John R. Fultz is no stranger to Black Gate having published in the hardcopy magazine and hosting his Skulls graphic story plus two of his short stories on our website. We recently highlighted a 2017 interview with the author on his approach to creating weird worlds that are both beautiful and dark (reposted on Black Gate Dec. 2023). I was honored to provide the Foreword and Interview for the re-release, and share those here to reveal what you should expect, and why you should read, The Revelations of Zang!
John R. Fultz has a burgeoning library. His published novels include Seven Princes (2012), Seven Kings (2013), and Seven Sorcerers (2013), as well as The Testament of Tall Eagle (2015) and Son of Tall Eagle (2017). His short stories have appeared in Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Weird Tales, Black Gate, Weirdbook, That Is Not Dead, Shattered Shields, Lightspeed, Way of the Wizard, Cthulhu’s Reign, and plenty of other strange places. His story collections include World Beyond Worlds (2021), Darker Than Weird (2023), and The Revelations of Zang (re-released now, 2023)! Now, we will reveal to you the secret arcana of that last volume…
The Chronicles of Hanuvar: Lord of a Shattered Land and The City of Marble and Blood by Howard Andrew Jones (Baen, August 1, 2023 and October 3, 2023). Covers by Dave Seeley
Friends, Carthaginians, Dog-Brothers, I come to praise Howard Andrew Jones, not to bury him…
That was a lot of mixed-metaphors, but Howard’s mixed a lot of themes, tropes and reached back into the very roots of early heroic fantasy in his Chronicles of Hanuvar to breathe new life into what was considered a dead sub-genre, so perhaps appropriating Marcus Antonius’s funeral oration for Caesar and mentioning the Republic’s greatest rivals is appropriate.
Howard Andrew Jones is the leading Sword & Sorcery author of the 21st Century, and the growing saga of Hannuvar of Volanus (promised to be a five-volume series by Baen books) is his masterwork. The saga is the story of Hanuvar, the aging, last general of Volanus. Once a great city-state and naval power, Volanus has fallen to the legions and sorcery or the aggressive Dervan Empire.
Determined to make Volanus an object lesson to other nations, Derva leveled the city, scattered its stones, and carried its remaining survivors away in chains. But Derva has not reckoned with Hanuvar.
JRF has deep roots in the weird fiction community and especially Black Gate, and you can learn about those in this post. We recently reviewed his collections Darker than Weird and Worlds Beyond Worlds which were published after I interviewed the author in 2017 for my Weird Beauty interviews series (right before Black Gate began hosting them; see the listing of those interviews below).
This reposts that interview and teases an updated one specific to Fultz’s Zang Cycle (to be posted in the coming weeks as The Rogues in the House Podcast, publishers of the Sword & Sorcery anthologies A Book of Blades Vol I and Vol II relaunches The Revelations of Zang collection). I was honored to write the foreword for the re-release. When preparing that I interviewed John R. Fultz a second time, but focusing on the Zang Cycle. Sharing the announcements for the re-release begs to have the 2017 version detailing his creative process and the history of SKULLS available here. Enjoy this prelude and keep an eye out for the announcement.
October 2022, Michael Harrington hosted an interview with Oliver Brackenbury on Black Gate; Brackenbury is the editor and champion of New Edge Sword & Sorcery Magazine. That post coincided with the release of the teaser Issue #0 including short fiction & non-fiction (free in digital format, or priced at cost on Amazon Print-on-Demand, through the New Edge Website). In Feb. 2023 Black Gate announced the magazine’s Kickstarter which succeeded and spurred the creation of the illustrated Issues 1 & 2 that are being released now (Nov 2023). This post shares the official press release of these issues and adds the Table of Contents for both. New Edge is setting a strong foundation with these, with illustrations and heavy-hitting authors.
Old Moon Quarterly is a magazine of dark fantasy and weird sword-and-sorcery. In the tradition of Clark Ashton Smith, Tanith Lee and Karl Edward Wagner, it contains stories of strange vistas, eldritch beings, and the bloody dispute thereof by both swordsmen and swordswomen. Old Moon Quarterly emerged in 2022 led by Editor-in-Chief Julian Barona, flanked by Assistant Editors Caitlyn Emily Wilcox and Graham Thomas Wilcox. This May 2023, Black Gatereviewed Issue #3 (with an overview of #1 and #2). True to what the editors promise, the magazine consistently delivers strong doses of weird Sword & Sorcery.
This post reviews Old Moon Quarterly Issue V; shared below is the table of contents with summaries of each story and excerpts (these were selected to avoid spoilers while conveying the feel of each). As with previous issues, expect stories that push the boundaries of uniqueness, blending poetic writing with horror and adventure. If you read tropes they’ll lean toward the twisted or bizarre.
But first a quick call out to the ongoing Kickstarter for Issues VII & VIII; This campaign runs now through Nov 31st, 2023 and, if successful, would fund two more issues paying contributors professional rates!
Conan: Black Starlight (Titan Books, October 17, 2023)
The name John C. Hocking is well known to long-time Black Gate readers. He published several terrific stories in the print version of the magazine, including two tales in his Brand the Viking series, and the opening stories in his popular Archivistseries, “A River Through Darkness and Light” and “Vestments of Pestilence,” which was continued in Skelos and Weirdbook. He’s also launched a brand new series, the King’s Blade tales, in Tales From the Magician’s Skull, edited by Howard Andrew Jones.
I was delighted to see that John had been commissioned to write a serialized novella for Marvel’s high-profile relaunch of Conan The Barbarian in 2019. Conan: Black Starlight was published in installments in the first twelve issues of the comic, and now the entire story has been collected by Titan in a single handsome volume.
Dark Harvest (Tor Books, September 4, 2007, cover by Jon Foster)
and the film adaptation (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, October 11, 2023)
Paul Finch’s “The Carrion Call” appeared in the eighth issue of the print version of Black Gate, and over the last decade he’s produced over a dozen Terror Tales anthologies (most recently Terror Tales of the West Country, which Mario Guslandi reviewed for us back in January). But he also maintains Walking in the Dark, one of the more entertaining and informative genre blogs, where he discusses horror new and old.
Last month he reviewed Norman Partridge’s modern Halloween classic Dark Harvest, originally published in 2006 — when it received many of the year’s major awards, including the Stoker, International Horror Guild Award, and a nomination for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. It was adapted into a feature film of the same name, and released for a brief theatrical run this month.
In 2010, Black Gate announced Rogue Blades Entertainment Conjures DEMONS. This October 2023, the third edition has been issued and with it a revamped Kindle version! The original Kindle edition lacked a functioning, linked Table of Contents, but that’s all brought up to modern standards. It is dedicated to Robert Mancebo, author for several Rogue Blade Entertainment anthologies, who sadly passed away in 2023.
In honor of the publication of Howard’s breakout novel Lord of a Shattered Land, we looked back at some of the greatest fantasy sagas of all time — in particular, those that began as humble series of short stories, before they exploded into novels. They include Karl Edward Wagner’s classic Kane, Michael Moorcock’s groundbreaking Elric, and Stephen King’s bestselling The Dark Tower. Special shout-out to our Black Gate regulars who braved the trip to Tor.com to read and comment, including Rich Horton (ecbatan), Eugene R, NOLAbert, James Enge, and Joe Hoopman. Thanks team!
Chairing the 2023 Writers’ Symposium was an honor and privilege. The organizing committee set out to double our attendance while growing the community and growing representation & scope. We more than doubled ticket sales (vs 2022) and grew our unique-ticket-purchasers by 50%. Being our second year post-covid, we created a strong foundation for success in 2024 and beyond.
Gen Con is a massive gaming event, the largest gaming convention in North America. This year they have over 70,000 attendees (nearly a record, and wonderful growth from last year’s 50,000). One in every thirty (3.5%) attendees purchased tickets for the Writers’ Symposium. We offered 70 Free Seminars, 60 Workshops, 20+ Signings, 65+ Presenters; these were organized into different categories (tracks, categorized sessions) to promote longer stays. We also featured the track Game Narrative (storytelling in video and tabletop games) led by Toiya Kristen Finley to better integrate with the larger event.
We had ~2,500 unique ticket sales, another ~500 walk-ins, and the average attendee purchased 2.5 tickets (up from ~1.5 last yr., indicating our move to “tracks” worked).