2010 Nebula Award Winners Announced

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 | Posted by John ONeill

nebulaThe Nebula Awards for the best science fiction and fantasy published in 2010 were awarded by the Science Fiction Writers of America in a gala celebration yesterday, part of the Nebula Awards Weekend.

The Nebulas have been awarded every year since 1965. This year’s presentation was at the Washington Hilton in Washington D.C. It was especially poignant for Black Gate, since our own Amal El-Mohtar was nominated for her short story ‘‘The Green Book’’ (in the November issues of Apex magazine).

And the winners were:

Novel
Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Spectra)
Novella
– “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window,” Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean, Summer 2010)
Novelette
– “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made, Eric James Stone (Analog, September 2010)
Short Story (tie)
– “Ponies,” Kij Johnson (Tor.com,  January 17 2010)
– “How Interesting: A Tiny Man,” Harlan Ellison (Realms of Fantasy,  February 2010)

The Ray Bradbury Award for Best Dramatic Production went to Inception, and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy was won by I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett (Gollancz; Harper).

The Solstice Award for impact on the field of science fiction and fantasy was given to both Alice Sheldon (James Tiptree, Jr), and the artist Michael Whelan. The SFWA Service Award went to John E. Johnston III. Complete details on the awards can be found at Locus Online.

Congratulations to all the winners! And to Amal, both for being nominated, and for being so damn cool.


Tales of the Magatama

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

mirror-sword1I bumped into the talented Nick Mamatas at the 2010 World Fantasy Convention and discovered that he was editor for the Haikasoru line of translated Japanese fantasy novels for Viz Media. I might be well-read in foundational sword-and-sorcery texts, but I was pretty uninformed about the fantasy of Japan, and what Nick had to say was quite interesting. I was especially curious about a series of books by Noriko Ogiwara, The Tales of the Magatama, which are hugely popular in Japan, and have won numerous awards.

The second novel in the series, Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince, has just been released by Viz, so I thought it high time to talk with Nick to find out more about the series. He was kind enough to answer a number of questions, which I’ve included below.

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The Rainbow Guard comes out of the closet

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 | Posted by Theo

game-of-thronesWarning: this is a post that includes various spoilers concerning both the novel and the HBO series of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, as well as discussing adult themes and the abuse of animals. Proceed at one’s own risk.

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Saladin Ahmed on Black Gate

Saturday, May 21st, 2011 | Posted by John ONeill

saladin-ahmedOver at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, guest blogger Saladin Ahmed had this to say about the modern landscape for heroic fantasy:

In recent years I’ve also discovered that there is a wealth of short-form heroic fantasy out there… Anthologies like the excellent Swords and Dark Magic feature some of the top names in the field (Erikson, Lynch, Abercrombie, Moorcock, Nix, Cook). And writers like Peter V. Brett have produced collections of short works set in their bestselling worlds (The Great Bazaar and Other Stories, Brayan’s Gold). But there are also some great short story ezines out there publishing the next generation of heroic fantasy writers: Heroic Fantasy Quarterly has made it their mission to bring back the pulp era with unabashedly larger-than-life adventures. Black Gate (the magazine where James Enge’s awesome Morlock Ambrosius got his start) is also working hard to revive the sense of wonder that heroes like Conan and John Carter of Mars used to evoke in readers. And Beneath Ceaseless Skies specializes in what the editor calls ‘literary adventure fantasy’ – stories that combine excellent prose and psychological depth with fantasy elements like alchemists, samurai, werewolves, and talking swords.

Thanks for the shout-out, Saladin! For our part we’re looking forward to your upcoming novel, Throne of the Crescent Moon.


Two Reviews

Saturday, May 21st, 2011 | Posted by Soyka

hfNo doubt somewhere someone is writing a vampire series based on Hamlet (there is, alas, a Romeo and Juliet and Vampires novel) but, for now, they are separate categories for two of my reviews posted on the current (mid-May) SF Site.

The first is Orson Scott Card’s retelling of Hamlet, which pretty much follows the play’s plot, but with a twist at the end I suspect the original author no more would have thought of than, well, making Hamlet a vampire.

bs4The second is Cherie Priest’s kickoff of an “urban fantasy” (a term which I take to mean “vampires who live and suck blood in cities”) called Bloodshot, featuring Raylene Pendle (aka Cheshire Red), and thief for hire who also happens to be a slightly neurotic vampire.

It’s not Shakespeare, but it is fun.


Larry Tritten, 1939 – 2011

Friday, May 20th, 2011 | Posted by John ONeill

black_gate_9-2771Black Gate lost one of its own last month with the passing of noted short story writer Larry Tritten.

Larry began his lengthy career in 1968 with the story “West is West,” in Worlds of If magazine. He appeared in dozens of magazines such as The New YorkerFantasy and Science FictionAsimov’sTwilight Zone, and many others. In 2005 his story “It’s a Wonderful Con,” featuring a man who cons Santa Claus out of $200, appeared in Black Gate 9.

As much as I enjoyed his fiction, I was even more charmed with Larry’s letters, which related fascinating details of a writing life. I got his permission to include a few of those anecdotes in a sidebar that accompanied the story, and got more mail about that than about his fiction. The sidebar read, in part:

I was in the Mammoth Book of Future Cops a while back, with a Chandler parody set in future San Francisco, and not long ago I was the lone male (heterosexual) writer in the British anthology Va-Va-Voom – Red Hot Lesbian Erotica.  Just me and 32 Lesbian writers. I try to cover all territories.  Had a piece in Minnesota Parent a while back, though I am not a parent and have never been to Minnesota (except to change planes).  Had one in Range (but am not a cattle grower).  And so on.

The count is about 1500 pieces since the sixties, so I’ve had time to get around.  I’m probably one of the few writers to have published in both Hustler and The New Yorker.  I’m often astonishing younger writers with memories of the those early days.  For example, in December 1978 I made four or five sales (one to The New Yorker for, I think, about $1250), and the money added up to close to $5,000.  I was living in an apartment where the rent was $185 per month.  Rent for two years!  Hard to believe such times ever existed.  Today my rent and bills are about ten times what they were then, and just the next month’s rent always looms like the sword of Damocles.

F&SF editor Gordon van Gelder wrote:

He was a smart, talented, and funny writer. He was also the sort of professional writer that seems to be disappearing, the kind of professional who never met a market he didn’t like and had the versatility to tailor almost any work to meet the needs of any market.

He contributed a lot of funny stuff to F&SF over the years.

Larry died in April, 2011. A more complete obituary appears in the May issue of Locus.


Blogging Marvel’s The Tomb of Dracula, Part Two

Friday, May 20th, 2011 | Posted by William Patrick Maynard

tomb-of-dracula-7tomb-of-dracula-8Marv Wolfman took over scripting duties on Marvel’s The Tomb of Dracula with Issue 7. Despite the name, Wolfman was an unlikely choice for a horror title as he had never been much of a horror fan and had limited exposure to the character outside of Stoker’s original novel. Nonetheless, the decision to pair Wolfman with artist Gene Colan and inker Tom Palmer elevated the series to classic status and insured its reputation for decades to come.

Issue 7 quickly sets the stage with the introduction of Quincy Harker and his daughter Edith. Quincy is the son of Jonathan and Mina Harker born at the end of Stoker’s novel. Here he is a nearly blind old man confined to a wheelchair with his daughter and faithful dog Saint as his constant companions. He functions as a mentor to Rachel Van Helsing and Taj Nital and has welcomed Frank Drake into the fold. Quincy is an amateur inventor whose vampire hunting gadgets give the story a Bondian edge that works very well. Wolfman’s sense of history and character instantly deepens the story and gives the reader a reason to empathize beyond the immediate sense of good vs. evil.

His innate understanding of people as an amalgamation of family history, mistakes, joys, and tragedies is Wolfman’s greatest strength as an author. Even his Dracula, for all of his cruelty and savagery, is imbued with such humanity and dignity that one can’t help hoping all of them can find peace. Wolfman may be the first writer since Stoker to successfully treat the characters as real people that readers recognize as something other than stereotypes. Finding the key to that empathy is what elevates his take on the property above so many others.

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R. Scott Bakker: Not the Anti-Tolkien, After All

Friday, May 20th, 2011 | Posted by peadarog

lord-of-the-ringsAre you a Tolkien imitator? A riffer? A rejector? One way or the other, if you’re writing epic fantasy, the Oxford professor is sitting on your shoulder, sniggering and blowing dirty pipe smoke up your nose.

It doesn’t matter that you’ve never read Lord of the Rings; declaring Conan the Cimmerian to be your only true love won’t save you. The man with two “R”s didn’t invent the field, but he dominates it to the extent that we all write in his shadow.

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Goth Chick News: Outpost 13 – A Very Early Peek at a New Film from Pirate Pictures

Thursday, May 19th, 2011 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image010Welcome to the Cool Kids Club; you’ve officially arrived.

How do I know?

Because uber-edgy indy film maker Wyatt Weed (Pirate Pictures) has decided that Black Gate is where he wants to leak a little insider information about his upcoming sci-fi release, Outpost 13.

I’ve seen an amazing secret clip which I can’t share just yet, but allow me to assure you that snotty posers would never be allowed this kind of access.

I begged, pleaded and finally promised Wyatt that I’d send him my personal copy of Black Gate 15 (hey John, you’re not going to charge me for a replacement copy are you?) and he agreed to sneak us a little information about the project, along with some production stills.

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This Page is Half Empty: The Five Horsemen of Literary Apocalypse

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 | Posted by Aaron Starr

428px-durer_revelation_four_riders1Right now, as I type this — and as you read it — I’ve got a new manuscript half done. For a writer, this is sort of like me saying that at this very moment I’m not wearing anything under all of my clothing. Well, duh, most people are thinking, while trying to not involuntarily imagine me naked. For writers, the thought continues, there’s always the current project.

The process of forging the first draft is much like any other relationship between the mind and the will. Romance, for instance. There’s the initial flare of interest, the slower “getting to know you” stage, and a much longer “I know you, now” period. These are all easy to navigate, because they are exciting and interesting. They are effortless, and writers know the feeling of a Work-In-Progress crush.

But this infatuation period cannot last. While in it, there’s always the potential that your feelings are mercurial, diaphanous dream-fluff that make no sense when you try to go deeper. To your shock, you realize that perhaps your burning love isn’t the stuff of ages, but mere puppy love. Your ardor has brought you no glamour, but instead made those around you somewhat uncomfortable, hoping, for your sake, that it will all end soon without you getting hurt too badly.

Am I just a puppy-lover? you find yourself asking.

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