Anathem by Neal Stephenson
It's a shame there haven't been more SF books about monks who live in a giant clock, because Stephenson's masterpiece has ended that particular subgenre. All else can't help but be an imitation. So if you've got a monks-in-a-giant-clock manuscript kicking around... well, I'm really sorry. My review is here.
Rapture Ready by Daniel Radosh
I'm always intrigued by the delightful weirdness of evangelical pop culture, and Radosh's book sums up why. Check out the online multimedia appendix for clips from Bibleman and Ultimate Christian Wrestling. (If I were smart I'd put together something like that for The Gospel According to Science Fiction.)
"The Runaway Bride" was hardly my favorite episode, so I wasn't the only one who was... disappointed to hear that Catherine Tate would be returning to Doctor Who for a whole season. Imagine my surprise, then, when Donna Noble ends up one of the most interesting companions in the 45-year history of the program. Billie Piper's Rose casts a long shadow, but Tate successfully made the show hers—in a very good way. And the finale is pretty much a blueprint for how to make geeks feel happy.
Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris
I surprise myself saying this, since Brian K. Vaughan's other series have often left me cold, but this is one of the best comics coming out right now. My favorite moment of the year occurred in #33, in which Mayor Mitchell Hundred has a vision of the word made concrete: God as an embodiment of New York.
I'm a big kaiju fan, so of course I was anticipating seeing this view-from-the-ground of a giant monster rampage. I thought it might lose some of its luster on second viewing, but I recently watched it again and I'm glad to say it didn't. Can there ever be a better fake-found-footage-documentary? I doubt it. My review appeared on Religion Dispatches.
I didn't make that big a deal of it or anything, but yeah, this was pretty great. And all about Plato's cave!
"The Ray-Gun: A Love Story" by James Alan Gardner (Asimov's, February 2008)
An amazing parable about love, fate, and alien artifacts. I reviewed it here. I'll be brief: this story deserves a Hugo. Come to think of it...
Asimov's in general
Sheila Williams has really, really good taste in stories, and the last year of Asimov's was nothing short of amazing. Check out my choices for the 2008 readers' poll to see some of the reasons why. Here's a tip: quit reading blog posts about the decline of the science fiction magazines and subscribe to this one. You'll be very, very glad you did.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Until Dollhouse—and possibly even after that—TTSCC is the closest network TV is going to get to Buffy at the moment. It's not perfect, sure, but it has moments of brilliance, chief among them the first season finale's robot-versus-SWAT-team battle set to Johnny Cash's "When the Man Comes Around." For a for-instance, here's my review of the season two premiere.
Alien Nation: The Ultimate Movie Collection
A couple years ago Fox put out a DVD set entitled Alien Nation: The Complete Series. The problem? It wasn't: it excluded the five TV movies Fox aired over the eight years after the hourly show was canceled. Alien Nation had the potential to be one of the best SF shows of all time before Fox killed it (sound familiar?), and the release of this DVD set (which originally came out last year, but only as a Best Buy exclusive) means that the whole thing is finally available for real.
I was not that into The Dark Knight, which struck me as relentlessly cynical (and a bit nonsensical, too). After its ridiculously huge opening weekend I feared that we were destined for a few years of "grim n' gritty" antisuperhero movies wherein the good guys are really bad guys and everything is sad. And maybe we are. But Iron Man offers a glimmer of hope that there might still be some superhero movies coming up that are made for people who like fun.
Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti
Thomas Ligotti is probably the best horror writer since Lovecraft, but he has a very hard time keeping his books in print. Many of his best stories were only available in expensive small-press hardcovers and even more expensive out-of-print omnibuses. Virgin Books has done us all a favor by releasing an affordable trade paperback of Teatro Grottesco, which includes many of his best stories (such as my favorite, "Gas Station Carnivals"). Anybody for some existential despair?
I just reviewed this, so I needn't say much here. Just... wow. Good movie.
Hulu's only 9 months old, but dang, it's hard to remember the Internet without it. It's got a slew of good genre shows both new and old (Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the not-as-bad-as-you'd-expect Total Recall 2070) and some not-entirely-great-but-hey-it's-free ones, too (Swamp Thing, Lost In Space, and even the freakin' Time Tunnel). Netflix's Watch Instantly stepped up this year as well, lifting time restrictions for most users and allowing them to watch as much as they want—which allowed me to watch Quantum Leap in its entirety this summer. Who needs DVR?
Wow, I totally forgot to put Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on here. Oops. So let's call it 15 awesome things. Well, you probably already know why it's great—and if you don't, why not just watch it?