I'm going to try to post a bit more here and become part of the Dreamwidth Renaissance triggered by all of us refugees from the Russian annexation of LJ.
So what has been happening?
Just bounced a story off Analog and Clarkesworld - not sure what to do about this one. I may send it to Lightspeed when they reopen for SF. Asimov's is a possibility, but my experience is that if one of the big names doesn't take a story none of them will. Suggestions on a postcard please (the story is set on Io so if any of you know of relevant anthologies please let me know).
I was shortlisted for the Clarke Centenary anthology competition at Eastercon. The reading went well, but I didn't win. Would be interesting to see voting figures. I have a plan for this story but need to do some editing before that can be put into operation.
The Novel is being worked on, after some very useful comments the writing group. Coming back to it fresh, and reading/editing it over a compressed time frame leads me to think that it might not be as execrable as I have been thinking for the last umpty years. I'm now about 10000 words from completing another major re-edit incorporating comments form the writing group. This last 10000 us going to be the hardest as it's been suggested that I need to put some more speed bumps in the way of my protagonists, so it's likely to grow from 10000 words, but I think I may soon be able to send it to potential agents. Scary!
While my own research is grinding along - with the unexpected speedbump of being commissioned to write a (paid for!) paper on 'An Introduction to the Planck Mission' for money! - my PhD students are doing well. My more senior student especially is going great guns right now, with loads of proposals submitted and several projects nearing the point when they can be turned into papers, as well as one paper close to being submitted. People have been asking me pointed questions about when they might be looking for a job, which is a good sign.
More broadly, though, science in the UK is in trouble. We've had flat cash for 7 years which amounts to a real terms cut of about 15%, and there is no sign of this changing in the foreseeable. In fact, what with Brexit coming at us like a steam train, there is no light at the end of the tunnel at all. About 40% of my department's funding comes from the EU in some shape or form - whether ERASMUS students, EU grants or whatever - so things are looking a bit bleak right now. I am looking at possibilities outside academia (see novel above - though I'm not stupid enough to think I can make a living writing SF unless I'me amazingly lucky) and outside the UK. I have one application in for a job in mainland Europe already.
Eastercon was fun - it was a lot less work than being a GoH as I was at Mancunicon, but there were a couple of fun readings - the one above for the competition and another for Shoreline of Infinity who just published a story of mine - as well as the usual. I managed to get to a surprising number of panels as an audience member.
Looking forward to Helsinki in August!
State of me:
It's not easy being bouncy and optimistic when you feel the country you live in isn't yours any more, and when the forces of ignorance, prejudice and privilege are taking hold across the world. William Gibson's view of the future is looking ever more likely and Dystopian is now a recognised fictional form on bookshop bookshelves. Still, we're off to Skye shortly and that always helps.