The highlight of 2011 was, undoubtedly, receiving the BSFA Non-Fiction Award, which both surprised me and pleased me. I am incredibly proud of that award, though, perversely, it also highlights the fact that 2010 was a far better year for writing than 2011.
The contrast to the award was the fact that I went through something I hadn’t previously believed existed: a writer’s block. Heaven knows what caused it it has been a year of many, many stresses and strains, mostly external to my writing though they do, inevitably, affect it; I even found being nominated for the award strangely disturbing. At its worst, I actually found opening a Word document was terrifying. I don’t know how or why the thing ended, somehow the dread just gradually lost its grip on me. Though it has had one lasting effect: I am far less confident of my writing now than I have ever been before, and even fairly simple short reviews can sometimes take days and days for me to get through them.
Nevertheless, I managed to write something over 63,000 words during the year, and that does not include any of the posts I made at Big Other, the all too few entries I wrote for the SF Encyclopedia, or the several thousand words of original material that have been going into the next book. So it has been a reasonably productive year, even if it feels like it has been against the odds the whole way.
In the end I produced:
14 reviews for SF Site (of which 1 remains unpublished);
2 reviews for the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts (both of which are awaiting publication, along with one left over from 2010);
4 reviews for Strange Horizons (of which 1 remains unpublished);
3 columns and 3 reviews for Vector (1 column and 1 review are as yet unpublished);
1 interview and 4 reviews for Bull Spec (of which the interview and 3 of the reviews are in the forthcoming issue);
1 review for the New York Review of Science Fiction;
3 reviews for Interzone (1 of which remains unpublished);
2 reviews for Foundation (both of which await publication);
1 review for the web journal Requited
1 review for the LA Review of Books (which awaits publication, along with one left over from 2010);
2 reviews for the Telegraph.
In addition, Into the Woods: Robert Holdstock Remembered appeared from the BSFA, including an interview and an introduction by me, and I was part of the round-table discussion. And Teaching Science Fiction edited by Andy Sawyer and Peter Wright was published by Palgrave Macmillan, with my chapter ‘Through Time and Space: A Brief History of Science Fiction’.
In the year I also wrote 41 posts at Big Other, most of which were rather substantial essays.