Fantasy Scroll Magazine 7 Now Available

Monday, June 29th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Fantasy Scroll Magazine 7 June 2015-smallThe seventh issue of the online-only Fantasy Scroll Magazine is now available. It is cover dated June 2015, continuing with the new bi-monthly publishing schedule. Fantasy Scroll publishes all kinds of fantastic literature, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal short-fiction. In his editorial, Iulian Ionescu gives us a sneak peek of the contents, and news on an upcoming project:

This issue starts strong with a longer piece by Pauline Alama, “No Tale for Troubadours.” I love fantasy stories with strong female protagonists and Pauline does a great job of growing not one, but two of them in this story of friendship, war, and peace. “Hell of a Salesman” is the next story by Hank Quense, a humorous parody that takes a stab at the position of sales manager and everything around it. I’m not sure it’s a parody, or a description of what really happens inside a sales department…

Axel Taiari follows with a science fiction piece called “Beyond the Visible Spectrum,” a nice story told from the perspective of an alien invader. “Little Sprout” by Rebecca Roland is probably the shortest story we’ve ever accepted. There’s so much creepiness packed in such a short length that we just had to have it… Back by popular demand, we have the second installment of the story of Shamrock, the graphic novel authored by Josh Brown…

Another piece of buzz, before I let you go, is the news about our year one anthology. It is currently in progress and scheduled to be released sometime in September of 2015. So, it’s just a few months away and I’m very excited about it.

Here’s the complete table of contents.

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Things Your Writing Teacher Never Told You: What Should You Put In a Cover Letter?

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 | Posted by Tina Jens

Writing a fantasy novelOver on Facebook, where I posted a link to last week’s article, “Ignore the Market Guidelines at Your Peril – How (Not) to Build a Career” – a writer asked in response:

So. What SHOULD I put in my cover letter? Don’t really know. I don’t think I’ve ever included a cover letter with a short story submission, because, well, I don’t know.

That’s an excellent question. Here are the answers I’ve gathered from reading dozens of market guidelines, listening to editors talk at cons, and gauging my response to cover letters I’ve received.

1. What I heard over and over again at the recent Nebula weekend is that any writer who mentions having been nominated for or won any writing awards, ever, immediately bypasses the slush pile. It doesn’t matter how long ago it was, or, in most cases, what award it was. (With the exception of awards made up by a small writers workshop who then hands them out to each other so they can say they’re all award-winners.) The nomination or win for a significant writing award will generally get your manuscript bumped to the top of the To Be Read pile.

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New Treasures: The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Violent Century-smallLavie Tidhar’s last novel, Osama, won the World Fantasy Award, and his “Guns & Sorcery” novella Gorel & The Pot Bellied God won the British Fantasy Award. His novel The Violent Century was published in the UK last year, and was called a masterpiece by both the Independent (UK) and Library Journal — and “Watchmen on crack” by io9.

An unusual amount of praise for a superhero novel. Earlier this year The Violent Century was released here in the US, and we finally have a chance to see what all the fuss is about.

They never meant to be heroes.

For seventy years they guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable friends, bound together by a shared fate. Until one night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart.

But there must always be an account… and the past has a habit of catching up to the present. Now, recalled to the Retirement Bureau from which no one can retire, Fogg and Oblivion must face up to a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism — a life of dusty corridors and secret rooms, of furtive meetings and blood-stained fields — to answer one last, impossible question:

What makes a hero?

We last covered Lavie Tidhar with a look at the omnibus edition of his steampunk trilogy The Bookman Histories from Angry Robot.

The Violent Century was published by Thomas Dunne Books on February 24, 2015. It is 362 pages. priced at $25.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital version. The cover was designed by Ervin Serrano. The US edition contains an exclusive Author Q&A, and a brand new short story, “Aftermaths,” set some time after the end of the novel.

What Do I Read First? Who Fears Death and The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Who Fears Death-small2 The Book of Phoenix-small

Nnedi Okorafor’s first novel for adults, Who Fears Death, won the 2011 World Fantasy Award, and was also a Tiptree Honor Book and a Nebula nominee. The prequel, The Book of Phoenix, arrived in hardcover last month, and it made me realize I need to get the lead out and read the first one.

Of course, now I’m tortured by that great dilemma of 21st Century fantasy…. should I read the acclaimed first novel first, or the prequel? Which makes more sense?

Life is hard. Here’s the description for Who Fears Death.

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2015 Locus Award Winners Announced

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Goblin Emperor-smallThe Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the winners for the 2015 Locus Awards. Woo hoo! Cake and drinks for all.

The winners are selected by the readers of Locus magazine. The awards began in 1971, originally as a way to highlight quality work in advance of the Hugo Awards. The winners were announced yesterday, during the annual Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA.

The winners are:


The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)


Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit)


Half a King, Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey)

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Vintage Treasures: The Sioux Spaceman by Andre Norton / And Then the Town Took Off by Richard Wilson

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Sioux Spaceman-small And Then The Town Took Off-small

The Sioux Spaceman was one of the very first Andre Norton novels I ever laid eyes on (other than The Last Planet and Daybreak — 2250). It was certainly one of the first Ace Doubles I ever encountered. It was first published in 1960, paired with Richard Wilson’s And Then the Town Took Off, with covers by Ed Valigursky (above).

The Norton volume was the first book in her Council/Confederation series, which eventually grew to encompass four novels:

  1. The Sioux Spaceman (1960)
  2. Eye of the Monster (1962)
  3. The X Factor (1965)
  4. Voorloper (1980)

The entire series was collected in an omnibus volume from Baen in 2009, The Game of Stars and Comets (2009; see below).

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Discovering Robert E Howard: Paul Bishop on The Fists of R.E.H.

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 | Posted by Bob Byrne

Fists of Iron Robert E Howard-smallNaturally, the works of Robert E. Howard are popular post fodder here at Black Gate. While Conan is far and away his best known character, REH created many other memorable heroes, including Solomon Kane, El Borak and Kull. Earlier this year, I wrote about Howard’s largely forgotten private eye, Steve Harrison.

At the time, I thought that a post on Howard’s boxing stories would be good reading. Also realizing I was completely unqualified to write it, I contacted the current czar of boxing fiction, Paul Bishop of Fight Card Books.

Fight Card is a pulp style series of boxing tales. They’ve included two Holmes boxing novellas in the series, so you know I’m on board! See what Paul has to say about Howard’s boxing works.

The minute I stepped ashore from the Sea Girl, merchantman, I had a hunch that there would be trouble. This hunch was caused by seeing some of the crew of the Dauntless. The men on the Dauntless have disliked the Sea Girl’s crew ever since our skipper took their captain to a cleaning on the wharfs of Zanzibar – them being narrow-minded that way. They claimed that the old man had a knuckle-duster on his right, which is ridiculous and a dirty lie. He had it on his left.
~ Robert E. Howard, “The Pit of the Serpent

Although best known as the creator of Conan the Barbarian, Solomon Kane, and other sword and sorcery characters, Robert E. Howard had a lifelong interest in boxing, attending fights and avidly following the careers of his favorite fighters. Even though as a child he was bookish and intellectual, in his teen years he took up bodybuilding and eventually entered the ring as an amateur boxer.

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J. K. Rowling Confirms Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Play

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Harry Potter charactersIn a series of tweets yesterday, J.K. Rowling announced that her creation Harry Potter would return in a spin-off play, which will open in London’s West End in summer 2016.

I’m also very excited to confirm today that a new play called Harry Potter and the CursedChild will be opening in London next year. It will tell a new story, which is the result of a collaboration between writer Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany and myself.

To answer one inevitable (and reasonable!) question — why isn’t #CursedChild a new novel? — I am confident that when audiences see the play, they will agree that it was the only proper medium for the story. I’ve had countless offers to extend Harry’s story over the years, but Jack, John and Sonia Friedman are a dream team! I don’t want to say too much more, because I don’t want to spoil what I know will be a real treat for fans. However, I can say that it is not a prequel!

Rowling is already hard at work on the script for another Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a Warner Bros. film based on her 2001 book of the same name, featuring monster wrangler Newt Scamander. But this is the first major post-Potter work that will feature her original characters.

Speculation is rampant about exactly where the story will fit in the time line, with some folks theorizing it could tell the tale of one of the summers only glossed over in the novels, or perhaps one of Harry Potter’s cases as an auror. Rowling’s co-writer Jack Thorne also wrote the highly regarded 2013 production of Let the Right One In for the National Theatre of Scotland (also directed by John Tiffany), so expectations are high. For now though, the creators are remaining mum.

June 2015 Nightmare Magazine Now on Sale

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Nightmare Magazine June 2015-smallThe June issue of the online magazine Nightmare is now available.

Fiction this month includes original short stories from Maria Dahvana Headley and Dale Bailey, and reprints from Kaaron Warren and Stephen Graham Jones:

Original Stories

The Cellar Dweller” by Maria Dahvana Headley
Snow” by Dale Bailey


The Changeling” by Sarah Langan (originally published in Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters, September 2011)
The Music of the Dark Time” by Chet Williamson (Originally published in The Twilight Zone Magazine, June 1988)

The non-fiction this issue includes the latest installment in their long-running horror column, “The H Word” (“Why Do We Read Horror?”), plus author spotlights, a showcase on cover artist Okan Bülbül, an editorial, and a feature interview with Lucy A. Snyder.

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Dear Prudentia: Red Sonja is Cooler Than You

Friday, June 26th, 2015 | Posted by mariebilodeau

Red Sonya cosplay 3

Dear Auntie Prudentia,

I think you’re cool and all, and I like how your gloves match your tea cups, but I think auntie Red is cooler.




My dearest Petunia,

Let me begin by saying that choosing favorites is not becoming. Not even a little bit. Imagine, here I am returning from a perfectly wonderful party with this lovely(?) punch, to find this letter waiting for me, basically telling me that I am *not* in fact the favorite aunt… it hurts, Petunia. Good thing I still have some of this punch to ease the pain of your treachery.

… Do you think you were named Petunia for Red? No, you were not. Be realistic, dear. Let me just finish up my punch and tell you exactly why you are wrong, dear, innocent child.

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