It’s hard to believe now, but I started writing reviews sometime around 1978. There’s a chronology of my reviews on my website, according to which the first review I wrote was of Operation Ares by Gene Wolfe in Vector 85 (January-February 1978). There may well have been something before that, but that’s as far back as I’ve been able to check. Actually, I know that chronology is incomplete, because it doesn’t include any of the few hundred capsule reviews I wrote for The Good Book Guide, or indeed any of the many rather more substantial reviews I wrote for the British Council’s British Book News and Children’s Book News. For some reason, in those days (the early to mid-80s), I was seen as an expert on travel books, and I still have an awful lot of those books on my shelves. Even with those omissions there’s a heck of a lot of reviews there. I haven’t counted them; I don’t want to, the prospect is too frightening. As for the word count: it must be well over a million words by now. Actually, it’s probably several million; my forthcoming collection, Call and Response, barely skims the surface of the reviews I’ve written over the last decade or so, and it comes to around a quarter of a million words. Now, that’s something I really don’t want to think about.
By the nature of things, most of these pieces appeared in print-only journals. I’ve thought, from time to time, of putting a few of them up on my website, at least those I’m not likely to include in a collection anytime soon. Then I thought it would make more sense if I began to put them up here on the blog. Not all of them, of course, because most of them aren’t worth it, and besides I don’t have copies of the vast majority. But occasionally I’ll put some up here. I’ll make it clear they are reprints, and detail where they first appeared, but it would make sense for me to have a more accessible archive like that.
You can probably expect to see the first of them tomorrow (though at the moment I haven’t decided what it might be).