2018 was, if nothing else, an eventful year. This blog continued to do well and to keep me busy, I started my second blog over at Hillbilly Highways, I continued to be very busy professionally, and, most eventful of all, our daughter “arrived” (a delicate word, for an arrival not unlike that of a Chestburster, only…lower) in early spring. She has kept us very busy but adds a level of joy and love to our house that increases by the day.
Traffic continues to grow, with a 63% bump from 2017. Visitors are up 79%. Every Day Should Be Tuesday got just under 4x as many views in 2018 as it did in 2016. I published 131 posts in 2018. Rather remarkably, this compares to 130 posts in 2017 and 131 posts in 2016. I have settled into a nice little blogging groove. But my average words per post, after peaking at 799 in 2018, dropped this year to 524 words per post.
The really big news at Every Day Should Be Tuesday this year was my enormously popular Tolkien 101 series.
It is almost the greatest time of the year again—Vintage Science Fiction Month! Vintage Science Fiction Month is the brainchild of Andrea at The Little Red Reviewer. The gist is simple: read science fiction written before you were born. Write about it in January.
This will be my third year participating in Vintage Science Fiction Month. Previously I have posted on The Tritonian Ring by L. Sprague de Camp, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, The Beast Master by Andre Norton, The Lord of Thunder by Andre Norton, and Dune by Frank Herbert. Including the movie.
We’re going through a mini-short pulp SF revolution right now, and I’m missing out on it because Tales from the Magician’s Skull is only the third different magazine I’ve picked up. I place it firmly between Skelos and Cirsova. It is not as depressing as Skelos, but without the spark of Cirsova. But, to a certain extent, that is a matter of taste.
The Shattered Sun is a hard book to pin down. The copy describes it as an “epic sword-and-sorcery . . . fantasy.” It is, technically, an epic fantasy. The trilogy concerns potentially world-ending matters. The third book, after all, opens with the sun extinguished by the revived Twins. But the story still manages to feel small for an epic fantasy, focusing on a handful of characters and taking place in limited locations. On the other hand, I wouldn’t say it is sword and sorcery. I think the term they should be looking for is “grimdark.” But the Bound Gods books don’t necessarily satisfy the grimdark penchant for gore. But they are dark and handle moral ambiguity in a much more thoughtful way than the average grimdark.
More to the point, the Bound Gods books aren’t plot-centric enough to be sword and sorcery. The strength of the series has always been Dunne’s writing and her characterization. Long lulls between the action is neither necessary to nor sufficient for characterization, but Dunne uses them inordinately well for it. Ultimately, though, a fantasy trilogy comes down to plot, and the Bound Gods trilogy is marred by a weak finish.
Remember that wild-ass trailer for a Russian superhero movie with a werebear? The good news is that you can stream a dubbed version for free with Amazon Prime. The bad news is that it isn’t a good movie. The other good news is that it is still a fun movie, and does in fact have a werebear in it. A werebear wielding a minigun.
Friend of the Blog Alex just published his novel A Traitor to Dreams. I had the opportunity to beta read A Traitor to Dreams over the summer, and it is a good one. Check it out!
Can’t Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.
It’s that time of year again! Time for an endless parade of year end lists. This is actually a scheduled Top Ten Tuesday topic for later this month, but I wanted to go ahead and get this one up.
2018 was a slow reading year for me. I swear I’m going to squeeze a few more in, but I’ve only read 53 books so far this year, after reading 90 in 2017. And the year started off slow quality-wise as well. But things picked up and, with the advent of the new blog, I decided to do two best books I’ve read this year post. This is my list of the best speculative fiction and related works. You can find my list of the best of everything else at Hillbilly Highways.
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Artsy Reader Girl.