As I get older, I find myself increasingly reluctant to review anything. The very act of reviewing is beginning to seem ludicrous, partly because of the arbitrary categories into which topics ‘suitable’ or ‘unsuitable’ for a review are slotted. For example, it’s regarded as perfectly acceptable to review films, literature and music; but not to review tongues, apricots and banisters. Who made the rules and when did they make them? Was it Dickens, Cicero, Gilgamesh?
In keeping with my growing disillusionment with the tradition, I intend to make this review rather more concise than usual. In 2012 I rediscovered the joys of rock climbing and that was the main highlight of the year. Outdoors life is always the ultimate pleasure. Friendships are important too and I resumed contact with people I haven’t seen for more than twenty-five years: a nice surprise.
I had an exceptionally good writing year. 2012 was my second most productive in terms of wordage. I wrote about 220,000 words of fiction and sold a fair amount of it. Total number of short stories written this year: 61, a personal record! My best book to date, The Truth Spinner
, was published and seems to have sold quite well. I highly recommend it to all readers who enjoy comic fantasy (I would, wouldn’t I?). Next year I’ll hopefully have two, three or even four books published. We'll see.
When it comes to reading, I read a lot more non-fiction than fiction; this seems to be a growing trend. I generally average 30 or so fiction books every year and 2012 was no different. I was glad to finally sink my teeth properly into Aristophanes, and also to rediscover Kurt Vonnegut after a long hiatus. I re-read Felipe Alfau’s Locos: a Comedy of Gestures
for the third time and loved it just as much as when I first chanced on it. A hefty B.S. Johnson Omnibus
also left me hugely impressed. Other notables: William Tenn, Blaise Cendrars, Samuel Delany, Italo Calvino (is there ever a year I don’t read Calvino?) and Roger Zelazny. The pick of the bunch? Undoubtedly War With the Newts
by Karel Čapek, an incredible novel of wit, wisdom and continual satiric inventiveness.
Films: I’m not a film buff, so why do I even presume to talk about them? Music: my tastes are eclectic and that’s all I’m willing to say. Food: I prefer salads and raw vegetables to cooked meals. Tongues: my own is quite wide. Apricots: a vastly underrated fruit. Banisters: sliding down in my estimation.
I have no idea why I persist in doing these so-called ‘annual reviews’ and so probably this one will be my last. The only important thing left to say is this: Happy Holly-Daze and have a Fantastical New Year!