2018

2018 is nearly over. It’s been a hell of a year, and as the end of the year approaches, it’s a good time to look back at everything that’s happened.

You might be wondering why that cat is in the picture above. It’s one of my three cats, and I really loved this picture. Also, it describes my feelings on the year quite well: being comfortable in my own small slice of world, even if the surroundings leave something to be desired.

The world

A lot of things went down in 2018. I think we slid one step closer to the abyss this year, and unfortunately, that’s a continuation of last year.

More dictators have come to power around the world or consolidated their hold on their countries. The US president is cozying up to dictators everywhere, while he openly scoffs his allies. China’s president is taking firm control of the country using technology. The twenty-first century is shaping up to bring a new power balance, one of authoritarians using AI and mass surveillance to root out all that do not follow the everchanging norms set by these same authoritarians. All the while flaming discontent and chaos using social media, to distract from their bad ways.

The environment is moving closer to complete collapse, and this past year we’ve set new pollution records again instead of doing something about it. In another decade or two the damage will be irreversible – if it isn’t already. In the centuries to come, we’ll be looking back at this period as the tipping point for humanity, either into decline and possibly extinction, or into a future where we can live in harmony with our planet.

All in all, not a pretty picture. Honestly, I don’t think it will get any better in 2019, not as long as most of the world population is too self-centred, short-sighted, or oblivious to do the right thing.

That said, on to other things.

Novels

I’ve read a decent number of novels this year (see my GoodReads), many of them great. There was the award-winning Broken Earth Trilogy, the newest Expanse novel, and the Collapsing Empire. I liked all of them, but my favorite series this year has been the Murderbot Diaries.

It’s not that the Murderbot Diaries are very special, or particularly meaningful. They’re just good fun to read. In a year where the news from the world is usually bad, and I’m constantly under siege from a tiny toddler who thinks she owns that same world, I was glad to have something to fall back on that was just fun and simple.

Games

I’ve played a number of games this year as well. I bought a new gaming rig, allowing me play Final Fantasy XV, but also the tenth Assassin’s Creed.

My favorite game, though, has been Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It’s an awesome game. I really loved it, and it was the most meaningful game I played in a long time.

My second favorite would have to be the Sexy Brutale. A very different game, and not what you’d call a ‘AAA’ title, but it was amazingly fun and original.

Movies and TV shows

I didn’t go to the theater much, this year. Only twice in total, I think. Luckily, viewing a movie at home with 5.1 surround on an 46″ TV is also quite the experience.

I grew up with Marvel superhero comics, so I usually like the movies in this franchise. I had fun watching Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, and the Avengers 3. Even Ant-man and the Wasp was time well spent, in my opinion. Still, I wasn’t moved by these movies.

I liked watching the Alienist, and enjoyed Final Space, but TV-show wise, my favorite is still Killjoys. I watched the second season this year and it was awesome. And of course, a negative shout-out to the bottom of the barrel: Star Trek Discovery.

Writing

I finished my third novel this year: The Rebel and The Assassin. I decided to go for broke and spent the first four months of the year on it. And I think it turned out well. Having said that, I haven’t been able to actually sell any of my three books to a publisher. I do have a growing virtual pile of rejection letters do.

I’ve been writing this blog for over four years, and I’ll soon pass the 200,000 words mark for content. That’s longer than the Fellowship of the Ring, and twice the length of the Rebel and the Assassin. It’s an achievement, I feel, in an age where the richest entertainers are those streaming themselves playing video games for thirteen hours a day.

Summing up

One of the things I find myself writing about is my life as a dad. I try not to spend too much of my blog on that, to both protect my daughter’s privacy and because it’s not all that interesting. Still, for me, being a dad is a large part of my life now. 2018 saw my daughter starting to talk, changing from a wobbly toddler to a little girl. A person who wants things, and who understand far too much already. I really wonder what next year will bring on that front.

Anyway, that was my 2018. Despite some of the downs, I had a good year. On to 2019.

Author: Martin Stellinga

I'm a science fiction and fantasy writer from the Netherlands

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