2022 Year in Review

This is a long post with a lot of content. A lot of it, on paper, is very good. I accomplished a lot of things and reached a few important milestones. And I have a lot of books, movies, podcasts, and whatnot to recommend. But these year-in-review posts are just as much for me as for anyone else. So, before we get to the good stuff, I’m going to complain.

This year was miserable. Compared to the shared isolation of 2020 and the emotional rollercoaster of 2021, 2022 was incredibly lonely. Most people are trying to get back to normal, despite things definitely not being normal, and my lack of car was keenly felt. I spent most of this year trying to ignore the outside world and focus on things I could change, which ended up being a lot of homework-like tasks. My team needed a manager, so I became one (despite hating being a manager). I finally got a financial advisor and started putting my credit in order, which is one of my most hated activities and included things like being on hold with the Treasury department for two hours and having to find a new bank. I drafted my first novella, which is awesome in hindsight, but was roughly five months of writing without any point of satisfaction or relief. Basically, if I had free time on my calender, I was using it to do difficult things.

And blanketing all of this loneliness and misery was the absolutely rancid weather. We had a very wet and late spring, rain pouring down until June. Everyone thought this was a good sign and would keep wildfire smoke away. Instead, it just brought insects. An ant colony swarmed in my bathroom, and I spent six months with large spiders skittering up and down my walls while humidity so thick I could bite into it pressed against my skin. Portland had the longest heatwave on record, requiring me to sequester myself in my office with cold rotisserie chicken for a week. And we got wildfire smoke anyway, folded into a summer that went until the end of October. I couldn’t sleep, my face broke out, my sinuses flared. Everything was disgusting and unhappy.

Increasingly, the few things keeping me in Portland are my handful of friends and the legal protections Oregon offers. The weather is so different from when I moved here ten years ago, and it’s really depressing. But with the fall of Roe (yes, I didn’t even touch on the greater problems happening this year) and the increasing violence against the queer community, I feel I have few places to go.

So, yes, now that it is cold out and the humidity has dropped to a livable zone, I can look back on this year and enjoy my accomplishments. But keep in mind that everything I discuss in this post happened against a backdrop of low grade despair. Cheers.

Myself standing in front of a large Sequoia.

I saw a Sequoia!


I got promoted! I am now a principal engineer. This is a career milestone and one I’ve been working toward for many years. It’s the sort of thing that seemed out of grasp for someone with no CS degree, who started out in tech support to pay back student loans. Never mind the fact that I’m a principal engineer doing systems engineering work on large distributed systems. I’m really proud of this accomplishment; and, in true nerd fashion, celebrated with pizza and video games.


Twitter is dying (so everyone on Mastodon assures me) but I’m still there. I initially joined Twitter to try to get a job after college, and it organically grew into a place where I found friends, colleagues, and new ways of thinking. I didn’t have to be a brand (despite many people’s efforts) and I could float between tech, art, and people. Trying to choose somewhere else feels like scrunching myself up into a locked trunk. And especially given my ongoing pandemic isolation, I am loath to cut off one of my only social outlets. I did make a Mastodon account and I started a writing newsletter (which I like quite a bit).

A small xi shi style teapot. It is the size and shape of an orange, with a white ruyao glaze that will crackle over time. The teapot knob is a skull in unglazed reddish clay.

My new goth teapot.


My tea obsession continues, and my teaware collection continues to expand. My friends are getting bolder with their gifts, so I now have a wonderful ruyao skull teapot, a recreation of a Santa Fe Railroad teacup and saucer, and my first yunomi. I’ve continued exploring puer, and it’s been fascinating to watch my palate adjust over time. Teas which seemed incredibly bitter and abrasive a year ago are now pleasant and flavorful. And puer that reminds me of oolongs lacks interest (I’d rather just have the oolongs). I used some of my story sale money to buy more samples and an entire cake of Gore of the Forest. I suppose I’m in it for the long haul now.


I’m reading again. This may seem like an odd thing to call out, but my ability to focus on books severely plummeted in 2020 (as I’m sure many of you can relate). I read short fiction in 2020, and it was wonderful to escape into bitesize worlds every evening. But this year I am reliably reading books again. A good chunk of them were novellas, which I highly recommend for anyone wishing they could return to books. But I also dug into a fair number of novels, and it felt really great to put my library card to use again. I’ve mentioned my reading set up before, including my excellent LEVO bookstand. This year I dragged my reading chair into my office in preparation for a heatwave, and it’s still in there. Turns out, being able to open a book while CI runs results in more books being read.

High cliff view of the Oregon coast with frothy ocean waves crashing against large rocks.

I always miss the coast.


I went on two vacations this year, which were really just me being alone in a new place. I spent a few days at the coast, because I missed the ocean, and I went back to the woods in the fall. The ocean trip was pretty lonely (although I did see a big tree), and came right on the heels of my laptop dying. The woods trip was needed, but climate change was relentless this year, and every October day was sunny in the mid-80s. I still appreciated the new sights, and I hope to do similar trips each year.


My monthly meetup is still alive. I think I’ve been running it for over seven years now, although time doesn’t make a lot of sense anymore. We still meet virtually once a month, even though it’s difficult to find talks these days and everyone is very tired. I mostly mention it because a lot of people don’t know I run this meetup, and because this community is very important to me. Having to adjust to unjust times has been a challenge, but I always hear such wonderful feedback on the energy we bring to those events. We are a small but tight-knit group.

My listing in the back of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022. It says A.L. Goldfuss, “The Woman With No Face,” Fantasy, April.


I had quite an eventful year on the writing side of things.

  • Had my first publication in Nightmare magazine! An unsettling flash piece that you could read here for free
  • Made my first Lightspeed sale (out right now!)
  • Gave a reading at Flights of Foundry and attended NebulaCon
  • “The Woman With No Face” was longlisted for Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022
  • Drafted my first novella (currently sitting at 34k words)
  • Sat on two panels at WorldCon / ChiCon
  • Sold my first-ever novelette (no pub date yet)
  • Made an author website (after realizing I had a story coming out in January and the only link in my author bio was to Twitter)
  • Became a full/active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association
  • Started a newsletter

So, to recap, I began the year with one professional publication to my name and ended it as a full-time member of SFWA. My brain is very good at minimizing goals as soon as I achieve them, so I will just say this is Neat.

A 3/4 view of a nepenthes gothica upper pitcher. It is 4 inches tall, mostly green, with red spots around the mouth and a bright red and ridged peristome (rim around the mouth) and a red spotted lid.

After 3 years of effort, my nepenthes gothica finally pitchered.

Things I Enjoyed


  • About Buildings and Cities. Two British guys discuss buildings, cities, and architects. And it’s hysterical. I’m not sure it’s supposed to be hysterical? But I listen to it before bed and it kills me.
  • Print Run. Two agents discuss the publishing industry, books, and progressive politics. This podcast is like a warm hug for me, and I ration the episodes accordingly. Start with episode 151, The Pettisode.
  • Crafting with Ursula. This 12 episode miniseries from Between the Covers features well-researched, thoughtful, and delightful conversations with lauded authors about the many facets and depths of Ursula K. Le Guin. An excellent companion for long walks.


  • Helpmeet by Naben Ruthnum. I purchased this horror novella on a whim after seeing a tweet about its beautiful design, and it is easily my favorite thing published this year. It’s a gothic portrait with shades of body horror framed by a love story. An exquisite read.
  • Embassytown by China Mieville. I have not been enthralled by a science-fiction novel like this since Ancillary Justice. I love the world, I love the characters, I love the depth of the main conceit. I gave myself eyestrain trying to burn through it. Buy yourself a good reading light and dig in.
  • Sula by Toni Morrison. More a collection of vignettes and sharp moments than a conclusive story, this book left me with half a dozen scenes burned into my mind. You can see Morrison gathering the tools that would eventually shape Beloved. Read it for her excellent character portraits and dabbling in fabulism.


  • Interview With A Vampire. The boys are back in town. AMC’s adaptation of the Anne Rice classic explores new narratives and themes with a brilliant cast and clever writing. You don’t need to read the books to enjoy the show, but there’s plenty of Easter eggs for savvy fans. A delightful watch.
  • Our Flag Means Death. This show was so poorly marketed that I had to watch it twice before I could enjoy it with proper expectations. It’s an anachronistic queer romcom with some funny moments, nice costumes, and catchy soundtrack. If, like me, you aren’t enthralled by the first few episodes, keep watching. They have a plan.
  • Love Between Fairy and Devil. What if we gave a fanfic writer unfettered access to TV Tropes and $1 billion? It would be this show. This Chinese fantasy romance is absolutely gorgeous, with beautiful sets, costumes, and people. It is also the most trope-tastic and dumb good time I had this year. It is legitimately funny, although you may need a few episodes to adjust. Watch it alone with your favorite treats, so you can shout at the TV without shame.


  • Black Narcissus. A golden age film exploring religion, sexuality, morality, and racism in a group of missionaries sent to the mountains. There’s some tight, understated acting in here, but the real show stopper is the cinematography and gorgeous set design, featuring hand-painted backdrops and practical mirror effects. You might find yourself pausing it to take in the view.
  • Under the Skin. A slightly surreal art film gives Scarlett Johansson perhaps her best role. An alien hunts human man in the form of a human woman, while the audience experiences what it’s like to be the hunter and the hunted. There is a fascinating change of tone toward the end of the film that was frankly masterful in its execution.
  • In the Mood for Love. A 2000 film emulating 1960s Hong Kong and the unspoken feelings between two people who spouses are having an affair. It’s beautiful, it’s sad, it’s lovely. It’s what I want movies to be.

Alice Goldfuss

Alice Goldfuss
Alice Goldfuss is a systems punk with years of experience working on cutting-edge container platforms. She’s an international speaker who enjoys building modern infrastructure at-scale and writing fiction on the weekends.

Alice has written articles, consulted on publications, built communities, and sipped many cups of tea. She hasn’t written a book, but you’ve probably read her tweets (@alicegoldfuss).

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