Given that I haven’t written anything for a while and that a new year is upon us (at least the remaining 11/12 of it), I thought it would be nice to compile a list of interesting future releases again, just like I did in 2014. To that end, here are the books, movies and television series that I look forward to the most among stuff that might hopefully be released relatively soon. Let me know if I have missed anything good.
- The Winds of Winter: To the surprise of nobody who followed this blog when it was last active, I am a big fan of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. I have been waiting for The Winds of Winter since the summer of 2011 when I finished A Dance with Dragons. I will be writing more about this book when a reliable release date is announced. I remain hopeful that this book will be released in 2018 if not 2017. For the record this book was on my 2015/2016 list so I know I might be a bit too optimistic.
- The Doors of Stone: If A Song of Ice and Fire is my favorite fantasy series then The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss is definitely my second favorite. I have written an essay on what I like about these books, read it here. Rothfuss seems to be about as fast an author as Martin, but I remain hopefull that we will soon hear about some progress on this front. In any case, The Kingkiller Chronicles, while not as famous as A Song of Ice and Fire, is extremely good and I recommend it to everyone.
- Peace Talks: This is what will become book 16 in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. I read the last fourteen books in this series last year, and the first one the year before that. These books, while admittedly belonging to a different genre, are not as good as the works of Martin or Rothfuss, but definitively readable. I like the format to be honest (really long urban fantasy with tons of characters and multiple story arcs), and I intend to write a longer piece on these books at some point.
- Game of Thrones, season 7: Apparently the coming season of Game of Thrones will be shorter than the previous ones and released later. To balance things out I sure hope it means that it will be better. Also, by this time last year a trailer for the upcoming season had been released. Obviously since the premiere of this season has been delayed so has the trailer, but I hope they hurry up with it.
- Stranger things, season 2: Not much to say, the first season was good, if it wasn’t for one particular scene in the last episode I would have guessed that there would never be a second season. Let’s see what they make of it.
- Prometheus 2: I really liked Prometheus, when I saw it back in 2012, more so than most people. I am not a purist when it comes to this franchise, that may have something to do with it. Apparently a sequel (or parallel story or whatever) is now coming,which is good.
- Sherlock, season 4: (WARNING – SPOILERS!) As I write this the fourth season of Sherlock has already been released, and I have already watched it, but I watched it in 2017 so it goes on this list. I liked it, not as much as the first and second seasons but I would say it belongs together with the third one. My least favorite thing about the season was how the way Euros manipulated people into serving her was neither explained nor demonstrated, beyond “she’s so smart that she can do it”. Thus it felt completely unbelievable in a show that supposedly isn’t to be considered science fiction or fantasy. Obviously they couldn’t show it, because the writers can’t come up with five minutes of dialog that will make one person another person’s slave, but that just means that maybe the whole mechanic should be rejected.
While we’re at it, here is a list of the most notable stuff I read or watched last year, with some commentary. Series I began watching or books I began reading but didn’t bother finishing due to questionable quality have been omitted. Readers who worry about spoilers should take note, you have been warned.
- The Dresden Files, book 2 to 15: Like mentioned above, I read the first book in the series in late 2015, and then I read the other 14 thus far released books from August to November of last year, averaging perhaps one book a week at one point. They get a 7/10, on a scale where The Name of the Wind gets a 9/10, and I intend to keep reading the series until its end eight or so books from now.
- Game of Thrones season 6: Well, I reviewed the sixth season of Game of Thrones an episode at a time on this blog, so there is not much more to say. The entire season was decent but not very good, the battle of Winterfell in episode 9 was perhaps the best part. Like I said above, I will review the next season on this blog later this year.
- Animal Farm and 1984: Last year I got around to reading George Orwell, which is something that of course should have happened much sooner. I liked Animal Farm more than 1984. The problem I have with 1984 is that the motives of the antagonists, even from their own point of view, is simply presented as pure evil. Orwell gets a pass here as he was a pioneer in a way, but I would like to once get a dystopic story about a totalitarian state where the evil of said state is so subtle that one has to really think about why it is evil. It makes for more interesting philosophy. In 1984 when O’Brian says that he is out after power for the sake of power and that he wants the future resembling a boot stomping on a human’s face the reader obviously starts hating him. But what if it was much more subtle and nuanced and mixed with benevolence?
- Star Wars Rouge One: I am going to put this straight out there so there is no confusion, I am not a Star Wars fan. I like science fiction, but Star Wars is slightly too goofy for me. This movie got a 6/10 (for reference I gave Watchmen 9/10 and the original Matrix 10/10).
- Stranger Things, season 1: This was an odd series, I didn’t know anything about it when I started watching it, and I did so purely by chance. But I liked it, and was hooked after the first episode. I like the premise of the show, and I like the smaller scale, the season didn’t end with Doctor Who end of the world type stuff, the whole thing felt reasonable. The one problem with the show was that it depended heavily on anticipation and cliff hangers, the show wasn’t about great dialog but about finding out what happens next. This reduces rewatchability somewhat.
- The Arrival: This movie should, I hope, end the era of “it was just time travel all along”. The movie was really interesting until the big reveal, when it started feeling a bit to much like Interstellar. I liked the production, the setting, the mood of it all if you will, but not where they took the story. 6.5/10, still better than most Star Wars movies.