Thursday, 25 November 2010

A parting, of sorts

 
"Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil."
- J. R. R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

All good things come to an end, they say. Sadly, the time has come for me to finish my blogging at Speculative Horizons.

My reasons are simple: soon I will be joining the editorial team at Orbit, to take on the role of editorial assistant. I've wanted to work in publishing for a fantasy imprint ever since I was a teenager, so this really is the fulfillment of a long-held ambition. A dream, even. And I can't wait to take on the challenge.

Of course, this means I can't continue with my blogging here. I've always tried to blog with honesty and integrity, and there's just no way I could continue blogging while working for a major genre publisher - it would bring my personal and professional credibility into question.

So this post marks both the end of the blog, and the end of an amazing journey.

I started Speculative Horizons back in January 2008. The previous year had been a pretty horrendous one for me personally, and I felt I needed something to focus my creative energy on. With my love for fantasy books, and my enjoyment of the fledgling blogosphere, I figured a book review blog would be a great thing to do - a focus for my energies, and a challenge at the same time.

It's safe to say, on that cold January night in 2008, I didn't have the slightest sense of the journey I was about to embark on when I clicked 'create blog'.

The truth is, this blogging experience has been wonderful. No, more than that: it's been life-changing - quite literally.

As a direct result of my blogging endeavours, I have met dozens of wonderful people - authors, editors, agents, bloggers, fans - and have formed some friendships I have no doubt will last a lifetime. I've received hundreds of free books - a dream for any book lover - and that's something I am still grateful for. I've managed - with my reviews, articles and the occasional rant - to reach a global audience, and accrue more than a quarter of a million visits (although the true figure, I imagine, is even higher than that). I've had hundreds of emails from readers of the blog, like the one from the US soldier stationed in the Middle East, who told me that Speculative Horizons was one of his favourite websites to surf when on a break from patrols. Needless to say, that really made my day - and also brought home exactly what I'd achieved with this blog.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without you guys, and your undying enthusiasm. Whether you first stumbled across the blog yesterday, or have been here right from the start (and I know one or two of you have), I'm immensely grateful that you've taken the time to read my writings here and share your own thoughts - it's been a real pleasure interacting with you all, and I offer my heartfelt thanks. The genre community is wonderful, and I've been fortunate enough to experience it first hand.

And I hope to continue interacting with the community in my new role at Orbit. While I will be relinquishing my blogging status, you won't be getting rid of me that easily - I will still be attending conventions and will probably show my face here and there in the online scene from time to time, though in a purely professional capacity.

I've had an absolute blast with Speculative Horizons, and I hope you all did as well. I'm really proud of what I've achieved with this blog, but the time has come to pass the blogging flame on to a new generation - there's a lot of new blogs out there, and some of them are very good indeed.

So, that's about it. Cheers...and hopefully I'll see some of you in the bar.

James

60 comments:

Mieneke said...

Massive, massive congrats on getting a position at Orbit! It's sad to see Speculative Horizons ends, but onwards and upwards for you! I hope you enjoy your new job. You'll still be on Twitter right?

Jason Baki said...

Sad to see the end of Speculative Horizons, but very happy for you on the new job front - congratulations!

Magemanda said...

Looks like we're blogging compadres no longer! Yours is one of the few blogs I am genuinely excited about when I see a new post go up, so I will be sad to see it come to an end. Nice to see a blogger with integrity *irony*. Hope all goes well at Orbit!

magic_carpet said...

Sad to see this blog end, thoroughly enjoyed following it since I stumbled upon it last year. That being said, congrats on the Orbit gig- following a dream is a wonderful thing, and not enough people manage to do it; hope it works out!

Grasping for the Wind said...

James- Congrats on the new job! Your blog will be missed, but I'm sure we will see great stuff coming from your work at Orbit. Best of luck!

Niall Alexander said...

Damn it, James. I don't mind saying, you were one of the very best of us. I'll miss you bringing a little clarity, and not a little perspective round these here parts.

Fucking nicely done, though. Today you are made of win, I think. :)

Larry said...

Congrats on the new job! As for the not blogging, you could just refocus like several in the industry have done and blog about things not related to your actual job. Some of those are quite cool to read as well. Regardless, you've had quite the three years, no? :D

Graeme Flory said...

Just as I sent you an email (as the word verification wasn't showing)... the word verification appears... :o)

Sad to see Speculative Horizons come to an end, it's been my first port of call for a long time now and I'll have to find another blog to eat my breakfast to :o(

Congrats on the job though! I totally get why you're ending things here and you're definitely going out on a high. Hopefully see more of you in London?

Rachel said...

I've been reading your blog for a year and I'll be very sorry to see it go, but huge, huge congrats on the new job. Fantastic!

Tom said...

Thanks for all the time and energy you have put into your blog! It has truly been appreciated!

M. J. Alberts said...

I have enjoyed your blog over the past few years. I thank you and wish you good luck with your new job.

Aidan Moher said...

Aww, rats. Now I'm going to have to find a new favourite blog. For real.

Huge congrats, James. Very well deserved.

Catch you on the other side,

~Aidan Moher
A Dribble of Ink

redhead said...

i've enjoyed following your blog and reading your articles.

but what an incredible opportunity! you are gonna love it!!

chasingbawa said...

That's fantastic news although sad for followers of your blog! Wishing you well in your new job.

Stephen said...

Congratulations on getting a new job and I'm sure there are many people, myself included, who are very jealous. I've always enjoyed your direct approach on this blog and I doubt that will change in your new role. Hopefully I'll see you at some of the conventions in the future. All the best.

Mihai (Dark Wolf) said...

Congratulations! It is hard to see your blog coming to an end, but it is great to hear such news. It was a great journey, but you'll start another great one. Have fun in your new position :)

Adam Whitehead said...

Congratulations on getting the new job! Sad to hear about the blog shutting down, but this is a great opportunity :-)

MD Lachlan said...

Congratulations and hope to see you around.
Really well done, you deserve it for the excellent work you've put in on this blog.

Clifton Hill said...

Wow. Sad to hear. But good, of course, all at the same time.

I can't help but wonder though. Shouldn't you keep your blog going? But just under a different direction, or more limited in scope? I mean a job as an editorial assistant is great, but with the changes in the industry it seems like a waste to just shut off the blog. What if you find there to be such a shift in the publishing industry that you wish you had your blog back to help--in whatever way that that may be.

Not to be a downer, and you sound like you know the industry WAY more than I, but just a thought to share.

Best of luck.

The Evil Hat said...

I'm crushed to see you go, but congratulations all the same. Speculative Horizons was a massive accomplishment, and I think your articles and insights into genre at large were some of the best in the whole pack o' bloggers.

Best of luck at Orbit.

Iain said...

Congratulations about the job James. Good luck for your future and here's hoping you discover some more talent for us fantasy freaks to enjoy.

Ashley said...

Major congrats on the new job! That is incredibly awesome for you! I'm a newer follower, but I've very much enjoyed your writing style and your insights!

Glenn Kiwi said...

Very sad to see you go, says your - probably not only - fan in New Zealand. As Niall so aptly put, hope you feel made of win for your success with Orbit.
Don't suppose we could tempt you to finish with your 5 all time genre greats?

Gabriele C. said...

Congrats!

I've been a follower of Speculative Horizons pretty much from the beginning and I will miss your blog, but I clan understand the reason why you decided to no longer write reviews.

May the new job turn out to be a dream job for you.

Ryan said...

Congrats on your new job and the fulfillment of a dream. I'll miss your blog though, but I'm sure Orbit will be better for having you. Keep it real.

Dan Goodman said...

Dismayed to see the passing of Speculative Horizons. But something good is coming out of that for you. So congratulations, good luck, and a fond farewell to wherever your position at Orbit Books takes you!
Thank you for all the wonderful stuff since its conception, and hopefully, James, everything goes up from here.

Best.
Dan

Tom Weaver said...

Huge congratulations to you, commiserations to us. My thanks for the many books you've introduced me to in the last year of reading.

ediFanoB said...

This post is like a medal. On the one side congratulations for a dream coming through. On the other side a sad day for your readers. I have been one of them.

Best of Luck!

The Dude said...

I'm sincerely sad that you're ending Speculative Horizons. I came late to the party, but your blog quickly became one of my favorites.

Congratulations on your new job and I wish you all the best.

And very classy of you to use that Tolkien quote :)

Neth said...

Best of luck in publishing. You will be missed.

You know, some editors blog too.

Memory said...

I'm sorry you'll no longer be blogging, but I'm happy for you! What a wonderful opportunity.

Todd said...

I've been visiting here for around 2 years and have always enjoyed your blog. You ran a 1st class site and I've enjoyed it immensely. Congrats on your new endeavors though...you'll be missed!

Elfy said...

James, while I haven't always agreed with your point of view, in fact I think I've frequently disagreed with your point of view, I have enjoyed what you've done at Speculative Horizons. Good luck with your future in the publishing world and congratulations.

Tyson said...

Sad to see this site go. But I wish you luck in your new career path.

Dungeonmum said...

Gutted as I only found this blog yesterday! Best of luck and congrats on the new job.

Jebus said...

So sad to see the blog close but so happy for he brilliant job! Goodbye second favourite blog (sorry, Wert beats you there) I forget when I started reading you but it's been a damn good ride.

Good luck and good night.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the job! but sad days as well. Spec Horizons was my favourite blog, it will be missed

Jessica said...

Best of luck to you! I will miss Speculative Horizons very much and appreciate the hard work you've put into this site.

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

They're lucky to have you man. Keep livin' the dream. :)

Murf61 said...

Congratulations on your new job, Orbit are getting a great addition to their team. I wish you well in your new role.

I will miss your reviews, as I have bought many a book based on your recommendation, but as you say, all good things must come to an end at sometime, but it's great that you are going to be 'living the dream'. Blogging's loss is publishing's gain!

Mark said...

James, a big and hearty congratulations! The blog will be missed, but we'll see you around ;)

ThRiNiDiR said...

James, it's been a pleasure sharing "common" opinions on books, Transformers the Movie, authors' demenour and many other things.

And you've got a dream job that my gf covets as well. Maybe you could fill me in sometimes on how internship works at Orbit etc.?

Have a blast mate.

Sebert said...

I can totally relate to your dream of working somewhere in the fantasy/SpecFic industry, and I understand your decision, but nevertheless I am very sad to see Speculative Horizons come to an end :-(

Along with Pat & Werthead you were my main source of information concerning the kind of fantasy lit I wanted to read. I picked up most of the books you've recommended, and I was never disappointed.

Thank you for almost 3 years of dedicated blogging and the wonderful journeys I was able to embark on due to your blog !!!

Kristopher A. Denby said...

This was the first blog that I started reading regularly. Seeing your success has been an inspiration, and so this news is bitter sweet.

Congrats and good luck in your new job, man.

Kat Hooper said...

What a great job for you! Congratulations and best wishes from us at FanLit.

Patrick said...

Sad to see you go...

Best of luck in this new endeavor! =)

Patrick

Y. Hara said...

A wise man once told me, "If you have the passion and talent for something, the job finds YOU." Congratulations!

Your reviews have been thoughtful and comprehensive, your approach analytical but not clinical, always nuanced with noteworthy praise and considered criticism - the words of one devoted to good stories and what they can bring to our lives.

Like G. Flory, your blog has been my "my first port of call" for some time now, and as Murf61 has lauded, you introduced books that I might never have picked up otherwise - which, in turn, I have recommended to others (and introduced them to your blog as well). The Unread are bulwarks for shelved citizens, alternating sentries across the headboard, reserves clustered in closets - of which many are "Speculative" recruits.

You introduced me to "A Dribble of Ink," "The Wertzone," and "The Speculative Scotsman," and it saddens me to see that fellowship of respectful review banter at an end. I will just hope that they need not leave these shores as soon.

Still, as Neth and C. Hill have expressed, I hope that you find some scope for "Horizons" to cast light upon. (Is there a word for "horizons" on a galactic scale, something concordant with "orbit"?)

Well, here's to hoping!

Thank you, and cheers, mate.

- Wishing you the best from Indonesia

P.S. Phase 1: write reviews. Phase 2: assist writers. Phase 3: ?

RedEyedGhost said...

A hearty congratulations, and your blog will definitely be missed.

James said...

Thanks to you all for your kind words, they're very much appreciated. The response from the community has been amazing, and it's great to see that the blog meant so much to so many. Cheers.

Mieneke - yes, I'll still be on twitter.

Larry - yeah, it's been an eventful three years. As for blogging, I may do something further down the line, but it'll have a totally different focus. My book reviewing days, I expect, are over.

Clifton - there's simply no way the blog could continue in its current format. I could have adapted it, but I feel it's best to make a clean break.

Glenn - all time top 5 greats? I honestly couldn't say. A Storm of Swords would be in there, certainly. Maybe Viriconium as well.

Thrinidir - cheers dude, we've had some fun haven't we? As for publishing and so on, I'm no expert. But maybe down the line if you have any questions about getting into the industry, I will do my best to help.

Y. Hara - thanks a lot, glad that even on the other side of the world people were taking the time to read my ramblings! Cheers.

Clifton Hill said...

I'm sure you know your blog best and good luck on your new endeavor.

Dan Smyth said...

Wow. Congratulations on the new job. I'm completely jealous. :) Find us some good stuff at Orbit , James. I know you'll do grand. And thanks for the blog this last bit as well. You've definitely done us genre readers right in your endeavors.

Benjamin said...

Sorry to see you go, but congrats on the job. Best of luck!

Kayasmus said...

I feel like I have not been reading your blog for long enough. I will really miss the quality of your writing, but I am also overjoyed that you are also fulfilling a life dream.

I will miss you very much. Now I need to find some more blogs to read ^^

Maurice

logankstewart said...

Congratulations, James. I'll miss reading the excellent blog posts. Speculative Horizons was one of the first SFF blogs that I found and really liked, which in turn led me to many other great ones. Thanks for all your excellent thoughts and reviews.

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Blog about something else.

Jamie Gibbs (Mithril Wisdom) said...

Major HUGE congratulations to you, James, and I wish you the very best of luck as part of the Orbit team. You'll be missed here, but we'll try our best to pick up the slack in your absence :) Keep us updated on how you get on!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the new job! I will really miss reading your blog! Dan :-)

ToB said...

But, but I only just found this blog! It looks great - and I will be sorry it doesn't continue but will read your back posts. Congratulations on your new job.

Robert V.S. Redick said...

James, I will miss your extremely thoughtful writing. I wish you every success in your new adventure. RVSR

Lindsay Edmunds said...

Gee, and I just found your very good blog today.

Happy trails to you!

Lindsay