For me, 2013 was the year we entered the future. As a child of the eighties, I remember reading the background to the Cyberpunk role-playing game. The game was set in the then-future 2013 world of cybernetic enhancements, sleek technology and flying cars. Whilst we may not have these cars, and limb-replacement technology is not quite so advanced, our personal technology has evolved faster than the game envisioned in terms of the computing power, and it was the ubiquitous smart phone that literature failed to foresee.
Despite the lack of flying cars and jet powered rocket boots, 2013 was very good year for me. Highlights of my year were writing articles for the BBC, GamesTM and Prima Baby & Pregnancy. Before long, the BBC was contacting me to write articles for them.
Fiction wise, my short-story “Fox Hunt” was picked by Fox Spirit Publishing for their short-story collection Tales of the Fox and Fae. I also further developed a story I am working on, with a chapter breakdown that I hope to develop into my first full-length novel. My other novel is still on the back-burner.
Conventions also played a prominent role for me this year, with the epic Sci Fi Weekender kicking off the convention season in style. This was the first time I had been to such a convention, but I had such a fantastic time interviewing Virginia Hey (Zhaan in Farscape) that I am determined to go again.
Other conventions this year include Event Horizon in Derby, Rezzed and Futura in Birmingham, and not forgetting the ever-excellent Edge-Lit in my adopted home-town of Derby.
Whilst technically a festival rather than a convention, the Lorien Trust’s live action role-play event The Gathering, in Derby’s Locko Park, was a similarly epic weekend. Not only was I there representing the BBC, for my article about the hobby, but I met friends old and new for a weekend of swashbuckling adventures and escapism that I am determined to take my little girl to next year.
Read, Watched and Recommended
2013 has been a great year for science fiction, with Plague Nation by Dana Fredsti and Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard being released. One of my favourite stories of the year is Samit Basu’s excellent Turbulence exploring the consequences of normal people waking up with super-powers. Meanwhile Pirate Cinema is a stunning novel by Cory Doctorow balancing an examination of digital copyright policies with a riveting story.
I did not have the chance to watch as many films as I would like. However, I still managed to watch the Avengers, which has to rank alongside Dog Soldiers in its excellent dialogue. Meanwhile, I also watched Johnny English: Reborn, and what could have been a stale spoofing of the spy genre is elevated into so much more by the comedic genius that is Rowan Atkinson.
As always, The Big Bang Theory continued to hit the comedic sweet-spot for me, evolving from a show about geek humour into one centred on geeky relationship humour. However, the surprise discovery of the year has to be The Almighty Johnsons, a New Zealand TV show based around four brothers, who just happen to be the reincarnation of Norse Gods. The series focuses on Ax’s quest to claim his birthright of Odin, whilst trying to live a normal life.
2013 has witnessed some great games, as well as some truly terrible ones. Perhaps my favourite has to be the reboot Tomb Raider, which proved that a strong narrative and believable characters is the lynchpin for a great videogame. Meanwhile, Sleeping Dogs blended free-running with kung fu in a Hong Kong setting, topped off with a great story that included innumerable references to Hong Kong cinema.
Life, the Universe, and Something
Life has been pretty good for me this year despite managing to break my toe last month, which has to be one of the most painful yet unimpressive injuries you can sustain.
Despite this injury, Caelia and I finally had the loft conversion completed, and are now left with unenviable task of decorating most of the house. We have been working on the garden, finally knocking down the old coal bunker and junk-pile that was a wood-store. Meanwhile, Caelia assembled a chicken coop for our five rescue hens, and rebuilt the dry stone wall at the back of our garden.
Back to the Future
Plans for 2014 include continue writing articles as well as seeking to expand my client base. A regular magazine column is also on my list of goals, as I have ideas and the material to maintain one. The possibility of working full-time as a freelance writer is continues to look all the more achievable as I continue down this path.
I might even get around to writing my novel.
Peter Ray Allison,