This post is for the sixth of SFF.SE's new series of topic challenges, encouraging the site's community to take part together in asking and answering questions on a particular topic each month. According to community votes on the topic challenge proposals thread, the June 2021 topic challenge is going to be devoted to a former moderator of our very own site:

Thaddeus Howze

Let's take this as an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of a massive contributor to our site, no longer active for a while but still one of our highest-reputation users by a long way.

What's a topic challenge and how do I take part?

See Announcing a Topic Challenge program for SFF.SE, and also this main meta post. In short, during June 2021 we should all try to: either read some Thaddeus Howze stories and ask interesting questions about them, or ask questions about some of those stories we've read before, or help out by answering other people's questions about them.

Participation is not obligatory in any sense, but those who participate will be forever remembered in the annals of our history. We'll keep a list of all Thaddeus Howze questions asked during June 2021 in an answer to this meta post. At the end of the month, I'll collate some data like highest-scoring question, most-viewed question, highest-scoring answer, etc. There won't be any real-world rewards like in the old days when Stack Exchange was smaller and more generous, but I'll be awarding at least one bounty after the end of the month (assuming there's at least one good answer posted).

Thaddeus Howze has published two books, Broken Glass (a 2013 novella) and Hayward's Reach (a 2011 collection of short stories), and many pieces of his speculative-fiction writing are available to read online, such as O.G. Knight and The Black Terror Rides Again and Death and Life - In a Place of Novas and Belargo: a Tiny Dragon Tale and Barnabus and a 3-4 parter Of Old Men and Bad Dreams / Of Young Men and Hot Ambition / Of Queens and Chaos Gods. Many of his short pieces are on his Medium page, but you have to scroll down a lot to find them; in recent years it's been postly non-fiction essays about topics like racism and US politics.

What's next?

Future topic challenges will be chosen by community votes, so come over and propose or vote on suggestions at:

Propose future topics for SFF topic challenges!

(The Thaddeus Howze answer will be deleted from that thread at the start of June, since already chosen topics shouldn't stick at the top of the thread and distract people from those still to be voted on.)

  • 6
    Well, I am not as optimistic for any "word-of-god" answers as I once was....
    – Skooba
    May 25, 2021 at 12:16
  • 1
    Perhaps if someone who has contact with him would let him know that he was chosen for a topic challenge, he'd be willing to peek in a couple of times this month...
    – Basya
    Jun 3, 2021 at 12:28
  • 1
    @Basya - I wouldn't hold your breath on that one.
    – Valorum
    Jun 3, 2021 at 16:23
  • @Valorum <Gasp><breathe> OK.
    – Basya
    Jun 3, 2021 at 16:57
  • 7
    On the other hand, one shouldn't hold one's breath too often because you will need it in less than five minutes, one way or the other. I left because my son who is on the autism spectrum became a teenager and it is MUCH harder to raise, train and coordinate his opportunities because of his autism. I do appreciate the efforts made on my behalf. I loved my time here and wouldn't trade those efforts for anything. I loved this communities, struggles and all and I am sorry I don't get to do as much as I used to. Jun 6, 2021 at 17:14

1 Answer 1


List of all questions posted as part of this topic challenge

The highest-voted of these is When is "An Uncivil War in America" set?, with a score of 8 at the end of June.

The most viewed is Why is the protagonist of "Shortsighted" named Calvin Hobbes?, with approximately 179 views during June.

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