Sunday, December 31, 2017

Best of 2017, Not from 2017

I didn't spend as much time this year seeking out the finest epicurean morsels of the year and all the previous years there have been.

I spent most of the time working, being over-protective of a blind kitten, reading through exhaustive bibliographies of authors it turns out I'd already read the best bits of anyway, and pretending to be a Filipino woman on YouTube in a misjudged business enterprise that ended up losing money, but at least allowed me to experience some vicarious racism, gender dysphoria and sexual harassment, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

But it was either write this or get on with more of that pressing work. Gan on then. Hope you had a good year!

~ Best Album of 2017, Not from 2017 ~

Tubeway Army, Replicas (1979)

I'm continuing to favour bland background pleasantness, punctuated by immature nostalgia when I feel like actually listening to a song. So I barely bothered to check out any new albums this year, outside of idle curiosity when dinosaurs churned out something forgettable.

I can't remember what prompted me to finally give Gary Numan a try. I probably read something about this album's Philip K. Dick-inspired concept, that'd do it. It's sort of like Fear Factory if you took away all the bloody noise.

~ Best Book of 2017, Not from 2017 ~

Arthur C. Clarke, The Collected Stories
(1937-99, collected 2001)

I concentrated on individual stories this year, so I didn't pay a lot of thought to the wrapping paper they're occasionally bound up in. Comprehensive compendiums are always charmingly uneven, but I'll give this one the biscuit for its impressive scope, for being nearly all new to me and more complete than most sanctioned anthologies of dead authors manage to, meaning I only had to track down a couple of rarities in a 1972 Playboy and less memorable sources.

Outside of Clarke, my favourite individual stories from the year (shorts and novels) mostly turned out to be ones I'd read before, which isn't what this list is supposed to be about. But if it's a choice between celebrating glorious re-reads or giving bronze medallists undeserved prominence, best short story goes to Poe's 'The Fall of the House of Usher' (1839) and Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (1987) takes best novel. It's not like I'd fully grasped it as a teenager anyway.

~ Best Film of 2017, Not from 2017 ~

The Imposter (2012)

I didn't read any non-fiction books this year, getting my biased and editorialised real-life accounts from YouTube and documentaries instead. This was the most memorable, largely for making its unreliable narrative part of the point. I won't say any more than that, because I wouldn't want to spoil it more than its title completely does already.

I didn't see any 2017 films. Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) were nice. Melancholia (2011) and The Arrival (2016) were quite good. I liked The Witch (2015), wifey didn't.

~ Best TV of 2017, Not from 2017 ~

Limmy's Show (2009-13)

Like those uneven short story collections I talked about earlier (I haven't read Limmy's actual short story collections), this amorphous, auteurial mass has its ups and downs. But even when it wasn't being funnyprofound or aff its heid, it was making me nostalgic for mundane day-to-day Scottish life and those voices and words they have.

My favourite new TV might have been the one new Black Mirror ('USS Callister') I've watched so far. Looking forward to more quality bleakness in the new year, I don't even mind that these new-fangled 50% Americanized ones are less unremitting in that respect.

New Inside No. 9, Better Call Saul and Bob Mortimer-featuring Taskmaster also made reliable returns, as may have other things I didn't write about last time so don't have a handy reminder about. New Red Dwarf, League of Gentlemen and Doctor Who were just churning it out, but still occasionally inspired.

~ Best Game of 2017, Not from 2017 ~

Star Realms (2014)

I'm not particularly interested in games, so the bar for this category is very low. It's just nice to have something to do with your eyes and hands while you're listening to an audiobook, and this (digital) deck builder strikes a good balance of comprehensible complexity and ego-stroking skill vs. the frustrating luck of the draw.

Last year's Cthulhu Realms (2016) was an improvement in almost every way, but without the same wealth of expansions, it lacks the false sense of longevity that its duller parent has. All they have to do is invert the stats and commission the artist to draw some slightly different pictures.

~ Best Cat of 2017, Not from 2017 ~

Mimi (?–)

While Wilbur hogged my attention with his vulnerable youth, disability and insatiable appetite (am I doing the deworming wrong?), his older sibling/aunt/cousin/grandmother/god-knows quietly decided she'd prefer the domestic life to wild scavenging, so made herself at home.

She only makes a fuss sometimes when her litter needs changing, like she didn't used to do it all outdoors like a commoner before we came along. Her favourite Turtle is probably Donatello.

Did you happen to enjoy anything you experienced this year?

Best of (not from) 20142015 | 2016

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