I don’t do new year resolutions.
If something’s worth doing, or worth changing, I don’t see the point in waiting until an artificial, annual point in the calendar. I do it now, or as soon as is practical. Why wait?
So this isn’t a new year’s resolution post.
The start of a year does trigger that whole looking-back / looking-forward thing, though, and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.
For me, 2011 was a productive writing and publishing year. I got back into writing short fiction, with a story in Postscripts and another one sold and due soon in Lightspeed. I want to do more short fiction, and have plans for the coming months.
I delivered two books in 2011.
Next year’s novel, alt.human, was mailed to Solaris on 30 December, a whole day ahead of deadline. Like my Postscripts story, this is a broad-canvas core-SF story crammed with aliens, a topic I’ve steered clear of for years – largely because I’ve rarely been able to take them seriously enough for the duration of a story. Not that I don’t believe in aliens; it’s more that I struggle with portrayals of the alien – they’re either men in funny suits and therefore not aliens at all, or they’re a genuine attempt to portray other and therefore hard to engage with in a story. alt.human is my attempt to address these problems while still writing a story very closely tied to a small group of people – it’s a human story of the alien, I guess. Oh yes: it’s my take on the Fermi paradox, too.
The other book I delivered was the non-fiction Strange Divisions and Alien Territories: the sub-genres of science fiction. All the loose ends on this one were finally tied up in December, and it’s due out in a few weeks. It is pretty much what the the title suggests: an overview of a dozen SF sub-genres, each chapter written by an author associated with that field. So we have Kris Rusch on alternate histories, Jim Kelly on cyberpunk and what followed, Al Reynolds on space opera, and so on. The book has a great line-up, and it was a lovely thing to put together.
Looking forward, I’ve hit that point where, having just delivered two big books, I’m trying to work out what comes next.
One of the big successes of 2011 was the infinity plus e-publishing venture, with around 20,000 volumes downloaded in our first year. This will continue to keep me busy into 2012. We have some great stuff coming up, including Iain Rowan’s debut crime novel, a new Eric Brown collection, more short books in the singles series and more.
In terms of writing, I’m always busy. I’m planning to write another Nick Gifford YA novel this year, and that may be my next major project. I have plans for another big aliens novel, based on my Postscripts story; I need to start outlining that one so I can put together a proposal. And I’ve written a couple of near-future stories based on extrapolations of social media and augmented realities. The first of these was published in the top science journal Nature in late 2011; the second is the story due in Lightspeed. The plan is to write a bunch of these stories that will come together in a kind of mosaic of snapshots of a fragmented, very fluid future. It probably won’t be a full novel, so of course will be a difficult book to place commercially. I might publish it through infinity plus – e-publishing lends itself to these more niche, unconventional items; or I might look for someone else to do it. We’ll see: it’s the kind of project I prefer to let take shape at its own pace, and it could easily change drastically in nature over coming months.
So already I have lots of plans and possibilities. Some of them will happen, some will change, some will be deferred as new projects emerge. That’s one of the things I love about writing, and one of the things I hate. I love following opportunities and inspirations, even as I end up frustrated at all the stories that never get written.
So really, resolutions are a bit pointless for me. The only new year resolution I can realistically make is the same one I always make: I’ll do what I can to ensure that this will be another busy and interesting year! I wouldn’t have it any other way.