Happy 2nd Birthday to the Archaeologist’s Guide to the Galaxy!

Today I celebrate the Second Anniversary of this blog, or at least, as close to the second anniversary as I could manage and post on a Thursday.  The ever increasing popularity of it continues to astound me, particularly the drastic increase in readership over the past year.  So this year I’m going to do a brief analysis (very brief) as to what has created the J-curve in readers, and do a b it of a stroll down memory lane in the process.

Now, before I begin in earnest, I must tell you, that I have been sick as a dog this week.  Still am really, so I apologize for the slap-happy poor nature of this post.  That having been said…

As per last year, I am going to note the top ten most popular posts of the previous 365 days before the actual birthday (3rd of June, technically) and the my top ten posts of all time (up to June 3rd 2012 that is).[1]  After this, I will look at what made the difference and hypothesize as to what has created the phenomenon that makes anybody come to the site in the first place. 

Of course, anyone who wants to comment about what they like about the site and why they come here… well that would be a real benefit to me.

So, let’s start: 

The Top Ten Posts of my Second Year (June 2011 to June 2012):

 

Title

Cover

#1 Double Blind: Battletech No. 31, Loren L. Coleman (Roc, 1997 {Defiance Audio(Listen & Live), 2002 Narrator: Christopher Grabill)  
#2 100th Post: A Total review of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe including the book, audiobook, radio programs, TV programs and movies associated with them!!! by Douglas Adams  
#3 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, John LeCarré (Alfred A. Knopf, 1974)  
#4 Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco (Ballantine Books, 1990 (First published Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri Bompiani, 1988) {Translated from Italian by William Weaver}  
#5 The Fall of Hyperion, Dan Simmons (Doubleday, 1990)  
#6 Off Armageddon Reef: Safehold Series Book 1, David Weber (Tor, 2007 {McMillan Audio, Narrator: Oliver Wyman})  
#7 Wired, Robin Wasserman (Simon Pulse, 2010) (a.k.a. Torn)  
#8 Island in the Sea of Time: Book 1, S.M. Stirling (Roc, 1998){Tantor Media, 2008; Narrator: Todd McLaren)  
#9 Quicksilver: Baroque Cycle Book 1, Neal Stephenson (HarpurCollins Publisher 2003: {Brilliance Audio, 2010; Narrator: Simon Prebble}  
#10 The Problem with Military Science Fiction: Part 1  
     
     
     

Now, the first thing that will be noticed by anyone who follows this site, or even occasionally pops in, or even just reads the kind of books I review, is the totally bazaar nature of the number one hit of this year: Double Blind: Battletech No. 31 by Loren L. Coleman.  This becomes even more bazaar when one compares the list to the All Time Highs. Sooo….

The Top Ten Posts of All Time… from first post in June 2011 to June 3rd 2012

 

Title

Cover

#1 Double Blind: Battletech No. 31, Loren L. Coleman (Roc, 1997 {Defiance Audio(Listen & Live), 2002 Narrator: Christopher Grabill)   
#2 100th Post: A Total review of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe including the book, audiobook, radio programs, TV programs and movies associated with them!!! by Douglas Adams  
#3 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, John LeCarré (Alfred A. Knopf, 1974)  
#4 Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco (Ballantine Books, 1990 (First published Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri Bompiani, 1988) {Translated from Italian by William Weaver}  
#5 The Fall of Hyperion, Dan Simmons (Doubleday, 1990)  
#6 Off Armageddon Reef: Safehold Series Book 1, David Weber (Tor, 2007 {McMillan Audio, Narrator: Oliver Wyman})  
#7 Wired, Robin Wasserman (Simon Pulse, 2010) (a.k.a. Torn)  
#8 Quicksilver: Baroque Cycle Book 1, Neal Stephenson (HarpurCollins Publisher 2003: {Brilliance Audio, 2010; Narrator: Simon Prebble}  
#9  TOTALLY GEEKY TECH TALK: Star Trek — The Working of The Heisenberg Compensator: or just how big a geek am I?  
      
#10 Airborn: Matt Cruse Series Book 1, Kenneth Oppel (David Kelly, Narrator)(HarperCollins, 2005/Audible Audio Edition, 2007).  

 

So… huh?

Yes, you read it right… Double Blind: Battletech No. 31 by Loren L. Coleman is the single most read post this site has ever had.  What is more, it claims that distinction by a 2:1 ratio![2]  So… why does a totally obscure book that is the 31st volume in a game-tie series gets the distinction of being the absolute top ranked hit on my site?  Well… for one thing Battletech is a very popular game system, and that plays a role in the results, but there is more to it than that.  It is, in part due to a trick of algorithms and statistics.  What is more, it is directly tied into the drastic increase in readership I received and why I suddenly find myself swamped with books to review, and alas, here lies the story.

There are three book reviews that can be directly tied into the sudden increase in readership I received at the end of last year.  The first has to do with a bit of luck,[3]  the second with diplomacy, and the third with that ever allusive number: the Google Rating.

So, toward the end of October, I decided to post a review of one of my favorite books of all time: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarré. I did it because I loved the book, thought it was the best spy story ever written and wanted to.  What I failed to realize at the time was that Studio Canal, Karla Films, Paradis Films, Kinowelt Filmproduktion, Working Title Films, Canal+ and CinéCinéma were about to release a brand new Movie version of the work starring Gary Oldman as my beloved George Smiley (he did a very good job, by the way). Indeed, the release date was shortly after my post.  As a result, people became very interested in this title and began searching for it.  Some, indeed, many of those searches ended up on my site and so I had a spike in hits. That spike increased my overall Google count and resulted in all of my posts rising up the Google Ladder. 

The second review that was related to my sudden pop in numbers was of Island in the Sea of Time: Book 1 by S.M. Stirling.  This one, I can honestly say, was important not just due to a fluke of numbers, but because of my own approach to blogging and, most importantly, that Mr. Stirling himself commented on the site.  Indeed, what resulted was a very long, and at times heated, discussion of my review.  I won’t go into the details, but I will note that effectively, this got me noticed by other reviewers and many publishers, most notably Penguin Audio, who started sending me review copies of their audio books (including the bulk of John LeCarré’s works, and most especially including the entire Karla series).  This has resulted in my receiving early release copies of books and that in turn has resulted in my getting a greater number of hits because people are often more interested in new releases.

Finally, the other key review I performed was, as previously stated, Double Blind: Battletech No. 31 by Loren L. Coleman.  So, why this one?  Why are so many people searching out this totally harsh review of this totally obscure book?  Well of course, they are not. 

What they are searching for is Battletech: a very popular, well designed game based upon the ultimately cool concept of giant-robot tanks fighting each other on battlefields of the far future. Now, if you go to Google and search Battletech, you will not find me… unless you go to the images file…. And then I am the number one result, and have been for quite a long time.

Why?  Is it the cover of this obscure book?  No… that’s actually a bit of subpar artwork, considering the normal art produced by the game.  Instead, it is a one off piccie I included with a funny little quip that I thought would be amusing.  This picture, in fact.  (QUOTE:

Really, if you’re going to write a book about stuff that’s cool enough that someone builds one instead of improving their house, don’t you think you should describe it in the book?

That’s it.  A total fluke done as a joke, that fans of the very cool game appreciated.  That in turn raised my Google count, which increased the number of other people coming to the site, most importantly those actually looking for book reviews, and so a domino effect began. 

To that end, the Statistician in me decided to also include an adjusted version of this count that removes the outlier result of Double Blind.  Though in one sense, Double Blind is a totally legitimate count to include, and crucial to understanding the results, it is also not really part of what the site is set up to review.  So, to that end, if we remove this outlier, all the others move up one count and the adjusted number ten spots for the Second Year and All Time are, respectively:

Alternate #10 for 2nd 365 days of site, Adjusted for Statisical Outlier  TOTALLY GEEKY TECH TALK: Star Trek — The Working of The Heisenberg Compensator: or just how big a geek am I?  
Alternate #10 of All TimeAdjusted for Statistical Outlier Island in the Sea of Time: Book 1, S.M. Stirling (Roc, 1998){Tantor Media, 2008; Narrator: Todd McLaren)  

Neither of which is a big surprise. After all, Star Trek is, well Star Trek, and the discussion of the Heisenberg Compensator is interesting, particularly the comments from Scott, who pointed out the errors of my interpretation (though I still think Jordie could well have been speaking in short hand). More importantly he presented a better interpretation of how it really could work.

As for Island in the Sea of Time, as I said, the comments there caused quite a bit of stir, and everybody likes a good argument. 

Lastly, I should note that my number two (actual)/number 3 (adjusted) result for both All Time and 2nd Year, 100th Post: A Total review of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe including the book, audiobook, radio programs, TV programs and movies associated with them!!! by Douglas Adams, also has an extremely high hit rating that has continued to raise my Google count, and marks an entry that people are reading because they are actually interested in the topic I posted on.  Of course, it came long after the jump in the J-curve, but has continued to add to my numbers and will likely do so for some time.  After all, the Hitchhikers Guide is the Hitchhikers Guide, and will continue to have fans for some time.[4] 

And so, after a very very long post that is really not about much other than myself, I will return next week to reviewing.  This time, Smiley People, the final installment in the Karla trilogy by John LeCarré, then on to more science fiction (though which one depends on what story I finish first…). 

Please add comments as to what you like (or dislike) about this blog and how you would like to see it grow in the coming years.

Thank you for reading, following and liking this review.


[1] Now, I will note that in this I removed the hits on the general webpages of this site.  Thus, the Home Page, About, How the Grading Works, etc. are not counted as that they don’t add to the question of what is being looked at.  I will note, as an aside, that the How the Grading Works and About have gotten a very high rate of hits, as obviously the Home Page has since it is where individuals looking for this site land.  Instead, I have only included the numbers on individual posts. 

[2] Well, technically a not quite 2:1 ratio for all time, and an almost 3:1 ratio for the second year of publication. 

[3] Well, they all do, but this is blind luck…

[4] Me… forever… and though he doesn’t know it yet, my son too.  Did I ever mention he carries a little towel around with him everywhere?  No really.  He does.  I didn’t even have anything to do with it.  OK some people might call it a blanket, but I call it a towel.

About Thomas Evans

I'm a writer of mysteries, espionage, and speculative fiction. In my previous incarnation I was an archaeologist specializing in gender and identity in Iron and Bronze Age Europe. Mostly, however, I was known for my works with the use of geomatics, multiscalular spatial analysis and landscape theory within archaeology.
This entry was posted in Comedy, Espionage, Fantasy, Identity, Mystery, Opinion Piece, Post Modern, Ripping Yarn, Romance, Science Fiction, Series, Uncategorized, Unique or Imaginative World and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Happy 2nd Birthday to the Archaeologist’s Guide to the Galaxy!

  1. Geoff W says:

    Happy Blogoversery! And hope you’re feel better soon.

  2. James Downey says:

    Most definitely a Happy Blogoversary – keep up the good work!

    • Thomas Evans says:

      You know, I really should note as an aside for this article, that you’re book, Communion of Dreams, deserves a mention as that it had one of the highest hits in anyone day.

      • James Downey says:

        Thanks for that bit of news, and the thought. I’m just flattered to have had my book reviewed, and feel that it’s quite an honor for a little self-published project. Cheers!

  3. Charlee says:

    Congrats on the anniversary and on the increased readership. I love your blog because you’re smart, informative, and often quite funny in just the right way.

    • Thomas Evans says:

      I cannot say how much your comment means to me! I’ve long admired and enjoyed your blog, which not only made me aware of a subgenre I was ignoring, but keeps me on top of such a wide range of topics in addition. Thank you so much!

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