Saturday, December 31, 2016

Quick Thoughts - 2016

Welcome to the last day of the year. The last day of 2016, which has, probably for every person reading this, been a year of highs and lows, hopes and despairs. For me, at least, it has been a very difficult year peppered by moments of beauty, joy, and love.

Now, 2016 isn't quite done here at Quick Sip Reviews. If I had really pushed myself I could have closed out the original fiction, but I'm completely okay with one 2016 review tipping over into 2017. Just as I am sure I'll be back to talk about my favorite 2016 SFF numerous times over the next few months. It happens. But I'm already reading into 2017, so I think it's time to look back.

QSR is almost two years old. I kicked the blog off in very early 2015, and at the close of 2016 I have reviewed close to 1500 short stories and probably more like 1800 individual works of SFF, including fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. And really not all that much has changed since I started, though I will admit my reviews have become longer and more in depth. I have probably developed a pretty obvious style and formula for reviewing, which hopefully people don't mind. My reasons for doing this work, at least, haven't really changed, though I admit that 2016 was challenging on many fronts when it came to maintaining my momentum and not faltering or stopping.

I will give myself this credit: I read and review a lot of works. Not as many as I want to. If I could make a living just reading and reviewing, I would do it in an instant and would expand what I covered. Alas, there are stories I miss. There are venues I don't get to. But, I do get to a lot. In 2016 I have written over 400,000 words of reviews and nonfiction for Quick Sip Reviews. That is a lot. I don't want to seem arrogant saying it. But I do want to say it, because sometimes it doesn't feel that I do much here. There are certainly days where I feel like I'm just pretending. That real reviewers do things differently. They review for publications that pay them, they strive for objectivity, they participate in building a canon of what people should and shouldn't read. And I…don't do any of that. I get paid now, thanks to the wonderful and amazing people backing my Patreon. But I don't pretend at objectivity and I certainly don't want to build a canon. I want people to read as widely as they can. To surprise themselves with what is out there and what they might enjoy. Canon is a bit like cannons to me—useful to some and devastating to others, with the difference being what side of the power divide you're on.

But 2016 has been a rather big year for QSR, still. I actually see people reading my reviews and passing them along. Which is bizarre. I mean, it's also sort of the point of reviewing, that people read the reviews and find them helpful. But it's a bit weird to see people and publications that I admire seem to actually…like…my reviews. o.O And I have been able to participate in some great projects because of my reviewing and I've met (via the internet) some amazing people, too. Also in real life, I guess, because this was the first year that I was actually recognized while at WisCon (another cool but weird/frightening experience). Already it looks like 2017 will have its share of interesting things to do and to see and to participate in.

And 2016 has seen me start my Patreon, which has been a great experience for me, personally as well as in terms of getting paid for doing reviews. I absolutely appreciate everyone who has chipped in and I hope that everyone is satisfied with the content I provide. And if anyone out there hasn't yet found my Patreon and is interesting in helping to support the work I do here at QSR, please do check it out and see if it's something you'd be interested in. Every little bit helps!

As a writer, 2016 has been another improvement. I've sold more and managed to reach SFWA qualifying status. So that's certainly something to be happy about. My story "The Death of Paul Bunyan" was the last original story that Lightspeed released this year, and 2017 will be FULL OF MY FICTION, so it's something to look forward to. Now, admittedly, there have been some setbacks. Many of my queer SFF erotic stories have been coming out through Torquere Press and that has been a bit of a mess, tbh. I really don't want to say much about it, because I don't know how this will pan out, but as of now at the very least I'll have 5 stories without homes and I don't have a great idea what to do with that. We shall see. Still, 2017 won't be without my queer speculative smut, as I have at least a few steamy stories coming out that I'll hopefully be able to give more details on soon.

But yeah, 2016 is almost over. Which is conflicting, because especially at the end it's been heavy with pain and exhaustion. At the same time, the future is in many ways uncertain. It looms like a mountain to be climbed, and after 2016 my metaphoric arms are rather tired. But the work is worth it. The goal is worthy. The hope is…still burning. So yes, goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017. I'm kicking things off with the first category of the Second Annual Sippy Awards tomorrow, so look forward to that. Cheers, my friends!

All the best,

Charles Payseur


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