Best of 2008

This page links to a number of postings that I made on this site in 2008. As such they all count as eligible work for purposes of voting in the 2009 Hugo Awards. Reading through an entire year’s worth of blog posts isn’t something any Hugo voter should be asked to do, but hopefully I have highlighted some of the best material here.

January saw me publish some fiction, or at least some fannish satire masquerading as fiction. The original story was published in Chris Garcia’s fanzine, The Drink Tank, with the second and final part being a 2008 publication. I put the whole thing on my own web site, along with some explanations for people not familiar with the characters.

February saw a major fire break out in Camden Town, London near the home of John & Judith Clute. Ellen Datlow was staying with them at the time and got caught up in the excitement. This post got a huge amount of traffic due to UK people Googling for news of the fire. Thankfully everyone I knew was OK, though many market traders apparently lost their livelihoods.

March saw me attend ICFA in Orlando, an academic conference. I did a number of posts from the con, but also a full con report which you can find here. Also in March I started to do a series of posts called Challenge Cheryl, in which readers asked me to write about any subject that interested them. The February posts covered my own complicated life, my relationship with fandom (including Cheryl’s Laws of Fandom), and the differences between living in the USA and the UK.

I am also prone to occasional bursts of silliness, as this mock gig report proves. And of course I often do a silly post on April 1st. In 2008 that post was all about how Kevin and I were adopting a baby artificial intelligence.

April’s Challenge Cheryl column saw me tackle the question as to why the Bay Area Science Fiction Association doesn’t have a clubhouse. In confess to not having been entirely serious about this. I was rather more serious when John Scalzi invited me to make a guest post on Whatever as part of the run up to the 2008 Best Fan Writer vote. That post in turn prompted Mike Glyer to ask me what someone had to be to be “fannish enough”. Here is my reply.

May saw David Moles question my unhappiness at the result of the Tiptree Award. Here is my explanation. The same month also saw various posts about gender in theory and practice. This post about psychologists try to force children to conform to particular gender roles got a lot of attention thanks to Patrick Nielsen Hayden who linked to it from Making Light. I also wrote a review of a book about gender theory.

In June we demonstrated the power of the Internet by helping Borderlands Books get planning permission for adding a cafe to their store. Here is my original post, and here’s where I announced that we had succeeded. Meanwhile the Challenge Cheryl series caused me to learn all about breed-specific legislation.

In July I made my annual trip eastwards for Finncon and wrote this con report. I also reviewed Salman Rushdie’s fantasy novel, The Enchantress of Florence, and wrote a Challenge Cheryl article about gender imbalance in reading habits. Less happily I reported on the atrocious treatment that my friend Roz Kaveney suffered at the London Pride march.

August is Worldcon month, and I was very busy. The panel I chaired on “Essential Books” was very popular and I posted a list of the books we talked about, with some commentary from the panelists. I also did a full con report. But the most fun part of Worldcon was live-blogging the Hugo Award ceremony. In addition I shot a whole pile of video at the convention, mainly backstage at the masquerade, and interviewed Stephen Boucher about the Australian bid for 2010.

In September I reflected a little on Worldcon and why it is important, leading to this article. I reviewed Nick Harkaway’s The Gone-Away World, which was my favorite SF book of 2008. Also Kevin and I took a short holiday to New Orleans where we ate great food and listened to great jazz.

In October I actually wrote some fiction. It is a bit thin because at the time I had my head full of screenplay ideas and consequently was only looking at dialog. I keep meaning to go back and flesh it out a little. Anyway, here it is.

At the end of October I should have been at World Fantasy Con, but thanks to some disagreements with US immigration I had to cancel on that. We still did live coverage of the World Fantasy Awards over at the SF Awards Watch blog (huge thanks to Gigi Gridley for being our ace reporter on the spot), and Kevin and I got to attend Steam Powered instead. Also in November I did something classically fannish: I wrote a filk song.

And so to December, in which I got a bit serious about genre and literature. The post got picked up by io9 so I got a lot more traffic than usual. I also wrote my annual review of the year’s SF&F for the Aqueduct Press blog.

There was a lot of other material as well, but as is the way of blogs, much of was ephemeral. I did have pretty good year for sport, with Wales winning a Grand Slam in the Six Nations rugby tournament, and the Rajasthan Royals winning the inaugural Indian Premier League for Twenty20 cricket. Readers of the blog were subjected to my enthusing about such things. Also I probably wrote about cheese far more than is good for my cholesterol level. However, it hasn’t killed me yet, and I hope to continue writing a lot more in 2009.