New Treasures: Icefall by Gillian Philip

Friday, April 17th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Icefall Gillian Philip-smallTwo years ago we reported on the release of Gillian Philip’s Firebrand, the first novel in her popular Rebel Angels series. It was followed by Bloodstone (2013) and Wolfbane (2014).

Now Tor Books has released Icefall, the fourth and final book, which brings the tale to a climactic close. If (like me) you wait until all the books are available to binge on the series everyone is talking about, now’s your chance.

Death stalks Seth MacGregor’s clan in their otherworld exile. Kate NicNiven is close to ultimate victory, and she is determined that nothing will keep her from it. Not even the thing that took her soul: the horror that lurks in the sea caves. But Kate still needs Seth’s son Rory, and his power over the Veil. And she’ll go to any lengths to get him. Seth’s own soul is rotting from the wound inflicted by Kate, and survival for his loved ones seems all he can hope for. But might a mortal threat to his brother’s daughter force him to return to his own world to challenge Kate? And will Rory go with him? Because Rory suspects there’s a darkness trapped in the Veil, a darkness that wants to get out. But only one Sithe knows how near it is to getting its way: Seth’s bound lover, the witch Finn. Nobody gets forever. But some are willing to try…

Icefall was published by Tor Books on March 24, 2015. It is 445 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital version. The cover is by Steve Stone.

See all of our recent New Treasures here.


New Treasures: The Horus Heresy Box Set

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Horus Hersey Box Set-smallOkay, this one was a bit of an indulgence.

Back in January, I wrote about how much I’ve been enjoying the delightful Horus Heresy audio books from Black Library. A sweeping dark fantasy featuring sorcery, magic, undead legions and ruinous Chaos powers secretly maneuvering to bring about the downfall of the Imperium of Man in the 31st Century, they’ve been something of an occasional guilty pleasure for me. But then I listened to Ben Counter’s riveting Galaxy in Flames – the third book in the sequence, and the one in which the Hersey is finally revealed in the brutal massacre of loyalist legions on Isstvan III — and I knew I was going to have to knuckle down and buy the entire set.

So I was delighted to discover that I could get the first twelve novels of the Horus Heresy – all 5,456 pages! — in a single deluxe box set. The series serves as background to the popular Warhammer 40K game, and is written by Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill, Ben Counter, James Swallow, and others. Several novels in the series have hit the New York Times bestseller list. In addition to the first dozen novels, this deluxe set also includes Whispers of Heresy, an exclusive anthology of novellas originally released exclusively as audio dramas.

A new Imperium is being forged across the galaxy. After millennia of isolation and localised conflict, the Emperor of Mankind has risen to rule holy Terra, and now commands his Space Marine Legions in reuniting all the lost colonies of humanity. At the forefront of his armies are the primarchs — post human warriors and leaders without equal, created from his own genetic template. This Great Crusade is all but over when Horus, the Emperor’s first primarch son and Warmaster of the Legions, becomes part of a wider plot by the primordial forces of Chaos to corrupt mankind and bring fresh ruin to the galaxy. Swaying some of his brothers to his cause and facing others openly upon the field of battle, Horus has set his eye upon the Throne of Terra itself, and will not hesitate to let the Imperium devour itself in the bloodiest civil war in the history of mankind…

The Horus Heresy Box Set was published by Black Library on October 14, 2014. It contains a dozen paperback novels (plus one anthology) totaling 5,456 pages, priced at $125. Several online outlets are selling it at a discount; I was able to buy my copy for around $80. Well worth it if you enjoy science fantasy, or good military SF of any kind.


New Treasures: Between Worlds: The Collected Ile-Rien and Cineth Stories by Martha Wells

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Between Worlds Martha Wells-smallMartha Wells was one of the most popular writers ever published in Black Gate. In fact, her three Cineth stories featuring Giliead and Ilias helped bring us a host of new readers.

Those three stories have never been collected — until now. Between Worlds: The Collected Ile-Rien and Cineth Stories, one of six anthologies to be funded by the successful Six by Six Kickstarter in December, is now available. It contains “Holy Places,” “Houses of the Dead,” and “Reflections,” which first appeared in Black Gate 10, 11, and 12, as well as “Night at the Opera,” a brand new Nicholas and Reynard story set before The Death of the Necromancer, and two other stories.

We serialized Martha’s complete novel The Death of the Necromancer here.

The Six by Six project brought together six popular fantasy and SF authors — Martha Wells, Will McIntosh, Tina Connolly, Stephen Gaskell, Brenda Cooper, and Bradley P. Beaulieu — to create six new collections featuring each author. Two have shipped so far, Martha’s Between Worlds, and Futures Near and Far, featuring six stories by Will McIntosh.

In addition to the Black Gates stories and the new Nicholas and Reynard tale, Between Worlds also features “The Potter’s Daughter,” a prequel to Martha’s novel The Element of Fire, and the Giliead and Ilias story “Rites of Passage.”

Here’s the complete table of contents.

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The Future of Fantasy: April New Releases

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Vagrant-small Perfect Slate Brandon Sanderson-small The Grace of Kings-small

It’s tough to keep up on all the exciting new fantasy releases every month. But that’s why Black Gate is in your life. That and — admit it — you love Goth Chick’s Halloween Show reports.

April looks pretty exciting from where I sit, with a new fantasy debut from wunderkind Ken Liu, an exciting line up of graphic novels — including new Alan Moore — some fresh installments in popular series, and a lot more. We’re here to point you towards the most exciting releases of the month, so let’s get started.

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Weird Fiction Review #5 Now on Sale

Friday, April 10th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Weird Fiction Review 5-smallWeird Fiction Review is a terrific little magazine. In fact, it has a lot in common with the print version of Black Gate — it comes out once a year, the issues are huge (300+ pages), it’s crammed with art and pictures, and it contains a nice mix of fantasy fiction and articles.

It’s also more expensive than it probably should be. It is limited to 500 copies, and is priced as a limited-edition collectible: $35 per copy. That seems a lot for a magazine (and speaking as a publisher who used to charge 18 bucks for a small press magazine, that’s saying something.) I’m not sure I understand the business model behind a limited print run on a magazine, but the Centipede Press folks clearly know what they’re doing.

In any event, the issue looks terrific, with brand new short fiction from Brian Stableford, Darrell Schweitzer, Jason V Brock, Robert H. Waugh, and many others — plus a reprint from James Branch Cabell. There are also poems from Chad Hensley, Wade German, Charles Lovecraft, and many others.

The non-fiction includes Dennis Etchison’s 16-page photo essay on the collection and work of collector extraordinaire Forrest J Ackerman, “Presenting! The Amazing! Ackermonster!” (originally published in 1967), a 10-page color gallery by cover artist Travis Louie, a look at James Branch Cabell’s “Machen” story by Darrell Schweitzer, an article on — and interview with — MAD magazine editor Al Feldstein, Dennis Etchison’s interview with Ray Bradbury, Fifty Essential Comics by Danel Olson, Forgotten Masters of the Weird Tale by John Pelan, and tons more.

For whatever reason, the issue is not available through Amazon.com until September 15. But it’s for sale now at the Centipede Press website, and has been selling on eBay and other online outlets for a few months.

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New Treasures: Image Firsts Compendium, Volume One

Thursday, April 9th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Image Firsts Compendium-smallThere’s a lot of good work going on in comics. Correction: there’s a lot of great work going on in comics, especially if you’re a fantasy fan.

It’s hard to keep up with it all. However, I’ve developed a simple system over the years. Once a month I visit my local comic shop here in St. Charles (Graham Cracker Comics; and here’s a shout out to Dan W. and Kurt Biallas, who’ve been selling me terrific comics since Kurt was about ten years old), and buy the first few issues of anything that looks interesting.

I take them home and give them to my 19-year-old son Timothy, whom I’ve studiously trained in the art of comics — starting by reading the entire Lee-Ditko run on Amazing Spider-man to him and his younger brother Drew when they were both still in footie jammies. Timothy patiently reads these comics cover-to-cover, and lets me know which ones are worth my time.

Everyone should have a 19 year-old son like Timothy. He’s also handy when the lawn needs to be mowed, or the driveway needs to be shoveled.

Sadly, Timothy made an unfortunate life choice last year (unfortunate for me, anyway). He went off to college in another state. The stack of comics waiting to be read now fills nearly an entire box, and it’s gathering dust in the corner, neglected. Clearly, I need a new system.

Apparently I’m not the only person to have this problem. When I was in the comic shop last month, I found Image Firsts Compendium, Volume One propped up near the cash register. It’s a fat, 320-page full cover graphic novel, containing the first issues of no less than nine new titles from Image Comics. And it’s priced at $5.99 — less than it will cost you for two measly comics.

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April/May 2015 Asimov’s Science Fiction Now on Sale

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Asimov's Science Fiction April May 2015-smallI’m delighted to be talking about Asimov’s SF as part of Black Gate‘s new initiative to expand our coverage of fantasy and SF magazines. Asimov’s has been a favorite of mine since the first year it was published, in 1977. (If you’re interested in learning what’s so special about the magazine, I wrote a lengthy 3-part history, looking at it decade by decade, back when I was editing SF Site in 1998).

It took us this long to start covering it because Asimov’s is primarily a science fiction magazine. But the current editor, Sheila Williams — like her predecessor, Gardner Dozois — has shown an appreciation for good fantasy, and there’s plenty of evidence of that in the current issue. The big April/May double issue weighs in at a generous 192 pages, and contains fiction from Allen M. Steele, Tom Purdom, Michael Swanwick & Gregory Frost, Liz Williams, Robert Reed, and many others.

A fine example of that openness to fantasy is Michael Swanwick & Gregory Frost’s “Lock Up Your Chickens and Daughters — H’ard and Andy Are Come to Town!” Here’s Bob Blough’s review at Tangent Online:

This is a light-hearted romp about two slightly magical con-men who go to great lengths to prove that a dust giant is causing the drought in some alternate version of the American Dust Bowl during the 1930s. Unfortunately they wake up something much more real than the con they plan to pull. As a lagniappe, if you know your short fiction you can tell who these two men are by what they talk about. It’s a fun if innocuous ride.

Read Bob’s complete review here, and the first half of Swanwick & Gregory Frost’s tale online here.

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New Treasures: Master of Plagues by E.L. Tettensor

Monday, April 6th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Master of Plagues-smallAbout a year ago I reported on the first novel in a promising new series: Darkwalker by E.L. Tettensor. Now the second novel featuring Police Inspector Nicolas Lenoi has arrived, Master of Plagues, and it looks as intriguing.

The Nicolas Lenoi novels are set in Kennian, part of the backwater Five Villages, which seems a lot like 19th-century England if you squint. Lenoir is tasked with investigating dark mysteries in a place where folks scoff at the supernatural. These books look like a fine mix of fantasy and mystery in a fog-shrouded Victorian(ish) landscape, with plenty of original touches to keep things interesting.

Unraveling a deadly mystery takes time — and his is running out…

Having barely escaped the clutches of the Darkwalker, Inspector Nicolas Lenoir throws himself into his work with a determination he hasn’t known in years. But his legendary skills are about to be put to the test. A horrific disease is ravaging the city — and all signs point to it having been deliberately unleashed.

With a mass murderer on the loose, a rising body count, and every hound in the city on quarantine duty, the streets of Kennian are descending into mayhem, while Lenoir and his partner, Sergeant Bran Kody, are running out of time to catch a killer and find a cure.

Only one ray of hope exists: the nomadic Adali, famed for their arcane healing skills, claim to have a cure. But dark magic comes at a price, one even the dying may be unwilling to pay. All that’s left to Lenoir is a desperate gamble. And when the ashes settle, the city of Kennian will be changed forever…

E.L. Tettensor also writes under the name Erin Lindsey. We recently covered her fantasy novel The BloodboundMaster of Plagues was published on February 3, 2015 by Roc. It is 368 pages, priced at $7.99 in paperback and $6.99 for the digital edition.


Interzone #257 Now on Sale

Saturday, April 4th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Interzone 251-smallInterzone has an interesting approach to cover art. It commissions a single artist to do its covers for a full year. The 2015 cover artist is Martin Hanford, and so far I’ve really been enjoying his work. This issue has an intriguing sword & sorcery feel… although the central figure is in a space suit and strapped to a duck, which is admittedly a fresh theme for S&S (or any other genre I’m familiar with). Click the image at right for a closer look. We’ve showcased Martin’s work at Black Gate previously, most recently on the cover of Swords of Steel.

Interzone is the sister magazine of Black Static, both are published by TTA Press in the UK. The distinguished Andy Cox is the editor of both.

Interzone contains chiefly science fiction but, like Asimov’s SF here in the states, does publish the occasional fantasy piece. Issue #257 is cover-dated March/April, and contains the following fiction:

“A Murmuration” by Alastair Reynolds
“Songbird” by Fadzlishah Johanabas
“Brainwhales Are Stoners, Too” by Rich Larson
“The Worshipful Company of Milliners” by Tendai Huchu
“Blossoms Falling Down” by Aliya Whiteley

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New Treasures: The Uncanny Reader: Stories from the Shadows edited by Marjorie Sandor

Friday, April 3rd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Uncanny Reader-smallI’ve covered a handful of vintage horror anthologies recently, including Horrors in Hiding and Horrors Unseen. Those books arose out of the American pulp tradition, and include stories from the writers you’d expect.

But what if you’re looking for writers you don’t expect? What if you’re interested in uncanny fiction by some of the best writers from around the world? If that’s the case, then Marjorie Sandor may have what you’re looking for, with a generous new collection of classic and new horror fiction from the four corners of the globe.

Strange, Mysterious and Unsettling… These Stories Are Uncanny!

From the deeply unsettling to the possibly supernatural, these thirty-one border-crossing stories from around the world explore the uncanny in literature, and delve into our increasingly unstable sense of self, home, and planet. The Uncanny Reader: Stories from the Shadows opens with “The Sand-man,” E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1817 tale of doppelgangers and automatons — a tale that inspired generations of writers and thinkers to come. Stories by 19th and 20th century masters of the uncanny — including Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, and Shirley Jackson — form a foundation for sixteen award-winning contemporary authors, established and new, whose work blurs the boundaries between the familiar and the unknown. These writers come from Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Russia, Scotland, England, Sweden, the United States, Uruguay, and Zambia — although their birthplaces are not always the terrains they plumb in their stories, nor do they confine themselves to their own eras. Contemporary authors include: Chris Adrian, Aimee Bender, Kate Bernheimer, Jean-Christophe Duchon-Doris, Mansoura Ez-Eldin, Jonathon Carroll, John Herdman, Kelly Link, Steven Millhauser, Joyce Carol Oates, Yoko Ogawa, Dean Paschal, Karen Russell, Namwali Serpell, Steve Stern and Karen Tidbeck.

The Uncanny Reader: Stories from the Shadows was published on February 24, 2015 by St. Martin’s Griffin. It is 576 pages, priced at $21.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition.


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