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Captain's Log - The Year in Review!

December 30, 2017

 

 

Captain’s Log

My Year in Review

 

Entrants

Author Christian Kallias

 

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2017 in Review

Captain’s Log – Stardate 71462.3

 

This year (2017) has been pretty fantastic, I must say. It went by so fast, though, and I feel like I’m running out of time finishing up my long to-do lists. While I know I won’t manage to get all the items done before the year is out, it gives me clear targets and goals for 2018.

 

I’ve been to the States for the first time and in Vegas of all places, which was on my bucket list. I’ve made many author friends, which I’m super grateful for as well.

 

Now I wanted to talk about my best of 2017. I’ll kick off with discussing TV, movies, and music as these three play a significant role in my life and my writing. So without further ado, let’s start with the music. Without music (and especially metal) I don’t think I could function correctly as a human being. In fact, if I track the moments of my life I was at my lowest, I realize I was not listening to enough music.

 

BEST ALBUM of 2017:

 

Dead By April – Worlds Collide

That one is super easy, and unlike many other years when it’s really hard for me to vote a single album over the rest, this year it is simple. The Worlds Collide album from Dead by April (I didn’t know them until I heard it thank you Apple Music for suggesting it; bullseye recommendation on that one!) is hands down my favorite album of 2017. I’ve listened to it at least 100 times, if not more. In fact, I’m listening to it now as I’m writing the last chapters of book 10.

Favorite songs: For Every Step (amazing guest vocals by Tommy Körgerg), Crying Over You, Perfect the Way You Are, I Can’t Breathe, and Can You See the Red (but in all fairness, EVERY song kills on that album).

 

Here is a list of albums I think need mentioning as well (Disclaimer: if you’re not into metal in any way, you probably won’t like any of the bands I’m discussing here):

 

Iron Savior – Riding On Fire

Great re-recording of 19 classic songs from this band. With new twists on vocals and production that make most songs more powerful than ever before, except my all-time favorite of the band which I think sounded better in its original form (Tales of the Bold).

 

Beast in Black – Berserker

Excellent album from an ex-founding member of another favorite band of mine – Battle Beast. I think this album is better than the latest Battle Beast even though it contained two absolute killer tracks.

 

Battle Beast – Bringer of Pain

While not as good as the last two albums, this album has two of my favorite songs from the band; it’ my favorite chorus of any song, ever. That song is Beyond the Burning Skies.

 

Edguy – Monuments

While the new songs are fun, I was a little disappointed that none of them are what I consider killer tracks. The one I like most is Open Sesame, but even though the new songs are good, but not mind-blowing, still means new Edguy songs. This band has always been in my all-time top 10, so I’ll take anything new they can deliver. I look forward to them releasing a true new album though, the last one being all the way back in 2014; I think it’s time they release a new killer album. Here’s to hoping 2018 will bring that.

 

Nocturnal Rites – Phoenix

This one is aptly named as I thought that the band had split or was dead because they had announced an album like 5 years ago and it never came. So was Phoenix worth the wait? Hell yes! It may not be their best album, but it’s a damn good one. I absolutely adore this band, and they have so many pick-me-up songs that I listen to when I’m a little depressed, and they always helped me get through tough times in the past. So here’s to another Nocturnal Rites, may there be many more in the near future.

 

The Unguided – And the Battle Royale

I really like The Unguided; they remind me of Disturbed a little, and since I’m impatiently waiting for Disturbed to release a new album (the last one was their best ever, in my opinion, I’m just addicted to it, and it’s also an album I often put in loop while writing). Nothing earth-shattering here, but a great album overall.

 

Kreator – Gods of Violence

Okay, so while I’m not a fan of the entire album; I’m not into Thrash that much (except for many Metallica songs), I’m more into melodic stuff. This album does contain many gems, but the one that really shone through for me for its explosive chorus was Totalitarian Terror! What a song, it’s good enough that it deserves a mention here (IMHO).

I’m not your Typical Kreator fan; my favorite album from them is hated by most Kreator fans. That album is a gem of moody power metal (probably why fans hate it so much) is called Endorama. It’s on my all-times top 20 albums list.

 

Eclipse – Monumentum

Well, it’s in the album title, Eclipse has delivered the best Hard Rock of the last years. They’re just hitting it right on the head with their blend of 80’s and newer, more punchy production and killer vocals. If you’re into Hard Rock and don’t know Eclipse yet, do yourself a favor, check them out.

 

TV SHOWS:

 

Okay, so now it’s time to go over the TV shows of 2017 that I thought were brilliant.

 

Stranger Things Season 2

Well, no surprise there; I’m a stickler for nostalgia, and I like creepy and moody atmospheres, so Stranger Things is a hit. I thought this second season was as good, if not better than the first season. I can’t wait to see more of this show.

 

Star Trek – Discovery

I love this show! The production values are just mind-blowing; it looks as sleek as the JJ Abrahams reboot, and for a TV show that’s quite an achievement. I’m a huge fan of Jason Isaacs too, so having him as the troubled, morally ambiguous captain is pure joy. I don’t know where they are going with the show, but hot damn, beam me on board!

 

The Orville

This show is a huge surprise for me; looking at the trailer of the series I thought this would be a joke and not necessarily a good one, though I like parodies and I thought that this would end up being a parody of Star Trek. I was wrong. This show is fantastically written by Seth MacFarlane, and while some of the humor doesn’t always work for me, the depth in which he approaches the subjects really impressed me. It’s more Star Trek than the new Star Trek. In fact, it’s more TOS with some TNG and the opening sequence is clearly a hat tip to Voyager, if you ask me. Loved the first season; can’t wait for more.

 

12 Monkeys

The entire show so far, as I discovered it this year even though only the last season was released in 2017 if I’m not mistaken. While I couldn’t get into the movie when it was released (I think it had something to do with the soundtrack of the film, but I should try and see it one more time, but I remember hating the music so much I didn’t pay attention to the movie). The show is brilliant, and I can’t wait to see the final season.

 

Dark Matter

Season three has been a mixed bag, some lower episodes but some fantastic ones as well. I loved that show, and I’m bummed it was cancelled. I also enjoy Killjoys, which was renewed (I think I would have preferred it the other way around, but at least one will go on), but I haven’t finished watching the third season. I haven’t watched as much TV as I have in the past, simply too much to do besides writing (marketing, conventions, learning new ways of reaching readers, cover artwork, etc.…).

 

Ozark

If you wish there were more TV shows like Breaking Bad, then this show is for you. Enough said.

 

The 100

I’m surprised how diversified each season has been so far. With major characters being killed off and many surprises along the way. Another show I’ll be glad to continue when it returns.

 

The list would be longer, but I would also spend hours and hours talking about them, so I’m gonna stop here with the shows as I need to finish Book 10.

 

MOVIES:

 

Passengers

I didn’t expect much from this one when I saw the trailers, and, in fact, quickly forgot about it. However, it’s a tie for my favorite movie this year with Spectral (more on that one below). While it’s a slow burn of a movie, it resonated heavily with me, and it’s a beautiful movie. Even if I muted the sound and just looked at it, I could enjoy its production values.

 

Spectral

A Netflix movie. I’m usually not too keen checking their in-house movies, but I think this one was an abandoned project from another studio that Netflix acquired. One way or another, it has one of my favorite 24 actors (besides Keith that is), James Badge Dale, who played Chase in 24. Chase, you say? I’ll let you make that connection on your own. James hasn’t had many big roles, and he shines in this movie. When it’s time to have the Universe in Flames ported to the silver screen, he’s one of my top 3 choices for the role of Chase. I just don’t know if long hair would suit him, but somehow I doubt Chase would sport long hair in any TV/movies adaptations, but that’s one detail I’m willing to overlook.

 

Star Wars - The Last Jedi (spoiler alert!! & long review)

I can’t speak of 2017 and not mention Star Wars now can I (my first SciFi love)? I had a BLAST seeing the movie in IMAX. Grade A experience. I loved it at first sight, but as more time passed after seeing the movie, the more the writing choices were nagging at me, and I’m no longer as enthused about it as I was while watching it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great spectacle and fun, but when you start tearing down the direction and choices, you find that the plot has more holes than Swiss cheese. The long, slow chase is one of my biggest gripes. Then you have Snoke, built up as this mysterious character, and we finally hope to learn more about him, and instead, he gets Cheech kebabbed. I loved the force projection Luke does; that was the best part of the movie as well as the Kylo/Rey team-up battle, but Luke dying at the end of the movie was unnecessary. I get that you have to phase out these characters, but why not phase out Leia since Carrie Fisher isn’t among us anymore (RIP Carrie, and you did an amazing job in The Last Jedi!), and keep the one actor that is actually still alive on board. It almost feels like Ryan Johnson wanted to make sure you couldn’t guess ANY of the decisions made in this movie, and he mostly succeeded in doing that, but that doesn’t make it the best direction it could have been for this trilogy and really feels like an attempt at undoing most of what JJ had set up in the Force Awakens. I’m also displeased with one other burning question we fans had, about Rey’s lineage. To get “your parents are nobodies” as an answer feels like a cheap way out. Maybe because Kylo could be manipulating her? We’ll find out that wasn’t the case after all, but somehow I think they’re not gonna go in that direction, but since JJ is back for episode 9, then maybe he’ll right some of these wrongs. If he’s not bringing back Luke at least in one capacity or another (Force Ghost seems like a given), I’ll be very disappointed. But I think you’d have to be stupid to do this, so if JJ reads this (I know he won’t :D, you’ve been warned).

 

Oh, and for the record, Rian, the hyperspace kill sequence: brilliant, and a highlight of the movie for me, but uh…how do I say this nicely: I did that first in the Universe in Flames, you know, just for the record.

 

Honorable mentions: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (but the first one was better) & Thor – Ragnarok (great flick but some of the humor was kinda lame and didn’t always landed well, at least with me. The basketball throw was brilliant though, and we got to see more of Loki, so that’s always a good thing).

 

That’s it for the entertainment portion.

 

On the personal achievement side of things, I’m very proud of what I achieved in 2017. Even though I released fewer books than the previous year (if you don’t count the trilogies, but these aren’t new books), I managed to achieve the bestseller ranking at least 4 times this year. The first trilogy was a bestseller in May, in both US and Australia. Then the release in August of the second trilogy was a bestseller in the US, and a few days ago, book 9, Requiem of Souls (Into the Fire part I) has been a bestseller in Canada as well. I also reached the top 10 list of Sci-Fi authors a few days ago, which is just amazing to me, even if short-lived.

 

I could probably talk more about the year, but I don’t want to drag on this already super long Captain’s Log. I’ll say this. However, 2018 will be a year where I’ll give everything I have to bring you entertainment, both new and familiar. With a sequel series to Universe in Flames (tentatively named UiF Legacy); there will also be a surprise in the first quarter of the year, which I can’t speak about just yet, regarding the UiF universe. And I also want to give Rewind 717 the exposure it deserves with a sequel book and proper relaunch. So plenty to be excited about for the coming year.

 

I’d like to take a moment to thank all my fantastic readers from the bottom of my heart. Without your support and encouragement, I couldn’t have done half of what I have accomplished until now; you are the best readers an author could dream to have, and the positive feedback I get almost daily on the Universe in Flames books is mind-blowing and humbling. Some of you have even told me that you thought UiF was better than Star Wars (both in feedback and reviews), and I can’t even begin to describe how overwhelming and amazing this type of feedback makes me feel.

 

I’d also like to take a moment to thank my fantastic team. First and foremost, Paula Lavattiata Lopez for being the best editor and a dear friend. Paula has done an incredible job in 2017, and I can’t wait to work with her even more in 2018! I’d also like to thank my Alpha Reader Team, you guys rock, and I’m so happy to have you help me with the books. Special thanks also to my ARC team. I know I don’t always give you my books with much notice before release, but you’ve blown me away with how fast you read, proofread, and review the new books. Thank you so much.

 

I’d also like to thank the following authors for their support and their friendship. Scott Bartlett, Chris Fox, Michael Anderle, G.P. Hudson, Isaac Hooke, Rhett Bruno, M.R. Forbes, M.D. Cooper, Jonathan Brazee, Craig Martelle, Brandon Ellis, Jasper T. Scott, and Richard Fox. I hope I didn’t forget anyone; there have been so many new friendships and encounters this year on the author front that I feel blessed by each and every one of them.

 

I wish you all a wonderful and Happy New Year, filled with health, happiness, and prosperity. Until next time.

 

“Helmsman, set a course for 2018.”

 

“Course set, Captain.”

 

“Engage!”

 

 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! Cheers.

 

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