It’s Good to be Back

It’s Good to be Back

It’s good to be back.

If you visited Black Gate between May 19th and May 31st, you may have noticed something odd. As in, it was completely missing. For the first time since the website went live in late 1999, Black Gate was off the air for more than a few hours. We were, in fact, dead for a dozen long days.

Our fault entirely. As our traffic continued to grow significantly in 2021, we started to notice some equally significant slowdown in the site in February and March. (You may have noticed it too. Lots of you did.) We’d outgrown our shared server, and desperately needed an upgrade. After a few months of tuning and planning, led chiefly by the stalwart Martin Page, we migrated to a much more powerful server on May 18. It passed all the preliminary tests, and on May 19th I ordered the DNS switchover.

Too soon, as it turned out. The new server crashed almost immediately, and never came back. We gave up after nine fruitless days of panicked effort, configured and migrated to another server with a lot more memory and, after a few error-filled days, here were are.

We apologize for the long absence, and thank you very much for your patience with us. As Tony Stark says so well, it’s good to be back. We missed you.

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Thomas Parker

I for one was starting to get the shakes. Withdrawal is as rough as they say it is!


I was worried that you guys were being subjected to a ransomware shakedown by Russian hackers. That would be an odd thing to happen, but maybe they were jealous that various posts, like Ellsworth’s Cinema Of Swords (and pieces by other writers) are so entertaining.

Allen Snyder

Whew, I seriously thought the finances of running the site were no longer working out and that it was gone forever. Glad to see you back!

Aonghus Fallon

Phew! I noticed that the final issue of the magazine was April 2011 – also that it ran for 10/11 years – and thought history was repeating itself: JON had uttered the magic word and the site had disappeared in a puff of smoke (or been rapidly dismantled by an army of nanobots, depending on your genre preference).


i’ll have you know though, in those dozen days i managed to save 7453 dollars on used books and other things i see articles for on here, so that was nice :p haha i jest, but it is good to have a mainstay of my internet dungeon crawling back. i have few hobbies and this website AND it’s contributors provide me with more inspiration and comfort than you may know. thank you for keeping imagination and art alive, and covering a wide wide range of topics.

love you all

George Kelley

We missed you., too! Like Sven, I thought you might have been shut down due to ransomware (a friend’s dentist had his medical records hacked and had to pay $20,000 to get them back!). Hope this new server is up to the job!

R.K. Robinson

Yes, I was concerned, we all were. I reached out o Bob Byrne to ask what happened and realized I’d just have to wait while you got it all figured out. We’re you ever tempted to just say “to heck with it” and catch up on reading all those paperbacks in your house?

Very glad you’re back!

Thomas Parker

I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who was bugging Bob about this situation!

Bonnie McDaniel

John, have you ever thought of changing the website colors? That green/orange text on black background is awfully hard to read.


Glad to see that the new-new server is up and working.

Paul Go

And there was much rejoicing.


I swear I only checked to see if it was back up like, six, times a day.

Tony Den

Glad you are back John. Was having withdrawal symptoms from lack of my daily dose of Black Gate. Seriously though was concerned, thought maybe site has been hacked, or perhaps something serious happened to you. Welcome back

Carl Reed

I was in a heart-sick fugue those days. My god; I’ve been banned! It must have been that New York Times review I quoted from instead of addressing John directly; he got offended and banned me from the site . . .


Good morning, John! I don’t know if you’ll even see this one, but I’m just thrilled to see your site back. I tried to find out what was happening, for nearly 2 weeks, then stopped — maybe just a day or so short of your getting started back up. Got caught up in a personal depression cycle in early June (which lasted — well, up to now) and never got around to looking for the site again (I even tried sending you an email, and it wouldn’t post). I’m so glad to discover you persevered! Looks like I’ve got much to catch up on. Don’t know if one exists or not, but if there was an emoji for “Live long and prosper,” that’s what I’d end this with. Great to see you back!!


Thanks! While I’m here, one quick question: Has anyone ever mentioned the little paperbacks put out by PM Press? There are 27 of them, the newest by James Patrick Kelly, and they all include short works by the author and an interview by Terry Bisson. Usually run to less than 120 pages. Authors featured include Michael Moorcock, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ursula LeGuin, John Shirley, Norman Spinrad, Samuel Delany, and a few not usually connected to SF/Fantasy/Horror. Might be worth checking out.

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