Paper Knife staggers, blinking, into its fourth year of existence (it celebrated its third birthday on December 28th). Yes, I’m also quite surprised I’ve kept it going this long. At present, I’ve no idea what 2014 will bring in terms of blogging. Unlike many of my blogging colleagues, I tend not to make plans but just roll with it. Consequently, my head is full of long, complicated and not easily articulated thoughts about lists, reviews, fan service, publisher service, and so on, which never quite make it to print. In 2014, I hope they will.
I have to admit too to a sense of disappointment with the blog at times. I started it in order to engage with a community I thought existed. Unsurprisingly, insofar as it does exist, if it does exist, it is a community that reads rather than comments (and here I’m as guilty as the next person) so the hoped-for discussion didn’t happen. Instead, I’ve sometimes felt more as though I’m performing to an empty auditorium, refusing to take the hint that it’s time to get offstage and do something else.
Yet still I keep going, even if I am apparently doing it all wrong. I don’t actively court publishers as some bloggers seem to; I don’t particularly care about spoilers, unless I am discussing something very recent. I couldn’t give a toss about cover reveals, nor do I squee or take in blog tourists (I might, but I’ve not yet seen a book I wanted to promote in that way). I write too much, about the wrong books, and I’m always late to the newest controversy. It has been intimated that I am putting people off by being «cough» a little too academic in my approach. Oh yeah, and it’s a rare month that goes by without someone loudly proclaiming the death of blogs … usually on their blog, and without a trace of irony as they do so. (Moments like this, I love the internet.)
Whether any of that is true or not, so be it. Coming into my fourth year of blogging I see myself now as scratching away on my patch of dirt, producing a crop of some sort, keeping myself mentally sustained, and if people want to read too, that’s fine. If I have any kind of resolution for 2014 it’s to be more regular in my reading and writing habits, but we shan’t know if I managed that until 2015, shall we?
The one big change I’ve made lately is to move to WordPress. The entire archive is now here, though I’ll also leave it on Blogspot. It’s taken an age to clean up the html: there are still odd glitches that need sorting out and I have to do some work on the website end of things, but basically, this is where Paper Knife now lives.
In the meantime, have some links … because what is the internet for if not the clicky stuff?
The New Yorker’s Tim Kreider wondered if Kim Stanley Robinson might be ‘Our Greatest Political Novelist‘.
Meanwhile, The Economist promoted the work of Ted Chiang but also produced a deeply wrongheaded piece on how 2014 would see more science-fictional ‘cheering tales‘ (though I personally predict increased sales of sick bags if they publish much more of this nonsense).
It being Christmas, and Christmas being a time for ghost stories (as though the other 364 days of the year weren’t), here’s an article from the tor.com website, in which Grady Hendrix surveys the work of some women ghost-story writers.
Andrew Liptak discusses the work of Francis Stevens, possibly the first professional female pulp writer.
And here is a letter to a fan from Tove Jansson
Will Wiles on creepypasta
London’s lost pneumatic dispatch railway