2019: A Year of Distractions

This was a year when external factors meant that I didn’t get a lot done on the writing front. First and foremost, I got married! So, what with the planning, the doing, and the honeymoon…, well I reckon it’s a pretty good excuse, although not one I can re-use next year. Hopefully, I can reconnect with my writing mojo and get back in the groove.

I did undertake one major project before the wedding preparations shut down my writing activities, which was to complete a first draft of the second book in my  proposed ‘Survival Strategies’ series. I had about a third of it written already – material excised from the first book – and I was pleased to find that writing the remainder was relatively straightforward. However, I was much less pleased with the quality when I read it a few months later. To be frank, it stank, which was not how I felt about the first book. As things stand, I can’t see me revisiting the series. I can’t completely rule out a change of heart on that; but given various publishers’ disinterest in the first book and my disenchantment with the second, it seems unlikely that I’ll ever feel motivated to fix the huge problems I found.

I’ve continued to market my unsold and previously published stories this year. While I sold quite a few reprints, only one story found a first home. I look forward to seeing Dreamtime – which I read at a Virtual Futures Near-Future Fictions evening in 2018 – in Orchid Lantern’s Vast anthology next year.

Talking of Virtual Futures, this year I gave readings of two of my unpublished stories at their Near-Future Fictions events: On This Day at Autonomous Agents, which I co-curated with Stephen Oram, and My iBed and Me at Boundless Bodies. I’ve had a great time working with the folk at Virtual Futures over the last three years and hope to do so again at some point.

A rather bizarre consequence of co-curating a Virtual Futures event was to be named as co-director on a short film that was a finalist for this year’s Bio-Fiction festival. In fact, the glory belonged to Andrew Wallace, since he wrote and performed (superbly, I might add) his story The Minus Four Sequence at the aforementioned Autonomous Agents event. I co-selected the story for that event and sat in the audience, completely agog, while Andrew performed it without a script. Does that count as co-direction? Not in my book! Anyway, far more importantly, the short-listing will surely have boosted Andrew’s fast-rising profile – and deservedly so.

Reprints of my stories appeared in (or at) Flash in a Flash, Omicron Theory (Ecuador), Reaktor (Estonia), The New Accelerator, Itty Bitty Writing Space, Little Blue Marble, First Contact, Sins and Other Worlds, and Virtual Futures: Near-Future Fictions vol. 1. Also, the Centropic Oracle produced a podcast of One Is One. But without question, this year’s biggest pleasure was to see my flash-length piece I Think We Need to Hear That Again published in the A Punk Rock Future anthology from Zsenon Publishing. I recommend the entire book to you; it contains many excellent stories.

Somewhat tangential to my writing but highly relevant thematically: 2019 was the year I appeared on television for the first and doubtless only time! Anyone who has read my Moondust Memories collection will realise that I am a child of the Apollo era. Yes, I am old enough to have watched the first moon-landing, the 50th anniversary of which we celebrated in July. What some of you may not know is that, back in 1995, I helped to locate and return some clips from the BBC’s live broadcasts of the Apollo 11 mission, which were missing from the its archive. In June of this year, BBC One’s The One Show programme showed a mini-documentary in which I and others recounted the history of the broadcast and its rediscovery. It was great fun to be involved with the project. Sadly, the programme is no longer available to watch online.

As for 2020, well I do have some writing projects on the go. As ever, we shall see what comes of them.

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