The Golden Age of Science Fiction: Gerald W. Page

Sunday, December 15th, 2019 | Posted by Steven H Silver

Cover by Jad

Cover by Jad

Cover by Michael Whelan

Cover by Michael Whelan

Cover by Tim Kirk

Cover by Tim Kirk

DeepSouthCon has presented the Rebel Award annually since 1965. The first Rebel Award was presented to Al Andrews. The 1980 award was presented on August 23 at DeepSouthCon 18/ASFICon in Atlanta, Georgia, which was chaired by Cliff Biggers.

Gerald W. Page joined the Atlanta Science Fiction Organization in 1954. He was a member of the Southern Fandom Group during its three years of existence from 1960 through 1963.  In 1963, he began publishing short fiction with the story “The Happy Man,” which appeared in Analog. He has continued to publish short stories, occasionally using pseudonyms such as Carleton Grindle or Leo Tifton.

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Uncanny X-Men 1-20: Introducing The Strangest Super-Team of All

Saturday, December 14th, 2019 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

Screenshot_20191214-104537_Marvel Unlimited

Sometimes when life is too busy, I don’t have the bandwidth for entertainment that engages too deeply with me emotionally or intellectually. It seems like all of 2019 has been like that. Earlier in the year, I talked about rereading the first hundred and twenty issues of Marvel’s The Defenders. Last month my brain needed another break, so I started rereading the original X-Men. It was fun and full of nostalgic feelings.

The problem is, I can’t just do 500 words on the X-Men. They were certainly a second-string title in the 1960s that, publication and profit-wise, was on a slow train to moth-balling by 1970, despite a brief renewal under Roy Thomas and Neal Adams. But five years later, the Claremont-Cockrum-Byrne team modernized the X-Men mythos for the Bronze and modern age and by the late 1980s, the soap operatic X-Men had become an economic juggernaut (sorry).

I lost touch with the X-Men in the 1990s when I left comics, and found the mythos so ornate as to be impenetrable once I came back to comics in 2007. It was too vast.

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Vintage Treasures: The Astounding-Analog Reader edited by Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss

Saturday, December 14th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The Astounding Analog Reader Volume 1-small The Astounding Analog Reader Volume 2-small

The Astounding-Analog Reader (Sphere 1972 and 1973). Covers by unknown (left) and Chris Foss (right)

I used to scoff at the idea of online bookstores. How will you browse for books?, I demanded to know. You’ll never replace that wonderful moment of discovery, of serendipity, finding a treasure you weren’t looking for, which happens all the time in great bookstores.

Of course, these days I find books online all the time. I’m a huge fan of Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss’s top-notch science fiction anthologies, like the long-running The Year’s Best SF series and Farewell Fantastic Venus! But I had no idea they’d collaborated on a two-volume collection of Golden Age pulp SF, The Astounding-Analog Reader, until I stumbled on a copy of the second volume on eBay a few weeks ago. I tracked down the first one, ordered both, and have been dipping into them ever since they arrived.

The Astounding-Analog Reader is a fantastic assortment of (generally longer) fiction from the pages of Astounding, circa 1937 — 1946. It was originally published in hardcover as The Astounding-Analog Reader, Volume 1 by Doubleday in 1972, and reprinted in paperback in the UK by Sphere as The Astounding-Analog Reader, Book 1 and Book 2 in October 1973. It has never has a paperback edition in the US.

The editors completed the series a year later with The Astounding-Analog Reader, Volume 2 (Doubleday, 1973), which contained stories from 1947-1965. That volume has never had a paperback edition, which makes me sad.

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Future Treasures: The Broken Heavens, Book 3 of the Worldbreaker Saga by Kameron Hurley

Friday, December 13th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The Mirror Empire Kameron Hurley-small Empire Ascendant Kameron Hurley-small The Broken Heavens Kameron Hurley-small

Covers by Richard Anderson

Kameron Hurley has had a charmed career, and she’s just getting started. Her debut novel God’s War was nominated for a Nebula Award, and she won a Hugo in 2014 for Best Related Work. But her most ambitious work so far has been the Worldbreaker Saga. Opening novel The Mirror Empire came in third in the 2015 Locus Poll for Best Fantasy novel, and Library Journal said “This is a hugely ambitious work, bloody and violent… [an] imaginative tangle of multiple worlds and histories colliding.” In his feature review of the second volume Empire Ascendant at Grimdark Magazine, Sean Grigsby wrote:

Kameron Hurley’s Worldbreaker Saga is about as grimdark as fantasy literature can get… To catch you up, The Mirror Empire introduced us to a world where the people worship four distinct celestial bodies: Tira, Para, Sina, and Oma. Certain gifted individuals can call on the “breath” of these bodies to help them perform all kinds of cool magic. However, only one body is in the sky at a time, sometimes not returning for a thousand years. Those gifted by the ascendant star are more powerful than those whose comet is in decline.

But it’s when Oma appears, that everyone gets worried. It signals the clashing of worlds, when the thread between parallel universes becomes so thin that crossing between them becomes possible. But the catch is that your “mirror” self has to be dead in the universe you want to cross into. So when Kirana’s world is coming to a cataclysmic end, she has a lot of people to kill on the other side so all of the people in her world can come over…

There were many awesome moments in Empire Ascendant. Some that had me severely creeped out or squirming in my seat. One especially intense scene that I really enjoyed is when legionnaire Zezili crawls into the lair of monsters and comes across a disgusting creature straight out of nightmares. If Hurley ever tried her hand at horror, she’d do fantastically.

The closing book in the trilogy, The Broken Heavens, arrives next month from Angry Robot. Here’s the publisher’s description.

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Rogue Blades author: Robert E. Howard Changed My Life and Continues to Inspire Me

Friday, December 13th, 2019 | Posted by Ty Johnston

Howard changed my lifeRecently publisher Rogue Blades Foundation announced the release next year of the title Robert E. Howard Changed My Life. Award-winning author Adrian Cole will appear in that book. Below he offers some of his memories of discovering Howard and how such affected his writing career.

Having been a big fan of Robert E. Howard’s work since I first discovered it back in the 1970s (when like many others I got hold of those wonderful Lancer paperback editions of King Kull and then Conan), I was very easily persuaded to join the contributors to the Rogue Blades Foundation project, Robert E. Howard Changed My Life.

Okay, as a title, that’s a quite dramatic statement, but in all honesty it’s certainly true in my case. At the time I first read REH I hadn’t much of an idea about what I wanted to do with my life as far as a “career” went, although I’d already started to write, my initial work inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tolkien and others. Writing was far more interesting to me than any day job could ever have been and REH added an ingredient to the heady cocktail that ensured my determination and zest to channel my creative energy didn’t fade. Inspiration added to imagination, the ultimate mix. At the time REH was enjoying not only a revival, but an explosion of interest that eventually went world wide, and I found myself swept along by it at a critical time in my own development as a writer. I knew that, whatever else happened to me, good times and bad, REH would go on being an inspiration to me for the rest of my days.

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Goth Chick News: Christmas Roses for That “Special” Person

Thursday, December 12th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Nightmare Before Christmas Roseshire

Is there a special someone in your life who isn’t the standard sugarplum fairy at the holidays? Even wonder how to express your feelings to them in a way that is as unconventional as they are?

Roseshire, purveyors of extraordinary roses, have you covered.

Roseshire curates a variety of rose ‘experiences’ and delivers them directly to home, castle or mountainside caves. Each unique experience includes a designer box, a calligraphied message from you, sealed with wax, and perfect roses, hand-groomed to within an inch of their lives.

If that wasn’t enough, Roseshire has outdone themselves for the holidays with a Grinch-inspired experience, complete with green roses, as well as a Nightmare Before Christmas experience delivered in a coffin box.

There are other holiday boxes but who cares?

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Battle of the Sexes: Sword & Circlet Volume 1 by Carole Nelson Douglas

Thursday, December 12th, 2019 | Posted by Tony Den

Art: Steven Hickman

Art: Steven Hickman

Art: Steve Crisp

Art: Steve Crisp

Art: Luis Royo

Art: Luis Royo

Earlier this year I wrote about two books by Carole Nelson Douglas which became known as the Kendric and Irissa duology. These eighties’ fantasy classics spawned a subsequent trilogy, The Sword and Circlet. Whilst I had this trilogy on hand, I thought a break was in order after completing my review of Six of Swords and Exiles of the Rynth. John had been enticing me to visit some other neglected volumes on my shelf through his ongoing Vintage Treasures posts which saw me breeze through some Wyndham and Vance (which I posted mini-reviews for, in the comments of each article). With this post, I am back to focus on Carole Nelson Douglas.

When one starts to read volume one of the Sword and Circlet Trilogy it becomes immediately clear that this is no afterthought, or clumsy tack on to ride the wave of success the first two books experienced.  Keepers of the Edanvant picks up almost immediately where Exiles of the Rynth left off, pausing only to provide a small prologue and recap of what had gone before.

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More Wondrous and Weird than Fantasy: Dell Science Fiction Reviews

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019 | Posted by Gabe Dybing

Analog-Science-Ficion-and-Fact-November-December-2019-medium Asimovs-Science-Ficion-November-December-2019-medium

Covers by Tuomas Korpi and Donato Giancola

Spoiler warning: I choose to write unrestrainedly about all content in these magazines.

I’ve been reading Asimov’s Science Fiction regularly for — oh — maybe ten or fifteen years now. I began by “checking in.” I first picked it up from my newsstand in a bookstore to investigate the “current discourse,” while I focused most of my attention on my graduate studies and my own interests in the classics, both outside of and within the genre. But then I found myself, almost unconsciously “re-checking” in until, here I am, more than a decade later, regularly ingesting a paper mail subscription.

My involvement with Analog Science Fiction and Fact began similarly but much more recently. Idle curiosity about this “hard” science fiction thing had me sampling an issue off an electronic bookshelf, then another, then another. Here’s the thing about hard science fiction: it “blows my mind.” “Real” science is infinitely more wondrous and weird than fantasy — and more impressive to me, simply because, though I can write passable fantasy, I don’t have the wherewithal to attempt anything even tangentially based in science fact.

Editor John O’Neill has heard me opinionating on the material in both of these publications for long enough now that, after some prodding and pressuring from him, I endeavor a new series for the year, one in which I review standouts and make observations about the content in these two pulps from Dell Magazines. The material covered will be totally arbitrary. I will address only what seems most notable; my comments will not be comprehensive. Finally, my lens is focused on these two, ignoring all other science fiction publications, only because these happen to be the magazines I read. I do read things other than short speculative fiction, and I’m not interested in making a full time job out of the latter. Even though I have been out of graduate school for many years, I still read the classics once in awhile.

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Made For TV Movie-of-the-Week Flashback: Birds of Prey

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019 | Posted by eeknight

Birds of Prey_1

Little did I know, when I was a pre-tween, that I was growing up in the Golden Age of TV movies. I was there for original showings of Trilogy of Terror, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, The Night Stalker and even Duel. Lucky me.

One that really made an impression on me at eight was 1973’s Birds of Prey. Like Duel it looked like it had a much bigger budget than it actually had. Story involves David Janssen playing a WW2 vet from the AVG in China who is now flying a civilian version of the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse “Loach” for a Salt Lake City radio station doing traffic. After a minimal amount of establishing his character and that of his fellow veteran police officer friend, he witnesses an armored car robbery and a hostage being taken.

The excitement is non-stop from then out, an elaborate chase, as he follows the murderous crooks and cleverly improvises ways to refuel and arm himself. There are hunter/hunted reversals, rescues, and even some dignified bonding with the hostage. Eight year old me was driven wild by the impressive flying and stunt work, including trips under highway overpasses and through factories and hangars by his handy little Loach. I think the pilots had fun making this movie, it seemed pretty clear they were doing crap they weren’t normally allowed to do for obvious safety reasons.

Even though I’d only seen it once, it stuck with me.

Imagine my surprise when I saw it flipping through Amazon Prime. I thought everyone had forgotten about this one, even though every time I came across David Janssen I remembered it.

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New Treasures: Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight by Aliette de Bodard

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Of Wars and Memories and Starlight-small Of Wars and Memories and Starlight-back-small

Cover by Maurizio Manzieri

I met Aliette de Bodard at the Nebulas weekend in 2015, on the way to a party in the Palmer House hotel, and we ended up chatting for about 20 minutes. She was charming, articulate, humble, and a very stylish dresser. And you know, that’s just not a combo you see very often, especially at a science fiction convention.

Anyway, she’s also won, like, ALL THE AWARDS. Her Universe of Xuya series may be the most honored SF story cycle of the last decade, with numerous Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and BSFA nominations and wins. John Clute’s entry for Aliette in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction reads in part:

Mostly comprising shorter works, the Universe of Xuya sequence – beginning with “The Lost Xuyan Bride” (December 2007 Interzone) and including On a Red Station, Drifting (2012), a short novel – is an Alternate History series in which China settles North America from the west, with complex consequences for earlier settlers like the Aztecs; some stories are set in space…

The Tea Master and the Detective… in the loose Xuya Universe sequence, is a Space Opera whose protagonists – Holmes and her shipmind Watson – are both female; it won a Nebula as best novelette.

Subterranean Press issued her first major collection on September 30 of this year. Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight contains 14 tales, including many award winners: 11 Xuya stories, a novelette in her acclaimed Dominion of the Fallen fantasy series, and an original novella, “Of Birthdays, and Fungus, and Kindness.”

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