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The Fifth Perennially Annual Tropism Awards
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Here's what I thought about some things.

(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: "Magic for Beginners" by Kelly Link. With nods to David Moles's "Planet of the Amazon Women" and Dora Goss's "Pip and the Fairies." I loved those too, but I kinda wanted to live in the universe of Kelly's story. I also loved Heather Shaw's "Single White Farmhouse".

Best Non-Animated Television Show: Actually a tough one this year! Lost was the early contender, and I think it still edges out the new version of Battlestar Galactica, because Lost is better at personal human stories.

Best Animated Television Show: The Boondocks is not as good as I'd hoped (though it gets better with each episode), so this one is going to Perfect Hair Forever. "What cat suit?"

Best Movie: Oddly (because I generally favor fiction), I think the film that stuck with me the most was Grizzly Man. Not perfect, but deeply moving, and one I return to often in my thoughts. I enjoyed Serenity, but more for love of the television show than on the film's own merits.

Best Weekend: My bachelor party weekend, so full of booze, food, pool, fellowship, and strippers. Mmm. Good weekend.

Best Single Day: October 1, 2005, when I married Heather Shaw.

Best Comic: I love me some Astro City. I enjoyed Planetary, too, but Astro City kept me reading non-stop through four collections over the course of two days.

Best Magazine: God, my brain is burning out on this question. I read so many stories this year. Um, let's just say Sci Fiction, since it's certainly worthy, and will never ever be eligible again.

Best Non-fiction: So hard! I loved Garlic and Sapphires and Stiff and Everything Bad Is Good for You and Blink and The Tipping Point, but Freakonomics is our winner. It made me think the most.

Best Cartoon To Watch After Ingesting Hallucinogens: (This category is purely hypothetical these days, as I'm now a responsible married man, etc.) Perfect Hair Forever again!

Best Beverage: Heather and I drank margaritas all summer long, and lord, it was fine.

Best First Novel: Heh, guess I shouldn't say Rangergirl... Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier was the first novel I enjoyed the most this year, with Rocket Science by Jay Lake also a contender.

Best Novel in an Ongoing Series: Storm of Swords was my favorite of the four George R.R. Martin "Song of Ice and Fire" books I read this year.

Best Standalone Novel: Girl in the Glass by Jeffrey Ford was so very very good.

Best Anthology: That'd be The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Whatever Annual Collection Came Out In 2005. My favorite book to just disappear into for hours, every year.

Best Collection: Last year I predicted that I would say Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link, but instead it's going to be 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill. There are story's in Link's collection that are better than any of the stories in Joe's, but Joe's works impeccably well as a thematically unified whole.

Best Short-Shorts (fiction): Jenn Reese's Tales of the Chinese Zodiac, tied with Greg van Eekhout's Story Grenades. Equal in my esteem, beloved for different reasons.

Best Short-Shorts (clothing): One of the Mary Annes on that admittedly horrible reality show The Real Gilligan's Island. Nice shorts, though.

Best Music to Write By: A melange of The Weakerthans, bits of Jonathan Coulton, and Paper Moon. (I know, it's kind of a cop-out, but no single artist really rocked my world this past year. Instead, many artists jostled my world.)

Best Webcomic: My buddy Scott turned me on to Dinosaur Comics at Very very good stuff.

Best T-Shirt sellers: has become my favorite place to buy clothes. I don't love everything they do, but I love a high percentage of it, and I love their whole concept and execution.

Best Narrator: David Rackoff may have surpassed David Sedaris as my favorite narrator, and I love hearing him read his own work (hmm, guess I've never heard him read anyone else's, though). Wish he had more stuff available as audiobooks.

Best New Crack: This is a category traditionally reserved for food or drinks... but, really, who am I kidding? The best new crack of 2005 was a game, World of Warcraft, which ate most of my productive hours for the first three months I had it, and which I still play nearly every day. It's pretty clearly the best game ever.

Best Video Game That Isn't World of Warcraft: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas lives up to all the hype. I'd play it constantly... if not for WoW.

Best Comic Shop: The newly-renovated-and-expanded Comic Relief in Berkeley. So vast. So lovely.

Best Secondhand Bookstore: Half-Price Books, recently opened in Berkeley. They took everything we brought in, and paid well in cash. I want to take another load into them soon.

Best Breakfast Joint: The Coffee Shack on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Bottomless cups of kona coffee! Good food! Jam-eating geckos on the deck!

Best Snorkeling: Two-Step Beach in Hawai'i, where we swam among green sea turtles and a pod of dolphins.

Best Honeymoon Hotel: The Hyatt in Maui, the most insanely nice and luxurious place I've ever stayed (or probably ever will stay). If money is no object (or if you're throwing financial caution to the wind because, hey, you only get one honeymoon), I recommend it. Eat the amazing breakfasts. Swim under the waterfalls. Gaze at the penguins. Etc.

Best Small Press: Night Shade Books, and only partly because they're publishing my next collection. Mostly because they publish great books (which have nothing to do with me).

Best MC: My buddy D., who performed my wedding ceremony with his customary panache. Me and D. had grown apart a bit in recent years because of the continent between us, but after the wedding planning and everything, I feel as close to him again as I ever was.

Best Best Man: Scott Seagroves, for services at my wedding and in my life.

Best Secret Show-Runner: Lynne Raschke, who was in charge of everything during the actual wedding, and kept disasters from disturbing Heather and me.

Best Groomspeople: Greg, Jenn, and my brother Wayne. I'm glad they stood up there with me.

Best Technological Geegaw: I bought Tivo for Heather for Xmas, because she really wanted it, but I've come to love it, too. It recorded a marathon of The Twilight Zone! What's not to love?

Best Home-Cooked Meal: A couple of times a month, we make fajitas, with yummy salsa, guac, chicken cooked in chili powder and red pepper, etc. The deliciousness of this meal is vast, and it's quite simple to prepare. Eating fajitas makes me only half as happy as eating chili, true... but it's about ten times easier than making chili, so the math is clear.

Best Podcast: Love and Radio is really great, and I recommend it, but... last year was the year of Escape Pod, without question. It's the podcast that got me listening to podcasts. Long may it cast its voice upon the air!

That'll do.

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