Year in Review

For my last post of 2013, I thought I’d take stock of the year, as well as provide some reading recommendations based on my Year of Science Fiction.

In terms of the career aspect of my writing, this year brought:

  • 4 publications (2 short stories, 1 memoir, and 1 personal essay)
  • 3 more short stories awaiting publication
  • Winning the Coastal Spectator microview contest
  • Completing NaNoWriMo

More than any of these, though, I’m mostly happy to have expanded my writing practice and stuck to a consistent daily writing schedule. I always say that getting published is low on my list of priorities (as much as I like it) and I keep writing simply because I love it. So successfully making time every day for my writing is what I’m most proud of.

I was also lucky this year to connect or re-connect with some of my fellow writers. The recent Mansfield Press launch and the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair were excellent this year, and I highly recommend both events for 2014. This year also saw new launches and successes for several of my writing friends: Stuart Ross’s new poetry collection Our Days in Vaudeville and chapbook Eighteen Goddamn Centos, new chapbooks and publications from Michael Casteels, and the acceptance of Carolyn Smart’s newest book, Careen, by Brick Books. This was definitely an exciting year, and I hope 2014 is equally exciting and successful for them.

Finally, I can now say that my science fiction collection at home has expanded to an appropriate size for a science fiction writer thanks to my Year of Science Fiction. I found some excellent new authors (some of whom are only new to me), but if I had to choose a Top 3 from my reading this year, they would have to be the following:

  • The Twelve (Justin Cronin): The sequel to The Passage is simply excellent. It’s an inventive and thrilling look at a post-apocalyptic world, with just the right combination of intrigue, excitement and drama. In addition to furthering the stories of Peter, Alicia, Amy and the novel’s other central characters, Cronin also develops the stories of several side characters from Passage, and offers a great conclusion to the story of Agent Wolgast. The final book in this trilogy is sure to be phenomenal.
  • Terminal World (Alastair Reynolds): This was the first novel by Reynolds I had read, having seen his short story Scales in Lightspeed a long time ago. As it says on the book jacket for his novels, Reynolds is truly the maestro of British science fiction. The world in this novel is rich and unique, the twists and turns unbelievable, and when it ended I was desperately hoping for just a few more chapters, or maybe a sequel.
  • Wool (Hugh Howey): I’m not even halfway through reading Howey’s debut novel, but it already ranks on my Top 3. After waiting many months to get my hands on a copy of Wool, I can honestly say that it was well worth the wait. Like Cronin and Reynolds, Howey has developed an intricate world, and seems to be a master at slowly providing details that further define the silo and the characters who occupy it. Even in just a few chapters, he makes you care deeply about the characters you’ve met, which makes it all the more compelling when tragedy strikes. If you’re a science fiction fan like me and you read nothing else in 2014, pick up a copy of Wool.

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