Mission Update - Spring 2012

This mission update involves an apology, an explanation, and another apology.

The first apology is for missing the past two weeks' posts. I still owe Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett a review of Frank Reade: Adventures in the Age of Invention. It's coming next week.

Now the explanation: I had the usual end-of-term burnout, though it was the result of an extraordinary workload this year. While I have finally gotten my own work at Grant MacEwan under control, I was burdened with an additional Teaching Assistantship through the University of Alberta, where I am doing my PhD. So I was marking for around 250 students, all said and done.  In addition to those marking duties, I wrote one academic article for publication, successfully defended my oral candidacy, and wrote three other pieces for publication: an introduction to an anthology, an article for a magazine, and a sidebar and bibliography for a book. Oh, and I turned 41.

Consequently, I came out of this term completely burnt out. Last week I fell ill with what was likely Strep Throat. I'm still recovering, but the going is slow.

In addition to my physical burnout, I experienced a sort of steampunk burnout. I haven't read any steampunk since my candidacy defence in March. I've read two Can-Lit books (Patrick DeWitt's oddball western The Sisters Brothers and Alexi Zenter's beautiful fantasy in a logging town, Touch), a stack of graphic novels/trade paperbacks (The Ultimates (Ultimate Collection), WE3, reMIND, Astonishing X-Men volume I, and NEXTWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E.), and Pathfinder rules and adventure paths.

I know I'll get back to reading steampunk, but right now, all I want to do is write the dissertation. My dissertation committee told me to scale back the number of works I'm referencing in the dissertation, so there's no need for me to do more reading until the dissertation is finished. Which brings me to my second apology. I'm putting the blog on hiatus following my review of Frank Reade next week. I'll get back to posting reviews in July for Canuck Steampunk.

Over May and June, I'll be writing and revising daily, with a goal of six finished pages. I have about 100 solid pages of material, and another 80 of rough material. I need 250 total, so this will be a combination of generating new content and reworking old.

Since I began the blog as a way to work through the dissertation in steps, it only makes sense to take a step back from the blog long enough to get that work finished and handed in. I'm nervous about doing it. I'm worried all that silence will result in the death of the blog.

I hope not. I hope those of you who have been loyal readers will wait out this break, and those of you who are new will take the time to wander around the extensive archive 3.5 years of reading have produced.

See you in July, I hope!


  1. I'm a silent lurker, but a big fan of your blog. Sorry to hear about the hiatus, but I totally understand; just handed my MA thesis in two weeks ago :)

    Anyway, if your thesis ever gets published, I'll be looking forward to reading it! Good luck!

  2. Thanks, Balú. I'll be back, but I needed to clear away distractions to focus.

  3. Best of luck with the dissertation. I'm certain that your readers are avid enough prosthelytizers to keep a stream of new traffic flowing (I know I certainly try).

  4. Thanks! And having seen that graphic novel you're working on, I try sending traffic your way as well. Love your work!

  5. I'm also a lurker but want to say good luck with your dissertation. I'll enjoy browsing the blog till you return.

  6. No worries, sir - two of my meatspace friends are doing dissertation work (one has successfully defended his dissertation, but needs to add a chapter, the other has successfully defended his dissertation proposal and will start writing any minute now...), so I have some understanding of how it goes.

    And since I don't have anywhere near your level of higher-priority stuff to do, I'll have to try and get in the habit of writing in my own blog as a substitute! :D

  7. Thanks Janeite and MacAuslander - I'm encouraged by your posts! MacAuslander - I look forward to seeing the blog updated!

  8. Mike,
    You are incredibly over committed to a million projects. Your blog is fun and wonderful and will not die while you are finishing up your dissertation. Your readers will wait for you. Here is the best advice that I got from my director when writing mine, "Remember, your dissertation doesn't have to be perfect but it does have to be finished." Go to it and GOOD WRITING!


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