As I type this, my launch model PS4 is whirring unhappily in the background, attempting to reinstall all the data it just lost. Alas, I think the beast is now too old, and while it’s valiantly struggling to recover, it might be time to put it out to pasture and pick up a new one. But, with all that happening, it does mean that I’m typing up a blog for the first time in forever, rather than spending an evening in front of the box.
2018 has been a fairly okay year. Not the best, but by no means the worst. Work has been fine, Charlie and I have had some nice holidays, I’ve had a great time playing Dungeons & Dragons and AFI brought out a new EP. So yeah, thinking of it that way, it’s not been too shabby.
Have I really accomplished anything? Well, I DM’d a full D&D campaign over the course of a year! That was pretty rad. I did a bunch of stupid voices and had tons of fun. I actually wrote things for it, too – so, while I’m beating myself up about the lack of a novel draft, I just need to think about how I was developing my skills, working on character, and actually remembering how story structure works. Or something like that.
Anyway, without further ado, here are the best bits of 2018 in consumable media for me.
I’ve been reading a lot. My Goodreads count is at something like 50+ by now. Of course, around 10 of those are Hellblazer graphic novels, because I basically inhaled those a few months ago after developing a slight obsession with the ill-fated Constantine TV series (ie Matt Ryan’s pretty face). However, there’s a lot of novels in there – some outside my SFF comfort zone – so I’m pretty chuffed with that. Stuff I’ve loved this year includes The Brothers Cabal by Jonathan L Howard, The Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone, From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty, and Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee.
As crappy as it is for someone that used to run a music zine, I’ve kind of not paid attention to most music this year, but there were still some gems out there that grabbed my attention. AFI’s The Missing Man is perfection, as always, and Holy Hell by Architects gives me FEELS. The first Good Charlotte album in a long time, Generation RX, is amazing, and Panic! At The Disco’s Pray For The Wicked is a certified banger. But these are all great new releases from bands I’ve loved for years and years. I’m sure there’s been some fantastic new stuff that I’ve heard from new bands somewhere, but it’s flown out of my head and into the ether.
Video games? Those have been a thing this year. I’ve played less than I’d have liked, but probably more than I should have. Persona 5 was an EXPERIENCE, and I loved Ni no Kuni II’s wonderful fairytale land to bits. Rediscovering Spyro through the Reignited Trilogy was a joy, and basically everything I’ve played on Nintendo Switch this year has been nothing short of brilliant. From a storytelling point of view, video games have had a lot going on this year – let’s have more of that in 2019.
I’ve not watched a huge amount of movies this year, but Avengers: Infinity War made me gasp so loud that the people in the row in front of me actually turned around. Marvel have pretty much hit a home run with everything they’ve put out this year, but Infinity War was something truly special. I loved Coco with all my heart (2018 release date in the UK, okay?) and Pacific Rim: Uprising was big, dumb fun. On the telly, I’ve been ecstatic about getting Charlie to watch anime – particularly My Hero Academia and Aggretsuko – and Netflix did good with the new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series. Also, Star Trek Discovery. It had its flaws, but holy shit was it great to have a new Trek series.
For me, the year ends with neither a bang, nor a whimper, in the grand scheme of things. And that’s okay, really. Sometimes, it’s good to just keep ticking along. It’s taken a long time for me to learn that lesson, but my mental health has been all the better for it. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring.