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2024 Hugo Awards Progress
51 / 57 items read/watched (89.47%)
6201 / 7433 pages read (83.43%)
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24 May 2024

The Summer of the Book?

Back in 2021, I wrote a "book revision progress report," outlining how many chapters of my eternally-in-progress monograph had been completed and how many I needed to go. These are my chapters:

  1. Frankenstein
  2. Wives and Daughters
  3. medical reform novels
  4. domestic fiction
  5. air-war novels
  6. novels of biocracy
  7. professionalized scientists
Plus an introduction and a coda; I'm not revising in order, so as of that point, I had finished revising chapters 2, 4, 3, and (almost) 6.

Where do I stand now?

CHAPTER 1
I had been doing a pretty good job of getting out a chapter every summer. But something happened (I don't remember what), and I just was not able to finish a chapter Summer 2022; I got partway through this chapter and stalled out. But thankfully I came back to it Summer 2023 and got it done, and I am actually very happy with it now. It's hard to say something original about Frankenstein, but I believe I have, and the chapter has a clearer purpose in my project. Finished Summer 2023.

CHAPTER 7
This chapter was originally a hodgepodge. It is made up on analyses of three novels: George Gissing's Born in Exile, Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent, and H. G. Wells's Ann Veronica. Only originally, the discussions of Born in Exile and Ann Veronica had been part of chapter 4, and the discussion of The Secret Agent chapter 5/6 (which was then one chapter about revolution/future war). Back when this was my dissertation, it was pretty late in the day that I hived these three texts off into their own chapter, and there was no overall throughline, and there was literally no engagement with previous scholarship about the professionalization of science.

So this one needed a lot of work, in terms of tracking down sources and arranging things so that it actually made a point. I finished the bulk of the research and rewrote the Born in Exile portion Summer 2023, and then across the course of the school year worked slowly but steadily on the Secret Agent portion, finishing that up right after the school year ended in early May. My goal for early summer, then, is to revise the Ann Veronica part, and this seems quite doable. Should Finish Summer 2024.

CHAPTER 5
This is the thus the only chapter I haven't touched since grad school, but the chapter is based on an article I published in Science Fiction Studies and thus in fairly good shape, I would guess. My main thing would be seeing if there's anything from the last eight or so years that I need to accommodate or incorporate there. It's hard for me to imagine it will take me long to revise this. Should Finish Summer 2024.

That leaves revising the introduction and also going through the project in its complete form to make sure it's coherent, that ideas I came upon at one point are reflected throughout the project and referred to consistently. (I am a bit worried that the way I used Daston and Galison's terminology from Objectivity in some early chapters is not consistent with how it got used in some later chapters; I think I introduced a set of terms I really like from Robert Kargon about halfway through the book, but they really should be there from chapter 2 onward.) I reread the intro earlier this year and found it a bit stiff, but I think it can be made to work; basically like a lot of work produced by graduate students, it comes across as a little defensive, and I don't think it needs to be.

I also keep toying with a coda, but I think I will do it; I have a pretty straightforward idea.

So could 2024 be the summer of the book? I think so, but it will require some pretty deliberate focus on my part. Once the kids get out of school, things always get tricky around here!

Hopefully the editor that expressed interest before there was a pandemic and I had two kids is still alive.

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