Mischief and Starlight: The Fantastical Music of S.J. Tucker

Sunday, February 28th, 2010 | Posted by C.S.E. Cooney

witches-pagans21So I said to myself, “Self, let us write a blog about the presence of High Fantasy in Music.”

To which I replied, in my characteristic thought-bubble: “AWESOME! That should be EASY PEASY! …Right?”

Well, I told me direly, we’ll just have to see.

I knew I should avoid scribbling about how music itself has influenced Fantasy literature since time immemorial. After all, that’s been written before, and by people with Ph.D.’s no less, and even if I felt like giving it a go, I’d have to memorize all those ballads about Tam Lin and talk intelligently about Margaret Atwood and Ellen Kushner, and learn Old English; I just couldn’t stir myself to that level of scholarship.

What I wanted to explore is the music of now. What does music right here, right now, today, this moment, have to do with Fantasy as a genre? Is there some kind of movement? Are there professional musicians who make their livings singing about dragons and elves and ghosts and, I dunno, Time Lords – and if so, where can I find them?

Two things immediately came to mind when the words “Fantasy” and “Music” collided. The first was S.J. Tucker. The second, Heavy Metal.

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Short Fiction Beat: Back from the Graveyard

Saturday, February 27th, 2010 | Posted by Soyka

dreamslogoSome periodicals are closing, while others are resurrected. The latest revival is Dreams of Decadence, which will expand beyond its original editorial focus of vampire fiction (and don’t we have enough of that?) to include urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Publisher Warren Lapine last rescued from the dead Realms of Fantasy.

What’s next? Amazing Stories?

Black Gate Magazine Invades Facebook!

Friday, February 26th, 2010 | Posted by Bill Ward

bg-facebookYes indeed, Black Gate has carved out its own slice of Facebook territory and we want our fans on Facebook to stop by and add us to their list of fan pages. It’s bare bones at the moment,  but the boffins at BG HQ have rigged it to post all the updates from this site via networkedblogs. Expect more content in the future of sort Facebook is famous for, such as cuddly kitten youtube videos, Farmville status posts, and updates of what the BG bloggers are doing for lunch . . .

No, never! Expect genre news and links to great stuff happening on the web, conversations among BG’s amazing fans, and all the latest info on Black Gate.

With just the occasional cuddly kitten youtube video.

Goth Chick News: Stalking Danny Torrance

Thursday, February 25th, 2010 | Posted by Sue Granquist

overlook2Last week I happened to catch an episode of Haunted Places on the Travel Channel in which The Stanley Hotel was being profiled.

If you’re not familiar, this is the amazing location in Colorado which was Stephen King’s inspiration for The Shining. His stay there freaked him out so badly that to this day the author claims he’s convinced Mrs. Stanley is still hanging around playing the piano in the drawing room where she dropped dead in 1936.

The 1980 movie The Shining starring Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson is definitely in my Top Ten, and in a moment of weirdness (yes, just one moment) I suddenly became obsessed with what happened to the little kid with the famous finger friend “Tony” (remember, it was his finger that kept saying the unforgettable “REDRUM,” which is “murder” spelled backwards).

The documentary footage that came with the anniversary edition of the DVD shows director Stanley Kubrick as highly protective of little Danny Lloyd during filming. So much so that an interview with the six-year-old clearly indicates he was unaware he was shooting a horror movie at all, and instead thought it was some sort of action or mystery story.

redrum2IMDB.com said very little about Danny, who virtually disappeared after his iconic role, acting only once more in 1982.

He would be 35 years old now, and according to the web site is currently a college professor who in 1999 was somewhere in the Midwest, in 2007 was in Elizabethtown, KY, and then moved on to a college in Missouri.

I hate to admit this, but I am an expert cyber-stalker.

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SKULLS – Chapter 8

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 | Posted by John R. Fultz


For best viewing:

– Scroll to the right to see the entire comic page

– Hit your F11 key to maximize your viewing area

– Scroll down to read from page to page

To read earlier chapters:

– Type SKULLS into the search field at the left and the earlier chapters will pop up. Enjoy…

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The Historian, or An Excuse Not to Read Dracula, the Un-Dead

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 | Posted by Ryan Harvey

historianI don’t have a dislike for the vampire in general. I’ve repeatedly reminded myself about this  even as I cringe at the saturation in our culture of mediocre work based on supernatural bloodsuckers. (Do I really have to name the book and movie series at the center of this creative blood drain? Of course I don’t.) Vampires are everywhere today, and this visibility has reduced their effectiveness for me, no matter what “new” spin the artists claim they’re putting on the legend. Exceptions are out there—for example the action-packed novels of certain contributor to Black Gate—but today I actively avoid horror and dark fantasy and especially parodies using vampires. I want more werewolves and phantasms and cosmic weirdness. Specifically werewolves. I love werewolves.

I wasn’t always this apathetic about vampires. I had a great interest in vampire legendry and literature when I was in college, right at the time that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was an enormous hit in theaters. I was always focused on Dracula, and not as interested in other vampires. This is still true today; while I shrug at most vampire offerings, I’ll still pick up something about the King of the Undead. Perhaps it’s the history major in me, or my love of the Victorian Gothic, that pulls me back to the vampiric Transylvanian noble. Literary Dracula excursions I’ve taken over the past few years include Fred Saberhagen’s The Dracula Tape (an intriguing piece of literary criticism, but his heroic and misunderstood Dracula isn’t my flavor of garlic seasoning), the anthology Dracula in London (answering the question, “So what else was the Count doing in London Town when not desanguinizing Lucy and Mina?”), the history volume Dracula: Prince of Many Faces, and Kim Newman’s wonderful “Anno-Dracula” series. If you haven’t read these three novels and wonder if there’s anything out there that might make you feel a bit better about vampires in general, seek out the nearest used book service posthaste.

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Special Fiction Feature: “The Renunciation of the Crimes of Gharad the Undying”

Monday, February 22nd, 2010 | Posted by John ONeill

gharad-small1We are proud to present a complete work of fiction from Black Gate 14: Alex Kreis’s “The Renunciation of the Crimes of Gharad the Undying.”

I am very sorry about seizing the throne of Falland and establishing a dictatorship based on terror and intimidation. As ruler of Falland, I enforced a number of highly unfair and immoral policies for which I now feel very badly, including putting all orphans raised by any forms of wildlife to death, and ordering the execution of all wandering bards (although I must say in my defense that that decision was not entirely unpopular).

You can read the complete story here.

“The Renunciation of the Crimes of Gharad the Undying” appears in Black Gate 14.  Alex lives in Massachusetts; this is his first fiction sale.

Art by Bernie Mireault.

Black Gate 14 Sneak Peek: “Freedling” by Mike Shultz

Sunday, February 21st, 2010 | Posted by John ONeill

freedlingNaia was pinned under the rubble when the quake hit, trapped with the cruel sorcer, Cer Vassir. And then her nightmare truly began.

The blood on her fingers was alive. Tiny black specks within the viscous fluid writhed like mosquito larva. She sensed its hatred for the cold air. Hatred and fury.
      “I need you to touch me one more time,” the sorcer said.
      Naia heard nothing, only saw. How she could see the things in his blood she didn’t know; they were smaller than grains of flour. Yet they wriggled like the sorcer’s spider-glyph. Her eyes drifted to it.
      “Good. You know what you must touch.”
      The glyph slithered across his shoulder, turned on the incline of his neck, and returned to its original place, its eyes glowing cinders, its back gleaming sapphires.
      Touch it.

Mike Shultz’s first fiction sale was “The Thrall” in Black Gate 9, which HorrorScope called “complex, emotional fantasy at its finest.”

Mike’s first novel, Sword of Memory, will be published in German in 2010 by Piper Verlag.

“Freedling” appears in Black Gate 14, coming in February.  You can read a more complete excerpt here.

The complete Black Gate 14 Sneak Peek is available here.

Art by Richard Tucker.

Short Fiction Beat: Young Turks vs Old Turks

Saturday, February 20th, 2010 | Posted by Soyka

In the final issue of the Internet Review of Science Fiction (yes, another one bites the dust, though in this same issue Kristine Kathryn Rusch points out that this is hardly anything new and, doomsayers notwithstanding, is realy not representative of any ominous trends), Lois Tilton draws a distinction between those publishing in the old guard of the cheap digests and a mostly new generation whose work appears increasingly online. Of course, you’d think science fiction and fantasy writers, of all people, would be quick to embrace online publication. However, there has been the stigma that online stories aren’t really stories because, well, they aren’t in print. That’s a generational issue (to which I confess–I’m not particularly fond of reading on a screen, but the odds are I’ll live long enough to where that will become more the norm than the exception, thanks for that Steve Jobs and Amazon). Tilton suggests its an issue of attitude, and one which is ultimately not good for healthy growth of the field. In addition to her own thoughts on this (as well as her last short fiction column for IROSF, which will be moving to Locus Online), there is some extensive commentary of interest attached.

Cavelakes Adventurer Angry With ARKHOLD Crashes Dragon Into Office

Friday, February 19th, 2010 | Posted by Bill Ward

orc-b-dayIf the constant litany of human suffering and human stupidity that is the 24 hour news cycle has got you down (gee, why would it?) then have a look at Fantasy World News, a news site that takes Yahoo news alerts and strategically replaces certain words with fantasy mainstays. For example, this from today’s news:

Boneshimmer Grovenight MacKillop becomes 1st halfling saint

The High Priest of the Rain God approved sainthood for Boneshimmer Grovenight MacKillop on Friday, making the adventurer known for her work among the needy Bailiwick’s first saint.

Is really this:

Mother Mary MacKillop becomes 1st Australian saint

Pope Benedict XVI approved sainthood for Mother Mary MacKillop on Friday, making the woman known for her work among the needy Australia’s first saint.

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