Goth Chick News: Full Length Trailers for Shadows and Prometheus: It’s Getting Interesting…

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image004This week saw all sorts of new goodies being released to moisten your pallet for what will surely be two of the upcoming summer movie season’s biggest box office draws.

Let’s start with Dark Shadows and my assertion that if Barnabas Collins were really in his grave somewhere, he’d probably be spinning like a rotisserie ham.

It’s because the original vampire Collins wasn’t particularly heartthrob material (and proper vampires really shouldn’t be) that I didn’t mind some of the initial low-quality stills that came from Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s rewind of the 1960’s TV cult classic.

Depp had his hair plastered down and was sporting a seriously pasty complexion.

Okay, fair enough. I did fret ever so slightly about the borderline comical nature of his look but, well, that’s just Burton and Depp.

Then on March 16th we finally get the goods: a series of character portraits and a full length trailer of Dark Shadows to hold us over the 55 or so days until its release on May 11th.

Oh joy, oh rapture, oh…. seriously?

A comedy?

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Black Gate Interviews Nathan Long, Part Two

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Bill Ward

ulrika-bloodforged-nathan-longThis week Black Gate picks up where we left off in Part One of our interview with fantasy and science fiction author Nathan Long.

Last week we talked about your latest novel, Jane Carver of Waar. But most readers are more familiar with the work you’ve done in the Warhammer world, where you’ve published 11 novels to date. How familiar were you with Warhammer and Games Workshop before you began writing for them?

I had worked in a game store in the 80s, just when the first Warhammer Fantasy Role Play rulebook came out, and I had read it cover to cover, though I never played it, so I was pretty familiar with the setting and the mood of the game and the world. I still had a lot of homework to do once they hired me, however. I ended up owning and reading all the army books, all the supplements, etc. Homework should always be that fun.

Tell us a bit about the differences between working in an existing world, versus one entirely of your own creation.

In one way, it’s easier, as all your world building has been done for you. It’s like being hired to write for a TV show or a long-running comic book. Quite a lot of the world and sometimes the characters have been established, so all you have to worry about is the plot and character. I never really found this limiting. There are an infinite number of stories that can be told in any world, and it was a fun challenge to come up with ideas that fit the feel of the Warhammer setting.

It can be harder when you’re asked to put specific bits of the world into specific novels. For instance, when I wrote Tainted Blood, the third Blackhearts novel, my editors wanted it set in a specific city, because they wanted it to tie into a gaming supplement that was coming out for that city. That took a little more work, but it was still fun. Every challenge is an excuse to come up with a cool solution, and I have always loved that kind of game.

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INVADING FANTASY

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 | Posted by peadarog

CONQUER THIS

Lebor Gabála Érenn — it just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Literally: “The Book of the Taking of Ireland” or, as it’s usually rendered in English: “The Book of Invasions”, or even, “The Book of Conquests”. It’s a medieval history in case you hadn’t guessed. A full and not very frank account of every event that ever happened on the island of my birth.

Jim Fitzpatrick did some amazing illustrations for his version of the story.

Jim Fitzpatrick did some amazing illustrations for his version of the story.

People love to visit Ireland, apparently, and it’s even more fun when you bring an army with you. They’ve all done it, every horde and its crazy gods: Patholonians, Fomorians, Nemedians, Belly Men, The People of the Goddess Danú (who later fled underground to become the Sidhe) and *finally* — drum roll — The Gaels.

I say “finally”, because that’s where The Book of Invasions ends, but just as WWI didn’t quite live up to “the War to end all wars”, and the unification of Germany failed utterly to “end history”… well, Ireland’s attraction for blood-thirsty tourists only got stronger after that.

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Rolling Cities and Ship Building: A Talk with Frederic S. Durbin

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 | Posted by Patty Templeton

Philippe de Champaigne's Vanitas Still Life with Skull

Philippe de Champaigne's Vanitas Still Life with Skull

In a Frederic S. Durbin story, you’re as likely to get a chattering, boxed skull secreted away on an enormous mobile city as you are to get an ominous underground world directly beneath a funeral parlor. Durbin writes dark stories with a light touch. His detailed settings come close to becoming characters themselves. Though his audience is mainly a younger crowd, his fantasy novels can be enjoyed by all. All, meaning me. I like his books. You should too. Don’t even get me started on his short stories. I might squeal all over you.

Durbin was born in Illinois, taught English and creative writing in Japan for twenty years and now resides in Pittsburgh, PA. His most recent novel, The Star Shard, was released in February.

Black Gate had a sit down and discovered the secrets of Frederic S. Durbin’s soul. Ish. OK. That’s a lie. More so we booktalked, but if you ask him nicely on his GoodReads or blog, “Mr. Durbin, what secret(s) does your soul hold?”… he might tell you. And if he does, report it back to the big BG so we get the scoop first. In the meantime, here’s Black Gate’s talk with Frederic S. Durbin.

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Art of the Genre: Art of the Iconic Female #1; Dejah Thoris

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 | Posted by Scott Taylor

campell-255Yeah, so I saw John Carter, and like everyone else that I have heard saw it, I love the movie. In fact I was so taken by it that I decided I had to start a new thread in Art of the Genre, so appropriately the lovely and fierce Dejah Thoris will be the first icon in this series.

Now it’s both funny and sad to say this, but the marketing of the female lead in both science fiction and fantasy has been, and will ever be, the epitome of male chauvinistic. My wife loves nothing more than to rail against the infernal machine that is the business in which I’ve chosen to make my livelihood from [or lack thereof], but it’s hard to fight such a powerful Goliath.

So, I move through this art business as best I can, trying to navigate the turbulent waters between what is overtly offensive to women and acceptably sexy to all viewers. Since the business model, however, is geared toward young teenage boys, you can see how it’s difficult to try to sell anything other than sex.

Thus we find images of Dejah Thoris sprawling in half-naked glory all over the internet, and yet when I saw John Carter I could have stood up and cheered for Disney’s take on the showing of flesh in this particular film.

Dejah, as beautiful as she was, didn’t flaunt anything the men of the move didn’t as well, and I was twice as taken with that fact that although John Carter of course went barbarian bare-chested as any slave should, that red Martian warriors wore armor that fully exposed their midsections, no matter if they were male or female.

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Traditions and Criticisms

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 | Posted by Matthew David Surridge

English MusicLiterary traditions are useful things. They’re constructions of literary critics, sure, but useful constructions. A well-articulated tradition can show how different writers deal with the same idea or theme, demonstrating different approaches to a given problem or artistic ideal. It can show affinities between writers, sometimes bringing out resemblences between different figures in such a way as to cast new light on everyone involved. At the grandest level, the whole history of writing in a given language or from a given nation can be seen to be part of a tradition, showing the evolution of a language or the concerns of a people.

The problem with the idea of a tradition is that it can also lead to ossified thinking. A set of writers can be fixed as a canon not to be questioned, examplars of an ideal that can only degenerate. Or a critic might focus on works written within one tradition alone, ignoring works from beyond that tradition. And, as a result, ignoring the existence of other traditions entirely.

I’ve been thinking along these lines since I recently stumbled across an article at the Atlantic website. Written a few months ago by Joe Fassler, it tries to explain why ‘literary’ fiction is suddenly full of ‘genre’ elements (Fassler takes the distinction between ‘literary’ and ‘genre’ for granted; I’m less sure). I thought the piece failed to establish its premises and then failed to make a convicing argument based on those premises. And those failures, I think, come from a limited idea not only of what literature is, but of the existence of the muliplicity of literary traditions within the Anglophone world.

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Charles de Lint’s Promises to Keep

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 | Posted by Elizabeth Cady

promises-to-keepPromises to Keep
Charles de Lint
Tachyon (192 pp, $14.95, Paperback May 2011) 
Reviewed by Elizabeth Cady

Charles de Lint has become one of the big names in the worlds of Urban and Mythic Fantasy, and for good reason. At its best, his stories are beautifully crafted. They capture both the wonder of the everyday and the sheer strangeness of the otherworld that can intrude into our own. A key aspect of his work has been his creation of Newford, a fictional North American city. De Lint has, over the last twenty years, filled this city with a cast of characters that have by now become familiar friends to his readers.

Jilly Coppercorn is one of those characters, and she is central to many of his novels and short stories. In Promises to Keep, one of the latest entries into the Newford series, we learn more of Jilly’s troubled history. We know from her previous appearances that Jilly is a survivor of sexual abuse and a recovering addict, that she lived for a time on the street, and that she escaped that life to become an artist. Promises takes us back to that fragile time in Jilly’s life when she first escaped heroin and forced prostitution and began the long process of healing.

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Peplum Populist: Hercules in the Haunted World

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 | Posted by Ryan Harvey

hercules-in-the-haunted-world-us-posterAmong the most popular articles I’ve written for Black Gate is a look at one the goofiest fantasy films of the ‘80s, the Lou Ferrigno Hercules. Two-and-a-half years later, I feel I should give the on-screen Hercules another shot with one of the better films to carry his name. Plus, I just pondered the news that a new Hercules film is on the way. Or maybe I’m just trying to repeat the search-engine magic of the name “Hercules.” So let’s leap back twenty-two years from the science-fiction cheesy glitz of Ferrigno’s film and take a kaleidoscopic trip to Hell on a shoestring budget with Mario Bava.

Among the many movies produced in the “sword-and-sandal” (peplum) deluge in Italy between 1958 and 1965, two stand out for movie fans: The Colossus of Rhodes (1960) and Hercules in the Haunted World (1961). Both were early efforts from directors who went on to re-shape other genres and subsequently turned into legends. Sergio Leone, director of The Colossus of Rhodes, created the style of the Italian Western with his three films with Clint Eastwood and the ultra classic Once Upon a Time in the West. Mario Bava, director of Hercules in the Haunted World, gave form to the Italian giallo film and Continental horror in general, starting with Black Sunday made the year before his one Hercules films.

The difference between The Colossus of Rhodes and Hercules in the Haunted World is that Bava was already in fine form and showing his signature style, while Leone displayed little of his famous “Leone-ness” in his first movie. The Colossus of Rhodes looks like something any competent director could have turned out. Nobody but Bava could have created the colorful fantasy eeriness of Hercules in the Haunted World.

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March/April Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine now on Sale

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 | Posted by John ONeill

mar-apr-2012-fsf-coverI think I’m a little late with this one, as this issue has maybe been on sale for a few weeks. Tisk, tisk. That’s what one little game auction will do to you.

Well, time to catch up.  The March/April issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, for those of you who haven’t read it already, is packed full of great stuff, including a brand new novelette by the incredible Peter S. Beagle, and short stories from Robert Reed, Steven Utley, Richard Bowes, Geoffrey Landis, Robert Walton and Barry N. Malzberg, C.S. Friedman, and a lot more. Here’s the complete fiction TOC:

NOVELETS

  • “Electrica”  – Sean McMullen
  • “Twenty-Two and You”  – Michael Blumlein
  • “Greed”  – Albert E. Cowdrey
  • “Gnarly Times at Nana’ite Beach”  – KJ Kabza
  • “Olfert Dapper’s Day”  – Peter S. Beagle

SHORT STORIES

  • “Repairmen”  – Tim Sullivan
  • “One Year of Fame”  – Robert Reed
  • “The Tortoise Grows Elate”  – Steven Utley
  • “The Queen and the Cambion”  – Richard Bowes
  • “Demiurge”  – Geoffrey Landis
  • “The Man Who Murdered Mozart”  – Robert Walton and Barry N. Malzberg
  • “Perfect Day”  – C.S. Friedman

The amazing Lois Tilton has already reviewed the complete issue at Locus Online. Here’s what she says about Beagle’s contribution, “Olfert Dapper’s Day”:

Dr Dapper, of no real medical degree, is forced to flee to the New World when his various frauds are revealed to the authorities of Utrecht. In the wilderness, among the comfortless Puritans, he has no alternative but to pose as a medical practitioner. Yet despite himself, he finds wonders and miracles in the wilderness.

A fine and moving fantasy. The author’s voice is quite engaging and his protagonist undergoes a memorable metamorphosis.

The cover price is $7.50, for a thick 258 pages. Cover artist this issue is David A. Hardy. More details at the F&SF website, including the complete text of book and film reviews by Charles de Lint, Chris Moriarty, Paul Di Filippo, and Lucius Shepard. We last covered F&SF here with the January/February issue.


New Treasures: The Scar by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 | Posted by John ONeill

the-scarIt’s been a big week for games. The long-awaited (by me) Lords of Waterdeep has finally landed, and my man Andrew Jones tells me it rocks. Plus, I’m still processing loot from my prolonged auction insanity at last weekend’s game orgy.

Of course, this is the week that some terrific new novels arrive in the mail, courtesy of the top publishers in the industry. When they say no rest for the wicked, they’re talking about me specifically. Bastards.

So let’s get to it. If I can only pick one book to draw your attention to this week (because I’m spending the rest of my time stacking gaming loot in the basement), it would have to be The Scar, by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko.

Why The Scar? ‘Cause it’s so damn cool, that’s why. First is that eye-catching Richard Anderson cover, which said Put down that copy of Cosmic Encounter and pay attention to me, O’Neill, in a commanding Russian accent. Then it leaped on my desk and did a cool Cossack dance.

The Scar is the first English translation for Sergey and Marina Dyachenko, the popular husband and wife team who have achieved tremendous success in Russia. They’ve received eighty literary prizes for excellence, and The Scar won the “Sword in the Stone” award for best fantasy novel from 1995-1999.

Here’s the blurb:

Reaching far beyond sword and sorcery, The Scar is a story of two people torn by disaster, their descent into despair, and their reemergence through love and courage…

Egert is a brash, confident member of the elite guards and an egotistical philanderer. But after he kills an innocent student in a duel, a mysterious man known as “The Wanderer” challenges Egert and slashes his face with his sword, leaving Egert with a scar that comes to symbolize his cowardice. Unable to end his suffering by his own hand, Egert embarks on an odyssey to undo the curse and the horrible damage he has caused, which can only be repaired by a painful journey down a long and harrowing path.

This looks like the remedy I’ve been looking for, to all the similar-looking urban fantasy volumes piling on my shelves recently. Kudos to Tor for looking far and wide to bring the finest in fantasy to American shores. I’m looking forward to digging in to this one. Check out the book trailer here.


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