Many Words 2016 In Review

Well, it’s January, 2017, and 2016 has proven to be a banner year for us here at Many Words Press. Let’s take a look back.

Moved to
The old domain,, was clunkier, and the fancy new .press top-level domain describes our purpose here much more accurately.

Brought in some new writing talent
In March, parvusimperator began contributing to the Soapbox on a regular basis. By June, he had taken over day-to-day operations there. Now, barring special, breaking news, I submit posts for the Soapbox and he approves and schedules them, rather than the other way around. Under his direction, the Soapbox has grown immensely, to the point that it is now the most popular Many Words Press property by a significant margin, averaging about a thousand unique visitors per month. (To my sometimes chagrin, the fiction part of the site doesn’t do nearly as well.) 2016 was a huge growth year, and looking at the trend in the stats, 2017 seems likely to be even better.

Here at Many Words Main, I brought Nasa on board to do Old English translations. The Cura Pastoralis preface has been popular so far, and has brought a measure of organic search traffic which the fiction on its own has not. Although Cædmon’s Hymn has not brought in the same numbers, it’s still relatively popular as standalone posts go. I look forward to seeing more Old English in 2017.

Published a story
This is your reminder to hit the Books link, either at the top of the page or in the sidebar to the right. We Sail Off To War released last June, and although it’s hardly been a best-seller, it’s been great actually making some revenue on writing for once.

Finished three stories
The Long Retreat, which wrapped up at the end of summer, is the one you saw, but I also finished two short stories for magazine submissions: Spaghetti Code, which has been rejected from such titans of the industry as F&SF, Clarkesworld, and Shimmer, and is currently pending rejection from Asimov’s; and The Sword and the Spear, which is currently cooling off for a few weeks since it failed to get into the anthology I wrote it for. Whether or not they end up in a magazine, they’ll eventually end up in a Many Words anthology e-book.

In one of my larger achievements of the year, I started and nearly finished a hnefatafl engine. Hnefatafl is an Old Norse board game, but rather than spill ink here, I’ll direct you to the ink I’ve already spilled.

Engines—that is, programs which implement the rules of a board game, along with support for other ancillary features like puzzles, replays, and timing—are common for more popular board games like chess and go, but I’m proud to say that OpenTafl is the first more or less complete solution for the tafl family of games.

In keeping with the theme of firsts, tomorrow, OpenTafl and J.A.R.L, another tafl AI, will play for the title of 2016 OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open champion. To my knowledge, this is the first organized competition between computer tafl players. I had hoped to have more entrants, but it was not to be. Hopefully, 2017 will prove a little more fruitful.

Random Carrier Battles
In other coding project news, I’ve announced Random Carrier Battles, a World War 2 wargame with a robust design system. The end goal is to allow nearly-entirely-random carrier battles, automatically generated, with random enemy fleets facing off against player fleets. Stay tuned for more.

That’s about that. It was a productive 2016, and 2017 is looking to be just the same.

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