Contraception, Explained

Like the moron I am, I’m once again embroiled in a “discussion” on Twitter. I put that in quotes because let’s face it — the very nature of Twitter makes reasoned debate or discussion impossible. It devolves into a series of bromides and platitudes hurled back and forth, with no actual illumination. Hell, “devolves” might be charitable, as it implies things started at a higher plane and then…well, devolved.

Anyway, the issue du jour is, of course, contraception, thanks to a boneheaded and nakedly misogynistic decision by SCOTUS.

Some people are saying this is no big deal. Contraception has not been outlawed or banned, they point out. It’s just that employers with certain religious beliefs no longer have to include it in their employees’ insurance plans. It’s still available, for God’s sake, so everyone just calm down!

Yeah, but… No.

I’m going to try to explain this as quickly as I can, in a way that is easy to follow.

Let’s pretend that you have an illness. And there is a very simple, safe, reliable, and legal medication or procedure that can help you.

But your employer has a religious objection to that medication or procedure. So even though insurance companies routinely and happily cover it…your boss doesn’t.

So now you have to go out-of-pocket to cover this expense. Even though you are paying (through payroll deductions) for health insurance. Even though you’re paying what everyone else pays for health insurance, you’re getting less. You have coverage that is crippled.

Is it crippled because you have a lousy job or live in a lousy area? Because your employer just can’t afford better?

No. It’s crippled because your boss has a religious sentiment that now impacts your life.


Your boss goes to church on Sunday and kneels and prays, and because what he prays is a little different than what you pray, you get to lose some of your hard-earned money.

Again, toss contraception out. Imagine it is any other medical issue. Would you accept that? Should you accept that?

No. And hell no.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court was careful to note that its declaration does not apply to vaccines or blood transfusions, two other potential areas where medical necessity could — and, if history is any indicator, will — intersect with religious beliefs.

Lest you have notions to the contrary, those exemptions are incontrovertible proof that this ruling has nothing to do with religious freedom. If it did, then the ruling would apply universally.

No, this is about sex.

It’s about fucking, plain and simple, and paternalistically punishing women who dare to have sex without wanting to get pregnant. It is, therefore, about the very opposite of religious freedom. It is imposing someone else’s religious views on you.

And that, my friends, isn’t just vile. It’s also indefensible.

My Superman Movie

Some background…

This treatment dates from around 2002-3. (The actual writing may have taken place in 2004. I don’t remember. But the idea itself comes from 2002 or 2003.)

At the time, there was discussion of a possible new Superman movie (which ended up being Superman Returns). At the same time, there was a lot of fretting in the comic book community about how 9/11 made Superman irrelevant and impossible to write. You can’t write a story where Superman stops 9/11, the thinking went, because that’s Too Much. And if Superman can’t stop 9/11, well, then what’s the point of Superman?

With this in mind, I came up with an idea for a Superman movie. Part wish fulfillment, part rejoinder, all dream. The treatment I wrote follows. If I were developing this today, I would almost certainly replace 9/11 with some other disaster (and, yes, I am fully aware that many people may be offended by the use of 9/11 at all, but recall when I came up with this — it felt necessary at the time). But the basic thrust of the story — the arc of it, the themes, the tropes — would remain the same. Is it perfect? God no. Would I tweak some things, were I writing it afresh? God yes. Still, I happen to think it’s a pretty kick-ass Superman story.


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This Week’s Tumblr – June 28, 2014

Here’s what I posted recently on Tumblr… [Read more…]


In a truly bizarre coincidence, I happened to stumble upon a review of Game today which says, in part:

I must admit to being baffled as to why this book is published as a YA novel at all. Lyga does not pull any punches when it comes to describing the terrible acts committed by his villains. Jasper’s character is undergoing one of the most unusual coming-of-age narratives ever described in fiction, but I don’t really think that is enough to justify marketing this as a book for young adults.

Not to say that mature readers in their teens won’t enjoy this series, especially if they are as fascinated by serial killers and their capacity to do violence as many adult readers…. But I think that this book really belongs with the other thrillers in the regular fiction section of the store. Adult readers of thrillers will certainly enjoy it, and mature teenage readers who are transitioning to that section will find it….

Killers_MMPBWhy is this a bizarre coincidence? Well, mainly because today is the day when we begin to find out if I Hunt Killers can survive in the rough-and-tumble world of adult fiction. Today is the release date of the mass-market paperback edition of I Hunt Killers.

A mass-market paperback is just what it sounds like: A paperback edition designed for the “mass market.” In other words, the market outside bookstores. These are the paperbacks you see in airports, in spinner racks at the drugstore, etc.

It’s fairly rare for a YA novel to be published for the mass market. I’m thrilled!1

The mass market is typically considered to be an adult-oriented market. Ever since publication (actually, even earlier), people have been telling me that I Hunt Killers would appeal to adults, and my experience has been that this is the case. I get a lot of email from adults who’ve read it, as well as a lot of them showing up at my signings. It’s a great move on the part of my publisher to make this effort, and I hope it turns out to be worth it.

IMG_2236In addition to the gorgeous new cover (look at that thing!), the MMPB also contains the e-novella Lucky Day, as a little bonus. So, if you’ve been dying for Lucky Day in print, here’s your chance!

Theoretically, you could wander into your local 7-Eleven or grocery store or airport bookstore and find I Hunt Killers there, but if you don’t wander much (or if you want it to come to you!), then you can order it at Barnes & Noble or from one of the Indiebound stores. (Amazon, sadly, is currently punishing its customers as part of a business negotiation with my publisher. You can order it from them if you want, but I encourage you to consider other options.)

And hey — if you see I Hunt Killers on your travels, take a picture and post it Twitter or Tumblr and tag me (@barrylyga)! I’d love to see where this book ends up. And perhaps there will be a little prize randomly given out to some lucky soul…

  1. Let me be brutally honest for a moment here, in a footnote: Usually, for a YA novel to be published for the mass market, it has to be incredibly successful, a la Twilight or The Hunger Games. It’s not false modesty to say that I Hunt Killers ranks nowhere near those kinds of books, so it’s very humbling to see my publisher’s faith in the book expressed in this fashion.

Blood of My Blood: More Excerpts

lyga_bloodofmyblood_hcHere are some more excerpts from Blood of My Blood, designed to keep you cold in this last full week of June…

Hughes did not relish the moment when the dead man’s pants were pulled down. Hughes had seen and experienced a hell of a lot as a New York homicide detective and had become inured to most of it over the years, but genital trauma still skeeved him out.

“Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” That’s what it was. Macbeth, right?

“Macbeth had the bit about ‘who would have thought the old man,” et cetera, right?” he asked a crime-scene photographer crouched down near the body.

The photog’s expression clearly revealed that she thought Hughes had been to one too many crime scenes. “How the hell am I supposed to know?” she asked.

“Well-rounded education?” Hughes suggested.

When her left foot came down, that electricity sizzled again, and she nearly screamed in pain, but she needed her breath for running. She hissed into the agony and forced herself to run, hobbling as quickly as she could, not caring which direction she went, not paying attention to where she was, just propelling herself forward as fast as she could go, each step a mad, hurtful rush.

It waits inside you, Billy had said in the visitation room at Wammaket. It pads around like a big cat, and when you least expect it, it comes up behind you. Oh, he could feel it now. Exactly as Billy had described it. It was a cougar, a tiger, a lion, prowling his innards, softly growling deep in its — and his — throat. It had the taste of blood on its lips and tongue.

It wanted that taste for him. And God help him, he wanted it, too.

He was not a man of whims, Billy Dent. He was a man of passions. A man of convictions. He knew what he believed, and he knew what he deserved. When there were things to be done to the cute little blond up the street, Billy Dent damn well went and did them.

Because no one else would, and Billy couldn’t live in that world.