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2009 And All That

December 27, 2009

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that, thus far, Ruthless Culture has been free of the blogosphere’s traditional end of year introspection.  There have been no ‘best of the year’ posts, no plans for 2010, no resolutions, no learning from past mistakes… until now.

Best of the Year : Back at the beginning of July, I posted a listing of the 100 odd films I had watched in the first six months of the year but it occurred to me at the time that this was nothing more than information dumping masquerading as a post.  So this time, I intend to do things a little bit differently by mining the data for preferences.  What this means in practical terms is that I’m going to do not one but at least two different ‘Best of the Year’ posts before posting the list of the films I have seen since the beginning of July.  I shall also be adding a 2009 tag to these posts partly for my own sake so that in six months I can look back and wonder what the hell I was thinking in deciding to pick X and not Y.

Resolutions : I also want to share some of my resolutions for 2010.  I have easily outdistanced my target of 200 films for the year, but I am going to keep this number in place for 2010.  I do not hope to see as many films next year as I did this year in part because I have decided to read more books.  In fact, I plan to finish 50 books in 2010 and I shall be keeping track of them in the same way as I have films this year.

Introspection : One of the things that has surprised me about 2009 is that I am still reading genre fiction.  This time last year I was not only bored but actively hostile to a lot of what was produced under the ‘science fiction’ label and I was envisioning a complete withdrawal of critical attention from the genre.  However, the end of 2009 finds me more engaged than I have been in years and while I may not be pumping out genre reviews at the rate I used to back in the SF Diplomat days, I am still writing about SF for a number of different venues.  One of which is not Futurismic.  This time last year, my Blasphemous Geometries column was still about the genre.  The thinking was that, as I no longer ran a genre blog, I would instead produce more thoughtful blog posts once a month for my column.  However, as time went by I found myself struggling to find things to write about and so I decided to turn Blasphemous Geometries into a video game column.  This brought me some praise from cyberpunk pioneer Bruce Sterling and a good deal of creative happiness.

In more general terms, I think that, for me, 2009 was a year concerned with style.  Up until comparatively recently, I saw style as a rusted screen in-between the perceiver and the real world.  My academic background had taught me to value clarity and, as a result, I had no time for style in the writings of others or in my own writings.  However, as a result of not only watching intensely stylised films but seeking out highly stylised prose writing, I have come to value style over more traditional elements such as plotting.  I remember a literature teacher once telling a friend of mine that, when he was older, he would read books not for the stories but for the words and, somewhat depressingly, that prediction has finally come true for me.

So thank you all for reading and brace yourselves for my review of 2009.

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