2012 has been a momentous year for me for many reasons. This will come as scant surprise to those of you who've been with me from its beginning, but The Speculative Scotsman has seen a surprising number of newcomers in recent weeks - where did you guys come from, I wonder? - so allow me to make plain my changed circumstances.
To begin with, I realised a lifelong dream back in March, spending a full month in America, and loving every minute of it. I've been itching to go again ever since I got home — and I pray will one day! But I'll need a better reason than "because" to justify the tremendous expense again.
Meanwhile, I went from submitting reviews very occasionally elsewhere to having my work paid for and published on a weekly basis. As many people as I reach here - and I'm grateful to every single visitor - the simple fact of the matter is that articles on Strange Horizons and Tor.com are destined to be read by more folks than those I post on TSS, so if I want to get the good word out there about a promising small press or an exciting new author, the decision isn't difficult... much as it sometimes pains me to make.
Last but not least, the part-time tutoring I started in doing in early 2011 became a full-fledged business in 2012, eating away more of my time than ever before, especially taken together with everything else. But I can't complain; I wouldn't even if I could! Teaching has been a terrific and enlightening experience. To be doing something so meaningful to make ends meet... I simply can't imaging going back on that.
Alas, all this has had an adverse effect: the free time I've had to read and write in years previous has taken a bit of a hit. Likewise the hours I tended to dedicate to gaming... not to mention the movie nights I used to look forward to. It's practically tragic how little of the year's most exciting cinema I've seen.
But catching up is what holidays are all about, so I still plan to blog about 2012's finest films... albeit a little later than usual. Thus, this year, I'm going to stagger Top of the Scots somewhat, rather than blowing my whole load inside of a single week: the plan is to post The Best Movies in early January, after a bit of a break, alongside a category new to TSS.
Happily, I am still in a position to talk you through the year in speculative fiction forthwith — my thoughts on The Best Books of 2012 should be good to go this week.
And though the time I've spent with in other worlds than these has been rather reduced from previous periods, I put it to you that I've used it much more wisely. To wit: we'll kick Top of the Scots 2012 off properly tomorrow, with a long look at the The Best Games I've gamed this year.
Now you'll notice that Top of the Scots looks a little different than it has in the past. That's because - as well as adding an extra category - I've embiggened each of the blogs I've posted before, and split them down the middle.
And lo, there were two sections where once there was but one! Firstly, we'll talk about my Five Favourites., and afterwards, I'll give out several Other Awards - to Runners-Up amongst others, including Honourable Mentions, Glaring Oversights, and the year's Biggest Disappointments - before signing off with some fitting Final Thoughts.
And that's our introduction.
Remember: the excitement begins in earnest 24 hours from now!
Anyone want to hazard an early guess about what I'm going to go for?