Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 - Best and Worst

The year has come and all but gone with extraordinary rapidity.  Before it fleets away, I thought I'd encapsulate the artistic highlights of the year (which, to be fully appreciated, must be counterpointed by the lowlights).

Best Writing Achievement
The publication by Editions Andreas Irle of the German edition of DragonchaserSerendip may not be setting the publishing world alight, but it's always good to have a new book out.

Worst Writing Achievement
The stalling of current WIP The Fall of the Fireduke at the 20,000 word-mark.  Re-reading bits of it last night, it's not quite as bad as I thought, but there's still plenty of work to do.  Big decisions need to be made on whether to continue with this project.

Best Film Seen
The Town, Ben Affleck's slick heist movie.  It does nothing original, but does it all brilliantly.  An honourable mention for Christopher Nolan's Inception, a far more ambitious picture which with a more ruthless editor might have touched greatness.

Worst Film Seen
2012.  A film to make me despair at the state of the movie industry.  Everybody involved should feel an abiding shame.  Awful on every conceivable level, a monstrous misuse of time, money and creativity.  Makes The Poseidon Adventure look like Citizen Kane.  At least I didn't pay to see it at the cinema.

Best Book Read
Now this one's difficult.  David Remnick's biography of Muhammad Ali, King of the World, was spectacular, RJ Ellory's A Quiet Vendetta maintained his exemplary standards and Ian Mortimer's The Time-Traveller's Guide to Medieval England was a wonderfully fresh and accessible take on a well-worn subject.  I was delighted too that Sharon Penman proved with Here Be Dragons that The Sunne in Splendour was not a one-off.  To avoid chosing among them, I'll note that I re-read Jack Vance's Lyonesse trilogy, and that trumped the lot.

Worst Book Read
These days I'm much more ruthless at abandoning early books I don't enjoy.  Of those I finished, I ended up weary of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, although I admired the craftsmanship (and Beyond Black was a contender for Best Book); the wooden spoon must therefore go to Ken Follett's truly appalling World Without End, which managed to be boring, leaden and offensive.

Best Blog
I've greatly enjoyed Nevets.QST, and not just because Nevets gave The Dog of the North a glowing review.  Nevets charts his progress as a writer with clarity and sometimes lacerating honesty--as well as a lot of generosity

Worst Blog
::Acquired Taste.  Hands up here; we've been bloody feeble this year...

But let's finish on a positive note with a look ahead to 2011.  Three standout titles are on the horizon: award-winning Ryan David Jahn's The Dispatcher; L.C. Tyler latest Ethelred and Elsie mystery, The Herring on the Nile, and Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes, which looks set to be another gritty deconstruction of the sanitised fantasy tropes.

Best wishes to all visitors for Christmas and the New Year!


Unknown said...

Have a good Christmas, hope to read the Dogs of the North sequel in 2011! I'm a luddite though so none of this ebook nonsense!

And if Wolfhall is the worst book you've read then you are very very lucky indeed!

C. N. Nevets said...

Wow, thanks for the mention, Tim. I'm very honored!

I'm glad to fire that FotF isn't as bad off as you thought, as a greedy fan I want to encourage you that it is worth it, but as fellow writer, I also know that it's something only you can determine.

Wolf Hall remains on my TBR list, though towards the bottom half. The reviews are at such startling extremes, I almost find the reader response more intriguing than the book itself, so I want to tets it myself -- but I'm not hurrying up about it.

Merry Christmas, Tim!

Tim Stretton said...

Simon - I like an ebook as much as the next man but would never dream of leaving board and paper behind.

Yeah, Wolf Hall wasn't *bad* as such, just didn't work for me. It frustrated me too because it wasn't far away from being brilliant.

Nevets, Fotf is still badly holed, but not necessarily below the waterline.

Len Tyler said...

Hi Tim, thanks for the very kind mention of Herring on the Nile amongst next year's books. Currently in the middle of editing that one. I look forward to reading the others on your list. I'm sure that The Fall of the Fireduke won't stay stalled for long - it's always difficult to judge any book you've been working on for a long time, and it sounds as though you should press on. You may like to know, by the way, that I was given a Kindle for Christmas and that Dragonchaser is now on it.

Tim Stretton said...

Len, glad to see you're putting the Kindle to the use for which God intended it...