year old, and I believed them for the same reason. But when they told me that I could read when I was two, I made an earsplittingly loud raspberry noise. How could that even be possible?

Anyway, later on I researched hyperlexia and (with sinking stomach and moistening skin) realized that they might have been right after all. I cannot remember a time when I couldn’t read. So when I think about the influences on my personality, decisions, preferences, and proclivities, I think: it’s books, it’s always books. It’s always been books and it’s always going to be books. Continue reading

New Books (January-February)

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Featuring: Taylor Brown, Alicia Yin Cheng, Michael D’Antonio, Hilary Davidson, Michael Elias, Richard Ford, Sarah Frier, David Frum, Chris Hauty, Charlie M. Holmberg, Kathleen Kent, Michael ByungJu Kim, William King, Chris Kluwe, Nick Kyme, Laura Lam, Vicki Laveau-Harvie, Corry L. Lee, Eeleen Lee, Katie Mack, Devin Madson, Premee Mohamed, Liz Moore, T.R. Napper, Kit Rocha, Stuart Stevens, Peter Swanson, Katie Tallo, Corey J. White, Caroline Zancan

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