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A North-South Divide
My Best of 2015Wed, 30th December 2015
Every year, I like to create a list of the books, music, games, and movies that I enjoyed the most. Mostly, the items will be from that year, but not all the time (especially in the case of books). Below are my picks for 2015.
Best Book: The Martian - Andy Weir
Honourable mentions: The Death House - Sarah Pinborough, The Roboteer - Alex Lamb
Probably the most surprising thing about Weir's debut novel is just how funny it is. I didn't quite expect this. I had heard that the science was solid and that Weir had researched all the fine details, but I never expected the book to have such a sense of humour. I remember very clearly sitting on the train, coming home from work, and laughing out loud at one particular section, drawing looks from many of the other passengers in the carriage. The book has everything: drama, wit, believability, and is, above all, immense fun. If you have not read this book, I urge you to do so.
An honourable mention has to go to Sarah Pinborough, too, for her novel THE DEATH HOUSE. I have read a number of Sarah's books, and this is easily her best novel to date. Both entertaining and emotional, this is another book that deserves to join your to-read pile. Stephen King also enjoyed it, providing a nice quote for the cover. Good work, Sarah.
Best Album: Music Complete - New Order
Honourable mentions: The Race for Space - Public Service Broadcasting, Blur - The Magic WhipI had heard a number of singles from New Order's new album, and had also read that the album had been well received by fans. I decided to give it a go and wasn't disappointed. The songs are all rather upbeat, with an electronic sound running throughout. The already released singles are, for the most part, the standout tracks, although the one that grabbed me the most was Stray Dog. I had no idea that Iggy Pop was on the album, so it was a nice surprise. The tone of the song is far, far darker than the rest of the album, and Iggy's vocals works incredibly well. I strongly recommend this album, and as well as Blur's The Magic Whip, another amazing album release from a band that has also been away for quite some time. An honourable mention must also go to Public Service Broadcasting for their awesome concept album, The Race for Space. It's very different to what I usually listen to, I certainly enjoyed it a lot. I will certainly be checking out their first album.
Best Single: Go! - Public Service Broadcasting
Honourable mentions: Shut 'Em Up - The Prodigy, Wide Open - Chemical Brothers
This turned out to be a bit of a tough one for me. I first learned of Public Service Broadcasting thanks to 6Music. Earlier in the year, they made The Race for Space one of their albums of the week, and played all the tracks from it. Go! resonated with a number of the listeners, with its upbeat tone and great use of samples from the Apollo mission. Towards the end of the year, however, I also heard the Prodigy / Public Enemy mash up, and Wide Open by the Chemical Brothers. I love all these songs, so it was tough to pick between the three of them. In the end, Go! wins by a whisker.
Best Film: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Honourable mentions: Jurassic World, Inside Out
There really wasn't very much doubt here, to be honest. This is the Star Wars film that I've been waiting 32 years to see! It more than made up for the disappointing prequel trilogy, and truly felt like a Star Wars film. I was relatively late in seeing the movie, only getting to see it after it had been out for 2 weeks. However, I managed to avoid all the spoilers, and was able to enjoy the film knowing nothing of the plot or any content. I'll not be waiting as long to see the follow-up, that's for sure.
As far as other films are concerned, I also enjoyed Jurassic Park, and Inside Out. Both great films, and I recommend you giving them each a watch.
Best Game: Bloodborne
Honourable mentions: Batman: Arkham Knight, Dying Light
This was another tough one, as I was blown away by both Bloodborne and Arkham Knight. I bought Bloodborne with my PS4, based on the glowing reviews and my love of From Software's Souls series. Bloodborne is something of a different beast to Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, but no the less fun for it. It was great fun from start to finish, with both the need to dodge, rather than block, and the use of guns as a parry mechanic being a great twist on what I'd previously been used to. Funnily enough, I only found the start of the game difficult, with the rest flowing as a moderate challenge. I'm putting this down to me being a Souls vet, and knowing what to expect of the game.
Arkham Knight is my other contender for GOTY. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest Batman game ever made, and tells an incredible story throughout. I loved every moment of it, the combat being well-realised, fluid, and a lot of fun. It was therefore tricky for me to choose between Bloodborne and Arkham Knight, as, to me, they are both amazing games.
In the end, I went with Bloodborne, just because I absolutely love this type of game, and Bloodborne ticked all the right boxes. But in all honesty, it's very, very close.
My Best of 2019
My Best of 2018
My Best of 2017
My Best of 2016