That was a year to remember, no? 2020 will go down as a year many will look back upon in horror, or choose to forget and move on from, but I have to say it was not so bad for me, personally. I did not lose anyone in my family to COVID-19. I kept my job, bought a home gym, had published my first book, connected with some old friends, and managed to read 51 books. My oldest daughter completed her first semester of college while living at school and staying healthy. As a family we cancelled parties and trips, and missed dining out and seeing concerts and shows, but also hunkered down and grew closer as a family.
As for The Silver Key, I cranked out 67 posts in 2020. A few that might be of interest to you:
Most popular: Of sword-and-sorcery, politics, and the Flashing Swords that Wasn't. With 862 views and 15 comments, this was both my most-viewed and most-commented upon post in 2020. This one tackled both a highly controversial issue (Robert Price's utterly out-of-place introduction to Flashing Swords 6) and was linked to from many places on the web, so no surprise there. In general I'm trying to stay away from controversy and shit-stirring (I came close to writing a post ripping Time's ridiculously garbage "100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time" list, for example, then canned the idea) but I felt compelled to comment on this story.
Second most popular: My Father, the Pornographer, a Memoir. My review of Chris Offutt's memoir of his father, Andrew J. Offutt, was my second most viewed post of the year. This book also happens to be one of my favorite reads of 2020. If you are interested in Offutt's sword-and-sorcery, growing up in rural Kentucky in the 70s and 80s, convention life, father-son relationships, or just appreciate good writing, I can't recommend this one highly enough. It's raw and honest and incredibly well-done.
A painful memory: 2020 sucked for many reasons, but the loss of Neil Peart back in January is particularly painful. I grew up listening to RUSH and idolizing the band for their lyrics and musicianship, and Peart was the brightest talent in an extraordinarily talented trio. I'll be playing a few RUSH songs on New Year's in honor of his memory. We also lost the great Charles Saunders this year, D&D artist Jim Holloway, and others.
Some great reads. Of the 51 books I read this year most were at least good/very good, a couple sucked, and a few were great. Some of my favorites included H. Rider Haggard's The Wanderer's Necklace (review on DMR Blog), the aforementioned Offutt memoir, A Canticle for Leibowitz, and Frans Bengtsson's The Long Ships. Right now I'm in the middle of a re-read of The Lord of the Rings, wrapping up The Two Towers, and I've no doubt that this is the finest work of fantasy ever written. I re-read The Broken Sword earlier this year and that too is as good as I remember.
A heavy metal party cataloged. If you haven't read my posts recollecting the heavy metal themed parties I threw at my house from 2011-2018, a couple with a live Judas Priest tribute band in my living room, give these a spin. I still can't believe that shit happened (and I remained married afterwards).
What's coming next? Your guess is as good as mine. I've decided not to launch a podcast, but I (think) I've hit upon my next idea for my second book. I'm going to keep blogging here, and guest-posting on a few sites around the web. If you have any ideas for subjects or topics, or authors or titles you'd like to suggest I cover (or not cover), leave me a comment here or send me an email. I always love getting comments and suggestions.
Thanks for reading, and here's to turning the page on 2021.