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The Top 80 Black Gate Posts of 2014

Monday, January 26th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Premium 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook-small2014 was a pretty good year for Black Gate. Our readership nearly doubled, and we published a record number of articles. I was going to do an exact count of all the posts we made in 2014 so I’d sound a little more together here, but I lost count after 1,200.

But trust me. It was a lot.

At the end of every month last year, I compiled a brief report itemizing our Top 50 articles for the month (here’s the list for December, for example). Mostly because the lists were fun and popular. But also because I couldn’t believe Scott Taylor’s Art of the Genre pieces kept beating my Vintage Treasures posts, month after month. Seriously, how does that happen?

Anyway, those of us who obsess over traffic stats every month (chiefly me and Scott) noticed a few surprises when we tabulated the results for all of 2014. Several of the overall most popular articles of last year rarely made the Top 20 every month. But they had steady traffic month after month, and those numbers added up. I guess it’s true what they say about slow and steady winning the race. That Aesop guy knew what he was talking about.

Below we’ve tabulated the 80 most popular articles on the Black Gate website for all of 2014 — starting with Andrew Zimmerman Jones’ report on the hit Dungeons and Dragons reprint series, “My Youth Was Delivered Yesterday: AD&D 2nd Edition Re-Released,” originally posted in 2013. It was read 26,380 times last year, making it our most read blog post in 2014, and one of the most popular pieces we’ve ever published.

Black Canaan-smallSecond on the list was Scott Taylor’s “Art of the Genre: Reki Kawahara, Depression, and Sword Art Online,” read 21,114 times in 2014. In third place was my June article “An Open Letter to Dave Truesdale” (18,422), followed by Elwin Cotman’s tribute to Conan creator Robert E. Howard, “My Inspiration: Black Canaan” (18, 268).

Rounding out the Top Five is M Harold Page’s “Death Knight Love Story: WMA meets WTF,” which may also have the distinction of being our best title for 2014. It was read 13,158 times.

Sixth is an article by Matthew David Surridge that never made the Top 20 for a single month in 2014… or in 2013 and 2012, for that matter. It was originally written in 2011, and has been read by nearly a thousand readers virtually every month since. It is “Internet Possibilities, Gene Wolfe, and The Fifth Head of Cerberus,” read 10,041 times in 2014.

Seventh on our list is Patty Templeton’s 2012 interview with Delia Sherman, author of The Freedom Maze (8,907), followed by another Matthew David Surridge piece, “David Lindsay, A Voyage to Arcturus, and Necessary Strangeness” (8,666).

Scott Taylor claimed the ninth slot with “Art of the Genre: Top 10 Fantasy Artists of the Past 100 Years” (8,362). And closing out the Top 10 for 2014 was our newcomer, Bob Byrne, with an installment in his popular Monday morning blog series, “The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: Eille Norwood: the Silent Detective” (8.074).

Here’s the complete list of the Top 80 articles on the Black Gate blog in 2014. Posts written before 2014 are noted with the year in parentheses.

  1. My Youth Was Delivered Yesterday: AD&D 2nd Edition Re-Released (2013)
  2. Art of the Genre: Reki Kawahara, Depression, and Sword Art Online
  3. An Open Letter to Dave Truesdale
  4. My Inspiration: Black Canaan
  5. Death Knight Love Story: WMA meets WTF
  6. Internet Possibilities, Gene Wolfe, and The Fifth Head of Cerberus (2011)
  7. Time Travel and YA Lit: A Talk with Delia Sherman (2012)
  8. David Lindsay, A Voyage to Arcturus, and Necessary Strangeness (2011)
  9. Art of the Genre: Top 10 Fantasy Artists of the Past 100 Years (2011)
  10. The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: Eille Norwood: the Silent Detective

     

  11. Nine (mostly) Distinct (almost) Positive Traits of Chainmail Bikinis
  12. Adventures On Film: Pan’s Labyrinth (2013)
  13. Godzilla (2014) Is a True Godzilla Film and a Unique Blockbuster
  14. A History of Godzilla on Film, Part 1: Origins (1954–1962) (2013)
  15. Robert Silverberg on the Tragic Death of John Brunner
  16. Why Medieval Fantasy is Not Inherently Conservative (or Inherently Anything Political)
  17. Firefly, A Retrospective — Part 3
  18. Secret Caverns and Death Traps: The Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter Nine: Dead Man’s Trap
  19. Heroic Fantasy with the Sharp Edge of Reality: A Review of The Sacred Band by Janet Morris and Chris Morris
  20. The HBO Season 4 Finale of Game of Thrones: How Different Was it from George R.R. Martin’s Version?

     

  21. Can SF Save the World From Climate Change?
  22. Star Trek 3 Confirmed
  23. Goth Chick News: Getting A-head at Airport Security (2013)
  24. House of Cards Kicked the Cat
  25. Return to Thieves World in Beyond Sanctuary: The Revised and Expanded Author’s Cut by Janet Morris
  26. A History of Godzilla on Film, Part 5: The Travesty and the Millennium Era (1996–2004)
  27. Firefly, A Retrospective — Part 1
  28. Dracula’s Daughter: From Script to Screen (2010)
  29. The Demarcation of Sword and Sorcery (2006)
  30. The Scariest Hour in TV History: Space 1999: “Dragon’s Domain” (2013)

     

  31. Caught Between Rebels and the Empire’s Blackest Magic: Beyond the Veil: The Revised and Expanded Author’s Cut by Janet Morris
  32. What’s the Point of Steampunk?
  33. How Much Backstory Do We Really Need?
  34. Register Your Interest, Copyright for Paper and E-Books (2011)
  35. Frederick Faust, Bound for SF and The Smoking Land (2010)
  36. Chris Braak Reviews The Winds of Khalakovo (2012)
  37. Stick This in Your Pipe and Smoke It (2013)
  38. SF/F Corruption: Part I (2012)
  39. Art of the Genre: Redheads Hate Clothes! (2011)
  40. A History of Godzilla on Film, Part 3: Down and Out in Osaka (1969–1983)

     

  41. A Bomb on a Plane: The Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter Four: Death Takes the Wheel
  42. Futuristic Myth: The Space Opera of Leiji Matsumoto (2013)
  43. A History of Godzilla on Film, Part 4: The Heisei Era (1984–1996)
  44. Dwarves, Dragons, Wizards and Elves: Thinking About the Standard Fantasy Setting
  45. Glenn Lord, Nov 17 1931 – Dec 31, 2011 (2012)
  46. Art of the Genre: Art of the Iconic Female #1; Dejah Thoris (2012)
  47. Star Trek Continues with “Lolani” and Soars to Warp Eight
  48. Writers, Readers, and Glorious Fools (2010)
  49. His Name is Vengeance: Kellory the Warlock by Lin Carter
  50. SFWA Ugliness Spreads to Personal Attacks on Mary Robinette Kowal

     

  51. Art of the Genre: Art of the Iconic Female #5: Princess Leia
  52. A Ride Along with the Thought Police: John C. Wright, Foz Meadows, and Rachel Aaron
  53. Art of the Genre: The Top 10 Dragon Magazine Covers of the 1970s & 80s
  54. The Decline and Fall of the Fantasy Novel (2011)
  55. The Fantasy Cycles of Clark Ashton Smith Part III: Tales of Zothique (2006)
  56. Sean P. Fodera Threatens to Sue 1,200 Writers Linking to Daily Dot Article
  57. John D. MacDonald: A Writer’s Writer
  58. Vintage Treasures: The Best of Fredric Brown (2013)
  59. Art of the Genre: The Top 10 TSR Cover Paintings of All Time
  60. The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes

     

  61. Lust, Women, and the Devil: Seven Decades of Fritz Leiber’s Conjure Wife
  62. Review: Ancient Germanic Warriors: Warrior Styles from Trajan’s Column to Icelandic Sagas
  63. Why I Created Labyrinth Lord (2012)
  64. Confessions Of a Cormanite
  65. Vintage Treasures: Galactic Derelict by Andre Norton
  66. Art of the Genre: Kickstarter, it Really Shouldn’t be About the ‘Stuff We All Get’ (2013)
  67. Jews With Swords: Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon
  68. Living Outside Society’s Rules: Blackguards
  69. Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy is Space Opera at its Best
  70. Self-Publishing Checklist: The Random No One Tells You

     

  71. The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: Meet Nero Wolfe
  72. Novel Writing: Le Morte d’Arthur (2010)
  73. AD&D Figurines: Youth In a Box?
  74. Goth Chick News: A Review of The Heavens Rise
  75. The Fantasy Roots of Fan Fiction
  76. “What If Luck Wasn’t a Matter of Chance?”: OXV: The Manual (2013)
  77. Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook 5th Edition: Character Options & Rules Overview
  78. Four Books on Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA)
  79. Collecting Lovecraft, Part II
  80. Crossing the Threshold: Making Ultra-Long Fiction Work For You

The Top 5o Black Gate blog posts in December are here.

13 Comments »

  1. John: I do care about the numbers, namely because unless you understand what you have to beat, it is very hard to get to the top. :) That said, it was great to see how many AotG posts made the Top 80, but to say it wasn’t planned, and a lot of work, would be a lie. 😉

    Comment by Scott Taylor - January 26, 2015 1:36 am

  2. Scott,

    I feel better losing to ART OF THE GENRE, now that I know it was a lot of work. :)

    Comment by John ONeill - January 26, 2015 3:26 pm

  3. Hmmm, came in at 69, my favorite number.

    ….does that make me sound immature?

    Comment by Nick Ozment - January 26, 2015 9:13 pm

  4. Kinda

    Comment by Gabe Dybing - January 27, 2015 2:37 pm

  5. Wait — did I post that out loud?

    Comment by Nick Ozment - January 27, 2015 2:39 pm

  6. Well, it means your review got more traffic than 99% of all other posts at Black Gate last year… so if you’re immature, your audience seems to like you that way. :)

    Comment by John ONeill - January 27, 2015 3:50 pm

  7. Of the many topics I wrote about (fifty-ish posts, I think), I’m quite surprised that Eille Norwood was easily the most viewed.

    From a Holmes scholar viewpoint, I’m all about Norwood. But even I’ve only watched a few of his shorts and the video quality is bad enough that repeated viewing isn’t likely.

    Maybe some silent film fan group lurks at Black Gate and dug it.

    Pleased to see the John D. MacDonald post make the list. I really do believe he’s one of America’s greatest writers (I’d take him over Hemingway any day) and is absolutely worth reading.

    Maybe Nick will write another post about him.

    Comment by Bob Byrne - January 27, 2015 4:50 pm

  8. Nick, I am one of your many fans in a growing legion. I know that I have the maturity of a sophomore and your posts are in my world view cutting edge cool. I adore your comic collection. We may have trouble with knowing the difference between trochee and iambic pentameter, or even what food group iambic belongs to but we are smart in other ways. For instance, we can tie our shoes with both the single loop method or the double bunny ears method. Don’t let them look down at your true audience. We are loyal….mostly.

    Comment by Wild Ape - January 29, 2015 9:17 am

  9. Bob,

    It was neck and neck with several “Public Life of Sherlock Holmes” posts for a while (and about six ended up in the Top 100), but it was Eille Norwood who kept bringing in the numbers month after month. In December it was read over 500 times… pretty good for an article written in May!

    Your Nero Wolfe article did pretty well too, coming in at #71 for the year. Overall, The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes clocks in as one of our most popular regular blogs.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 29, 2015 11:32 am

  10. Ape,

    Isn’t iambic a tuber, like potatoes?

    And don’t give Nick a swelled head, I can’t afford to give him a raise. :)

    Comment by John ONeill - January 29, 2015 11:33 am

  11. Thanks Ape! I’m going to have to get back to writing some comics reviews one of these days — but now that we have Gabe Dybing on board as a blogger, he might be mining some of those rich veins as well. I’m going to have to cajole him to write something up on Saga or Rat Queens, two of the best comics going these days.

    Comment by Nick Ozment - January 29, 2015 10:45 pm

  12. John, we’re surprised and delighted to see The Sacred Band at # 19 (Heroic Fantasy with the Sharp Edge of Reality: A Review of The Sacred Band by Janet Morris and Chris Morris), Beyond Sanctuary at #25 Return to Thieves World in Beyond Sanctuary: The Revised and Expanded Author’s Cut by Janet Morris), and Beyond the Veil (Caught Between Rebels and the Empire’s Blackest Magic: Beyond the Veil: The Revised and Expanded Author’s Cut by Janet Morris) at #31 on your list. We thank Joe Bonadonna, who wrote these wonderful investigations into the Sacred Band of Stepsons series and its development. and you for publishing these pieces.

    Comment by sacredbander - March 9, 2015 5:00 pm

  13. Janet and Chris,

    It’s not often I see so many reviews from a single source in the Top Articles for the year… you’re certainly to be congratulated. It’s obvious our readers are profoundly interested in what you’re doing… keep it up!

    Comment by John ONeill - March 9, 2015 8:04 pm


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