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The Fourth Egregiously Annual Tropism Awards
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Here's some opinions about some stuff. And whatnot.

(Note: I do not limit myself to films, books, music, etc. released last year, though I do try to limit myself to works I encountered for the first time last year. These are in no meaningful order.)

Best Story: "The Faery Handbag" by Kelly Link, followed closely by "The Voluntary State" by Christopher Rowe. (I am consciously excluding stories I published in Flytrap, though I think they rock the proverbial house, too.)

Best Non-Animated Television Show: Tough one. We've seen lots of shows we like, but I think Lost is probably the one I get the most excited about. But Carnivale is a close second.

Best Animated Television Show: Venture Brothers!

Best Movie: I liked The Incredibles and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but on December 31 I saw The Life Aquatic, and that's my favorite.

Best Night of High/Low Culture: Scott's bachelor party, where we had dinner in a private dining room at a first-rate restaurant (Farralon) followed closely by a visit to a strip joint (Centerfolds).

Most Ill-Advised Outing: Our trip to the Dickens Fair. The weekend before Xmas. With a baby. In horrible traffic. One shudders to remember.

Best Comic: I really love Tom Strong, though I was slow to warm to it. I was reserved in my admiration for the first few issues, but am a true devotee now.

Best Magazine: I've especially enjoyed The New Yorker this past year, actually.

Best Convention: Wiscon, as always, though Worldcon certainly had its high points.

Best Non-fiction: Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I have no expectations of using any of it as research for fiction -- I read that book like it was a novel.

Best Cartoon To Watch After Ingesting Hallucinogens: (This category is, alas, purely hypothetical these days) Sealab 2021.

Best Meal: The meal with my editor in Boston, where I had mushroom risotto. Wish I could remember the name of the restaurant!

Best First Novel: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Best Novel in an Ongoing Series: The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes. I'm very excited to read the third book. I liked Barker's second "Abarat" book, too. I enjoyed the final Dark Tower books as well.

Best Anthology: The Faery Reel.

Best Collection: Singing Innocence & Experience by Sonya Taaffe (which should hit the shelves later this year). I can make a prediction for what next year's winner will be, sight unseen: Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link. That's also the Book I'm Most Looking Forward To for next year.

Best Music to Write By: Rilo Kiley.

Best Coffee Shop: Café di Bartolo on Grand has risen rapidly in my esteem. It's got a skylight, Boylan's sodas, and a cute barista with enormously fluffy hair.

Best Novel: Set This House in Order by Matt Ruff. Awesome.

Best Gosh-Wow SF Novel: Accelerando by Charles Stross. He's one of the writers who keeps me reading core science fiction.

Best Quasi-Sequel: In the Night Room by Peter Straub, no doubt, though I liked Caitlín Kiernan's Murder of Angels, too, and there's something to be said for China Miéville's Iron Council as well.

Best Webcomic: Something Positive. A daily must-read.

Best Video Game: Knights of the Old Republic. Absolutely consumed me from start to finish. The sequel is enjoyably playable, but not as good overall.

Best Flash Animation: Making Fiends! And Heather bought me the DVD of the first season, so I can watch it on TV. Whoo!

Best Sexblog: Mistress Matisse's journal. Funny, smart, sexy.

Saddest Restaurant Closure: The Piedmont Caffé, home of the California Club (winner of Best Sandwich for the first two years of the Tropism Awards). They're gone, replaced by Yet Another Crappy Sushi Place. Indescribably depressing.

Best Erotica Magazine: Fishnet, edited by my own bestbeloved, Heather. She's got great, and varied, taste. Something for every kink!

Best Authorial Voice in an Online Journal: Stereolabrat. Hilariously profane narrative voice which keeps me reading, even when the entries aren't about anything much in particular at all.

Best New Crack: The Bistro Burger at The Blackberry Bistro. I eat it every time we go there, pretty much. The place is best known for their breakfast foods, but they make hands-down the best cheeseburger I've had in California, which is saying something. And last time, they gave me a side order of perfectly cooked French Fries, which is a rare and glorious thing.

Best Meal with Friends: The dinner at the Irregardless Café with Jason, Janet, Mike, and Elizabeth, because I don't see any of them often enough, not because the food was great. Though the food was okay.

Most Dazzling Natural Vista: The beach on the day Scott and Lynne got married, with the dolphins leaping in the surf as the two of them said their vows.

Favorite Radio Show: This American Life. I'd never really listened to it, but someone (I think it was Susan) told me how great it was, and that it could be downloaded from Audible.com, and I quickly became addicted. I look forward to it every week, now.

Best Narrator: I'd listen to David Sedaris read the minutes of a SFWA business meeting. Yeah. I like his narration that much.

Best Place I Nearly Visited But Didn't, Quite: The mountains of North Carolina. I was only three hours away from them in August, but there just wasn't time. I've got a new calendar with photos of the Appalachian Trail, and the January picture is a mountainscape that is heartbreakingly familiar. I hope I get to visit there sometime in the next few years.

Best Technological Geegaw: Lo, I have sung the praises of my iPod before, and need not do so again. But, lord, I love that geegaw.

There. That's my random cross-section of things I had opinions about from last year. Hope you found it illuminating. Real entries will resume shortly.



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