Top 51 Personal Blogs in SF/F, December 2006 Edition

Last July I published a list of the top 51 personal blogs in science fiction and fantasy (it was supposed to be the top 50, but there was a tie on the last ranking, so I put them both in), and it’s been long enough that I thought it might be time to refresh the list. So here’s an updated list for you.

Selection details and trivia:

* The list is limited to personal (not corporate-sponsored or news-oriented), single-author blogs, with an emphasis on science fiction and fantasy writers, editors, agents, publishers, artists and fans. Film/Television/Video Game-focused personal SF/F blogs were not really considered. Doesn’t mean they’re bad, I just decided to focus the list this way. By all means, make a different list if you like. The tie-in with SF/F is the author of the blog, not the content of the blog; some of these blogs discuss SF/F quite frequently, and some hardly at all.

* Rankings are based solely on Technorati rankings, which as I understand it generates rankings via an algorithm that factors in the number of links leading to your blog and how many other sites are linking in to the blog. These rankings should not be seen as an indicator of anything else. The blogs ranked up at the top are not necessarily better than blogs ranked below them (or not ranked at all); they’ve just got a lot of links coming in. Rankings are accurate as of about 10pm December 12, 2006. These rankings will change over time.

* These blog rankings are based on a universe of a few hundred SF blogs that I know about or that have been brought to my attention by others. It is entirely possible I have missed a few, or, alternately, that when I checked its Technorati rating, Technorati didn’t give me adequate information to rank the site. Needless to say, I am the person making all the final decisions as to which blogs are and are not eligible, so, yeah, go ahead and blame me. In all cases, if you have a site that you feel ought to be included, and its Technorati ranking is sufficient for it to be listed (i.e, greater than 59,315), please note it in the comment thread and I will factor it in the next time I update this list, which should be six months or so from now.

* For kicks and giggles I have added a new notation to the list, which notes whether the blog in question is written by someone who is (to the best of my knowledge) an SF/F writer (W), Editor (E), Critic/Commentator (C), Agent (A), Artist (Art) or Fan (F).

* I decided to stick with 51 entries because it amuses me to do so, and will drive those who need nice round numbers absolutely bonkers. Bwa ha ha ha hah!

* Finally, this is for amusement purposes only. Please don’t freak out over it.

There was a quite a lot of movement in the rankings since the last time I made a ranking; very few blogs maintained their July 2006 positions. Moreover, the rankings became more competitive; whereas for July’s list a Technorati ranking of 149,618 was sufficient to make the cut, this time the cut was some 90,000 positions higher. This is to some extent an artifact of me widening the universe of blogs I considered for the rankings.

Despite the tightening at the bottom of the list, at the top there was a general drop in overall Technorati rankings. Although the top five blogs from the July 2006 list stayed in the top five this time around, all but one dropped in its Technorati rankings, and every blog but one in the 6-10 positions in July experience a drop in its Technorati numbers. Indeed, of the 50 blogs in the July list, more saw their Technorati rankings decrease rather than increase (although many of those decreases are not shown in the December list, due to greater competition knocking them off the list entirely). I leave to others to ponder the implications and ramifications of these facts. I’m just putting up numbers.

And now, without further ado, the Top 50 Personal Blogs in SF/F, December 2006 Edition. Each entry notes (in order) list ranking, blog name, blog author, Technorati ranking and author class.

1. Neil Gaiman’s Journal — Neil Gaiman (487) W
2. Whatever — John Scalzi (1,142) W
3. Making Light — Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden (1,293) E
4. Beyond the Beyond — Bruce Sterling (5,240) W
5. The Sideshow — Avedon Carol (6,289) F

6. Paperback Writer — S.L. Viehl (6,916) W
7. Charlie’s Diary — Charles Stross (7,622) W
8. They Must Need Bears — Elizabeth Bear (11,541) W
9. The Mumpsimus — Matthew Cheney (14,156) C
10. Anna Louise’s Journal — Anna Louise Genoese (16,017) E

11. Amygdala — Gary Farber (17,450) F
12. Vanderworld — Jeff VanderMeer (19,437) W
13. Contrary Brin — David Brin (19,711) W
14. Justine Larbalestier — Justine Larbalestier (21,110) W
15. The Art Department — Irene Gallo (21,863) Art

16. Westerblog — Scott Westerfeld (22,945) W
17. Kathryn Cramer — Kathryn Cramer (24,723) E
18. Not a Blog — George RR Martin (25,326) W
19. Pocket Full of Words — Holly Lisle (26,543) W
20. Shaken and Stirred — Gwenda Bond (26,763) W

21. The Early Days of a Better Nation — Ken MacLeod (27,417) W
22. Et in Arcaedia, Ego — Jennifer Jackson (28,360) A
23. Bluejo’s Journal — Jo Walton (31,123) W
24. More Words, Deeper Hole — James Nicoll (31,523) C
25. Lakeshore — Jay Lake (33,339) W

26. Honor Your Inner Magpie — Elise Matthesen (33,683) F
27. Nalo Hopkinson — Nalo Hopkinson (34,048) W
27. Notes From the Labyrinth — Sarah Monette (34,048) W
29. Notes from the Geek Show — Hal Duncan (34,441) W
29. The Hal Spacejock Series — Simon Hayes (34,441) W

31. Nick Mamatas’ Journal — Nick Mamatas (34,844) W
32. The Slush God Speaketh — John Joseph Adams (35,642) E
32. 14theDitch — Jeffrey Ford (35,642) W
34. KRAD’s Inaccurate Guide to Life — Keith RA DeCandido (36,018) W
35. John Crowley Little and Big — John Crowley (38,427) W

36. Holly Black — Holly Black (39,788) W
36. Out of Ambit — Diane Duane (39,788) W
38. The Prodigal Blog — Charles Coleman Finlay (40,292) W
39. Goblin Mercantile Exchange — Alan DeNiro (41,784) W
40. My Life in the Bush of Wombats — Kevin Maroney (43,951) E

41. Composite — Liz Henry (44,546) C
41. Dragonmount — Robert Jordan (44,546) W
41. The Pagan Prattle Online — Feorag NicBhride (44,546) Art
44. Arthur D. Hlavaty — Arthur D. Hlavaty (45,144) E
45. Tobias S. Buckell Online — Tobias Buckell (45,773) W

46. It’s All One Thing — Will Shetterly (47,764) W
47. Chrononautic Log — David Moles (48,480) W
48. From the Heart of Europe — Nicholas Whyte (49,196) F
49. Cyberabad — Ian McDonald (50,718) W
50. Oached Pish — Sherwood Smith (57,134) W

51. Barnstorming on the Invisible Segway — Marissa Lingen (59,315) W

See you all in six months!

74 Comments on “Top 51 Personal Blogs in SF/F, December 2006 Edition”

  1. He does use some sort of blog software (at the very least you can get feeds), but his posting is incredibly erratic which may hurt him in the rankings. It was pretty active right after Pattern Recognition and a few months ago when we were getting chunks of the new book, but it comes and goes.

  2. To the OPs:

    How many of these blogs are you likely to return to?

    I visited the top ten (all for the first time) and bookmarked one to return to. Extrapolating (crudely I admit), I therefore might expect to bookmark 5.1 of these blogs to enable returning regularly. I’ll provide a true figure when I’ve had time to visit them all.

  3. “In all cases, if you have a site that you feel ought to be included, and its Technorati ranking is sufficient for it to be listed (i.e, greater than 59,315), please note it in the comment thread”

    Well, ok. Feels weird to do this sort of self-promotion, but Torque Control apparently has a current ranking of 53,288. (Of course, if you missed anyone else in addition to Chris Dolley, TC goes down to #52 or lower …)

  4. With all due respect to the “kicks and giggles” nature of the enterprise, some of your categorizations are pretty odd. For instance, while Arthur Hlavaty edits non-SF material for a living and does some SF-related freelancing around town, his reputation (and string of well-deserved Best Fan Writer Hugo nominations) is as a well-known fan. Elsewhere, it’s simply bizarre that James Nicoll is a “critic/commentator” while Nicholas Whyte, who regularly writes thousands of words of reviews of contemporary and older SF, is merely a “fan.”

    Again acknowledging the what-the-hell nature of this whole thing, I would never have tried to draw a line between “critics/commentators” and “fans.”

  5. Something I noticed shortly after you published the first list was that my ranking suddenly dived by about 2,000, possibility because Technorati changed its algorithm (again), or else a couple of thousand blogs suddenly became more popular than mine. (I was heartbroken when the BIQ ranker suddenly started applying only to blogs from India rather than to political blogs in general, since I’d grown comfortable being on the top 100.)

    (Patrick is right – I think most fans who write at all have done criticism/reviews/commentary in/on the sf field. And Terry Carr always felt insulted when people assumed he was only a professional writer-editor, and not a fan.)

  6. Well, PNH, I’m personally aware of Hlavaty as an editor (or copy-editor), which is why he gets that particular appellation. As for Nicoll and Whyte, I entirely agree they’re “go either way” descriptions, and if they want to chime in their preference, I’ll be happy to oblige. Likewise anyone else who want their designation changed.

    Also, thanks Patrick, et al. for the additional links. Some of them I chose to leave out (Poppy Z. Brite, for example, I put on the “hold” list because she’s writing more contemporary fiction these days, although if she wants in I’ll be happy to put her in there), and some of them have blog notoriety in other areas (Chad Orzel, who’s a friend of mine, is one of the top science bloggers, which is why I didn’t put him on the last list either). I’m not sure how I managed to miss Steve Brust; I dig that dude. And I completely spaced on Craphound. They’ll both go into the hopper for next time.

    David the Lurker: Thanks, fixed.

    Niall: Torque Control is a group blog, though, right? I’m trying to keep the focus on single author blogs. The one exception I have there is Making Light, although I grandfather that one in because it started life as two separate personal blogs, both of which (I suspect) would have gotten on the list, which were then consolidated.

    Avedon: Yeah, Technorati rankings are capricious, in part (as I understand) because they chart links over a certain span of time. So if you have a particular piece that lots of people link to, that’s going to boost the ranking, and when that piece slides out of the window of time Technorati consider, the ranking recedes. My own sites’ ranking has been anywhere from the low 700s to about 1,400, and thanks to the Technorati ranking system, the lower your ranking, the more positions you’re likely to fluctuate through.

    This is why I tell people to take it with a grain of salt: The difference between a Technorati ranking of 40,000 and 50,000 really isn’t all that much.

  7. Thanks for the great list.As a newcomer to this blogosphere world I appreciate a little direction.

    The designation as writer,artist,fan etc. is a nice touch since not all these folks are household names.I’m sure most will forgive being pigeonholed into a category that might not be a perfect fit.

  8. PNH:

    “A major writer blog that actually appears to be invisible to Technorati is Jane Yolen’s.”

    Yeah. Also, there were a couple of times when I entered the name of an author and I didn’t get a ranking at all, just a number of links going in. I don’t know if that was a momentary thing of Technorati or if there’s something else going on there.

    Also I can think of at least one author who I think should be on this list but isn’t because she changed the URL of her LiveJournal, thus confusing Technorati: Cherie Priest.

  9. Damn, still not on the list. Need to work on that writing thing (sounds of scratching, pencil on paper). Next we’ll build up this blog thingie (sounds of hammering and hand saw). Then we’ll get these links in order (sounds of power tools). I’ll be right back.

    Thanks for the list, John. I’m always looking for fresh material to procrastinate with, I mean, do research and community building, learning this work. Yeah, that’s it. I’m learning something. I think.

  10. “The designation as writer,artist,fan etc. is a nice touch since not all these folks are household names.I’m sure most will forgive being pigeonholed into a category that might not be a perfect fit.”

    Oh, I forgive it, but the reason I object, albeit mildly, to some of the pigeonholing is that this kind of thing is a touchy issue in the SF world. Many of us value the fact that our community isn’t strictly divided between celebrity pros onstage and passive fans in the audience, and we tend to gently resist “either/or” descriptors as a result.

  11. PNH:

    “Many of us value the fact that our community isn’t strictly divided between celebrity pros onstage and passive fans in the audience, and we tend to gently resist ‘either/or’ descriptors as a result.”

    True enough. Pretty much everyone on this list could have more than one letter attached to their (and in almost every case, one of those letters would be “F” for “fan”). I just made the arbitrary nature to limit each entry to one. letter.

  12. I guess I’d better start cranking out more short stories if I want my #12,744 ranking to actually make me one of the top ten writers in the genre!

  13. I think we should have a competition for the least popular SF blog. My Technorati ranking is over 2 million. Of course I only started a month ago and I haven’t gotten the hang of this mutual linking business. And it’s completely lame. I’ve got this contest won, dogs.

  14. Scalzicce typeth:

    Also, creating linkable lists helps too, Chang.

    Ha, whatever, Whateverer! You and everyone else here knows it all boils down to:

    1) Bacon Feline Adhesive Content

    2) Politics

    3) Some writing you’ve done.

  15. And in that order.

    My cat won’t let me tape anything to her, so I’m sunk.

    And Matt, I think I’ve got ya beat. I win, I win, I… uh, wait a sec.

  16. I think in all this discussion about rankings and categories and who got forgotten, we’re ignoring one very important point:

    Somebody has the name Feorag NicBhride.

    That is awesome. I need to see if my fiancee will let me name our children that.

    K

  17. John: Torque Control started out as me and Geneva Melzack, but Geneva stood down as co-editor of Vector a little while ago, which means now and for the forseeable future it’s just me.

  18. Personally, Mr. Scalzi, I think you updated the list specifically to bump me from my precarious tied-for-number-50 spot to Never Never Land. I jumped 90,000 spots on Technorati, and yet still fell off the list! *sob* I’m so ashamed.

  19. Oh, and you limited the list to single-author blogs too, knocking DeepGenre, my other top 50-ranked blog, off the list too. That clinches it. You are dead to me, Scalzi. Dead.

  20. I guess he’d get shelved in “top personal blogs in sf/f *comics*” but is that enough reason to keep Warren Ellis off this list? The fact that his score of 783 would push you to 3rd place might be a good reason, but does his work count as SF? Neil Gaiman gets the top spot and his comics count more as SF/F than American Gods and Anansi Boys (in my mind).

    Thoughts?

  21. You seem to have missed Mely at Coffee and Ink, http://coffeeandink.livejournal.com, Technorati 26,976, a friend of many of the other LJ people you list and of mine. Are pseudonymous fans automatically banned? Otherwise, the majority of her blog is thoughtful and incisive book and manga reviews.

  22. I’m not sure the critia by which I judge things is coherent enough to be put in the critic box. Reviewer might be better. Of course, if you don’t have a reviewer box, critic makes me happier than fan (No slurs towards fans meant, although I’m sure if some fan wants to take offense, nothing I say will stop them).

  23. Adam Lipkin:

    “Peter David is showing up at 20,753 (but he’s hard to find via a straight Technorati search for some reason).”

    Yeah, I plugged him in last night and Technorati didn’t give me anything useful, so I moved on. There’s more than one person with whom I’ve had that problem.

    Jemaleddin:

    “I guess he’d get shelved in “top personal blogs in sf/f *comics*” but is that enough reason to keep Warren Ellis off this list?”

    Basically, yeah. Which is not an aspersion on WE’s work — he’s great — but I really see him far more in the comic camp. Gaiman straddles both worlds, and of course has won Hugos for Novel, Novella and (I think?) Novelette.

    Jonquil:

    I’ll keep Mely in mind for next go-round. My fannish knowledge is not as deep as it could be.

    I also suspect next go-round I’ll invite people to nominate themselves or others if their rank is over 50K. That’ll help in the selection process a bit.

  24. The problem with a number of blogs like Peter’s and others like him is that you have to plug in the correct URL for them. Peter has his listed as http://www.peterdavid.net which gets you nothing useful but if you go into the URL of the blog itself (peterdavid.malibulist.com) then it does show up. Pain in the tush I know but that’s how these sorts of programs work.

  25. Carp! I sincerely apologize for posting twice. I have no idea how that happened.

    Not Peter’s fault John. You have to take it up with his web guru Glenn Haumann who set the whole thing up for him.

  26. I second Jonquil on coffeeandink—it’s one of my favourite blogs. I get really pissy when she doesn’t post every day. And it has lots and lots of juicy genre content. Mely is awesome.

  27. Thirding the Coffeeandink recommendation. Mely rocks seriously, particularly if you’re interested in gender issues in SF/F.

  28. Right here right now, with all these Sci-Fi eyes fixed on this very blog: is it Stross as in “Straaws” or, “Stroohhs” instead?
    Just a plain old science fiction reader.

  29. fromtheheartofeurope – Husband, father of three, Irish, European, UK citizen, liberal, political analyst, science fiction fan, psephologist, lapsed medievalist, aspiring polyglot.
    Nicholas Whyte

    Hey, I’m happy to be on the list for any reason, be it Critic or Fan. But seriously, I’m perfectly content with the latter category; I don’t claim to write for anything other than my own enjoyment, and in particular I don’t feel I’m slotting into a wider framework, either theoretical or professional. (I’m not accusing James Nicoll of having a theoretical framework either, but he does read sf for a living, which I think is germane.)

  30. I’m not accusing James Nicoll of having a theoretical framework either, […]

    I will admit to having one or two consistent criteria, one of which is giving me fits at the moment: it is not practical for LEO space stations to get air by dropping a long hose into the upper atmosphere (1). I understand people’s frustration with the various public space programs but _of course_ it’s easier for private ventures to do better, if they aren’t constrained by the laws of physics.

    1: While we’re at it, if you want to get H2 from Jupiter, sticking a long straw into Jupiter with the idea that the internal pressure of Jupiter will force the H2 up into orbit isn’t going to work, either.

  31. Hey, cool, I’m #34! *grin* Thanks for the heads-up. I clicked the wrong link from Diane Duane’s LJ.

    For the record, my last name capitalizes the D, so it’s DeCandido. Minor piddly shite, that, but thought I’d mention it, as I’m feeling pedantic this morning. *notices the time* Er, afternoon.

  32. Keith R.A. DeCandido:

    “For the record, my last name capitalizes the D, so it’s DeCandido. Minor piddly shite, that, but thought I’d mention it, as I’m feeling pedantic this morning.”

    Heh. Asking someone to get your name right isn’t actually pedantic, in my opinion.

    Fixed.

  33. Heh. Asking someone to get your name right isn’t actually pedantic, in my opinion.

    Spoken like someone who’s had their name mangled six hundred times too often. *laughs* I feel your pain, man……

    (“It’s pronounced dee-can-DEE-doh, right?” “No, it’s de-CAN-di-do.” “Really?” “Yeah, after 37 years, I’m pretty sure, yeah….”)

  34. Was it the two links in my self-promoting comment that consigned it to the sin bin? I knew it might be unwise, but it made sense at the time …

    … I know I’m only a lowly reviewer, but you gotta start somewhere, right?

  35. I’d like to think it was my insightful posts about the SF genre which earned me a spot on this list. Sadly, I think it had more to do with happy toast, stalking Ben Elton and photos of plant genitalia.

  36. “For kicks and giggles I have added a new notation to the list, which notes whether the blog in question is written by someone who is (to the best of my knowledge) an SF/F writer (W), Editor (E), Critic/Commentator (C), Agent (A), Artist (Art) or Fan (F).”

    11. Amygdala — Gary Farber (17,450) F”

    I’ll always proudly wear the title of fan.

    But it may or may not be worth noting that (in a very off-the-cuff, absent-minded, forgetful, way) that I started editing as an “assistant editor” (slush reader) of Amazing and Fantastic under Lou Stathis, Ted White, and Sol Cohen, at Sol’s magazines, in late 1974, and for the next few years, and for Jim Frenkel, as a freelancer, in 1975 at Dell Books in 1975 and the next few years, Andy Porter as an assistant at SFC on and off for a few years, and then kept freelancing for Ginjer Buchanan and Susan Allison at Ace; after a few years in Seattle, I came back to the NYC area in 1986, where I worked for Susan/Ginjer, plus Jim Frenkel at BlueJay Books (where he tried to hire me as his personal assistant), Jim Baen and Toni Weiskopf at Baen (where I also did copywriting and working on press releases and whatnot), copywrote for folks at Penguin Books, freelanced for John Douglas at Avon Books, where he hired me as his assistant for the next coulple of years, where I also worked with Adrian Zackeim and David Hartwell and others, later freelanced for Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Tor, and Ginjer Buchanan at Ace, and so on and so forth, with many more names. Did a lot of work for Ellen Asher at the SF Book Club, and eventually Andy Wheeler, as well, as well as some bits for Moshe Feder at the Military Book Club. Plus other odd stuff, such as Office Manager of the Pacific Northwest Review of Books in the late Seventies with John D. Berry, Susan Wood, Loren MacGregor, and Jerry Kaufman, plus as I said, other oddball stuff.

    Thanks for the inclusion.

  37. Argh, typically, correction here: “But it may or may not be worth noting that (in a very off-the-cuff, absent-minded, forgetful, way) that I started editing as an “assistant editor” (slush reader) of Amazing and Fantastic under Lou Stathis, Ted White, and Sol Cohen, at Sol’s magazines, in late 1974, and for the next few years, and for Jim Frenkel, as a freelancer, in 1975 at Dell Books in 1975 and the next few years, Andy Porter as an assistant at SFC on and off for a few years, and then kept freelancing for Ginjer Buchanan and Susan Allison at Ace”

    I was a slush reader for Sol Cohen’s Ultimate publications, but when Frenkel picked me up, I was reading and evaluating and reporting on major manuscripts, from Vernor Vinge to only other published or to-be-published stuff; I never read slush after working for Lou/Sol Cohen, save glancing voluntarily a few times; for the record. I was only paid to evaluate pro manuscripts thereafter.

    And was still a fan! Always happy to be a fan!

  38. “Heh. Asking someone to get your name right isn’t actually pedantic, in my opinion.”

    Cool, because you got my name wrong ;-) It’s Simon Haynes (#29 at your service.)

  39. I may create a similar listing for ‘Top UK SF Authors who have yet to be Published Professionaly’. My ranking of around 700,000 may be enough to win it!

  40. Very cool list. Shame that I seem doomed to be a much less popular blogger than I am a novelist. My rank is around 2.6 million… It was less depressing comparing my Amazon rank with Steven King’s

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