Joanna Russ: February 22, 1937 – April 29, 2011

Saturday, April 30th, 2011 | Posted by John ONeill

female-man1Joanna Russ, acclaimed feminist writer and one of the most respected science fiction authors of the 20th Century, passed away yesterday at the age of 74.

Russ’s first SF story, “Nor Custom Stale,” appeared in F&SF in 1959. Numerous notable short stories followed, including Nebula Award winner “When It Changed” (1972), and Hugo Award winner “Souls” (1982). Altogether her fiction has been nominated for a total of nine Nebula and three Hugo Awards. Her short stories were collected in four volumes:  The Adventures of Alyx (1983), The Zanzibar Cat (1983), Extra(ordinary) People (1984), and The Hidden Side of the Moon (1988).

Her first novel Picnic on Paradise, the tale of a pleasure cruise that crash lands on a vacation planet with only enough food for a picnic, was nominated for a Nebula in 1968. It was collected with four additional stories featuring the resourceful protagonist Alyx as The Adventures of Alyx (1983).

Her other novels include Nebula Award finalist And Chaos Died (1970), The Female Man (1975),  We Who Are About To… (1977), and The Two of Them (1978).

The Female Man, one of the most acclaimed SF novels of the decade, follows four women across four parallel worlds, all struggling against the restrictive role of the female sex, and what it truly means to be a woman. The character who bears Russ’s first name, “Joanna”  refers to herself early in the novel as the “female man” because she is convinced she must surrender her identity as a woman to be respected.

Read More »


Black Static #22

Saturday, April 30th, 2011 | Posted by Soyka

314_largeBlack Static is the horror/dark fantasy counterpart to the largely SF magazine Interzone, published in alternating months by TTA Press. The current April-May 2011 issue features fiction by Alan Wall, Time Lees, Allison J. Littlewood, Steven Pirie and Simon Kurt Unsworth.  The ‘transmissions from beyond’ themed art in every issue is by David Gentry. Peter Tennant and Tony Lee provide book and DVD/BD reviews and interviews, with regular comment supplied by Stephen Volk, Christopher Fowler and Mike O’Driscoll.  What immediately grabbed my attention is the opening paragraph to Fowler’s typically curmudgeon column:

I think I am finally going mad. As I get older, everything that other people find enjoyable, I seem to find awful.  No, beyond awful. Unwatchable, unreadable, uninvolving, stupid beyond belief!

I’m totally sympatico.

You can subscribe to the print version here, or the electronic edition here; there’s also a special discounted rate for a joint subscription to both Interzone and Black Static.


Meet Dick Henry, The Shortcut Man

Friday, April 29th, 2011 | Posted by William Patrick Maynard

untitled1shortcut-man-novel-p-g-sturges-hardcover-cover-art2The Shortcut Man is the recently-published debut novel by P. G. Sturges. The author comes by his talent honestly. I say that not only because his father was the legendary Hollywood filmmaker Preston Sturges, but because he brilliantly channels Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson and Donald Westlake while managing to deftly stamp his own style on his impressive first effort as a hardboiled mystery author.

Sturges has his work cut out for him. The hardboiled detective genre, while still alive, seems as rooted in the past as a slapstick comedy. Modern practitioners of the art seem determined to evoke past glories more so than speak to their own world. Updating the genre seems impossible short of cynically adding what used to be considered in polite company foul language and graphic sex scenes to the established structure.

It would be dishonest to pretend that Sturges does not do just that here and yet, somehow the book does not feel like a cynical cheat. Partly this is due to Sturges’ gift for great dialogue (simply saying it is in his genes is to do the man discredit for his own talent) and an innate understanding of human nature and our common foibles observing others’ mistakes as well as his own in his nearly sixty years on this planet. There is no mistaking that this book is as much a cathartic autobiography as it is a genuine detective novel.

Read More »


Looking for the real Robert E. Howard in One Who Walked Alone

Thursday, April 28th, 2011 | Posted by Brian Murphy

one-who-walked-aloneIt couldn’t have been easy for Novalyne Price Ellis to write One Who Walked Alone: Robert E. Howard the Final Years (Donald M. Grant Publisher, Inc., 1986). Price Ellis’ memoir of her relationship with Howard (roughly 1934-36) is illuminating in its raw honesty. It’s also painful, at turns disappointing and downright frustrating. We might find escape in Howard’s sword and sorcery tales but there is none to be found here.

But above all, One Who Walked Alone is brave. Price Ellis never sacrifices accuracy to save face. Howard was a successful writer and a free spirit, and told wild, vivid stories, traits that Price Ellis found irresistible. But she was also painfully embarrassed with the Texan, unable to accept his occasionally odd public behavior. She was disappointed that he didn’t conform to her own conception of manliness and began to date other men, including one of his best friends, Truett Vinson, which cut Howard to the quick. While her reactions were understandable, at times I found her to be rather shallow and unlikeable. And yet rather than off-putting I find that uncompromising truthfulness highly admirable.

Read More »


Goth Chick News: Mad Madame LaLaurie

Thursday, April 28th, 2011 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image005There are some ghost stories that leave an indelible impression.

I fancy myself somewhat of a connoisseur of the paranormal, and over the past couple of years I’ve told you about some personal experiences (both real and imagined), some that others have experienced and a few that are little more than unsubstantiated folk tales.

And as you may have noticed, reality television has become somewhat obsessed of late, with night vision broadcasts documenting ghostly activity in every episode. If it were really that easy, there would be no question that spirits, or at the very least residual haunts, are a matter of record and I’d have interviewed a few of them for you.

But every once in awhile there comes a time and place where something so disturbing has occurred that the stories of hauntings associated with it morph into anecdotes that even a hardened skeptic could make room for.

I’ve told you about a few of these as well, such as Gettysburg, the Tower of London and the Edinburgh catacombs. However, due to their historical notoriety, these locations have been swarmed by professional ghost hunters over the years and investigated to death (if you pardon the expression); resulting in a magnitude of evidence for your consideration, whichever side of the belief scale you happen to come down on.

Then there’s the LaLaurie Mansion located in New Orleans’ French Quarter. It ranks near the very top of the “give me nightmares” scale.

Read More »


The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack wins Philip K. Dick Award

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 | Posted by John ONeill

strange-affair-of-spring-heeled-jackNotch up another win for Pyr Books excellent 2010 line up. The Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust announced on Friday that the winner of the 2011 Philip K. Dick Award is The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder, published by Pyr in September of last year.

We reported the complete list of nominees in January.

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented each year to “the distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States.” Previous winners have included C. L. Anderson, James P. Blaylock, Pat Murphy, Stephen Baxter, Carol Emshwiller and Richard Morgan. The judges for 2010 were William Barton, Andy Duncan (chair), Bruce McAllister, Melinda Snodgrass, and David Walton.

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack is Mark Hodder’s first novel. The sequel, The Clockwork Man Of Trafalgar Square, also featuring Burton and Swinburne, is the second installment of a three-volume story arc and was published by Pyr on March 22.

The PKD Trust also awarded a special citation this year to the novel Harmony, by Project Itoh, translated by Alexander O. Smith and published by Haikasoru.

Congratulations to the winners!


Art of the Genre: Orcus

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 | Posted by Scott Taylor

Sutherland keeps it 'real'

Sutherland keeps it 'real'


Orcus, Prince of the Undead. He’s an ancient legend, more so than any D&D text, but for the purpose of this article I’m going address the Gygaxian version and not the Etruscan.

Why Orcus? Well, because I’m upset with Orcus, that’s why. I feel like the big fella let me down. Once, back in the long, long, ago, I got the original AD&D Monster Manual, and in those pages I found the section on Demons and was captivated by it.

Here stood the tentacle-armed Demogorgon, and slime-spurting Juiblex, and the flail-wielding Yeenoghu, Demon Lord of Gnolls, but of all of them, Orcus jumped out into my imagination because he was so drastically different.

Orcus was this fat demon with a wand [I mean really, what self-respecting demon lord carries a wand?] He had the cloven hooves and legs of a goat, a beer belly, and the head of a ram. He wasn’t cool, or epic, and certainly wasn’t someone who would fill you with fear, but the reality in his visage gave me pause.

Simple but effective, I promise

Simple but effective, I promise

Read More »


Andrew Zimmerman Jones Reviews Pathfinder Supplements

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 | Posted by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

pathfinder_rpg_core_rulebook_coverPaizo publishing’s Pathfinder RPG is both familiar and innovative, as it brings the best of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 into a fresh new approach. In this review, I explore the core rulebook and a couple of their supplements, explaining why you should look into the game system if you haven’t already.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook

Jason Bulmahn
Paizo Publishing (575 pages, $49.99, Aug. 2009)

Pathfinder Module: Crypt of the Everflame

Jason Bulmahn
Paizo Publishing (32 pages, $13.99, Sept. 2009)

Pathfinder Adventure Path #25: Council of Thieves (1 of 6): The Bastards of Erebus

Edited by Sean K. Reynolds
Paizo Publishing (92 pages, $19.99, Aug. 2009)

Reviewed by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Your first look at the massive tome that is the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook can be a bit intimidating. I first ran across it piled high on a mountainous table at GenCon’s Paizo Publishing booth in summer 2009 and, I admit, I wasn’t even sure what it was. Yet another fantasy roleplaying game? Elves, dwarves, and halflings? It sure didn’t seem worth much attention, and I didn’t really get what all the hype was about.

Then I realized what it was… this was my old mistress, Dungeons & Dragons v3.5, all dressed up in a new outfit and ready to go out on the town again.

Read More »


. . . (ellipsis)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 | Posted by Ryan Harvey

ellipsisMoving on from the em dash (—), my series on punctuation continues with a post guaranteed to leave you hanging.

The ellipsis, a.k.a. “those dots in a row,” are perhaps the most mysterious of the common forms of punctuation. The mystery begins in childhood, probably during a viewing of one of the Star Wars films, where a strange line of periods give the feeling of floating off into the story as the opening prologue crawl comes to an end. . . .

But it is not an end . . . because of those dots. . . . What do they do, anyway? How do I use them?

Well……….not like this……….

That was the first rule of ellipis (pl. ellipses) that I had to learn: how many of those damn dots are there supposed to be? To look at most Internet forums posts, where the ellipsis is more common than the word “the,” it would appear that some people have never learned the correct number of dots and instead lean on the period key and watch it repeat until they reach a level of satisfaction.

Read More »


Black Gate 15 Complete Table of Contents

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 | Posted by John ONeill

bg-15-cover2The theme of our massive 15th issue, captured beautifully by Donato Giancola’s striking cover, is Warrior Women. Eight authors — Jonathan L. Howard, Maria V. Snyder, Frederic S. Durbin, Sarah Avery, Paula R. Stiles, Emily Mah, S. Hutson Blount, and Brian Dolton — contribute delightful tales of female warriors, wizards, weather witches, thieves, and other brave women as they face deadly tombs, sinister gods, unquiet ghosts, and much more.

Frederic S. Durbin takes us to a far land where two dueling gods pit their champions against each other in a deadly race to the World’s End. Brian Dolton offers us a tale of Ancient China, a beautiful occult investigator, and a very peculiar haunting. And Jonathan L. Howard returns to our pages with “The Shuttered Temple,” the sequel to “The Beautiful Corridor” from Black Gate 13, in which the resourceful thief Kyth must penetrate the secrets of a mysterious and very lethal temple.

What else is in BG 15? Howard Andrew Jones bring us a lengthy excerpt from his blockbuster novel The Desert of Souls, featuring the popular characters Dabir & Asim. Harry Connolly returns after too long an absence with “Eating Venom,” in which a desperate soldier faces a basilisk’s poison — and the treachery it brings. John C. Hocking begins a terrific new series with “A River Through Darkness & Light,” featuring a dedicated Archivist who leads a small band into a deadly desert tomb; John Fultz shares the twisted fate of a thief who dares fantastic dangers to steal rare spirits indeed in “The Vintages of Dream,” and Vaughn Heppner kicks off an exciting new sword & sorcery saga as a young warrior flees the spawn of a terrible god through the streets of an ancient city in “The Oracle of Gog.”

Plus fiction from Darrell Schweitzer, Jamie McEwan, Michael Livingston, Chris Willrich, Fraser Ronald, Derek Künsken, Jeremiah Tolbert, Nye Joell Hardy, and Rosamund Hodge!

In our generous non-fiction section, Mike Resnick educates us on the best in black & white fantasy cinema, Bud Webster turns his attention to the brilliant Tom Reamy in his Who? column on 20th Century fantasy authors, Scott Taylor challenges ten famous fantasy artists to share their vision of a single character in Art Evolution, and Rich Horton looks at the finest fantasy anthologies of the last 25 years. Plus over 30 pages of book, game, and DVD reviews, edited by Bill Ward, Howard Andrew Jones, and Andrew Zimmerman Jones — and a brand new Knights of the Dinner Table strip.

Buy this issue for only $18.95, or as part of bundle of back issues — any two for just $25 plus shipping!

Buy this issue in PDF for only $8.95!

Buy the Kindle version at Amazon.com for just $9.95!

Black Gate 15 is another huge issue: 384 pages of fiction, reviews, and articles. It contains 22 stories, totaling nearly 152,000 words of adventure fantasy. Complete details on all the contents after the jump.

Read More »


  Earlier Entries »

This site © 2018 by New Epoch Press. All rights reserved.