If you've been following along since the Paper Tape days, you may know that I've had a small vendetta to see more serial fiction on the web. Before the Paper Tape gang moved on to other things, we experimented with serials. At the time, it was surprisingly (to me) controversial, but after watching my partner madly gobble up obscenely long web serials like Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, I was determined to see what the response to Paper Tape-style original fiction serials might be. Paper Tape was never intended to be a mass market anything, but the response was good enough to make me wish we'd started working with serials sooner. ("Admiral of the Narrow Seas" by Sidney Williams is still one of my favorite stories.) As we folded up shop, I was determined that I would someday try writing a serial of my own.
Today I'm happy to introduce Things That Keep Us Small, a web serial about a college student, Emily Stone, who stumbles on the supernatural in the mailroom while avoiding her philosophy paper. It's a project I began a few years ago and put aside when a story that involved the protagonist's struggle to read Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism felt hopelessly niche. This is the part where I'm supposed to say something grim and serious about things changing, dark times, and the alt-right, but the truth is this: When I reopened the file and began to read--it had been long enough that it felt like it had been written by someone else--I found it surprisingly funny.
I'm a writer, not a moral philosopher, but I'm of the opinion that if we're going to get out of the mess we're in, we're going to need to get creative, and there's nothing better for creativity than a good laugh. Things That Keep Us Small has an odd sense of humor, but if a few existentialist puns can help, in a small way, to see a way out of the grimdark, I'm all in.