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The best of Black Gates 1-3

Sunday, March 15th, 2009 | Posted by Theo

Now that the long-awaited Black Gate #13 is in sight, I thought I’d take the opportunity to look at some of the old issues, and, out of curiosity, see what other people’s favorites were.
While I enjoyed “Golden Bell, Seven, and the Marquis of Zeng” by Richard Parks – the title alone is great – it’s nearly impossible to compete favorably with Charles de Lint. “Wingless Angels” is a short, but tightly written story of hope for redemption, even among the unredeemable. It’s remarkable not only for its excellent characterization, but also for what must unfortunately be described as an unconventional approach to traditional Western religion, treating it as a mere basis for the plot rather than an editorial.
The second issue featured a wider range of stories from which to choose. I quite liked Harry James Connolly’s “The Whoremaster of Pald”, which was the first of several Paldian tales, but my favorite was “Heart of Jade” by Amy Sterling Casil. It wasn’t the literary quality of the story that appealed to me, as it was, in my opinion, no more than competently written, but the unusual setting, the historically apt violence, and the unexpected twists and turns of the story combined to make it much more interesting than the average short story.
When the third issue, Winter 2002, arrived, I was rather disappointed by the cover artwork. But I was pleased with the contents, particularly with Todd McAulty’s “The Haunting of Cold Harbour”. It wasn’t just the best story in that issue, I thought it was the best piece of short fiction published that year, and I was very disappointed that the SFWA did not see fit to honor it with a Nebula award that year. But then, reading is a subjective activity, and one’s mileage is bound to vary.
What were your favorite stories from the first three issues of Black Gate?


  1. Sometime around the 2nd half of last year, I bought issues 1-8 of BG. I’ve been reading them ever since :)

    Some of my personal faves:
    The Dark Muse
    The Dreamthiefs Daughter

    The Whoremaster of Pald
    Heart of Jade
    Bones of the Dead

    Iron Joan
    The Chinese Sandman
    The Haunting of Cold Harbor

    Comment by NightHawk777 - March 18, 2009 4:47 pm

  2. Black Gate 01 : The Dark Muse – Karl Edward Wagner

    Black Gate 02 : Bones of the Dead – Julia Blackshear Kosatka
    Black Gate 02 : The Monster-God of Mamurth – Edmond Hamilton

    Black Gate 03 : Iron Joan – ElizaBeth Gilligan
    Black Gate 03 : The Chinese Sandman – Mike Resnick
    Black Gate 03 : A Taste of Summer – Ellen Klages
    Black Gate 03 : The Haunting of Cold Harbour – Todd McAulty

    Comment by bluetyson - March 19, 2009 12:51 pm

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