Well, what a 2017 it has been.

Another year has slid by and we’ve all taken another inexorable step into our murky future. It has been over a year since the infamous election of November 2016, since Brexit, since Bowie died and since all hope and happiness left our hollow souls.

So now, even though everything I write is automatically censored by Google’s compulsory ‘Nothing Negative’ add-on, I’m going to do a round-up of the best and worst of 2017, for you to quickly read before the powers-that-be destroy it.

It’s almost easy to forget what happened way back in January 2017. It seems such a long time ago. How hopeful we were. It only took until the end of the month for all US media outlets to be forced to consolidate into TrumpNews. A few, if I remember, managed to continue their pirate journalism, but soon their activism went unnoticed as the electorate realized they actually preferred the constant stream of happy boasts and assurances that everything was “great, just great” from Trump’s hand-picked newscasters.

Even March, with Britain’s civil war – won, of course, by the Leavers after only three days when Theresa May leaked the Remainers’ private internet activity and pornography habits, causing a total breakdown in order – is easy to look back on with affection at this point in the year.

Perhaps one of the most exciting moments in the year was in early April, when President Trump implemented the penultimate stage of his migrant/climate change plan. By instituting the “Mandatory Coal Dependence” law on each family and increasing the US’s carbon output one-hundred fold, he turned most of the Middle East into a scorched and uninhabitable wasteland in only a month.

Although Trump refused to reveal the final stage of his plan, or how he would relocate the 300-million displaced Middle Easterners to habitable areas, he assured us that it was “a terrific plan.” A happy side-effect, too, of his actions were that the baking cities of former-Syria were soon being used to train astronauts for the first manned mission to the waterless hell of Venus.

Of course, I can’t give all the credit to Trump for the unbelievable, stomach-turning changes our world went through this year. We didn’t all dub 2017 as the Year of Irony for nothing, because the wave of right-wing extremism that overtook Europe and brought power to far-right candidates in the EU’s top powers only worked, as you’ll remember, in increasing support for Islamic terrorism and migration into Europe. This, coupled with Trump’s climate plan, meant that before long Europe’s fascist leaders found themselves paradoxically ruling over majority migrant countries. Optimists say the power will likely swing back to the left, if each country survives long enough to have another election. Another positive outcome is that in spite of all the problems, satirical cartoonists are said to be going through a new renaissance. So that’s good news for them.

More good news: the education system’s dramatic changes seemed to yield high pass rates after this year’s exams. Since English Literature and Science were abolished in the new government scheme to crack down on the concerning number of experts, graduates in Unverified Journalism and Tweeting are at an all-time high. And though unemployment has risen dramatically, the amount of retweets these graduates are getting are through the roof. This year especially, we must take our victories where we can get them.

Perhaps the biggest news of the year happened just at the beginning of December, only a few weeks ago, and it seemed to this writer like the only feasible way this year could have ended. Elon Musk revealed from his orbiting, solar-powered ship that our universe is indeed nothing but a simulation created by a cruel and monstrous race of super-beings who desire nothing but our suffering.

After distributing the code that would release citizens’ conscious minds from this cruel game, Mr. Musk encouraged people to use it before disappearing into a cloud of numbers and white noise. As a result, displaced migrants are expected to simply replace the fifty-percent of European and United States citizens who have already opted to disconnect from the motherboard of our perceived reality. Only days ago Trump told us that this was part of his migrant/climate change plan all along and that he had a “tremendous relationship” with whatever superior creatures are controlling our tiny lives.

After the 2017 we have had, a lot of people are now apologizing to the ghost of 2016 for their harsh judgements in last year’s reviews. It was a terrific mess of a year, it’s true, in which demons rose from myth into reality, alliances were scrapped in favor of isolationism and tribal warfare, and musical and artistic heroes with the power to comfort us were indifferently taken.

But I’m sure I don’t speak for only myself when I say I’d happily nestle into 2016’s motherly bosom and beg that she sticks around a little longer, if I had the chance. Because at least last year we had the joy of hypothetically complaining about the potential catastrophe and distracting ourselves with jokes about how awful it could be. Now we miss the spoof news articles about climate change, gun control and world war, because we’ve been forced to watch satire choke to death in the hands of demagogues.

But oh well, the human spirit remains, I suppose. And it’s a comforting thought that even though the arts funding has all been directed towards flood control and arms manufacturing, there are still people creating wonderful things. And art doesn’t care if the readers or the characters submit to global catastrophe, its only aim is to inject a bit of meaning, perhaps even pleasure, into a doomed world.

We always knew it was doomed, so we should just put our feet up, accept the inevitable and read a good book as it crumbles around us. Sometimes, when I finish reading a book, I take a breath of polluted air and have to remember the world again. I have to bring myself back from the relief I found in the pages of silver-lined respite. The brief buzz of hope that made me think that it’ll be better in 2018, or 2019, or 2020, or…

Josh_KingJosh King received his MFA from Adelphi University in New York, and now lives in the UK. He divides his time between writing fiction, drama and drawing comics.

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