2017 In Review

After completing the manuscript of STORM’S EDGE, there was a lot of work, through subsequent drafts, that went into taking the book to the next level. I am glad that it got the extra time and attention (not to mention energy!) as readers seem to have responded strongly to the book. Meanwhile, HOPE’S PEAK is in the Top 20 of books sold on Amazon for the year…

I am currently 40,000 words into a new novel. Its the first book in a (hopeful) trilogy. More deets on that later on down the line. My plan is to deliver a solid draft to my agent in February, for her consideration.

On TV I have enjoyed the hell out of Star Trek Discovery, and of course Stranger Things 2 was excellent. Sorely disappointed by the lacklustre third season of Bloodline. And after a cracker second season of The Affair, it was disheartening to find it sizzle out somewhat in its third outing.
Thirteen Reasons Why was great (and timely), and I found that documentary Jim & Andy absolutely fascinating. And Gilmore Girls A Year In The Life did a fine job of pushing the series and characters onward. What we need now is an announcement for more…

At the movies, I think my favourite film of the year was Blade Runner 2049, followed closely by the fantastic The Last Jedi.
Dunkirk was phenomenal. Possibly Nolan’s best film yet. Alien Covenant proved that Scott has taken the Alien franchise about as far as it can go. You can reinvent the wheel, but you can’t reinvent it forever. After a while, all you see is a wheel, no matter what it is trying to be.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 was also fabulous, and the ending was truly moving. Much like The Last Jedi, it is a sequel that takes what made the preceding film really good and elevates it to another level. Rian Johnson and James Gunn are good examples of storytellers who have been given free reign with the material, and it shows with the end product.

On the reading front, I bested my 12 books a year target by reading 17. After enjoying Graham Greene’s The Quiet American years back, I read Our Man In Havana, and The Power and The Glory. Neither very good, unfortunately.
Bernard Schaffer ordered me to read Ready Player One. When El Presidente orders you to do something, you do it. It is a solid book. I enjoyed it for the most part. But I dont think it deserves the reverence it has got. As a non gamer, there were aspects of it that left me cold, and I think that is the books downfall. These sections read like fan wank. But what it does get right are the characters, the stakes and the emotional aspects. It will make a neat film.
I was blown away by Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, and by the grit of Galveston, by True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto. Uncommon Type—Tom Hanks’ short story collection—was really well done, with half a dozen standout stories. Can’t wait to see what he does next. Artemis by Andy Weir is his follow-up to smash hit The Martian. It will appeal more to fans of Ready Player One than it will fans of The Martian. It was a lot of fun, and I greatly enjoyed it. It’s a hard act to follow The Martian, but he did an admirable job, and proves the success hasn’t gone to his head. I enjoyed new works by friends at Thomas and Mercer: The Devil’s Country by the ever-funny Harry Hunsicker; the awesome Baytown Salvage by Mark Wheaton and The Lucky Ones by that no-good rascal Mark Edwards.
Friend David Hulegaard relaunched his rewritten/retooled Noble Trilogy to great acclaim and you really should check it out.
The standout, for me, was Dodgers by Bill Beverly. It was a tremendous work of fiction. Crisp, clean writing. Deft plotting. It has won a slew of awards and it deserves every one of them. I am still thinking of this novel, months later. Very jealous of it, in fact. If I could write something as elegiac, as insightful, I would be a happy man.

 

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