So here’s my round up of the best things of 2013. You know what? It has been a pretty great year, all in all.
Major spoilers below (mostly for Breaking Bad…)
Best TV Show
Breaking Bad. Breaking Bad. BREAKING BAD. I had S1 sitting around on my DVD shelf for ages after my little brother lent it to me. And I never watched it. I thought it would be kinda clichéd or boring or mildly comical or… Hell, I don’t know. It was none of those things. I tore through all five seasons with all of the horror of watching someone die on the ground in front of you. Never before have I seen a show where people are so horribly, awfully cruel to one another. I have never cried more. I have never seen such sickening, worn-out, relentless lies. Walt’s journey from powerless nobody to a vengeful, violent killer was poetic (sometimes quite literally – see Ozymandias) and heartbreaking. Walt strongly reminded me of my own mustachioed, frustrated, hopelessly dying father. I hated him. I loved him. I wanted, like Skylar, for him to be a better person.
Don’t even get me started on Jesse. Boy needs a blankie and a hug, forever.
Hank. Man. What can you say about Hank?
Skylar. Astonishing performance.
If you haven’t watched it, watch it. If you have, you need one of these. <hugs>
Runner Up: Game of Thrones. Season 3 pretty much knocked it out of the park (with the possible exception of Dany’s crowd-surfing. Yeah. Um. That was… Uncomfortable.)
Gravity. I spent the entire movie clutching Eliza’s hand and breathing shallowly. Sandra Bullock FTW.
Runners Up: Pacific Rim and Ender’s Game. Both did better than I thought they would, both were fun and pretty.
Edited to add: How could I forget Catching Fire? LOVED IT. Amazing movie.
I enjoyed the hell out of Blackbirds by my sexual bro, Chuck Wendig (or so I called him in the back of a taxi on the way to karaoke). He is SO GOOD. Blackbirds, starring Miriam Black is a dirty, pacy, horror of a novel. It is so refreshing to read a female character who is totally badass but not “strong” in a cliché way. She’s more like Shane from the L Word cross with Buffy cross with Brooke Bolander. Buy it. Read it. You’ll thank me later.
It also must be noted that Chuck is a marvelous and hilarious human being. It was an absolutely pleasure to meet him in Brisbane and I am extraordinarily privileged to call him a friend.
Runner Up: Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. Not quuuite as strong as The Lies of Locke Lamora or Red Seas Under Red Skies. I still loved it. Calo and Galdo, awww.
Best Personal Accomplishment
Going off on a solo adventure to Vietnam may fit better under ‘Travel’ but it was a huge deal for me to do that. Of course, it wasn’t solo for the entire time – I also met up with the delightful Emma Cosh in Ho Chi Minh City, which was wonderful. Lady knows her cafes. We got to hang out for a little while, although unfortunately our plans had to change at the last minute. Still, it gave me a deep and abiding sense of satisfaction to wander the country (I say wander. I mean ‘flew’) and look for restaurants (and tiny pho shops) and meet French tourists whilst looking for the Temple of Literature, and buy too-small shoes from Hoi An and get drunk in my hotel room and watch My Drunk Kitchen and book things at the last minute and go on impromptu Easy Rider tours and spend a day on a boat with some very cool retirees from China and Malaysia who took me under their wing.
Perhaps as a result of losing my twin when I was young, I’ve always experienced intense anxiety when I’ve contemplated traveling alone. Doing Big Things by myself has always been particularly scary. This year, I jumped that hurdle and I am so very glad that I did.
Runner Up: I sold three stories this year, two to US-based professional markets and one to one of the biggest Australian markets. I almost can’t quite believe it.
Vietnam was amazing. I’m so glad that I went. But the best trip would actually have been my visit to Brisbane for GenreCon. It was fucking great. The library there is wonderful, I met a host of wonderful writers from a bunch of genres (it was very cool to make friends with crime and romance writers and editors, especially) and the weather was deliciously warm. Eliza and I had a blast. I’d highly recommend GenreCon for writers out there, especially the ball.
Runner Up: It was really special to head up to the country over the holidays. Hanging out with my family (and my brand new niece! SHE IS THE BEST AND I LOVE HER) was just perfect. Sappy, I know. But still.
The Electric Lady by Janelle Monae. Go buy it. It’s rad. And while you’re at it, get your hands on her back-catalog. A friend introduced me to her when she released Metropolis: The Chase Suite and I have adored her ever since. The Electric Lady lacks the epic final track that The ArchAndroid so wonderfully contained (“BabopbyeYa” is one of my all-time favourite songs) but the opening half is scarily addictive. I had it on repeat for weeks. Go, Janelle. Go.
Runner Up: Beyonce, Beyonce. Otherwise known as ‘The Beyonslaught’. 10 points to whomever made that one up.
Well, that just had to be NYE. I got to hang out on a country property with outrageously fun people. There was a deck. There was a BBQ (which doubled as a breakfast grill, and I cannot begin to tell you how grateful we all were for that). There was dancing and drinks and an outdoor screen, upon which we watched The Big Lebowski. I learned that I probably shouldn’t yank a party-popper’s cord with my teeth. A cracker of a night, and a great day, too.
Runner Up: My birthday. Spice Girls party to which I wore a hilarious pink dress and a wig. Although some couldn’t attend, it was a brilliant time. I’m still picking stray boa feathers out of my carpet (not a metaphor).
It really was a wonderful year. In 2014, I am going to have another go at getting into Clarion, finish the novel I’m working on and will keep writing and sending out short stories. I’m also looking forward to reading All the Things, eating at all of my favourite places (and also, discovering some new ones) and catching up on a truly prestigious amount of television.
I hope that everyone had a great year in 2013 and that 2014 only gets more awesome as the days roll on.