It’s been a year: 2021 in review

2021 is in the books, and what a year it’s been, right?

*stares, dead-eyed, at wall for an undetermined period of time*

Anyhoo, let’s take a look at what happened this year, writing wise. I’ve had two stories published this year:

  • Practice on a pulsefish, published in Nature, is a story about fishing on Europa, space pirates, and dangerous shortcuts.

    I shook the pulsefish by the tail, the last drops of blood draining from its opened throat into the dark waters. Between the pulsing vibrations of the fish and the sway of my boat, it was hard to keep my knife straight as I sliced through its ghastly skin. My hands were fully numbed by the time I plopped a white fillet onto the cutting board, as if I was watching someone else do it. The meat shimmered with resonant electricity.
  • Selling One’s Self on a Multi-Dimensional Marketing Scheme, published in Daily Science Fiction, is a science fiction story inspired by the real-life fantasies an arcane industry sells in order to lure people in.

    “It’s not a pyramid scheme. It’s dimensional marketing. And if there was something funny about it, why did so many of us buy into it?”

There’s a bit of humor in both, but at their core they are dark stories. I love them and hope you enjoy them, too!

On the writing and submissions front, I’ve continued using Mario Party shorthand and logged 5 stars (stories drafted) and 34 coins (submissions):

This lags last year’s pace, which was a record for me. I was planning for that on the drafting side (revise your stories already, man!), but on the submissions side I definitely came up short. With that said, I’m close to finishing revisions on a pair of stories, and so that, along with Codex’s Weekend Warrior contest starting in a couple of weeks, gives me a nice springboard to hit a record number of submissions in 2022.

I’ve found some of the novelty in the hobbies I honed last year–namely cooking, baking, and drawing–wore off this year. But now that the pandemic has made clear it’s going to sleep on our collective couch as long as it likes, I’m looking forward to nurturing these skills further next year.

A couple of things I really enjoyed this year:

  • Axiom Verge 2 and Metroid Dread are both stellar, meditative experiences that are paced perfectly and have killer soundtracks.
  • All four seasons of Channel Zero are worth it, but especially No-End House. But especially The Dream Door.
  • Don’t Look Up, which just came out. Maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word. *back to staring dead-eyed at wall*
  • Here’s a thread of 10 of my favorite stories published this year.