It’s been a while.
There’ve been these deadlines. A secret Munich gig I can’t talk about which might turn into something and might not: that took me to the end of January. February got swallowed by a lecture, two short stories, and the monthly Nowa Fantastyk column, all written from scratch. Not to mention an earlier story I wrote for the latest iteration of Jonathan Strahan’s Infinity series, which— after laboring on the damn thing for ages, and just ten minutes before sending it off— I discovered I had written for the wrong damn anthology. (Jonathan decided to use it anyway, for reasons which remain unclear— but it’ll be obvious, when the book comes out, which one of these things is not like the other.)
I think, from now on, I may just reject story solicitations on general principles. I always seem to end up pushing the deadline to the limit, and I’m never completely satisfied with the result. In the meantime I fall behind on my science feeds, and abandon the ‘crawl to the tumbleweeds. So maybe, from now on, I should just set some time aside each week for the short stuff, work on stories I’m inspired to write (as opposed to assigned: Hey, we need 7,000 words of science fiction for a unicorn-theme-based anthology by the end of next month— think you could fit it in?). Send them off when I’m happy with them, and not before. Back-to-my-roots kinda stuff. Who knows, I might even submit something to Analog. (It’s been about twenty years since I even tried.)
In the meantime, news has come and gone. Extreme Planets, the anthology from Chaosium that went strangely missing for the better part of a year, is finally out, so another story in the Sunflowers cycle has escaped into the wild. (A third— which takes place before Eriophora even launches— is that out-of-place number in Reach for Infinity that I lamented a few paragraphs back). I gave another talk at the SpecFic Colloquium last weekend, in which I reframed the previous four years’ talks to provide context for my decision to abandon empirical science in favor of evangelical religion. (No, really. Ask anyone who was there.) A number of worthy talks flew past the post that day— ranging from a comparison between the works of HP Lovecraft and VC Andrews to a freewheeling Q&A with bestselling author Christopher Golden— but the talk that really stuck in my mind was presented by Liana Kerzner, with the unwieldy title of “Digital Romanticism: Speculative History as Modern Social Commentary in Video Games”. Probably the most cogent analysis of gender and race in video games I’ve encountered— although that might not be saying much, given my lack of expertise in political realms. It impressed me, anyway. Left me less eager to play Bioshock: Infinite and somewhat more intrigued by this Assassin’s Creed franchise…
Echopraxia (which I have begun to describe as a faith-based Hard-SF novel) is now well and truly in the pipe in France, Germany, Poland, Japan, Russia, and the UK (where it is being sold under the title Firefall— apparently they can do that. Next time I’m putting something in the contract.)
I’m going to be in Japan next month, serving as a GoH at HAL-Con in Kawasaki. I don’t imagine I’ll get a chance to see much outside the convention center— the trip is pretty much in and out with a day or two bolted on the front end for jet-lag— but maybe I can absorb some futurions by osmosis. Any self-respecting SF author has to get over there at some point; my own indoctrination is way overdue. At the very least, maybe I can get one of those anime body pillows.
In the meantime, I am going to catch up. I am going to see friends that I have put on hold for too long. I am going to read for pleasure again; I am going to read for knowledge again, revisit all those RSS feeds that have been streaming discovery after discovery while I’ve fallen ever-further behind the curve. (A side-effect of this, I expect, is more frequent posting of scientific commentary to the ‘crawl.) I am going to pursue the goal of getting this damn website upgraded to a state that’s a little less nineteen-nineties, and adding new content in time for Echopraxia‘s release. I am going to buy a new laptop: one that does not have to be held together with binder clips, one that hasn’t gone mostly dark across the lower-right third of the screen. One whose USB ports never short-circuit the motherboard when you plug anything into them. I am going to play video games.
Mostly, though, I am going to breathe.
It’s been too long.