3 January 2017

Exploration: A Review of 2016

A walk through the neighbourhood, combined with an excursion to the local outdoor rink for family night skating, 2017 has been all of the things. As I climbed into bed on New Year's Eve, satisfyingly ignoring the festivities beyond my window, I woke to sun. 2016 was anything but kind to my family, the passing of my father left me emotionally stranded on a frozen, cracked lake. Incapable of expressing the abyss, I found solace in my family, gathering joy as I witnessed my son bounce through his weeks to Christmas. Although this new year will be my first without Dad, I see limitless avenues of happiness to explore. 

Finding purchase when your world tips askew can lend itself to new beginnings. My 2016 was a mismatch of personal goals wanting to get fit all the while reading and writing. My 50 novel reading channel was smashed by October with a final tally of 68. Site visits to Thank the Maker soared even with a lacklustre showing of only 21 reviews.

I became an Honor Harrington fan, obsessed over the generational ship in Aurora by Kim Stanly Robinson and swam in the poetry that is Station 11.  I wholeheartedly jumped on the bandwagon with  The Fifth Season, and Aftermath. But with all my dalliances with the popular novel, I sank deeply into the odd, extravagantly rich world found in Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente.

I finally read Ursula's K Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness, and continue to chastise myself for all the years wasted by not opening this book. We all have moments where we could relive a reading moment:  Dune, War and Peace and now, The Left Hand of Darkness are mine. 2016 began with the YA apocalyptic novel, Archivist Wasp, and closed with The GraceKeepers; two novels dancing within a dystopian future, seeking salvation.

Sitting with my copy of Women of Futures Past I begin my 2017 reading year with the women of science fiction. Kristine Kathryn Rusch's introductory essay, Invisible Women was an awakening experience. Having never attended a 'con' nor dipped my toes into recent Hugo controversies, I was unaware of the struggles women writers have in being recognized. My space operatic tendencies entwined for a love of time travel books, results in me reading primarily female writers. I obviously live in a sheltered, reading world, one at which Bujold, Baker, Willis, Lord, Atwood, Lee, Walton, McCaffrey reign.

With the slow unfolding of all that 2017 will be, here is to the women of science fiction:  we are the readers, the writers, the buyers, the bloggers, the editors, the publishers. We are science fiction. Find the time this year to rejoice in all our womanly yet geeky tendencies. Start your journey with the reading of the short story Angel by Pat Cadigan. It's compact, engaging creepiness will leave you wondering who else you haven't explored.