Saturday, December 10, 2016

Quick Thoughts - My 2016 Eligibility Post

Hi all. So it's December and I've never really done one of these for real, but I guess I might as well. It's weird, because I'm much more used to talking up other people's works, but I will try this once to try and capture what I've done this year that might be worth something.

First and mostly, I'm eligible as a Fan Writer. I kind of write a lot as a fan in 2016. Mostly reviews, but I also do more general fan-ish nonfiction every Saturday for my Quick Thoughts. I run this site, yes, which in 2016 includes my very first Sippy Awards, which ran back in January. There's all the reviews here and at Nerds of a Feather, where I also contribute. I've done recommendations at Cabbages & Kings podcast. I've been here and there around the internets as well, participating in roundups or discussions or whatnot. So when I look at the field, my largest contribution is probably as a fan.

I hope that contribution is a positive one. My goal at QSR was always mostly selfish, to really think about and engage with short SFF on a personal level. I know it's not the most…popular of styles when it comes to reviews. I gush probably more than people find acceptable. I ramble on. I try my best to be respectful while also examining what I read in a way that is meaningful and useful for me. I don't try to be objective. I don't really want to apologize for that. QSR started because I wanted a home for my thoughts, and that's still very much what it is. If readers and writers find what I say valuable at all, it's more than I expected, but I am glad (and honored) that they do.

My second aim in running QSR is to celebrate short SFF. I love this genre and I love so much of what it produces. Having the opportunity to fan out about stories and poetry and nonfiction is amazing, and for me doing it loudly and enthusiastically is important. I want writers to know that people are reading and thinking about their stories. I want other readers to know that they're not alone when they read WAY TOO MUCH into a work. Sometimes it can feel like short SFF is a blink-and-you-miss-it field, where nothing lasts. But there are stories that I will carry for the rest of my life that I've looked at for QSR. Short SFF has been and continues to be very important to me.

Next, I'm in my last year of eligibility for the Campbell Award. My debut pro publication was last year's "Spring Thaw" at Nightmare Magazine. If you want to see everything I've done since then, please check out my list of publications. It's a fair amount of stories, I think. A nice mix of SFF and SFF smut, too, for those interested in that.

And on the topic of that list, I just want to mention a few stories from 2016 that I rather like and think might be worth checking out even if you don't want to track down everything. All of these are Short Stories.

"A Million Future Days" (from Lackington's #9)
This is a near-future sci fi story set in a small city following the collapse of the social safety net and the main character, rather stuck at a shelter, is plagued by voices from his possible futures. Not super happy, but I rather like this one.

"Medium" (from The Book Smugglers Quarterly Almanac #1, but also available for free)
A superhero story about a young man dealing with fitting into a team he's not really being honest with and dealing with the guilt of what his powers mean. Ghosts, Star Trek Jokes, and supervillains all sort of collide in this story and the voice is very…what I do I guess. My style? Anyway…

"The Death of Paul Bunyan" (from Lightspeed #79, and available for free soon) 
A story of Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan, lovers and tall tales. The story is about what happens for these larger-than-life figures once the battle is won, and what that victory means not just for them, but for everyone else as well.

I've done more than that, and if I thought smut stood a chance (and if the situation with the publisher were more stable), I'd point you to "The Colors of Magic," which is a m/m/f erotic fantasy story about fate and saving the world and I really rather like that one but it's pay-walled and such so probably not really something that's going to get a lot of attention.

But yeah, that's pretty much been my year. If you want to check out a few of my favorite fan posts I've written here at QSR, here's a little list:

Romance, SFF, and Toxic Masculinity
Sex, Sexuality, and Erotic SFF
The Puppies Are Not Exceptional (in any sense...)
Some Opinions on the State of Short Fiction
The WFC and the Road of Canon
The "Trouble" with SFF
New Kids on the Block
My SFF Playlist for the Resistance (#SFFfortheResistance)

Thanks for reading!

All the best,

Charles Payseur

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