It was a tiring, but productive weekend. After a lot of running around, and a lot of help, the submission manuscript for Best Short Novels: 2006 is almost ready to go. The permissions for the stories are done, I have clean copy for all nine stories, story notes for seven of them, and will write the introduction this week. The deadline for the book is February 16, but I’m optimistic that I’ll get this one in the email by Friday. I won’t announce the full table of contents for this book till close to publication – which should be June (I think) – but I’m very happy with it.
I also made good progress towards completing The Starry Rift. This is my young adult science fiction book. It was originally slated to come out in 2006, but will now be out in early 2007 for all sorts of good publishing kind of reasons. I’ve been holding the book for one last story, which hasn’t quite materialised yet. I did, however, buy another story on the weekend. I’m not sure the other will happen, but I’m doing everything I can to make sure it does. Either way, the book’s due in on 1 March. I’ve got permissions, story notes, and afterwords in shape. All I need there is the introduction and I’m done. I was looking over the ms. on Sunday and I love this book. It’s very cool and I can’t wait to see it come out. I’m also beginning to see the submissions come in for The New Space Opera, the anthology I’m doing with Gardner Dozois. That one’s pretty exciting too. The writers are fantastic, and it’s fascinating getting to work up close with Gardner (who I’ve admired since I read the first of his Bluejay year’s bests back in the mid-80s).
It was also a good weekend for clearing other decks. I’ve been working to complete the editing on the review columns for the March 2006 issue of Locus, and that should be finished by tonight. I’ve also been in discussions with CHARLES and Liza on some other stuff for the magazine, all of which is good. I even had time to take part in a family birthday party, catch an episode of The Gilmore Girls, and do some reading.
On that score, I’ve been meaning to mention Andy’s post on How to Read a Book a Day. I’ve been lamenting, of late, that I’ve struggled to finish reading any books, and that when I do, they take forever to get through. It’s been a real weight. Reading Andy’s post brought the stunningly obvious in stark relief: the reason I’m not getting any books read is that I’m not only running as fast as I can doing everything else, but the stuff I’ve become occupied doing over the past four years or so has taken up precisely those moments when I used to read. So, on Friday I focussed and began actually spending time reading. I finished reading Charles Stross’s The Jennifer Morgue, which I loved, and am now half way through Charles de Lint’s Widdershins. The Stross is fast-paced and funny, but did have me wondering why the influence of Lovecraft seems to be everywhere all of a sudden. This is probably a false observation, but with two Lovecraft pieces winning Hugos in recent years, and both novels and anthologies of fiction influenced by Lovecraft being published, he seems much more openly influential than he was a decade ago. On de Lint – I’ve been reading his stuff for 20 years, but I began approaching his work with caution about five years ago, and I skipped Spirit in the Wires altogether. I liked The Blue Girl, though, and this one is good so far.