Blood, Blade and Thruster Interview

Sunday, August 26th, 2007 | Posted by Web Master

“Think Realms of Fantasy meets The Onion.” That’s how the editors of Blood, Blade, and Thruster describe their new magazine of “speculative fiction and satire.” Angela at has posted a lengthy discussion with the editors of BBT which we thought would be of interest to Black Gate readers. We even get mentioned in the course of the interview:

I started by pestering every editor I could get my virtual little hands on. . . I was surprised when almost all of them answered in the most forthright way possible. So basically I used people who had been in the business a lot longer than I had for advice. People like Jason Sizemore at Apex Digest, John O’Neill at Black Gate, and all the folks at Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, were of tremendous help.

Read the rest at the website, and learn about one of the more unique fantasy-oriented mags to hit the marketplace.

Black Gate 11 Back from the Printer

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

Black Gate 11 is back from the printer and will shortly be on its way to subscribers and quality bookstores. I know the majority of you were delighted with issue 10; well, issue 11 has even MORE heroic fiction than issue 10. It holds more adventure per square inch than Ben Hur (the story, I mean, not Charlton H in a toga). It’s turned up to ELEVEN.

If you’ve been curious about Black Gate there’s no better time to add your name to our list of subscribers. A single issue (like, say, issue ELEVEN) will run you a mere $10.00. No other fantasy magazine is so densely packed, for our issues clock in at a whopping 224 pages, which is an awful lot of content for your dollar. First time visitors to Black Gate are pretty much astonished — it looks more like an anthology than a magazine. A year’s subscription for four issues runs a mere $29.95, which gets you four issues for the price of three.

This time around 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 this 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.

Hey, it’s good stuff, or I wouldn’t be hawking it! If you’re already a fan, we hope that you’ll spread the word. 

I was just posting about supporting magazines the other day on the SFReader forum. Black Gate writer Peadar Ó Guilín discovered that Adventures of Sword and Sorcery may be rejoining the print world. At this news there was much excitement among writers, who promptly sent off a number of stories to the editor of AS&S. I don’t know whether or not they also sent off subscriptions, though, which is why I posted. Maybe they did — I hope they did. Authors (and I’m in that group myself) tend to look at magazines as PLACES THAT WILL GIVE ME MONEY FOR MY WORDS but they also oughta’ look at them — like the fans of the genres most of them are.

John and I and all our contributors are in this because we love what we do, and we want to keep doing it. I think of Black Gate as a community, and I hope you do as well. We maintain this silly blog and no less than two discussion sites. We provide free web content every week at the Black Gate home (uploaded Sunday) so there’s always plenty to talk about.

It may be that I’ve drifted off topic a bit, or ranted: my point was that if you want a market to live, you ought to support it, be it Black Gate, The Effete Troll, or Golf Digest. Whatever magazine it is that ticks your clock needs your lovin’. Many of them, like Black Gate, have a warm community of folks who are always interested in talking about the kinds of things that bring you to the magazine in the first place.

While I’m on the topic, here are the links to both discussion groups:

Here’s the familiar newsgroup on Sff.Net.

And here’s the new one, with an interface I find easier to navigate, at SFReader. There’s not as much material in our folder here, because it’s new. It  can grow with your support. SFReader is one of the friendliest forums I’ve ever belonged to, and there are plenty of interesting discussions going on in other folders all the time.

Submissions Updates

E-submitters should shortly be finding some responses in their e-mail as I continue to work through the last e-batch of stories I received prior to us closing to submissions.

I had some writing stuff I was going to blather on about, but I’ll save that for another post.


Review of Imaro 2: The Quest For Cush

Sunday, August 19th, 2007 | Posted by Web Master

Imaro ranks among the all-time great fantasy heroes, a warrior stalking through a fantasticated, prehistoric Africa brimming with sword-and-sorcery pleasures. The character’s creator, Charles Saunders, is legendary in the field as the first black author to make a splash in the genre, ingeniously playing off of the work and headlong style of past masters like Robert E. Howard while creating a startling new fantasy world with all the quasi-historical verisimilitude of Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The result is sui generis, a brilliant evocation of S&S that hasn’t been seen before or since.

Black Gate regular Ryan Harvey takes a look at the new reprinting of the second Imaro book, The Quest For Cush, and tells us what has changed since it was first published back in 1984. It’s a series that no reader who claims to be a fantasy fan should miss.


The Return of Flashing Swords

Thursday, August 16th, 2007 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

So life has been busy. I guess it usually is for most of us. I’ve hunkered down with the rest of the e-subs and a few things I’ve been handed in person, and I’m gearing up for more book and game reviews. Outside the Black Gate world I’ve been applying for adjunct positions with my new Master’s degree in hand and steaming ahead on the rewrite of my fantasy novel. And look at that — I got a good review in Locus, which made my day, and it was for one of my Dabir and Asim stories, no less.

Things are a little bittersweet, though, because Flashing Swords is re-launching. I came from Flashing Swords, of course. Daniel Blackston asked me to run a mag for his company, and I did so, and I poured my heart and soul into the thing to build it up and keep it running. I was very proud of my work, but it drained me, and there were certain attendant difficulties that made the project more challenging than it might have been in ideal circumstances. I reluctantly handed it over to Daniel when I joined the Black Gate staff after the sixth issue of FS. Daniel’s publishing company dissolved shortly thereafter, alas, and Flashing Swords folded along with it.

Now Flashing Swords has risen, again, under new management, and they were kind enough to ask if I wanted to be involved in any way. I wish I could be, I want to be, but I’m here, now, with Black Gate, and it’s more important to me than jumping back into something I’ve left, and so I had to reluctantly decline. And so I must reconcile myself to the fact that Flashing Swords wasn’t ever really mine to begin with, and that it will go on in a different way — the important choices are no longer mine to make. But it will live. The authors and contributors and my fellow editors and I did not work in vain.

I’m pleased that the zine must have meant something to somebody if they’re wanting to pick up the torch. May they fly further and higher. I wish them all the best. I’m honored that they credit me on the home page as a founder, and I’m even more honored, as strange as it seems, that they’re continuing to use the little quote I invented at the top of their pages. It’s a tiny little element in the bigger picture, I know, but I don’t think they know it came from me, which means they must just have liked the sound of it. Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most.

Read David Soyka’s 2006 review of a recent issue of Flashing Swords, with stories by James Enge, Steve Goble, Paul Jessup, Howard Lamb, Trey Causey, S. C. Bryce, and Robert Burke Richardson.

Black Gate Short Fiction Reviews

Sunday, August 12th, 2007 | Posted by Web Master

Time and History are on the agenda in David Soyka’s latest fiction reviews for Black Gate readers.

In Paradox Magazine #10, Soyka tells how author C. Kevin Barrett succeeds where so many others fail in their depictions of alternate history, and delves into new tales from Sarah Monette and Danny Adams, among others.

Meanwhile, Interzone 210 offers compelling new fiction by Rachel Swirsky and Tim Akers. . . but is the magazine’s cover more misleading than matter-of-fact? Dive into David’s review and find out.


Save a Sword-and-Sorcery Legend

Thursday, August 9th, 2007 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

Rescue Imaro

I just got word that Nightshade Books is going to be cancelling its reprint of the Imaro series. The sales have been disappointing — I can only assume that’s because word, somehow, didn’t get out about the books. Charles Saunders’ Imaro is one of the most important sword-and-sorcery characters to walk onto the scene after Conan himself.

Here’s what I said about him in a recent history of sword-and-sorcery article I wrote with some help from Robert Rhodes:

Imaro was the first important black hero of sword and sorcery. The three Imaro novels and a set of related short stories breathe with atmosphere, so much so that the setting is a character unto itself. The customs, people, and places feel real. While the supernatural and fantastic stalk this world, Saunders’ storytelling skills present even the ordinary features of his setting, from savanna to jungle, as vivid and new. Tie in Saunders’ skilful world-building with his taut action and suspense scenes and you have an explosive mix, one that Lin Carter was quick to recognize, printing Imaro tales in several volumes of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthology series.

Born the son of mixed parentage in a warrior society, Imaro longs always for acceptance, although when he finally earns it his own pride sets him on another path. A mighty warrior, at heart Imaro is a decent, loving man who hides behind a wall of stoicism he’s built both to protect himself during his troubled upbringing and to endure the horrors he’s faced. Most other sword-and-sorcery heroes are rogues born with wanderlust. They’re fascinating to see in action but aren’t necessarily people we’d care to meet. Imaro, however, is honestly likable.

Disastrous marketing decisions killed the Imaro series back in the ’80s. Now it looks like poor market penetration is going to kill it again, and may already have done so. And that means that two never-before-published Imaro novels and any kind of collection of Imaro short stories won’t be seen.

Now I can’t speak for all of Black Gate on this particular issue, but speaking for a moment simply as Howard Andrew Jones minus his editing hat, GO BUY THESE BOOKS. If you like sword-and-sorcery, GO TO NIGHT SHADE AND BUY THESE BOOKS. Maybe we can still save Imaro!!! Do NOT delay!!!


So here’s what I’d been planning to post about before I got the bad news this morning. I didn’t get to do this sooner because I’ve frankly been trying to re-earn some spousal goodwill points after being gone for four days.

The convention was fun as usual: John and I had a good time. A steady stream of visitors dropped by the booth to look over the magazine, and most of them picked up at least one issue — many more subscribed, and some even purchased entire runs of the previous issues! We showed interested parties the unbound copy of issue 11.

In between various panels Steven Silver and Rich Horton dropped by and helped out at the table. Both men have contributed to the magazine and it was a pleasure getting to know them. The little shop at the convention center sold surprisingly good soup, which I lived on during the day, and then John and I would head out with whoever was around in the evenings to grab dinner. The first night we drove into Collinsville, away from the crowded restaurants near the con, and stumbled upon a nice Chinese place — the only open restaurant in town, so far as we could see. The next day the nearby places were even more crowded, and John and Steven and I were joined by Gordon van Gelder and David Marusek, who didn’t actually complain about my awful direction sense as I tried to find my way back to the Chinese restaurant.

Saturday I snuck away from the booth long enough to try out Richard Hatch’s new role-playing game, The Great War of Magellan. His Captain Apollo had been one of my childhood heroes, so it was pretty nifty when he sat down beside me and joined the game.

There was a flurry of sales at the last minute on Sunday, so I hung around later than I’d planned (I couldn’t abandon John when the booth was so busy). Thank goodness Steven was there to help out as well.

I’m a relatively recent convention attender. It still strikes me as pretty amazing how approachable most of the industry professionals are. I’ve looked up to many of these people for years, and it can feel a little surreal to find yourself in casual conversation with them.

A Review of The Spriggan Mirror

Sunday, August 5th, 2007 | Posted by Web Master

Lawrence Watt-Evans utilized the Internet in novel fashion to bring the latest entry in his Ethshar series to readers. Black Gate‘s Rich Horton tells you all about how he did it, what it may hint about the future of publishing, and whether the book itself lives up to the previous volumes in Watt-Evans’ fantasy saga.



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