Let those with enough time to consume all the media in a field decide on the objective bests-of-2016. What follows is a completely subjective list of bests, idiosyncratically limited by what I’ve actually had time to watch, read, or listen to:
Best New Book in Philosophy:
We don’t think hard enough about the metaphysics that underwrites the social sciences. Epstein is more reductionist than he lets on, but this was the book that had me thinking hardest this year.
Runner-up: Nussbaum’s Anger and Forgiveness. It’s pretty great, but I think it loses steam in the speculative last section.
Best New Book in Political Science:
What if democratic theory is a bit too idealistic? The next issue of The Good Society will have a review by Celia Paris.
Runner-up: Katherine Cramer’s The Politics of Resentment.
“The Unnecessariat,” by anonymous blogger More Crows Than Eagles helped me formulate some things I’ve been trying to say about superfluousness for a while. I think it was the first time a lot of urban liberals in my circles sat down to think hard about non-college-educated whites.
Runners-up: “The Strange Case of Anna Stubblefield” and “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard.”
Best Post (here at anotherpanacea.com):
“Arendt’s Metaphysical Deflation” hit the front page of the philosophy subreddit briefly, which was weird.
Ironically, large parts of that article are drawn from my dissertation, so I guess I do deserve this Ph.D.!
Runner-up: “Imperialism as a Response to Surpluses and Superfluousness,” where I start to work out the Arendtian critique of finance capitalism.
Best television series:
Fully-realized far-future worlds, with fascinating characters and an interesting set of mysteries.
Runners-up include The Good Place, Luke Cage, and The Magicians.
I didn’t watch many movies, and I certainly didn’t watch many good movies. But this was the best movie I saw.
No Award Given:
I didn’t read a single science fiction novel written in 2016, but I’m going to crack open this list ASAP. 2016 was the year we realized how bad it was going to be to have lost Annalee Newitz at io9. The best novel I read this year was Naomi Novik’s Uprooted.
So what did I miss?