Old Moon Quarterly is a magazine of weird sword-and-sorcery fantasy. 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 swordsmen and swordswomen both.
Old Moon Quarterly emerged in 2022. This reviews the four stories inside the Winter 2023 issue (Vol III), which delivers solid doses of the weird adventure it promises. The Editor-in-Chief is Julian Barona, flanked by Assistant Editors Caitlyn Emily Wilcox and Graham Thomas Wilcox (who recently debuted here on Black Gate with his review of John Langan’s Corpsemouth and Other Autobiographies, so I gleefully checked this out). Excerpts best convey the style and elements of what to expect, so you’ll get those here!
A handful of items from Denny Lien’s incredible collection I was able to save from the dumpster
On Wednesday May 3, I drove 379 miles from St. Charles to Minneapolis, to help clean out the last of the legendary collection of the late Denny Lien. I’d been reliably informed that it was the final week his estate would have access to the house; the following Monday, Habitat for Humanity would take possession, and everything left would go in the dumpster.
Denny had the most incredible collection of magazines I’ve ever seen. During the scant few hours I had in the house I found virtually complete runs of Amazing Stories, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Worlds of If, Galaxy, Fantastic, Astounding/Analog, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Locus, Cemetery Dance, and many, many more — far more than I could ever pack and fit in the minivan I’d rented for the trip. Most were unread, in pristine condition.
The November 1958 and May 1961 issues of The Magazine of
Fantasy & Science Fiction. Covers by John Pederson and Ed Emshwiller
I’ve recently looked at a few issues of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from the early to mid-50s, when Anthony Boucher (at first in collaboration with J. Francis McComas) was the editor. Boucher left that post with the August 1958 issue, and Robert P. Mills took over. (Mills had been the editor of F&SF’s sister magazine Venture for its ten-issue stint running bimonthly from January 1957 through July 1958.) He edited F&SF until the March 1962 issue.
These two issues, then, neatly mark a period early in his term, and one in the last year of his term. So it seems like a good idea to consider them together. (If truth be told, though, I bought these for another reason — they feature two of the very best stories from the first phase of Carol Emshwiller’s career.)
Various covers for Jack Vance’s novella “The Dragon Masters” over the years: the
original appearance in the August 1962 Galaxy, the 1972 Ace Double, and the 1981
Ace paperback edition. Cover art by Jack Gaughan, Josh Kirby, and David B. Mattingly
Over at Goodman Games Bill Ward, Howard Andrew Jones and a team of thousands have assembled a world-class fantasy blog around their magnificent magazine Tales From the Magician’s Skull. Recent articles include Bill Ward’s delightful survey of the Classic Covers of Jack Williamson, Jeff Goad’s Appendix N-inspired dive into the work of Fletcher Pratt, and Ngo Vinh-Hoi’s appreciation of pulp master Stanley G. Weinbaum.
But the piece that really grabbed my attention was part of their recent series on the amazing Jack Vance. Black Gate‘s own Fletcher Vredenburgh has a look at Vance’s Hugo Award-winning novella “The Dragon Masters,” calling it “a fantastic introduction to the science fiction of Jack Vance… one of the great writers of fantasy and science fiction.”
Original art for Perry Rhodan #415 (August 15, 1969) by Johnny Bruck
As a teenager in the late 1970’s, my favorite science fiction series was Perry Rhodan. Although the U.S. editions ceased in 1979 after #137, in its native Germany the series continues to this day in various forms, with over 3200 installments in the main series and counting.
Some of the earliest SF art I ever collected, starting at the old Chicago Comicon in the late 1980’s, were U.S. Perry Rhodan covers by artists Gray Morrow and George Wilson. In Germany up to that time, the primary cover artist was Johnny Bruck (a few of which were reprinted on early printings of some of the U.S. editions). For decades I tried to find Bruck PR covers, but with no success.
About six months ago, an avid SF art collector in Switzerland, Markus Rohrwild, began to post loads of Bruck PR covers on the Comic Art Fans site. He was friends with Bruck’s widow and had acquired hundreds of paintings from her. I eventually reached out to him to see if any might be for sale, and I was extremely pleased when he agreed to sell some to me.
I recently saw an ad for their Bookazine The RPG Book. The cover price is $19.99, but it’s currently available for only $11.99 (including shipping) from their online portal MagazinesDirect.com, so I ordered a copy. And I’m extremely glad I did. It turned out to be an entertaining and informative read — and a terrific intro to the very best computer role playing games of the past four decades.
A few of the magazines edited by Joseph Wrzos: Amazing Stories
(complete year, 1967) and Fantastic Stories (complete years, 1966 & 1967)
I wanted to mention the passing on April 7, at the age of 93, of the former editor of Amazing and Fantastic, Joseph Wrzos, who used the name Joseph Ross professionally.
He was Cele Goldsmith Lalli’s immediate successor, and took over the magazines at a difficult time, when Ziff-Davis sold them to Ultimate Publishing. Lalli stayed with Ziff-Davis (and had a very successful career editing Modern Bride.) Ross worked under publisher Sol Cohen, who mandated severe budget cuts, including reprinting stories Amazing had first published decades before (and, until SFWA objected, not paying for them.)
Ross did his best in those circumstances, as far as I can tell, and was well liked by those who knew him. (I never met him myself.) In addition to his editing work (which included consulting for Arkham House, and for some later iterations of Amazing) he was a High School English teacher.
Some of the eye-popping pulps from the Bob Weinberg collection auctioned at Windy City
This weekend was the Windy City Pulp & Paper show, an annual gathering of about 600-800 pulp and vintage paperback enthusiasts in Lombard, Illinois. Founded by Doug Ellis and run by a dedicated and talented team, Windy City has gradually become my favorite convention. Back when Black Gate was a print magazine I used to get a table and sell back issues, but these days I spend my time more productively. Namely buying stuff, but also hanging out with friends and attending the auction.
And gawking at amazing sights. If you’re interested in rare and unusual items — such as mint-condition pulps, rare first editions, signed volumes, original art, and letters and esoterica from pulp writers such as Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Burroughs, A. Merritt, and countless others — Windy City is the place to be. It’s a chance to hang out with like-minded individuals, gossip, and (especially!) find incredible treasures.
Weird Tales #366, the Sword & Sorcery issue (January 2023), and #367, the
Cosmic Horror issue (May 2023). Covers by Bob Eggleton and Mike Mignola
I ordered a copy of the new Sword & Sorcery issue of Weird Tales last year, and it finally arrived a few weeks ago — so late that I almost forgot I ordered it.
But it did arrive — and turned out to be damn impressive. A huge oversize (8×10) issue in full color, with terrific front and back covers by Bob Eggleton and Archer H. Anglow (see below), and weighing in at 128 pages. The stellar TOC includes a new Elric tale by Michael Moorcock, plus Kevin J. Anderson, Marguerite Reed, and Black Gate‘s own Howard Andrew Jones (an exclusive excerpt from his upcoming book Lord of the Shattered Land), along with an appreciation of Moorcock by Neil Gaiman, and a delightful full-color article on Sword & Sorcery by Charles R. Rutledge.
Issue 367, shipping next month, looks even more impressive. The Cosmic Horror issue offers an eye-catching Hellboy cover by Mike Mignola, a Hellboy story by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, plus new work from Ramsey Campbell, Paul Cornell, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Nancy Kilpatrick, Tim Lebbon, F. Paul Wilson, and lots more.
Weird Horror #6 (Undertow Publications,
March 14, 2023). Cover art by Asya Yordanova
The sixth issue of Michael Kelly’s excellent magazine Weird Horror has arrived, and it’s packed with deliciously creepy fiction and non-fiction from some of the most exciting writers in the business, including Simon Strantzas, Barbara A. Barnett, Neil Williamson, and many others — plus Steve Rasnic Tem’s 500th story sale (!!!).
Michael has made many of the stories — and the fabulous accompanying artwork — available for free on the Weird Horror website, so there’s no excuse not to check it out. Have a look below.