In finally getting around to setting up a Facebook page for this site, it dawned on me that, in some shape or form, Hall of the Mountain King has been up and running for 15 years. Since not a lot of sites can boast 15 years, even one as small as this, I thought it was cause for a little celebration.
Back in 1997, I was a fresh-faced kid who had just discovered the Internet, and I had a big plan. I launched Hall of the Mountain King on the old members.aol.com server, and I envisioned it as eventually being a destination site for all things hard rock and heavy metal as well as all things speculative fiction.
The first incarnations of the site were truly special. Wild colors, things flashing, things moving, scrolling text at the top of the pages, midi music on every page. I'm actually pretty glad those days of the site have been lost to time. If you're curious, though, here's a tamer version of the site from 1998, courtesy of the Web Archive, after I had calmed things down a bit.
I'm also glad some of those early reviews have been lost to time. Some of them were pretty awful -- yes, even worse than some of the ones I write today.
The site has been through a lot of different phases since then, and I've tried to do a lot of different things with it. It's had its ups and downs in viewership, and a few really good years. Through a combination of my own lack of time to devote to it and the explosion of sites like it on the Internet, it's never, obviously, become the site that I envisioned. By the time it reached 15 years, it was supposed to be the go-to destination, and I was supposed to be making a living from it while I wrote my novels. To date, if you count Amazon gift certificates as profit, I think I've made about $2 a year on it. Tough to live on that.
Now, it's pretty much a labor of love for me. I have no delusions that it will ever be more than it is right now, but I still enjoy doing it, so it continues.
To celebrate 15 years, over the next several weeks I'll take a look back at each of those years, beginning with 1997. I'll talk a little about my favorite record of the year from those years, and I'll also give a list of 15 records from each year that I don't believe should be missed. If I can dig up some of those old reviews out of the Web Archive, I may even post a few of them ... or maybe not.