Okay. It’s two weeks into September and here’s the schools/COVID landscape as I’m hearing it:

We’re fucked.
Some schools are trying really hard. Others not so much. Some aren’t even locking down class bubbles when they get positive tests in the group.
Some families are being hyper-cautious. Others are sending kids out to events while awaiting COVID test results.
Meanwhile something around 500 schools have reported cases and that number is only going up. Nationally cases are doubling in seven days. R may be somewhere around 1.7, though that varies wildly depending on where you are.
There is no secret sauce. There is nothing in the air or the people that makes us different. There is nothing to stop the UK going to 5000, 7000, 9000+ cases per day except what we do, and what the government does.
Public health people, virology people, epidemiology people have been screaming about what we needed to do since March and our government has resolutely refused to follow their advice, has even fostered a cocksure rulebreaker chic in the population.
There isn’t enough testing capacity, and if you don’t have a car you’re supposed to walk or cycle to a testing site (with your breathing problems and your high fever?) which can be ten miles away. You’re instructed not to take a bus.

I can see everyone sticking to that.
I hope Charlie is wrong, but I don’t see any reason at this point to imagine that he is.

But don’t take it from a couple of novelists…

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More from @Harkaway

8 Aug
This is one of those places where words obscure their own meaning in the desire to create a dramatic effect. 1/n
Let’s just rephrase that:

“Interstellar Space exploration is a trope of future fiction fiction which extrapolates from present theory and capability, envisaging capability decades ahead - where ‘present’ denotes a sliding instant from the mid-20th Century to now…[->]”
“[->]… but as some of those original extrapolations were relatively sensible, premised on a respectable if not complete understanding of the laws of physics, we have inevitably drawn close to the point where the present touches the notional future state.”
Read 8 tweets
3 Jul
This has been a hallmark of political discussion since 2015: the creative industries are not proper jobs. They are not to be counted in discussions of policy. Agriculture and fishing are more appropriate to the dream of neo-Victorian Englishness which matters now.
The economic issue is that this cultural dream trumps all other considerations - up to and including the practical necessities of its own implementation.
Incidentally: literary fiction’s love affair with the idea of an underlying atechnological humanness - with the idea that all our beepy toys and digital tools are barriers to our true nature rather than aspects of it - is party to this outcome.
Read 7 tweets
30 May
If I have time, I’ll write this on Medium, but in case I don’t…
I’m worried about three COVID-19 moments.

1. June

Schools going back, likely bump in R. SAGE scientists & @IndependentSage both saying too soon w new infections still at 8000 per day. Contact tracing not fit for purpose yet. Cummings Affair means lockdown is leaky.
I think we might appear to get away with it, at least for a bit, but if so we’ll essentially be creating a reservoir of infection for later in the year. Suspect government will be unwilling to reimpose lockdown in full in the heat, especially if cases rise only a little.
Read 15 tweets
14 Apr
True fact: once in a very long while, when you see a meteor shower it's not actually rocks hitting the atmosphere, it's space-mouse mating season. They dance along the edge of the gas envelope and fall to earth to nest.
Space mice pair for life, and they live about six years. They lay their eggs in volcano craters. The eruptions blast them back out into micro g, where they hatch. Their fan-tails function as solar sails.
Encysted and dormant, they float out into the dark, oriented towards a bright star. Sometimes that's a nearby one, sometimes it's a galaxy.
Read 11 tweets
8 Apr
NOT tweeting about Corona is harder than not tweeting about Brexit. It's genuinely hard because it genuinely affects everything. Sorry: I know a lot of us would like to talk about almost anything else.
So, all right, here's a mini-update about what I'm doing. I would update you on what other people are doing, but I haven't seen anyone outside my immediately family in the flesh since 12th March, so that's a bit tricky.
I've just got into the rhythm of managing some work every day with my entire family at home and the kids needing feeding and lessons and distractions and video call socials and stuff. I'm at my desk now and loving the book I wanted to have finished this week.
Read 11 tweets
7 Feb
Here is a strange perception about writing, and one I am only somewhat sure of. (Risky.) #writing
When I started, I was careful to dot a lot of the Is and cross a lot of the Ts. That meant a great deal of backwork which never saw the light of day, and a lot of visible architecture so that you knew my worlds had reality and depth.
(Partly important because they were also, clearly, bonkers.)

So I'd write a sequence where a policemen was briefly visible in the street, and then in the next chapter there'd be a murder and I'd account for where that policeman was and why he couldn't help.
Read 12 tweets

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