Monday, January 01, 2018

This Was 2017: How the Year Was Hornswoggled

Every year, I do this post for New Year's Day, linking the first and last (with some wiggle room for comprehensibility) sentences of each month of the past year to the posts where those sentences appeared.

Yes, it was once a meme. No one else does it anymore, which means it belong to me, now. Surely adverse possession can happen virtually as well?


A week ago today, I hied myself off to a local purveyor of comical funnies, and walked out with a stack of colorful entertainment vehicles.

Our world is very much not better, but at least we have this.


There are more than eight billion people in the world, so it shouldn't surprise me that I lose track of some of them now and then.

So, if you like stories about superheroes, and think you might like reading about a penciller and a journalist finding each other against a backdrop of capes and fights, you should definitely pick this book up.


The idea has gone from unknown to exciting to cliche and then all the way to passe, but there was an era where "choose a minor superhero-universe character and get a British writer to take him seriously" was brilliant and new.

Lemire tells great stories and Nguyen makes great images.


I normally credit comics to the writer and the artist, but colorists are really important, too, and Laura Allred's color work is so much part of what we think of as "Michael Allred art" that not mentioning her is a big oversight. Hence, the title of this post.

And, having read it, I'm ready to jump back into anything else.


I had no idea what this would be.

But it was an interesting experience along the way, and Wolfe is never boring -- confusing sometimes, baffling occasionally, and quirky always, but never ever boring.


The second collection of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series is titled Squirrel You Know It's True, and, yes, that does mean it's just as silly and frivolous as the first one.

I'm hoping to find the rest of it, and find out just what this Aama thing is, and if any of these characters will make it out the other side of their encounters with it.


Ian Frazier is a long-time New Yorker writer, and one of the few who straddles the line between the two kinds of writing they're known best for: serious, boots-on-the-ground reportage full of checked facts and quotes, on the one hand, and whimsical, throw-these-two-odd-facts-together-at-high-speed humor pieces.

It's also about a robot that got self-awareness (or maybe self-direction) through a glitch and calls itself (secretly) Murderbot, which appeals to the John Sladek fan in me.


I have no idea why someone said, in the year 2016, "Hey, what this world really needs is a Betty Boop comic book!"

You can get this book from Tachyon Press -- well, more likely from an intermediary -- and it was released on August 22nd, so you can get it right away.


I was on vacation this past week, and that generally means I get some book-shopping in.

Still: a major capitalist who gave up his entire fortune and business to build a massive philanthropic vehicle for a very particular and personally important purpose. I suspect Bill Gates knows this story, but not enough others.


My current working situation has started to seriously affect my reading, which is about the silliest and most counter-productive thing in the world to complain about. (So don't think I'm complaining.)

That's the most positive thing I can say about it.


It's not unreasonable that a book that took a year to live and some significant time afterward to write would also take a substantial time to read.

And it can be fascinating to a Block fan, or to a student of cultural/sexual history.


Michael Swanwick's last big collection of short stories was 2007's The Dog Said Bow-Wow, which somewhat explains the title of last year's Not So Much, Said the Cat.

Look for a similar post covering the thirteenth year on October 4, 2018...or possibly somewhat later than that.

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