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Monday, December 02, 2013

My Hopes and Anticipations for Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2014

2014 is almost upon us, and I'm already thinking about what is to come.  What will 2014 be like?  Will it be awesome?  Will someone release a stunning science fiction novel or an exciting YA fantasy or an *epic* epic fantasy?  The only way to find out is to live long enough to see it, I suppose (that's my early New Year's resolution).  But I do have my hopes for next year.  Big, juicy hopes.  And they are as follows:

A World SF Sorta Year
If you don't already know, my SF/F podcast, The Skiffy and Fanty Show, is hosting a massive World SF Tour throughout 2014.  We've already lined up a lot of great folks from all over the world, and that's just for the first couple months.  This thing has barely begun.

Since the World SF blog has ended, I'm hoping this special season of the show will help fill the gap a bit.  More importantly, I really hope we'll open further dialogue between (and within) the western SF/F spheres and the equally valuable spheres from elsewhere.  We should be talking to each other, and this whole Internet thing is a great way to make that possible.  So I really hope we'll spark a bit of a discussion in the community.  That would be a great thing indeed.

No Kerfluffles
I know this dream will never come true, but I'm putting it here anyway.  I would really like to see a year in the SF/F world that doesn't include fiascos and people saying racist, sexist, or downright douchey things.  Just for one year.  Please.

The Author List
Here are all the authors whose work I'm looking forward to in 2014 (assuming they're releasing anything)
  • Myke Cole (Breach Zone comes out in a month, and I get to interview him with my bestie.  So, basically, my life is awesome right now.)
  • Stina Leicht (I don't think she'll have anything out next year, but I hear she's working on something that's super cool beans -- I may have the inside scoop.)
  • China Mieville (It better be clever.  Oh, hell, who am I kidding?  Of course it will be clever!)
  • Lauren Beukes (Will she ever stop writing awesome books?  No.  Never.  EVER!)
  • Ann Leckie (I quite liked Ancillary Justice and am eagerly anticipating the sequel.  I'm told it'll be an even stronger book.)
  • Nick Mamatas writing noir crime fiction (because that should be very interesting indeed)
  • Nalo Hopkinson (Sister Mine was fantastic, so if she releases anything next year, I'll be happy)
  • Tobias S. Buckell (more Xenowealth stuff, please!)
  • Yoon Ha Lee (I have dreams that she'll release a novel and that it will be the most amazing thing since the invention of air.)
  • Christopher Barzak (two things:  1) I demand more writing in any form imaginable, and 2) I cannot wait to see the film adaptation of One For Sorrow)
  • Karen Lord (she could release a story on a restaurant napkin and I'd probably still read it enthusiastically)
  • Brian Francis Slattery (Lost Everything was genius, so another novel would be amazing)
That's not an exhaustive list, obviously.  They're names that came up when I started thinking about this whole thing.  I'd also love to see something new from Alden Bell, Jane Rogers, and even some translated works from China and the surrounding nations (Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, etc.).

I'd also love to see some groundbreaking SF/F next year.  I haven't the foggiest what that would look like, but I do think we're overdue for a year that really throws us SF/F folks for a loop.

Dialogue Reboot
This is somewhat related to the kerfluffle thing above.  Basically, I think it would be lovely if we could actually have a dialogue about things like sexual harassment at cons, sexism in SF/F, racism in SF/F, and so on.  A discussion.  A talk.  Not two groups screaming at each other or self-segregating out of convenience.  I realize this is a tall order, in part because disparate groups simply don't agree about things, but I think we could get a lot more done if these issues were discussed more openly without the need to simply reject every claim.

This is also a completely absurd request.
I anticipate that the following will be true in 2014:

  • Marvel will continue to dominate in film.  With X-Men:  Days of Future Past, Captain America:  the Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy coming our way, it's hard to imagine Marvel won't be king for another year.
  • Science fiction will dominate.  With Edge of Tomorrow, Interstellar, the Marvel films, Hunger Games 3, The Giver, and Jupiter Ascending expected to hit theaters next year, I strongly suspect SF will be all the rage (as it was this year, really).  Robocop will probably be a lot of fun, but I expect it to bomb.  I couldn't care less about Transformers 1132424 or The Maze Runner (it will bomb).  But I expect those other films to do quite well.
  • Science fiction will not receive any major award nominations in categories people remember (namely, best director, actor/actress (lead or supporting), or best picture), and at least one of the films released this year will have deserved to have been on those lists.
  • Hunger Games 3 will be the knockout of the year.  If Hunger Games 2 is any indicator of this franchise's success, you can expect the (supposedly two part) finale to rock the box office.
  • Fantasy will mostly suck in 2014.  There are a couple of decent movies coming, and I have no doubt the genre will make a pretty penny, but I really don't think there will be anything of serious note from the fantasy genre next year.
The Hugos (and Other Awards)
When the awards season rolls around, I suspect a lot of people will be annoyed and pissed off again.  I look forward to a thoughtful discussion about the merits of these awards that leads to something worthwhile (like changes or new, viable awards).  Or we'll just have another pissing match.  I'm getting quite good at pissing...

A Happy Year
If things go my way, the following things will have happened by Dec. 31st, 2014:
  • Attend a convention with all (or most) of the Skiffy and Fanty crew (Convergence, anyone?)
  • Have most of my dissertation written
  • Finish a research trip through the UK and elsewhere for my PhD
  • Record some of the best interviews and discussions EVER
  • Finish writing a novel and submit it
  • Get a pro-rate publication in short fiction
  • Publish an academic article that isn't a review (possible the one on steampunk OR the one on Cloud Atlas OR the one on Edgar Mittelholzer's A Morning at the Office OR the one on Tobias S. Buckell's Xenowealth Saga OR the one on Makoto Shinkai's The Place Promises in Our Early get the picture)
  • Read a lot of great books
  • Watch a lot of great movies
And I think that's a good place to stop.

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

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