THROUGHOUT HER LENGTHY writing career, Cai Emmons has returned again and again to the topic of catastrophe. Three of her most recent novels, including her 2022 groundbreaker Unleashed, have wrestled with the psychological, emotional, and physical impacts of the climate crisis. Her other novels, like Livid (also published in 2022), revolve around the persistence of danger in the wake of violence. It’s clear that trouble has long been on Cai’s mind, but catastrophe remained a largely fictional concept until 2021, when she was diagnosed with bulbar-onset ALS. The weakening of her vocal cords and facial muscles signaled the arrival of a disease that will eventually cause paralysis throughout Cai’s body. The catastrophe is now all too real.