Editor's Desk: Looking Ahead, 2022 Edition
As you may have noticed, the first three editorials of the year tend to get eaten up by our annual reader’s poll. After months of looking backwards, I get a bit jittery and want to do something that looks forward instead. Oddly enough, to prepare, I read last April’s editorial on the same theme and found it to be more optimistic than deserving for 2021. So much of what I hoped to get done was disrupted by the continued worries of being high-risk during the pandemic and an extended series of stays in the hospital. As a result, our fifteenth anniversary has been a bit less than I had hoped.
Looking ahead, so many of the things I want to do are simply left-overs from 2020 and 2021. It appears as though this year may be basically catch-up, with just a couple of new projects tacked on.
One of my recent discoveries, though, is that I’m able to manage some recent anxiety issues by burying myself in a coding project. Fortunately, I had one on my to-do list. I initially developed our submission system in 2009 and have been adding features to a wish list ever since. I’ve been able to implement a few of them since, but in the last month I’ve crossed off pages worth of behind-the-scenes items that amount to a significant quality-of-life improvement for myself and the other editors using this software.
This project is also crucial to my ability to launch and support the long-delayed Spanish Language Submissions project. At present, I’m coding the final pieces of those upgrades and hope to move onto final testing in late April. If all goes well, I’ll place the system in production at Clarkesworld in May. Assuming that the testing and shakedown period goes well, I can start assembling the project team and preparing the guidelines this summer.
I’ve also spent a lot of recent time making refinements and tweaking a project that’s been in the works for a while now. My Kickstarter campaign for A Summer Beyond Your Reach by Xia Jia included a stretch goal for an anthology called New Voices in Chinese Science Fiction. Originally, this was meant to be a twenty-five thousand word anthology, but additional funding from the campaign brought it to fifty-five thousand. After Xia Jia, Regina Kanyu Wang, and I began the final round of stories, I expanded the budget to allow for seventy-four thousand words, which is where it stands now. Early bird copies of the anthology have been sent out to the Kickstarter backers and it will be made available for purchase in June.
Other projects I have in the works are The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Seven, Clarkesworld: Year Thirteen, Clarkesworld: Year Fourteen (hopefully), and one other anthology I can’t talk about yet. I should also get back to work on planning some 2023 anthologies. I have a few ideas and while I could publish them myself, it would be nice to have someone else handling that so I can focus on the parts I find more personally rewarding.
Beyond that, assuming the pandemic and my mask supply allows, I also hope to attend several conventions this year. At present, I’m expecting to be at Confluence (Pittsburgh, PA), Chicon 8 (Chicago, IL), CapClave (Rockville, MD), Astronomicon (Rochester, NY), and Philcon (Cherry Hill, NJ). I’m excited to say that I am a Guest of Honor at Confluence and Astronomicon. The latter has been rescheduled twice (2020 and 2021) so it’s been a long wait. With any luck, I’ll see a few of you during my travels.
Take care and may this year be more productive (and safe) for all of us!
Neil Clarke is the editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, and several anthologies, including the Best Science Fiction of the Year series. He is a ten-time finalist and current winner of the Hugo Award for Best Editor (Short Form), has won the Chesley Award for Best Art Director three times, and received the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award from SFWA in 2019. His latest anthology, New Voices in Chinese Science Fiction (co-edited with Xia Jia and Regina Kanyu Wang), is now available from Clarkesworld Books. He currently lives in NJ with his wife and two sons.