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Merry Christmas from Black Gate

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Black Gate Christmas tree

It’s been about as perfect a Christmas as you could wish for here at Black Gate — with the possible exception of the weather. After a ferocious November, and a whole lot of snow shoveling, December came in like a lamb and the snow melted weeks ago. I can’t remember the last time we missed out on a White Christmas in Chicago (and it’s forecast to hit the 50s by Thursday).

Weather aside, this has been a truly marvelous year for Black Gate. I look back at the last twelve months, and I know there’s a lot to be thankful for. But the thing I find myself most grateful for are those faithful readers who return every day, helping improve the site with comments and thoughtful feedback. We cherish all our readers, but it’s our regulars who have come to mean the most. Folks like Thomas Parker, smitty59, Major Wootton, Rich Horton, Eugene R, Glenn, R.K. Robinson, Aonghus Fallon, Joe H, silentdante, Charles_Martel, CMR, GusG, Jeff Stehman, Barsoomia, kelleyg, Allard, SELindberg, and many, many others, make the effort we put in every day worthwhile. Thank you.

It’s been an incredible run the last few years — an Alfie Award, a World Fantasy Award, and many other honors. We’re very well aware that the source of all that recent fame has been you, the fans, who work hard to spread the word and bring new traffic to our humble site.

So thank you once again, from the bottom of our hearts. On behalf of the vast and unruly collective that is Black Gate, I would like to wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Continue being excellent — it’s what you’re good at.

23 Comments »

  1. This is one regular reader who’s very thankful for you, John, and Black Gate, which I visit 2-3 times a day and where I find, quite literally, a dozen or more books every week that I wish I could make part of my permanent collection. I enjoy just about everything I read here (something I can’t say about ANY other web sites I visit daily), especially Steve Silver’s birthday entries, Rich Horton’s comments, Bob Byrne’s posts, your own frequent new book listings, and any and all convention coverage. Retirement has kept me busy over the last few months in ways I hadn’t anticipated, so I don’t get the opportunity to comment as much as I like, but I look forward every morning to turning on the PC and bringing up Black Gate while I have my first (and sometimes second) cup of coffee. Merry Christmas to you and yours, and all Black Gate’s contributors and readers!

    Comment by smitty59 - December 25, 2018 9:40 pm

  2. I long ago came to the conclusion that Black Gate was the best place on the internet, both in terms of content, which is always valuable and engaging, and tone, which is always…I was going to say respectful and civil, but it’s more than just that. Visiting BG is like time spent with family at its best. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring! Merry Christmas to all!

    Comment by Thomas Parker - December 25, 2018 11:27 pm

  3. i wish i had known about Black Gate back when the magazine was out, but as a more new fan of the same things Black Gate stands for i am greatful the website lives on. thank you for a great year, and hope everyone involved has a great holiday and an even better new year.

    Comment by silentdante - December 25, 2018 11:55 pm

  4. I was truly humbledto see my name listed as a contributor. I discovered the magazine back in the print days and enjoyed it immensely. I check this site every day regularly. Bob Bryne paid me the compliment of hoping I could write an informative article on John K. Butler but all I really have done was praise the stories without the insights I read here daily on why they matter. My comments on Rafael Sabatini I feel were my only worthwhile contribution but perhaps some thoughts on the Allan Quatermain might be in order. This site has introduced me to many new authors and I hope your success continues to grow. Secretly hoping for a return of the magazine. Thank oyu John.

    Comment by Allard - December 26, 2018 12:42 am

  5. I spent the winter of 1986/87 in Chicago, and the city suffered all of 3 snowstorms, with a total accumulation of 1/2″. (The “big” storm was 1/4″ of snow.) So, I have the suspicion that all this talk of ferocious Chicago winters is just to scare non-Chicagoans from moving there!

    What I shall affirm, though, is Mr. Parker’s sentiment that the Black Gate discourse is an excellent example of what we all hoped the Internet would be: a community of passionate fans, engaged in sharp debate, all to the betterment of our literature and of ourselves. Thank you, Mr. O’Neill, for shepherding the many wayward members of the BG flock.

    Comment by Eugene R. - December 26, 2018 12:59 am

  6. > I look forward every morning to turning on the PC and bringing up Black Gate
    > while I have my first (and sometimes second) cup of coffee.

    smitty59,

    I’m told the average reader spends less than fives seconds on a typical web page. So spending the time it takes to drink two cups of coffee every day with us is a huge compliment. I look forward to introducing you to plenty of new books in 2019!

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2018 1:08 am

  7. Thanks for shout out and thank you and the contributors for putting out an interesting site.

    I love the fact you guys can embrace the new without forgetting about the old.

    Best site for the speculative genres going.

    I’m still in awe of the birthday review series by Steven H. Silver. Above and beyond expectations.

    Comment by Charles_Martel - December 26, 2018 1:08 am

  8. > I long ago came to the conclusion that Black Gate was the best place on the internet,
    > both in terms of content, which is always valuable and engaging, and tone, which is
    > always… I was going to say respectful and civil, but it’s more than just that.

    Thomas,

    That’s very kind of you. There are enough sites on the web for folks who want to argue with trolls. I’m proud of the fact that the readers we’ve attracted here are those who really enjoy sharing their love of reading, and not just their contempt of others. Seems an odd thing to say, but there don’t seem to be a lots of sites like that left.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2018 1:11 am

  9. > i wish i had known about Black Gate back when the magazine was out, but as a more new fan
    > of the same things Black Gate stands for i am greatful the website lives on.

    silentdante,

    We put the magazine to rest and focused on the website precisely because it was the best way to find and attract new readers. Folks like you are the reason we did it. I’m glad we found you.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2018 1:13 am

  10. > Secretly hoping for a return of the magazine.

    Allard,

    Naver say never. :) I miss the print version very much, and it would be marvelous to bring it back in some form. We’ll see what the future holds.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2018 1:15 am

  11. > Black Gate discourse is an excellent example of what we all hoped the Internet would be: a community
    > of passionate fans, engaged in sharp debate, all to the betterment of our literature and of ourselves.

    Eugene,

    That was splendidly well-said, sir. It warms my heart that you see Black Gate that way. Thank you.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2018 1:17 am

  12. > I’m still in awe of the birthday review series by Steven H. Silver. Above and beyond expectations.

    Charles,

    You and me both! Steven is hard a work on a huge 2019 project for us as well… stay tuned!

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2018 1:18 am

  13. Thanks for the mention! And Merry Christmas (slightly belated) and Happy Holidays to one and all! I’m always happy to check the site and see what the latest discussion is.

    (And put me down as in favor of the return of the magazine as well!)

    Comment by Joe H. - December 26, 2018 8:31 am

  14. Where would we be without the photos of your marvelous book scores! Just think of all the great books you acquired (for a pittance!) in 2018! I’m hoping 2019 is even a better year! Keep those photos of classic SF paperbacks coming!

    Comment by kelleyg@ecc.edu - December 26, 2018 11:47 am

  15. John, thank you for the mention. I love Black Gate and look in every day, whether I comment or not. I’m very glad you had a fine Christmas, and look forward to my daily dose of BG in 2019!

    Comment by R.K. Robinson - December 26, 2018 12:20 pm

  16. smitty59 – Thanks for the mention. Glad you enjoy some of my stuff!

    Allard – If I take a second run at a hardboiled column here, maybe we’ll manage to write about Butler. Of course, I should probably read the Steve Midnight stories first…

    Comment by Bob Byrne - December 26, 2018 3:37 pm

  17. Wait, your snow melted?!

    /me starts shoveling into the largest box he could find at the Post Office

    Comment by Jeff Stehman - December 26, 2018 9:51 pm

  18. Just a belated thank you for another outstanding year. Keep up the good work. I log into Black Gate nearly every day – Christmas being an exception! – and never fail to find something of interest and excitement. Also, like many another commentator, the whole site is conducted with good manners and very little vituperation – something to be treasured these days. Neil

    Comment by NeilH - December 27, 2018 12:50 pm

  19. I know i’m a little late reading this (I was determined to stay off the internet as much as possible on my 5 days off), but I also visit this site several times a day.

    I don’t remember how I discovered Black Gate but I barely knew what Sword and Sorcery was when i started reading. I’ve found so many great authors from this site.

    The positive attitude and knowledgeable writers are what keeps me coming back every day.

    Comment by Glenn - December 27, 2018 3:25 pm

  20. > put me down as in favor of the return of the magazine as well!

    Joe,

    Thanks for your unwavering support over the years! Right now the return of a print edition of Black Gate is just a dream… but who knows?

    Comment by John ONeill - January 2, 2019 2:17 pm

  21. > starts shoveling into the largest box he could find at the Post Office

    Jeff,

    Keep it, please! I’m sure we’ll have more than enough here by the end of the week. :)

    Comment by John ONeill - January 2, 2019 2:18 pm

  22. > Just a belated thank you for another outstanding year. Keep up the good work.

    Neil,

    Thanks — and thank you for being a constant reader. Happy New Year!

    Comment by John ONeill - January 2, 2019 2:21 pm

  23. > I barely knew what Sword and Sorcery was when i started reading. I’ve found so many great authors from this site.

    Glenn,

    That’s what I like to hear! If we’re successfully introducing new readers to the great writers of fantasy every day, then I know why God put me on this Earth.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 2, 2019 2:23 pm


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