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2011, The Year in Review

10 January 2012 Add a Comment Posted by Matthew Kressel

calendar2011 was a pretty good year for me.  When I began writing this post I felt as if I hadn’t done all that much in the past twelve months.  But after listing everything I’ve done I see now that I have accomplished quite a bit.  Before time carves these events permanently out of my brain, I thought I’d document them here.

Early in the year, my story “The History Within Us” was reprinted in The People of the Book.  An excellent anthology of Jewish-themed science fiction & fantasy, I was pretty darn happy to share a table of contents with Neil Gaiman, Peter Beagle, and many other talents.

Another Jewish-themed story (do you sense a pattern?), “The Hands that Feed” appeared in Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories.  About an aging Jewish woman in a steam-punked Lower East Side of 1895, this story was a lot of fun to write.  People seemed to like this one quite a bit too, which made me very happy.

My big publication of the year was “The Bricks of Gelecek,” which appeared in Ellen Datlow’s urban fantasy anthology Naked City. Ellen said this story “blew me away” when she first read it.  And Shelf Awareness called it the “true gem in the collection.”  I’m quite proud of this story, especially since it takes place in the same universe as my novel in progress.  Over on the SFWA.org boards, Ellen has posted a copy of the story for SFWA members.  If you care to check it out, please let me know what you think!

GUD Magazine purchased my small-town tale “One Spring in Cherryville,” a story about a close band of twenty-somethings who discover something buried in an abandoned factory basement that changes their lives forever.  I don’t have a publication date for this one yet.

Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling purchased “The Great Game at the End of the World” for their YA dystopian anthology, After.  This was the first time that I’d written a story that put children in real harm, and I found some scenes painful to write.  But I think this is one of my best stories, and I’m excited to hear what people think of it when it comes out this fall.

Sean Wallace purchased a reprint of “The Hands that Feed” for The Mammoth Book of Steampunk, which will be out in June of this year.

Sadly, there was no issue of Sybil’s Garage in 2011.  Though I really wanted to do a new issue, a number of other projects have prevented me from finding the time.  This is not the end of the magazine, however.  It will return!

For my work on Sybil’s Garage and Senses Five Press I was nominated for a World Fantasy Award in the category of Special Award, Non-Professional.  Though I did not win, it was a great honor to be nominated.  Even better was sharing the ballot with my Altered Fluid mates Mercurio David Rivera and N.K. Jemisin.  Go team!

This year I did several readings of my work.  In February I read along side Rick Bowes at the Wold Newton reading series.  In a crowded bookstore in Cambridge, MA I read with other contributors of Naked City, and I participated in three more readings at Readercon.  At the San Diego World Fantasy Convention, Jeff Ford and I both read our stories from After.  Jeff was awesome by offering to merge our separate readings into one large one.  Overall I believe I did about eight different readings this year, which seems like a lot now that I think about it.

At Readercon I hosted a popular panel called “Dybbuks, Golems, Demons, Oy Vey!: Jewish Mythology and Folklore in Speculative Fiction.”  I had a lot of fun talking about the many great stories of Jewish fantasy and science fiction with the panelists, and the overcrowded room was testament to the panel’s success.

So, you may be wondering, what’s with all this Jewish-themed stuff?  Well, I’ve been working on a novel based on the Jewish myth of the Lamed Vav, the Thirty Six just men who sustain the world.  I finished a draft in August, the same day (no actually the same minute) that the northeastern U.S. was struck with a minor earthquake.  I had been writing about minor earthquakes in the final scene, so when the world actually shook, I was like, whoops!  Next time I’ll write about rainbows and universal harmony.  Anyway, I have recently begun revisions on the novel and I am about 25% of the way through.  I hope to have a final draft by the end of February.

The Fantastic Fiction reading series at KGB has been going strong all throughout 2011, with many excellent guests and regular large crowds.  The fundraiser from 2010 has allowed Ellen and I to continue to run the series throughout most of 2012.  I noticed a lot of new faces in the audience, which suggests that the series is expanding in popularity as well.  2012 is already shaping up to be amazing with January’s guests, James Patrick Kelly and Kelly Link.  In March, we will also have Terry Bisson, the series’ founder.  It’s going to be a good year.

Overall 2011 was a very good year for me, and I’m working hard to make sure 2012 continues that trend.  On that note, here’s hoping your New Year’s was a happy one and that 2012 brings you all the success you deserve.  Bye, for now.

 

 

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