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Ty Schalter
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.
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…


As a white American writer of fantasy fiction, I can’t pretend I don’t share a fascination many white Americans have with something we’ve collectively rejected: European nobility.

It’s absolutely goofy to pretend that the most just form of governance is generational hand-me-downing of supreme executive power. It’s even worse to pretend that such repressive, regressive traditions are divinely ordained.

The idea that some people are just born much better than everyone else is one that’s specifically and extensively repudiated by our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, extensive amendments to that Constitution and many of our federal laws. Yet, so many of…


2020 SFF Awards Eligibility Post!

Back in 2014, I wandered out of a parenthood-induced media desert into a teeming jungle of a genre-fiction scene. I was desperate for a guide to everything I’d missed. Where was the best work, the hottest writers, the coolest markets? Short stories, novels, movies, articles, comics, TV shows, bloggers, Tweeters, all of it was new (or new to me).

That December, all those cool new writers logged on to their blogs and did the work for me with Awards Eligibility posts. As I read and wrote and submission-ground story after story, I imagined someday being…


Being raised in two separate faith traditions (conservative Evangelical and witchily lapsed Catholic), I grew up unfamiliar with the Liturgical Year. When I married into a small family church I found out “advent” is more than just a word in that cool Emmanuel song! And we can celebrate it by doing something once a day, every day, until Christmas.

But when I punched the “1” tab of the Costco Brewer’s Advent Calendar and pulled out the corresponding 16 oz. …


One player, one joystick, one button. Not all that much fun. Illustration by CG Daniel Glebinski.

A few years back some old high-school friends were in town for the holidays, and one of them found out about a late-night screening of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Being proper Xennial nerd-men, we all met up at the local multiplex and sat in the back row like the cool kids we never were at school.

Soon after the movie started, I noticed something weird: Most of the half-full theatre was laughing at the jokes.

My friends and I had heard, quoted, cited, and/or acted out all the funny bits far too many times to actually laugh at…

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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