So here we are, approaching the end of 2017. That means the Eye of Awards have fallen upon us all, with its bleak and terrifying gaze.
I sold five stories to professional markets this year, but three of them will be published in 2018, leaving me with only two pieces of flash for 2017:
- The Setting of the Sun, in Compelling Science Fiction: a 1300-word piece encompassing nine hundred million years in the life of a Dyson swarm. Of my publications this year, this is the one I’d like to imagine as potentially award-worthy.
- Cyborg Shark Battle (Season 4, O’ahu Frenzy), in the Cat’s Breakfast anthology: an 800-word satire about backstage politics in a remote-controlled-shark-combat reality TV show. Also it is the most neuroscientific thing I have yet published.
Also, this has been my second and final year of eligibility for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. In the last two years I have:
- Published seven original short stories, six of them in professional magazines: Strange Horizons twice, PodCastle, Flash Fiction Online, Cat’s Breakfast anthology (Third Flatiron Press), and Compelling Science Fiction. Also one semi-pro story at Metaphorosis.
- Of these, the one I think best is The First Confirmed Case of Non-Corporeal Recursion: Patient Anita R., published in Strange Horizons (June 2016). It’s a tale of a classic haunting, told from the ghost’s perspective. Also the ghost is a scientist.
- Sold another three professional short stories (to Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Mind Candy, and Diabolical Plots), but those won’t be out until next year.
- Served as the Assistant Editor of Escape Pod since May 2017. In this role, I decide which stories to pass up to our illustrious Co-Editors, write ~80% of the personal rejection letters1, and recruit & manage our amazing team of Associate Editors (first readers).
- Published nonfiction pieces about neuroscience in Clarkesworld, the File 770 blog, and Baen.com. I later expanded the Clarkesworld one into a solo presentation at the 2017 Nebula conference.
- Written thirty (and counting) Twitter essays about neuroscience via my NeuroThursday feature.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been a so-called “pro” for only two years. In that time I’ve accomplished a lot more that doesn’t fit on that list (written novel, edited novel, started querying novel, sold another couple short stories), but most important of all is the amazing community I’ve found: at workshops (well before I was doing anything “pro!”), conventions, online, and in person. So many new friends, mentors, and fellow-travelers out there, and I’m honored to know every one of you.
I’d love to conclude with some recommendations, since there are so many amazing writers out there, new and veteran, young and old. Unfortunately, he majority of my reading happens in the Escape Pod slush pile these days, so I don’t read nearly broadly enough. I look forward to reading your recommendations in the weeks and months (and years) to come!
- We don’t keep internal stats on personal notes, but according to the Submission Grinder, about 50% of Escape Pod’s rejections are personal. If the numbers hold, that means I write about 80 personals per month. Overall I try to keep our process as transparent as possible, so if you’re curious, read more here.