BEST FICTION BOOK: No contest here:
Stephen R. Donaldson, Fatal Revenant (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant) (New York: Putnam, 2007)(Past posts on the series are here, here, and here.) Donaldson just moves from strength to strength. The viewpoint character continues to be Thomas Covenant's companion, Linden Avery, and Covenant's involvement in the the story continues to be, well, complicated. Go Linden! Do something they don't expect.
Honorable mention goes to:
Charles Stross, The Atrocity Archives (New York: Ace, 2004)Spooks meets H. P. Lovecraft meets Dilbert. Enough said.
BEST NONFICTION BOOK: I read fewer technical books this year than usual, and very few that were actually published in 2007. Of those I read that were published in the last couple of years, the best was certainly:
John M. G. Barclay, Flavius Josephus: Against Apion (Brill, 2006)Another superb volume in the Brill commentary series on Josephus.
For honorable mention:
Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Eerdmans, 2006)This one might have made first place but I haven't actually, er, read it yet. But I did read some of it in manuscript and our postgraduate seminar spent several weeks reviewing it just before Richard retired, so I do have a good idea what's in it. The book is clearly an important challenge to the field of New Testament form criticism and it will be very interesting to follow its long-term effect.
BEST MOVIE: I saw very few movies this year, partly because I was busy and partly because the offerings were so dire. I was happy to be among the droves that stayed away from the rash of rampantly money-losing Hollywood anti-war films. Apart from that, I took my eleven-year-old son to a number of children's movies. Of these, the best was Ratatouille, a hilarious mixture of American values and French cooking.
BEST TELEVISION: Last year I mentioned the British series Life on Mars. It concluded with a second season in 2007. This season had a warmed over feel to it and wasn't entirely satisfactory, but the last two episodes were spectacular. The best television moment of 2007 (and surely one of the creepiest) was Sam Tyler's moment of personal apocalyse in the concluding episode.
If you've seen it, you know what I mean. If you haven't seen the series yet, the DVD really is worth renting. I look forward to the sequel spin-off Ashes to Ashes in 2008.
The 2007 season of Doctor Who was also excellent. David Tennant gets better and better and if he pulls off another season like the last two, he could displace John Pertwee as my favorite Doctor. Also deserving of honorable mention is ITV's Primeval, a time travel show involving "anomalies" from the past and future that periodically expel entertaining monsters that have to be dealt with. It was aimed at the vicinity of my son's demographic and it cannibalized the special effects from last year's Prehistoric Park, but I quite enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to series 2 in 2008.
BEST MUSIC: Thanks to airline soundtracks, access to a car radio in the States for a while, and YouTube, I actually did listen to a little new music in 2007 (both newish and new to me). Of the newish songs I heard, the one I liked best was How to Save a Life by The Fray. Of the new-to-me variety, how could I not love The Mespotamians by They Might Be Giants? And I especially enjoyed discovering the first music video ever shown on MTV, Video Killed the Radio Star, by the Buggles. My favorite new song of 2007 is this parody of the latter, posted in October: YouTube Killed the TV Star.
Best wishes for 2008!
UPDATE (6 January 2007): Mark Goodacre has published his Fourth Annual Ralphies.