I think our relationship with time has changed in 2020. I know mine has. The first two months of the year flew by. They were amazingly normal, except for the drumbeat of news about some kind of illness making its way around the world. In writing, we call that "foreshadowing."
March to June, well, those four months lasted at least five thousand years. The remaining few months, maybe another thousand or so, except of the middle of September, in which every day was a few hundred years or more.
Scientists say that time speeds up as we grow older not because time actually speeds up, but because we more or less ignore events that are routine. When we're kids, we have fewer routines. Most things are new. As we age, fewer things are new.
Except life in the middle of a pandemic. That's new for all of us.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather have less new and more routine, thank you. Since that's not going to be possible for a while, there's another solution.
Fiction helps us escape. Fiction helps us pass the time. Fiction takes us to new places, new events that are off-limits in this Covid world. Fiction reminds us that other people survived bad times. And fiction teaches us what's possible.
Initially, when I planned this bundle, I was hoping for time travel. Maybe that was wishful thinking. Wouldn't it be nice to go back in time and somehow prevent this virus from getting loose? Wouldn't it be nice to go forward in time and skip the next round of Virus Life altogether? Wouldn't it be possible to have control of time instead of being at the mercy of time?
Of course, those of us who read and love time travel know that things can go awry when we start messing with time. For all we know, we're in an alternate timeline right now. In some alternate universe somewhere, our non-Covid selves are hugging friends as they arrive for some holiday gathering, maybe with some pie or pumpkin spice latte. We're kissing babies and going maskless through the grocery store.
In other words, our original selves, the ones who saved the timeline, are back to normal—leaving us, the selves in the alternate timeline, to go through the pandemic and wildfires and floods and derechos and hurricanes and whatever else 2020 throws at us.
We know this because we're science fiction and fantasy readers. We know that the trajectory of this year is the stuff of fiction. And we're going to tough it out, with the help of fiction.
This StoryBundle has some very good fiction by some of the best writers I know. They're taking us to the most interesting places, such as the Idaho wilderness in the early part of the 20th century. Or the year without summer in Europe—that would be 1816 to the rest of us. Or to the very far future—thousands and thousands of years from now.
We get to time travel to the 1890s, to a space station at the dawn of time (damn near), or to another space station this one in the past of a future timeline. (Yes, time travel can get confusing.)
We also have a goodly number of short time travel stories. From Fiction River Presents: Time Travelers to Twisted Timelines, you'll find a slew of short stories that will take you from time's boundaries (yes, it has boundaries) to Wall Street in the 1920s to a battle for the future. You'll meet rock stars and aliens and creatures that resemble rocks (but might know more about time travel than the rest of us ever will).
The Big Time StoryBundle will give you enough escape and adventure to get you through to 2021 when, we all hope, this strange little alternate timeline will rejoin the main timestream.
For every StoryBundle we focus on a different charity. As I assembled this bundle, I wanted to help the survivors of the wildfires that have scorched the West Coast of the United States. These fires have touched many of us in this particular StoryBundle. Our host, Jason Chen, had to evacuate briefly, as did the entire staff of WMG Publishing, including the series editor of Fiction River Presents and the editor of this current volume.
Many of our writers this time live in the Pacific Northwest, and have their own adventures from the wildfires. Those of us who live in the states just east of the West Coast have spent the fall choking on smoke carried along the prevailing winds.
So I searched for a charity that would help the wildfire survivors, and couldn't find one that was local. It was probably too soon; we needed a certified charity. So at the suggestion of Stefon Mears, we've chosen the Oregon Food Bank as our charity.
The benefit of the food bank is this: It reaches all over the state of Oregon and helps not only wildfire survivors but people who've lost loved ones, their homes, and their jobs to Covid.
I wish we could choose food banks all over the West Coast, from California to Washington State. But, I figured, one targeted gift would be better than scattered gifts. I hope future StoryBundles pick similar charities.
So, as you pick up a copy of this StoryBundle to help you escape the trials and tribulations of 2020, please designate a few dollars for the Oregon Food Bank. You'll help kids who aren't getting school lunches have healthy meals; you'll help people who no longer make enough money to eat three squares a day get some nutritious groceries; and you'll help communities that are still struggling with extreme loss get back on their feet.
The one thing time travel teaches us is that time periods are finite. We will reach the end of this time period at some point. And, maybe, it'll be one of those time periods historians will want to time travel to in order to study it.
But until we do leave this timeline, let's take little fiction breaks to help us get through it. Pick up a copy of the bundle and escape into excellent stories by marvelous writers. What better way is there to pass the time? – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
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For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you're feeling generous), you'll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus six more!
This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub, .mobi) for all books!
It's also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.