The end of 2021 is nearly upon us. So, a good day for a short look back to a very harrowing year. And what a year it has been.

The long tunnel

2021 started in a pretty dark place. The Netherlands was in a lockdown, with vaccines approved, but rollouts not started and expected to take months. It would take until the end of summer before everybody who wanted to was jabbed. It took until June before I could get my first shot.

The first five weeks of 2021 schools were also closed, leaving my wife and me to juggle two jobs with taking care of a five-year-old with nowhere to go. That was followed by a curfew, a string of riots, and finally relief as schools re-opened.

On the plus side, I did get to go ice skating this winter, as you can see below!

Ice skating

I’ve been told on Facebook and in e-mails by random strangers that my politics sucks, and I should only talk about non-political things. My stance on that is simple: it’s all politics. People who can ‘turn off politics’ live in the privilege of being the default; I can stick to that default, but you know, I’m an artist, I’m not the default, and making the world better is about speaking up about what is wrong with it.

Of course, one of the biggest things wrong with the world this year was Donald Trump. His fall was a godsend, but not the end of it, apparently. Like a story villain, he appears poised to return. In leaving he did try to tear down the house and commit a coup d’├ętat, so screw him.

We had our own elections here in the Netherlands, followed by a lot of political wrangling. My biggest gripe is that our prime minister used his leadership during the Covid crisis to promote himself. The election turned the pandemic political, because it was held during the worst part of the lockdown. The results, I feel, are not as representative as they should have been.

The good books, movies, and TV shows

The first thing that comes to mind is Dune. The books and video games had a large impact on my youth, and the new movie is awesome. It was also the only visit to a cinema I made this year. That, and the movie had just the right tone.

When it comes to novels it’s a bit harder. I read a lot of good books in 2021, mostly older, but A Master of Djinn was published this year and I really loved it.

The television shows released in 2021 also make choosing hard. I haven’t even watched everything I wanted to watch. The Witcher season 2 is still on my list, as is the Wheel of Time, but since I haven’t seen them… well, I end up with Wandavision. Wandavision wasn’t brilliant, but it was fun to watch, and from this year.

I loved other things I watched this year better, like Agent Carter, but that’s give years old.

And the bad…

That leaves the worst things of this year. And there is a lot of crap out there.

I would say ‘Wonder Woman 1984′, but that’s really from 2020. So, that leaves the runner up of crap: the Tomorrow War. Wow, what a piece-of-crap-bland-scifi movie. Hopefully 2022 will bring better things.

For television shows, I turn to the Irregulars. I did not like it. Somebody was actually pretty angry at my review, because they did love it. Well, good for them, but I still don’t like it myself. Was I too hard on the show? I don’t think so, but in case: never take my reviews as some kind of universal truth. They’re my opinion, and you can disagree with that.

Finally, I would have to choose a book that I hated, but that’s just too hard. Somehow, I managed to avoid reading books that were just plain bad.

In short

Have a happy New Year! And may 2022 bring more joy and less side-swiping problems like Omicron Covid.

Martin Stellinga Written by:

I'm a science fiction and fantasy author/blogger from the Netherlands