WOW. I did not think things could get crazier than the previous year, but it did. The good news is that the fight goes against nonsense goes on. Whether next year will be a return to sanity, who knows. Let us hope.
Some great people left us. They include Delores O’Riordan, Ursula K. LeGuin, Jack Ketchum, John Mahoney, Mickey Jones, Billy Graham, David Ogden Stiers, Kate Wilhem, Stephen Hawking, Steven Bochco, Isao Takahata, Milos Forman, R. Lee Emery, Harry Anderson, Michael Anderson, Margot Kidder, Tom Wolfe, Alan Bean, Gardner Dozois, Harlan Ellison, Steve Ditko, Neil Simon, John McCain, Marie Severin, Jacqueline Pearce, Burt Reynolds, Gary Kurtz, Marty Balin, Jamal Koshoggi, Celeste Yarnall, Paul Allen, Kitty O’Neil, Sandra Locke, Stan Lee, Douglas Rain, Roy Clark, William Goldman, Gloria Katz, Fred Patten, Penny Marshall, and the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
It was a good year for the Hugos. N.K. Jemisin is the first person too win three novel Hugos in a row for the same series. Rebecca Roanhorse won the John W. Campbell Award and Best Short story Hugo. Mike Glyer and File 770 have recused themselves forever from the fan awards after winning the Best Fanzine Hugo.
Worldcon 76 was fun. It had rough months in planning but it came together. Spider Robinson was finally a Worldcon Guest of Honor. There was a great program of panels and music. The 1943 Retro Hugos were a combination of radio play and dance. The con tried to encourage diversity and new voices and succeeded.
Sadly, I did not work at AFO 2018. I attended and a went to panels on politics in Anime, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, the history of magna artist group Clamp, cosplay, and Robotech. There was also some great Anime Music Videos shown. I need to plan for next year since it will be the 20th AFO.
I did one day of Megacon since it conflicted with the Fringe Festival. I saw Jeff Goldblum and Catherine Tate and a panel on cover art from Marvel. One highlight was seeing someone cosplay Amos Burton from The Expanse.
Spooky Empire was heavily focused on The X-Files. I saw a Q&A with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
Necronomicon was great. I ran a dealers table for the fourth year in a row. After a tight race my team won trivia again. I was a judge at the Costume Contest. It was fun though I had a rare head ache.
It was a good year for genre films. One even got the Oscar, I’ll discuss that later. The Killing of a Scared Deer was a disturbing film which questions what is the difference between justice and revenge and is it necessary. The Black Panther broke records and barriers. Wakanda Forever! Avengers: Infinity War brings us a big story and a cliffhanger where the fate of life kind hangs in the balance. Ant-Man and the Wasp was a fun romp. Aquaman was a good telling of the Hero’s Journey through the Kingdoms of Atlantis inspired by the work of Peter David and Geoff Johns. Solo: A Star Wars Story told us the origin of our favorite rogue. Sorry to Bother You looks at the modern workplace and takes it to Science Fiction-y twist. I finally saw the hilarious Tusk. Ava DuVernay took us the strange worlds of A Wrinkle in Time. It was beautifully confusing but powerful. Summer of 84 was borderline SF Thriller with a look to the past. Ghost Stories was a great horror anthology with a mind-bending ending. Sweden gives us a complex story of woman with a hidden past in Border. How To Talk To Girls At Parties, based on Neil Gaiman’s story, took us to the punk 70s with some interesting visitors. The world’s greatest nanny came back to straighten things out in Marry Poppins Returns. We continue the exploration of magical history in The Crimes of Grindelwald which goes to scary places. Annihilation was journey to the unknown and it looked like Florida. Deadpool 2 gaves another chater in the dark comedy superhero story. Spielberg brought the world of OASIS to life in Ready Player One. Mute was trip to a future love with crooked doctors and one searching for love. Tom Baker hit the big screens in a special showing of the omnibus edition of Genesis of the Daleks. Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorehead showed you can do a good SF film on a limited budget with Resolution, Spring, and The Endless.
For the first time in the history of the Academy a Science Fiction film won. A Shape of Water is a love story wrapped in a harsh look at the bad old days. The imagery and story are incredible and powerful. The were other notable films recognized from last year. The Post reminded us of the power of the press. The Phantom Thread told a love story before the coming of the mod era in Britain. Call Me By Your Name took us to Tuscany for a love story. Fantastic Woman made one angry and told a story of love. Faces and Places followed two great artists making art on the French countryside.
There a few things I hope to see get Oscar nominations. Stan and Ollie looked at the last tour of one of the great comedy teams of all time. Won’t You Be My Neighbor told the story of the life and beliefs of Fred Rogers and how they affect the world. RBG told the story of how one woman made the world a fairer place for everyone and continues to do so. Cold War is a complicated love story set in during a dark era. I am looking forward to seeing The Favorite, Eighth Grade, Vice, and Green Book.
Ocean’s Eight, though not genre, was a fun heist film with the most talented actresses currently in Hollywood. Elisabeth Salander blazed her way and met her nemesis in The Girl in the Spider Web. Michael Moore gave his take on the last year in Fahrenheit 11/9. We learned about a piece of technology and its place in history in Powerglove. The antics of the old Soviet leaders were taken to high farce in The Death of Stalin. We learned about a man and hist art in Mr. Fish: Cartooning From the Deep End.
I caught on some films like Crimson Peak, Once Upon A Time in America, Sisters, The Vanishing, Grizzly Man, and Bottle Rocket. Of the last film, it was meh. I also re-watched The Manchurian Candidate and The Dark Crystal.
Anime continued to be strong at the theater. In My Hero Academia: Two Worlds our young heroes have a Diehard-like adventure. The Night is Short , Walk on Girl is a fun trip on wonderful night. Hosada takes us back to childhood and family-life through time in Mirai. In honor of Takahata, I saw Pom Poko in the theaters. We see the genius of Miyazaki in action in the documentary Never Ending Man. I also saw Satoshi Kon’s classic Perfect Blue. Thanks to Fathom and companies like Funimation for bringing anime to theaters.
The Incredibles 2 is the animated film to beat this year. The world needs heroes and the come back in force. I took a trip on The Yellow Submarine. It was cool to see various Spider-People, their supporting cast and villains in Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. I hope to see Ralph Breaks the Internet soon.
Mostly stayed with the same shows this year Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Gotham, and Iron Fist were still interesting messes. Luke Cage and Daredevil had great seasons pushing their characters. Sad to see the shows leaving Netflix. I left The Walking Dead after the defeat of Negan and I have no regrets. Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events covered the next couple of books and gave us a new villain in the form of Esme Squalor. There was a scene with Violet on an operating table that was terrifying. Once Upon a Time was OK but it seemed like the creators should have done a new show since they wrapped up the show last year. Doctor Who came back with a new Doctor and companions. It was a fun series with a good mix of historical and more SF adventures. My favorite was “Kerblam!”. Sadly, it will be a year before new Doctor Who. The resistance was building in The Man in the High Castle. Maniac took us to a different future and interesting virtual world were our protagonist have to face their demons. Black Mirror had a Choose Your Adventure episode set in 1984. The Haunting of Hill House had a family fight a powerful force. The Expanse covered Caliban’s War and Abaddon’s Gate. The Magicians restored magic. Dark took us a trip to past and maybe the future. Alternate Carbon mixed SF with Noir and has some great ideas.
I saw a good chunk of The Ancient Magus Bride, a beautiful show I need to finish. I did a retro watch of Vision of Escaflowne. Another beautiful fantasy anime I need to finish. Lupin III faced the modern age in Lupin III Part V. We follow Giorno Giovanni and his stand using friends in Italy in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind. Chio School Road covers the adventures of a young gamer and her walk to school. Toonami brought dubs of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Mob: Psycho 100, and Megalbox. Toonami also brought first run dubs of Attack on Titan, FLCL: Progressive, and FLCL: Alternative.
I did not read much in new comics outside of Saga. I did love Emil Ferris’ My Favorite Thing is Monsters. It is compelling story of a young girl coming of age in 1960s. I am eagerly awaiting part 2. I did check out Saladin Ahmed’s Black Bolt: Hard Time. I also read all the great finalist on the Hugo ballot.
Malka Older concluded her completed her Centenal Cycle and gives a hope in a world where traditional institutions are in jeopardy. Mur Lafferty’s Six Wakes gave a locked room mystery in space. Islandia described a country that never was. This was interesting, but long. Felicia Day told us Your Never Weird on the Internet [Almost] and she was right. We went to a family dispute in Ann Leckie’s Provenance. Yoon Ha Lee continued unconventional warfare in The Raven Stratagem. I started to follow the adventures of Murderbot in Martha Wells’ All Systems Red. I also read the next 2 novella in the series. Sir Phillip Pullman went back to the early days of the Dark Matter world in The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage. Teens in Nigeria continue their adventure in Dr. Nnendi Okorafor’s Akata Warrior. An unlikely trio bond in Sarah Rees Brennan In Other Lands. A girl must face the English Civil War with only her wits and her ability to be possessed by ghosts in Frances Hardinge’s A Skinful of Shadows. Another girl goes on a fantastic trip in T. Kingfisher’s Summer in Orcus. A boy must face his demons and hunger in Sam J. Miller’s The Art of Starving. Gwenda Bond continued to tell the stories of a young Lois Lane in Double Down and Triple Threat. We followed the adventures of the great women of Victorian literature in Theodora Goss’ The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter and European Travel for the Monstrous Woman. John Kessel had Mary Bennet face Frankenstein and his monster in Pride and Prometheus. Catherynne M. Valente tested humanity’s worthiness through a song contest in Space Opera. Alec Nevela-Lee gave us tour in SF’s history in Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Queen l has the Lunar colony assisting a revolution on Earth.
Because of the Hugos There Podcast, I decided to fill in some gaps in my Hugo Novel reading. Orson Scott Card looked at alien and human relations in Speaker for the Dead. Roger Zelazny told a series of stories of human’s taking the guise of deities from mainly Eastern religions in Lord of Light. Mark Vorkosigian finds a place for himself in Mirror Dance.
One of the worse things that happened this year was something personal. If you know me, you will know. If you see me in person, you can ask. I hope it gets resolved soon.
One of the best things that happened this year was Sunday Night Vinyl coming back to the radio. Please check it out and support of you can.
I plan to check out some novelettes and short fiction in the Lady Business recommendation spread sheet.
I tried to ride my bike 10 miles a day. I had mixed results but I am determined to keep trying. I try to shoot for 240 miles a month.
I did more fan writing this year and I hope to keep it up. As always, I will work on balancing fan writing, reading, media watching, and con work.
As always, thanks to those who made the year as fun as it was. This I list would be long and I would forget someone.
Can 2019 be as crazy 2018? We can only go forward and hope. Let us all look out for each other. Take care.
(Picture by Derek Demeter)