Essays

How to Talk to Ghosts

I. The Ghost You should know three things about Chinese ghosts. One: They are victims of bad death. We must distinguish ghosts (gui) from spirits. Spirits are benevolent. Our ancestors watch over us from above, accept our sacrifices, and stay obediently rooted to their burial tablets. But to both the early Chinese of the Western […]

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How to Make a Witch-Hunt: Salem 1692

People are throwing the word “witch-hunt” around a lot this year. They mean it in its metaphorical sense: “the widespread persecution of innocent people based on manufactured and untrue accusations.” The most famous American witch-hunt, in this sense, is of course that spearheaded by Senator Joseph McCarthy, who used to be Wisconsin’s most shameful contribution […]

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Postcards from the Apocalypse

The first time I met my birth mother, a woman whose family comes from the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo of Northern New Mexico, she gave me two things: a VHS tape of Surviving Columbus: The Story of the Pueblo People and a CD of the Cree singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. The first chronicles our people’s survival of […]

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We Will See You Now

Wherein one fights to be seen, gives up, believes one should not be trapped under or behind glass, is proven wrong, and almost disappears. Told in parts. Image 1: A doctor’s office, one spring, a fat-as-hell file on a desk, quickly glanced through. The same questions, every time, the same ten minutes allotted in which […]

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Mobile Matchmaking Hell

My cell phone, it turned out, was not compatible with The Future of Dating. I can’t blame it for its betrayal. My Nexus 5 had served me well and faithfully for three years now, bouncing from school to school and country to country. The poor thing was tired. But it was also the only weapon […]

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The Secret of NIMH

(Editors’ Note: This essay is a side-step to Mari Ness’s exquisite Disney Read-Watch series of essays on Tor.com.) Don Bluth entered Disney in 1955 with high hopes. As a child, he had been mesmerized by Disney films and shorts, later telling interviewers that he spent hours copying Disney comic books. To his delight, he was […]

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