Thursday, January 1, 2009

Graham's best of 2008

Hi all,

Well it was a lousy year for film, especially in Australia. I didn't read many novels and commercial television in Australia kept on refusing to run or cut short some of the better science-fiction series going around. At least I have the sci-fi channel on cable - the limited Australian version anyway. Having said that I am still going to list the best of what I read and viewed this year.

Novels - Cormac McCarthy's The Road was easily the best novel. It was filled with tension from start to finish and I really cared about the characters, even though I knew their situation - wandering around during a nuclear winter - was hopeless. The best science fiction novel I read this year was Matt Browne's The Future Happens Twice, a hard science fiction adventure with plenty of suspense to keep me reading. For a first time author this is a great novel and I am looking forward to the sequel.

Non-fiction book - The World Without Us by Alan Wiesman. When I finally get around to writing a novel set in a post apocalyptic world this book will be a great reference. Wiesman travelled the world and interviewed many scientists to try and give a picture of what the world would be like if humans suddenly disappeared.

I have reviewed these books in previous posts this year.

Movie - the two contenders were both screened at the start of this year. I am Legend and Cloverfield. As Legend is a remake of the Charlton Heston classic The Omega Man, Cloverfield wins on orginality. I especially enjoyed the hand held camera shots of shoulders and boots while people were talking.

Television - As channel bloody ten in Australia sat on both the second series of Torchwood and the third series of Battlestar Galactica, the fourth series of Doctor Who won easily. Fringe looked promising but channel bloody nine showed the first five episodes, pulled it, brought it back for another three episodes and then pulled it again. On cable I have just started watching the first season of Eureka, which shows promise and enjoyed the second seasons of Kyle XY, but it is starting to get a bit too soapy.

Not an Australian in sight. Perhaps next year Australia will make a decent genre movie like Dark City, the Cars that Ate Paris or Mad Max. All is not lost on the reading front because I still have some novels by Australian George Turner to read and I got a Greg Egan novel for Christmas. I must get Adrian Bedford's time travel novel too. As for television, perhaps if someone wrote a script about android doctors who investigated crime in a beach suburb full of white people, then maybe an Australian commercial television channel might commission it and run it for a couple of weeks until Australia's Funniest Breast Implants knocked it off the air.


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