These are not the droids you’re looking for.
Contrary to common belief – especially the belief of all his acquaintances – the common misanthrope does not hate his family members. Sometimes he even likes the old bastards. He just prefers doing it by remote. If he has the means, he will probably move to another country, thus saving himself much unnecessary headache. The average misanthrope, however, will occasionally be forced, in contradiction to both his will and common sense, to participate in a family gathering.
Thus comes the big clash between the family’s unexplained desire to meet the prodigal son as much as possible and the prodigal son’s desire to meet the family, and, come to think of it, anyone else, as little as possible, preferably not at all. The family has an unfair advantage here, it being the multitude of events that require a gathering: holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, Bar Mitzvahs, circumcision ceremonies, Friday night. The misanthrope, however, also has an unfair disadvantage, it being the fact that he doesn’t give a damn. He will gladly explain that holidays are anachronistic and barbaric manifestations of ancient and idiotic customs, birthdays are a sham, Bar Mitzvah and circumcision he’s already had once, which was more than enough, and on Friday night he’s busy – he’s reading a book. The family, of course, will refuse to accept any of this, but to no avail, since the misanthrope will simply fail to arrive, and when asked or yelled about it later will merely say, “that’s the way it is, get used to it.”
This mode of behavior can work splendidly for many months, sometimes even years, until disaster strikes: a really-big-event-which-cannot-be-missed. Say, a parent celebrating half a century of life, most of which dedicated to nudging. This will cause the whole family to unite in dragging the poor misanthrope, the cute and gifted wandering lamb (says mother), that idiot (says father), to the family gathering. And thus, forced by the unfair laws of physics manifested in the fact that three uncles and one father have a combined mass of about twelve times his own, he will find himself bound to a long dinner table in front of many relatives that he has not met for years and never grieved their absence.
If you’ve had the misfortune of stumbling into a family dinner, you may identify the misanthrope quite easily by the following signs:
In summary, if you are the proud parents, siblings, uncles, aunts or other relatives of a misanthrope, here are a couple of tips which will help you survive a family dinner in his company:
The Tel Aviv Dossier, the weird apocalypse novel I wrote with Lavie Tidhar, is now available in a new Kindle edition. The spiffy new cover art is bySarah Anne Langton. You can get it on Amazon or Amazon UK.
Into the city of Tel Aviv the whirlwinds come, and nothing will ever be the same.
Through a city torn apart by a violence they cannot comprehend, three disparate people—a documentary film-maker, a yeshiva student, and a psychotic fireman—must try to survive, and try to find meaning: even if it means being lost themselves. As Tel Aviv is consumed, a strange mountain rises at the heart of the city, and shows the outline of what may be another, alien world beyond. Can there be redemption there? Can the fevered rumours of a coming messiah be true?
As the city loses contact with the outside world and closes in on itself, as the few surviving children play and scavenge in the ruins, can innocence survive, and is it possible for hope to spring amid such chaos?
A potent mixture of biblical allusions, Lovecraftian echoes, and contemporary culture, The Tel Aviv Dossier is part supernatural thriller, part meditation on the nature of belief—an original and involving novel painted on a vast canvas in which, beneath the despair, humour is never absent.
Experience the last days of Tel Aviv…
I love cold-war espionage novels. I love the descriptions of life behind the Iron Curtain. And I definitely love the cars – the protagonist would always drive an old and cranky Lada, and the evil KGB (or better – NKVD) officer would drive a Volga.
But only now, visiting Ukraine, I got to see these cars for real. And I love the way they look!
Adventure Rocketship! is a new magazine in book form. The first issue is dedicated to music in science fiction, and features stories by Lavie Tidhar, Liz Williams, Martin Millar, Tim Maughan and yours truly.
There’s a launching on Thursday, 16 May, at 6pm, Forbidden Planet Megastore, London.
The magazine can be purchased here.
My new short film, MicroTime, is finally ready. It has its own website, with pictures, music and even some texts. There’s also a teaser trailer:
This week we finished shooting my new short film, MicroTime – a slapstick comedy with a time machine. It was great fun - see for yourselves!
An audio interview with your (almost) humble servant, right there at the Skiffy and Fanty Show. I mean, right here.
Discussed: Murders in SF Conventions, Religion is Bad for Your Soul and Digestion, Tinkering with Time Machines, Other Stuff Which I Forget.
Armed with nothing but a pencil, a piece of paper and a very strict teacher, I charged head first into the murky depths of the world of art. Or that, at least, is how I choose to tell it.
Here’s the alternate version: