2021 Recap-The year of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, apparently–also jams and plot bunnies

Hello, friends!

2021 is leaving us. Wave to it as it passes! (You’re never going to see it again, so this is your last chance.)

It has been a wild year. I’m still reeling from the past few months. But while there have been many setbacks, hardships, and what-the-heck-is-going-on??? moments, there have also been many beautiful moments.

There have also been many books. Books are beautiful.

Books

A few highlights, in no particular order (because WordPress put them in this order, and do I have the energy to figure out how to change it? NOPE).

Lots of fantasy and sci-fi this year. Only three books here are not fantasy or sci-fi, which is…not the way it has been in the past. I used to read a lot more contemporary, but only one contemporary made the list this year??

I just…really like fantasy and sci-fi, guys.

Music

This was a great year for music. I discovered lots of new jammin’ artists, and got lots of new music from old friends.

New Jammin’ Artists:

Sleeping at Last
I discovered Sleeping at Last back in April and *flips over a table* WHAT IS THIS GLORIOUSNESS?? One of my top favorite artists now. The whole concept of the Atlas project is *chef’s kiss* There are songs for all the senses, all the Enneagram numbers, all the oceans, ALL THE PLANETS. I adore the planet songs. (Also my sisters and I put them in a medley with Interplanet Janet, so there’s that.) A few favorites:

  • Earth (May or may not be my top song on Spotify… I really love this song, okay?)
  • Eight (“I’ll SHAKE THE GROUND” *flips over another table*)
  • Touch (Melancholy apathetic but with an edge of frustration/desperation, and the ENDING like a FLOWER BLOOMING or the SUN RISING–okay, that’s not a great description, but just listen to it)

Sam Tinnesz
Super dramatic songs that probably end up in movie trailers? Yes, please. (I mean, he works with Tommee Profitt. Clearly, the songs will be cinematic.)

  • Far From Home (The Raven) (Okay, but the second verse when it goes “IF IT GETS TO YOU TOO LATE / JUST KNOW THAT I TRIED” and??!!! *falls over*)
  • Brother (“WoAAaHOWoAAaHO How far will you run? / WoAAaHOWoAAaHO You’re not what you’ve become”)

Josh Garrels
I discovered Josh Garrels during a really stressful time, and THANK the LORD that I did. The number of times that I turned on “Don’t Wait for Me” and just lay down on the floor and b r e a t h e d

  • Don’t Wait for Me (Perfect for aforementioned laying on the floor and breathing)
  • Jacaranda Tree (For some reason I get such perfect autumn vibes from this song)
  • The Resistance (When you’re done lying on the floor and ready to RISE UP. “How do good men become a part of the regime? / They don’t believe in resistance“)

Arcadian Wild
You know when your playlist ends and Spotify starts playing stuff that is supposedly similar? But it’s a random artist you’ve never heard and never wanted to hear, and SOMEONE TURN IT OFF QUICK because yikes? WELL. For once Spotify actually started playing something good? Yeah. It’s good stuff. It’s…folk, I believe?

  • Liar (Beautiful and angsty [and 100% Norman from The Promised Neverland])
  • Hey, Runner! (This one is a JAM)
  • Wander. Wonder. (“Perfect, you’re my poison”)

Livingston
…This guy is an actual child (which I didn’t know for a while, because he has…an old-sounding voice). Teen angst dramatic jams. Excellent for improv interpretive dance.

  • Icarus (Is it in my range? No. But do I sing my heart out to it? ABSOLUTELY.)
  • Superkid (“You can’t save them aAaaaAAaaAL”)

New Music from Old Friends:

Scaled and Icy by Twenty One Pilots
The first TOP album to be released since I discovered them. So yes, there was a lot of anticipation and expectation. It took a while to grow on me, but BOY did it grow on me. I’d love to do a full breakdown, but this is turning into a whole post about music, and I need to wrap this section up. A few favorite tracks: “Choker”, “Mulberry Street”, and “No Chances”

Clouds (The Mixtape) by NF
So many jams. So many. But not just jams (this is NF after all). Songs that plumb the depths of humanity and emotion. Favorites: “Lost”, “Drifting”, and “That’s a Joke”

Departures by Jon Foreman
Well, the results are in, and this man is still a genius. Go listen to “Last Words” because there are feelings.

Writing

So you know how I disappeared for three months? There were several reasons for this. Most of them I won’t go into because they had to do with Life Things (let’s just say, these past few months have been… a wild ride), but there is one reason I will tell you:

I wrote a book.

“Ah, yes,” you say. “You finally wrote that book you told us you were working on–the one with the airships and all that.”

Ummm….

Actually I wrote… *leaning around my supposedly current WIP to point* …that one.

What’s it about, you ask? Well, if you’ve been around for a while you may have already read the first incarnation of the first chapter. Soldier in a vaguely sci-fi war realizing he’s been fighting on the wrong side? Yep. That’s the one. The few pages written in response to a writing prompt that I had absolutely no intention of expanding into a book. NO INTENTION, I tell you.

But suddenly, almost six months after writing my response to the prompt, I started having IDEAS.

And as we all know from A Bug’s Life, “Ideas are very dangerous things.”

But yeah. It happened.

There is angst. There are green beans. There is Kai, and he is my son.

I also wrote a couple short stories this year.

And I love them both, despite the fact that they need lots of work (aw, look at all the cute little plot holes!).

I got a lot more into fantasy and sci-fi this year with my reading, and–not surprisingly–this was reflected in my writing. I wrote a lowkey sci-fi short story about a Sad Spaceman (mentioned in this post), and a fantasy short story about hunting a magical beast (spoiler…things do not go well).

***

That’s all for now! I wish you all the best in 2022!

(…That feels so weird. I wrote the date as December 2020 a few weeks ago and didn’t even catch it until…a few days ago? But now it’s about to be 2022?? HALP)

How was 2021 for you? Are you happy to see it go? What was the best book you read (or best handful of books–I’m so cruel as to make you choose just one)? What goals do you have for 2022? Did you discover any new music? Does your “current WIP” get jealous and start plotting your murder when you accidentally draft another book instead? Do tell!

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12 responses to “2021 Recap-The year of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, apparently–also jams and plot bunnies”

  1. I had so much fun reading this post. Lovely stuff!
    2022. WEIRDNESS. *tries to understand the swiftly moving passage of time* *cannot*
    I haven’t read, like ANY of those books but I daresay I need to go and update my TBR. xD So thanks. *fist-bumps*
    I’ve tried Sleeping At Last (so many friends LOVE him) and it’s not that I don’t like his music, it just doesn’t seem to impact me very much??? Maybe I’m a cold-hearted monster, or maybe I haven’t listened to the right songs but I’m just kind of “meh. whatever” about his music. But now I want to go listen to the songs you’ve mentioned and see if I change my mind. xD
    YOU WROTE AN ACTUAL BOOK.
    wwwwaaaaaaaaattt?!!! THAT’S AMAZING. I have struggled so long on my own project, that I feel immense pride and happiness for other people when they finish their books, even complete strangers. xD SO CONGRATS!!
    Your story sounds amazing. If you ever publish it, please let me know. I want to read it. ❤
    Happy New Year and best of luck in all your next endeavours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly though. The passage of time. What even is it.
      Yes, DO add more books to your TBR! *fist-bumps you back*
      Haha, completely understand. My sisters and I are super into Sleeping at Last, and my cousin is like “…why?” But that’s one of the things I love so much about music and art in general: people are impacted so differently by it.
      I KNOW IT’S CRAZY. Thank you thank you! Oh, I know, I get so excited for people when they finish a book 🙂
      If I ever publish it, I will certainly let you know 🙂
      Happy New Year to you too!!

      Like

  2. Delighted to see you back after your Great Hiatus! And I’m so excited for you writing your book. Congrats! I made my first serious foray into whole-book-writing this year. (It was still a very sad effort, but, you know, at least I tried.)

    YOU READ ONCE ON A TIME? I love that book dearly. It’s so clever and wry under cover of being childish and silly. AND the swineherds are, as you say, amazing. 🙂

    I have yet to be murdered by an abandoned manuscript, but I have plenty of them, so I can only assume I did such a terrible job writing them that they were relieved when I finally left them in peace.

    I decline to make a decision on the single best new book I’ve read this year, but ONE I really enjoyed was Kate Milford’s “The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book.” It’s a collection of stories alluded to in one of her other books (not sure if you’re familiar with the “Greenglass House” books. They’re definitely intended for middle-grade reading, but the characters and world-building are amazing, and while there are problems, I would recommend them overall).

    Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to hearing more about your new book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Oooh, congratulations! No matter how sad a writing effort feels, it’s still writing and, therefore, a SUCCESS.
      YES Once on a Time was quite fun. My cousin has been trying to get me to read it for a few years, and I’m glad I finally did. The swineherd bit ALONE was worth it 🙂
      I am glad to hear you haven’t been murdered–I suppose our unfinished manuscripts might actually be happy to be left alone since we writers tend to fill them with much pain and suffering…
      Ooh, that book sounds cool! I haven’t read Greenglass House, though I think I’ve heard of it. I adore a good middle grade book, so I might have to add it to my TBR
      Happy New year!

      Like

  3. CONGRATS ON YOUR BOOK!!! *incessant flailing & cheers & fanfares & confetti showers*
    And not to mention TPN is on your book list…Gahh, just looking at the cover of vol.18 makes my insides twist and turn😭 (Also, I DNFed All the Crooked Saints…how was it??)
    And Happy New Year to you ଘ(੭*ˊᵕˋ)੭* ੈ♡‧₊˚

    Liked by 1 person

    • THANK YOU *bows* *chokes on confetti* *recovers and bows again*
      TPN is just…aAaahhHhhGgghh so GOOD. And the cover of 18 is BEAUTIFUL
      I enjoyed All the Crooked Saints considerably–largely because of the fact that it was about cousins (I’m super close to my cousins and there just aren’t enough good cousin books out there). I also really liked the writing style. But it was certainly a very particular kind of book, and not for everyone.
      Happy New Year!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. DUNE AND THE ENIGMA GAME AND THE QUEEN’S THIEF AND ALL SYSTEMS RED AND THE CHOSEN AND THE NIGHT CIRCUS AND THE SCORPIO RACES ALL IN ONE LIST??? What is this awesomeness. I can’t cope with this awesomeness.

    I…may need to check out Sleeping at Last. (Will I do it? Maybe not, because I’m SO BAD about finding new artists, but I do need to.)

    Heeeey we are writing-books-based-on-writing-prompts-that-we-never-meant-to-expand twins!! Mine is an expansion of a Quirk, and I’m just diving into edits…
    Congrats SO MUCH on writing it! That’s amazing, and I can’t wait to hear more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I KNOW, RIGHT?? There were a lot of good books this year. Happiness.
      DO IT, SAM.
      As I was writing that section of the post I was like, “Didn’t Sam write a book based on a Quirk? And it’s Megan’s Godchild or something??” XD Apparently expanding writing prompts you never meant to expand is the way to go *high-fives you*
      (And BEST OF LUCK with edits)
      Thank you! And Happy New Year!

      Like

  5. Yay to Scorpio Races and All the Crooked Saints! I absolutely love those books! And Livingston is one of my absolute favorite artists. Give me all the feels…
    Thank you so much for posting reviews of Murderbot and The Thief a while back. I was inspired to read them and they have become some of my absolute favorites!!! Especially Murderbot, basically I spend all of my time convincing people to read those wonderful, hilarious books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aren’t they lovely? And isn’t Livingston a jam?? (I was just listening to Toy Soldier yesterday and it’s so. good.)
      Aw, I’m glad I was able to convince you to read those books! It’s very satisfying to recommend something and to have someone not only read it but love it. Welcome to the ranks of Telling People They Need to Meet Murderbot XD (Seriously though, how is Murderbot so hilarious and relatable and darling??)

      Like

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