Saturday, December 31, 2016

Alive in 2016


Part of me wants to sum up this year in one or two words - it sucked! - and be done with it. I've spilled a lot of virtual ink in service of pessimism lately so maybe it's time to put paid to 2016 and be done with it.

Instead, I'd like to take a moment to remember some of the good things about this year.

This was a year of friends. I met a bunch of amazing people this year, had time to hang out with old friends, and had some of the best conversations about politics, speculative fiction, movies, and life. If you spent time with me, helped me understand this world a little bit better, filled it with life and laughter and hope, well, the least I can do is thank you. Thank you for reading my stories, putting up with my mistakes, and giving me your support. Thank you Lauren for being the best friend a person could ever hope for and congratulations for finishing your masters.

This was a year of video games. Maybe not the most consequential aspect of life but, you know what, if I'm being honest, playing games occupies a significant chunk of my time. In particular I'll stand up in defense of one of the most maligned games in recent memory. I'm still playing "No Man's Sky," and foresee continuing to do so well into the future. The basic premise of the game still fills me with a sense of peace and wonder. Finding a perfect world in the wide, wide galaxy and being able to stroll over it is somehow all I've ever wanted in a game. I feel at peace, perfectly in the moment, and if that makes it seem more like a meditation device than a traditional game, so be it.

This was a year of reading. I've already listed my favorite new works from the past year but looking over what I actually read during the course of 12 months, I'm not really sure I captured what gave this year its meaning. Around September, when things looked particularly pointless on the election front I stopped listening to the radio, cut my cable news habit way back and simply started reading as much as I could. In retrospect, I can't help but think that was a far better use for my time.

In particular, I started tracking down books in cosmic horror genre for a series of posts. That was a lot of fun and lead me to authors such as Michael Shea, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Kathe Koja, and Robert Aikman. The other big project was listening to the "best books of the 21st Century" which was incredibly rewarding. As you might guess from my posts, I read a lot of speculative literature and not so much of what might be termed "contemporary fiction." After having read "Gilead," and the "Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," I'm glad I finally took steps to rectify that over-sight. My life is better for the books I've read.

This was a year of writing. Having "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," published in Electric Spec was a high point in my short career as a writer. As mentioned before, I think Electric Spec is a terrific magazine and I feel honored to have that story appear there. It's also enormously encouraging. I did not sell many stories this year but the one I did is recent and, in my estimation, one of my better ones. I have a crop of other stories coming down the pipe that I like as much and more.




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