2017: A Year in Review

Things that happened in 2017:

  • I turned 40. That was weird.
  • I revisited State College, Pennsylvania, where I used to live thirteen years ago. That was weirder.
  • My parents got a new dog, Finn. So by extension I got him too.
  • One of my uncles passed away. He was 83.
  • I went to Florida. I went to Paris. I went to Finland. I went to Charlottesville. I went to San Antonio. I liked all of those places.
  • I published three short stories, including one I sold over a year ago.
  • I saw 150 movies. That might be a lot. These were the ones I liked most:
  • I read 339 short stories. That’s not bad, but less than in years past.
  • I read 25 books. That’s better than I thought, to be honest, and a little up from recent years. But I still like to be reading more.

  • I listened to some music. These were the songs I liked most:

And that was 2017. Nothing of any other consequence happened that year. Nope, no sir.

So yeah, obviously things were kind of a mess globally, politically–and will likely continue to be so for some time–but things were also fairly okay personally. I’ve had better years, maybe, but I’ve had worse. I’m hopeful for 2018. Partly because…well, you’ve gotta be. But I really do think it’s going to be a better year.

I hope it is for you too!

December 2017

December was an uneventful month. Some busyness at work before the holidays, then the holidays themselves. I had some back pain and a short story rejection on Christmas itself, but the holiday season was quite lovely and relaxing.

And I had two stories publish in December, so there’s always that. My flash story “Terrible Lizards” appeared in Everyday Fiction, while a longer story I sold a little over a year ago, “The Northern Recess,” appeared in Stupefying Stories. I’m really happy with both sales and hope people enjoy the stories.

Other than that, it was mostly just the usual assortment of books, short stories, movies, and music.

The books

I finished one book in December: Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson:

“Metaphors are dangerous. Calling something by a false name changes it, and metaphor is just a fancy way of calling something by a false name.”

I read it for my book club, and I mostly liked it.

The stories

I’m not exactly sure how many stories I read in December. Something like 24, maybe? I missed a few days, but I think I also read a few less memorable ones that I neglected to keep track of. Anyway, of the ones that I definitely remember, these were my favorites:

  • “The First Stop Is Always the Last” by John Wiswell (Flash Fiction Online)
  • “The Greatest One-Star Restaurant in the Whole Quadrant” by Rachael K. Jones (Lightspeed)
  • “Which Super Little Dead Girl™ Are You? Take Our Quiz and Find Out!” by Nino Cipri (Nightmare)
  • “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian (The New Yorker)
  • “You Will Never Know What Opens” by Mair Ness (Lightspeed)
  • “All the Songs the Little Birds Sing” by T.D. Walker (Luna Station Quarterly))
  • “The House at the End of the Lane Is Dreaming” by A. Merc Rustad (Lightspeed)
  • “The Birding: A Fairy Tale” by Natalia Theodoridou (Strange Horizons)
  • “Will You Meet Me There, Out Beyond the Bend?” by Matthew Kressel (Nightmare)
  • “An Equal Share of the Bone” by Karen Osborne (Escape Pod)
  • “Given Sufficient Desperation” by Bogi Takács (Escape Pod, reprint))
  • “Straight Lines” by Naru Dames Sundar (Escape Pod, reprint)

The movies

I watched 29 movies in December. What can I say? I had some free time around the holidays.

  • Local Hero:

  • The Bad Batch:

  • Logan Lucky:

  • 1922:

  • Split:

  • Gone Girl:

  • The Autopsy of Jane Doe:

  • Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi:

  • Working Girl:

  • 9 to 5:

  • Tucker & Dale vs Evil:

  • Daughters of Darkness:

  • Stronger:

  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II:

  • The X-Files: I Want to Believe:

  • Bright:

  • The Defiant Ones:

  • Her:

  • Pottersville:

  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer:

  • mother!:

  • Lake Mungo:

  • Nightbreed:

  • Eagle vs Shark:

  • A Ghost Story:

  • 20th Century Women:

  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword:

  • Marjorie Prime:

  • Barry Lyndon:

  • The music

    I listened to some in December:

November 2017

I’ve been meaning to get around to this blog post for about half a month now. On the very off chance that anyone else but me has been waiting for it, my apologies.

I went to World Fantasy at the top of November and managed somehow to not meet up with, or even pretty much say hello to, anybody. I did have dinner with my sister one evening, and got to see some of San Antonio–which I really didn’t get to do the last time I was there–so that was nice. And the con itself was pretty good, some good readings and mostly good panels. Otherwise, though, November was a fairly uneventful month, Thanksgiving notwithstanding. I read some books and some stories, saw some movies, and listened to some music. My usual.

The books

I finished two books in November. The first, Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones:

People say werewolves are animals, but they’re wrong. We’re so much worse. We’re people, but with claws, with teeth, with lungs that can go for two days, legs that can eat up counties.

The second, The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin:

But for a society built on exploitation, there is no greater threat than having no one left to oppress.

I liked them both.

The stories

I’m not entirely sure how many I read in November. I kept records of twenty-seven, but I’m not always good about keeping those records and forgetful, sometimes, of even the good ones. Anyhow, the good ones that I remember:

  • “The Stars and the Rain” by Emily McCosh (Flash Fiction Online)
  • “The Bone Plain” by Karin Tidbeck (Uncanny)
  • “Making Us Monsters” by Sam J. Miller and Lara Elena Donnelly (Uncanny)
  • “Elemental Love” by Rachel Swirsky (Uncanny)
  • A Wound Like an Unplowed Field” by Max Wynne (Lightspeed)
  • “Cake Baby” by Charlie Jane Anders (Lightspeed)
  • “Snow, Blood, Fur” by Theodora Goss (Daily Science Fiction)
  • “Stealing Tales” by Mari Ness (Daily Science Fiction)
  • “The World Is Full of Monsters” by Jeff VanderMeer (Tor.com)
  • “The Weight of Sentience” by Naru Dames Sundar (Shimmer)
  • “The Better Part of Drowning” by Octavia Cade (The Dark)
  • “A Cure for Ghosts” by Eden Royce (Fireside Fiction)
  • “Big Girl” by Meg Elison (F&SF)

The movies

  • The Last Detail:

  • Chappie:

  • Thor: Ragnarok:

  • St. Elmo’s Fire:

  • Atomic Blonde:

  • Nocturnal Animals:

  • War for the Planet of the Apes:

  • The Right Stuff:

  • Schindler’s List:

  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople:

  • The Conjuring 2:

  • The Big Chill:

  • Spielberg:

The music

September 2017

September was a pretty ordinary month. Some big goings-on at the office, but they’ve been going-on for several months. Mostly, I just read some books, read some short stories, saw some movies, and listened to some music.

The books

I read two: Zadie Smith’s NW and John Lanagan’s The Fisherman. I liked them both. I don’t have a whole lot more to say about either.

The stories

I’m not entirely sure how many I read in September. I have a record of twenty-six, but I’m pretty sure I missed a couple in my final tally. (I missed a couple of days too, though, so it wasn’t thirty.) Either way, these were my favorites:

  • “Seven Kinds of Baked Goods” by Maria Haskins (Luna Station Quarterly)
  • “You and Me and Mars” by Sandy Parsons (Luna Station Quarterly)
  • “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” by Fran Wilde (Uncanny)
  • “Evil Opposite” by Naomi Kritzer (F&SF)
  • “Still Tomorrow’s Going to Be Another Working Day” by Amy Griswold (F&SF)
  • “God-Ray” by Gregory Norman Bossert (Saturday Evening Post)
  • “The Lamentation of Their Women” by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com)
  • “Angels of the Blockade” by Alex Acks (Tor.com)
  • “Crossing” by A.C. Wise (PodCastle)

The movies

I watched 18 of them in September:

  • Deep Red:

  • Horror of Dracula:

  • Personal Shopper:

  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof:

  • American Graffiti:

  • The Omen:

  • It:

  • Night on Earth:

  • It Comes at Night:

  • Beat the Devil:

  • Camelot:

  • Giant:

  • The Hills Have Eyes:

  • The Big Sick:

  • Klute:

  • Babylon A.D.:

  • The Dark Crystal:

  • The Founder:

The music

August 2017

In August, I went to Finland.

I attended the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki, and I really had a great time. The Finns were super-friendly, the con itself was a lot of fun, and I even met a few Kaleidotrope writers while I was there. I tweeted about it a whole bunch and even took some photos. I’d definitely recommend a trip to Helsinki if you’re able.

Beyond that, it was a pretty average month. I read some stories–and even one book–and watched some movies. I even listened to a little bit of music while I was at it.

The stories

For the sake of accounting, I am going to say I read (or listened to) 29 short stories in August. I’m almost positive there were one or two others, but I have kind of a lousy memory for these if I don’t write them down–even sometimes when the story’s really good. Anyway, these were my favorites from the month. All but the last one–an audio reprint–is original to 2017.

  • “If a Bird Can Be a Ghost” by Allison Mills (Apex)
  • “In the Blind” by Sunny Morraine (Clarkesworld)
  • “Reversion” by Nin Harris (Clarkesworld)
  • “Glasswort, Ice” by Emily B. Cantaneo (Lackington’s)
  • “Promises of Spring” by Caspian Gray (Nightmare)
  • “And With Her Went the Spring” by Caroline Ratajski (Nightmare)
  • “The All of Nothing Days” by Gus Moreno (Pseudopod)
  • “Shades of Infinity” by Heather Morris (Shimmer)
  • “These Constellations Will Be Yours” by Elaine Cuyegkeng (Strange Horizons)
  • “Taking Notes on the Varietals of the Southern Coast” by Gwendolyn Clare (F&SF)
  • “Rocket Surgery” by Effie Seiberg (Escape Pod)

The book

I finished just one book in August, Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero, which I read for my book club. The book was kind of a mess, way too clever for its own good–but it was often clever. I often wasn’t sure if I was really enjoying it or hating it, which is an odd experience when reading a book. It was mostly fun, but forgettable–which is good, considering all the parts of it that weren’t fun.

The movies

I only watched 6 movies in August, and half of those were on the plane back from Finland:

  • Colossal:

  • Life:

  • Live By Night:

  • Power Rangers:

  • Theater of Blood:

  • The Matador:

The music

And there was some of that, too: