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Monday, December 12, 2016

Book Bloggers of the Year

Castalia House Blog Editor Jeffro Johnson hails the top 15 book bloggers of 2016:
When I was completing my Appendix N series back at the tail end of 2015, let me tell you… it felt like I was just about the only one. Not that I was the first, by any stretch. Ron Edwards and James Maliszewski had trod the same path before me. But the thing is… I couldn’t square how obvious my observations were next to the fact that nobody in the book scene seemed be saying anything remotely in the same vein. It was baffling, really. Sometimes it seemed like there was really only one or two people that even “got” what I was trying to do.

It’s ironic given how I much I’ve written about mass media’s conquest of the imagination, but really… I couldn’t imagine that changing. I should have known better. Working out the actual history of science fiction and fantasy was like putting a puzzle together with no box lid, no edge pieces, and several pieces on the table from entirely different pieces. It took a while. And when it finally started to come together, something happened. There was (and I’m not exaggerating) a kind of sea change in the book discussion scene.

All of it’s documented right here on the Castalia House blog in my Sensor Sweep link roundups. What’s going on exactly…? Well, if you are into classic Dungeons & Dragons you might recognize it as being similar to the Old School Revival that swept over the role-playing game bloggers several years ago. (Cirsova is an obvious counterpart to, say, Fight On! and Knockspell, for instance.) Beyond that, it’s becoming increasingly clear that people that are exposed to the science fiction and fantasy canon don’t just want to talk about it. They want to create!

What does this mean for readers…? It means that awesome things are on the way! If you want a preview, then check out the fifteen book bloggers that I’ve singled out as the best of 2016.

15. Hooc Ott — Ah, the number of times that I’ve been told that Appendix N was just a list of books that Gygax liked. No it wasn’t. Zelazny’s Amber stories thoroughly infuse an iconic adventure module for the classic expert set. And Edgar Rice Burroughs was not just a primary influence on the formation of D&D. He was an essential inspiration to Conan in particular and thus swords and sorcery in general. The only people are still in denial about just exactly Appendix N is at this point are the ones that have blocked Hooc Ott on Twitter.

14. James Cambias of Just the Caffeine Talking — If you don’t know who James Cambias is, well… I’ll hazard a guess that you were never into space themed role-playing games. He wrote or co-wrote a lot of the big ones. He also writes a blog that has more than its fair share of references to classic games and old school science fiction and fantasy. His Nostalgie Du Geek is a must-read series in my book, as are his posts on Game Mechanics. (If you don’t have strong opinions about that last one, then you aren’t a gamer.) He dips into movies on occasion as well, but the post of his this year that got the biggest reaction from me was The Worst Science Fiction Writer Ever which completely destroyed one of my favorite characters of all time.

13. John C. Wright — Jon Mollison nailed it when he tweeted the other day: “I’m starting to think John C. Wright is the spider at the center of an all-encompassing web.” I thought that was hyperbole until I went back through his posts for the year. If you look past the rants on the usual geek culture meltdowns, the political posts, and the analysis of “Morlock” thinking… you really can see Wright was endorsing key players in the scene well before any of this became a “thing.”.
Read the whole list at Castalia House. And if you're looking to sport the Revolution in Science Fiction, you can see the latest CryptoFashion there.

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17 Comments:

Anonymous John Scalzi Unfinished Asimov Project December 12, 2016 8:39 AM  

The blurb for John Scalzi's "The Collapsing Empire" (promised March 21):

"Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible―until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars."

Folding the Flow. The Flow must flow!

"The Flow is eternal―but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity."

Asimov shazinov. He's putting together (keeping together) his lawn from bits and pieces with no box lid. It's Crypto-Dune after all!

Blogger Mighty Lou December 12, 2016 8:48 AM  

We are going to get so tired of winning.

Blogger Mighty Lou December 12, 2016 9:03 AM  

I really enjoy the Castalia House blog, some very good meta-writing there, and there's a lot of archives, so there's always something good to read when your in the mood for that.

Blogger GK Chesterton December 12, 2016 10:48 AM  

Wouldn't hurt to do some recommendation lists next Christmas. Went there just for that this year...and it wasn't there.

Blogger VD December 12, 2016 10:55 AM  

Wouldn't hurt to do some recommendation lists next Christmas.

In terms of books, games, or what?

Anonymous Jack Amok December 12, 2016 11:04 AM  

Jeffro is not making it any easier for me to free up time to work on new projects...

Anonymous VFM#1819 December 12, 2016 11:30 AM  

Semi-related, I found this awesome gaming blogger linked in Jeffro's links somehow. Seems like a cool guy.

"At long last, a tall cool drink of alt-right water in the midst of a liberal and cuckservative desert. Inspired by the need for soldiers in the Culture War, E. Reagan Wright volunteered to stand up to the forces of progressivism before they complete their takeover of the once energetic, diverse and just plain fun hobby of role-playing games."

https://gamingwhileconservative.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/be-a-hero/

Blogger GK Chesterton December 12, 2016 11:34 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Gordon December 12, 2016 11:35 AM  

A book gift list, for me, as I'm not a gamer. Perhaps categorized, as in "these are for young adults."

Blogger GK Chesterton December 12, 2016 11:36 AM  

Books.

I personally was looking for kids books but my daughter is old enough for "safe" (Heinlien Juvinille) SF and Fantasy...that I'm sure my son will poke around with immediately after she is done. And I know, Jeffro does excellent work on recommendations and thoughts over the year. But when I'm Christmas shopping I'm looking for "Buy X for Y for (short reason Z)". I went there specifically for that since this is now my go to site last week and got "Sensor Sweep". Good, but not what I was looking for at that time. And I know, it’s the house blog so it should point mainly towards your stuff, but it is also competing to be the Tor replacement so should be a recommendation engine for the genre as a whole.

Blogger Gordon December 12, 2016 11:39 AM  

Better: The 12 days of Castalia House. A package deal wherein the recipient gets a book a day for 12 days.

Anonymous Nathan December 12, 2016 1:01 PM  

@10,

Try a sample of L. Jagi Lamplighter's Rachel Griffin series and see if it meets your approval.

Blogger Gordon December 12, 2016 1:49 PM  

Agree with Nathan about the "Unexpected Enlightenment" series. And Lamplighter is planning 24 books in the series. Though at her current rate of production, I suspect I won't live to see the last few. I mean, she's doing better than RR or McScalzi, but that's not difficult.

Anonymous G.RapeRapeM. December 12, 2016 2:01 PM  

The Castalia House gear doesn't even go up to 7xxxxxxx, how could they possibly think they could get any TRUEFANS to cross over.

Blogger Jon M December 12, 2016 2:51 PM  

That's a murderer's row of literary criticism there. While I'm honored to have made a list with so many impressive names, it's only fair to acknowledge that without Vox and Jeffro leading the way, I wouln't be here today. Jeffro is too modest, he should be at the top of that list.

Blogger The Kurgan December 12, 2016 5:56 PM  

No. that's stolen from Stephen baxter's last two novels.

Blogger John Wright December 12, 2016 11:13 PM  

I thought the flow idea came from Mike Flynn's JANUARY DANCER books. Objects cannot travel faster than light, but the fabric of spacetime in certain places, can, and carry along any objects embedded with.
Knowing Mike, he no doubt got the idea by having his pet Banshee summon up the ghost of Einstein to work out the math for him.

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