The last year’s best on Earth

The official part first. I am reading for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 3. It will be published in March 2009 by Night Shade Books and cover science fiction and fantasy short fiction published during the 2008 calendar year. I have to deliver the book to the publisher in the first week of November, so I need to have received any materials (PDFs, galleys, final books or magazines) no later than 1 October 2008, and earlier if possible. I will be sending out a general notice shortly, but if you write or publish short fiction I’d love to hear from you. I generally don’t like email submissions or reading on screen, but if it’s going to be unreasonably expensive to send me something, or if the deadline’s close, please drop me a line and we’ll work something out.

And now the fun part. I am a terribly ill-disciplined person. When faced with deadlines, or mounds and mounds of reading, I tend to develop a fascination with some awfully long television series that ran for 20-something seasons, and is only just now out on DVD. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it does mean that I sometimes struggle to stay focussed when reading for the year’s best. To overcome that I’ve teamed up with the good folk at Not if You Were the Last Short Story on Earth. If you’re not familiar with the project, last year four intrepid readers (Alex, Alisa, Ben, and Tansy) attempted to read every short story published in the genre and to comment on those that they thought had merit. It was a crazy project, and one that I think changed their views on the field quite a bit. Anyway, they’ve decided to do it again, and this year will also act as readers for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 3. What does this actually mean? Well, the LSOE Gang will read away as they did this year, and kindly have offered to let me have access to their behind-the-scenes comments and recommendations, which should help point me towards more stuff that I might miss. We’ll also discuss what we’re reading from time-to-time through the year, which means I’m going to have to stay focussed and up to date, or I’m going to look a right twit. Kind of like having a study partner at Uni. It should be fun, and I’m very grateful to Alex, Alisa, Ben, and Tansy for offering to be involved.

Oh, and we’re hoping to put together a ‘year’s best’ / LSSOE kind of panel for Swancon, which we’re all attending. More on that closer to the time.

More New Year stuff – a kind of summary post

I don’t know exactly why, but I’ve been looking back through the old posts that I’ve made to Coode Street through the years, especially around Christmas time. Here’s what I’ve found. I almost always post about:

1) proofreading/copyediting the year’s best, often under ridiculous deadlines;

2) editing Locus end of year columns and reviews, often under tight deadlines;

3) the pain I ridiculously go through in attempting to draft just 1,500 words of year in review essay (I can hear Nick Evans’ entirely reasonable howls of derision at that one);

4) some ancillary mention of family, New Year’s resolutions, media of varying types being consumed;

5) the unending joy that is my birthday; and

6) possibly some kind of year end stuff of my own for this space.

In the interests of brevity, concision, and maintaining these nearly six year old traditions:

1) I have been busy dealing with copyedits on The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Two. It’s come in on a tight deadline and, if I’m not mistaken, almost a month earlier than last year. Thanks to the hard work of contributors, though, good progress is being made and it should be back in the hands of the publisher in the next day or two.

2) I’ve been almost completely focussed on compiling the short fiction recommended reading list. I’m guessing I read less than two dozen novels in 2007, a possible life-time low, so have been focussed on what I’ve actually read. That said, consensus is hard to come by in a situation where there’s so much stuff being published that most people haven’t all read the same things

3) I’ve got to start on that, huh? I know basically what I’m going to say. Maybe I’ll do some drafting today, take my birthday off, then clean it up for the weekend.

4) The family are all well, or reasonably so. My mother has had a difficult year, medically speaking. Marianne did terrifically well on some personal projects, which are hers to comment on. The girls were radiant, with dance shows and other delights, although Jessica’s situation continues to be the challenge it always well. Resolutions can wait, a little.

5) Pfeh. I can’t even get everyone in the same room. 44 tomorrow. Older than Elvis, older than John Lennon, and feeling older than god. Must lose the weight I’m always talking about.

6) Soon. Honest.

Oh, and if I can get myself organised, I might get the first three years or so of the blog restored.

Happy 2008!

Marianne and the girls are asleep, I’m watching the fireworks from Sydney’s New Year’s celebration, and can hear the local displays going off in the distance. 2007 is over. 2008 is here. I might post about New Year’s resolutions tomorrow, and if I can gather my scattered thoughts, even summarise the year just past a little, but for the moment a simple wish: may you and yours have a safe and rewarding New Year; may all your childrens’ dreams come true; and let’s see if can’t all get out of this one alive. Oh, and may your year be filled with all of the simple joys that we take for granted and fail to celebrate, for most often they are what makes it worth getting up in the morning. Happy New Year!!