So, yes. Monster Hunters, Dinosaur Lovers: Speculative Fiction in the Culture Wars. That book I announced back in 2017 and envisioned as a fairly small project as most of it would just be blog posts from WWAC stapled together with some original for-the-book content… and then spiraled into something bit broader in scope.
I currently have three chapters finished as drafts, with a fourth very near that stat; between them, I’ve taken 6400 words’ worth of blog posts and spun them into 25,350 words’ worth of essays. Once we factor in the other chapters I’ve got at various states of completion, the wordcount gets another boost – yet the book’s still a long way from completion.
One issue I’ve had to confront is datedness. Of course, since the main topic of the book is the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies/Hugo Awards dispute that ran from 2013 to 2016, I knew from the start that I’d be writing in past tense. But the problem is, some of the topics I plan to cover in the book are still ongoing. For example, I’m going to include a chapter on debates over H. P. Lovecraft’s legacy and revisionist spins on his work; but because of the book’s main subject my overview will have the arbitrary cut-off date of 2016. As a result, the chapter’s going to have to wilfully ignore more recent years’ worth of Lovecraft re-interpretations (N. K. Jemisin’s The City We Became and the television version of Lovecraft Country being two obvious examples.)
But I’ve decided on a way to have my proverbial and eat it. Sometime this year I’m going to launch a blog series on the history of Lovecraftian fiction, starting with “Dagon” and coming to include everyone from Derleth to Jemisin. Once the series has covered the years from 2013 to 2016, I’ll have everything I need for the Monster Hunters, Dinosaur Lovers essay on Lovecraft’s legacy – plus a much larger writing project under my belt at the same time. Score!
I’ve also made some recent decisions about how to conclude the book. My original plan was to have a chapter looking at the aftermath of the Puppy kerfuffle, from 2017 onwards. Trouble was, the amount of material I had to cover in that survey kept getting longer: the superversive and pulp revolution movements, the Dragon Awards, the cosying up with Comicsgate, the efforts to weaponise Marion Zimmer Bradley and other paedophilia scandals, the legal antics of Jon Del Arroz, all with no end in sight.
But with the result of the 2020 election, I suddenly found myself with a tidy end-point. While the main body of the book will cover the Puppy years – which coincidentally overlap with the second Obama term – the final section will comprise a set of shorter essays looking at post-Puppy activity during the Trump years.
(You didn’t think I’d been reading MAGA 2020 & Beyond for fun, did you…?)