I don’t know about you, but to me it feels like 2020 only had 4 months – January, February, March, and Covid.
When the virus hit my country in March 2020, it really struck my writing hard, but I’m back on my feet now with a fired up steam engine and heaps of coal on the side.
I’m about half-way through revising my 120k fantasy novel, way behind my original estimate (should have been complete and off to a final edit by now), but there’s no turning back after dedicating so much time and resources. I will finish!
One crazy revelation in this latest draft is a character who had previously been left behind.
It always niggled in my mind, but I shrugged it off and surged the story ahead like a berserk Viking warrior. Then my editor Jesse pointed out that there’s no mention of her ever again, and I should either bring her along or remove her completely. And if he feels that way, most likely all readers will as well.
Now in this latest draft, even the protagonist demanded that I take her along, and I just couldn’t change his actions when he decided to go back for her. Well that’s fine, she’s his responsibility now.
So I’m aiming to complete by May. Then it’s off for a language edit, and a final revision polish. Based on my current speed, that doesn’t sound like a 2021 publish, but who knows if I’ll come across a lump of super-coal for the engine.
In the meantime, I’d like to share my top choices for sci fi fantasy that I wholeheartedly recommend you check out in 2021.
Note this isn’t a list of new releases, just things that I’ve recently seen, or plan on watching.
Last year I read three books (really an omnibus collection of all three), and I started a reread of an old favourite:
WolfBlade (Space Wolf #4): Exiled to become a Wolfblade for losing the Spear of Russ, Space Wolf Ragnar is sent to the holy planet of Terra to defend the great navigator house of Belisarius against assassination and conspiracy. Really cool stuff with lots of action.
Sons of Fenris (Space Wolf #5): The Wolfblades are sent to the planet Hyades to investigate Chaos attacks, and things escalate when they encounter a squad of spacemarines known as the Dark Angels. More great action and some Space Wolf lore.
Wolf’s Honour (Space Wolf #6): Space Wolf Ragnar is offered a chance to regain his honour by travelling to the planet Charys and get back the Spear of Russ from the evil sorcerer Madox and the Chaos space marines. A good conclusion to the Space Wolf saga.
The Final Empire (Mistborn #1): This was my favourite read of 2017, and I didn’t exactly finish my 2019 reread, so it overlapped into 2020 (and even into 2021). I love reading about how Vin learns her new mistborn powers and joins a rebellion to take down the Final Empire.
Reading is necessary to keep my writing sharp, plus the right books are loads of fun. The following Warhammer books were supposed to read in 2020 for my Warhammer-themed year, but I didn’t get time. I’m trying again, only if I finish my novel revision first (fingers crossed):
Shamanslayer (Gotrek and Felix #10)
Kinslayer (Gotrek and Felix #11)
Zombieslayer (Gotrek and Felix 12)
Sci fi fantasy TV series keep coming out, not that I’m complaining. Always a delight to have something to watch if I’m home on a Saturday night.
The Waling Dead season 10 and spin-offs: It took me a decade because I’m not a fan of zombies, but this AMC adaptation is actually pretty good. The gang faces several threats from the Governor to Negan, and now things are heating up with Alpha and her Whisperers in season 10. Also there’s a season 6 of Fear the Walking Dead, and a second spin-off called World Beyond. In the local slang of my country TnT, Zombies cah done.
Vikings season 9 (or season 6 part 2 something) and Vikings Valhalla: The second half of Vikings season 6 (what I’m calling season 9) came out in December 2020 and I’m ready to see what Ivar and the Rus King got planned for Kattegat. Also turns out there’s a spin-off called Vikings Valhalla produced by Netflix that might get releases in 2021, if Covid allows.
Raised by Wolves season 1: Talk about a chilling sleeper hit. Make room in your schedule for this scifi production by HBO Max, created by Aaron Guzikowski and directed by Aliens guru Ridley Scott about two androids raising a human child on an alien planet. Can’t wait for season 2.
Attack on Titan season 4 part 2: The penultimate anime Attack on Titan’s final arc has started. No show has pulled my emotions the way this anime does. From the story about surviving man-eating Titans to the art style, be prepared for an epic finish. It’s Titan on Titan mayhem.
Netflix’s Snowpiercer: Mr. Wilson and his Eternal Engine powers a train circling a frozen Earth twice every year. During the first two episodes I kept thinking, “Who is maintaining these tracks?” But this story based on a 1980’s graphic novel about segregation and revolt gets really good. I recommend the 2013 movie too, also on Netflix.
The Mandalorian season 2: The Mandalorian returns and it’s time for him and baby Yoda to get into more trouble. Is it good? Who cares, it’s Star Wars.
Star Trek Discovery season 3: It’s Star Trek, check it out. Enough said.
the Legend of Korra: I only checked out pop culture favourite Avatar the Last Airbender last year as all seasons are now on Netflix, and I had no idea how polished and amazing this Nickelodeon cartoon was. From the four nations, the cities, the elemental bending, and the culture, everything just works. Now Netflix continues with the Legend of Korra, and I’m truly excited about it.
Netflix’s Voltron That’s right, you read correctly! There have been several attempts, but the Netflix (and DreamWorks) version successfully recreates this 1983 cartoon classic into something worthy of defending the entire universe. It may be Saturday morning corny, and I’m not sure if they understand what yanking all those levers are actually doing, but Emperor Zarkon and the Galra push the Paladins of Voltron through an epic story arc. Action, lore, and unbelievable planets make all 8 seasons something you definitely should check out right now, even if it involves enduring that annoying form Voltron sequence one more time. Vrepit Sa!
Honourable Mentions: The fact that I even have a section like this just goes to show how many scifi fantasy shows are just waiting to occupy our precious time, but here goes – His Dark Materials, Lost in Space, the Umbrella Academy, Final Space, Disenchantment, WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
I heard once that entire stories were recorded for people to gather in great dark rooms and watch for two hours. If that were true then check out Wonder Woman 1984, I suppose. Tenet, maybe. MCU or something.
So many great games, so little time. I’ve decided to only play a game if it’s unique and original, or if it’s an NES classic. Unfortunately, the most unique game released Cyberpunk 2077 crashed into lies and lawsuits, barely playable on my PS4… sigh. And acquiring a PS5 is all but impossible right now.
But I did come across this awesome one.
The Pathless: Play as an Asian-themed warrior running across vast plains and gliding over mountains as you attempt to free gods from darkness with your trusty eagle. This beautiful game has the most amazing boss battles I’ve ever played involving hunting huge, cursed gods leaving fire in their wake.
So that’s it for today. Wishing you a happy new year and stay covid free.