Black Gate 11 is Off to the Printer! Woo-Hoo!

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

It should return in a couple of weeks, and then the zombie minions will start stuffing envelopes and get them in the post.

This week John O’Neill and I will be heading to Archon/Nasfic, which is in St. Louis for those too bored to click the link. We should both be there at the Black Gate table by Thursday afternoon, and will be staying until Sunday. I hope that we’ll see some of you there. If the Black Gate hydrofoil hadn’t been damaged during my last encounter with the Zeppelin Master I’d be there even faster, but I’m falling back on the utility van.

This last weekend John put a sneak preview of the issue on the Black Gate web site, so drop by and take a look.  If you haven’t subscribed, why not? Waste no time! 

I know it’s been said a million times, but it bears saying again, so pardon me if I sound repetitious. You can’t look on markets ONLY as places to get published. Support those markets that publish the kinds of stories you like to read so that they’ll keep going. I’m not saying this because Black Gate is in any sort of trouble (in truth we’re stronger than ever) but partly because it’s so clear, from the kinds of slush I get, that around 75% of the subs I receive are from people who’ve never read a copy of the magazine. I’m probably preaching to the choir, as the folks who are crazy enough to read this blog surely know what Black Gate is about. Hopefully you’re subscribers as well. Your support can only mean there’s more money to buy more stories with. And that’s a good thing, right? With even more support I could spare even more of my time editing the mag, and then response times would be even faster, and who wouldn’t want that! Plus I could afford more sushi. In summary, if you want more good adventure fiction and want to ensure that I can afford sushi lunches, be sure to subscribe.

Next week I will dive straight back into the submissions pile, and so will John.


Black Gate 11

Sunday, July 29th, 2007 | Posted by Web Master

Black Gate 11 is now at the printers — and it promises to be our best issue yet, as Martha Wells, James Enge, Iain Rowan, and Mark Sumner all return with big new installments building on the action in Black Gate 10. Join us for the first meeting of Giliead & Ilias, as Morlock the Maker assists a small fraternity of warriors in desperate battle against the dreaded Boneless One, Dao Shi the exorcist comes face to face with an unkillable demon deep in the Underworld, and The Naturalist returns to civilization to warn of the approach of the terror from the interior.

That’s not all — Maria V. Snyder, Peadar Ó Guilín, William I. Lengeman III and many others offer exciting new stories. A dead wizard hires a thief to break into his tower and uncover a deadly secret, a man fights to save his son from a woman whose charms are literally irresistible, and a modern father is inducted into Valhalla after a particularly challenging roller coaster ride. All that plus four pages of Knights of the Dinner Table. It’s 224 pages of the best in modern adventure fantasy!

Follow the link to a sneak peek of Black Gate 11, with story excerpts, artwork, and even a look at “Neglected Stories from the SF Magazines” from Rich Horton. Subscribe Now so you don’t miss out!

Reading Black Gate 11

Friday, July 27th, 2007 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

I’m more than halfway through the new Black Gate, and I can honestly say that, if anything, it’s even better than Black Gate 10. I’m not just saying that — (anyone who knows me knows that I’m neither a shill nor much of a salesman) — the writing from the regulars is even stronger than it’s been in the past. Much as I liked previous entries from Enge and Wells and Rowan, their entries this time had me so spellbound I had to constantly remember that I was supposed to be proofreading, not just devouring prose. I’ve been equally impressed with work from newcomers, and it is all I can do to put time aside for other duties rather than continuing my read.

A lot of people may not realize that I haven’t seen this fiction — indeed, it may still be a bit before anything I’ve sent on to John appears between Black Gate pages. All this is stockpiled from before I came aboard, so I feel a little like the ultimate fan, getting to open the Christmas presents before the rest of you. Some have crowned me with unearned laurels, saying that the adventure fiction quotient was higher than ever before in BG 10 due to me. It’s just not true. I was hired on because of the direction John was growing Black Gate and I have surely helped with the magazine; I have not, however, changed that direction myself.

I’m starting to see some art trickle in for the contents of Black Gate 12, and it looks pretty exciting.

Lastly, we have some new advertisers. One of them, Dark City Games, has had products reviewed twice by us (one product in issue 10 and one in issue 11) and between those reviews, their full-page ad, and the web site, I’m going to break down and try some of these. First John, then Todd McAulty, then Andrew Zimmerman Jones have been raving about these cool games, and I’m just going to have to try them out for myself.

More soon,


Black Gate 11

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

…will be ready for my once over today, and shortly thereafter off to the printer. It appears unlikely that it will be in our hands by the time of Archon, unfortunately, although John and I hope to have a mock-up with us. But it should shortly thereafter be available to all

I returned from my secret mission. You can see me in action in a picture below, fending off space aliens. Note the intent look of concentration. I’m told I look very similar when I’m writing or editing, and, indeed, that my expression was nearly identical when I proposed to my wife. You can understand, then, why she married me.

I turned 39 while I was away at Disney and Epcot. I’ve had few birthdays as pleasant, despite the crowds. My wife and kids were very sweet all day and night.

I hope soon to be back at the slush reading. John will be right there with me.


2007 Halloween, Costume and Party Show and the 12th National Haunt and Attractions Show

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007 | Posted by Web Master

Ever wonder where the masters of horror go shopping? Look no further — Black Gate correspondent Sue Granquist takes you on an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the premier event in the country for all of the new costumes, masks, animatronics and gadgets set to take horror films, haunted houses, and goth parties by storm.


Black Gate 11

Thursday, July 12th, 2007 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

Ready yourselves for Black Gate 11, because it is almost here.

It can take a long time to take a magazine from a whole bunch of separate submissions to a coherent magazine-like shape. You have to remember that Black Gate is much thicker than most of its competition. It will be handed off to the printer very shortly now.

If you’ve grown curious about what we’re publishing now’s the time to subscribe. We’re pretty sure you’ll like what you see. John will be uploading a preview of issue 11 soon. But, really, if you like adventure fantasy, why aren’t you supporting the best source of it on the newsstands today? Here, take a look at what reviewers have said about recent issues.

After Black Gate 11 we’ll get back to the business of responding to e-mails and reading manuscripts. John and I were talking just today, and once this is all cleared away we’ll probably start having reading periods rather than being open to subs at all times. It’s my fervent hope that we’ll have all the backlog cleared away in just a few more months.


There are a number of things I’m proud of having accomplished in my life, but one of the ones I am most pleased with is having earned a first degree black belt in Shotokan Karate. I’m now working toward my second degree. As someone who was never especially good at athletic pursuits and was always that short skinny pale kid with glasses, I used to believe the chances of me earning a black belt were about as good as the chance of me becoming an astronaut. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of earning my master’s degree, and it was harder to achieve than I expected, but I knew I could get that because I had been taking classes and reading and writing all my life. Studying martial arts for four years and advancing and then earning a black belt — well, I wasn’t sure I could pull that off. (Of course, once you get that black belt you realize just how much more you have to learn, but that’s another story.) I try not to go out of my way to mention it, but I suppose I do sometimes, because I’m inordinately proud of that piece of cloth.

Anyway, so yesterday I came home from a workout, wearing my karate pants and my karate t-shirt and feeling all lean and flexible, and I stopped to pick up a package in front of the house. When I stumbled on the step because the package blocked my view of the stairs and my old, old sandals snagged on something, did my cat-like ninja reflexes keep me from injury? Nay, I slammed my foot into the walk at exactly the wrong angle and collapsed on the stones as pain shot up my ankle and spread like rabid fire ants across the top of my entire foot. It hurt too much to curse, but I managed to tell my daughter to go get her mother and to tell her that I had hurt myself. Humble pie. Yes, black belts aren’t a guarantee against being clumsy. (And, incidentally, I need sandals that don’t have bottoms that are split in half.) I had to lean on my lovely wife to walk into the house. Today I am mostly well, and only limping a bit. My wife theorizes I injured a ligament, but not severely.

Secret Journey

Those of you who’ve visited the Black Gate rooftop headquarters overlooking downtown Chicago know that there are wall-to-wall oak bookshelves stuffed with rare and wonderful books, pulps, and busts of our favorite writers, editors, and a few characters from our favorite stories. I know some of you have noticed the bust of Solomon Kane along the south wall, near the bound volumes of Weird Tales and Spicy Troubador Stories, but you probably didn’t know that the Black Gate priority line is hooked through good ’ol Solomon. Today when his eyes gleamed bright I flipped up his hat to access the line, only to learn that a disaster was imminent, one that only the staff of Black Gate was capable of averting. Since John is heads-down over the magazine, I am jetting off to deal with the matter — which naturally I dare not discuss in detail — despite my recent injury. I may well be away for several days, but I will return.


Jirel of Joiry: The Mother of Us All

Sunday, July 8th, 2007 | Posted by Web Master

As Robert E. Howard’s Conan was marauding through the pages of Weird Tales, a young authoress named Catherine Moore began crafting unique adventures of a S&S heroine in the same magazine. In doing so, she blazed a trail for female fantasists to follow for decades to come. Join Black Gate‘s Ryan Harvey for a look at Jirel of Joiry, the very first female Sword-and-Sorcery series character.


Fireworks and Vampires and Updates

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

Valentine’s Resolve

For the last few years I usually get to see my friends Eric Knight and his wife Chats on or around the 4th of July. At our old house we had a magnificent view of the local municipal fireworks from the highest hill in the city; from our new place we don’t have a view of much of anything (the one drawback about living here) although we can hear people sounding off firecrackers late into the night for several days before and after. (As an aside, I’ve never really gotten the point of firing off huge amounts of firecrackers. I loves me the pretty lights, but I just don’t get the joy of purposefully creating a bunch of loud noise.)

Anyway, it’s always a pleasure to see Eric and Chats; not only is it the one time a year that our local role-playing group indulges in a college-style marathon gaming session, they’re good people and we enjoy their company. This year, instead of welcoming them into our home on the holiday I’m welcoming Eric’s new book into the home.

Yep, there it is, and danged if it isn’t the best novel of David Valentine yet. Number six if you’re counting. These aren’t your sister’s vampire novels where the vampire is really just a troubled soul aching to make love to the woman who really understands him. Nah, forget that. These are like WWII French resistance movies crossed with the setting from the Road Warrior, with the part of the Nazis played by life-sucking aliens. Action and more action, great settings, compelling characters, monstrous villains, heroism… It’s great stuff, well-plotted and with plenty of surprising turns.

I’ve known Eric since a little before these books were launched by ROC, and this success couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. It’s heartening to see someone you know rise in stature and publish well-received book after well-received book. Eric’s earned this success by hard work, perseverance, study, and natural talent, now honed to a sharp edge. He is firmly committed to passing on all that he has learned about writing, both in courses taught at a local college, and through insightful articles online, not to mention in person should you happen to be in the neighborhood. And he’s a loyal friend; one you can trust to tell you the straight truth and one who’s got your back, for he always stands up for what, and who, he believes in. He’s a class act and deserves all that good he’s earned.

So get out and by that book already!

Black Gate Updates

I’m turning over the rest of the non-fiction today, and John has nearly everything else layed out.

I’ve been receiving queries about submissions. Right now we’re both taking a break from subs so we can get the magazine out. We’ll resume reading submissions in a just a week or so. I can’t predict how many more months it will take, but certainly before year’s end we’ll have worked through every submission, and when we re-open for subs we’ll never let this sort of backup take place again. We’re sorry about the delayed responses and ask you to be patient with us for just a little bit longer. 


Broken In Two: Poul Anderson’s two versions of The Broken Sword

Sunday, July 1st, 2007 | Posted by Web Master

It’s a well-known tale in Sword-and-Sorcery circles: in 1954 the legendary fantasist Poul Anderson wrote one of the classics of the subgenre, a thrilling homage to the myths and Icelandic sagas of old titled The Broken Sword. Over fifteen years later Anderson heavily revised the book, and ever since readers have been debating which edition is better. Black Gate‘s Ryan Harvey leads us on a textual journey through both versions, giving you all the information you need to come to your own conclusions.



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