A Review of 2015

In years past I’ve been reticent to record a retrospective like this, as it reminds me of all the things I didn’t accomplish. One of the quirks of being Zack, I guess. So many things to do, so little time. This year, however, I’m going to do it, and in the midst of it try to remind myself that my greatest accomplishment this year was spending quality time with my family. Not something I can bullet point or quantify as easily, which naturally is outside of my linear-thinking comfort zone.

Being a family man takes a lot of work. Marriage is hard. Raising a kid can be stressful.

I like to make understatements.

I’m thankful that I’ve had good people help me with these things as 2015 was a positive year for family, though challenging.

Since I primarily write about things I’m reading on this blog, let’s take a look at my year in books.

Science Fiction

Sci-Fi played a big part in 2015 as the Science Fiction Book Club roared into its second year with a steady cast of characters and a voracious appetite for classic and modern tales.

Researching books to read as a group has been great fun, but nothing beats sitting around the table, delicious feast in view, red wine in hand, discussing a grand vision of the future with friends.

The night we gathered to discuss the Foundation Trilogy was especially memorable. The unique opportunity to host Sci-Fi luminaries Greg & Astrid Bear elevated the evening to rarified air as we unpacked Foundation and added dozens of new books to our reading list.

A fond memory indeed!

Favorite Books Read

So of the 33 books that I read this year, what did I enjoy reading most?

By Category:

Favorite Science Fiction

In no particular order and with too few words to give proper due…

  • Eon by Greg Bear - a fabulous mind-bender of hard science fiction wonderment
  • The Martian by Andy Weir - hilarious and best hook
  • Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke - I can’t stop thinking about the premise
  • Foundation by Isaac Asimov - foundational reading (couldn’t resist)

Favorite Science

I read a good bit of Science this year, these were the good ones…

  • Cosmos by Carl Sagan - a masterpiece
  • The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan - worldview orienting
  • Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom - fascinating look into un-Friendly A.I.

Sadly, there were some real stinkers that I read too.

Favorite Computer Science

After wasting time on books that should never be recommended, the only good book that I read this year was…

  • The New Turing Omnibus by A.K. Dewdney - engaging survey

But I’ve been busy.

Favorite Book Written

I’m writing a book!

In August I took to heart the idea of incremental work and began the journey to write my first Science Fiction novel.

I’m not sure why I didn’t start writing earlier, but as 2015 closes, I finished my first draft!!

It is 89,672 words (334 pages paperback) and is going to take a good bit of editing and re-writing before I show it to anyone. But when it’s ready, I’ll release it chapter by chapter here. Perhaps even with an audio version, depending on how ambitious I get (and how quiet it is after Jack goes to bed).

Without a doubt, it has become my favorite hobby and has been an amazing experience. It has blown my mind to have a concept for the story I want to tell but then see the characters on the page change the story to fit their world. Feels more like discovering and less like writing, though there is plenty of the latter.

This should help explain why I’ve been reading so many books on grammar and writing.

I have several ideas for my next book, but I’m determined to get this one out the door first. No timeline. My goal isn’t to make it perfect, just the best I can make it, and there’s no rush.

Happy New Year!

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