Thursday, December 30, 2021

2021 Year-In-Review

Hi and welcome to the post where I kinda sorta close out 2021 and welcome 2022. I say kinda sorta because I’m a little behind on the actually closing out 2021 bit, so I’ll still likely be posting review posts from December for a few weeks yet. But I have some preliminary stats on what I’ve been up to this year, some thoughts about it all, and some plans for the next year. So while I might still be wrapping up 2021 for a little while, I can say at least that I got through another calendar year, the seventh for Quick Sip Reviews. And the last for now that will see the site dedicated to just reviews. But more on that in a bit. First, the last year.

I entered 2021 hoping to cut back on the work I did at QSR. Because…well, I’ve been burned out for years not at this point and I really wanted to spend time doing other things. And in that I failed miserably. There are reasons for that. COVID is a big one, and an inability to actually do a lot of things that I might have wanted. Further, it’s just hard to step away from something that always seems so important. I am far from the only short SFF reviewer out there. But it does seem sometimes that I’m one of a very few looking at a lot of publications that I cover. And even the ones that get more reviewer attention aren’t exactly overserved with attention. It’s hard to feel like stepping away when it also feels that there’s so much vital work to do.

Because of that, I wrote shorter reviews (yay me) but I also vastly increased the amount of works that I was covering (boo me). How much did I end up doing? Well, here are the stats from the year.

January: 83 stories | 18 poems [101 reviews]
February: 132 stories | 17 poems [149 reviews]
March: 108 stories | 19 poems [127 reviews]
April: 104 stories | 71 poems [175 reviews]
May: 93 stories | 36 poems [129 reviews]
June: 120 stories | 20 poems [140 reviews]
July: 129 stories | 51 poems [180 reviews]
August: 112 stories | 17 poems [129 reviews]
September: 95 stories | 39 poems [134 reviews]
October: 118 stories | 26 poems [144 reviews]
November: 110 stories | 35 poems [145 reviews]
December: 84 stories | 16 poems [100 reviews]

2021: 1288 stories | 365 poems [1653 reviews]

Total: 5653 stories | 1245 poems | 126 nonfiction [7024 reviews]

To put that slightly more in perspective, the highest year I had previously was 953, so this year I went over that by 700 works. And I’m not technically done yet. I’ll probably add something like 100 more reviews to the total. It’s been…well, it hasn’t meant I had more time for anything else. To further break down the numbers, this year I read 1157 short stories, 112 novelettes, 19 novellas, and 365 poems. I’ve been a reviewing machine. And I’ve been able to get through it all largely because it will help with my other projects (as an editor and such) and because I could imagine there was a finish line. Which I will be passing as soon as I post my last reviews from 2021.

But what does that mean? You know and I know that I completely suck at resolving to do less. Just cutting back at this point is likely just not something I’m capable of. So the changes here will be larger. I plan to stop reviewing short SFF on Quick Sip Reviews. Instead, I’ll post regular updates with thoughts on the field, general notes on what I’m reading, maybe news from publications, open calls for submissions, thoughts on editorials or similar. Meanwhile, I’ll be continuing my weekly short fiction recommendations on my Patreon, my monthly Queer Short SFF lists there as well, and I’ll be otherwise focusing on a new venture for me, one that I’m very excited about.

I’ve started writing short SFF reviews for Locus Magazine. Now, it’s not 100% a done deal that I’ll be kept on indefinitely, but my first review column will appear in the February issue, and will hopefully be available online after that. This is…well, something of a large move for me. Not that I’ve never written for another venue before. I’ve often had a monthly review thing, either at Nerds of a Feather (The Monthly Round) or The Book Smugglers (X Marks the Story). This one won’t have a clever name or gimmick. Rather, I’ll be bringing my own skills and insights into the team of reviewers at Locus, and I’m super grateful and proud to have the opportunity.

As a reviewer at Locus, I expect that I will be covering quite a bit of short SFF, but it won’t be quite as focused on the individual stories. I will be mentioning stories and doing reviews, but I’ll also be trying to give some perspective and context level observations of publication, and I’ll be working with Locus’ style and guidance for that. I’ll also (*gasp*) be getting paid! Which is something that I’ve had before and will be dearly nice to have again. I’ll still be doing a lot of fan writing and fanzine stuff, no worries there, but I will be shifting the balance of my work and glob do I hope it means being less exhausted in general.

2021 was certainly a year. I was a Hugo finalist in two categories and an Ignyte Award finalist as well. I've done my best. I will continue to do my best. Cheers!


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