It Is What They Call the Best of the Best: Two Years of Highlights

Since it’s our birthday, we thought we’d indulge and share our favorite moments—funny, poignant, eloquent, and wacky—from the last two years.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden: is terrific, and many people write great stuff on I can’t possibly rate two years and hundreds, maybe thousands of posts. But Jo Walton is my favorite blogger on, just as she’s one of my favorite novelists, bloggers, and human beings in general. My two favorite Jo Walton posts:

(1) Her contribution to our moon-landing 40th-anniversary event. Specifically this:

I was at an outdoor party once. There was a beautiful full moon sailing above the trees, above the whole planet. And there was a guy at the party who proclaimed loudly that the boots of the Apollo astronauts had contaminated the magic of the moon and that it should have been left untouched. I disagreed really strongly. I felt that the fact that people had visited the moon made it a real place, while not stopping it being beautiful. There it was, after all, shining silver, and the thought that people had been there, that I could potentially go there one day, made it better for me. That guy wanted it to be a fantasy moon, and I wanted it to be a science fiction moon. And that’s how the day of the moon landing affected me and my relationship with science fiction, twenty years after it happened. It gave me a science fiction moon, full of wonder and beauty and potentially within my grasp.

I have been thinking about this paragraph ever since she wrote it.

(2) Her review of Robert A. Heinlein’s The Stone Pillow, which (as Flann O’Brien once said) filled a much-needed gap in the literature.

Liz Gorinsky:
I’m sure I’m not the only one who fondly remembers our one-time bloggers Jason Hnningr and J. Hennenger. The first link goes to a review of Georges Perec’s The Void, the second to some comments on his Exeter Text. Except that something is a bit…funny…about them.

Another one of my favorite moments also spanned two posts: Irene’s insider perspective on the evolution of HMS Stubbington and some subsequent comments on the everyday Stubby logo we know and love.

It is not very often that I come across a gag cartoon that makes me laugh more than once. Sean Bieri’s Gift of the Zombi still gets me every time, nearly two years later. Genius.

Irene Gallo:
Things that I worked on:
By far the most ambitious, and many ways most rewarding, project I’m working on is the Wheel of Time eBook repackage project. Having come to Tor with the series well under way, this was my chance to revisit Robert Jordan’s world from the beginning and become much more emotionally attached to the story and it’s fans as we go through. It’s become much more collaborative with the fan base than I would have guessed possible at the start.

Saturday Morning Cartoons! I do miss these, and promise to return! Spending a few evenings every week trolling for amazing animation was a real treat for me. Each time I was about to give up, I’d stumble on something that would make my heart race.

Things that are stories:
It’s always a good day when Patrick says he has a new Rachel Swirsky story. There are lots of other good days when it comes to stories, but Swirsky is one I’ll always credit Patrick and for introducing me to.

Things that are comics:
The geniuses of Idiot’s Books and Teetering Bulb.

Things that are posts:
The blog is such a heart of the site, it’s nearly impossible to say which are favorites. But to name a few (while saying everyone else’s choises are also favorites):

Bridget McGovern:
We’ve had so many brilliant, insightful, and hilarious people contributing to the site for the last two years, picking favorites is nearly impossible, but here are a few standouts:

Like Liz, I love Sean Bieri’s “12 Days of Zombie Christmas” comics from December 2008—and then last year, we celebrated Cthulhumas, of course…because what fun are the holidays without a heaping helping of unspeakable horror?

I always really enjoy Scott Brundage’s rollovers on the site; his Ada Lovelace tribute might be my favorite, though—it’s such a fun, unique way of celebrating Lovelace’s legacy…

Jason Henninger’s ridiculously clever post about Georges Perec and Oulipo is another standout: Jason managed to write the entire thing without using the letter E. I’m a big fan of Jason’s work in general, but I think this was the post that made me realize we were dealing with a crazy genius. (For the record, I’m also very partial to his Gashlycrumb Losties parody…)

I definitely have to include Eugene Myers and Torie Atkinson’s spectacular week-long salute to “The Trouble With Tribbles” as part of their ongoing Star Trek Re-Watch. Tribbles Week had everything from handmade tribbles to animated tribbles to a recap of Futurama’s tribble-inspired parody, “The Problem with Popplers”…as always, they did an amazing, hilarious job.

Finally, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite days in the last two years was our first April Fool’s Day, when we morphed into TÖRdötCÖM for 24 very silly hours; I had so much fun writing posts for that day…then I had even more fun reading everybody else’s: our bloggers are a wildly creative and deviously clever bunch (and they proved it again this year). I can’t wait for April 2011 (although I still want a badass TÖRdötCÖM t-shirt, for old times’ sake…)

Megan Messinger:
I usually encounter our original stories first in audio, so I’m fond of Charlie Stross’s dry delivery of  “Overtime,” G.D. Falksen’s infectious enthusiasm in “The Strange Case of Mr Salad Monday,” and the way Terry Bisson makes “TVA Baby” sound perfectly reasonable when, in fact, the narrator is round the bend.

My favorite illustration and, in fact, one of my favorite paintings ever, is Greg Manchess’s painting for Ken Scholes’s “A Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon.” You can see it bigger here. I feel silly actually describing art when I know we have real art people around, but I love his posture, the line of the moonlight coming in the window and its balance with the huge bed, and the little pool of warmth in the far corner. It makes me sad, but in a sort of Keatsian way.

A lot of people have mentioned last year’s April Fools’ Day, and for me, nothing beat Jo Walton’s review of Shakespeare’s Robin of Sherwood on DVD; there’s no such play, but that didn’t stop the commenters from chiming in! And we love Leigh Butler for a lot of reasons, many of them Wheel of Time-related, but she outdid herself with this Edgar Allan Poe pastiche.

Speaking of Poe, as far as scholarly work on the site, I loved S.J. Chambers’ “Living Poe Girl” series—Objects of Desire, An Alchemical Marriage, Metaphysical Motherhood, and The Young Girl of the Valley —and Arachne Jericho’s posts on portrayals of PTSD in fiction, parts one, two, and three.

And we do talk a lot about reading and writing. Jo Walton is the queen here, with posts like “Feast or Famine?”, “Why reviewers don’t often say ‘this sucks,’” “Fantasy and the need to remake our origin stories,” “The joy of an unfinished series,” and “What is it with coffee?” Torie Atkinson started a great discussion on “Reader’s Block,” and Melissa Singer asked for, and then collected, the community’s suggestions on what her thirteen-year-old daughter should read. In her Queering SF series, Brit Mandelo asked “Writing Sex: To Do, or Not To Do?” and in their comic, Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon answered “The Dreaded Question” about where ideas come from.

I’ll also indulge in two personal favorites: making the steampunk poster was one of the coolest days ever, and writing a Choose Your Own Adventure music video was more fun than a barrel of flying monkeys.

Chris Lough:
I latch on to certain writers on this site rather than individual posts, but one that’s stuck with me is Richard Fife’s “Congress Reinstates Pluto as a Planet” post. I know this is an April Fool’s post and yet when I see it in the archives (or elsewhere) I am fooled by the title every time. The piece also made me realize that I apparently have strong feelings about Pluto, and it’s certainly not often that a blog post that can teach you something new about yourself.

I’m also a big fan of Mari Ness’ Oz recaps, as those were the first novels I ever read. My own readership halted at the L. Frank Baum books but her coverage is so comprehensive that my own unfamiliarity doesn’t stop me from enjoying her recaps of the latter books.


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