Vintage Treasures: Gateway to Elsewhere by Murray Leinster / The Weapon Shops of Isher by A. E. van Vogt

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Gateway to Elsewhere-small The Weapon Shops of Isher-small

And now we come to one of my favorite Ace Doubles: Murray Leinster’s Arabian Nights fantasy Gateway to Elsewhere, paired with the classic science fiction novel The Weapon Shops of Isher by A. E. van Vogt.

Of the two, Gateway to Elsewhere is significantly lesser known. It was Leinster’s first fantasy novel, although he’d previously published two SF novels, The Murder of the U.S.A. (as Will F. Jenkins, in 1946) and The Black Galaxy (in Startling, March 1949). Gateway to Elsewhere originally appeared in a two-part serial in the seventh issue of the small circulation digest Fantasy Book in 1950/51 under the title Journey to Barkut. The entire novel was reprinted in the January 1952 issue of Startling Stories, still under the title Journey to Barkut, with a handsome cover by Earle Bergey (see below).

Two years later, it appeared as half of Ace Double D-53, with the new title Gateway to Elsewhere, and a splendid cover by Harry Barton.

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New Treasures: Hidden by Benedict Jacka

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Hidden Benedict Jacka-smallBenedict Jacka’s first Alex Versus novel, Fated, was published by Ace on February 28, 2012. He’s kept up a regular schedule since, with four more following over the last two years: Cursed, Taken, Chosen, and now Hidden.

They’ve gradually been gathering some acclaim, too. In a starred review of Chosen, Publishers Weekly said “Jacka puts other urban fantasists to shame.” It called Cursed “An even more impressive tale of gunplay and spellcraft in present-day London… [a] tasty blend of magic, explosions, and moral complexity.” And Patricia Briggs, author of Shifting Shadows, called the opening volume in the series “A stay-up-all-night read.” I haven’t been able to keep up with the latest in urban fantasy over the past five years, but the Alex Versus novels are definitely near the top of my list.

With his talent for divining the future, Alex Verus should have foreseen his friends’ reactions to the revelations about his previous life. Anne Walker no longer trusts him—and has also cut all ties with the mage community after getting kicked out of the apprentice program. As a favor to Luna, Alex’s own apprentice and Anne’s best friend, he checks in on her only to be told to leave her alone.

Then Anne gets kidnapped. The Council Keepers of the Order of the Star believe Dark mages from her past may be involved. Working with the Keepers, Alex and Luna discover that Anne has been taken into the shadow realm of Sagash, her former Dark mage mentor, and they must find a way to rescue her.

But another shadow from the past has resurfaced—Alex’s former master may be back in London, and Alex has no idea what his agenda is…

Hidden was published by Ace Books on September 2, 2014. It is 293 pages, priced at $7.99 in paperback and $6.99 for the digital edition.


Game Books, Epic Fantasy, and Military Science Fiction: The Multiple Identities of R.A.V. Salsitz

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Magickers-small Death Storm-small Night of Dragons-small The Sand Wars-small The Dark Ferryman-small

Do you enjoy the fantasy novels of Emily Drake, author of the popular The Magickers series? What about the contemporary horror of Anne Knight, author of Death Storm? Perhaps you’re more partial to the light fantasy of R.A.V. Salsitz, author of Night of Dragons and The Unicorn Dancer novels. Or the military science fiction of Charles Ingrid, author of the long-running Sand Wars series. Or maybe the dark fantasy of Jenna Rhodes (The Dark Ferryman).

Possibly the contemporary science fiction of Elizabeth Forrest (Phoenix Fire, Dark Tide) is more your thing. Or the fantasy novels of Rhondi Vilott Salsitz (The Twilight Gate). Perhaps the eleven volumes in Rhondi Vilott’s Dragon Roads gamebook series have fired your imagination.

Possibly you’ve enjoyed them all, as they’re all written by the same person.

It’s not unusual for popular writers to use a pseudonym in this industry — indeed, even multiple pseudonyms. But in a field where almost everyone seems to have a secret identity or two, R.A.V. Salsitz still stands out. She has an amazing number of pseudonyms, and has published successfully in numerous genres, including epic fantasy, horror, mystery, game books, YA, military science fiction, romance, and urban fantasy. Her first novel was Her Secret Self, published by Bantam in 1982; since then she’s published dozens more.

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Future Treasures: The Wide World’s End by James Enge

Friday, November 21st, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Wide World's End-smallTurn off the television, unplug the phone, and disconnect the wireless. We just received an advance proof of The Wide World’s End, the latest Morlock novel from James Enge and our friends at Pyr Books. Don’t bother us for two days, okay? Unless you’re going to send food.

The tale of the early days of Morlock Ambrosius — master of all magical makers, wandering swordsman, and son of Merlin — concludes!

From beyond the northern edge of the world, the Sunkillers (undying enemies of everything that lives and breathes and is an individual) are reaching into the sky of Laent to drain out its light and warmth. Their hope is to scrape sky, land, and sea clean of mortal life and return to where they once dwelled, before the first rising of the sun. Against them stand only the Graith of Guardians, defenders of the peaceful anarchy of the Wardlands. But the agents of the Sunkillers are abroad even in the Wardlands: plotting, betraying, murdering among the Graith.

Married now for a century, Morlock Ambrosius and Aloê Oaij will take different paths to counter the threat. As Aloê ferrets out the enemy within the Graith, Morlock joins forces with his sister, the formidable Ambrosia Viviana, and crosses the monster-haunted plains of the deep north to confront the Sunkillers in their own realm. Morlock and Aloê think their parting is temporary, but it is final. They may or may not save the world, but they will not save each other, or themselves.

The Wide World’s End is the third volume of A Tournament of Shadows, the origin story of Morlock Ambrosius. It follows A Guile of Dragons (2012) and Wrath-Bearing Tree (2013). James’s tales of Morlock first appeared in Black Gate magazine, starting with BG 8.

The Wide World’s End will be published by Pyr Books on February 17, 2015. It is 409 pages, priced at $18 in trade paperback and $11.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Steve Stone.


Firefly Friday: Leaves on the Wind Comic

Friday, November 21st, 2014 | Posted by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Serenity_Leaves_on_the_Wind_HC_coverThe film Serenity brought a fair amount of closure to fans of Firefly, but as with any great story it didn’t end there. Each character goes through events in the film that transforms them in some way, and the story is never over. The classic hero’s journey ends not with the climactic battle, but with the return. The hero comes back to where he (or she) began and, through the events, has been transformed. Indeed, often their home itself has been transformed in some way, even if only in the way they view it.

The 6-issue limited comic book limited series, now collected together in Serenity: Leaves on the Wind (Amazon) completes the “Return” aspect of the hero’s journey for our crew … and since it’s a story in its own right, it also contains a full journey within it, with a new call to action, a new conflict, a new shift under the feet of the heroes. New allies and enemies are introduced, and the crew continues to change.

The series begins in the aftermath of Serenity, where the revelations about the origins of the Reavers spark heated debate across the ‘Verse. While pundits debate the veracity of the allegations, both the Alliance and a growing New Resistance movement are looking for the man who started it all: Malcolm Reynolds.

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Methodology: Not Just For Scientists Anymore

Friday, November 21st, 2014 | Posted by Violette Malan

Block Telling LiesI’ve been known, via Twitter and Facebook, to let people know how my writing is going. So I’m apt to say things like “chapter 16 is going feral on me, I need a net.” This prompts some of my writer friends to say “been there, done that” and others to say “you write in chapters?”

This isn’t to say that they themselves don’t write in chapters, per se. What I think this particular friend actually meant is that she just writes, and lets the chapters appear where they may. After all, we know that, with very few exceptions, all novels end up being divided into chapters. Exactly when and how that division occurs is part of each individual’s methodology. Or perhaps the sensibilities of their editor.

And all advice on writing tells you the same thing: there’s no right or wrong way, there’s only the way that works for you.

I tend to work and think in chapters of about 25 to 30 pages, or somewhere between 5000 and 6000 words. Why? Because when I was starting to write my dissertation (don’t ask, you don’t want to know) the Chair of the Department gave me this advice: “Make your chapters about 25 pages long, Violette. No one wants to read longer ones.”

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What Old Futures Can Teach Us About What SF and SciFi is Really For

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 | Posted by M Harold Page

In EC Tubb's imagined future... Security means men with guns. And I don't care!

In EC Tubb’s imagined future… Security means men with guns. And I don’t care!

So, last week I talked about how old Science Fiction and most media SciFi fails to portray realistic futures. They often do well at predicting specific technical advances, for example speech recognition, but underestimate the way humans will exploit any technology to its limits and use it in conjunction with other technologies.

What’s interesting is that (almost) nobody cares.

For example, I’m reading EC Tubb’s Dumarest books. The technology is wildly inconsistent. Conspirators have devices to block eavesdropping, electronic and human, but use landlines without worrying about phone taps.

Did I mention people use landlines?

In EC Tubb’s imagined future, it’s possible to steal a flyer without somebody tracing it through an ID chip, and without it being spotted on radar or by satellite as you cross the sea. Security means men with guns.

And I don’t care!

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Goth Chick News: From Hell Gets the Small Screen Treatment from FX

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

From Hell Alan MooreThe FX Network is making bank giving us the creeps.

Earlier this week, IMDB reported the network responsible for the nightmare-inducing American Horror Story is developing a TV series based on Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s critically acclaimed graphic novel From Hell.

From Hell was published in comic form from 1989 to 1996. It totals 572 pages and I own every one, having purchased the entire series in mint condition at a flea market.

Do not underestimate the opportunities at a flea market.

The comic book series depicts a fictional account of the gory Jack the Ripper killings in Whitechapel, London as part of a conspiracy by the Freemasons and the royal family. The series also used some historical facts and actual people involved with the case to create a narrative for the story.

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Discover an Historical Action-Adventure Travel Story with Predatory Ant-Riders: Mark Sumner’s The Naturalist

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Naturalist-smallMark Sumner is one of the most popular writers we’ve ever published. When his short story “Leather Doll” appeared in Black Gate 7, The Internet Review of Science Fiction called it “an absolutely riveting story, certainly a Best-Of caliber work, and I am retroactively adding it to my Best-Of 2004 list… I do not usually open Black Gate expecting to find masterpieces of contemporary science fiction, but I think this gem may be exactly that!”

But it was his next contribution to the magazine that really made an impact: a complete novel published in three standalone installments in BG 10, BG 11, and BG 13. The tale of a botanist/scientist who discovers a highly advanced and aggressive colony of predatory ant-riding insects in Central America, and his desperate struggles to survive and warn the nearly human communities, was widely acclaimed when it first appeared. In his 2010 short fiction summary Rich Horton summarized the final installment as follows:

My favorite story this year was the third and last in Mark Sumner’s series The Naturalist, this episode called “St. George and the Antriders.” In an alternate 19th Century Central America, naturalist Mr. Brown and the resourceful landowner Miss Marlowe lead a band of refugees back to the capital city where they find the corrupt governorship of the territory as menacing as the antriders. The series as a whole is novel length, and while each individual story stands well enough alone they make a sufficiently unified whole that I could see The Naturalist as a book…

I wasn’t at all surprised to find that Mark has in fact assembled the pieces into a complete novel, published this month by Word Posse. I’m delighted to see three of the strongest and most popular stories we published in Black Gate finally made available in one volume. If you remember the original stories, you’re sure to want a permanent edition. And if you don’t, then you definitely want to check out the one-volume edition of The Naturalist.

Here’s the book description.

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Take Advantage of the Fantasy Flight Games Holiday Sale!

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Gearworld The Borderlands-smallI jumped over to the Fantasy Flight Games website last night as I was fact-checking my article on their acquisition by Asmodee, when what did I discover but a major holiday sale, running from November 19th through December 1st.

The sale covers a wide range of their catalog, from board and card games to miniatures and expansions for their Dust Tactics, Tannhauser, and Wings of War games, as well as great prices on their Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, and Anima RPG products. They’ve even got great discounts on 20 of their novels. Here’s just a sample of their holiday pricing:

City of Thieves: King of Ashes — list $39.95, sale price $10
Descent: Sea of Blood Expansion — list $59.95 sale price $5
Fortress America — list $79.95 sale price $25
Gearworld: The Borderlands — list $49.95 sale price $10
Reiner Knizia’s Kingdoms– list $29.95 sale price $10
The Hobbit Boardgame — list $34.95 sale price $10
Ventura Board Game — list $79.95 sale price $10
Warhammer FRPG: Black Fire Pass — list $39.95 sale price $5
Warhammer FRPG: The Edge of Night — list $29.95 sale price $5
Black Crusade: Core Book — list $59.95  sale price $20

Whether or not the sale is linked to their recent acquisition (and whether or not it signals they will no longer be supporting some of these products in the future) is obviously open to debate. All the more reason to move quickly if you’ve been contemplating getting any of these games — they may not be available for much longer.

There are hundreds of items on sale, but they won’t last long at these prices, so act fast. Check out the sale here.


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