1. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
2. The Dog of the South by Charles Portis
3. Available Dark: A Crime Novel by Elizabeth Hand
4. Red Shift by Alan Garner
5. Linger Awhile by Russell Hoban
6. Fair Play by Tove Jansson
7. The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs
8. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
9. Engine Summer by John Crowley
10. The Trouble With Testosterone and Other Essays on the Biology of the Human Predicament by Robert M. Sapolsky
11. Bullettime by Nick Mamatas
12. Your Brain At Work by David Rock
13. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
14. In the Enclosure by Barry N. Malzberg
Samurai Battles and ConFusion
I had a great time at ConFusion. I met a lot of people, bought a lot of books, and drank some wonderful beer — the best of which was homebrewed by my buddy Mike. All good. Besides seeing old friends I hadn’t seen in years and meeting new people, I got a chance to do some gaming, in particular Zvezda’s Samurai Battles.
It’s a great game and pretty simple to play once you get over the learning curve. The scenario involved me defending a village from marauders. We played using the Art of Tactics rules, which involve writing orders in dry erase marker on laminated cards and then having both sides act simultaneously. Stuff happened. Enemy arquebusers (like those above) walloped my archers, but not enough to prevent my cavalry from doing a flanking movement. Spear guys poked people with spears. Samurai got hewn down. Folks ran out of arrows, and the village was defended. Score one for the good guys.
Alive, Well, And Doing Stuff
I’m back in the USA, visiting family and friends, and trying to pass unscathed through the flu epidemic while travelling. I was in Boston. I’m now in NYC. Thursday I’m visiting Detroit where I’ll be at ConFusion, the sci-fi convention. Then Sunday I’m returning to Boston for four days before flying back to Korea. Jetlag has made me a model citizen awake at 4AM and in bed at 8PM. By the time I’m back in Pohang, I’ll likely have finally got myself on a US schedule, so I can then go through the process all over again. Joys.
The First 2013 Post
The big thing: My story “Shadows Under Hexmouth Street” got a nod from Lois Tilton, one of Locus Magazine’s short fiction reviewers, on her Best of the Year post. You can read her post here.
And, if you’re inclined, you can read the story about urban sorcerers in a decaying city here.
I’m always a bit squeamish about linking to good reviews, because I think in general you should ignore reviews and just keep on keeping on with what you want to do. Don’t let other people define who you are and all that, but… well… it wasn’t like I had a great year publishing-wise, so if I’m tooting my own horn, at least it’s a small horn.
Writing-wise, I wrote a shitastic novel, started two others, wrote five new stories, and sold one (so I’ll have something new coming out in 2013). I received 25 rejection letters and wrote something like 300K words this year. It might be more — significantly so. I don’t have an exact figure because two weeks back I spilled a cup of tea on my laptop, and since there are no Mac stores nearby in South Korea, I’ve been using an old netbook while at home, and the netbook doesn’t have the spreadsheet on it where I track all these things because I am on of those people who tracks data “for fun”, having worked at office jobs for too long and chewed too many paint chips as a child.
Not sure how many books I read this year, something like 50+. I track all that junk at Goodreads, along with keeping a list at home, but it’s on that other computer, you know the one that’s an inert metal slab at the moment.
One great thing about 2012 was finding folks to game with here in South Korea. The Vaults of Ur have been a hoot to run. I might branch out and run a more political game this year — but we’ll see, because I’ve got another novel project I’m keen to work on and that’s where I plan on keeping my attention for the next six months.
In 40 hours I board a plane to the USA. While I’m there I hope to have the inert metal slab returned to functioning computer status.
Yesterday I took part in a Polar Bear Plunge. It was great fun, and I recommend it. Seriously. Tomorrow I’ll likely run around like mad trying to do all the junk I put off doing before my trip.
I finished The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao last night. It’s an amazing book. You should read it.