This is it! The first anniversary of Garwulf’s Corner. When I started the column a year ago, I had no idea how long it would last, or how well it would be received. Now, however, I have a cadre of loyal readers, and twelve months of wonderful memories.
So, I was thinking that to celebrate this event, I would go back and share some random thoughts about the past year of Garwulf’s Corner. So, here we go…
Most celebrated installment: easily Garwulf #6, Walking with the Dead. This issue still brings in fan mail, even though it was published the better part of a year ago. I’ve had a number of people write in to say that it’s changed their lives, and one reader even wrote that it had gotten him out of a suicidal depression. Wow. I don’t think I’ve written anything that good in a while…
My least favorite installment: the special edition right after the World Trade Center attack. I was literally physically ill while writing it, I was so horrified by the events unfolding in front of me. Ironically, looking back at it, I think it might have been one of my best pieces since Walking with the Dead.
My second least favorite installment: Changing the Guard. I wrote that shortly after learning at Ad Astra that L. Sprague de Camp had died. As it turns out, as I write this, Poul Anderson, mentioned as being very ill, has also passed away, following Douglas Adams, who died a few months ago. What can I say? I hate writing obituaries, especially for people in my own writing community who I wished that I could have met.
The author that everybody keeps recommending to me: Roger Zelazny. Every time I mention fantasy literature, and I give a list of some of my favorite authors, at least three people write in to remind me of Zelazny and his Amber Chronicles. Folks, I have read them now, you can stop recommending them to me.
The author that nobody has recommended to me: Stephen King. Considering that Diablo happens to be a dark fantasy/horror game, I’m rather surprised that nobody has written in to remind me of King. Although I haven’t read it (and it is on my to-do list), surely his Dark Tower series is worthy of some note…
The time I well and truly put my foot into my mouth: Hackers at the Gate. It is so far the only time I have been hit over the head by the lag between the columns being written and the columns being published. I just want to remind everybody that when I compared hackers attacks on Blizzard to Palestinian bombers, Israel HADN’T descended into civil war yet. I’m still taking flak for that gaff, and boy, do I ever regret using that metaphor.
My favorite column-related moment in real-life: having one of the con staff come up to me during Ad Astra 2001 and say, “You are NOT Harlan Ellison.” It really is nice to be recognized.
My favorite fan letter: a letter from Nick Daimon, who works in the Department of Defense Sentience Research Division. It is easily the most interesting letter I have ever read, and it demonstrated to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the people who are working to create true AI are being conscientious about it.
The most touching fan letter I ever received: shortly after Garwulf number six came out, I got a letter from a terminally ill teenager, who wrote that my column had made him remember why he was still trying to live life to its fullest. The letter brought tears to my eyes.
The most ridiculous letter I ever received: back in August, I got a hate letter accusing me of being a racist (this was revolving around my unfortunate statement about Palestinian bombers). The author of this letter railed against my statement, wrote about how all my readers were pathetic, added something about the entire fantasy-writing community being disconnected from reality, and then finished by calling me bigoted and close-minded.
(This beats out an earlier letter that heaped incoherent abuse upon incoherent abuse, and then asked me to write back and say that everything was okay between the author and myself.)
The feature I most regret outliving: The Sanctuary Times. For those who are new to Diabloii.net, a fellow named Mithrandir ran a humor newspaper titled The Sanctuary Times. I can’t count how often it had me laughing my head off. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a new installment in months (and yes, this is meant as a somewhat less-than-subtle hint to Mithrandir).
Finally, the thing I just don’t believe I got away with: propositioning the entire city of Toronto. Back when I was living there, I wrote Walking with the Dead, and just to make a point, I issued a challenge (something to the effect of “It’s time to play the game of life”). I then wrote that I would go out on a date with any single woman in Toronto who emailed me, and turned back to the reader and said, “Your turn to do something you’ve never done before.” EVERYBODY got the point, and I didn’t get a single hate letter (or date, for that matter). It was the one time that I deliberately tried to cause some outrage, and failed miserably.
Well, that is one year down. May there be many more. Hopefully, I’ll see a whole bunch of you at WorldFantasyCon. If I don’t, though, you’re all in my hearts.
Next installment: Baal’s Friend, and Other Stories, in which your valiant author shares some of the role playing stories he’s heard.
Garwulf’s Corner was written from 2000-2002, by Robert Marks and published on Diabloii.net. Garwulf’s Corner covered gaming culture, fantasy literature, computers, and more. Robert Marks was also the author of Demonsbane, a work in the Diablo series of novels published by Blizzard Entertainment.