Hope in Dystopia

“Pick up the pace, Dee!”

The Dome starts with a flurry and never lets up. Suzanne Craig-Whytock masterfully describes to us the world of 2135 – a dystopian failure recovering from the Water Wars in typical authoritarian fashion – through the eyes of twin young characters in alternating chapters growing up with no knowledge of the things we take for granted – freedom, equality, plenty. Luckily, Craig-Whytock introduces us, as the story goes along, to the most essential ingredient necessary for human survival (and novel success): hope.

The Dome is a coming of age story, a science fiction gem, and a cautionary tale of what can happen when society breaks down. It is also a reminder that, even in our worst of times, there are those who rise above and do the hard work of making society better.

Dive in. Adanac awaits.

That, my friends, is my first ever official review of a product I bought on Amazon. It is also my friend Suzanne’s 2nd published novel, and it’s a good one. I mean it. As we all watch our news feeds and wonder if the novel coronavirus is the end of society as we know it (it isn’t, I promise) Suzanne treats us to a story of a society that has already fallen, shows us what that looks like, and gives us hope that humanity can rise again. She also gives the kids superpowers, and you know how much I love superpowers. Good work, Suzanne. I can’t wait for The Rock.

In the meantime I won’t keep y’all long here on TBT today. Since last we talked some more stuff has happened. The virus spread across the globe. My store went into survival mode. I found out I was essential. The Rams changed their logo, and everyone hates it.

Everyone but me, that is. I think it’s boss.

But as the world descends into chaos and the American buffoon plays his fiddle, it’s surprising how quickly the big things become little. You know I’m a huge football fan, and an even huge-r Rams fan, but all that seems to mean very little to me right now. My neighbor is out of work, in lockdown, and home with the kids. She’s stressed. Our county has seen only three coronavirus cases, but already one death. The toilet paper is gone. Folks are scared.

The buffoon has mishandled everything from the start, this is widely known. As is his standard MO he says contradictory things over and over and then claims he’s been consistent. Everyone forgets that he didn’t pen the term “fake news,” the term was a label about him that he adopted and turned around on others. The ultimate purveyor of falsehood claiming everyone else is false. The Lord of Lies. Tell me the universe doesn’t have a sense of humor when it takes a bumbling fool, lifts him into power, and then hands him the reins during our world’s most critical plight. Of course he’d fumble the ball, that’s what fools do.

But enough about him, and enough about that. We’re here for hope. Last night, I went online to see if I could order Mrs C’s favorite tortillas direct from the factory (since the shelves are bare) and I succeeded. 48 tortillas, a veritable 6-week supply, en route. Her smile was worth the day.

I also got on a waiting list at Charmin. I’m nothing if not internet-resourceful.

I’ll let you get back to your hand washing and hand-wringing now. I get it. Believe me. There are times during the day when exhaustion washes over me like a … thing that washes over another thing … and I stop to recognize myself. I compartmentalize very well. The stress and worry are carefully boxed away as I go through my day handling the chores of running a business and running a household but, sometimes, that box opens. Sometimes, involuntarily, I let some of the pressure out. Be sure to do that, folks, let the pressure out of the box, wherever you keep it, so it doesn’t blow.

That’s all I have for you today. New Rams logo. Same dumb president. Tortillas. Sanity.

And Suzanne’s great book.

Fantastic cover, too!

Be well, my friends. Stay safe. Good health to you. 🍻

*Featured image is a portion of the cover of Suzanne’s 1st book, Smile. Read it, too!

44 thoughts on “Hope in Dystopia

  1. Toilet paper and tortillas…. with these we shall survive.
    I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t watch the press conferences anymore. Seeing Dr. Fauci die a little each day is simply too painful….

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you so much, Tom–your kindness (and Paul’s too) for writing such positive reviews actually brings me to tears right now. It’s a hard time for everyone, but as you said, the big things become little, but the little things, like doing something kind for someone else, become so big. Enjoy the tortillas and I hope you get your Charmin–you deserve it. (Who ever thought we’d be saying that about toilet paper!)

    Liked by 3 people

      1. No “Look Inside” either… (prolly needs a digital version for that). Maybe it’s a return to the 19th century technique of keeping the story secret, released to only buyers.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Suzanne, really no clue at all? Have they simply said “no, not gonna” without an explanation? Is it … I don’t know… expensive to digitally copy a book? Time-consuming? When a paper book becomes an e-book does an angel die?

        Just curious. I own physical copies of both your books, I still enjoy a paper read, but I want to know … have they given any indication as to why, or have you an inkling for the same? 🤔

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The Dome just went on my wish list. If it’s half as good as her blog posts then I am in for a treat! I just started watching a new show on Netflix called I AM SO NOT OK WITH THAT featuring an angsty teen (played by the young girl from the IT movie) that just found out she has superpowers. Seems interesting and I’ll probably binge it to completion soon. Stay safe my brother!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. • Corona-date #3/28/3030# Cases/deaths: 621,636 / 28,658
    • Numerous 3rd world countries still in the queue.
    • Wave One looks to peak in April.
    • Wave Two pending…

    Good time to ride a bike, or skateboard/rollerblade down the abandoned streets. Perhaps get rare apocalyptic film footage of empty cities, streets and event venues.
    With churches/mosques/synagogues all closed, will fewer or more folks return when the calamity subsides? Will there be a boost in IT folks hired to handle the new WFH policies? Will middle-management get ripped from corporate hierarchies? CEO -> MSTeams -> Employees. Will Main Street finally succumb to Amazon/WalWart scuttle-about-delivery? Or will they, themselves rise, drive and deliver? I dread the documentaries and expository books that will be produced and written in 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Hey, Red States and the devoutly religious the coronavirus is indeed a hoax perpetuated by the Deep State Dept. and the Extreme Left (so extreme they’ve made a complete 270 and now face forward). So, go to your rallies, your church Sundays, your ‘Bama Bashing symposiums — hold hands and hug and breath deep the gathering gloom.”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Are your streets empty, AM? I go out (rarely) to get fuel for our vehicles, beer for my brain, food for our bellies, or TP for our asses, and everything seems about the same as it was around here before the end of the world. Sure, there are a few less things on the shelves, but I walk by the same number of people in the aisles, drive by the same number of people on the street, and wait with the same number of people in the queues. My store is a little slower but nowhere near dead.

      With only 3 confirmed cases in my county (still) are folks around here just not that into it?

      So, I ask again, are your streets empty, AM?

      Mine ain’t.

      On another note, we entered the era of Wal-Mart online grocery shopping and delivery last Saturday, and exited the same last Sunday. It was … uninteresting. It’s hard to know what we want from home. We still went to Safeway to shop for the unknowable.

      Todd Gurley figurines? Light bulbs? Printer cartridges? Yes. Online.

      Groceries? Pants? Paint? I gotta see it, maybe even try it, to buy it.

      Apocalypse or not, I’m leaving the house. Are there any horseman yet to come?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The streets? I wouldn’t know. If I spoke of empty ones I spoke in the spirit of what has been or perhaps, what is to come. I, myself, have been imprisoned at home for two weeks, allowed out to walk the neighborhood where there are more out strolling than driving. I’ve heard my wife, intrepid and dauntless, speak of nothing but trucks on the highway, the grocery stores scantly populated by distrustful patrons. Some areas, I suspect, will scarcely experience nothing but hearsay induced isolationism.

        In fact, I continue to attempt my reconciliation of the numbers and the media’s / our reaction:
        US Pop: 327,000,000
        Death rate per 1000: 8.7 (per year)
        Total deaths: 2,844,900 (per year)
        Deaths per day: 7794

        Or, in other words,
        • 2000 die everyday from heart disease. Another
        • 2000 die everyday from cancer+ Alzheimers, another
        • 2000 die everyday from the next ten or so causes of death like diabetes, suicide, septicemia, etc. And another
        • 1800 die EVERY DAY from myriad causes.

        Every Day.

        This pandemic doesn’t even deserve an evening news mention in comparison to those causes listed above. Except…
        Except for the fact that it’s the healthcare industry’s inability to handle a spike in the number dying from respiratory illness. Those 2000 dying every day from heart disease? Yeah, we got that handled. 2000 from cancer and accidents? Sure, no problem.
        An extra 100, 200, or 500 from COVID-19? Stop the bus! The system can’t handle it.

        And yet, here I am, sequestered. Not that I wouldn’t go out and do whatever, I’m good that way. But the rest of the community has shut down, so why bother. [end diatribe]

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, it isn’t the people dying that is overwhelming the health care system, is the number of sudden cases. That’s what the fuss is about (and what we’re trying to slow). But I see your point. There has to be a middle ground between carelessness and panic. Unfortunately we have the wrong person in a leadership position to find a middle ground to anything. Stay safe, brother.


      1. I can’t “like” this comment Tom! Because I think you have many gifts, for one thing, you are a talented writer with a clear and engaging voice! And one of my favourite bloggers!💚

        Liked by 1 person

  5. We’ve been in agreement on 45, along with those not existing in some alternative reality. We’ve been in agreement that this crisis is light years beyond his scope – but then again basic civics is light years beyond his scope. That said, I noticed in the news today that his stock is rising in some public opinion polls for his handling of the crisis. It’s stunning and troubling all at the same time.
    Sorry but I have agree with the masses on that Rams logo. To me it looks like something a semi-pro team would sport. Many years ago, during the Montana days the Niners unveiled a new logo and the push back was so great that they scuttled the plan.
    To me the most egregious uni/logo change was when the Chargers dropped the powder blue uniforms of the Lance Alworth days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the ignorance is profound in America, which explains the rise of the ignorance king. In fact, America got so tired of the lies of representatives they elected the lord of lies. Go figure.

      I had to look up that logo change for SF and, to be honest, it’s no better or worse than the current, long-standing logo for SF. Remember when the NY Giants changed from “NY” to “Giants” then back to “NY,” years later? I liked the “Giants” helmet better, but that’s because that’s the one I grew up with. Every change makes every long-time fan crazy. The old Rams logo, and the new Rams logo, are fine with me, just different.

      Yesterday they unveiled the draft hat, by the way, with the new logo and it is BAD ASS:


      I’ll buy one in a bit. I want that thing.

      By the way, I also preferred the navy Chargers jersey and helmets, with the yellow lightning bolt, circa 1985. Go figure. 😉


      1. Okay, I noticed that I haven’t actually been invited. And that I don’t have your address. Smart move there. So I’ll tell you that I just made some saffron buns and we’re not sharing either.

        So there.

        (I think I’d rather have a good burrito, though. Or huevos rancheros.)

        Liked by 1 person

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