From the mind of Megan Arkenberg

January 1, 2016

New Year's, Again

Posted by Megan Arkenberg with No comments
It's that day when we sum up the last 365 rotations of our planet's axis and make promises about what we're going to do for the next 366 such rotations. Frankly, the thought of doing either of those things makes my mouth go dry and my stomach do unpleasant little somersaults. So let's see if I can sum up the last week and project to next Tuesday.

I've reread The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion every Christmas since about 2004. This year, I skipped the Tolkein and wound up re-reading David Bajo's The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri. It's a queer novel, all senses, and I have to point out the weird erasure in which none of its reviewers mention that the heroine is bisexual (although one, in a telling overstatement, refers to her "omnisexual"). In any case, I recommend it. If it isn't exactly speculative fiction, it has a distinctively speculative bent: "You are the only other one I have ever met," Irma writes to the protagonist, "who so deeply and compulsively sees anything and automatically begins seeking alternatives."

I also read Nathan Ballingrud's North American Lake Monsters, a Christmas gift from my sister, in one sitting. It's an intense trip. I've loved "Wild Acre" since I first read it in a Year's Best anthology, and it works beautifully in the first act of this collection.

So much for Christmas. The rest of my week off was dedicated to chapter revisions, syllabus writing, and reading for my dissertation prospectus. I haven't made progress on short fiction since October.

Other thoughts for the end of the year: In 2015, I published seven short stories, two of which have made it onto end-of-the-year reading listsI also had the opportunity to edit nonfiction for a special issue of Nightmare, which was a learning experience in the best sense of that phrase. Finally, Mirror Dance is still going strong, now at a new URL (and with a new e-mail address when we reopen to submissions on January 15).

I'm hitting the ground running in 2016: "Palingenesis," a nearly un-classifiable blend of Weird fiction, philology, and nineteenth-century science, is the cover story for Shimmer #29. I'll have more to say about it on Tuesday, when it goes live on the website.

Until then: stay strange, beautiful people.

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