Coming soon to a PDC near you

In early January, many bloggers posted their plans for the coming year.  I’m just getting around to it now – that should tell you what kind of a year I’ve been having.

Here’s a list of things I hope to do in 2017.  I’ll place a poll below, so you can tell me which ones actually sound interesting.


#1:  Finish my magazine quest.  I’ve read issues of 34 different SFF magazines, but I’ve only reviewed 20 of them so far.

#2:  Endlessly analyze the results of my magazine quest until my follower count dwindles to zero.

#3:  Complete rounds 2 and 3 of the magazine quest, where I read additional issues of the better magazines, and decide whether to subscribe.


#4:  Compare anthologies to magazines.  A lot of the anthologies I read are single-author, but for a more apples-to-apples comparison, I’ll be using multi-author anthologies.  Suggestions are welcome.

#5:  Read some ‘best of the year’ science-fiction collections.  I’m starting by reading the same year’s collection from 3 or 4 groups that put these out (there’s less overlap than I would’ve thought).  If I find one I like, I’ll either go backward in time year by year, or I may jump decade by decade to spot major changes over time.


#6:  Review more novels.  The magazine quest has been eating up a lot of my blogging time, so I have a backlog of novels to review.

#7:  A series I’m tentatively calling “Reading Outside the Lines”.  I read a large amount of non-fiction (primarily history and science) and SFF, but for this series, I’ll try mysteries and thrillers.  I want to see if I can spot any tricks or tweaks that SFF authors could take advantage of, or any traps they should avoid like the plague.


#8:  Search out new sub-genres of SFF.  Any suggestions?  Silkpunk?  Flintlock Fantasy?

#9:  Report many more rejection letters.  As you may know, I’m trying to get a short story of my own published in a magazine.  My first story was rejected twice, and I’ve decided I’d like to re-write two scenes, so it’s not on the market right now, but will be my first writing priority.  A second, shorter, story is out at a long-response-time magazine at the moment.  I have two other stories which are a bit short for the magazines, so I’ll expand them and get them out as my second writing project.  After that, I’ll devote my writing time to two additional stories I’ve written detailed outlines for, but haven’t fleshed out.  That will give me six stories making the rounds, and I’ll evaluate whether it’s an activity I want to continue.

#10:  Finally devote some time to SFF podcasts.


#11:  Continue to neglect movies and television as blogging topics.  I would like to do a few more boardgame and computer game reviews, though.

Vote in the poll below, and leave me a comment, to let me know which of these things you’d like to see.  Some of these things will probably go ahead regardless, as I’ve already put some work into them, but others could be put on the back burner if there’s enough disinterest.


  1. I voted. By the way there are 11 options in the post, but not in the poll.

    1. Yeah, the magazine quest got three items in the post, but I merged them into a general magazine quest voting block.

  2. It depends on whether you want to be a blog for writers trying to improve their craft or just do reviews.

    I like option #4, but then I like theme anthologies. I’d caution that, at least for me, short story collections take way longer to review. But you could just skip the mediocre bits and go for extremes of quality in the reviews.

    The magazine quest stuff is good. There are a lot of magazines out there, and it’s nice to get your take on what’s in them.

    As for novels, well, I think novels are kind of overrepresented in reviewer blogdom.

    I like option #8 too. I shouldn’t, but I do. It’s not like sf/fantasy/speculative fiction needs more taxonomic categories. But I still like it.

    1. I initially started the site just for reviews, but since I saw so many authors were reading my blog, I try to add anything I think might help them.

      Your short-story reviews are more in-depth than mine. Occasionally, one sparks me to write a good bit, but I can cover a lot of them in just a sentence or two.

      There are definitely a lot of magazines out there, I thought the quest would cover 12 of them, but I think I’ve read over three times as many.

      I wonder if I’ll run across sub-genres I’ve never heard of?

      1. I think mentioning narrative devices and styles from other genres would be useful to authors. So would reading and describing what all the obscure magazines out there are printing.

        Even if I’m not writing stuff for magazines through your coverage. I discovered Cirsova from you.

        I suspect I go on too long in my reviews. The shorter ones seem to be more popular.

        As for the sub-genres, the beauty is, if you haven’t heard of them, you get to name and describe them. I mean K. W. Jeter coined “steampunk” as a joke, and we still use it.

  3. William Petersen · · Reply

    Reblogged this on The Inward Spiral.

    1. I’ll do the reading for #7 regardless.

      If not many people want to see all the individual reviews, then I’ll just do a summary post listing the books and my takeaway thoughts.

  4. More novels!

    I don’t see the poll however. I am running Ublock and ADB+ in firefox, so maybe that’s it?

    1. and it just randomly showed up for me. That is weird…

      1. Maybe you can tell your blockers to let through. It’s the default poll thing for wordpress bloggers.

  5. I voted for novels, but that’s just my personal bias… 🙂

    1. I’ll keep reading novels, but if readers aren’t as interested in the reviews, I could try shortening them, or even just writing brief summaries – “here are the novels I read in the last two months.”

  6. […] I know posts about my rejection letters scored next-to-last in the poll of what my readers are interested in, but I needed something quick and easy to write up this week.  My immediate superior at work will […]

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