Instead of a Conclusion

I’ve always disliked the Russian tradition of calling a conclusion “Instead of a Conclusion,” as if this locution somehow got the writer off the hook.  But now that I’ve reached this point in my current project, I’m starting to sympathize.  So I am availing myself of a Russian “Get out of concluding free” card.

This is the last post in the Plots against Russia blog, a project that went on line one year and eight months ago.  Obviously, the book is not yet finished, but, with two exceptions, I have completed the first draft.  The first exception is the Ukraine chapter, which does not conclude so much as stop.  The second is, of course, the Conclusion.  In each case, I decided that it would make more sense to do this writing once I have thoroughly revised the rest of the manuscript.

So that is what I am now going to do.  My hope is to give the completed MS to Cornell University Press for review by the end of this calendar year.  Should that process go well, when the book is published, I will take down most of the content of this blog (by agreement with the press).  But I'll still use this site for updates and announcements. 

Before I go, I want to thank everyone who has read any part of this book-in-progress.  As someone who follows far too many blogs myself, I understand how difficult it can be to keep up with new content, even content produced as sporadically as Plots against Russia.  I appreciate all the feedback I’ve gotten from all of you, whether on the blog itself. on Facebook, or even In Real Life (yes, it happens).  

I’ll save all the heartfelt shout-outs for the publication of the actual book (this means you, Frances Bernstein!), but I do want to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to Deborah Martinsen.  Deborah’s secret superpower (and, I suspect, curse) is that she is constitutionally incapable of letting a typo or stylistic infelicity go by unnoticed.  Since I am as sloppy on the page as I am in real life, I’ve been delighted to receive her corrections by email.  If there are still typos on this blog, it’s because I’ve been too lazy to input Deborah’s corrections. 

When this is over, I’m planning to move on to two projects that have been on the back burner.  The first, Yokels and Cosmopolitans, is something I’m hoping to publish as a short, essay-style book (assuming I actually write it). The second, Russia’s Alien Nations: Imagining the Other after the Soviet Collapse, is a bit of a follow-up to Plots against Russia (in fact, the Tolkien chapter may end up in this next project).  If all goes well, I’ll be registering a domain name and blogging that one when the time comes.

With best wishes from all my Illuminati friends,

Eliot