I’ve been light posting here for months now. Here’s the arc of where I’ve been this year, and where I’m going.
It’s now just about 7 years since I was laid off from my 30-year career at Rocketdyne. It’s nearly 5 years since Yeong, also laid off, got a new job in the Bay Area and we moved to our house here in Oakland. It’s two years since Locus took over the website I’d run for 20 years. It’s over a year and a half since my surrogacy plans were derailed, despite my having spent $70,000. It’s nearly as long since we adopted two cats, and a year since we took in a third feral cat, which we named Pixel, that disappeared three weeks ago.
At the beginning of the year I had goals in three general areas: 1, ‘finish’ my sfadb.com website, in the sense of completing the rankings of novels and short fiction, and displaying the results on a timeline; 2, ‘finish’ to some extent scanning personal and family photos, and posting sets of them on this site; and 3, pursue my ambitious agenda to read and reread classic science fiction, in support of my pipe dream of writing a book.
As a couple months passed at the beginning of the year, an outline of the coming months appeared. Yeong had been hankering for a trip to London for some time, and so I planned the trip, which we took at the end of April. Also, his older son James announced wedding plans early in the year for the end of August.
Thus the year seemed to be dividing into thirds.
In the first third, I spent much time reading, mostly classic SF novels, and also some substantial nonfiction. I took notes on everything, but only transferred those notes to blog posts in a few cases. I need to improve on this. I have the sense that reading books by myself is an indulgence, but if I present my thoughts about them to the world, it’s a kind of service.
Returning from London, I decided to focus on sfadb, and I have in fact made a great deal of progress in the five months since: I’ve refined the scoring algorithm and the timeline, and compiled many more anthology contents in support of ranking short fiction. And, intermittently, I’ve scanned more personal and family photos, and posted some of them on this site.
The second third I thought would end with Jimmy’s wedding, but in fact the demarcation dragged on for an entire month; two of Yeong’s sisters and one brother-in-law made the long trip from China to attend the wedding, and stayed with us for an entire five weeks. They were away on side-trips three times, for several days at a time, but even so, there was little normalcy over that entire time. Thus my retreat to watching DVDs of old TV shows and movies. (And their on and off presence over that time is what drove Pixel to escape; he was freaked out by so many strange people in the house.)
So, as of right now. The sfadb project entailed compiling contents of many hundreds of anthologies. That’s an open-ended task; one can portray the entire history of science fiction (and fantasy and horror) through trends in anthologies. But I think, as of today, I’m cutting that off; I have enough data to move on and do the short fiction rankings, and perhaps compile more anthology pages later. So I will do that next, and compile the timeline. I would say I would do that by the end of the year, but all of these projects keep expanding: over the summer my plan for the rankings is to provide paragraph-length descriptions, or assessments, of the top ranking novels and stories in the three short fiction categories. But this requires some amount of rereading, or research, and that will take a while. So we’ll see.
Will anyone care? It’s hard to know. One never knows, perhaps.