End of Year Update


No proper post today. I've had an incredibly trying few weeks, I'm feeling rather drained and uninspired and nothing really came up to come together. So instead I'm using my last column of 2017 to take stock of the past year for me at Eruditorum Press and begin to sketch out the year ahead.
I began with The Elder Scrolls and Nintendo and ended with The Elder Scrolls and Nintendo (well, technically I began with the Star Trek: The Next Generation comic “The Truth Elusive”, but the audience for 20 year old Star Trek tie-in comics can be charitably described as a niche demographic). Along the way, I moored the blog project I've been working on every week since 2013, Vaka Rangi, reached the climax of my unexpected series on The Legend of Zelda and went crazy with what once was a humble thought experiment to write about Garfield. I wrote about Shin Gojira a year late, creeped everyone out talking about Natasha Henstridge and Species, pissed everyone off talking about Sailor Moon and annoyed everyone defaulting onto my old game journalism habits between jobs. And my favourite band came back to see out the whole sordid affair.
So pretty much just another year, albeit a year of transition.
Fittingly, the biggest thing that happened to me in 2017 is something you won't be able to see the effects of until 2018. I've talked about it elsewhere (and indeed a big part of this is cribbed from a comment I wrote under one of Phil's updates a few weeks back: I wanted to consolidate it into a proper post and report on some new developments that have happened since), but I received some surprising news last winter that cemented what the successor to Vaka Rangi was going to be. Neither of my other current blog projects were intended to fill that gap: I started writing Hyrule Haeresis for Tumblr (for a blog that no longer exists, so don't bother looking for it) and it was never intended to get as big as it's gotten, and Permanent Saturday was, as I said above, originally a thought experiment that wound up having legs. Neither of them are at the daft level of scale or ambition Vaka Rangi was born from. This, however, might be.
I've been planning this all year and it's basically all outlined and ready to go already, but since there is a “fieldwork component” to this project it has to wait until I can physically make that trip. I do not want to tell you what this is or where I am going because I want you all to be surprised. Mostly, I confess, because I like appearing unpredictable. I can tell you however that I may get the chance to start writing and posting sooner than originally expected: March instead of April. But you will know when the time draws closer. Once that launches, it will almost certainly become my main weekly blogging project for Eruditorum Press going forward, but it will not be the only one. Permanent Saturday will continue, pretty much whenever Garfield does something I feel is oversignifed enough to warrant my particular brand of madness, or I feel especially compelled to go dig through the archives. There is one more Hyrule Haeresis essay on the drafting table, after which I suspect I'll begin work hammering that into a book that can be published and bought.
Do not expect a Hyrule Haeresis book until 2019 at the earliest, however. 2018 being the 25th Anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, I want Vaka Rangi Volume 4 (which will cover that show's first two seasons, as well as the final two of Star Trek: The Next Generation) out by the end of the year. Which means Vaka Rangi Volume 3 has to come out earlier in the year as well. That book will cover Star Trek: The Next Generation seasons 2-5, and I'm shooting for a release date of March. The editing work for this one is mostly done already, as Star Trek: The Next Generation seasons 2, 3 and 4 were originally meant to go into Vaka Rangi Volume 2, which I published this past September in honour of the show's 30th Anniversary (alongside a revised edition of Volume 1). I just need to do Season 5, do some more cleanup work on the earlier seasons and write some bonus essays (and hope and pray it falls within Createspace's page count limit). But that alone, plus the cover art and formatting, is a monumental undertaking in and of itself, so I have my work cut out for me. In an ideal world, Vaka Rangi Volume 3 will come out the week before I leave to go on fieldwork, and I will start the new Surprise Project upon my return.
Because of this though, please be aware my posting may become a bit more sporadic here for these next few months. If I may be so bold (and not to get too personal, but) I've had a particularly rough 2017 even by 2017 standards, I need to recuperate and I've got a huge job ahead of me. Managing all that *and* keeping up a weekly column without a longrunning project to fall back on is looking next to impossible right now. I don't plan to disappear entirely, as I've got a few ideas for upcoming posts already...But not three months' worth. In the meantime, I started a YouTube channel this year: It's not technically part of EP, but I do intend to keep plugging away at that as time, money and technology permits, so please consider subscribing if you'd like to see those videos as soon as they go up. I think that's where most of my video game content will go in the future, at least for PC games (though I'm chomping at the bit for a solution for consoles). I'm also perfectly happy to appear on any podcasts anyone wants to invite me on: That's a standing offer, but these next three months or so would be a particularly good opportunity for it. I'm just waiting for our robust podcast network to pitch me something neat. And I've still got a show of my own, if anyone is still interested.
One more thing, for those of you who follow me for my words on Star Trek. Which is, statistically speaking, probably 100% of you. Although it's currently moored and on the backburner in favour of this new project, Vaka Rangi is not over. I still have a job to finish, and I do intend to finish it. I was just burned out after wrapping on Star Trek: The Next Generation/Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and, while I've had a sense of how I wanted the project to end from the beginning, I didn't have a clear idea for where to go after 1994, how to get to that ending point and what, precisely, it would look like. But there has never been a time since I posted my concluding episode guide for the Next Generation era that I haven't been thinking about Vaka Rangi and how to continue it-It's just I've been kind of like Michael Piller in “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II”: Banging my head against the wall and chanting “How do we beat the Borg? How do we beat the Borg? How do we beat the Borg?” over and over and over again.
Now, however, I think I know.
There will be, as of this writing, one fifth and final Vaka Rangi volume to tie the entire narrative together. I've got an outline about 70 or 80% planned out, and while it's not as ridiculously over-indulgent as I feared it was going to be, it's still looking like it's going to be one of the more ambitious and unorthodox books I've tried to write. I have enough of it planned out, however, that there may be some clues and foreshadowing woven into 2018's Vaka Rangi books for particularly perceptive readers. And of course, I will run it in serial form on Eruditorum Press first. Expect a blow-by-blow commentary on the Dominion War, a snap-back to the 22nd Century on Enterprise and yes, probably even some of that new Star Trek stuff too. I hope it proves to be something Vaka Rangi and Star Trek fans are will enjoy and will get something out of. I'm excited to start work on it, which is something I didn't expect to say so soon six months ago, though I can't promise *when* that will be. A conservative estimate would be sometime after Volume 4 gets published, which would potentially push it into 2019, but I'll have to see how I feel when the time comes. This book will require a fair bit of research and planning too. If I were to guess, I'd assume it would alternate with the Secret Project in much the same way Vaka Rangi alternated with Hyrule Haeresis and Permanent Saturday in the past, though probably on a more regular schedule.
So in conclusion. I'm taking a bit of a breather as we ease into 2018, but come this spring expect a flurry of activity. Vaka Rangi Volume 3 in March (hopefully), followed by a brand new huge-scale blog project and more Garfield. One more Vaka Rangi publication in September to honour Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and, beyond that, Hyrule Haeresis in book form and, down the line, maybe even new Vaka Rangi sooner rather than later. And not to get too too ahead of myself, but I may or may not have two more book projects coming down the pipeline as well someday. Things to think about.
In the meantime, please come join me on YouTube and I hope you've all been having a lovely winter holiday season and something other than a completely nihilistic New Year. I'll see you on the flipside.


Sean Dillon 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm sorry you had a rubbish 2017. I wish I could say something optimistic about the future, but I just finished writing something involving Black Monday, the South Seas Bubble, and the new Tax Bill. I sometimes fear I'm going to fall into the pit of pessimistic despair. But one of the many things that has kept me out of that pit has been your contributions to Eruditorum Press. It's inspired me to start work on my own blog (that I keep pondering why people read it at all). You've introduced me to new authors and ideas I never would have on my own, so thank you for that. If I'm being honest, I've preferred the Garfield and Zelda articles to the Trek ones (also Holy crap, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark! The opening notes of Punishment of Luxury alone should convince people they're one of the greatest bands ever).

I look forward to your future projects (and also the Cowboy Bebop entry of Vaka Rangi, which should come some time in-between Insurrection and Dominion War season 4 [DS9 season 6]). Also, if you need a copy editor, I'm available. I don't need much, just a copy of the physical book when it's done.

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Josh Marsfelder 7 months, 3 weeks ago

That's one of the nicest things anyone could have said about me, so thank you. I'm flattered I've been able to be such an inspiration, and I hope you continue to enjoy whatever nonsense I come up with next :-)

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JR 7 months, 1 week ago

I ran across your post on the "Dirty Pair" and was wondering if you might know anyone interested in some of the comics. I ran across 10 of them in a bookcase I was cleaning out.

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