Following the neoliberal impulse to quantify everything in order to make a metric of productivity out of my life, and also following in the footsteps of Mark Bould, Dan Hassler-Forest, Drew Morton, and other friends who quantify their reading/viewing habits, and further following those academic-twitter and writer-twitter folks who post year’s-end lists of publications—for these and other self-aggrandizing reason I’ve decided to once again post a list of things I read, wrote, and did during the crushing twelve months of 2018. See last year’s post, just about what I read, here.
I got a job. Woot. I’m in alt-academia now, folks.
I became editor of SFRA Review and book review editor of Foundation: The International Review of SF, though I had to step down from the latter when I got my job; and as part of my new job, I am also managing editor of the Journal of Electronic Publishing.
I finalized edits with bestie Martin Lund for our book Unstable Masks: Whiteness and American Superhero Comics, for which we got a contract with The Ohio State University Press in their New Suns: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Speculative series. The book will have a dope cover by Afrofuturist artist duo Black Kirby.
I’ve started three clandestine book editing projects (one with Dale Knickerbocker and Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, one with Gerry Canavan and Ida Yoshinaga, and a third with Derek Sweet) and one clandestine book series project (with Martin Lund and Julia Round); all are in the proposal and/or chapter soliciting stages.
I got a panel on Stephen King into the MLA. Muahahaha!
I passed my comprehensive exams and am ABD. I wrote 99 pages of exams in response to 3 questions in 3 days. I may have gone a bit overboard in trying to prove I knew my field and topic…
In 2018, I wrote 41 things.
It was quite a productive year for me: peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, online essays, book reviews, conference papers. Because of academic publishing’s slowness, a good number of those things won’t see print until 2019-2020, so below I’ll just list the thing published or presented in 2018.
Punking Science Fiction. Special issue of Deletion, no. 14, May 2018.
“‘Am I Doing the Right Thing?’: Milestone Comics, Black Nationalism, and the Cosmopolitics of Static.” Comics Studies: Here and Now, edited by Frederick Luis Aldama, Routledge, 2018, pp. 298-316.
Essays and Reviews
“The Zombie and Its Metaphors.” American Quarterly, vol. 70, no. 4, Dec. 2018, pp. 903-912.
Review of Monsters in the Machine: Science Fiction Film and the Militarization of America after World War II, by Steffen Hantke, UP of Mississippi, 2016. Extrapolation, vol. 59, no. 3, pp. 307-310.
“Saving Acid Communism: 800 Pages of the Essential Leftist Critic Mark Fisher.” PopMatters, 4 Dec. 2018.
“The One About the One About Friends.” PopMatters, 30 Nov. 2018.
“The Book about Geek Triumph You Probably Don’t Need.” PopMatters, 26 Nov. 2018.
Review of Mecha Samurai Empire, by Peter Tieryas, Ace, 2018. Strange Horizons, 21 Nov. 2018.
“Alyson Hagy’s Scribe Is Gloriously Artful, but Something Is Missing.” PopMatters, 15 Nov. 2018.
“When Sexually Frustrated Angry White Men (Mis)Read the Classics.” PopMatters, 9 Nov. 2018.
Review of Twenty-First-Century Popular Fiction, edited by Bernice M. Murphy and Stephen Matterson, Edinburgh UP, 2018. Fafnir: Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2018, pp. 66-68.
Review of Unholy Land, by Lavie Tidhar, Tachyon, 2018. World Literature Today, vol. 92, no. 6, Nov. 2018, pp. 69-70.
“‘I’ve Waited for Him’: How Halloween (2018) Turns the Tables on the Slasher.” We Are the Mutants, 31 Oct. 2018.
“Audrey Schulman in the Gutter of Genre.” World Literature Today Blog, 18 Sep. 2018.
Review of Ball Lightning, by Cixin Liu, Tor, 2018. Featured review. World Literature Today, vol. 92, no. 5, Sep. 2018, pp. 66-67.
“The Cursed Frontier: Ismail Kadare’s Theory of the State.” PopMatters, 7 Aug. 2018.
“Mame Bougouma Diene and the Promise of African Horror.” World Literature Today Blog, 24 July 2018.
Review of Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal, Twelfth Planet Press, 2017. Utopian Studies, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 280-284.
Review of Condomnauts, by Yoss, Restless Books, 2018. World Literature Today, vol. 92, no. 4, July 2018, forthcoming.
“Colonial Hottie: Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman, and Brand Israel.” The Middle Spaces, 5 June 2018.
Review of Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico, by David Bowles, Cinco Puntos Press, 2018. World Literature Today, vol. 92, no. 3, May 2018, pp. 89-90.
“Introduction: On Punking Speculative Fiction.” Punking Speculative Fiction, edited by Sean Guynes-Vishniac, special issue of Deletion, vol. 14, May 2018.
“Mutate or Die: Eighty Years of the Futurians’ Vision.” Los Angeles Review of Books, 14 Apr. 2018.
Review of Essays on World Literature: Aeschylus • Dante • Shakespeare, by Ismail Kadare, translated by Ani Kokobobo, Restless Books, 2018. World Literature Today, vol. 92, no. 2, Mar. 2018, pp. 89-90.
Review of A Girl in Exile: Requiem for Linda B., by Ismail Kadare, translated by John Hodgson, Counterpoint, 2018. World Literature Today, vol. 92, no. 1, Jan. 2018, p. 66.
“Afrofuturism’s Specter: Alternate History, Racial Capitalism, and Nisi Shawl’s Everfair.” Worlding SF: Building, Inhabiting, and Understanding Science Fiction Universes, 6-8 Dec. 2018, Graz, Austria.
“Figuring Race in 1950s Meta-Slave Science Fiction: Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Damon Knight.” Futures of American Studies Institute, 18-23 June 2018, Dartmouth College.
“Chalmun’s Cantina: Transmedia Collaboration and the IP Farm in the Star Wars Franchise.” ICFA Annual Conference, 14-18 Mar. 2018, Orlando.
“Supercyberpunk: Genre and Aesthetics in Batman: Digital Justice.” Michigan State University Comics Forum, 23-24 Feb. 2018, Michigan State University.
“A Proposition for the Science Fiction Age: John Michel’s Popular Front.” Institutions, Markets, Speculations: Creative Economies of Science Fiction. MLA Annual Convention, 4-7 Jan. 2018, New York City.
In 2018, I read 128 books.
This is only a few higher than last year, and honestly I’d like next year’s reading list to be 50 or so books longer, and include much more non-fiction and contemporary sf, but we’ll see. The only reason this list reached where it did (and I probably don’t read books in numbers comparable to folks who can read fast, because I’m a slow-af reader), is because I listen to books on Audible every night when I take a 45-60 minute walk around Ann Arbor. Without that time, I would have read roughly 50 books fewer than last year.
I didn’t feel like putting together best-of lists, like I did last year, but if you’re interested in some things I liked, you can check out my reviews from this year. The two books I haven’t forgotten, which have weirdly stuck in my head this year (for good and bad and other reasons), are Schulman’s Theory of Bastards (2018) and Kornbluth’s The Syndic (1953).
Aldama, Frederick Luis. Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics. U of Arizona P, 2017.
Allston, Aaron. Outcast. 2009. Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi 1. Audiobook.
Anson, Jay. The Amityville Horror. 1977. Audiobook.
Asimov, Isaac. Foundation. 1951. Second read.
Bahng, Aimee. Migrant Futures: Decolonizing Speculation in Financial Times. Duke UP, 2018.
Blish, James. Earthman, Come Home. 1955.
—. They Shall Have Stars. 1956.
Blum, Yoav. The Coincidence Makers. St. Martin’s Press, 2018. Audiobook.
Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles. 1950. Audiobook.
Butler, Octavia. Wild Seed. 1980. Audiobook.
Cadwallader, Robyn. The Anchoress. 2015. Audiobook.
carrington, andré m. Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction. U of Minnesota P, 2017.
Chu, Seo-Young. Do Metaphor Dream of Literal Sleep? A Science-Fictional Theory of Representation. Harvard UP, 2010.
Corey, James S.A. Abaddon’s Gate. Expanse 3. Audiobook.
—. Caliban’s War. 2012. Expanse 2. Audiobook.
—. Cibola Burn. 2014. Expanse 4. Audiobook.
Crichton, Michael. Sphere. 1987. Audiobook.
Csicsery-Ronay, Istvan, Jr. The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction. Wesleyan UP, 2008.
Denning, Michael. Mechanic Accents: Dime Novels and Working-Class Culture in America. Verso, 1987.
Denning, Troy. Abyss. 2009. Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi 3. Audiobook.
Diene, Mame Bougouma. Dark Moons Rising on a Starless Night. Clash Books, 2018.
Drayden, Nicky. Prey of Gods. Harper Voyager, 2017. Audiobook.
Duncan, Lois. Summer of Fear. 1976.
Ellis, Bret Easton. American Psycho. 1991. Audiobook.
Ellsworth, Spencer. A Red Peace. Tor, 2017. Starfire 1. Kindle.
Fisher, Mark. k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher (2004-2016). Repeater, 2018.
Fojas, Camilla. Zombies, Migrants, and Queers: Race and Crisis Capitalism in Pop Culture. U of Illinois P, 2017.
García, Cristina. Dreaming in Cuban. 1992. Third read.
Gelder, Ken. Popular Fiction: The Logics and Practices of a Literary Field. Routledge, 2004.
Gerber, Robin. Eleanor vs. Ike. Avon, 2008.
Golden, Christie. Omen. 2009. Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi 2. Audiobook.
Greif, Mark. The Age of the Crisis of Man: Thought and Fiction in America, 1933-1973. Princeton UP, 2015.
Hagy, Alyson. Scribe. Graywolf, 2018.
Hendrix, Grady. Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction. Quirk Books, 2017.
—. We Sold Our Souls. Quirk Books, 2018.
Hicks, Faith Erin. The Divided Earth. First Second, 2018. The Nameless City 3.
Howard, Robert E. The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian. Del Rey, 2003.
Jackson, Shirley. The Haunting of Hill House. 1959. Audiobook.
Jameson, A.D. I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture. FSG, 2018.
Jameson, Fredric. The Political Unconscious: Narrative as Socially Symbolic Act. Cornell UP, 1981.
Jerng, Mark. Racial Worldmaking: The Power of Popular Fiction. Fordham UP, 2017.
Jones, Stephen Graham. Mapping the Interior. Tor, 2017. Second read.
—. Mongrels. William Morrow, 2016.
Kadare, Ismail. The Traitor’s Niche. 1978. Counterpoint Press, 2018.
Kadrey, Richard. The Everything Box. 2016. Audiobook.
Katsu, Alma. The Hunger. 2018. Audiobook.
Kee, Chera. Not Your Average Zombie: Rehumanizing the Undead from Voodoo to Zombie Walks. U of Texas P, 2017.
Kilgore, De Witt Douglas. Astrofuturism: Science, Race, and Visions of Utopia in Outer Space. U of Pennsylvania P, 2003.
King, Stephen. The Dark Half. 1989. Audiobook.
—. Desperation. 1996. Audiobook.
—. Pet Sematary. 1983. Audiobook.
—. ’Salem’s Lot. 1975. Audiobook.
Knight, Damon. A for Anything. 1959.
Kornbluth, Cyril. The Syndic. 1953.
Kuang, R.F. The Poppy War. Harper Voyager, 2018.
LaValle, Victor. The Changeling. Spiegel & Grau, 2017. Audiobook.
Lavender, Isiah, III. Race in American Science Fiction. Indiana UP, 2011.
Lebbon, Tim. Into the Void. 2013. Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi. Audiobook.
Lemire, Jeff, and Dustin Nguyen. Descender, Volume 5: Rise of the Robots. Image Comics, 2018.
L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. 1962.
Liu, Cixin. Ball Lightning. Tor, 2018.
—. The Three-Body Problem. Tor, 2016.
Machado, Carmen Maria. Her Body and Other Parties: Stories. Graywolf Press, 2017. Third read.
Marasco, Robert. Burnt Offerings. 1973. Audiobook.
March-Russell, Paul. Modernism and Science Fiction. Palgrave, 2015.
Matheson, Richard. Hell House. 1971.
McCann, Sean. Gumshoe America: Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism. Duke UP, 2000.
McDowell, Michael. Blackwater: The Complete Saga. 1983. Audiobook.
—.The Elementals. 1981. Audiobook.
McGuire, Seanan. Every Heart a Doorway. 2016. Kindle.
Merril, Judith. The Merril Theory of Lit’ry Criticism. Edited by Ritch Calvin, Aqueduct Press, 2016.
Miller, Kelsey. I’ll Be There For You: The One About Friends. Hanover Square Press, 2018.
Miller, Madeline. Circe. Little, Brown and Company, 2018. Audiobook.
Miller, Sam J. Blackfish City. Ecco, 2018.
Moorcock, Michael. Behold the Man. 1969.
Moore, Wayétu. She Would Be King. Graywolf, 2018.
Moreno-Garcia, Silvia. Certain Dark Things. 2016. Audiobook.
Ngai, Sianne. Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting. Harvard UP, 2012.
Okorafor, Nnedi. Lagoon. 2014.
Older, Daniel José. Last Shot. 2018. Star Wars: A Han and Lando Novel. Audiobook.
Passarella, John. Halloween: The Official Movie Novelization. 2018. Audiobook.
Pohl, Frederik. The Slave Ship. 1957.
Pohl, Frederik, and C.M. Kornbluth. The Space Merchants. 1953.
Powers, Tim. The Anubis Gates. 1983. Audiobook.
Pullman, Philip. La Belle Sauvage. 2017. Book of Dust 1. Audiobook.
Rabinyan, Dorit. All the Rivers. 2014. Translated by Jessica Cohen, Random House, 2017.
Reyes, Xavier Aldana. Spanish Gothic: National Identity, Collaboration, and Cultural Adaptation. Palgrave, 2017.
Rice, Anne. Interview with the Vampire. 1976. Audiobook.
—. The Vampire Lestat. 1985. Audiobook.
Rieder, John. Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction. Wesleyan UP, 2008.
—. Science Fiction and the Mass Cultural Genre System. Wesleyan UP, 2017.
Roanhorse, Rebecca. Trail of Lightning. Saga Press, 2018.
Ruff, Matt. The Mirage. Harper Perennial, 2012.
Saberhagen, Fred. The Dracula Tape. 1975. Audiobook.
Saunders, Charles. Imaro. 1981.
Schulman, Audrey. Theory of Bastards. Europa Editions, 2018.
Schweitzer, Dahlia. Going Viral: Zombies, Viruses, and the End of the World. Rutgers UP, 2018.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. 1897. Audiobook.
Swanwick, Michael. The Iron Dragon’s Daughter. 1993. Kindle.
Swirksi, Peter. From Lowbrow to Nobrow. McGill-Queen’s UP, 2005.
Szalay, Michael. New Deal Modernism: American Literature and the Invention of the Welfare State. Duke UP, 2000.
Tagaq, Tanya. Split Tooth. Viking, 2018.
Taylor, Jodi. Just One Damn Thing after Another. 2013. Chronicles of St. Mary’s 1. Audiobook.
—. Second Chances. 2014. Chronicles of St. Mary’s 3. Audiobook.
—. Symphony of Echoes. 2013. Chronicles of St. Mary’s 2. Audiobook.
Taylor, Matthew. Universes without Us: Posthuman Cosmologies in American Literature. U of Minnesota P, 2013.
Tidhar, Lavie. The Unholy Land. Tachyon, 2018.
Tieryas, Peter. Mecha Samurai Empire. Ace, 2018. United States of Japan 2.
Tremblay, Paul. The Cabin at the End of the World. 2018. Audiobook.
—. A Head Full of Ghosts. 2016. Audiobook.
Turtledove, Harry. How Few Remain. 1997. Audiobook.
—. Through Darkest Europe. 2018. Audiobook.
VanderMeer, Jeff. Annihilation. 2014. Third read.
Wells, H.G. The Time Machine. 1895. Audiobook.
Wiebe, Kurtis J., et al. Rat Queens, Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery. Image Comics, 2014. Second read.
—. Rat Queens, Volume 2: The Far-Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth. Image Comics, 2015. Second read.
—. Rat Queens, Volume 3: Demons. Image Comics, 2016. Second read.
—. Rat Queens, Volume 4: High Fantasies. Image Comics, 2017. Second read.
—. Rat Queens, Volume 5: The Colossal Magic Nothing. Image Comics, 2018.
Williams, David. When the English Fell. Algonquin Books, 2017.
Williams, Raymond. Culture and Materialism. Verso, 2006.
—. Marxism and Literature. Oxford UP, 1977.
Willis, Connie. The Doomsday Book. 1992. Audiobook.
Yoss. Condomnauts. Translated by David Fry, Restless Books, 2018.
Zahn, Timothy. Thrawn. 2017. Audiobook.
—. Thrawn: Alliances. 2018. Audiobook.
Zuckerberg, Donna. Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age. Harvard UP, 2018.