I spent the first 2 months in a splint or cast again. The only good thing about it was I got more mobility in my left hand.
We all lost someone. It was hard for me when David Hartwell died a week after David Bowie. I wrote about that here. Chica, the family dog, died but at least I had one quality afternoon with her. My oldest aunt, Ligia, also passed.
The names of the fallen kept getting longer. They include: Alan Rickman, Jerry Doyle, Morris Keesan, Prince, Muhammed Ali, Kenny Baker, Gene Wilder, Van Williams, Garry Shandling, Leonard Cohen, Alan Vega, Father John McCormick, John Glenn, George Michaels, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, William Christopher, and the 49 people who were killed at Pulse.
Then there was the election. The future never seemed so scary.
Unfortunately, there was Puppy influence at the Hugos this year, and it was the REALLY bad kind of Puppy. The fans repudiated the slates again and only two categories went to No Award. The powerful The Fifth Season won Best Novel and N.K. Jemisin sent a powerful speech. She stated SFF is looking towards the future rather than an imagined past.
MidAmericon 2 was fun. It was great talking to Ken Keller, con chair of MidAmericon (1976 Worldcon). He explained how the then relatively unknown Rocky Horror Picture Show was on the film program at MidAmericon. Keller had seen it at a theater and thought it would be fun to show at Worldcon. This may have sparked the phenomenon. I owe the local shadowcast, The Rich Weirdoes, for saving my sanity for have a special performance honoring Bowie. It helped me cope with Bowie’s and Hartwell’s death.
AFO 2016 was my first AFO as staff. I kept track of panel attendance on my shifts. My new panel, 21st Century Science Fiction Anime, went extremely well. People seemed to connect with the shows I picked. Next year I want to discuss Anime SF Feature films.
Megacon went through changes. There was no AMV Contest. There were more comic book guests like Frank Miller, Peter David, and Gail Simone. I only was at the con during the day since it was up against the Fringe Festival. It Megacon during the day and Fringe at night.
Spooky Empire events went well. In April, they had the legendary Alice Cooper who signed my CD and comic of The Last Temptation. They got dealt a bad hand in October with Hurricane Matthew disrupting everything in Orlando. When they rescheduled in December, I hung out with the writers.
Swampcon gave me chance to hang out with my Neconomicon friends.
Necronomicon was great. I was able to run a Dealers table, did some panels, and win trivia.
There were some great stuff for Trek’s 50th anniversary. We got a new film, Star Trek Beyond. There they were exploring strange new worlds and new civilizations. It was the most Trek-like film. There was a two-volume oral history of the series. The year ended with For the Love of Spock, directed by Leonard Nimoy’s son Adam.
There were good genre films this year. Rogue One shows a great side story of the Star Wars universe. Marvel continues the great trip with Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange. X-Men:Apocalypse was a fun look at the 80s, and young Scott and Jean were cute. Deadpool was a romantic superhero film. The Lobster was a great independent science fiction story where one must marry or become an animal. Warcraft was an ambitious film that tried to create believable characters. Mermaid directed by Stephen Chow was beautifully insane. Embers showed us how important our memory is. The Witch showed 17th century fears. The Legend of Tarzan was a faithful film about Lord Greystoke. Kevin Smith let us share some fun with Yoga Hosers. Nerve was scarily real. The new Ghostbusters film was fun, and I want Kate McKinnon in everything. Midnight Special was a nice independent Science Fiction feature film about a father rescuing his son from a government lab and getting him to safety. We finally get a look at the American Wizarding World in Fantastic Beasts, and Where to Find Them. A new Disney princess comes to us from Polynesia in Moana.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were messes that had some fun stuff for the comic fans. DC/Warner Brothers have to learn this and fix it for the future films. While their live action movies were floundering, DC did well in its DVD range and showed these films in the theaters as Fathom events. This included The Killing Joke and Batman: The Return of the Cape Crusaders.
There were some strong nominees for the Oscars from last year, which I saw this year. Spotlight showed the need for an active press. The Big Short angered me because we could have avoided the 2008 Financial Crisis. The Revenant was slow, but beautiful to look at. Carol needed to fully flesh out the characters, but was compelling. Trumbo presented a dark time of American history. Brooklyn was beautiful, but there was little tension. Son of Saul was a great film about the Holocaust, but painful to watch. The Bridge of Spies tells a story about a man with integrity. Creed showed that a film that focuses on a fully realized character of color could be financially successful.
Some films deserve Oscar nods next year. Moonlight shows a boy’s coming of age story in the roughest neighborhood in Miami. The Arrival is a great adaptation of a Ted Chiang story about understanding aliens. Nocturnal Animals is alluring visually. Blue Jay is a touching story about two old friends seeing each other for the first time in years. Christine showed a young woman slowly driven to desperate action. La La Land was a fun musical romp, which makes you smile and cry at the same time. Swiss Army Man was a quirky story of a man and his best friend, a corpse. Love and Friendship shows what a woman must do to secure her place in 18th century England. Sing Street reminded one of the fun times the 80s were musically. Manchester on the Sea is painful but fulfilling film about a man trying to find himself after suffering great tragedy.
There were some great non-Anime animated features. April and the Extraordinary World is a homage to Ghibli and tells its own story effectively. Phantom Boy is a fun superhero story set in New York. Zootopia has some great ideas, but there are some disturbing elements when one analyzes the film closely. Finding Dory is about finding family, the one we are born with and those we put together. Kubo and the Two Strings tells the story of a disabled hero who fights on his own terms.
Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made showed a group of boys who loved Raiders of the Lost Ark and remade it. This was the best documentary of the year. Michael Moore showed us alternate ways of doing things in Where to Invade Next. It was great seeing the Fab Four in The Beatles: Eight Days a Week. The Green Girl, made in 2014, told the story of actor Susan Oliver and her extraordinary career.
I caught up on some classics this year including most of the Phantasm films, Monkey Business, Two for the Road, Purple Rain, When We Were Kings, The Witches, Rachel Getting Married, Crimes of Passion, and Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolfe. Though not a classic Under the Cherry Moon was a fun film. I also finally saw It Follows, a brilliant horror film. I also re watched Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, Stand By Me, The Maltese Falcon, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke.
Mostly stayed with the same shows this year Once Upon a Time, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Grimm took an odd direction. Network cut Agent Carter short. Person of Interest had a satisfying conclusion. Gotham is still an interesting mess. Daredevil gave us a fully realized Punisher and Elektra. Luke Cage was a powerful showin the Marvel Earth with action and character depth. The Walking Dead gives us a compelling villain in Negan and seems to be coming back from the brink of nihilism. Orphan Black seems to be back on a strong course. Mr. Robot had some interesting twists. Black Mirror returned with strong episodes like “Nosedive”, “San Junipero”, and “Hated in the Nation”. Legends of Tomorrow goes to some of the other eras of the DC universe. Stranger Things brought a great combo of Horror and Science Fiction and treated its characters with respect. Frank Spotnitz left in the middle of the The Man in the High Castle’s second season. There was tension, character development, and a rocking season finale. The network pulled the plug on The Muppets just as it found itself. Doctor Who took a break, but came back with a fun Christmas special. We also saw “The Power of the Daleks” return as an animated story.
This was a slow year for anime. I did not see as much new shows as last year. Rin-ne continues the story of our favorite poor half shinigami. The Heroic Legend of Arslan continues in Arslan’s fight to free his people. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures: Diamond is Unbreakable takes the story to a small Japanese town, and more crazy characters. Lupin III: Part 4 takes the gang to Italy were they fabulously posh adventures. Erased has a young man going back in time to prevent a murder. Orange has a group of friends sending letters to their high school selves to prevent a classmate’s suicide. Joker Game give us a group of smart and realistic Japanese spies in the late 1930s and early 1940s. We follow the life of a teen psychic in Mob Psycho 100. Macross Delta continued the great SF series. There were idols, mecha, Zentradi, and ties to previous series.Yuri!!! on Ice takes us to the world of competitive figure skating and relationships involved. Sayo Yamamoto, Yuri!!! on Ice’s director, needs to make feature films. The Psycho-Pass feature examines the Sibyl system abroad. The Boy and the Beast explored the nature of family, and showed that Mamoru Hosada is one of great anime feature directors.
No new comics grabbed me this year. I stayed with X-Factor (until cancellation), Spider-Man 2099, Ms. Marvel, Astro City, and Saga. He-Man and Rachel Rising had satisfactory conclusion. Titan did a fun Fourth Doctor story set in Hinchcliffe era. Paul Cornel also did a fascinating 3rd Doctor story for Titan. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro take us to a new version of a women’s prison in the future in Bitch Planet.
N.K. Jemisin started a new trilogy about geomancers (people who can manipulate the earth) with The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate and it is incredible. The former deservedly won the Hugo. Taiyo Fuji solves a problem in a new way in Gene Mapper. Charlie Jane Anders told the story of a powerful friendship in All the Birds in Sky, and these friends try to save the world. Yoshiki Tanaka’s Legend of the Galactic Heroes series final gets an English translation. Kate Elliot gives her spin on epic fantasy in Black Wolves with complicated plot and good characters. Dan Wells’ John Wayne Cleaver come backs to fight demons including his own in The Devil’s Only Friend. Seanan McGuire asks what happens to children after the big adventures in far away lands in Every Heart a Doorway. Fortune takes a strange turn for teenage Agnieszka in the Nebula winning Uprooted. Neal Stephenson destroys the Moon and shows the consequences in Seveneves. A girl’s desire to be a knight starts in Tamora Pierce’s Alanna: The First Adventure. A young woman gets help from one of the great all time actors in A Night in with Audrey Hepburn. Toh Enjoe experiments with form with Self-Reference Engine. Allen Steele takes tour in the history of Science Fiction, and takes us to the stars in Arkwright. Connie Willis looks into the pros and cons of telepathy in Crosstalk. Cixin Liu concludes his trilogy with Death’s End. There an alien invasion is averted or is it? The series covers many big ideas. The pieces set up for the big conclusion in Kameron Hurley’s Empire Ascendant. Carl Hiaasen’s Andrew Yancy gets into trouble in Razor Girl. Creep Con reminds us that we in the fan community must treat each other with respect and we will not tolerate bad behavior.
I started to listen to Kevin Smith’s to Hollywood Babble-On and Pop Culture Happy Hour from NPR.
I checked out some novelettes in the Lady Business recommendation spread sheet.
Now that the wrist is fully healed I plan to bike ride more often. Due to the 6 month hiatus I got complacent. Now lets ride.
Again I will work on balancing fan writing, reading, media watching, and con work.
To see what have I been reading check here. Note after February the site will be here. Hopefully I will make some corrections and update in the coming week.
As always, thanks to those who made the year as fun as it was. This I list would be long and I would forget someone.
2017 looks scary. Let us all look out for each other. Take care.