Happy New Year! May you and yours be struck and fortune and slathered in smiles for the next 365.
Except, that’s not likely, is it? Horrible things are going to happen in 2018. Millions and millions of people are going to die. In fact, in the time it took you to read the above, twenty people died on earth.
In 2018 someone close to someone close to you is going to fall victim to something unspeakable. Someone in power above you is going to do something unthinkably idiotic. Someone under a spotlight will be exposed for having a dark, horrible secret.
Therefore, let me not just blithely spurt Happy New Year at you as if it’s some sort of incantation that will thwart frowns as long as the number 18 exists in the date. Here is my wish for you: Know that 2018 is a pile of meaningless numbers. By the standards of the universe, there is not a recognizable difference between 2018 and 2017, or 2016, 15, 14, 13, etc. So when something bad inevitably happens, don’t throw your hands up and give up on the number 2018. Keep your chin up. Good stuff will happen this year, too. You just have to look for it. And if you can’t find it, then forge it with your own damn hands.
The number of ways to take in literature is increasing, making it hard for me to keep up with books I’ve read. I try to rate each book, and even make some sort of review somewhere. I encourage you to do the same thing. It’s the next best thing you can do to support authors next to buying their books. Liking and/or commenting on their online ranting, twitting, and gaming is arguably counterproductive. We’re like puppy dogs. Reward us for the behavior you’d like to see continued.
My favorite book of 2017 was Kings of the Wyld, by Nicholas Eames. Not since Abercrombie has an author grabbed my attention so swiftly and held it the duration of a story. The sequel, Bloody Rose, is to release in 2018 and I’m bloody stoked.
Neuromancer, William Gibson
Audible read this one to me. This book, considering when it was written, is fundamental not just to the scifi genre (and cyberpunk) but to the internet and computing. It’s eerie at times. I felt I was reading the words of a prophet. Some of the language of the book felt a bit dated now and then. The narrator did not help that. He reminded me of my uncle, and every female voice he attempted, some whispy-banged 70s lady. He never specifically says, “Far out”… But it’d be a lot cooler if he did.
If you like the kind of story that births an entire genre, this book’s for you, man.
Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman
I’ve not finished this yet. I’m just noting it here because a hardback copy was gifted to me last week unexpectedly and I’m happy to have it. In the stories of his that I’ve read, Neil has always been superbly thorough of knowledge, and I’m excited to hear his spin on Freya and Jörmungandr and Fenrir and even *yawn* Thor and his super hammer or whatever.
I want to give a shout to an assembly of readers and writers whose conversations and recommendations keep my to-be-read sack engorged and taut.
Grimdark Fiction * Readers and Writers (links to Facebook). This group is accommodating and stuffed full of awesome authors and supportive, intelligent readers. Join us and become enlightened on the bleeding edge of fantasy fiction!
Or should I say Peaky F@#king Blinders, as they do every time it’s mentioned in the show?
5/5 easily. When I’m this inspired by a thing, I can’t give it less than perfect score.
God, I love this series. I’m was only ever mildly fascinated by the post-WW1 era tensions of Birming’am, Englund. That fascination, however, quickly blossoms into infatuation when you add the crime-story elements of the Shelby family, however historically accurate those elements are not. So freaking good. I’m probably going to go back and watch the entire series again.
Some of you damn yanks are going to have to turn subtitles on. There’s no shame in that. On this side of the pond, our language has just evolved a little too far to excavate meaning from the mammerings. #sickburnbro #sarcasm
The Imitation Game
Alan Turing’s story is fascinating and yet quite depressing. Bendersnatch Hoobastank Cucumberman does an awesome job portraying the socially awkward, abrasively arrogant Turing. This film is on Netflix right now. Check it out. I give it 4/5.
Here comes an unpopular opinion: Meh.
Actors were good. Story was kind of a mess. Action was great. Racism (speciesism?) was a prominent villain of this story, and while slaying that villain is a noble quest, I could never be sure this film was fruitful in that endeavor and possibly appealing to a different audience in a unique way and opening their eyes to real-life faults, or merely cashing in on an opportunity like some scavenger.
I like my life-lessons like I like my ninjas: Invisible until they’ve stabbed my heart and I’m bleeding out.
John Wick 2
4/5. The action was, as expected, top-notch. If there’s more to the movie than the action, I didn’t notice. A dog. A dude. Something, something a group of mercenaries.
[last minute edit:]
Black Mirror Season 4!
Real quick: This near-future scifi show holds a special place with me. Each episode is like the writers said, “What if [really messed up situation] happened?” Then they’re given a fat budget and they pull it off.
I’m still smashing thru Horizon Zero Dawn, or as we call it at my house – Event Horizon Zero-dark thirty. (We only make fun of the name “Horizon Zero Dawn” because it’s blisteringly stupid.)
Still a really fun game. I love exploring the world and occasionally demolishing metal tyrannosaurs via bow and arrow.
Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth
I finally beat Satan as the Lost!! … Still not Platinum God, though.
Ah, finally. The most crucial and highly anticipated feature of this dusty, rundown lemonade-stand of an internet destination.
All around me I’m seeing ripe fantasy fiction stories bubbling off the finger tips of talented and innovative authors. “This is the time!” my inner voices tell me. “Your story will fit right in!” and I’m filled with a giddy, glowing sensation.
I can’t pitch my book yet. Because it’s not finished. And the end is nowhere near.
That fills me with a hollowness, like I’m a child watching my friends dash around the arcade at Chuck E. Cheese while I don’t have a single token.
My wish for 2018 is that I stop watching, gaming, and reading (yes, reading) until I establish, yet again, a productive writing routine.
Discipline, be with me!
9-5, stop draining my time and soul!
Love you guys.
Happy new year.