January Roundup

Yeah, that’s right. My monthly reading and writing roundup has now moved to the end of the month that it is supposed to be rounding up. Lots more unique essay and animal pics are available over on the newsletter if that’s your kind of thing. The new schedule will involve sending that thing out on the last Friday of the month, but hey no guarantees, ok? Writing is hard.

Writing Updates

The big news this month is that The Man Who Walked in the Dark is up for preorder. It’s the sci-fi noir I’ve been working on or ages, and I’m excited for people to read about Jude Demarco, the excommunicated investigator in a city where sinners are saints and good deeds are a commodity.

ConFusion was a wild success last weekend. I got to have a nice chat with John Scalzi, which is always fun. He’s the most regular famous guy in the business, I think. We compared panel assignments, and he told me he was on an AI one. “Hey, why aren’t you on that one?” he asked me. I didn’t know the answer, but it was fantastic just sitting in the audience. John did a great job clarifying the copyright angles and the rest of the panel was wonderfully knowledgeable. Jason Sanford, who writes the absolutely critical Genre Grapevine was the moderator, and I’m always impressed with all the work he’s done to untangle the mess that AI is trying to make of writing.

In other convention news, the Nebula Conference has been announced. As a member of the SFWA Board, I’m experiencing a con from a leadership perspective, and I’m dedicated to making this thing as good as it can possibly be. Yeah, I’m just one voice on the board, and our paid staff is amazing, but I’m super excited to just be at the table here. It’s going to be amazing.

Reading Updates

I’m setting my reading goal a little lower this year. 100 books was achievable, but man it made my head feel like mush. Instead, I’m aiming for 75 this year, and I’ll be spending the extra time reading more short stories.

My head will still feel like mush, mind you. It’ll just have slightly more variety in its consistency.

So, what have I been reading so far?

A Farewell to Faust

I really like Adam-Troy Castro. He’s got a weird sort of abstract surreal quality to his writing that appeals to me for some reason. That, and I can’t get enough of the guy who reads this story on the podcast, Stefan Rudnicki. This one sets up an abstract situation full of abstract ethical dilemmas, and ends up being pretty clever. Definitely worth a listen.

Night Desk Duty at the Infinite Paradox Hotel

Aimee Ogden is another of my favorites, and this story made me actually laugh out loud. My wife asked me what I was laughing at, and, um, I really had a hard time explaining. This is a clever story where an infinite hotel keeps getting variations on infinite guests.

Another Life by Sarena Ulibarri

This is a beautiful book, and a clever story about a utopian society in a future Death Valley. They’ve solved the water problem, which is cool, but the real innovation comes from how they’ve structured their society. When the leader and mediator discovers that she is the reincarnation of the previous generation’s most hated figure, things get interesting. I loved this novella, and it has a kind of quiet intensity that I really appreciate.

Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative by Jane Alison

This is one for the writers out there. In my ongoing goal to read every single book about writing, this is one of the standouts. I like it because it broke me out of the standard three act structure that I’ve always used in my writing. There’s a lot out there and this book is full of excellent ideas on how to tell stories in interesting ways. I struggled a bit because I haven’t read most of the examples Alison uses in this book, but the ideas were mostly clear anyway.

It’s been a fantastic start to the new year. As award nomination season continues, I’ll be grabbing as many 2023 stories as I can. Have one you liked? Let me know about it! I have a gigantic stack of books that I picked up at ConFusion, but there’s always room for more.

Keep reading!
-Anthony W. Eichenlaub

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