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Merry Christmas from Black Gate

Wednesday, December 25th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Black Gate Christmas tree

It’s Christmas evening. All the presents have been opened, Alice’s quiche has been consumed, the kids have settled down… and it’s 56 degrees outside, the warmest Christmas of my entire life. Every year a new surprise.

I have a cup of hot cocoa, and it’s finally quiet enough for me to write my annual Christmas message. As the years have gone by (decades now, since that long ago time in 1999 when I made the fateful decision to start a fantasy magazine), I find that I look back at each successive year very differently. I used to take stock of our accomplishments, count up how many books and games we’d reviewed, how many articles written. Nowadays I value things differently. The things I care about now are the comments from our readers, the small suggestions and feedback from our regulars. In the end, it’s always the relationships that matter.

So I want to take a moment to thank all the BG readers who’ve given so generously of their time over the past year. Those that drop in with a book suggestion, a thoughtful comment, an encouraging word. It means a lot. And I’d especially like to thank our regulars: Thomas Parker, Rich Horton, Glenn, smitty59, Major Wootton, Eugene R, Bob Byrne, R.K. Robinson, James Enge, Aonghus Fallon, Joe H, silentdante, Charles_Martel, Jeff Stehman, Barsoomia, kelleyg, Allard, Joe Bonadonna, Jason Waltz, Robert Adam Gilmour, James McGlothlin, Gabe Dybing, Martin Christopher, James Van Pelt, Tony Den, Todd Mason, John E. Boyle, dolphintornsea, John Hocking, and many, many others. You make the effort we put in every day worthwhile. Thank you.

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.

26 Comments »

  1. i might have only found Black Gate this year, but that alone makes it a great year. as i get older, and realize what my tastes are and what i have missed over the years it warms my heart to know there are others out there with much more knowledge to help point me towards what i want to be reading.

    thank you for being welcoming, thank you for keeping things going, and for curating a place for fantastic articles, essays, and suggestions from all contributors.

    i hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday and new year. lets all hope the new year brings many new favorite authors, new found old authors we missed, and a general love for our hobbies.

    best regards,
    -cory

    Comment by silentdante - December 25, 2019 10:01 pm

  2. > lets all hope the new year brings many new favorite authors, new found old authors we missed, and a general love for our hobbies.

    Cory,

    That’s a beautiful message. I wish I’d said it as clearly as you. Thank you.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 25, 2019 10:07 pm

  3. I love these Christmas posts, John. I remember one year, you writing about all the lights turned down low in the Black Gate offices, you alone and reflective in the building. Classic. You do good work.

    Comment by Gabe Dybing - December 25, 2019 10:45 pm

  4. Gabe,

    You have a good memory! That sounds like my 2014 Christmas message:

    https://www.blackgate.com/2014/12/25/merry-christmas-from-all-of-us-at-black-gate/

    You can see them all here:

    https://www.blackgate.com/?s=Merry+Christmas

    Comment by John ONeill - December 25, 2019 10:50 pm

  5. Being able to be a tiny part of this “vast and unruly collective” is one of the finer Xmas gifts I get every year. Thank you, Mr. O’Neill and all you Black Gaters who make this site a warm and welcome spot on the World Wide Web.

    Comment by Eugene R. - December 25, 2019 11:03 pm

  6. You’re very welcome, Eugene. Thanks for helping to keep the conversation going over the years.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 25, 2019 11:05 pm

  7. Being a part of Black Gate is something I value highly. Thank you, John, for making it the kind of place we all want to keep coming back to. Merry Christmas to the whole community, and I can’t wait to see what the new year will bring to BG!

    Comment by Thomas Parker - December 26, 2019 3:20 am

  8. Merry Christmas John,

    I check out the site almost daily. I like the reverence for the past while also spotlighting the future.

    Keep up the great work and here’s to an awesome 2020.

    Comment by Charles_Martel - December 26, 2019 6:35 am

  9. Thank YOU, John. That everyday effort is much appreciated. Other than my e-mail, Black Gate is the only place I go 4-5 times every single day on my PC. I have never been let down. And it’s great to see so many other names here on such a constant basis: many of the contributors (and particularly you, John) have helped keep my wallet thin and my personal library perpetually expanding. There’s so much good reading out there I would have missed — not just the books and mags, but the columns and comments of those who post here. I wish the best of the holiday season to ALL of you, and may we all see a brighter year in 2020.

    Comment by smitty59 - December 26, 2019 9:58 am

  10. Right back at’cha, John! x10,000. You are the Maxwell Perkins of the fantasy community. Long live Black Gate!

    Comment by carlreed - December 26, 2019 10:20 am

  11. > I can’t wait to see what the new year will bring to BG!

    Thomas,

    Hopefully it will start by getting caught up with some of the things I’m behind on, like Part 2 of my JOY OF STARTER SETS article. We shall see!

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2019 4:44 pm

  12. > Keep up the great work and here’s to an awesome 2020.

    Thanks Charles — and thanks for letting me know about the digital version of SWORDS OF DARKNESS on another thread. I hope that means more folks are discovering that excellent S&S series!

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2019 4:45 pm

  13. Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good crushing of your enemies, driving them before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women.

    Comment by Joe H. - December 26, 2019 4:49 pm

  14. > There’s so much good reading out there I would have missed — not just
    > the books and mags, but the columns and comments of those who post here.

    Smitty,

    Thanks for the kind words, and for your tireless support. I’m proud of a lot of things about Black Gate, but chiefly I’m proud that we’ve been able to provide a home for so many enormously talented contributors. Thanks for appreciating them!

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2019 4:53 pm

  15. > You are the Maxwell Perkins of the fantasy community. Long live Black Gate!

    Carl,

    You flatter me — we’ve certainly discovered a lot of very talented writers here at Black Gate, but not as many as Perkins did at Scribner’s Sons (including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and Erskine Caldwell.) Give us another 20 years, though!

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2019 4:58 pm

  16. > Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good crushing of your enemies, driving them before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women.

    Thanks Joe. And the classics never grow old!

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2019 4:58 pm

  17. I don’t interact with BG as much as I used to. But I still check it everyday and am more than proud to be associated with it! Keep up the good work John!

    Comment by James McGlothlin - December 26, 2019 5:03 pm

  18. Thanks James! And you’re missed around these parts. Are you still planning to review THE YEAR’S BEST HORROR series for us? I’ve been looking forward to following along.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 26, 2019 7:55 pm

  19. Yes I am, as soon as I finish the last of those Del Rey Best ofs.

    Comment by James McGlothlin - December 26, 2019 8:12 pm

  20. The lone tree reminds me of one I used to ski by on one of the hardest trails down the road. It was…off the beaten path, but for those who made it to the decorated tree, there was a cache of frozen mini candy bars underneath it.

    Merry Christmas.

    Comment by Jeff Stehman - December 26, 2019 9:12 pm

  21. > Yes I am, as soon as I finish the last of those Del Rey Best ofs.

    James,

    Splendid! I don’t think you have many left, do you?

    Comment by John ONeill - December 27, 2019 11:34 am

  22. > for those who made it to the decorated tree, there was a cache of frozen mini candy bars underneath it.

    Jeff,

    I won’t tell you what’s hidden under the Black Gate tree… ah, of course I will. It’s pulp magazines and two Goth Chick interns, handing out hot chocolate. Merry Christmas!

    Comment by John ONeill - December 27, 2019 11:36 am

  23. Hey, Steven Silver, did you hear there’s a Black Gate Christmas tree above ground?

    That must be why he took the Christmas lights..I mean, OSCEAA approved safety lighting out a couple weeks ago from the hallway leading to the cellar…I mean, baseme….I mean, journalists suite…

    Comment by Bob Byrne - December 27, 2019 11:50 am

  24. Really appreciate the mixture of old and new here, and particularly grateful there isn’t undue focus on movies and tv shows that are covered on nearly every place that covers movies and tv.

    Comment by Robert Adam Gilmour - December 28, 2019 2:50 pm

  25. > That must be why he took the Christmas lights..I mean, OSCEAA approved safety lighting out a couple weeks ago from the hallway leading to the cellar…

    Back to work, Bryne!

    Comment by John ONeill - December 29, 2019 12:16 pm

  26. > Really appreciate the mixture of old and new here, and particularly grateful there isn’t undue focus on movies and tv shows

    Thanks Robert. Our first love has always been print, and we try to reflect that in everything we do.

    And you’re right. There’s already enough sites out there covering fantasy media. Our focus on neglected fantasy, old and new, makes us nearly unique. And we like it that way.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 29, 2019 12:18 pm


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