Year-End Stuff

Can’t say 2004 was a bad year. My writing continued to improve, and I placed more stories than I had the year before. Okay, so some of those stories never got published due to magazine cancellations, but I’m still chalking them up in the plus column.

So, what did I enjoy this year? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s your duty to track all this stuff down and check it out for yourself, though.

BOOKS

I spent much of this year catching up on things I should have read years ago. Read the gut-wrenching The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum, and it quickly shot to the top of my favorite novels list. On other hand, I also read Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers, and it quickly shot to the bottom of my favorite novels list. I was knocked flat by Brian Keene’s The Rising as well as Richard Laymon’s The Traveling Vampire Show. I read Bentley Little’s The Collection and can now say that he is truly a master of the short form. Brian Keene’s Fear of Gravity was another great short collection, with “The Garden Where My Rain Grows” being the stand out.

COMICS

A good year for comics, too. Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead continues to be the best monthly comic out there, giving me more jaw-dropping character moments than anything else on the stands. Joss Whedon worked with Marvel to create Astonishing X-Men. It started out a little rocky, but soon became everything we expected from Whedon and company. Warren Ellis and John Cassaday got Planetary back into the swing of things, revealing Jacob Greene in a horrifying sequence. The loveliest surprise of the year, though, was Grant Morrison’s We3, a techno-thriller involving a cyber-enhanced doggy, bunny, and kitty. Incredible art, dazzling story-telling, and a few moments that might even make you shed a manly tear.

FILM

The Dawn of the Dead remake was incredible. I loved it even more than the original. Fahrenheit 9/11 was at turns thought-provoking and laughter-inducing. Too bad there wasn’t much else worth mentioning in film this year.

MUSIC

A pretty bad year for music, too. Taking Back Sunday and Straylight Run put out an incredible album each, and The Twilight Singer released a grand album of covers with She Loves You. The big story, though, is Green Day’s absolutely brain-shattering American Idiot. Never has something sounded so vital, so important, and yet so loud. What amazes me, though, is how in such a lackluster musical year, Linkin Park still held onto their worst band in the universe standing.

So that’s the year in things that entertained me. Feel free to drop me a line and let me know about anything else I should be checking out.