Best of 2023

First, a couple of things anybody’d be proud of:

and, that Seger ranking is, I believe, up 0.05% from last year. and this doesn’t count how much I watch his stuff on YouTube, either. as for the Lyft badge, one thing I learned, being on tour for Reaper, is not to slam driver’s doors — so many of them, the first thing they say when I get in is how the LAST person just slammed the door. which I took, correctly I think, as a warning to police my own behavior upon exiting. And, if Chipotle did a wrapped for the year, I bet I’d be on that, too. I get many free burritos-with-points there, as, you know, I’m pretty constantly eating there.


How about four of them, this year — a very-very good year:

And, yeah, Maeve Fly was also up last year, I bet. Consider that a preview of this year? Might should add Adam Cesare’s Influencer, too — except I’ve got 15% yet to go with it yet (as of Dec31, couple hours before this is set to post). But, man, that book’s invading my dreams in weird ways (reading it, not audio’ing, but I bet the audio’s great). And, wait, almost forgot another (in my notes, it was hiding down in “non-horror novels,” which is a category I’ve never done before, as I believe in just “novels” as a category, who cares about genre. But, who knows (probably because I was trying to sneak more in), looks like I temporarily, for one book, did that at some point in the last twelve months. which almost shuffled a vital one away):
by SA Cosby


by Paul Tremblay. And, I somehow haven’t read Evenson’s new one yet, or I’m certain it would be up here as well.


And . . . whatever I read from Brubaker and Phillips, too. Just, can’t seem to recall which, right now. Though, I am about the read the most recent one. Something about ‘where a body is’ or something, I think?


forever grateful to my editor Joe Monti for taking me to this experience in NYC


Always a tricky category for me (just wanted to say “gory”), but, my top three, big-like up top and first here, and then all the ones I also love and can’t live without . . .

seriously, each of these are exactly what horror’s about, for me


Guess I’ll . . . hm. I’ll just link them? Not sure how to screencap them, and poems don’t get posters, usually. And, the second one’s not new, but it was new to me:

In a Beautiful Country,” by Kevin Prufer

Postscript,” by Seamus Heaney


“I scream as I realize this is not some toxic liquid but a dark porridge of living creatures, little flies born deep within my body before their sudden expulsion.”

—Chuck Tingle, Camp Damascus



Seriously, didn’t even know they could BE this fun. Closest to this for me would be . . . I don’t know. MT Anderson’s Feed, maybe? Oh, or Max Brooks’s World War Z, too (and, someday, I hope, Erdrich’s Love Medicine. but, it’s been many a year, and it’s yet to happen, so far as I know).


Really, all of Walter Chaw’s reviews are always the best. But this one really resonated with me — and, I very much dig Halloween Ends, and that whole David Gordon Green trilogy:

I long to write criticism this well.


Two of them, let’s say:
(if that’s not showing, it’s Olivia Rodrigo’s “Vampire”)

Though, the music video I’ve been watching daily for a few months now, not sure why, and often many times a day, definitely always a touch after midnight so I can take it with me into sleep:

(that’s Eddie Money’s “Shakin’,” featuring Appolonia, two or three years before Purple Rain)


and, really, there should be a lot of submarine movies in here, too. I’ve been working my way through all of them, and, so far, I’ve dug each one, even the one TV movie-one (In Enemy Hands). there’s something about that closed-door setup, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, and tensions in the chain of command, and always that sonar pinging, reminding us and them that everything outside their hulls wants to kill them . . .


so glad I’m not having to pick only one, as it was a good year for stuff—though, not completely sure Metal Lords is 2023, I guess.


don’t think I’ve got the nerve to go down into Rising Star (having seen The Descent too many times), but, man, I can dream, and I can watch this just over and over, and read all the books and articles and columns &etc, too. I’ve even written one story about it, few years back.


(and probably some paleo-type books too, but I somehow jumbled my list of my nonfiction (was keeping it in a separate note, who knows why, and only just now (1.30.24) stumbled onto it, found this whole important CATEGORY I’d left off this list. meaning: I’m cheating now. but, both of these are excellent. my oversight is on me, not them)


stole a line from this album to sneak into The Angel of Indian Lake, as I recall. hope the Boss doesn’t mind. I’m bad at just sitting in a room listening to albums, though, so, to get this into my head and my heart, I went walking in Missoula for a lot of one bitter cold evening when my wife was down in Colorado. I weaved among the carts in the parking lot of a grocery store, between the utility trailers chained up outside a hardware store, along the mirrored windows of a Best Buy, and finally down to a bridge I could watch the big trucks whine past on. it was kind of perfect.


This is Your Brain on Horror,” by Nina Nesseth

Humans May Have Arrived in the Americas Earlier than Thought,” by Christopher Parker

Of Buffalo and Men,” Billy Stratton


False Star,” Sterling HolyWhiteMountain (The New Yorker)

Quandary Aminu vs. the Butterfly Man,” Rich Larson (

I Used My Wife’s Vibrating Dildo to Achieve My First Prostate Orgasm and Now I’m in Narnia and I Can’t Get Back Home,” by Keith James (McSweeney’s Internet Tendency)


Seriously, that third season . . . wow. Another amazing third and final season:

Really, was a good year for TV, says me:

but, I will admit, I’m so ready to go back to the monsters-of-the-week / the world resets model of television. I think that’s why I dug the first season of The Mandalorian, and Poker Face, here.


both animated (to a degree—but I guess even the live-action SNW technically has animation, for the exterior space shots), yes? just heard a snippet of Spielberg saying all directors should be animators first, so they can understand about having a vision and then sculpting the various elements into that vision—but the vision comes first, what you want and need is primary. I like that.


COMING UP (for/from me) in 2024

And, as ever, some stories, some write-ups here and there, and I’ll be on tour couple of times, am at SDCC this time around, I think, and Earthdivers will be wrapping up as well (with some covers I haven’t seen yet—thus throwing #1 up there as placeholder), True Believers will be ramping up higher and higher (masks, albums, cameos, more I can’t say yet), and I started writing a new novel Dec1, that I’m about to tab back over to.

Gonna be a busy year. But aren’t they all. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Stay golden,

toon by Melanie
Author: SGJ