Yikes: Watch California Dry Up Right Before Your Eyes In 6 GIFs

“This is a big deal,” California Governor Jerry Brown said at a ceremony Tuesday as he signed into law a trio of bills regulating, for the first time, the state’s groundwater use. As of Thursday, almost 60 percent of the state is facing “exceptional drought,” the most severe level of dryness measured by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

But if you’re not living in a community dependent on bottled water rations, farming land that’s projected to lose $800 million in crop revenue or watching raging wildfires ravage your drought-parched town, the historic California drought may still feel like little more than a headline.

Here’s the last GIF:

10 Lessons From Real-Life Revolutions That Fictional Dystopias Ignore

Great article. I thought I’d give my novel Sherwood Nation a run-through to see how many of these real-life rebellion items I’d taken into consideration. Given, these are my own opinions about my work, so take them with a grain of salt. 

1. Afterwards There Will Be Mythology for the Losing Side

A+. Afterwards, the mythology of the fallen nation seeds the explosion of new micro-nations, re-starting the revolution anew.

2. Fear Alone Can Precipitate the Explosion

D. I like this idea, essentially that revolutions are a pre-emptive strike against worse times. Certainly there’s fear within the populace, and an expectation of worse-times coming. However, the story hews closer to #8, below. 

3. Violent Conflicts Keep Cropping Up From Within

B+. There’s lots of dissent within Sherwood, and a section of neighborhoods attempt to re-secede back to the city around it (though to be fair, they were influenced to do so). At one time, there’s even a suspected coup d’etat within the new nation.

4. Revolutions Take Place on a World Stage

B+. The entire book takes place in an isolated city-state, where the struggle is primarily between the two powers. And yet near the middle of the book we come to understand there’s another coup bubbling up from a third, somewhat-nascent power, who has secretly taken sides to push its own agenda. 

5. New Regimes Come With Crazy Ideology

A. Re-start the calendar at Year One. Required volunteerism. Water ceremonies. Etc.

6. Never Neglect the Practicalities

A. This one was easy, since it’s the scarcity of water in the first place that leads to crumbling municipal services and infrastructure. Idealism follows necessity here. But the riots that spurred the revolution really began because a heroine (made famous by thieving water from the rich) was thought to have been captured by police. 

7. Two Downtrodden Groups Will Usually Be Fighting Each Other

B. The city that the nation of Sherwood fights against is certainly no superpower. They have superior forces, and potentially the support of the National guard (depending upon the hour), but the citizens of the city are just as, if not more destitute than the citizens of Sherwood.

8. Sometimes Making Concessions Leads To Rebellion

A. I absolutely believe this is true. Revolutions happen not when society hits its nadir, but when it’s bouncing back from it. When either the situation begins to improve or the establishment that’s being rebelled against begins to give a leeway. I’m giving myself a few points here though for creating a ‘bad guy’ (the mayor of Portland), who reacts out of fear and anxiety, and sometimes idealism — not an iron-fisted dictator. And many more points for having the revolution not be based around the worst of times, but instead when the object of their hope (Maid Marian) is potentially captured.

9. The Top Guy Isn’t Always the Problem

A+. My mayor of Portland, Brandon Bartlett, AKA Heartless Bartlett, is actually a fair(ish) leader, doing his best to throw himself into civic politics. But he’s fighting incredible levels of bi-partisanship, and he’s hindered by a government that’s slow, clumsy, tone-deaf, and unable to steer the ship decisively. Because of this, he also wallows in his own despair, which compounds his problems. In any other era, Brandon Bartlett would make a decent-enough mayor. 

10. The Enemy of Your Enemy Is Not Your Friend

A+. We see this in numerous instances within the book. Martin and his illegal operations are no friends of the city, but the changes being made in Sherwood  make him an enemy there too. The National Guard cooperates with Sherwood just long enough to de-stabalize the city, and then they turn against Sherwood too. 

Hey! I’m pretty happy with Sherwood Nation's results.  If you've read it and want to argue these points, I'd love to hear it. 

via Munrovia

September is Sherwood Nation month…

he said, self-consciously. But for the meantime, he will continue to keep a tally of SN news. And there’s some great stuff out today. 

Paul Di Filippo reviewed Sherwood Nation for Locus. Paul Di Filippo is a master-reviewer, and I don’t just say that because I nearly wept while reading his review of SN.

The Sherwood Nation playlist - I created a playlist for the Largehearted Boy site, and it was with particular pleasure that I got to give a shout out to a few of my favorite Portland, Oregon bands, including The Upsidedown, Marisa Anderson, Typhoon, The Golden Bears, and Hungry Ghost.

David Naimon interviewed me for KBOO radio. His podcast contains the whole interview, plus a reading (that got pulled for time-reasons from the broadcast). 

The awesome Sue Zalokar interviewed me for Street Roots, read the interview here.

October is start-a-new-novel, think-deep-thoughts, retreat-into-the-swirling-fantasies-of-the-subconsciousness month. Oh, and an Elliot Bay Bookstore reading…!

Booklist reviews Sherwood Nation

Lovely new review of Sherwood Nation out by Booklist today:

“Parzybok is riffing on the Robin Hood story, to be sure, but he also layers on some astute social and political commentary, and he’s built a fully functioning and believable future world. Give this one to fans of Adam Sternbergh’s Shovel Ready (2014).”

Yay!

I assume you’re all fans of David Naimon's excellent interview podcast? I just spent the morning in his studio at KBOO, where he kindly promised to cut out all of my gaffs and replace them with smart lines by some of his other interview subjects, such as Gary Shteyngart, Karen Russell, Lorrie Moore, George Saunders, Kyle Minor, Helen Oyeyemi, and Matt Bell. Awesome.  I’ll sound brilliant, I’m sure, if a little odd talking in all those pretty voices. 
Also: He claimed to know what every single one of those buttons did, though it was weird how he raised and lowered his chair pneumatically throughout the interview. Anyway! Thanks, David! They were great questions. Interview comes out September 11th. High-res

I assume you’re all fans of David Naimon's excellent interview podcast? I just spent the morning in his studio at KBOO, where he kindly promised to cut out all of my gaffs and replace them with smart lines by some of his other interview subjects, such as Gary Shteyngart, Karen Russell, Lorrie Moore, George Saunders, Kyle Minor, Helen Oyeyemi, and Matt Bell. Awesome.  I’ll sound brilliant, I’m sure, if a little odd talking in all those pretty voices. 

Also: He claimed to know what every single one of those buttons did, though it was weird how he raised and lowered his chair pneumatically throughout the interview. Anyway! Thanks, David! They were great questions. Interview comes out September 11th.