I’m still at work on my book Monster Hunters, Dinosaur Lovers: Speculative Fiction in the Culture Wars. It’s about the fiction caught up in the Hugo/Puppy kerfuffle of 2013-6; and yes, I know that affair’s sinking ever-further into history – but the way I see it, this will merely enhance the benefit of hindsight.
I’ll be the first to admit that the book hasn’t been progressing as quickly as I would have liked. I haven’t managed to complete a chapter since last January, when I finished a draft of the chapter on comedic stories. One issue I’ve run into is something I’ve come to think of as the “small hole, big plug” situation, where a mostly-complete chapter ends up requiring a good chunk of additional research to fill in a certain section.
Take the horror chapter. I recently wrote the section on zombie fiction, which is focused on five specific books and meant to be fairly brief. Shouldn’t take too long, right? Well, the thing is, three of those novels were late volumes in their respective series – which meant that my research came to include rather more than five books. And now I’ve written about zombies I’ve got to move on to the section on urban fantasy, which necessitates plunging into the Dresden Files, Craft and Rivers of London series – all for one section of one chapter.
But other than that, the horror chapter is nearly complete; I just need another big plug for another small hole.
I’ll admit, sometimes it gets overwhelming figuring out which part of the book to work on next. So, I decided to write up a strict to-do list in my 2019 diary. This comprises ten items (with such enigmatic titles as “FINISH APOC UP TO DRAGONS”) which range from completing entire chapters, to simply reading piles of stories for research. I’m now duty-bound to polish that list off by the end of the year.
I originally expected this to be my first book, but it’s since been pipped to that post by my Devil’s Advocates volume on The Mummy. I’m now aiming to try and get one book out each year – and while I can’t say for sure if Monster Hunters, Dinosaur Lovers will be my title for 2020, I’m looking forward to publishing it somewhere down the line.