Merry Christmas from Black Gate
It’s evening in the O’Neill household, the sounds of Christmas music and video games have finally subsided (a little), and it’s almost… quiet. I’m finally in front of my computer, looking out over our backyard, with a peaceful minute to compose my annual Christmas message.
It’s been a helluva year. Plagues and pandemics. Economic uncertainty. Climate change. Endless political rancor. I suppose this is what being an adult is all about: seeing the world as it truly is, with all its dangers and uncertainties. I can see why so many people my age yearn for “a simpler time” — meaning the years when the world’s problems seemed vastly smaller, because they were too young to pay attention.
The world has always has problems, and I guess they’ve always seemed unsurmountable. When we first launched this site over two decades ago, I was consumed with traffic numbers, page views, and deadlines. In the intervening years we’ve achieved the kind of success I never dreamed of, easily surpassing two million pages views a month at our peak. But running Black Gate has taught me that true success isn’t captured in traffic metrics.
The most rewarding part of running this site — by far — has been relationships I’ve cultivated in the process, and the amazing things our readers have taught me. It’s been in the surprising and endless ways this little website has enriched my life, by introducing me to so many wonderful folks who share my love of reading, and fantasy.
The older I get, the more I’ve come to believe that the world’s biggest problems will be solved the same way. Not by trying to educate others. But by opening ourselves up to learn, to becoming a willing part of a raucous and growing community that circles the globe.
I have all of you to thank for that little insight, and it’s brought me a lot of peace in this frightening and sometimes terrible time. Thank you all.
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.
Thank you, John, for providing this place for all of us, and a very merry Christmas to you and to all Black Gaters everywhere!
The best way to learn any subject is to prepare to teach it, a lesson that I have learned again and again. Thank you, Mr. O’Neill, for preparing to teach us so much about our favorite genres and for bringing together such an inquisitive and responsive class of students. Nollaig shona duit!
Thank you, John! May you scale new heights in the year to come.
Happy Holidays to you too! I hope you are able to take a break from editing, server monitoring, and writing to play one of those prized board games you have in your vault. Peace and calm to all in 2022. Let Black Gate be a place of learning for another year.
John – What books have you enjoyed most this year?
I read and really enjoyed Howard Andrew Jones’ entire RING SWORN TRILOGY, which I’m very happy to recommend to anyone who will listen. Most of my other major discoveries were in the field of short fiction, which I’m hoping to cover in an article in the next few days.
What about you??
My highlights were (none of them released this year)…
Gretchen Felker-Martin – Ego Homini Lupus (blistering folk horror)
Alistair Rennie – BleakWarrior (like Vance writing Mortal Kombat)
Jack Vance – Rhialto The Marvelous (entertainingly pompous wizards backstabbing)
Jess Nevins – Horror Needs No Passport (a guide to 20th century horror outside the majority white anglophone countries)
Robert — a terrific list, and I haven’t tried any of them (not even the Vance!). Thanks for the rec from Jess Nevins, that definitely is worth checking out.
Thank you John! Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!!! It has been quite a year. Here’s hoping for a better year in 2022.
hope everyone’s new year is a grea tone filled with inspiration, imagination, and just the right amount of insubordination, cause some rules are made to be broken, long live Black Gate!
May mighty-thewed barbarians keep watch over your holiday festivities.
Belated Xmas greetings to one and all!
A lot has happened over the last few years but one thing hasn’t changed – I’ve always found something worth reading on the Black Gate website.
Thanks Aonghus! It’s the love of discovery that keeps us going…. and there’s a lot out there to discover.