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Michael Blumlein

Five Books to Read While Staring Death in the Face

I was lying in bed this morning, talking to myself. I’d had a good night, woke up only once, took a handful of ibuprofen, went back to sleep. Now the pain was back. Not too bad, but a little worse than before. A little thicker and heavier. Like a nagging toothache.

“I’m dying,” I said.

“Everyone’s dying,” I replied.

“Well, yeah. But I’m dying faster than most.”

What I meant was sooner, though it feels fast. Fast as in not a lot of time left.

The conversation continued. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about dying. I’m sad, frustrated, disappointed, envious, resigned, curious, accepting, hopeful…the usual stuff, in other words. Pretty much what you’d expect.

I went round and round with this for a while, until it got to be too much. Unfortunately, this particular spiral doesn’t usually stop by itself. I have to do something to stop it, and nine times out of ten I reach for a book.

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Series: Five Books About…

Getting the Research Right: Author Michael Blumlein on the Medical Sources Behind Longer

I’ve been reading SF and Fantasy for as long as I remember, starting with Harold and The Purple Crayon, and later, The Phantom Tollbooth, and many many more. I’ve been writing it not quite as long, but almost.

Longer is my homage. I put every SF trope I could think of into it, or nearly every one, including space travel, which I’ve never written about before, and wouldn’t know the science of if it bit me. It was a steep curve to climb, but I climbed it, with plenty of help. Help is crucial for a writer, particularly when you’re writing about science. The majority of Longer concerns the biological sciences, which are right in my wheelhouse. But even then, maybe most especially then, I wanted to get things right. I always want to get things right.

[Here are some of the ways I go about it…]

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