Well, it sure feels good to get back to blogging again after a week off for Christmas. Now that the new year has arrived, it’s time to look back at the old year and summarize just what it was that made the year good or bad or indifferent. In a personal sense, of course. (The economy and Kim Kardashian’s exploits notwithstanding.) Personally, I think that’s a better way to use my time than setting up unrealistic resolutions that get broken in less than a month.
First, I got a good critique of the manuscript of my first sci-fi novel from a well-known book doctor which led to a major revision and now a really tight manuscript that should be attractive to an agent or editor. Let’s hope so. I’ve been sending out query letters to agents, and just recently got the manuscript printed out and ready to send to a publisher. The publisher wants the whole thing, and I expect to mail it in a day or two. I’m hoping for a better reception by a publisher than an agent. With no other publishing credits in fiction (scientific papers don’t count), attracting an agent is an iffy proposition. I may spend this year trying to get some short fiction published.
Second, I got a lot of good reading done. The following is a list of the books I read this year. These are new books, and this list doesn’t count the older books, purchased in years past that I delved into for either information or entertainment. First, the non-fiction books (in no particular order).
Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach If you want to know how to take a crap in outer space, this book’s for you. And other things otherworldly, of course.
The Black Hole War, by Leonard Susskind. His war with Stephen Hawking over black holes and quantum mechanics.
Blood and Thunder, by Hampton Sides. The epic story of Kit Carson and the conquest of the American West. Highly recommended.
A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold. The premiere primer on the environmental movement. Highly recommended.
A Stolen Life, by Jaycee Dugard.
A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson. A convenient history of the universe, DNA, and lots of other stuff.
And fiction, of course. Again in no particular order.
The Accidental Time Machine, by Joe Haldeman
Busted Flush, edited by George R.R. Martin and written by a group of people too numerous to mention here.
Embedded, by Dan Abnett
Hidden Empire, by Kevin J. Anderson. The first in the Saga of the Seven Suns series.
Dark Space and Chaos Space, both by Marianne de Pierres. The first two books of her series, The Sentients of Orion.
Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi
The Word for World is Forest, by Ursula K. Le Guin. I have to comment here. This is not her best work; it doesn’t measure up to The Left Hand of Darkness, or even The Telling, both of which I read several years ago. I was disappointed in the style; so much of the story is merely told to you as the reader, instead of letting the characters act it out.
Solar, by Ian McEwan Highly recommended.
A Matter of Time, by Glen Cook
Transition, by Iain M. Banks
Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya. Not science fiction, a coming of age story about a boy growing up in eastern New Mexico on the Llano Estacado (the “Staked Plain”) in the years after WWII. Highly recommended.
Now it’s time to get back to reading. I have six books on my reading table (actually it’s just a table at the end of the couch), one of which, Regenesis, by C.J. Cherryh, I have just started. I’m looking forward to this year. It’s shaping up well.