I registered my daughter for her Covid shots last week, literally the moment the signups opened. She’s 11, so we’ve been waiting desperately for the emergency use authorization as the school year continued on and more of her fellow students dealt with exposure quarantine (or worse, Covid itself) and missed two weeks of school.

This is one of the many reasons Nola is so eager to be vaccinated. Once she has finished her series, she won’t have to quarantine if she’s exposed (unless she becomes symptomatic, and then, well, duh, we would keep her home anyway). And she won’t have to worry so much about bringing Covid home from school to her family or inadvertently giving it to her classmates with diabetes.

For Nola, the vaccine represents freedom from the worst of the pandemic and a protective shield for herself and those she loves. For me, it’s pure relief.

What a long, strange trip it has been.

Even as immersed as I am in the science fiction field, I’ve found the events of the past couple of years surreal.

And I’m not alone. Dean Wesley Smith talks about something similar in his introduction to the latest StoryBundle he has curated: the 2021 Visions of the Future Bundle. Here’s what Dean had to say:

Back almost two years ago, in February 2020, just before the pandemic started, I did a StoryBundle with the title Visions of the Future. Thankfully, nothing about the last two years was in that bundle of great novels and stories. I don’t think many people, including the best science fiction writers, saw any of this coming in the way it did.

So now I get a chance to find writers to look into the future again, only on the downward side of the pandemic. And there is all kinds of science fiction in these books, from galaxy-spanning space opera to generation ships to near future science fiction. And yes, this time even one that looks at a world after pandemics. In my opinion, we need them all. These visions are science fiction in nature, looking out into the possibilities of the future.

Read more about the 10 books in the bundle, which includes Thieves: A Diving Novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Grapevine Springs: A Thunder Mountain Novel by Dean, and The Year of the Cat: A Cat of Space and Time (edited by Kris and Dean) here. But hurry. The bundle will only be available for another two weeks or so.

In other news, a shout out to the 185 backers who supported the WMG Holiday Spectacular 2021 Kickstarter to the tune of more than $17,000! Thank you all so much for this fantastic success!

You can buy the Calendar of Stories (38 holiday-themed stories to your gift recipients’ inboxes for just $25 each) any time before it launches on Thanksgiving Day and even once the Calendar of Stories is underway—up through New Year’s Day. (Once the calendar is underway, all new signups get one email with all the links to the stories they missed, plus all the new stories as they are released each day.)

Click here to go to the Calendar of Stories sign-up page.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the holidays than sharing this unique calendar with your friends and family, no matter where they are.

And speaking of celebrations, I’ll have a big announcement in next week’s blog to celebrate one hell of a milestone by Dean.

So, be sure to check back in next week!

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.