The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: New Holmes Story Found! Well….

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Bob Byrne

Found_scheduleLast week, the Sherlockian world was abuzz with news that a new Holmes story had been discovered: One that was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself back in 1903.

A few basics: On March 5, 1927, “The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place” appeared in Liberty Magazine. There would be no more Holmes tales from Doyle’s pen. Thus, the official Sherlockian Canon came to a close at 60: 56 short stories and 4 novels (novellas, really).

Doyle had previously written two short shorts featuring his erstwhile detective. 1896’ “The Field Bazaar” was written to raise funds for Edinburgh University. While in 1924, Doyle wrote and donated “How Watson Learned the Trick” to the Queen’s Dollhouse project.

Hesketh Pearson, when going through Doyle’s papers for a biography, found the outline of a Holmes tale that may or may not have been written by Sir Arthur. Involving a man on stilts, pastiche authors have written the story to less than stellar results.

Of course, being a devout reader of The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes, you already know about the “lost” found Doyle story that was actually written by Arthur Whitaker.

Add in a couple of plays Doyle wrote and you’ve got the official writings by the original author. Though Walter Elliot claims there’s one more.

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Second-hand Magic, Part II

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 | Posted by Matthew David Surridge

The Magic ShopLast week, I wrote here about the Avram Davidson–edited 1983 anthology Magic For Sale. I looked at the book’s fifteen stories, and tried to think about the nature of tales about magic stores. I thought I saw a few patterns. And then my girlfriend pointed out that she owned another anthology about magic stores: 2004’s The Magic Shop, edited by Denise Little. Having now read that book, I think it makes for an interesting contrast with Davidson’s collection.

The two anthologies have some very obvious differences. Davidson’s was published in 1983 and drew on stories from across 85 years, meaning he could select from a murderer’s row of classic sf and fantasy writers: Sturgeon, Leiber, Ellison, Yolen, Bester, Wells, Davidson himself, and many others. Little’s collection was published in 2004, and the stories were all written for that book. And you can’t help but notice that while Magic For Sale had only one woman contributor (and one female lead), 11 out of 15 writers in The Magic Shop are women.

I didn’t think there was much to choose from between the two books, on the whole, though I thought more of the humour in The Magic Shop worked. But for the moment I’m less interested in quality and more in characteristics. How did things change over time? Or did they? I thought some things are very different from book to book, some much the same, and — this was the surprising bit to me — some things only became obvious to me when I read the two books together.

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Vintage Treasures: ATTA by Francis Rufus Bellamy/ The Brain-Stealers by Murray Leinster

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Atta Francis Bellamy-small The Brain-Stealers Leinster-small

For the past 17 months I’ve been surveying Ace Doubles here at Black Gate; this is the eighteenth in the series. Donald Wollheim, the founding editor of Ace Books and the man who created the Ace Double, had excellent taste, and he published countless successful titles that would remain in print for decades — and help launch the careers of major stars, including Philip K. Dick, Robert Silverberg, Andre Norton, and a great many others. I’ve really enjoyed tracking down later printings and presenting them in these articles as testament to just how enduring the Ace Double selections were — including books like Jack Vance’s Big Planet and Andre Norton’s The Beast Master, both of which have been reprinted more than a dozen times over the decades, with an eye-opening gallery of cover art.

And then we have ATTA and The Brain-Stealers, by Francis Rufus Bellamy and Murray Leinster, published as an Ace Double in 1954.

It’s obvious not even Don Wollheim could pick a pair of winners every time. When I started researching both books, I was fairly certain neither had ever seen another printing. That turned out to be incorrect (but not by much). At least this installment will be short.

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Future Treasures: The Testament of Tall Eagle by John R. Fultz

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Testament of Tall Eagle-smallJohn R. Fultz’s first story for Black Gate was “Oblivion is the Sweetest Wine” (BG 12), a full-throttle sword-and-sorcery adventure of spider-haunted towers and a fearless thief who comes face-to-face with a terrifying secret. We published three more tales in his popular Zang Cycle: “Return of the Quill” (BG 13), “The Vintages of Dream” (BG 15), and “When the Glimmer Faire Came to the City of the Lonely Eye.”

John is much more well known these days for his breakout Books of the Shaper trilogy. Explorations called the first volume “flawless – and timeless – epic fantasy. For fans of epic fantasy, Seven Princes is as good as it gets.” For his fourth novel, John moves in a totally new direction, with a tribal fantasy set in a beautiful and savage land.

A young warrior’s vision-quest unveils an alien city full of magic and mystery. As a tribal rift threatens to destroy Tall Eagle’s people, night-crawling devils stalk and devour them, so he seeks the wisdom of the high-flying Myktu. These fantastic beings offer him hope, a chance for rebirth and prosperity, as two separate realities converge. Yet first Tall Eagle must find White Fawn – the girl he was born to love – and steal her back from the camp of his savage enemies. His best friend has become his deadliest rival, and now he must outwit an invading army of conquerors to lead his people into the Land Beyond the Sun.

The Testament of Tall Eagle is the epic saga of The People, as told in the words of their greatest hero.

John’s short fiction has appeared in Shattered Shields, Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume One, The Way of the Wizard, and other fine places. His recent articles for Black Gate include a look at Darrell Schweitzer’s upcoming Cthulhu Mythos anthology That Is Not Dead, an interview with GnomeSaga author Kenny Soward, and a peek behind the scenes at his first collection, The Revelations of Zang.

The Testament of Tall Eagle will be released by Ragnarok Publications this June. The cover is by Alex Raspad.


Twenty Years of Smart Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Tachyon Publications Catalog

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

THE TREASURY OF THE FANTASTIC-small The Uncertain Places-small The Best of Michael Moorcock-small

While I was at the World Fantasy Convention last November, I kept being irresistibly sucked into the Dealers Room. Seriously, the place was like a giant supermarket for fantasy fans. There were thousands of new and used books on display from dozens of vendors — books piled high on tables, books crammed into bookshelves, books being pressed into your hands by enthusiastic sellers.

When I came home I moped around for a few days, and then mocked up some HTML pages with dozens of thumbnail jpegs of books so I could pretend I was still at the convention. I waved a crisp twenty dollar bill in front of my computer screen and said things like, “I’ll take the new Moorcock collection, my good man.” I even haggled over the price of The Treasury of the Fantastic. Truly, it felt like I was there.

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Will Steven Spielberg Cast Chris Pratt in the Indiana Jones Reboot?

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Chris Pratt-smallThe internet is abuzz with rumors that director Steven Spielberg is considering Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt as his next Indiana Jones.

Deadline broke the news last month that Spielberg was interested in Pratt for the Indiana Jones reboot currently in development at Disney; yesterday Deadline expanded on the story, and it was quickly picked up by Forbes, People, io9, and other media sites.

Officially, there is no comment from the famed director, other than to confirm that there is still no script and the project is still in a very early stage. Based on Pratt’s recent popularity — and that fact that he was reportedly Spielberg’s first choice for the hunter role in Jurassic World, the newest installment in the Jurassic Park franchise from Universal coming in June — he seems a logical enough choice, however.

In addition to Jurassic World, Pratt is also scheduled to appear in the upcoming Image comic adaption Cowboy, Ninja, Viking from Universal. He’s also reportedly in talks to join Denzel Washington in a remake of The Magnificent Seven from MGM.

I wasn’t even aware there was a planned reboot of Indiana Jones (or a The Magnificent Seven remake, while we’re on the topic.) After having seen what Pratt accomplished in The Lego Movie and Guardians though, I’m on board. I think he’d make an excellent choice — particularly if Spielberg directs.


New Treasures: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Shadow Study Jacket-small

Maria V. Snyder’s first short story, “The Wizard’s Daily Horoscope,” appeared in Black Gate 11 in 2007. We published ”Cursing the Weather” in Black Gate 15, and it quickly became one of the most acclaimed stories in what was to be the final issue of the magazine. Here’s what Keith West said about it on his blog Adventures Fantastic:

Nysa… is probably as far from the sterotypical warrior woman as you can get. She’s a young girl working in a tavern, trying to earn enough money to buy the medicine needed to keep her dying mother alive. Then a weather wizard moves in across the street…  I wouldn’t have considered this one to really fit the theme of warrior woman. In spite of that, I think I enjoyed it the most. I’m going to be checking out more of Ms. Snyder’s work.

Keith wasn’t the only one to seek out Maria’s work. Her first novel, Poison Study, won the Compton Crook Award in 2006, and the third in the series, Fire Study, hit The New York Times bestseller list in 2008.

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Fantasy Literature: The Scourge of God & “I… see… you”

Friday, February 20th, 2015 | Posted by Edward Carmien

The Scourge of GodFantasy Literature — this blog right here — continues looking at work by S. M. Stirling. I began with a look at this author’s Nantucket trilogy, moved on to the first three books of the Emberverse, and last time The Sunrise Lands came into view. The Scourge of God carries the series forward. These are not reviews, spoilers exist, set the table for some Fantasy Literature and dig in.

A cliffhanger is a useful device. No better hook exists for engaging a reader’s devout and ongoing attention, across the months and years between books. Emberverse novels appear on a regular annual basis, but not every author is so regular — yes, Martin, we’re all thinking of you.

The Sunrise Lands ends with Rudi’s rescue from certain capture or death by the fortuitous arrival of Boise’s pedal-powered airship. The “Sword of the Lady” is free, but three of his companions remain captive of the CUT. The Scourge of God must begin, therefore, with their rescue.

Rudi McKenzie calls on what mystical powers he possesses to fight like Conan himself; this seems to go beyond any ordinary beserker rage. “Fast, hard, and accurate: pick any two” is the way melee combat works for an individual, but Rudi manages all three.

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SFWA Announces the 2015 Nebula Award Nominations

Friday, February 20th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Goblin Emperor-smallWow, it’s almost the end of February. And that means that the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) finally put an end to all that suspense, and announced the nominees for the 2015 Nebula Awards, one of the most prestigious awards our industry has to offer.

Last year there were no less than eight nominees for best novel; this year that number has dropped back to six. Does this mean there will be less infighting and disagreement over who should win?

You’re kidding, right? (In truth, the debate is half the fun — and it generates a lot of interest in a lot of deserving books.)

This year’s nominees are:

Novel

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
Trial by Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit)
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor)
Coming Home, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals)

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Writers as Barbarian Conquerors!

Friday, February 20th, 2015 | Posted by mariebilodeau

This is possibly the most brilliant way to think about writing ever. I can’t believe I’m just thinking about it now, and certainly won’t have to beat the metaphor into shape. Well, maybe a bit. But, who the heck cares. You can now view your writing as a freaking barbarian invasion! Like I said: brilliant.

BattlePlan_small

Barbarians don’t post plans on the Internet, so I interviewed one and drew this. You’re welcome.

PLANNING THE BATTLE

Like any good invading army, you must first plan which of your troops are going where. It’s known as “plotting” in the writing world. It doesn’t need to be super detailed, but you should know the attack plan of your knights (aka hero) and archers (aka secondary characters. Sorry, Hawkeye). Plus, you should know a bit about your enemy’s defenses (aka villain).

Build up enthusiasm in your barbarian army with awesome speeches (aka writing down cool scenes).

FIRST WAVE OF ATTACK!

This is where you plunge in and WRITE! KILL! DESTROY! Your armies are in place. Your knights are totally rocking it! Your archers are shooting those little wooden arrows like they can’t run out AND THEY DON’T BECAUSE IT’S YOUR BOOK!

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