Jollibee and love in the time of precognition

Did you know that Jollibee was mentioned in a Hugo Award-winning science fiction novelette?

Jollibee and love in the time of precognition
Photo by Oziel Gómez / Unsplash

Every Filipino knows Jollibee, which is the name of both the hugely popular Filipino multinational chain of fast food restaurants and its beloved bee mascot.

But did you know that Jollibee was mentioned in a Hugo Award-winning science fiction novelette? Twice, actually.

That’s what I found out when I read “Six Months, Three Days”, which is included in Charlie Jane Anders‘ short story collection “Six Months, Three Days, Five Others”.

The novelette, which is about two precogs, Doug and Judy, won the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novelette. It was also nominated for the 2011 Nebula Award and the 2011 Theodore Sturgeon Award.

The title of the novelette refers to the fact that Doug, who can see the future, and Judy, who can see many possible futures, both know when they meet that their relationship will only last six months and three days, and that it will end badly.

Despite knowing this, the two of them still fall in love.

It’s a mind-blowing tale, and I was caught off guard when Jollibee made an unexpected cameo.

“The living room is a pigsty, so they sit in Judy’s room, which isn’t much better. Judy hoards items she might need in one of the futures she’s witnessed, and they cover every surface. There’s a plastic replica of a Filipino fast food mascot, Jollibee, which she might give to this one girl Sukey in a couple of years, completing Sukey’s collection and making her a friend for life — or Judy and Sukey may never meet at all. A phalanx of stuffed animals crowds Judy and Marva on the big fluffy bed. The room smells like a sachet of whoop-ass (cardamom, cinnamon, lavender) that Judy opened up earlier.
“‘He’s a really sweet guy.’ Judy cannot stop talking in platitudes, which bothers her. ‘I mean, he’s really lost, but he manages to be brave. I can’t imagine what it would be like, to feel like you have no free will at all.’”

Anders also won the 2017 Nebula Award for Best Novel for her 2016 novel “All the Birds in the Sky”.

Anders, who is transgender, also happens to be the partner of Annalee Newitz, who wrote one of my favorite books, “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction”, which I talked about in another post.

The two of them co-founded my favorite science and science fiction blog io9 and host the podcast Our Opinions Are Correct, which won the Hugo Award for Best Fancast in 2019.

Now, why am I suddenly craving Jollibee?