Not a Dumb American: Ethiopia Edition

My Africa reading project is so fun and great that it’s confusing to me it took me three-quarters of the year to reconvene it in 2016. There is nothing not good about it, except I guess the shortage of histories of African countries written by African authors in English and available at my library. But guess what, y’all. That is exactly what I got for Ethiopia, and I couldn’t be more pumped about it. Bahru Zewde’s A History of Ethiopia, 1855-1974 gloriously fulfills all my conditions. It is also real short, which meant that I read each section with extra-heightened attention to detail cause it is hard to remember a ton of dude’s names when you know they’re only going to be around for like three more pages.

Anyway. The funnest and greatest thing about my Africa reading project is the moment when new facts learned in my African history books connect up to existing knowledge that I already have. For example, this: In the mid-1800s, Egypt began encroaching upon Ethiopian land,1 and Ethiopia appealed to the nations of Europe like “You’re Christian, we’re Christian, let’s be Christian together and not let the Muslims take over our Christian land.” This didn’t work because, spoilers for all of human history, everyone actually cared way more about money than they cared about religion.

I know. Stunning news.

(Egypt had the Suez Canal.)

BUT. Here’s the part where it joins up to my knowledge of history: Then there came the Mahdist Uprising, which was this whole sort of charismatic revivalist Muslim situation wherein the Sudanese rebelled against their Egyptian rulers. You know the one. Where General Gordon was the general and he called for help and no help came? And he was brutally slaughtered by the Mahdists along with all the other people besieged with him at Khartoum?

So anyway, at this point the British really needed Ethiopian support, because Ethiopia borders Sudan, and they came hat in hand to the emperor, Yohannes IV, and made a treaty with him that Ethiopia abided by and Britain did not. Hashtag colonialism.


Another place where the book nearly, but not quite, joined up with my knowledge of history was in its dealing with Eritrea. Bahru Zewde seems quite down on Eritrean independence (unless I misunderstood? also possible?), and I don’t know if that’s because Eritrean independence was a bad idea, or because at the time this book was written, Eritrea was not yet independent, and we tend to think that the existing boundaries of a country are the Correct ones. Which I am realizing right now is kind of weird. Like, we don’t want a country to split in half, but if a country has split in half in the past, we’re all like, Yeah! Eritrean independence!

I do recall, however, a protest that occurred when I was a teenager where a bunch of Eritreans wanted the US to help stop the Ethiopians from doing a thing they were currently doing that the Eritreans wished them to desist from. I had a classmate whose parents were Eritrean (that is how I came to hear of this protest), and my classmate was nice so I have always assumed that Eritrea had the right idea.

By the way, the above two paragraphs are exactly why I convened this Africa reading project. A brief googling is able to tell me that this must have been during the Ethiopian-Eritrean War, but what about all the wars where I did not have classmates whose parents were from those countries? I DO NOT EVEN KNOW ABOUT THOSE ONES TO GOOGLE THEM.

Somewhat to my surprise, Bahru Zewde was quite down on Very Famous Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

Interlude: Haile Selassie is so famous that I am confident all of you have heard of him. Even if you are currently saying to yourself, “no, I definitely have not heard of him,” you are actually mistaken. You have heard of him and you just don’t know it yet. See, because before Haile Selassie took on the emperorship and the name Haile Selassie, his name was Tafari Makonnen and his title was Ras, so hence, Ras Tafari. Which is where the name Rastafarian comes from because Rastafarians worship Haile Selassie. So there you go. You have heard of him.

Anyway, Bahru Zewde is down on Very Famous Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, and this was of interest to me because I had the distinct impression that we as a global community were quite up on Haile Selassie. But apparently (says Bahru Zewde) this was kind of Haile Selassie’s thing: He went traveling all over the world being stupendously popular with heads of state, and what happened was that he FELL FOR HIS OWN HYPE (never a good idea, ahem Joss Whedon ahem ahem) and didn’t really attend to the the fact that he wasn’t going to live forever. And that is how come (says Bahru Zewde) you ended up with power very consolidated and all the circumstances in alignment to produce the 1974 revolution.

I know. You are turning the metaphorical page breathlessly right now. What about the 1974 revolution, you are saying anxiously?

Well, the bad news is that this book ends in 1974. I learned a lot about old-time Ethiopia, but for modern Ethiopia — which it sounds like has crammed a lot of history into the last forty years — I will have to read a second Ethiopia book.

Onward! I have now done six African countries, and you may follow my progress (cause I know you are like totally enthralled with my ongoing geographical education) at the main page for my Africa reading project. Next up is Equatorial Guinea — confusingly, one of three African nations with “Guinea” in the name, but we will sort it out together, friends. Also my Equatorial Guinea book isn’t going to be so much about Equatorial Guinea but rather about the peoples and histories of the area of Africa that now includes what we call Equatorial Guinea. So. Promises to be not confusing at all.

  1. Truth: It’s sort of relaxing to read about countries I am in no way descended from doing shitty imperialist things.

I Am an Aunt: A Links Round-Up

I’m an aunt, y’all! Wooooooooo! Truly it is the happiest of Fridays! Though I can’t transmit my joy directly into your brains, I will nevertheless do my best to give you some happiness in the form of excellent links. Enjoy!

In case you missed it, I wrote a fandom vocabulary primer for the Oxford Dictionaries blog.

The goddess Alexandra Petri (the woman who brought us Emo Kylo Ren) outlines the Great American Novel.

A history of Harry Potter fandom.

The Seattle Seahawks made a loud noise about the statement they were planning to make before their opening game, but what they said was a whole lot of nothing.

“Modern patriotism has become Kabuki citizenship”: Wesley Morris burns the house down, per usual, in this piece on Colin Kaepernick for the New York Times; as does Rembert Browne for NYMag. These Grantland alums, I’m telling you!

If you believe that a frown is a thing you do with your mouth, this article is going to mess you up.


I know it’s sad when a marriage ends, but also, my first instinct was to be excited for whatever Sam Donsky and Anne Helen Peterson were going to have to say about it, and they did not disappoint. I am just so fascinated by celebrity narrative-crafting.

Kiese Laymon on what the American flag means to him.

It’s time to retire the Rom-Com Bitch, says Bim Adewunmi, with an admirably thorough analysis that includes MY BELOVED While You Were Sleeping.

Review: Mongrels, Stephen Graham Jones

In my cynical old age, I’ve become leery of books about supernatural critters like vampires and werewolves. I don’t want to blame Stephenie Meyer, but she did kick off this whole, like, vampires-and-werewolves renascence1 that seemed like a good thing at the time but then reached a point where there was too much of it.

Problem is, this too-much-of-a-good-thing thing didn’t erase my fondness for new interesting takes on supernatural critters; it just made me skeptical that there was anything new under the sun. So when promised me that Mongrels was a take on werewolves I hadn’t seen before, I was intrigued. Add to that my desire to like Blackfeet horror author Stephen Graham Jones, whose short stories have been JUST TOO HORRIFYING for me, and it was a marriage made in book heaven.


If your question is “how much cannibalism though?” the answer is “honestly? still less than in at least half the Stephen Graham Jones short stories I’ve read.” So, I mean, you know if that’s a thing you can handle or not.

Our hero is an orphan boy being raised by his aunt Libby and uncle Darren. They are both werewolves, and the boy just wants to be — if he hasn’t turned by his late teens, he never will. As the family wanders across the American South getting whatever jobs will keep the lights on and sending the boy to school for brief stints when it’s possible, he learns more and more about the life of a werewolf and — most often — all the ways a werewolf can be caught and/or killed.

If like me you are the kind of reader who enjoys some social commentary in your werewolf literature, Mongrels is the book for you. Though the rootlessness and ruthlessness of the ways Darren and Libby and their nephew survive arise from their werewolf heritage, there’s a lot in this story that just reads poverty. Food insecurity follows them across the South, although they are werewolves and can, given the right circumstances, hunt their own. The boy is given different identities in every state (and indeed, he lacks a name, leaving his true identity shrouded in uncertainty), in and out of school  depending on what the laws of the state will permit.

Mongrels is in some respects a picaresque, which is not my favorite type of book and kept this from being a forever-favorite. But it’s a take on werewolves that feels fresh and does not shy away from the utter creepiness of the transformation process. Despite the episodic nature of the storytelling, there’s plenty of emotional through-lines for you to sink your teeth into, plus an ending that yr extremely picky correspondent found satisfying.

QUESTION TIME: Would you rather starve than resort to cannibalism? Does your answer change if you are a wolf at the time? Also, are you tired of werewolves and other supernatural critters or do you rejoice in those stories endlessly?

  1. Sometimes I enjoy the British way of spelling “renaissance.” I hope you still love me even when I’m pretentious.

Review: Everfair, Nisi Shawl

Note: I received an e-galley of Everfair from the publisher for review consideration.

The genesis of Nisi Shawl’s debut novel Everfair was the author’s bafflement that she had never gotten into steampunk, and her theory that the reason for this is steampunk’s uncomfortable connections with colonialism. Everfair, therefore, creates an alternate version of Congolese history in which white and black Europeans and Americans purchase land in the Congo to create a small country called Everfair. The residents of Everfair develop steam technology that allows them, in alliance with the indigenous king of the Everfair territory, to chase out King Leopold’s forces. Everfair follows the creation and development of this country over the course of thirty years.


Oh gosh. Ohhhhhh gosh. Please hold while I lie on the floor and catch my breath over the greatness of this book. Oh, where to begin. How shall I count the ways in which Everfair won my heart? I looooooved this book. It’s wonderful on its own merits, and it also made me feel excited for the ever-expanding (I hope) globalism of contemporary fantasy.1 Shawl writes from multiple viewpoints in a way that extends compassion to every character, but gives nobody a pass on their blind spots. The project of nation-building inevitably includes casualties, and Shawl never shies away from that truth, even when her characters do.

(Did you read The Just City? Did you like The Just City? This is kind of like that! But with more dirigibles, and in nineteenth-century Congo.)

If I had a complaint with Everfair, it’s that I wasn’t entirely ready for the way it makes large jumps in time and place. The chapters are short, which at first made it challenging for me to settle in comfortably to the point of view and time period of each one, and successive chapters are frequently set months ahead of the chapters that came before. This is doable — you have to pay attention to the chapter headings that let you know where and when the action is happening — but it was a little difficult for me to adjust to, right at first. It also gives rise to the kind of situation where one chapter will see the characters debating a heavily contentious issue of serious strategic significance, and the next will find you six months on, with that whole problem resolved and in the past.

However, Nisi Shawl is careful to catch you up to what’s happening, in ways that almost never feel like visits from the exposition fairy, and the benefit of this type of writing is that we truly get to see the growth and changes in Everfair over a course of decades. At first, there’s a degree of unity among the residents of Everfair: The most important thing for African, East Asian, European, and American Everfairians2 alike is to save as many people from King Leopold’s brutal rubber trade as possible, and ultimately to drive the Belgians out of the Congo.

But what truly made my heart sing3 was the second half, in which the priorities, loyalties, and demands of the different groups of stakeholders begin to conflict with each other. Shawl is respectful of everyone, laying out as fairly as possible the feelings and claims of the indigenous people of Everfair and its colonizers. She doesn’t try to find silver bullets for the problems in the world she’s created: Yes, the settlers were vital to driving out the Belgians; and yes, they shed blood and made their homes in Everfair; and still, the land belongs first and primarily not to Daisy Albin of England or Martha Hunter of America, but to King Mwenda and his people.

With all of this, Shawl brings her book to a conclusion that might be argued to be slightly too neat. When, after all, did competing land claims ever settle themselves bloodlessly? But there’s something revolutionary about a story of African colonialism in which opposing interests are able to find a peaceful middle ground.

I’ve been crazy psyched about this book — which really seems to cater to 100% of my interests — since December of last year, and it did not disappoint. Everfair! Read it and come back and squee with me!

  1. I dunno, maybe that’s grandiose to say? It’s not like I think Everfair is going to usher in some sea-change in the way we write fantasy. Just, wow, this book.
  2. That is not a demonym the book uses.
  3. This whole book made my heart sing.

Review: We Are Not Such Things, Justine van der Leun

Well that was a long and frustrating book. The New York Times review of Justine van der Leun’s We Are Not Such Things promised that the book would “overturn” the traditional narrative of Amy Biehl’s death, and in the process expose the weaknesses of the famed and beloved South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In case you aren’t familiar with Amy Biehl’s story (I wasn’t), she was an activist and Fulbright scholar who was attacked and murdered in the South African township of Gugulethu in 1993, on the eve of apartheid’s demise. Four men were convicted of her murder, then later pardoned under the terms of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which offered amnesty for political crimes in exchange for full public disclosure. Biehl’s parents publicly offered forgiveness to her killers and even employed two of them at the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust, which they established in South Africa to empower township youths.

We Are Not Such Things

Van der Leun’s efforts to uncover the story of what happened on the day of Amy Biehl’s murder are tireless. She’s able to track down and speak with an impressive number of the people involved — police, suspects, witnesses — although twenty years on, they rarely have much of substance to add to official accounts. The thrust of Van der Leun’s argument seems to be that neither the South African criminal justice system in 1993 nor the political and social systems in of the present day are perfect. Which, I mean — yeah? Systems are flawed? I don’t know that I needed to spend 500 pages navigating class divisions in South Africa in order to be convinced of that.

As a travel writer, Justine van der Leun evokes the people and places of poverty-stricken South Africa incredibly well. Well, but at incredible length. We spend page after page on the family drama of one of the convicted killers, Easy Nofemela, and don’t get me wrong: He’s a wonderful character in van der Leun’s telling. It’s just not clear why, in a book ostensibly dedicated to unpicking the many threads of Amy Biehl’s 1993 murder, so many chapters are dedicated to Easy and Justine driving around shooting the shit.

Though the book is certainly overlong and could have done with being shortened by about a third, I think expectations were also a factor in my unenjoyment. Many South Africans have grown critical (or always were) of the TRC’s work, and I hoped that van der Leun would bring to light some of these criticisms and how the TRC’s failings continue to affect South African lives. That isn’t this book, and it’s not clear that van der Leun even wanted it to be.

My love for scholarship on restorative justice remains undimmed, however! While I was reading this, I also dipped in and out of Priscilla Hayner’s classic text on truth commissions, Unspeakable Truths, and it is just as excellent as I remembered. What a fascinating subject.

POLL TIME! Who here knew who Amy Biehl was when I first mentioned her name? And secondary question, this one for millennials only: Were you aware of apartheid as a kid? I totally was not, and it’s really weird to think that that was still going on when I was in grade school.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.66: Fall Book Review and Rumaan Alam’s Rich and Pretty

Happy Wednesday and please enjoy this very special edition of the Reading the End Bookcast, in which Whiskey Jenny and I were in THE SAME ROOM AT THE SAME TIME. You can pretty much hear the giddiness in our voices. Podcasting with Whiskey Jenny is always great, but it is double great when we’re in the same place.

You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly here to take with you on the go.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

What We’re Reading

One Plus One, Jojo Moyes
Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Maggie Stiefvater
City on Fire, Garth Risk Hallberg
Graceling, Kristin Cashore

Fire, Kristin Cashore
Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore

Summer Books

June, Miranda Beverley-Whittemore
Everybody’s Fool, Richard Russo
Barkskins, Annie Proulx
City of Mirrors, Justin Cronin
Shrill, Lindy West
Places No One Knows,
Brenna Yovanoff
The Sudden Appearance of Hope, Claire North
Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, Mychal Denzel Smith
The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward

Fall Books

The Revolutionaries Try Again, Mauro Javier Cardenas
Everfair, Nisi Shawl
Angel Catbird, Margaret Atwood and Johnnie Christmas
Float, Anne Carson
Today Will Be Different, Maria Semple

(We have not been podcasting for four years. We have been podcasting for three. Calm down, Jennys.)

The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan
Cul de Sac, Robert Repino
They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of #blacklivesmatter, Wesley Lowery
One Hundred Nights of Hero, Isabel Greenberg
Swing Time, Zadie Smith

Rich and Pretty, Rumaan Alam

Ha, I didn’t get Whiskey Jenny to beta-listen to this, and I failed at editing in one place. Please forgive me. You will hear Whiskey Jenny saying “Wavefoooooorms.”

In re: Sarah’s fancy meal throwing-together, these are two conversations I had with Alexis in the time between recording this podcast and posting it. So I think my point is proven.

alexis: for what i call $60 mac and cheese i use black diamond cheddar, gruyere, and brie
it is omfgood

me: hahahahaha oh man
that sounds soooo tasty
do you have a recipe?

alexis: …no

me: of course not

alexis: but i actually do not make a roux for it. i just grate cheese over the al dente pasta and top off with some cream
also, crawfish has the necessary salinity to stand up to mac and cheese; is very good combo
i’ll eat lobster mac but it’s kind of bs


Alexis: i grilled a store bought mozarella arepa and shrimp in a citrus pepper marinade + avocado, tomato, cilantro, chili

me: was this a recipe? the marinade and such?

Alexis: nah i just squeezed an orange, lime half, two gloves garlic minced, glug of olive oil, some of this aji pepper paste

For next time:

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

Get at me on Twitter, email the podcast, and friend me (Gin Jenny) and Whiskey Jenny on Goodreads. Or if you wish, you can find us on iTunes (and if you enjoy the podcast, give us a good rating! We appreciate it very very much).

Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: The Illustrious Annalee
Theme song by: Jessie Barbour

Audio Recs for Kim

Okay, blogosphere, it’s your time to be excellent! As many of y’all already know, our own wonderful Kim, who blogs at Sophisticated Dorkiness and co-hosts Nonfiction November, recently lost her partner of eight years. I know many of us have been sending thoughts and prayers to our dear friend in this difficult time, and she’s recently let me know that there’s something we can do to help out.

Kim recently started a new! awesome! job where I know she’s absolutely crushing it, but which necessitates a looooooooong commute. Like all of us with long commutes, Kim wants to spend these transit hours putting amazing books in her brain, but she’s running short on recommendations for new audiobooks and podcasts.

Here’s where you come in, my wonderful fellow book bloggers. Just fill out the form below with your podcast/audiobook recommendation and a few words on why you’re bringing it to Kim’s attention. Multiple submissions hugely encouraged! I shall collate them all and send them on to Kim with your rec notes and lots of blogger love. If you need a sense of Kim’s reading tastes, I will direct you to her review policy for some tips.

Rec Type*
Recommender: (your name)*
Rec notes (tell Kim briefly why your rec is so awesome!)*

If I can be a bit mushy for a second: I’ve seen so much kindness and love out of the book blogosphere over my years here, and I know Kim can depend on you for enough recommendations to keep her ears busy for many, many commuting days. If you can also share this post with other bloggers, do it! I know how many overlapping circles of bloggers there are in this glorious world, and I want recs from as many of them as you can summon to Kim’s aid.

Bored White Girls: A Links Round-Up

Morgan Jenkins is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers on the intersection of politics and pop culture, and this article about whiteness in Emma Cline’s The Girls is fire.

Pixar has a list of storytelling rules of which one, I believe, is that you can use a coincidence to get a character into, but not out of, trouble. Here’s Alice Mattison on how to write coincidence well.

Sexual harassment in the SF world.

Did I tell you I’m fascinated with the stories of people who are in (or who leave) fundamentalist religions? So this Gothamist article about a meet-up in New York called “Formerly Fundamentalist” was right up my alley.

In case you missed me sobbing with happiness on Twitter, Ian McEwan (an author I have never liked, sorry Ian McEwan fans) wrote a book from the perspective of an in-womb fetus who is also Hamlet. I will never stop laughing about this.

An LA Times report on a PTA mom who ran afoul of a power couple at her school and became the target of their REVENGE!

I don’t agree with everything in this article about spoilers, but its distinction between the WHAT of the ending and the HOW and WHY of an ending is very close to my exact reasons for reading the end.

Look, the further travails of Jonathan Safran Foer, who left his wife for another woman without asking the other woman first, will never not be funny. Michelle Dean of The New Republic is not hugely into his new book Here I Am.

A Master Post of Celebrities Who Can’t Wink

Somehow my life has reached a point where I started collecting gifs of celebrities who can’t wink. I don’t know why, except I know exactly why, and it’s that Alice was reading some Person of Interest fic and said that a lot of it mentioned the fact that Root (played by Amy Acker) can’t wink. And because I cherish Amy Acker, I went on a hunt and found the following very endearing gifs as proof:

ahahaha I love Amy Acker
ahahaha I love Amy Acker


Next I discovered that Kit Harrington can’t do it.

do people who can't wink know they can't wink?
do people who can’t wink know they can’t wink?

Good try, kiddo!

When BuzzFeed employee Ben Henry broke the story that Rihanna also can’t wink, I decided it was high time for me to make that compilation post a reality. You’re all welcome.

her ensemble is very fetching though
her ensemble is very fetching though
her wink failure only makes her more adorable
her wink failure only makes her more adorable

Also, when I started googling, I discovered that Idris Elba is a known wink failure, and I found that very soothing in terms of, like, how intimidated I will feel if I ever meet him.

that is squinting. you just squinted.

Sure, he’s inhumanly beautiful and looks better in a suit than I will ever look in anything. But I can wink. Really well, actually. And I’d like to think that ultimately makes us equals.1

Alice said she had a gif of Barbara Stanwyck failing to wink, but I’m going to say this counts as a wink. Judge for yourself:

I don't know, this one's hard to judge
I don’t know, this one’s hard to judge

She doesn’t hold her non-winking eye perfectly still, but the lid on that eye doesn’t actually close. I’m calling it a successful wink. I think? Right? Ish? Sure, it’s not to Kate McKinnon standards, but who among us could be?

Do you have more to add? Drop a line in the comments! I will be updating this post until all wink-impaired celebrities are represented in gif format.

  1. N.B. It does not.

Review: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are, Frans de Waal

Phew, that was a long title. My fingers are tired from typing it all out. Are we smart enough to make concise titles? Often but not always! Snarking aside, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are (affiliate link: Book Depository) is a wonderfully accessible overview of studies of animal cognition.

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are

de Waal’s basic argument is that as humans get better at designing tests that take into account animal physiognomy, habits, and social structure, animals perform better on those tests. The most common limitation on tests of animal cognition is not animal, but human, intelligence. An example:

When octopuses were given a transparent jar that contained a live crawfish1, they failed to do anything. This greatly puzzled the scientists, because the delicacy was clearly visible and moving about. . . it turned out to be one of those human misjudgments. Despite having excellent eyes, octopuses rarely rely on vision to catch prey. . . . As soon as the jar was smeared on the outside with herring “slime,” making it taste like fish, the octopus swung into action and started manipulating it until the top came off.

In other news, octopuses can open jars. I hope that in the new world order our octopus overlords will remember that I ate no octopus in my life and left the dissecting of them to my lab partner.

If you’re interested at all in the way animals think, de Waal’s book is a thoughtful and accessible primer to zoopsychology. As well as featuring plenty of anecdotes that will make you go “holy shit why are animals so smart” — including this thing about chimpanzees assembling mini-tool kits to accomplish complex tasks — he continually reminds the reader of the limitations on what we’re able to know about animal brains.

Maybe my favorite thing about this book is de Waal’s indictment of the constantly shifting goalposts for what differentiates humans from the rest of the animal world. In de Waal’s mind, the answer to this question is not much, but many people are anxious to find something that sets us apart from the animals. The problem is that as soon as we locate a line of demarcation (tool use, cooperation, advance planning), we find that apes will cross it, given the right circumstances. And once we’ve found apes that cross the line, scientists of other animals — ones as simple as fishies! — will do more tests and discover examples of those animals that also cross the line. And then we are back at the beginning.

Personally, I find it rather peaceful not to be all that different from the rest of the animal kingdom. This way, when global warming wipes out the species and Earth has to start over from scratch, it won’t be so much of a tragedy: Just one animal species going extinct to make room for the next.

Thanks to Malcolm Avenue Review for the nudge to read this one!

Here’s my question: What do you think separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom? If anything! Oh, and also, how do you feel about octopuses? Are you fine with invertebrates being as smart as freaky octopuses are? Do you have concerns about them ultimately taking over everything?

  1. Full disclosure, the book says “crayfish,” but I can’t with that nonsense.