The Revolution Eats Its Own

Norman Mailer has been posthumously cancelled:

Norman Mailer’s long-time publisher has recently informed the Mailer family that it has canceled plans to publish a collection of his political writings to mark the centennial of his birth in 2023, confirms the film producer Michael Mailer, the author’s oldest son. The back-door apologies at Random House include as the proximate cause — you hardly have to look hard in Mailer’s work to find offenses against contemporary doctrine and respectability — a junior staffer’s objection to the title of Mailer’s 1957 essay, “The White Negro”, a psycho-sexual-druggie precursor and model for much of the psycho-sexual-druggie literature that became popular in the 1960s.

Mailer’s work will not be any great loss; he is part of the Boomer-era literary decline that saw the elevation of mediocre writers like Bellow, Kerouac, Roth, and Mailer himself at the expense of people who could a) actually write and b) had something to say about the human condition that didn’t revolve around narcissism and sex with mediocre women. But his cancellation is not without significance, as it demonstrates that evil will always cast even its most celebrated servants aside as soon as they cease to be useful.

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Junior Classics Vols. 4, 5, and 6

The Castalia Junior Classics Vols. 4 – 6

We’re pleased to announce that The Castalia Junior Classics 2020 edition, Vols. 4, 5, and 6, are now available in the USA from Castalia Direct. The Backer Editions will begin shipping in the first two weeks of January. In the UK, they will be available soon from Amazon and Waterstones, and in the USA they are already available from Barnes and Noble. The epubs will be sent out to backers toward the end of January and made available on Amazon sometime after that.

If you are a backer who a) has not received Vols. 1-3 or b) you have changed your address since receiving Vols. 1-3, please email CastaliaJuniorClassics-AT-outlook-DOT-com. Please send an email even if you have changed your address on the arkhavencomics site or previously sent an email to Castalia Library. Please include your full address, as well as your backer ID (if you have it) and whether you are on the royal octavo or demi list.

Also, since we are beginning the process of binding the leather editions of Vols 1-6 and will be shipping them (or at least the first five volumes) to the leather backers this spring, it is necessary for those who wish to purchase a goatskin set to do so now. The cost for the 10-volume set is $5,000 and the backer can select the color. If you wish to purchase a set, please send me an email specifying the Pantone color.

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Traffic Report 2021

2021 was, in some ways, the one-step back year that hopefully presages a two-steps forward year. The big news, with regards to the blog, was that Google blocked access to it in August, which necessitated the activation of the long-ready backup plan that permitted a seamless transition from voxday.blogspot.com to voxday.net. However, combined with the elimination of blog comments in favor of SocialGalactic, this had the effect of significantly reducing the overall number of daily pageviews by about three-quarters, as the monthly traffic went from 4,279,064 pageviews in July to 1,060,917 in September.

This is not a problem. Truly. Nietzsche wasn’t right about very much, but he was correct in observing how that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Strategically speaking, it’s much better to be on our own platform, as future integrations that are now possible will eventually demonstrate.

In 2021, Vox Popoli had 38,884,355 Google pageviews, down 5.9 percent from last year. The blog is now running at an average rate of 36,091 daily pageviews, down 68.1 percent from an average 113,255 last year. Total historic blog views closed out the year at 252,554,766, The running annual pageview totals are as follows:

2008: 3,496,757

2009: 4,414,801

2010: 4,827,183

2011: 5,422,628

2012: 6,098,774

2013: 9,340,663

2014: 11,236,085

2015: 16,211,875

2016: 25,817,343

2017: 31,216,357

2018: 32,260,094

2019: 32,757,068

2020: 41,338,037

2021: 38,884,355

Sadly, John Scalzi did not post his actual pageviews again this year, although he did describe his annual traffic in sufficient detail to permit a reasonable comparison to The Most Popular Blog in Science Fiction. “I’d also like to bump up visits; 2021 visits were down slightly from 2020, although about equal to 2019.” Apparently he also bought an old church in his town, which is actually pretty cool.

The primary accomplishment in 2021 was the successful launch of Arktoons, which now features over 60 series, 1200 episodes, recently hit four million views, and is currently averaging nearly as many daily views as this blog. Unauthorized had a solid 2021 and closed out the year very well, with record subscriptions and revenue in December. Castalia Library struggled thanks to Covid-related issues at the bindery, but with the new bindery coming online and the US bindery getting its act together, there is reason to anticipate an exceptional 2022.

On the writing front, I did not finish A Sea of Skulls in 2021 nor did Castalia House get the entire 10-volume Junior Classics 2020 edition published, but we did get volumes 1-6 finished by the end of the year. However, both publishing objectives WILL be accomplished in 2022, and most likely before July. And we did get the entirety of the There Will Be War series published as planned.

Thanks to all of you for your staunch and steadfast support. We have some very exciting new projects to announce in 2022, beginning as soon as next week, so please to enjoy the ride that never ends.

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The Mark of the Midwit

Show me the library and I will show you the calibre of the man. The scanty selection of books from the library of the man below indicates a genuine mediocrity, albeit one with pretensions of grandeur and aspirations toward a higher class. It was not at all a surprise to see this and learn that it was a picture of Jeffrey Epstein’s house. But in fairness, many of the books look as if they may have been at least partially read.

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Black Friday Books

In honor of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, indie and small press authors have banded together to offer a sample of their best work and related stories at discount prices. Everyone of the more than one hundred fifty novels in the sale is either $0.99 or free. The sale is live at the blog of one of the participating authors and runs through Tuesday, November 30.

Relying on themselves and a handful of friendly blogs and media outlets, the authors are achieving a reach previously possible only to trad-pub insiders. A week-long sale with a hundred titles in September aligned with the debut of the BasedCon science fiction convention. That sale moved 7000 copies, equally divided between free and paid $0.99 copies, according to sale organizer, Hans G. Schantz, a scientist, inventor, and author of the Hidden Truth trilogy. Top sellers moved over a hundred copies each and shot up the Amazon sales charts generating even more sales.

“This week’s sale is half-again larger, with about seventy favorite books from previous sales, fifty new additions, and another thirty offerings from Terror House Press,” Schantz explained.


The Monks of the Next Dark Age

John Derbyshire laments the death of the book:

Some years ago New Yorker magazine ran a cover picture of a guy sitting in an armchair working a laptop, with behind him a whole wall full of books. Every one of the books had, on its spine, a little face drawn. The faces were sad, angry, or plaintive.

That came to mind this month when I heard that Book Revue, my village’s independent bookstore, was closing. In their last week, the week of September 6th, they marked down all of their huge inventory. I went in to pick up some bargains, but for some reason felt no urge to buy and left empty-handed.

The following Tuesday, when I passed by, they had already cleared out the whole place. The empty shelves were a melancholy sight.

When we settled here thirty years ago the village had Book Revue and two second-hand bookstores, with a couple of the big chain retailers in nearby shopping centers. Now the nearest place to buy a book, or just browse, is in the mega-mall fifteen miles away. At any rate, there was a Barnes & Noble there when I last went, a couple of years ago …

“Oh, people just buy their books online—lots of books!” That’s what you hear if you raise the topic. I call it whistling through the graveyard, and think of that New Yorker cover. Books are dying a slow death, going the way that cuneiform on clay tablets went when papyrus came up.

It’s geezerish to grumble about it, and anyway futile. History stumbles on, and the old gives way to the new. For someone of my generation, though, for whom books have been a solace and a delight from childhood onward, it is sad, sad.

I feel exactly the opposite way. When I recall my childhood library filled with ephemeral paperbacks, and contrast that with the glorious image of my office library filled with beautiful leatherbound books by Franklin Library, Easton, and, of course, Castalia Library, I feel encouraged and restored.

Anyhow, you’ll definitely want to subscribe just so you can get the Landmark Thucydides at what will almost certainly be a break-even price from us. It’s going to be an incredible edition, unquestionably the best ever published of the 2,000-year-old book, but due to the unusually large width required for the maps and footnotes, it is going to be even more expensive to produce than the Plutarchs were. But nevertheless, it will be a subscription book because we want our subscribers to know that we appreciate them and want them to have the best books we produce.

In any event, the book will not die any century soon. It is considerably more likely that the lights will go out and the ebook will disappear, quite possibly before the end of the 21st century. We are the monks of the next literary Dark Age.

So don’t be sad, sub-scribe.

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BasedCon Sale

BasedCon survived a deplatforming attempt in July Currently underway in beautiful Norton Shores, Michigan, BasedCon has sold out and turned a profit in its debut outing. Celebrate this gathering for based authors and fans of science fiction and fantasy by topping off your library at a huge sale of based science fiction and fantasy books.

Every one of well over a hundred books in the sale is $0.99 or free right now. The offerings include works by John C. Wright, Fenton Wood, Jon del Arroz, Tom Kratman, Mark Wandrey, Larry Correia, Mike Massa, David Weber, C.J. Carella, Brian Niemeier, Alexander Hellene, Jon Mollison, Hans G. Schantz, and many, many more. This is a killer deal, and you’re supporting authors who don’t hate you.

Go check out the sale now!


Bindtaria Begins

Total: 140.5 percent of goal

The Iliad Library edition: 483/500

The Iliad Libraria edition: 49

The Odyssey: 471/500

The Odyssey Libraria edition: 50

Heidi German edition: 62

Homer Ebook sets: 88

Thanks very much to everyone who took part. We will be signing the lease for the building and starting to acquire the machines very soon, and we expect to officially begin initial setup and training operations in January. Our objective – and I cannot stress this enough, it is an objective – is to produce our first sample products in March. Rest assured that we’ll be taking lots of pictures of the process and posting them along the way.

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Bindery Campaign Final Update

Days Left: LAST DAY

Status: 127.7 percent of goal

The Iliad: 438/500

The Odyssey: 425/500 

This is the last day of the Castalia Bindery Campaign. Please note that we will not be producing more of these limited collector’s editions once the Special Bindery Editions are completed, so if you’re on the fence about whether to dive in or not, this is your last opportunity. They will be removed from the site at approximately 9 AM Eastern tomorrow morning.

Thanks very much to everyone who helped make this a successful campaign from Day One.