Winter 2013 Issue of Subterranean Magazine now Available

Monday, December 31st, 2012 | Posted by John ONeill

subterranean-winter-2013I enjoy doing these magazine updates. They keep me on top of the latest and greatest in genre short fiction and I can pretend I’m doing work.

Subterranean‘s 25th issue continues with the new policy of posting the complete contents online all at once, rather than in a weekly rolling format. This is the special Walter Jon Williams issue, with a brand new novella and a classic reprint, “Surfacing” — which I read years ago in a Dozois Best of the Year anthology, and had something to do with communicating with big alien whales. It’s cool, you should check it out.

Here’s the complete table of contents:

  • “Raptors,” by Conrad Williams (11,500 word novelette)
  • “Hard Silver,” by Steven R. Boyett (12,000 word novelette)
  • “The Boolean Gate,” by Walter Jon Williams (32,000 word novella)
  • “Surfacing,” by Walter Jon Williams (21,000 word novella, reprint)

Subterranean Press recently announced the deluxe edition of Robin Hobb’s lengthy new novella, The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince, two collections by Harlan Ellison, and the on-sale date for the signed limited edition of Stephen King’s The Shining. Get all the news at their website.

Subterranean is edited by William Schafer and published quarterly. The Winter 2013 issue is completely free and available here; see their complete back issue catalog here. We last covered Subterranean magazine with their previous issue, Fall 2012.

The Top 50 Black Gate Posts in November

Monday, December 31st, 2012 | Posted by John ONeill

theavengers2012posterWe’ve had a great fall here at Black Gate: more folks visited us than at any time in our history, and we’ve had steady increases in readership every month since June. We’ve nearly doubled our traffic since this time last year — which would be terrific, if we could just get all you folks to wipe your feet before stepping on the carpet. In any event, thanks for the support, and here’s to an even better 2013.

The most popular fiction at Black Gate in November was:

  1. Godmother Llizard,” by C.S.E. Cooney
  2. Pathfinder Tales: Queen of Thorns, Chapter One, by Dave Gross
  3. The Whoremaster of Pald,” by Harry Connolly
  4. The Poison Well,” by Judith Berman
  5. Awakening,” by Judith Berman
  6. A Phoenix in Darkness,” by Donald S. Crankshaw
  7. The Quintessence of Absence,” by Sean McLachlan
  8. The Daughter’s Dowry,” by Aaron Bradford Starr
  9. The Duelist,” by Jason Thummel
  10. The Moonstones of- Sor Lunaru,” by Joe Bonadonna

And the Top 50 articles of the month were:

  1. Where Life is Cheap and Secrets are Plentiful: Vox Day’s A Magic Broken
  2. Avengers Commentary
  3. Teaching and Fantasy Literature Breaking and Entering in the House of John Gardner
  4. Goth Chick News: Gird Your Loins
  5. Art of the Genre: Art of the Disappearing MMORPG
  6. Read More »

Black Gate Online Fiction: “The Tea-Maker’s Task” by Aaron Bradford Starr

Sunday, December 30th, 2012 | Posted by John ONeill

tea-makers-task2Gallery Hunters Gloren Avericci and Yr Neh, last seen in “The Daughter’s Dowry” (published here on October 14), accept  a dangerous commission to investigate a deadly island:

Herrion’s eyes gleamed. “I’d like for you to return to where you found that book, and search the area for signs of the vine.”

“I’m not a botanist,” I objected. “You’d be better off hiring someone who is.”

“You make a good point. I’d like for you to escort my apprentice, Kemp. He will identify the vine.”

“The forests of Candelon are dangerous,” I said, uncertain. Herrion smiled.

“Ah! I see you are learning your craft!” Herrion laughed. “You will be well compensated.”

“No,” I objected, “the woods really are dangerous. There’s some sort of creature –”

“The Walker of the Woods,” the man said. “I’ve heard the tales. Have you seen this creature?”

“Well, no, but –”

“It’s settled, then. I’d like to hire you for three silver every day.”

I tried, unsuccessfully, I’m afraid, not to goggle. I had not seen a Silver Eye for longer than I could admit. Herrion, to his credit, closed his eyes, sipping once more.

“Drink up,” he said.

Of “The Daughter’s Dowry,” Tangent Online said, “A story such as this deserves a world of its own and more adventures from its hero.” We’re more than happy to oblige with this latest exciting installment.

You can see the complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by Mark Rigney, C.S.E. Cooney, Donald S. Crankshaw, Aaron Bradford Starr, Sean McLachlan, Harry Connolly, and Jason E. Thummel, here.

“The Tea-Maker’s Task”  is a complete 9,000-word novelette of heroic fantasy offered at no cost, with original art by Aaron Bradford Starr.

Read the complete story here.

BlackWyrm Publishing’s Latest: Burning the Middle Ground

Sunday, December 30th, 2012 | Posted by John ONeill

burning-the-middle-ground-smallI’ve been continually impressed with the growing fantasy and dark fantasy/horror catalog from Dave Mattingly’s BlackWyrm Publishing. They first appeared on my radar in 2008 with unapologetically straightforward adventure fantasy novels such as Jason Walters’s The Vast White and Trevis Powell’s Albrim’s Curse. Their cover art was excellent, their production values were solid, and they clearly knew what they were doing. Independent sword-and-sorcery publishers are thin on the ground these days, especially those willing to take a chance of new authors, and their arrival was much celebrated in our offices.

I met Dave for the first time at Worldcon in Chicago, and I was glad to finally be able to shake his hand. He had an impressive booth just around the corner from ours in the Dealer’s room, and I was stunned when I set eyes on the complete BlackWyrm catalog for the first time: dozens of new fantasy titles from a host of exciting new authors, spread out in an eye-catching panorama. Dave handed me a copy of their newest release, Jason S. Walters’s fiction collection An Unforgiving Land, and I took it home determined to steal enough time to read it.

I should have known that the mighty BlackWyrm Publishing empire would move faster than I could. Long before I could put the finishing touches on a review, Dave had added no less than seven new publications to his resume, including the epic fantasy Witches by Georgia L. Jones, Andrew Toy’s dark fantasy The Man in the Box — and Andrew Cooper’s novel of modern horror Burning the Middle Ground, which arrived in my mail box this week.

Burning the Middle Ground is a tale of religious conspiracy and supernatural mind control in small-town America. Journalist Ronald Glassner is determined to write a book on the McCullough Tragedy, which began the day Brian McCullough came home from school to discover that his ten-year-old sister Fran had murdered their parents. But the more time Ronald spends in the small town of Kenning, Georgia, the more the mystery deepens… until he finds himself caught up in a struggle between two very different churches. When the town’s pets begin to go berserk and mutilated corpses begin to appear, Ronald realizes he’s stumbled on the story of his life.

Burning the Middle Ground by L. Andrew Cooper was published in trade paperback by BlackWyrm Publishing on Nov 30, 2012. It is 330 pages, priced at $15.95. It’s only the latest in a terrific line of titles from an exciting new publisher — do yourself a favor and check them out.

The Nightmare Men: “The Blind Man”

Sunday, December 30th, 2012 | Posted by Josh Reynolds

weird-tales-march-1944-small‘…an elderly man who wore his hair long and white…a firm, almost prognathus chin, half-pursed lips and a strong Roman nose. His eyes were not visible at all, for he wore dark glasses with shields which prevented one from seeing his eyes even from the side.’

Such is our first glimpse of Dr. Laban Shrewsbury, late of Arkham, late of the distant star Celaeno, and the Hyades in the 1944 story, “The House on Curwen Street”.  Blind, and yet all-seeing, Shrewsbury stands between humanity and Lovecraft’s nightmarish god-things, employing weapons both material and supernatural in the world’s defense.

Created in 1944 by August Derleth for a series of interlinked stories set firmly in the dark universe of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos — a term coined by Derleth himself — Shrewsbury was far from the standard Lovecraftian protagonist. With his incantations and machinations, he is at first glance the antithesis of the hapless antiquarians and artists who populate both the original stories and many of the pastiches that came after.

“They are at the mouth of the Miskatonic now. But I am ready.”

-Dr. Laban Shrewsbury, “The House on Curwen Street”

Shrewsbury is far more active than his predecessors, who are, in most cases, passive victims of the horrors they encounter. Unlike John Kirowan, who has seen the audient void and been frightened by it into a haunted and semi-reclusive retirement, Shrewsbury is more akin to Titus Crow—he is an active combatant in a war in which humanity is, at best, a pawn, and at worst, food for the titanic forces at play.

Read More »

SEVEN KINGS: Chapter 1 Online

Sunday, December 30th, 2012 | Posted by John R. Fultz

seven-kingsOnly 17 days until the release of SEVEN KINGS

Black Gate posted the entire first chapter online last week.

Here’s the downlow:

In the jungles of Khyrei, an escaped slave seeks vengeance and finds the key to a savage revolution. In the drought-stricken Stormlands, the Twin Kings argue the destiny of their kingdom: one walks the path of knowledge, the other treads the road to war.

Beyond the haunted mountains King Vireon confronts a plague of demons bent on destroying his family. Iardu the Shaper weaves history like a grand tapestry, spinning sorceries into a vision of apocalypse.

Giants and Men march as one to shatter a wicked empire.

The fate of the known world rests on the blades of Seven Kings…



To the official SEVEN KINGS book launch on Saturday, January 19 @ 1:00 pm,
at Borderlands Books in glorious San Francisco.

Amazon is taking SEVEN KINGS pre-orders right here.

New Treasures: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

Saturday, December 29th, 2012 | Posted by John ONeill

astonishing-swordsmen-and-sorcerers-of-hyperborea-smallBack in 2010, I attended Garycon II, a rapidly-growing game convention in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, held in honor of Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons. In my BG convention report I said:

One of the delights of the con for me was the discovery of Charnel Crypt of the Sightless Serpent, an adventure for the forthcoming Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea system by Gary’s Castle Zagyg co-author Jeffrey Talanian. A black and white staple-bound folio sold at a tiny table in the hallway for five bucks, Charnel Crypt reminded me of nothing so much as Dave Arneson’s original Blackmoor supplement, which first appeared in 1975 (and cost about the same.)

According to the program book Talanian was running players through the adventure in one of the gaming rooms, and I wished I’d had a chance to find them. He describes Hyperborea as “largely influenced by the fictional works of R.E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and H.P. Lovecraft.”

That I’d like to see. He promises the rules will see print this year.

I’ve been keeping an eye on Jeff’s website at North Wind Adventures ever since, and I’m happy to say my efforts were not in vain. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea was released in October and proved well worth the long wait.

Astonishing Swordsmen was clearly created in homage to the original boxed edition of Dungeons and Dragons (what’s known as the OE version, circa 1974, by Old School Renaissance gamers), and the contents reflect this. The box is massive — it’s like Gygax and Arneson’s original release got a Charles Atlas bodybuilding makeover. I was ooooing and awwwing for the first ten minutes as I pulled it open.

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Vintage Treasures: The Little Book of Vintage Sci-Fi

Friday, December 28th, 2012 | Posted by John ONeill

the-little-book-of-vintage-sci-fiIt’s a great time to be a Golden Age comics fan. If you’re interested in high-priced, archival-quality reproductions of 1950s science fiction and horror comics, there are plenty on the market.

This isn’t one of them.

The Little Book of Vintage Sci-Fi, in fact, is a tiny marvel of affordable comics nostalgia in a sea of overpriced hardcovers. It makes no pretense of offering complete issues, or highly collectible authors and artists, or re-colored anything. But for less than the price of a crummy SF paperback, it offers 112 full-color pages of gonzo Golden Age greatness from an assortment of impossible-to-find comics.

Opening with an 8-page introduction by Tim Pilcher, covering the history of 50s sci-fi comics in surprising detail, The Little Book of Vintage Sci-Fi contains five complete tales, including Explanation, Please! No. 1 Falling Frogs, and Out of the Unknown No. 1: Creature From the Crater. In between are glorious covers from Outer Space, Forbidden Worlds, Adventures Into the Unknown and others, depicting crashing alien spacecraft, stolen moons, and skyscraper-destroying dinosaurs.

There are even full-color reproductions of the classic advertisements that mesmerized me as a kid, including the “Jet” Rocket Space Ship — over six feet long, with levers that work, for only $2.98! — and the 98-cent Sensational Televiewer.

The Little Book of Vintage Sci-Fi was published on April 1, 2012 by Ilex Gift. It is $5.95 for 112 pages, and is one of a set of Little Books from the same publisher, all edited by Tom Pilcher. The others cover Vintage Horror, Sauciness, Crime , Combat, Terror, Romance, and Space. Collect them all!

Blogging Marvel’s Dracula Lives – Part Two

Friday, December 28th, 2012 | Posted by William Patrick Maynard

dracula_lives_vol_1_8Dracula Lives was Marvel’s companion black and white companion title to the award-winning Tomb of Dracula monthly comic. As a magazine, Dracula Lives was exempt from the strictures of the Comic Code Authority, allowing for more violence and adult themes than would have been possible in the comic at the time.

Issue #8 gets underway with Doug Moench’s “Last Walk on the Night Side,” a two-part gritty urban police drama with a cop on the verge of retirement who runs afoul of Dracula. The shock ending, where the officer returns home to discover Dracula has taken his revenge on him by attacking his wife is startling. Tony DeZuniga’s artwork is first-rate throughout.

Len Wein’s “The Black Hand of Death” continues the gritty urban feel with a Roaring Twenties tale of gangsters in Rome. Gene Colan’s artwork lends immediate authenticity by providing stylistic continuity with the monthly series.

Chris Claremont’s “Child of the Storm” is a lengthy text piece. I had forgotten how these were such a fixture of the magazine. Dracula works surprisingly well as a pulp character and these stories prove that the thread between pulps and comics runs deeper than superheroes.

The fourth chapter of Roy Thomas and Dick Giordano’s faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic rounds out the issue. This chapter has the infamous portrayal of Dracula as a baby snatcher who feeds the stolen infant to his blood-starved wives with the promise they can have Harker once he is finished with him. Jonathan makes a valiant, but unsuccessful, effort to slay Dracula while he sleeps in his coffin during the day. The chapter ends with Harker despairing that he has failed to prevent the plague of the vampire from spreading to England. He knows he will never see his beloved Mina again as he awaits the fall of night, not knowing if this is the night he will meet his death at the hands of Dracula’s brides.

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Goth Chick News: 39 Years Ago This Week Regan Blew Chunks

Thursday, December 27th, 2012 | Posted by Sue Granquist

birthday-exorcistThis week in 1973 a fourteen-year-old girl hurls obscenities, vomits and behaves like Satan himself.

Today this would be just another episode of an MTV reality show, but 39 years ago it was a move called The Exorcist which changed the horror genre forever.

The Exorcist was released theatrically in the United States on December 26, 1973 by Warner Bros. On April 2, 1974 the film had earned ten Academy Award nominations, winning two (Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay). In the years since it has been voted the Scariest Move of All Time by Entertainment Weekly, Maxim and the UK’s The Times newspaper and according to BoxOfficeMojo, has taken in around $232,906,145 at the US Box Office and $208,400,000 in foreign markets for a combined worldwide total of $441,306,145; huge numbers for a movie with a production budget of $10.5 million.

In short, the movie wasn’t just a hit – it was a global phenomenon. If adjusted for inflation, The Exorcist would be the top grossing R-rated film of all time.

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