The Top 50 Black Gate Posts in November

The Top 50 Black Gate Posts in November

CityWatch_GuardsCoverThe most popular article at Black Gate last month was M. Harold Page’s “An Adventurer’s Guide to the Middle Ages: Town Watch? Where?”, a look at the much-loved concept of a citizen’s militia in fantasy. It’s not hard to see why it was popular:

The first thing that Conan — or Locke Lamora, or Grey Mouser, or Vimes, or a D&D party  — would notice about a real medieval city would be the almost total absence of an Ankh Morpork-style town watch.

It’s a stock trope: here come a dozen Keystone Cops town watch in their funny armour, to arrest the drunken barbarian or catch the thief. Only it’s not like that in reality, or at least not quite like that in Later Medieval and Early Modern England, France, and Germany.

That’s not a criticism. Fantasy writers must write what they will. Dickensian thief takers are plausible, and raise themes to do with policing and justice. However, if, like me, you write Historical Adventure Fiction , then you need to know how policing worked because integrity, and because somebody else will know and will gleefully correct you in reviews. (It’s funny when your research is better than theirs though — and the one time I ever answered a review.)

Back in March, Thomas Parker’s asked our readers to “Tell Me Why,” demanding to know why fantasy fans embrace “ambitious, multivolume phone book series.” Sarah Avery’s long-gestating response, “Why Do We Do This To Ourselves? I Can Explain!”, the latest installment in her Series Series, clocked in at #2 for the month.

Number 3 was Jackson Kuhl’s report on the recent dust-up over the World Fantasy Award trophies, “S.T. Joshi Is Mad as Hell,” proving once again that nothing taxes our server like controversy. The first installment in John R. Fultz’s entertaining look back at classic 70s Conan comics, “The Great Savage Sword Re-Read,” came in at #4, and rounding out the Top Five for the month was Fletcher Vredenburgh’s review of one of the most famous fantasy novels of the 70s, Lord Foul’s Bane.

The complete list of Top Articles for November follows. Below that, I’ve also broken out the most popular overall articles and blog categories for the month.

The Top 50 Black Gate posts in November were:

  1. An Adventurer’s Guide to the Middle Ages: Town Watch? Where?
  2. The Series Series: Why Do We Do This To Ourselves? I Can Explain!
  3. S.T. Joshi Is Mad as Hell
  4. The Great Savage Sword Re-Read: Vol. 1
  5. Against Despair: Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson
  6. Collecting Philip K. Dick
  7. Of Necromancers & Frog Gods – Part One
  8. Star Trek Movie Rewatch: Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  9. Collecting Isaac Asimov: Mark R. Kelly on the Best of Asimov
  10. A Prophet Without Honor: J.G. Ballard


  11. Finding One Girl in the Whole Solar System: Catherynne M. Valente’s Radiance
  12. Discovering Robert E Howard: Morten Braten on The Road To Xoth: World-building in the Footsteps of Robert E. Howard
  13. Approbation and Obloquies for the Lord of Strange Deaths
  14. Vintage Treasures: John the Balladeer by Manly Wade Wellman
  15. The Great Savage Sword Re-Read: Vol. 2
  16. Discovering Robert E. Howard: David C. Smith on Bran Mak Morn
  17. How I Used Steampunk to do George Orwell (But With More Sword Fights and Magic)
  18. World Fantasy 2015: It’s the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead of Convention Reports
  19. Go Big Or Go Home?
  20. The Best Of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Volume 1


  21. Seven Important Advantages of Brunettes in a Sword and Sorcery Setting (and Life in General)
  22. The Elusive Film Footage of the Very First Worldcon
  23. Goth Chick News: A Final Report of the Commercial Starship Nostromo, or The Alien Saga Continues…
  24. Collecting Arthur C. Clarke
  25. Robert E. Howard, Exile of Cross Plains
  26. Red Moon and Black Mountain by Joy Chant
  27. Hallowe’en Post-Mortem 2015: Needle Found in Candy!
  28. A New Star Trek TV Series is in the Works
  29. Monstress: An Interview with Marjorie Liu
  30. Kickstarting the Mindjammer Universe: A Far Future Transhuman Utopia?


  31. Vintage Treasures: The Weirwoods by Thomas Burnett Swann
  32. Dungeons & Dragons Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
  33. Discovering Robert E. Howard: Howard Andrew Jones and Bill Ward Re-Read “Rogues in the House”
  34. Things Your Writing Teacher Never Told You: 1st Person and Tight Limited 3rd – A Closely Related Duo
  35. When the End of the World is a Mercy Killing: Cthulhu Apocalypse
  36. The New Yorker on the Tangled Cultural Roots of Dungeons & Dragons
  37. New Treasures: The Madness of Cthulhu, Volume Two, edited by S.T. Joshi
  38. Is the World Finally Catching Up to Blade Runner?
  39. Review: Steampunk History – Osprey’s Confederate Cavalryman versus Union Cavalryman
  40. Dr. Strange, Part II: Becoming Sorcerer Supreme and Dying in the Englehart Era


  41. The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: Haining’s The Final Adventures of SH
  42. 2015 World Fantasy Award Winners Announced
  43. Galaxy Science Fiction, January 1953: A Retro-Review
  44. Vintage Treasures: Great Short Novels of Science Fiction, edited by Robert Silverberg
  45. The Top 50 Black Gate Posts in October
  46. Goth Chick News: No Happy Ending for Ripley, But Hope for Prometheus Franchise
  47. Support the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game Kickstarter
  48. SFFWorld Announces Kickstarter for Ecotones Ecological SF Anthology
  49. October Short Story Roundup
  50. The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: Vincent Starrett’s intro to The Adventures of Solar Pons

There were plenty of older articles popular lat month as well. The 20 most popular blog posts written before November were:

  1. The 2015 Hugo Shortlist, Short Fiction: A Review by Rich Horton
  2. AD&D Figurines: Youth In a Box? by Mark Rigney
  3. My Inspiration: Black Canaan by Elwin Cotman
  4. The Exploding World of Castles and Crusades by John O’Neill
  5. Welcome to Bordertown: What Would Eilonwy Do? by C.S.E. Cooney
  6. Goth Chick News: Getting A-head at Airport Security by Sue Granquist
  7. Heroic Fantasy with the Sharp Edge of Reality: A Review of The Sacred Band by Janet Morris and Chris Morris by Joe Bonadonna
  8. Art of the Genre: Top 10 Fantasy Artists of the Past 100 Years by Scott Taylor
  9. Come Into Callahan’s, Said the Spider by Violette Malan
  10. Out With the Old, In With the New: New Versus Vintage Treasures by John O’Neill
  11. Goth Chick News: Close Encounters – The Week We Made Contact by Sue Granquist
  12. Challenging the Classics: Questioning the Arbitrary Browsing Mechanism by Foz Meadows
  13. Spring 2014 Subterranean Magazine now Available by John O’Neill
  14. A Proposal: An Award for SF Storytelling by Jay Maynard
  15. Death Knight Love Story: WMA meets WTF by M Harold Page
  16. The Proxy Culture War for the Soul of Middle Earth by Sandy Ryalls
  17. Frodo Baggins, Lady Galadriel, and the Games of the Mighty by Adrian Simmons
  18. A Detailed Explanation by Matthew David Surridge
  19. Ten Acclaimed Historical Fantasy Novels You Need to Read by John O’Neill
  20. Why I Created Labyrinth Lord by Daniel Proctor

The top categories last month were:

  1. Books
  2. Blog Entry
  3. Art of the Genre
  4. BG Staff
  5. Art
  6. Comics
  7. Vintage Treasures
  8. Black Gate Goes to Summer Movies
  9. Magazines
  10. Conan
  11. Convention Report
  12. Contest
  13. New Treasures
  14. Editor’s Blog
  15. Essays
  16. Game Reviews
  17. Pulp
  18. Future Treasures
  19. Discovering Robert E. Howard
  20. Reviews

The Top 5o Black Gate blog posts in October are here, and you can see all 144 posts we made in the month of November here.

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