Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year's Resolution - The 365 Short Stories Challenge

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope all of you had a safe and happy holiday season in 2008, whatever holiday you celebrated. And here's to a fantastic 2009 filled with lots of SF goodness! (I'm already rubbing my hands in anticipation of this summer's Worldcon in Montreal, as well as VCon in the fall, and all the new books, movies and TV shows that'll be released over the course of the year.)

I'm not normally one to make New Year's resolutions. The tradition never had much appeal to me. If I want to do something, or if I want to set a goal for myself, I do it. No need to wait for a specific time of year to highlight and launch it and then proceed to procrastinate. Moreover, the stereotypical resolutions have always been inapplicable or uninteresting to me.

But this year's a little different. This year I've decided to give myself an SF-related challenge. My New Year's resolution is to read 365 SF short stories by December 31st 2009. I'll set up a gadget here on the blog on the bottom left, below the other widgets, to track my progress over the year, and I'll try to do a quick review of each one as I go.

Sure, others have done short story challenges, but then again, how many New Year's resolutions (losing weight, finding a soulmate, etc) are really that original?

With my quarterly subscription to On Spec and the piles of anthologies on my bookshelves, I'll certainly have enough short stories close at hand to fill my quota. The challenge, of course, is finding the time to read 365 of them. Some of you may think it isn't that hard to read one short story a day, or enough short stories in a year to average out to one a day. And maybe that's true if you've got a lot of time to read what you want. For my part, things are a little more complicated... there's the job, of course (gotta earn a few bucks to satisfy my strange addiction to food and shelter), with its obligatory commute (no, I'm not going to get into audio books to fill the quota during the drive), as well as the need to spend quality time with my wife, cat, friends and family. Somewhere in there I'll probably want to squeeze in a little TV time or take in a flick. And there are way too many novels I want to read (not to mention the odd re-read) this year to stick to short stories alone. And then there's blogging here on bloginhood or over on Not A Planet Anymore once in a while. So making time to make the magic 365 may not be quite that easy. Therein lies the challenge.

I hope that by this time next year I'll have read 365 great short stories, or, at least, to have read 365 short stories, the majority of which were great. I hope that in following my bizarre literary odyssey you'll find a few titles and authors worth pursuing, and if you've read some of the stuff that I have, you'll share your opinions.

And so, with that, let's get started! Story number one, from the Fall 2008 issue of On Spec: "Too Long to Forgive" by Brittany McCartney...
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