Tuesday, April 17, 2012

10 Awesomely Terrible Fantasy Author Websites

I used to read a lot of fantasy novels when I was a kid. In fact that's all I read for the first couple years in high school. If a book didn't have centaurs and a "door into a magical world," I wasn't interested. Every once in a while, I feel a tug of nostalgia for the authors I grew up loving so I'll seek them out on the internet to see what they've been up to. And almost always, I'm smacked in the eyeballs by multi-colored fonts and background images louder than Nicki Minaj's wigs. To join the illustrious ranks of the professional fantasy author, it seems one must sign a pact, punishable by death if breached, which dictate that his or her website be a time portal to the early 90's when Geocities and animated gifs ruled supreme.

On one hand, they are totally awesome in that the host just doesn't seem to give a shit. These sites have a personal touch that's much more enduring than some cold, slick, corporate, Flash-flashy website. On the otherhand, they're just eye-bleedingly awful. You decide!

Disclaimer: I respect all the authors which the sites below serve (and love most of them); this is not a comment on the authors themselves, just on the baffling design choices of their websites. All screencaps were taken on the date of this writing.



For someone so successful, this is the most bad-ass "fuck you, you'll take it and like it" website on the internet.



I'm haunted by the words, "Last Updated 4/2/12" 2012?!



What, no MIDI?





You have to go to the actual site for the awesome light show.



First 3 rules of fantasy author website design: empty space.







Remember, kids, you've failed if the visitor can read what you've written. Also...Angelfire??



I don't know what I'm supposed to do with this.

16 comments:

Steve, no "n" said...

I love this post!

I was just on Martin's site last week (just finished Book 5 of SOFAI and wanted to know how many years until book 6) and was flabbergasted (that's right, flabbergasted!).

Second rule of Fantasy Author Web Design: Frontpage, baby. Frontpage.

Tyr said...

I'm going to assume these sites look like they're straight of the 90's because the authors are doing it themselves with only copy of HTML 3.2 for dummies to guide them. And I think that that's pretty awesome, takes me back a kinder, simpler time on the internet.

Derek Kirk Kim said...

@Steve: "Frontpage" should just be shorthand for "fantasy author website" from now on.

@Tyr: I know what you mean. It's like visiting the Amish.

Anonymous said...

www[dot]clivebarker[dot]com[slash]html[slash]

entire directory structure exposed, people still do that?

Anonymous said...

I still remember those days, the days of hand-coded html, web-rings, and when you could have an open guestbook, and get nice comments with not a single spam or troll. ^^

Every website back in those days also seemed to have a graphic from http://web.archive.org/web/20011205064019/http://soback.kornet.nm.kr/~pixeline/heeyun/

Brent said...

Holy Crap this is awesome. This just goes to show, fantasy nerds and computer nerds don't mix. The complete lack of social media links tells me that these dudes are against anyone actually visiting the site.

Maia Dobson said...

I love reading legal thriller books and once I'm done with one book, I check the author's website. Some of them don't have quality Los Angeles web design indeed. But I don't really mind, because what's important is that I enjoyed their book.

eva lyford said...

Nice tour of the author sites. What's really neat (especially in the case of Martin) is how well done some of the fan-run sites are in comparison to the author's site. For example, check out http://towerofthehand.com/ for work by the fans of Martin.But then some authors like Steven Brust's site at http://dreamcafe.com/ are basically no better than their best fan sites. I wonder how many of the SF/fantasy author's fan sites are providing better content online than the authors do?

Geoff Granfield said...

Those authors seriously need to bank on online marketing services to promote themselves in a more professional light. Their websites look like those 1995 websites. Kinda spooky!

andieclark said...

In my opinion, those authors' websites need a serious overhaul. They could probably sell more if they also include Long Island search engine optimization techniques to promote their websites.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little late getting to the party but I can say I know the story of the Clive Barker site. It was a fan run site AND the official Clive Barker site. The fans moved on and are waiting for Barker to pay them for the domain name. Barker's real site now is http://clivebarker.info/
I don't know if the design is any better, but there's certainly more recent stuff there.

Arthur Smith said...

If these guys only signed up the help of new york custom web design experts, their sites wouldn't look so bad.

Anonymous said...

You missed the legendary mrmathias.com

Derek Kirk Kim said...

Wow. That's truly legendary and definitely should have been on this list.

Dheeraj said...

Agree that all of these website are so terrible and i think they must need professional website development company now to get their website redesigned

Sheryl M. Johns said...

The website owners of these websites should hire a web developer soon if they want to attract more visitors. Looking at the pictures, I don’t think I will ever visit one of these websites because of the terrible design.