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Ty Schalter

When I was 15, a magazine I was subscribed to said the hottest new video game in the world, Final Fantasy VII, was literally unplayable.

Sure, the review said, it was a technical tour-de-force that raised the bar for what video games could be. But readers of this particular magazine could never play it.

Why? Because it created a new religion.

Don’t you remember? The lore about the Lifestream, the essence of all living things, springing up from and returning to the Earth. It wasn’t a new idea (Saṃsāra, The Circle of Life, etc.), but FFVII literalized it: life energy…


Today I made seven meals before breakfast. Today my wife and I bought lattes 45 minutes before either of us usually check our email. Today we took our three teenagers back to physical school for the first time in 524 days.

Today I set up our new-to-us pop-up camper, in a fashion not designed not to catch the eye of the neighbors who bought a new-to-them boat a few weeks ago and have conspicuously been shining it up ever since. …


The Facebook rumors said a statewide group called “Moms for Liberty” was going to blow up this week’s school-board meeting — hundreds of angry, roving anti-maskers swarming our little town’s high-school auditorium and decrying our district’s newly reinstated indoor mask mandate.

I arrived just minutes before the scheduled start of the meeting, and when I registered for public comment there were only a dozen or so names on the list above me. I walked in and saw only a few dozen people, total. No signs, no chants, no angry horde. …


I’ve only been hated on-sight by a bunch of strangers once. Only one time in my blessed, privileged life have I ever been made to feel utterly unwelcome the instant I set foot in a space because the people there saw I was the wrong kind of person.

And I loved it.

It was the summer of 2011 — June 22nd, to be precise. Or maybe it was the 23rd by that point in the evening, who can say? As far as evenings go, it wasn’t very precise.

I was wandering east down Haight Street in San Francisco, trying to…


A few weeks ago I stepped out my front door to run a couple errands, checked my phone, and saw an email that froze me solid.

“After reading it and taking some time to consider it carefully, I’ve decided the article is not the right fit for [our] audience,” it read. Still stuck on my front porch, I frantically scanned the rest. An editor I was working with for the very first time, at an outlet I’d been excited to break into, was telling me the story I’d just filed had missed the mark so badly there was no point…


My weekly journal of everything, delivered here for free!

*** NOTE: This is a repost of the first issue of the newsletter I launched last week! Subsequent issues will be automatically posted from Revue onto Medium as soon as they go out. ***

In the past year I’ve launched a twice-weekly national podcast, been diagnosed with ADHD, written a bunch of cool features for premium outlets, and done a host of interviews on radio/audio/video shows.

But it seems like no more than 72 of my 10,000-plus Twitter followers ever found out about any of those things. …


Adderall and feelings pumping through my heart, though my fingers, through my keyboard

I’m writing this on Adderall.

Almost 40 years after I was born. Over 30 years since three well-behaved days in a row would earn me a game of checkers against my elementary-school principal. Almost two decades since having to manage my own time, diet, and budget led quickly to my flunking out of college, gaining 70 pounds, and drowning in debt.

Almost four years after my eldest saw a psychiatrist who not only diagnosed my child with ADHD, but strongly suggested I get screened, too. …


Okay, this one’s real cool. My good friend Aidan Moher picked my brain about sports, genre fiction, and the intersection of sports & genre fiction over at Astrolabe, his newsletter:

“Fandom is fandom!” Schalter said.

“I know it’s hard to believe. Growing up, ‘jocks vs. nerds’ was a cultural norm reinforced by literally every TV show and movie. And sure enough, the meatheads I saw in the bleachers didn’t seem to have anything in common with snarkier-than-thou comic-shop denizens.

“But I also couldn’t help but notice: Arguments about the best quarterback of all time were indistinguishable from those about the…


A Venn diagram showing a large blue circle labelled “People creating and consuming bold, brilliant, cutting-edge genre fiction,” and a much smaller red circle lablelled “Worldcon diehards.” About 40 percent of the red circle overlaps the blue.
The Problem, as I see it

The most important thing you need to know about all of this is that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ve never been to a Worldcon, never bought a membership, never voted in the Hugo Awards, absolutely never been nominated for one and probably never will be.

So forgive me: I’m about to Get Everything Wrong. But I keep seeing so many people I admire — fans, writers, agents, editors, conrunners, volunteers, friends— hurt by this and I’d just really like it to stop.

The latest drama is so easy and so simple and so pointless and so, just…


I don’t like pilseners, but I love mascots.

It’s not hard to figure out why I don’t care much for the noble pilsner: Like many my age, the thin, fizzy King of Beers was one of the first brews we ever tasted — and we tasted just enough funky flavor to think, “I don’t know if I like beer, but I know I don’t like this.” Even the very fanciest pilsners just taste, uh, more like that: Thin, fizzy, weirdly floral, bitter without being bright, aromatic without smelling like good beer.

But the Blathers-esque owl (named Käuzle, or “Screeches”) on…

Ty Schalter

Professional writer & talker (@FiveThirtyEight, etc.). Sports things & nerd stuff. Rather cleverer than most men; mistakes correspondingly huger. He/him.

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