There’s a saying that goes if you dwell on the past, then you are trapped within it, and its only those who look to the future who really live at all. With that in mind, I’m not going to reminisce about what made 2012 great or memorable, especially as on the personal front it was one of the worst years of my life: this blog and the things associated with it have been the only standouts of the year.

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Future’s so bright… (Click to play)

Culturally speaking, I was dwelling too much in the past to enjoy the present. Nearly every kind of media I consumed was from yesteryear. I read a lot of books from ten or twenty years ago (Pride of Chanur, Halcyon Drift), and one over two hundred years old (Vathek) and while I enjoyed most of them, each one meant I spent more time away from the fore-front – the present and future – of culture. But then, looking at what 2012 had to give us, I didn’t lose out on much.

Movies and TV – all the heavy hitters I’d been looking forward to turned out to be pale imitations of the hype, the expectation (or hopes!) or the movies they were based on, or evolved from. I definitely enjoyed a few (Dredd being the clear winner here), but on the whole it was very easy to walk away from the theatre. I watched a lot of old horror movies (notably Vincent Price Poe and Lovecraft adaptations), tons of cheesy barbarian movies (Conan still rules, Sword and the Sorcerer…) and I spent more time watching old SF shows like Blakes 7, Red Dwarf, rather than new ones on TV.  I don’t think I can remember a current TV show that has kept me watching week to week from the past year.

And then there’s video games, which I bought less of this year than at any other time in my adult life, showed very little promise to me: sequels, sequels, knock offs of others. I didn’t play less – I bought less. The industry itself is in a massive slump, with more and more developers turning to Kickstarter since the publishers are asking for more $$ (and IP rights) and refusing more and more deals, though this is not really a 2012 problem, its been going on for years. Hopefully, in a year or two, those same publishers conniving developers into the poor house, or out of their IP rights, will see their new competition – developers with the feature rich, innovative products they’ve been wanting to make for decades – drive them into obscurity, or at least to reconsider their business models.

RPG and tabletop even less, there’s lots of people doing great things, but its the same stuff, year in year out. I can’t think of anything really exciting in the field, though I have to admit that I spent most of the year dipping in and out. The big companies still haven’t learned from their mistakes and the smaller companies, particularly the “garage” companies are still clawing away at them, but the big issue still seems to be differentiating your product from the crowd.

ch870902Comics too, held little for me, so I read some reprints from twenty years ago – though I did buy a subscription to 2000ad for the first time since I was 16, which I don’t regret one bit.

Yes, I suppose one could look at any year and say the same things. There’s always something out there for you if you can find it and not everything coming out is directed at you (or Joe/Jane Person), but there should always be a little bit of magic that gives you a jolt of enthusiasm and I’m not sure there were any this year. As a fan, I feel its harder to find this spark and to do so, you have to invest yourself – put your heart on the line – for something, which inevitably leads to heartache 90% of the time, see Prometheus and the like. I believe that fans of Alien (and the others) who saw the Prometheus trailer last year and finally the movie this year weren’t so much disappointed by the resulting movie, but that their own spiritual and imaginative investment had laid them low – again. As fans, we are enthusiastic about our interests, sometimes beyond rationality, and we don’t like it when our enthusiasm is engaged and leads to the undermining of our faith. Yet, we will always make that investment because it is part of being a fan, it’s where we get that jolt.

So yeah, 2012 was a year of living in the past, avoiding the present because of all the bullshit that came along with it and it’s great to do once in awhile, but to do so continually will, as the opening remark points out, trap you with its insidious claws. I’ve had enough of it.

I’m looking to 2013 as the first step in a new life. The last six months have seen me, pretty much every day, working on material that I hope will find an audience in the coming year and beyond. Two novels, an e-book, a couple of side projects, sketches, paintings, outlines… Will it? Don’t know, don’t care – the time has come and gone for worrying about it or assessing its “value” and all that, only the future will tell. If nothing comes of it, then at least I will have contributed to something new. Look forward, not back.

So, here’s how I’m going to strive to live in 2013:

Read, watch, play what you want, enjoy it for what it IS, rather than what you wanted it to be or thought it was. If it was crap, then perhaps you weren’t its target audience – someone out there likes it. Look to the past for guidance, just don’t live in it. Invent and innovate, rather than perpetuate or regurgitate.

And most of all look to the future – there’s an awful lot of it coming down that big fat pipe, and you should be ready  to at least face it, instead of it cold-caulking you on the back of the skull.

See you on the flip side!

/tips hat

/flips gold sun-visor

“Open the pod bay doors, Hal.”

K435

Image Credits: Incident at Raven’s Gate – Filmpac, Calvin & Hobbes – Bill Waterson/Andrews McMeel Universal, 2001: A Space Odyssey – MGM, Song: “Future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades” – Timbuk 3