Some unexpected praise for Martin Amis

51E21ChU8mL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_I am no fan of Martin Amis, but kudos for the truly incredible piece of confessional writing that is his 2011 intro to Ballard’s THE DROWNED WORLD, which goes: I don’t understand sf, I don’t understand Ballard, I don’t understand this novel, I don’t understand climate science, I don’t understand DeLillo (but I do have a crush on him), I don’t understand introductions, and I’m less than 100% on the placement of commas, but I do understand I get paid the same if I pad this out with long quotes, and I do understand spoilers – and to prove it I’ll end with a really big one:

Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott 2017)

michael-fassbenderand so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Sir Diddley Squat’s latest xenomorph instalment is that after the prologue – and if you overlook the clunky dialogue, indistinguishability of the ‘characters’, poor grasp of physics, idiot plotting and general boring-ness of it all – most of the first hour is nowhere near as bad as Prometheus (Scott 2012) or, indeed, as the second half of Alien: Covenant, even if the second half is the half in which we get to see Michael Fassbender in a dopey hat, Michael Fassbender play Kurtz as Hannibal Lecter, Michael “you blow into it and I’ll do the fingering” Fassbender finally have a queer romance with Michael Fassbender, and, in the very final shot, Michael Fassbender show off his enormous feet in clown shoes…

Overlord (Justin Wyatt 2018)

hero_overlord-image-2018and so anyway it turns out the best thing about Overlord (2018) is, as any sane person would expect, the always awesome Bokeem Woodbine, though the second best thing about this very silly film featuring a mission behind German lines in Normandy in the early hours of 6 June 1944 discovering mad scientists manufacturing a Nazi zombie army is the way it poses a mystery every bit as big as how Bokeem “Okay I’ll Be In It, And The Best Thing In It, But Only For 5 minutes” Woodbine makes a living, namely, how in the hell was this film not called D-Day of the Dead


The Tower of Babel: a guide for wall-builders, border-champions and their ilk

91blanq0xbl“You must know that the houses of Constantinople were built by mixed teams of workers. The reason is clear to see. Turkish carpenters are very good at working and sawing wood, but they can’t carve stone. And a house without a stone foundation is an unstable house. That’s why we turn to Armenian, Greek, and Arab stonecutters. So some of the people dig the foundation: the others build the upper stories and the roof. … Of course, you know the Bible story of the Tower of Babel. Well, many people think the Lord scattered the tongues of men to punish them, but it’s exactly the opposite. He saw that uniformity made them proud, dedicated to enterprises as excessive as they were useless. Then he realized that humanity needed a corrective ad he made us the gift of differences. So the masons, of different customs and faiths, have to find a modus vivendi that allows them to conclude their construction of the building. And for that you need not a conceded, flaunted tolerance, like the tolerance of the powerful, but an experienced tolerance, lived out every day, lived with the awareness that if it is lost, the house will fall down and you will be left without shelter.”

from Wu Ming, Altai (London: Verso, 2103), p.73.

My top 32 films of 2018

_640x480_104b513154b6396826936bb1fc0f5eade56e1c56a6f1cd6812dd0b302c6129c7In 2018, I watched 357 films; of the 219 I saw for the first time, here are my top 32 films of the year:

  1. A Fábrica de Nada/The Nothing Factory (Pedro Pinho 2017)
  2. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos 2018)
  3. Marlina Si Pembunuh Dalam Empat Babak/Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Mouly Surya 2017)
  4. La Pointe Courte (Agnès Varda 1955)
  5. Hrútar/Rams (Grímur Hákonarson 2015)
  6. Keanu (Peter Atencio 2016)

with the next 26 in alphabetical order
The Angels’ Share (Ken Loach 2012)
Arcadia (Paul Wright 2017)
L’aveu/The Confession (Costa-Gavras 1970)
Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako 2006)
Behind the Door (Irvin Willat 1919)
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler 2018)
Blackkklansman (Spike Lee 2018)
Brawl in Cell Block 99 (S Craig Zahler 2017)
Le couperet/The Ax (Costa-Gavras 2005)
Hausa/House (Nobuhiko Ôbayashi 1977)
Le jeune Karl Marx/The Young Karl Marx (Raoul Peck 2017)
Jupiter’s Moon (Kornél Mundruczó 2017)
The Mafu Cage (Karen Arthur 1978)
Nobi/Fires on the Plain (Tsukamoto Shinya 2014)
Ordet (Carl Theodor Dreyer 1955)
Populaire (Régis Roinsard 2012)
Le silence est d’or/Silence is Golden (René Clair 1947)
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro 2017)
Shin Godzilla (Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi 2016)
Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley 2012)
Sweet Country (Warwick Thornton 2017)
Talk to Me (Kasi Lemmons 2007)
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh 2017)
Le Trou (Jacques Becker 1960)
Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes 2017)
You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay 2017)

For anyone interested, here is the complete list:
12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen 2013)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick 1968)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Alfred Werker 1939)
The Adventures of Tintin (Steven Spielberg 2011)
Ae Fond Kiss… (Ken Loach 2004)
A Fábrica de Nada/The Nothing Factory (Pedro Pinho 2017)
After Earth (M. Night Shyamalan 2013)
All the President’s Men (Alan J Pakula 1976)
American Mary (Jen and Sylvia Soska 2012)
American Sniper (Clint Eastwood 2015)
Amintiri din epoca de aur/Tales from the Golden Age (Hanno Höfer, Razvan Marculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu and Ioana Uricaru 2009)
Amistad (Steven Spielberg 1997)
The Angels’ Share (Ken Loach 2012)
Animal Factory (Steve Buscemi 2000)
The Apartment (Billy Wilder 1960)
Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola 1979)
Arcadia (Paul Wright 2017)
The Assignment aka Tomboy (Walter Hill 2016)
Atomic Blonde (David Leitch 2017)
Atomic Rulers of the World (Koreyoshi Akasaki, Teruo Ishii, Akira Mitsuwa 1965)
L’aveu/The Confession (Costa-Gavras 1970)
Away from Her (Sarah Polley 2006)

Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako 2006)
Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick 1975)
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Zack Snyder 2016)
Baywatch (Seth Gordon 2017)
Beau Travail (Claire Denis 1999)
Beauty and the Beast (Bill Condon 2017)
Behind the Candelabra (Steven Soderbergh 2013)
Behind the Door (Irvin Willat 1919)
Beloved (Jonathan Demme 1998)
Betrayed (Costa-Gavras 1988)
Beyond Skyline (Liam O’Donnell 2017)
Beyond the Black Rainbow (Panos Cosmatos 2010)
The BFG (Steven Spielberg 2016)
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter 2017)
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Dario Argento 1970)
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Dario Argento 1970)
Black Dynamite (Scott Sanders 2009)
Blackkklansman (Spike Lee 2018)
Blackkklansman (Spike Lee 2018)
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler 2018)
Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut (Ridley Scott 1991)
Body and Soul (Micheaux 1925)
The Body Snatcher (Robert Wise 1945)
Brawl in Cell Block 99 (S Craig Zahler 2017)
Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg 2015)
Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks 1938)
Bush Mama (Haile Gerima 1979)

Calamity Jane (David Butler 1953)
Le capital (Costa-Gavras 2012)
Il capitale umano/Human Capital (Paolo Virzí 2013)
Casablanca (Michael Curtiz 1942)
Chelovek s kino-apparatom/Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov 1929)
Classe tous risques (Claude Sautet 1960)
Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (Chuck Bail 1975)
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same (Madeleine Olnek 2011)
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondon 2016)
Come on George! (Anthony Kimmins 1939)
Con Air (Simon West 1997)
A Corner in Wheat (DW Griffith 1909)
Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg 2012)
Le couperet/The Ax (Costa-Gavras 2005)
Cowboys & Aliens (Jon Favreau 2011)
Creed (Ryan Coogler 2015)
The Creeping Garden (Tim Grabham and Jasper Sharp 2014)
Le Crime de Monsieur Lange (Jean Renoir 1936)
Cronos (Guillermo del Toro 1993)

A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg 2011)
A Dark Song (Liam Gavin 2016)
Daughters of Darkness (Harry Kümel 1971)
Daughters of Darkness (Harry Kümel 1971)
Daughters of the Dust (Dash 1991)
Dead Slow Ahead (Mauro Herce 2015)
Dead Slow Ahead (Mauro Herce 2015)
Derrida (Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Kofman 2002)
Dersu Uzala (Akira Kurosawa 1975)
Destry Rides Again (George Marshall 1939)
Deux jours, une nuit/Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne 2014)
Dinoshark (Kevin O’Neill 2010)
Doctor Strange (Scott Derickson 2016)
Domino (Tony Scott 2005)
Don’t Breathe (Fede Alvarez 2016)
Dope (Rick Famuyiwa 2015)
Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee 1989)
Double Indemnity (Wilder 1944)
Dressed to Kill (Roy William Neill 1946)
Drive Angry (Patrick Lussier 2011)
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Mamoulian 1931)
The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland 2015)
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan 2017)
Dünyayi Kurtaran Adam (Çetin Inanç 1982)

Eden à l’Ouest/Eden is West (Costa-Gavras 2009)
Efter brylluppet/After the Wedding (Susanne Bier 2006)
Elena (Andrey Zvyagintsev 2011)
The Emperor Jones (Murphy 1933)
Enter the Dragon (Robert Clouse 1973)
Exit (Peter Lindmark 2006)

Fae yeung nin wa/In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai 2000)
Fae yeung nin wa/In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai 2000)
Die Fälscher/The Counterfeiters (Stefan Ruzowitzky 2007)
Family Life (Ken Loach 1971)
Fast & Furious (Justin Lin 2009)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Terry Gilliam 1998)
The First Purge (Gerard McMurray 2018)
The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer 2015)
Flash Gordon (Mike Hodges 1980)
Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund 2014)
For Colored Girls (Tyler Perry 2010)
Friday Foster (Arthur Marks 1975)

Gamer (Neveldine/Taylor 2009)
The General (Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton 1926)
Get Carter (Mike Hodges 1971)
Ghost in the Shell (Rupert Sanders 2017)
Ghost Stories (Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman 2018)
The Girl Can’t Help It (Frank Tashlin 1956)
The Girl with All the Gifts (Colm McCarthy 2016)
Gloria (Sebastián Lelio 2013)
The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola 1972)
The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola 1974)
Godzilla (Gareth Edwards 2014)
The Gold Rush (Charles Chaplin 1925)
Going in Style (Zach Braff 2017)
Gojira (Honda 1954)
Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding 1932)
The Great Dictator (Charles Chaplin 1940)
The Great Train Robbery (Edwin S. Porter 1903)
The Guard (John Michael McDonagh 2011)

Halloween (Carpenter 1978)
Hands Across the Table (Mitchell Leisen 1935)
Hard Times (Walter Hill 1975)
Hausa/House (Nobuhiko Ôbayashi 1977)
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (Eleanor Coppola, Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper 1991)
Hellboy (Guillermo del Toro 2004)
Hell is a City (Val Guest 1960)
Hereditary (Ari Aster 2018)
Hidden Figures (Thedore Melfi 2016)
His Wooden Wedding (Leo McCarey 1925)
His Wooden Wedding (Leo McCarey 1925)
Hostiles (Scott Cooper 2017)
The House of Fear (Roy William Neill 1945)
House on Bare Mountain (Lee Frost 1962)
Huo yuanjia/Fearless (Ronny Yu 2006)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi 2016)
Hrútar/Rams (Grímur Hákonarson 2015)

I Am Legend (Francis Lawrence 2007)
I Am Not a Witch (Rungano Nyoni 2017)
In Bruges (Martin McDonagh 2008)
Independence Day: Resurgence (Roland Emmerich 2016)
The Iron Giant (Brad Bird 1999)
I See Ice (Anthony Kimmins 1938)
It (Andy Muschietti 2017)
It Comes at Night (Trey Edward Shults 2017)
It’s in the Air (Anthony Kimmins 1938)
I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur 1943)

Jane Got a Gun (Gavin O’Connor 2015)
Le jeune Karl Marx/The Young Karl Marx (Raoul Peck 2017)
Jägarna 2/False Trail (Kjell Sundvall 2011)
Jigokumon/Gate of Hell (Teinosuke Kinugasa 1953)
Jimmy’s Hall (Ken Loach 2014)
John Wick: Chapter 2 (Chad Stahelski 2017)
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Jake Kasdan 2017)
Jupiter’s Moon (Kornél Mundruczó 2017)
Just Another Girl on the IRT (Leslie Harries 1992)
Justice League (Zack Snyder 2017)

Katalin Varga (Peter Strickland 2009)
Keanu (Peter Atencio 2016)
Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett 1978)
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Matthew Vaughn 2017)

Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig 2017)
The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges 1941)
Låt den rätte komma in/Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson 2008)
Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean 1962)
The League of Gentlemen (Basil Dearden 1960)
The Lego Movie (Phil Lord and Chris Miller 2014)
Let George Do It! (Marcel Varnel 1940)
Leviafan/Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev 2014)
Limbo (John Sayles 1999)
Lincoln (Steven Spielberg 2012)
Logan (James Mangold 2017)
Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh 2017)
Long men kezhan/Dragon Inn (King Hu 1967)
Looking for Eric (Ken Loach 2009)
Losing Ground (Kathleen Collins 1982)
Louise-Michel (Benoît Délepine and Gustacve Keverne 2008)
Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman 2016)
Love Before Breakfast (Walter Lang 1936)

The Mafu Cage (Karen Arthur 1978)
The Magnificent Seven (Antoine Fuqua 2016)
Ma Loute/Slack Bay (Bruno Dumont 2016)
Mad City (Costa-Gavras 1997)
Mandingo (Richard Fleischer 1975)
Mandy (Panos Cosmatos 2018)
The Man in Grey (Leslie Arliss 1943)
Man of Steel (Zack Snyder 2013)
Man of the World (Richard Wallace and Edward Goodman 1931)
Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg 2014)
Marlina Si Pembunuh Dalam Empat Babak/Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Mouly Surya 2017)
Maurice (James Ivory 1988)
The Meg (Jon Turteltaub 2018)
Memento (Christopher Nolan 2000)
Miami Vice (Michael Mann 2006)
Michael Kohlhaas/Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas (Arnaud des Pallières 2013)
Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz 1945)
Missing (Costa-Gavras 1982)
The Missing Person (Noah Buschel 2009)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (Christopher McQuarrie 2015)
Mom and Dad (Brian Taylor 2017)
Monsters: Dark Continent (Tom Green 2014)
Monsters, Inc. (Pete Docter, David Silverman and Lee Unkrich 2001)
Monsters vs. Aliens (Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon 2009)
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins 2016)
A Moving Image (Shola Amoo 2016)
Mugen no jûnin/Blade of the Immortal (Takashi Miike 2017)
Una Mujer Fantástica/A Fantastic Woman (Sebastián Lelio 2017)
The Mummy (Alex Kurtzman 2017)
Munich (Steven Spielberg 2005)
Music Box (Costa-Gavras 1989)
My Darling Clementine (Ford 1946)
My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Liv Corfixen 2014)

National Treasure (Jon Turteltaub 2004)
Nelyubov/Loveless (Andrei Zvyagintsev 2017)
Nelyubov/Loveless (Andrei Zvyagintsev 2017)
New Town Utopia (Christopher Ian Smith 2017)
Night Catches Us (Tanya Hamilton 2010)
Night of the Comet (Thom Eberhardt 1984)
Nina (Cynthia Mort 2016)
Nobi/Fires on the Plain (Tsukamoto Shinya 2014)
Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford 2016)
Nosferatu the Vampyre (Herzog 1979)

Oblivion (Joseph Kosinski 2013)
One Week (Edward F Cline, Buster Keaton 1920)
Ordet (Carl Theodor Dreyer 1955)

Pacific Rim: Uprising (Steven S DeKnight 2018)
The Pearl of Death (Roy William Neill )
Peterloo (Mike Leigh 2018)
Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson 2017)
Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard 1965)
Pillow Talk (Michael Gordon 1959)
Pitch Perfect 3 (Trish Sie 2017)
Pitfall (André De Toth 1948)
La Pointe Courte (Agnès Varda 1955)
Populaire (Régis Roinsard 2012)
The Post (Steven Spielberg 2017)
Prevenge (Alice Lowe 2016)
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (Angela Robinson 2017)
Proud Mary (Babak Najafi 2018)
The Purge (James DeMonaco 2013)
The Purge (James DeMonaco 2013)
The Purge: Anarchy (James DeMonaco 2014)
The Purge: Election Year (James DeMonaco 2016)
Pursuit to Algiers (Roy William Neill 1945)

A Quiet Place (Jon Krasinski 2018)

A Raisin in the Sun (Petrie 1961)
Raising Arizona (Joel and Ethan Coen 1987)
Rampage (Brad Peyton 2018)
Relatos salvajes/Wild Tales (Damián Szifron 2014)
Requiem for a Village (David Gladwell 1976)
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Paul W.S. Anderson 2016)
River’s Edge (Tim Hunter 1986)
Robots (Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha 2005)
Rosa Luxemburg (Margarethe von Trotta 1986)
Route Irish (Ken Loach 2010)

Sabita naifu/Rusty Knife (Toshio Masuda 1958)
The Salvation (Kristian Levring 2014)
Sankofa (Haile Gerima 1993)
Save the Green Planet! (Joon Hwan-Jang 2003)
The Scarlet Claw (Roy William Neill 1944)
The Sealed Room (DW Griffith 1909)
Serbuan maut/The Raid (Gareth Huw Evans 2011)
Shanty Tramp (José Prieto 1967)
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro 2017)
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro 2017)
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (Roy William Neill 1942)
Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (John Rawlins 1942)
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (Roy William Neill 1943)
Sherlock Holmes in Washington (Roy William Neill 1943)
Shin Godzilla (Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi 2016)
Shiraz: A Romance of India (Franz Osten 1928)
Le silence est d’or/Silence is Golden (René Clair 1947)
The Silence of the Lambs (Demme 1991)
Singin’ in the Rain (Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen 1952)
Skyline (Colin and Greg Strause 2010)
Skyscraper (Rawson Marshall Thurber 2018)
Solo: A Stars Wars Story (Ron Howard 2018)
Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki/Violent Cop (Takeshi Kitano 1989)
Spare a Copper (John Paddy Carstairs 1940)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (Jon Watts 2017)
The Spider Woman (Roy William Neill 1943)
The Spook Who Sat By the Door (Ivan Dixon 1973)
The Square (Ruben Östlund 2017)
Stand By Me (Rob Reiner 1986)
Star Trek Beyond (Justin Lin 2016)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams 2015)
Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley 2012)
Straight Outta Compton (F Gary Gray 2015)
Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock 1951)
Suburbicon (George Clooney 2017)
Suffragette (Sarah Gavron 2015)
The Sugarland Express (Steven Spielberg 1974)
Super 8 (JJ Abrams 2011)
Suspicion (Alfred Hitchcock 1941)
Suspiria (Dario Argento 1977)
Suspiria (Dario Argento 1977)
Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino 2018)
Sweet Country (Warwick Thornton 2017)
Sweet Sweetback’s Baad Asssss Song (Melvin Van Peebles 1971)

Talk to Me (Kasi Lemmons 2007)
Tarzan Escapes (Richard Thorpe 1936)
Tarzan the Ape Man (W.S. Van Dyke 1932)
The Terminal (Steven Spielberg 2004)
The Terminal Man (Mike Hodges 1974)
Terror By Night (Roy William Neill 1946)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper 1974)
They Live (John Carpenter 1988)
The Thing (John Carpenter 1982)
Thoroughbreds (Cory Finley 2017)
Those Awful Hats (DW Griffith 1909)
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh 2017)
T Men (Anthony Mann 1947)
Tokyo Sonata (Kiyoshi Kurosawa 2008)
To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (Beeban Kidron 1995)
Toy Story (John Lasseter 1995)
Toy Story 2 (John Lasseter, Ash Brannon and Lee Unkrich 1999)
Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich 2010)
Le Trou (Jacques Becker 1960)
Turned Out Nice Again (Marcel Varnel 1941)

The Unchanging Sea (DW Griffith 1910)
Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer 2013)
Unleashed (Louis Leterrier 2005)

Vestern/Western (Valeska Grisebach 2017)
Vivacious Lady (George Stevens 1938)
The Visit: An Alien Encounter (Michael Madsen 2015)

War for the Planet of the Apes (Matt Reeves 2017)
War Horse (Steven Spielberg 2011)
War of the Worlds (Steven Spielberg 2005)
The Watermelon Woman (Dunye 1996)
We’re Not Dressing (Norman Taurog 1934)
The Wicked Lady (Leslie Arliss 1945)
The Wicker Man (Hardy 1973)
Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders 1988)
Witchfinder General (Michael Reeves 1968)
The Woman in Green (Roy William Neill 1945)
The Women (George Cukor 1939)
Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes 2017)
Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins 2017)
The Wrong Man (Alfred Hitchcock 1956)
Wuxia/Dragon (Peter Ho-Sun Chan 2011)

X-Men: Apocalypse (Bryan Singer 2015)
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (DJ Caruso 2017)

Yip Man/Ip Man (Wilson Yip 2008)
Yip Man 2/Ip Man 2 (Wilson Yip 2010)
You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay 2017)

Z (Costa-Gavras 1969)
Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow 2012)
Zouzou (Marc Allégret 1934)
Zwartboek/Black Book (Paul Verhoeven 2006)

My top 31 books of 2018

This year I have read 258 books, 234 for the first time. Of those 234, these are my top 31 books of 2018

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1869)
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain (1924)
Richard Powers, The Overstory (2018)
George Eliot, Felix Holt: The Radical (1866)
Sesshu Foster, Atomik Aztex (2005)
Paul Kingsnorth, The Wake (2013)
Luther Blissett, Q (2000)
Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140 (2017)
Hari Kunzru, White Tears (2017)
Caitlín R. Kiernan, The Drowning Girl (2012)
Eden Robinson, Monkey Beach (2000)Screen_Shot_2018-07-26_at_11.56.41
Carola Dibbell, The Only Ones (2015)
Paul Kingsnorth, Beast (2016)
William T. Vollmann, The Royal Family (2000)

Roy De Carava and Langston Hughes, The Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955)
Tade Thompson, The Murders of Molly Southbourne (2017)
Stephen Graham Jones, Mapping the Interior (2017)81cOosPO8-L

Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese (2006)
Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew, The Shadow Hero (2014)

Danez Smith, Don’t Call Us Dead (2017)

Andrea Gibbons, City of Segregation: One Hundred Years of Struggle for Housing in Los Angeles (2018)
Annie McClanahan, Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, and Twenty-First-Century Culture (2017)51TBLRhw+5L
Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World (2001)
CLR James, Beyond a Boundary (1963)
Anindita Bannerjee and Sonja Fritzsche, eds, Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East (2018)
Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016)
Allyson Nadia Field, Jan-Christopher Norak and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, eds, L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema (2015)
Roger Luckhurst, The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy (2012)
David McNally, Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism (2011)
Mark C. Jerng, Racial Worldmaking: The Power of Popular Fiction (2018)
Louis Chude-Sakei, The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (2016))

For anyone intereseted, here is the full list
James Agee and Walker Evans, Cotton Tenants: Three Families (2013)
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010)
Sherman Alexie, Flight (2008)
Zainab Amadahy, Resistance (2013)
Jonathan Ames, You Were Never Really Here (2013)
Stephen Amidon, Human Capital (2004)
Isaac Asimov, Asimov’s Mysteries (1967)
Margaret Atwood, Payback: Debt and the Shadowside of Wealth (2008)
Jane Austen, Persuasion (1817)

JG Ballard, High-Rise (1975)
–. Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton, An Autobiography (2008)
Anindita Bannerjee and Sonja Fritzsche, eds, Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East (2018)
Andy Beckett and Roger Luckhurst, The Disruption (2018)
Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street (2007)
Madison Smartt Bell, Waiting for the End of the World (1985)
Luther Blissett, Q (2000)
Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man (1952)
–. Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847)
Gwendolyn Brooks, In the Mecca (1968)
Wendy Brown, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution (2015)
Tobias S. Buckell, Arctic Rising (2012)
–. Hurrican Warning (2014)
Edward Bunker, Mr Blue: Memoirs of a Renegade (1999)
Octavia E. Butler, Fledgling (2005)
Monica Byrne, The Girl in the Road (2016)

Ramsey Campbell, The Nameless (1981)
John Carnell, ed., New Writings in SF 1 (1964)
–, New Writings in SF 2 (1964)
Angela Carter, Several Perceptions (1968)
–. Love (1971)
–. Fireworks (1974)
–. Black Venus (1985)
Erica Cazdyn, The Already Dead: The New Time of Politics, Culture, and Illness (2012)
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (2007)
Peter Chapman, Jungle Capitalists: A Story of Globalisation, Greed and Revolution (2007)
Deborah Chasman and Joshua Cohen, eds, Evil Empire: A Reckoning with Power (2018)
Paolo Cherchi Usai, The Death of Cinema: History, Cultural Memory and the Digital Dark Age (2001)
Brigid Cherry, Horror (2009)
Wesley Chu, The Lives of Tao (2013)
–. The Deaths of Tao (2014)
–. The Rebirths of Tao (2015)
Louis Chude-Sakei, The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (2016))
Daniel and James Clarke, Kariba (2018)
James S.A. Corey, Leviathan Wakes (2011)
–. Caliban’s War (2012)
–. Abaddon’s Gate (2013)
André Couvreur, Une Invasion des Macrobes/An Invasion of Macrobes (1909)
Alex Cox, 10,000 Ways to Die: A Director’s Take on the Spaghetti Western (2009)
Jim Crace, Continent (1986)
Paul Crosshwaite, Peter Knight and Nicky Marsh, eds, Show Me the Money: The Image of Finance, 1700 to the Present (2014)

Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves (2000)
Edwidge Danticat, Claire of the Sea Light (2013)
Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World (2001)
Ashley Dawson, Extinction: A Radical History (2016)
Roy De Carava and Langston Hughes, The Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955)
Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis (2003)
Eça de Queríoz and Ramalho Ortígão, The Mystery of the Sintra Road (1870)
Carola Dibbell, The Only Ones (2015)
Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
Cédric Durand, Fictitious Capital: How Finance Is Appropriating Our Future (2014)

Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (2017)
Junius Edwards, If We Must Die (1963)
George Alec Effinger, The Nick of Time (1985)
–. The Bird of Time (1986)
David Eggers, The Circle (2013)
George Eliot, Felix Holt: The Radical (1866)
JG Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur (1973)
Jack Fennell, ed., A Brilliant Void: A Selection of Classic Irish Science Fiction (2018)
Allyson Nadia Field, Jan-Christopher Norak and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, eds, L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema (2015)
Eric Flint, 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught (2017)
Eric Flint and Griffin Barber, 1636: Mission to the Mughals (2017)
Eric Flint and Walter H. Hunt, 1636: The Cardinal Virtues (2015)
John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff, The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (2009)
Sesshu Foster, Atomik Aztex (2005)
Karen Joy Fowler, The Science of Herself, Plus… (2013)
–. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2013)
Matthew Freeman, Historicising Transmedia Storytelling: Early Twentieth-Century Transmedia Storyworlds (2017)

John Gardner, Grendel (1971)
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide (2004)
–. The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016)
–. The Shadow Lines (1988)
Andrea Gibbons, City of Segregation: One Hundred Years of Struggle for Housing in Los Angeles (2018)
Ryan Gilbey, It Don’t Worry Me: Nashville, Jaws, Star Wars and Beyond (2004)
Peter Grandbois, Wait Your Turn and The Stability of Large Systems (2014)

Gideon Haigh, Mystery Spinner (2000)
Ann Halam, Dinosaur Junction (1992)
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (2017)
Marybeth Hamilton, The Queen of Camp: Mae West, Sex and Popular Culture (1995)
Colin B. Harvey, Fantastic Transmedia: Narrative, Play and Memory across Science Fiction and Fantasy Storyworlds (2015)
Owen Hatherley, The Chaplin Machine: Slapstick, Fordism and the Communist Avant-Garde (2016)
Nalo Hopkison, The New Moon’s Arms (2007)
–. Sister Mine (2013)
Ted Hughes, The Iron Woman (1933)
Kameron Hurley, The Stars are Legion (2017)
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

Takuji Ichikawa, Be With You (2003)

Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
CLR James, Beyond a Boundary (1963)
Mark C. Jerng, Racial Worldmaking: The Power of Popular Fiction (2018)
Matthew Jones, Science Fiction Cinema and 1950s Britain: Recontextualizing Cultural Anxiety (2018)
Stephen Graham Jones, The Bird is Gone: A Monograph Manifesto (2003)
–. Mapping the Interior (2017)

Richard Kadrey, Sandman Slim (2009)
Frigyes Karinthy, Voyage to Faremido (1917)
James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel, eds, The Secret History of Science Fiction (2009)
Ray Kiely, Empire in the Age of Globalisation: US Hegemony and Neoliberal Disorder (2005)
Caitlín R. Kiernan, Agents of Dreamland (2017)
–. Black Helicopters (2018)
–. The Drowning Girl (2012)
Paul Kingsnorth, The Wake (2013)
–. Beast (2016)
Mikel J. Koven, La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film (2006)
Hari Kunzru, White Tears (2017)
Andrey Kurkov, The Case of the General’s Thumb (1999)
Henry Kuttner, Mutant (1953)

George Lamming, The Pleasures of Exile (1960)
Nella Larsen, Passing (1929)
Ursula Le Guin, The Dispossessed (1974)
Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit (2016)
Stanislaw Lem, Mortal Engines (1977)
Edan Lepucki, California (2014)
Michael Lewis, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (2011)
John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In (2004)
Cixin Liu, The Three-Body Problem (2006)
–. The Dark Forest (2008)
–. Death’s End (2010)
Karen Lord, The Best of All Possible Worlds (2013)
H.P. Lovecraft, H.P. Lovecraft Omnibus 3: The Haunter in the Dark and Other Tales (1985)
Michael Löwy, Ecosocialism: A Radical Alternative to Capitalist Catastrophe (2015)
Roger Luckhurst, The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy (2012)

Rose Macaulay, What Not: A Prophetic Comedy (1918)
John D MacDonald, The Deep Blue Goodbye (1964)
Andreas Malm, The Progress of This Storm: Nature and Society in a Warming World (2018)
Nick Mamatas, Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life (2011)
Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven (2014)
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain (1924)
Christian Marazzi, The Violence of Financial Capitalism (2011)
Andrew Marvell, Three Men Make a World (1939)
Paul Mason, Meltdown: The End of the Ageof Greed (2009)
Annie McClanahan, Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, and Twenty-First-Century Culture (2017)
Martin McDonagh, The Beauty Queen of Leenane (1996)
–. A Skull in Connemara (1997)
–. The Lonesome West (1997)
–. The Lieutenant of Inishmore (2001)
–. The Pillowman (2003)
David McNally, Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance (2011)
–. Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism (2011)
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851)
Gavin Miller, Science Fiction and Psychology (2019)
Greg Mitchell, The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair’s Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics (1992)
Gladys Mitchell, The Devil at Saxon Wall (1935)
Laura J. Mixon, Glass Houses (1992)
Mary Anne Mohanraj, The Stars Change (2013)
Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Signal to Noise (2015)
Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)
Walter Mosley, Folding the Red into the Black; or, Developing a Viable Untopia for Human Survival in the 21st Century (2016)
Bill V. Mullen, W.E.B. DuBois: Revolutionary Across the Color Line (2016)
Pablo Gómez Muñoz, A Better World? Cosmopolitan Struggles in Twenty-First Century Science Fiction Cinema (2018)
Mynona, The Creator: A Fantasy (1920)

Linda Nagata, Vast (1998)
David Nickle, Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism (2011)
Kari Marie Norgaard, Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life (2011)
Richard Nowell, Blood Money: A History of the First Teen Slasher Film Cycle (2011)

Tolu Olowofoyeku and Ziki Nelson, eds, Kugali Anthology 01 (2018)
Deji Bryce Olukotun, After the Flare (2017)
Amy Abugo Ongiri, Spectacular Blackness: The Cultural Politics of the Black Power Movement and the Search for a Black Aesthetic (2010)
Rebecca Ore, The Illegal Rebirth of Billy the Kid (1991)
Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3 and Jamal Igle, Black 1–6 (2017)

Dexter Palmer, The Dream of Perpetual Motion (2010)
Thomas Love Peacock, Headlong Hall (1815)
–. Nightmare Abbey (1818)
Anette Pedersen, 1635: The Wars for the Rhine (2016)
Otto Penzler, ed., Pulp Fiction: The Villains (2007)
Pornsak Pichetshote, Aaron Campbell, Jose Villarrubia and Jeff Powell, Infidel (2018)
Eric A. Posner, Last Resort: The Financial Crisis and the Future of Bailouts (2018)
Richard Powers, The Overstory (2018)

Tom Reiss, The Black Count: Napoleon’s Rival, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo – General Alexandre Dumas (2012)
Burt Reynold and Jon Winokur, But Enough About Me (2015)
Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight (1939)
Walt and Leigh Richmond, Poppa Needs Shorts (1964)
Alain Robbe-Grillet, Jealousy (1957)
Adam Roberts, Publishing and the Science Fiction Canon: The Case of Scientific Romance (2018)
Michael Roberts, The Long Depression: How it Happened, Why It Happened, and What Happens Next (2016)
Eden Robinson, Monkey Beach (2000)
Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140 (2017)
–. Red Moon (2018)
Jane Rogers, The Testament of Jessie Lamb (2011)

Ahmed Saadawi, Frankenstein in Baghdad (2012)
JD Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
Bradley Schauer, Escape Velocity: American Science Fiction Film, 1950–1982 (2017)
Stanley Schmidt and Martin H. Greenberg, eds, Unknown Worlds: Tales from Beyond (1988)
George S Schuyler, Black No More (1931)
Leonardo Sciascia, The Day of the Owl (1961)
A.O. Scott, Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth (2016)
Adam Scovell, Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange (2017)
Girish Shambu, The New Cinephilia (2014)
Ntozake Shange, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf (1975)
Steven Shaviro, The Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism (2014)
Katy Shaw, Crunch Lit (2015)
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818)
Clifford D. Simak, Cemetery World (1973)
–. A Choice of Gods (1973)
Georges Simenon, Maigret Meets a Milord (1931)
–. Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets (1931)
–. Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett (1931)
James Edward Smethurst, The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s (2005)
Danez Smith, Don’t Call Us Dead (2017)
Tracy K. Smith, Life on Mars (2011)
Zadie Smith, On Beauty (2005)
–. NW (2012)
Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker (1771)
Arnold Stead, Always on Strike: Frank Little and the Western Wobblies (2014)
Neal Stephenson, Seveneves (2015)
Mark Steven, Splatter Capital: The Political Economy of Gore Films (2017)
Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
Joseph Stiglitz, Freefall: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy (2010)
Per Espen Stoknes, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Climate Change: Toward A New Psychology of Climate Change (2015)
Shelley Streeby, Imagining the Future: World-Making through Science Fiction and Activism (2018)
Theodore Sturgeon, The Complete Short Stories of Theodor Sturgeon, volume XI: The Nail and the Oracle (2007)
Theodore Sturgeon, The Complete Short Stories of Theodor Sturgeon, volume XII: Slow Sculpture (2009)
Theodore Sturgeon, The Complete Short Stories of Theodor Sturgeon, volume XIII: Case and the Dreamer (2010)

Matt Taibi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America (2010)
Arseny Tarkovsky, Life, Life: Selected Poems (2000)
Genndy Tartakovsky, Stephen DeStefano, Scott Wills and Bill Wray, Cage! (2017)
Steve Rasnic Tem, Ubo (2017)
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis (2012)
Jim Thompson, The Nothing Man (1954)
Tade Thompson, The Murders of Molly Southbourne (2017)
John Timberlake, Landscape and the Science Fiction Imaginary (2018)
JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)
–. The Two Towers (1954)
–. The Return of the King (1955)
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1869)
Adam Trexler, Anthropocene Fictions: The Novel in a Time of Climate Change (2015)
Kenneth Turan, Sundance to Sarajevo: Film Festivals and the World They Made (2002)

William T. Vollmann, Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means (2004)
–. The Royal Family (2000)
Sabrina Vourvoulias, Ink (2012)

Rosie Warren, ed., Salvage 5: Contractions (2017)
–. Salvage 6: Evidence of Things Not Seen (2018)
Claire Vaye Watkins, Gold Fame Citrus (2015)
Spencer R. Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming (2003)
Orson Welles (ghostwritten by Maurice Bessy), Mr Arkadin (1956)
H.G. Wells, The Time Machine: An Invention (1895)
–. The War of the Worlds (1898)
Donald Westlake, The Ax (1997)
–. What’s So Funny? (2007)
Ethel Lina White, Someone Must Watch (1933)
Rhys Williams and Mark Bould, eds, M. John Harrison: Critical Essays (2018)
Jack Williamson, The Collected Stories of Jack Williamson, volume one: The Metal Man and Others (1999)
–. One Against the Legion (1939/1967)
Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, Vahazar, or The Uplands of Absurdity (A Non-Euclidean Drama in Four Acts (1921)

Taicha Yamada, Strangers (1987)
Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese (2006)
–. and Sonny Liew, The Shadow Hero (2014)
Yoss, Super Extra Grande (2012)

The stuff what I done in 2018

texas_chainsaw_massacre_1_lc_03Another exhausting year of too much admin and too much teaching with too many brand new modules. But on the bright side I did get to teach Dead Slow Ahead to first years on my new Spectacle, Action, Narrative module, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (for the first time in about a decade) to second years on my new Film Genre module. (On the even brighter side, the TTCSM Blu-ray does not offend my sensibilities the way the too-clean DVD did, because it is so clean it is like watching an entirely new film rather than a scrubbed-up version of a masterpiece you lived with for decades on ropey who-knows-what-generation VHS. I have a plan to do more with TTCSM next year.)

hqdefaultI continue to be part of the supervisory team on a couple of PhDs, but the real PGR successes this year were my Master by Research students: Luke Williams on Animals and Objects in Contemporary Feature-Length American Digital Animation (Merit), and Sam Gerrett on Reconceptualising Violence: Objective Violence and the Neo-liberal Subject (Distinction). I also examined Pablo Gómez Muñoz rather brilliant PhD thesis A Better World? Cosmopolitan Struggles in Twenty-First Century Science Fiction Cinema at the Universidad de Zaragoza.

The big news looking forward is that a lunch with China and Rosie made me face up to the fact that the kind of substantial research leave necessary to write my next book is never going to come my way unless I can move to a better institution, so I should just get on with doing the book. So part of our summer vacation was spent writing a book proposal for the first timejXbqpYmo_400x400 since I can’t remember when (2013?). Verso responded by pointing out I’d actually proposed two different but closely related books, and by asking whether I’d be interested in doing them both. So next year I will be writing the shorter The Anthropocene Unconscious while also finalising the outline for the second, longer book (which in my head I am calling Climate Parapraxes, but that is not quite right), which will be written in 2020. There is also a crazy-ass  plan for a quick and dirty side project in between, and two later spin-offs: one will definitely be an edited collection/ journal issue, and the other probably will be since I don’t think I’m smart enought to write it all myself.

Publications-wise, it’s been an odd year. The only things I’ve published have been informal academic work or contributions to non-academic venues:

‘Monsters vs. Empire’ in Evil Empire: A Reckoning with Power (Boston Review) (2018), 114–128

Bould Monsters Empire‘Monster Talk: A Virtual Roundtable with Mark Bould, Liv Bugge, Surekha Davies, Margrit Shildrick and Jeffrey A. Weinstock, edited by Donna McCormack’, Somatechnics 8.2, the ‘Promises of Monsters’ special issue (2018), 248–268

‘Cultural Heritage, Future Vision’, contribution to the ‘Decolonizing Science Fiction’ special issue of The Postcolonial Studies Association Newsletter 21 (2018), 23–24

‘An Interview with Mark Bould’, Big Echo: Critical Science Fiction 7 (2018), which I couldn’t persuade them to let me call ‘Too Long, Don’t Read’

32996507But I have managed to write or finalise – mostly finalise already written pieces, tbh – the following, all of which are in various states of forthcomingness:

‘The Anthropocene Unconscious of African Second Contact Narratives: District 9, Rosewater, Lagoon’ in Karolina Lebek, ed., Fantastic Materials: Things and the Non-Real’ (Routledge 2019)

‘Speculative Fiction’ in Joshua L. Miller, ed., The Cambridge Companion to 21st Century American Fiction (Cambridge UP 2019)

‘Science Fiction and the Anthropocene’ in Jack Fennell, ed., A Companion to Science Fiction (Peter Lang 2019)

‘Space/Race: Recovering John M. Faucette’ in Isiah Lavender III and Lisa Yaszek, eds, Afrofuturism Through Time and Space (Ohio State UP 2019)

‘Science Fiction and Cult Cinema’ in Ernest Mathijs and Jamie Sexton, eds, The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema (Routledge 2019)

‘Afrofuturism in the New Wave Era’ in Eric Carl Link and Gerry Canavan, eds, The Cambridge History of Science Fiction (Cambridge UP 2018)

Review of Bradley Schauer, Escape Velocity: American Science Fiction Film, 1950–1982 for Science Fiction Studies

That’s Dan H-F in the corner, looking sad, but not about my review, which was so nice it made him cry, the big baby.

Review of Dan Hassler-Forest, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Politics: Transmedia World-Building Beyond Capitalism for Science Fiction Film and Television

Despite standing down as editors of Science Fiction Film and Television at the end of last year, Sherryl Vint and I returned more or less immediately as guest-editors of issue 11.2, the ‘Women in d586ce6d944c8695e029b0699c75d559Science Fiction Media: Celebrating Mary Shelley’ special issue.

Rhys Williams and I finally finally finally put M John Harrison: Critical Essays to bed – just waiting for the last of the jacket blurbs to come in and it should go to press in January (seems like a mere 4 1/2 years since the conference!).

And Global Frankensteins (edited by Carol Margaret Davison and Marie Mulvey-Roberts) and Ian Campbell’s Arabic Science Fiction joined Ritch Calvin’s Feminist Science Fiction and Feminist Epistemology (2016) as the second and third volumes in Studies in Global Science Fiction, the monograph series I am fortunate to edit with Anindit Banerjee and Rachel Haywood Ferreira.



I’ve been a little less jet-setty this year but I went various place to wave my arms around in front of powerpoint:

Mark, jetsetting and gesticulating

‘The Great Clomping Foot of Nerdism Stamping on the Human Face—Forever: World-Building and Contradiction’, Worlding SF, University of Graz, Austria, 6–8 December 2018

‘Daily Life in the War Machine: Neoliberalism and Climate Change in The Purge’, Pathologies and Dysfunctions of Democracy in the Media Context II: The New Dystopian Imaginary of the 21st Century, from Orwell to the Black Mirror, from Big Brother to Big Data, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal, 12–14 November 2018

‘Science Fiction and the Anthropocene Unconscious’, Current Research in Speculative Fiction, University of Liverpool, 29 June 2018


Mark, keynoting

Invited research presentations
‘Science Fiction and the Anthropocene’, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, 7 June 2018

Conference papers
‘It’s the Climate, Stupid: the Anthropocene Unconscious of Paul Kingsnorth’s The Wake’, Gravity Assist: Speculative Change in Literature, Film and Art, University of Split, Croatia, 14–15 September 2018

I was also allowed out in public to hang out with Mike Hodges for the weekend at the Cinema Rediscovered festival at the Watershed in Bristol in July, and to introduce with him an incredibly rare midnight screening of the never-released director’s cut of Terminal Man (which is very judiciously a fraction shorter and even better than the released version). And back in March, John Timberlake invited me to be part of a panel at London Review Bookshop discussing Landscape and the Science Fiction Imaginary, which is also the title of his new book.

I put in my second of three years as a jury member for The Science Fiction Research Association’s Pilgrim Lifetime Achievement Award for Critical Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy, which this year went to Carl Freedman.

And I gave a long interview for the Open University’s course materials on Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, which none of you will ever see (unless you sign up for the course).

Oh, and I turned 50. Which was nice.

On re-reading Lord of the Rings for the first time in 35 years, part one

The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

The_Fellowship_of_the_Ring_coverBlimey, the idiocy of rural life.

Blimey, the misogyny of rural life.

Blimey, Tom Bombadil. What a twat.

Blimey, this is pedestrian. And I don’t just mean all the walking.

Blimey, these elves are even more insufferable than I remembered.

Blimey, Gandalf’s dead. Or is he?

Blimey, these elves are even more insufferable than the last lot.

So Rivendell is Granta and Lorién The New Yorker?

Jajajajajajaja. Wetwang.

Blimey, Orcs shoot bows the way Imperial Stormtroopers fire blasters.

Blimey, that Boromir’s a wrong ’un.

Well, that whole fellowship thing didn’t last long, did it?


(For my last adventure in rereading Tolkien, start here, though this is the best of those posts.)