Saturday, December 17, 2016

Aaaaaarghward!

I began this blog about three years ago, with a great and sluggardly reluctance, having received quite a few petitions signed by the entire science fiction and fantasy community urging me so to do.

Each of these countless petitions, which were annoying, and one of which I actually had to go to the Post Office to collect, thinking it to be something else and becoming disappointed when it was not, although the Post Office is not far, beseeched me, never mobilizing less than what I guess you'd call like the total syncretic ingenuity and imagination of the entire science fiction and fantasy community, although mobilizing said totality with each successive petition in some new configuration with unique emergent properties, to go onto Blogger or Wordpress, or onto Tumblr if need be, in order that I might occasionally put up some reviews of SF and fantasy, as well as put up some stray thoughts connected with my SF and fantasy Creative Writing PhD, whose commencement at Northumbria University at around that time was a commencement which, from what I could gather from these several petitions and the grapevines throwing themselves bodily at my window, the entire science fiction and fantasy community, including many of its dead, and some people who were just literally made up, both fiercely brooded upon individually, and also tumulted over frequently in public, and each petition signed by said entire community moreover entreated me to put up a little thingy on the side with links to other blogs, so.

OK but that's not all. Superadded to this general siege of opinion, I had started to feel that those closest to me would sometimes, in a real casual way, slip into conversation a chance remark, not obviously aimed at me, which intimated that to hide one's l33t under a bushel might itself be construed as vanity, and that in a way wouldn't you say that, like, the most ostentatious blog you can have as a white middle class western cis man is no blog at all -- the eyes flick anxiously to mine, linger an unsettling instant, flick away. I caved. My caving is all around you. In the end it was probably the dramatis personae itself that did it: what was reiterated strategum by strategum, however laughable the local strategic design, was this bald provocation: if so many millions of entities, living, dead, exotic, imaginary, could draw together under this one bloggenic banner, if Alex Dally MacFarlane, Alice Tarbuck, and Aliette de Bodard, if Amal El-Mohtar, Amy Sterling Casil, and Ann Leckie, if Anna MacFarlane, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, and Brad R. Torgersen‎, if Carol Emshwiller, Catherynne M. Valente, and China Miéville, if Christina Scholz, Chuck Tingle, and Connie Willis, if Elizabeth Jones, George O. Smith, and George RR Martin, if Gillian Anderson, Harlan Ellison, and Jack Vance, if Jim Butcher, John C. Wright, and John Scalzi, if Jonah Sutton-Morse, Joseph Tomaras, and Kate Paulk, if Kathy Acker, Kevin J. Anderson, and Kim Stanley Robinson, if Kir Bulychev, Lois McMaster Bujold, and L. Ron Hubbard, if Larry Correia, Laura J. Mixon, and Lavie Tidhar, if Margaret Cavendish, N.K. Jemisin, and Nalo Hopkinson, if Naomi Novik, Nick Mamatas, and Paul Weimer, if R.A. Lafferty, Renay, and Robert Heinlein, if Robert Jordan, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, and Saladin Ahmed, if Sarah Hoyt, Sofia Samatar, and Sophie Mayer, if Steven Gould, Tricia Sullivan, and Vox Day, if countless others, could all make cause together to beg this one blog of me, if even Alice Bradley Sheldon and James Tiptree Jnr. could set aside their differences to ask this one thing, why then could I not set my false modesty aside, look into my historically-determined and socially-constructed heart, and blog?

But now the PhD is kinda done, so ... well, this will probably go a bit dormant now. A volcano puffing out the odd mothball. Or if I do keep it going more energetically, it may have to broaden a bit thematically: if I add poetry, games, teaching and politics and economics stuff to the SFF stuff, it might limp nimbly onward. But there are already technically places for that (Sad Press, Sad Press Games, Academia.edu, WokesgivingEconomic Humanities), so we'll see!

Anyways. Not one to tout my own Norns, but here are my three publications in 2016:

Excerpts from a novel-in-progress:
  • Big Echo SF, 'Cat, I Must Work!' -- also a standalone novelette. Equivalent Exchange just kicked off their short fiction highlights series with it. It has been suggested that, had this story not been published in 2016, the Leave vote would have squeaked a narrow victory in the UK Brexist referendum in June, a squeak of uncertain economic consequences (although certainly cataclysmic economic consequences for the UK). Some critics have even argued that without this story, there would be ongoing further intensifications and normalizations of racism and xenophobia, some quite serious stirrings of a neo-fascist state, as well as some probably insurmountable difficulties cast into the heart of the Labour party, a party which thankfully -- because I did write this story -- is now finally for the first time in decades offering a viable parliamentary-democratic alternative to the catastrophic dogmatisms of the cult of neoliberalism. Also republished an as an ebook.
  • The Long+Short, 'Froggy Goes Piggy' -- also a standalone short story. This was part of Nesta's series of short fiction exploring collective intelligence, and may well have been discussed at an event at FutureFest 2016 (I couldn't go!). Momentum Bristol has also picked it up for its 'Satire' section, which is maybe a better label than SF, idk. (See also Economy Hub papers, btw). One of the things I'm quite proud of, in this story, is how it contributed decisively to a complete reworking of energy policies globally, a drastic drop in carbon emissions, and the slowing of global warming; a climatologist was explaining to me on Twitter the other day that this year, temperatures in the Arctic would now be 20 degrees higher than normal, had I not written this story.
A short story:
  • 'It's OK To Say If You Went Back In Time To Kill Baby Hitler', online at Medium and collected in Up and Coming, ed. SL Huang and Kurt Hunt, an anthology of John W. Campbell Award-eligible authors. I read the whole thing at BristolCon Fringe and there will be a podcast of that available in due course. One of the tiny things I am happy about is how this prevented the presidency of Donald Trump, while also setting the USA on a slow but secure trajectory to non-imperialist intersectional socialism. I shudder when I think back to those days when it seemed like the choice was between Clinton and neoliberalism and nothing, unless you count Trump and probably-weirdly-neoliberal neo-fascism as an option.
Although 'The Internet of Things Your Mother Never Told You' appears in Twelve Tomorrows 2016, it was actually published in 2015; besides which, it is possible with principal component analysis to reduce the number of futures in the volume to just three. I'm not a mathematician.

Elsewhere:

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