COVID-19 Information and News


Hi there, everyone! I’m taking a partial deviation from my normal content to discuss out current major issue: the fact that a pandemic is occurring right outside our very doors. While we’ve all learned about the basic measures we can take as individuals to help prevent the spread, I’m hoping to highlight a few key points that have been less publicized here. Also included are resources to share with your friends and family who may not understand why COVID-19 is such a problem and may need a bit of convincing to begin social distancing. 

First up, here’s a stellar video created by Ross Kaufman on behalf of the city of Bluffton, Ohion. Ross is an epidemiologist and quantitative data analyst with a doctorate in public health with an emphasis in epidemiology from the Ohio State University. He currently works as an assistant professor and director of public health at Ohio Northern University. In short, this is someone who knows exactly what they’re talking about where both the disease and the stats behind it are concerned.

This video is a fantastic summary that can help put COVID-19 into perspective for people who have trouble comprehending the larger numbers that have been coming out in the mass media. Rather than focusing on the country as a whole, Dr. Kaufman models the impact that even conservative estimates regarding the infection rate will have on the city of Bluffton. This allows for viewers to understand the profound personal impact that COVID-19 is likely to have on their local community. 

Next up, a few important things to understand about COVID-19. These are, in part, taken from my own conversations with my parents and relatives. These are the questions they had and the things that they didn’t know. They casually watch the news, but they usually aren’t actively seeking out information. These are the key things to pass along to your friends and family who may not otherwise know about it. 

  1. Do not take Ibuprofen if you suspect you have COVID-19, and especially do not give it to your children if you suspect they have COVID-19. Take paracetamol (Tylenol) instead to reduce your fever. France’s medical institutions have reported that it can exacerbate the symptoms and cause the virus to become more dangerous – especially in children. This has also been confirmed in the United States. Source – it’s in French, but translatable. 
  2. COVID-19 is solely a respiratory infection. If you are sneezing, you most likely just have the flu or a cold. That said, you should still stay home. Source.
  3. COVID-19 has been linked to long-term reduced lung function in patients who have otherwise recovered in Hong Kong. It is uncertain how prevalent this is, but be aware that catching the virus may have long term consequences for you. Source.

  4. “Won’t people just catch it when they go outside again after the quarantine period?” – this is something that my stepfather didn’t entirely understand. From his perspective, the virus is out in the world and won’t ever “die.” That’s not entirely true. An individual who is exposed to COVID-19 will not be perpetually infectious. Here is an example: I am exposed to someone with COVID-19. I am now a potential carrier of the virus. I impose self-isolation to avoid infecting anyone else, and ultimately develop symptoms. Due to this, I quarantine myself for two weeks. After these two weeks are up, my immune system has fully killed off the virus and I am no longer infectious. I am one less point where the virus can spread. If everyone exposed does this, then no one will catch the virus after the quarantine is over because each of our immune systems have killed it off. 

The most important information regarding the pandemic, of course, is to remember that when we devolve into chaos and bartering that you should not, under any circumstances, value one cup of dry rice at any less than ten sheets of toilet paper. 😉

bar

r/Fantasy-Con – Let’s Help Our Authors!


Obviously, COVID-19 has taken a severe toll on the publishing industry. Myself, along with the rest of the r/Fantasy moderation team, have been putting together additional AMAs, giveaways, and other events to help combat both the mental stress of isolation as well as to help out our author and publisher friends who were counting on having revenue and visibility from cons and other in person events. If you’ve reached out and haven’t yet received a reply from me, please keep an eye out! I’ve been swamped with requests as well as handling my actual job, which has had everything thrown into disarray. I WILL get back to you – most likely within the next day!

For our online attendees, however, here is a sneak preview of what we have cooking over the next two weeks that’s officially on the calendar: 

r/Fantasy-Con Schedule!

DateAMA Host / Event Information
Mar 17Robert Brockway
Mar 19Sarah Gailey
Mar 20Sherwood Smith
Mar 21-22Read-a-Thon, hosted by u/Chrysanthe17
Mar 24Victoria Lee
Mar 25Carrie Vaughn
Mar 26Atthis Arts Publishing – Various Authors
Mar 27Django Wexler

If at all possible, please consider supporting your favorite authors during this time. That can take many forms – whether it’s writing a short review on Amazon (trust me, I’m the abnormal one with my novel-length reviews… a couple sentences is TOTALLY FINE!), sending out a quick Tweet, or maybe even snapping a cute picture of the cover, the author will appreciate it so very much. 

In addition to this, the r/Fantasy team is very excited to announce that we’re finally starting up a podcast! We did a trial run this past weekend, and it went quite smoothly. None of us are professionals, so you may have to bear with us a bit as we dip our toes in. We hope to have our first full podcast episode released within the next two weeks. 

Looking forward over the next few months, we’re going to be inviting guest authors onto our podcast to discuss the speculative fiction genre, their favorite books, and a whole host of other topics. It may have taken a pandemic to finally get us to start up our podcast – officially dubbed the r/fantasy Modcast (yes, we are very proud of the name), but hey, here we are. Fun times!

If you, too, would like to be included in the fun with an AMA or giveaway in the short term or to be involved in the Modcast, panels, or streamed readings of your book, please reach out to me at blackforestbasilisks@gmail.com or on Twitter

 

bar

A Touch of Positivity – A Short List of Cozy Reads


Naturally, it would be wrong of me not to give you at least a few good options in this time of isolation and quarantine. Here are a few cozy, heartwarming books to read while you’re stuck at home.

Image result for the long way to a small angry planet

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Full, personal review available at Keikii Eats Books

Summary from Goodreads:

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

Image result for the bear and the nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Summary from Goodreads:

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Image result for the ten thousand doors of january

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

My Personal Review Available Here

Summary from Goodreads:

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

bar

How have you been impacted by COVID-19? Are you coping by reading, and if so, what books do you find yourself drawn to?

Let me know in the comments below!