It seems trivial in light of Benazir's murder and the will-they-or-won't-they uncertainty about elections (here's a hint: It looks like they won't, at least for a while), but in the interests of trying to retain a positive attitude toward things like, um, life, here are a few signs that 2008 might actually be somewhat more hopeful than 2007 turned out to be, for me at least.
1. My new book, Monster, 1959 comes out on February 19.
2. Uzee's new book, The Geometry of God, was released on December 19 in India and has made its way here to Pakistan already. With luck, she will get some great reviews and attention for it; she's also having a number of European editions published. (You can order it online, from Liberty Books in Karachi: http://www.libertybooks.com/Books/BookPreview.aspx?ItemID=21109 . It's roughly ten bucks for a hardcover, not bad.
3. The New England Patriots football team, which has gone for a perfect season of 16-0 for the first time in the 88-year history of the National Football League, looks poised to win their two playoff games and go into Super Bowl. If they win, it will be their fourth championship since the 2001 season and they will be recognized as, in all likelihood, the greatest football team in history.
4. Sooner or later--probably later--elections probably will take place here in Pakistan. Whatever the outcome, it will be a first step out of the military-controlled government of the past several years, which can only be a good thing.
5. In November, elections probably will take place in the United States. Whatever the outcome, it will probably mark an end the the militaristic right-wing xenophobia of the past several years, which can only be a good thing. (Note the use of the word "probably." Democrats can be just as militarily xenophobic as Rpublicans, kids. They just revel in it a little less, usually.)
6. As a result of [5.], there may be some serious movement on carbon-emissions regulation or other anti-global-warming initiatives. (Though we're probably moving past 2008 with this item...)
7. I will hopefully get my hands on The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection, Volume 2--which was actually released in 2007--thus allowing me to watch classics of film genius such as The Leech Woman (1960), The Deadly Mantis (1957), Dr. Cyclops (1940), and Cult of the Cobra (1957). For some time now I've been writing a guide book to monster movies like these from the 1950s; whether it will ever see the light of day, I don't know. But meanwhile I'm having a great time watching these movies, and 2008 holds these and a few more in store for me, I think.
I wanted to make a list of 10 items but at the moment I'm blanking out after seven. Okay then, watch this space. No doubt I'll think of three more the second I log off. And of course, your suggestions are always welcome...
Don't forget the poll at the bottom of this page! So far we have a clear front-runner, in case you haven't been following the campaign...