Tuesday, March 10, 2020

When It Changed

When It Changed is a 1972 award-winning science fiction short story by Joanna Russ. You can read it online here. It begins,
Katy drives like a maniac; we must have been doing over 120 kilometers per hour on those turns. She’s good, though, extremely good, and I’ve seen her take the whole car apart and put it together again in a day. My birthplace on Whileaway was largely given to farm machinery and I refuse to wrestle with a five-gear shift at unholy speeds, not having been brought up to it, but even on those turns in the middle of the night, on a country road as bad as only our district can make them, Katy’s driving didn’t scare me. The funny thing about my wife, though: she will not handle guns. She has even gone hiking in the forests above the forty-eighth parallel without firearms, for days at a time. And that does scare me.

Katy and I have three children between us, one of hers and two of mine. Yuriko, myeldest, was asleep in the back seat, dreaming twelve-year-old dreams of love and war: running away to sea, hunting in the North, dreams of strangely beautiful people in strangely beautiful places, all the wonderful guff you think up when you’re turning twelve and the glands start going. Some day soon, like all of them, she will disappear for weeks on end to come back grimy and proud, having knifed her first cougar or shot her first bear, dragging some abominably dangerous dead beastie behind her, which I will never forgive for what it might have done to my daughter. Yuriko says Katy’s driving puts her to sleep.

For someone who has fought three duels, I am afraid of far, far too much. I’m getting old. I told this to my wife.

“You’re thirty-four,” she said. Laconic to the point of silence, that one. She flipped the lights on, on the dash—three kilometers to go and the road getting worse all the time. Far out in the country. Electric-green trees rushed into our headlights and around the car. I reached down next to me where we bolt the carrier panel to the door and eased my rifle into my lap. Yuriko stirred in the back. My height but Katy’s eyes, Katy’s face. The car engine is so quiet, Katy says, that you can hear breathing in the back seat. Yuki had been alone in the car when the message came, enthusiastically decoding her dot-dashes (silly to mount a wide frequency transceiver near an I. C. engine, but most of Whileaway is on steam). She had thrown herself out of the car, my gangly and gaudy offspring, shouting at the top of her lungs, so of course she had had to come along. We’ve been intellectually prepared for this ever since the Colony was founded, ever since it was abandoned, but this is different. This is awful.

“Men!” Yuki had screamed, leaping over the car door. “They’ve come back! Real Earth men!”

Join me as I visit the T Stands for Tuesday bloggers and have a cup of coffee:

and enjoy the First Robin of Spring:

Of course robins are year 'round birds here, but we still set up a cry of "First Robin of Spring" every time we see one on a pretty day. It's a family tradition that predates me.


  1. aaah, yes, the robins of spring! We sometimes have them year 'round but they say it's only if they can find enough food in the area over winter. We usually see them once winter is about over and just had a yard full of them the other week for the first time:) Happy T day!

  2. I love your photo with the robin and we always would say that too. I have one of those simple pour over for a cup of coffee too. Those are nice for just a cup.
    Thanks for introducing us to these different writers. Happy T wishes Kathy

  3. A good story, coffee and the first robin of spring - a wonderful combination. Valerie

  4. Earth men! that's going to be a problem. Pretty blue cup. Warm weather yesterday and today and this morning on my way down the road, I saw my "First Robin of Spring!" Happy T day!

  5. I bragged to Valerie how happy I was that my internet hadn’t gone out due to the storms that raged through my area off and on yesterday. Seems I spoke too soon. I finally gave up and went to sleep.

    Wow, that is one teaser on the short story you shared today. I was intrigued.

    LOVE your "first robin of spring." I say that, too. That one looked a bit malnourished compared to mine.

    Wow, that blue milk glass is beautiful. I even like the ombre look. It's a great cup and I bet it made the coffee taste even better.

    Thanks for sharing your short story, your "skinny" robin, and your cup of coffee with us for T this Tuesday, dear.

  6. Welcome the Robins and enjoy the reading ~ Happy T day!

  7. ...when it changed certainly is a statement about the times today.

  8. My first reaction when I saw the photo of the bird was, "Oooh, a Robin!" I view them as the first sign of Spring. I think there might actually be a small group that remains year round in Connecticut, because one year I saw them in the Winter, near the shore, so I don't "count" a sighting unless it is a little farther north of the shore. :-)

  9. Great and quite original short story, D. I loved it. We don't have robins here. I miss them a bit, but we have so many other beautiful birds. They just take my breath away sometimes.

    Happy T-day! Eileen xx

  10. No robins up here yet, but I get your excitement to see them. We did have 73 degrees yesterday so maybe they will be here soon. And I love your mug. It is cool. Hope it was a super T day. Hugs-Erika

  11. I've just started to read the story and I haven't got time to read the rest. Arggh!
    Lovely robin! You are welcome, we can't wait for spring!
    Ah, you make coffee the old fashioned way, like my mother used to do! Good for you!
    Sorry for commenting so late. I'm not up to much at the moment.
    Happy belated T-Day,
    Hugs (from a distance as I have a cold)

    1. I'm just now getting to T "Tuesday" myself lol I'm not sure where yesterday went!

  12. What a so cute robin !! ( We enjoy a spring day today by there, 25ºC --- 77ºF. I also like the heart shape fo grass on the left of the photograph. Fantastic coffee and mug ! Wish you had a lovely T-day ! Thanks so much for sharing those stories with us, very interesting.
    I wish you a v ery nice afternoon, and send big hugs,

  13. Sorry I'm so late visiting, not sure how I missed this one! Great story and your blue mug is so pretty, hope you enjoyed your coffee 😁. How lovely to see your robin too, we have European robins here all year too but our resident robin only visited this month. I was so excited that my art journal page today celebrates his return ...lol 😉. Happy belated T Tuesday wishes! Hugs, Jo x