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.