New Treasures: Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Sunday, September 27th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai-small2Bradley P. Beaulieu’s Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is shaping up to be one of the major fantasy releases of the year. Our very own Howard Andrew Jones says it’s “Crammed with intrigue, suspense, and stunning action,” and Glen Cooks says, ““I am impressed…. An exceedingly inventive story in a lushly realized dark setting.” Over at SF Signal, Paul Weimer does a splendid job of explaining just how compelling and new Beaulieu’s worldbuilding is in this opening novel of an ambitious new fantasy series.

The worldbuilding is complicated, rich, and endlessly fascinating. This is fantasy that goes far beyond the Great Wall of European Medieval fantasy, to a secondary world which takes its cues from the trading cities of the Taklamakan Desert, the deserts of Middle East, and places in between. The city is a wonder of a trading capital, a rich tapestry of people and their stories. I felt like I trod the dusty streets beneath the watch of the Kings as I followed Çeda’s journey, and the gods, monsters, and magic in this world are all fresh, original and wonderfully detailed. From the ebony blades of the Blade Maidens to the dangerous rush of power from the forbidden adichara petals, the powers beyond the forces of steel and fist depicted in this world are chaotic, wild, and entrancing.

Read the complete review, “Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley Beaulieu is a Must-Read for Fans of Lush Epic Fantasy,” at SF Signal.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai was published by DAW on September 1, 2015. It is 592 pages, priced at $24.95 in hardcover, and $9.99 for the digital version. The gorgeous cover art (click for the full wraparound cover jacket) is by Adam Paquette. Get more details at Brad’s website.


Theresa DeLucci on Six-Guns and Strange Shooters: A Weird West Primer

Sunday, September 27th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Six-Gun Snow White-smallYou know how we feel about the Weird Western here at Black Gate. It’s a neglected sub-genre with some terrific work that deserves a lot more attention.

Over at Tor.com, Theresa DeLucci clearly feels the same way. She’s done a marvelous survey of some recent additions to the field in books, games, film, and music — including R.S. Belcher’s The Shotgun Arcana, Jonathan Maberry’s Deadlands: Ghostwalker, and John Joseph Adams’s great anthology Dead Man’s Hand. Here she is on Cat Valente’s short novel Six-Gun Snow White:

Similar to [Emma] Bull’s Territory, this fairytale of the half-Navajo daughter of industrialist George Hearst is more of an alternate history than a Weird piece… until the origin of the Evil Queen’s magic mirror is revealed. While Valente’s West is a land of Native American magic, coyote spirits, and the mystery of wide open spaces, the East hold forests choked with ancient dark magic that reaches up from the earth in twisting black tentacles. Tentacles are never attached to anything wholesome in fiction.

Read Theresa’s complete article at Tor.com here.

And in honor of all this recent Weird Western coverage, I’ve created a new — and long-overdue — category at Black Gate. Check out all our Weird Western coverage here.


Future Treasures: Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

Saturday, September 26th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Rising Tide Rajan Khanna-smallRajan Khanna’s first novel Falling Sky, the tale of a post-apocalyptic North America filled with zeppelins, a plague-ravaged populace, and a pirate air city, was called “Like Hemingway meets The Walking Dead” by Tad Williams. Me, I didn’t need to wait for the reviews — I was sold at “pirate air city.”

The sequel, Rising Tide, arrives in two weeks, and it continues the tale of Ben Gold and Miranda, who has developed a test for the zombie virus… but when an old enemy attacks, there may not be time to perfect it.

Ben Gold sacrificed his ship in an effort to prevent pirates from attacking the hidden city of Tamoanchan. Now Malik, an old friend turned enemy, has captured Ben and Miranda — the scientist Ben loves. With Miranda held hostage, Ben has to do Malik’s dirty work.

Miranda has plans of her own, though. She has developed a test for the virus that turned most of the population into little more than beasts called Ferals two generations ago. She needs Ben’s help to rescue a group of her colleagues to perfect the test — but first they must rescue themselves.

When a terrible new disease starts spreading across Tamoanchan and people start dying, it seems there’s something more sinister afoot. Then an old enemy attacks. Can Ben fight off the invaders? And will it be in time to save anyone from the disease?

Rising Tide will be published by Pyr on October 6, 2015. It is 267 pages, priced at $17 in trade paperback and $11.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Chris McGrath. Learn more at Rajan Khanna’s website here.


Slushpile Blues

Saturday, September 26th, 2015 | Posted by Adrian Simmons

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 24I’m going to start this by getting on my high horse for a second.

When we started Heroic Fantasy Quarterly back in ’09 we had several goals; one of them was to bring a little class back into the public face of editing. We had seen one too many editor panels at conventions that turned into sad little pity parties. We vowed (and at HFQ when we vow something, blood oaths are involved) that we would not do that.  Further, we would blood-eagle ourselves before we bitched, pissed or moaned about having to read slush.

In fact, from day one, we don’t even call it reading “slush”, we call it reading submissions. “Slush” is a fundamentally derogatory term. And I want everyone to know that if you see me on a panel and someone else is going on about the slush pile, I’ve got a devil on my shoulder telling me to bust their stupid face into next week. And all the angel on my other shoulder is telling me is just not to use a closed fist to do it.

With all that out of the way, I will be using the term “slush” and “slushpile” in the following article, as distasteful as it is for me to do so.

I ran into this article at New Republic: “Cheat! It’s the Only Way to Get Published.” The writer was an intern at a literary magazine and, aside from the usual denigration of, and projection onto, the writers on the slushpile, the important part is this.

Read More »


Vintage Treasures: The Deep by John Crowley

Saturday, September 26th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Deep John Crowley back-small The Deep-spine-small The Deep John Crowley-small

I bounced off John Crowley when I first tried him. It was 1977, I was thirteen years old, and the Science Fiction Book Club had just shipped me his second novel, Beasts, because I forgot to return their stupid monthly request form. The cover featured a lion-man in a broken cage, and I figured, eh, what the hell. I got about five pages in before I gave up, and re-read Robert Silverberg’s Collision Course instead (that book rocks).

That probably would have been it for me and John Crowley, if it hadn’t been for his fourth novel, the landmark Little, Big, which won the World Fantasy Award in 1982, and was nominated for every major award the genre had to offer. It wasn’t long before my friends were talking about it excitedly, and I was forced to re-examine John Crowley. (Mark Rigney did a brilliant analysis of Little, Big for us here, if you somehow missed it.)

It was Bantam Spectra who got me re-interested in his early novels, though.

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Last Chance to Win a Copy of Gestapo Mars by Victor Gischler

Saturday, September 26th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Gestapo Mars-smallLast week, we told you that you had a chance to win one of three copies of Victor Gischler’s brand new novel of interstellar Nazi mayhem, Gestapo Mars, on sale this week from Titan Books.

How do you enter? Just send an e-mail to john@blackgate.com with the subject “Gestapo Mars” and a one-sentence review of your favorite Nazi science fiction story (bonus points if it includes Gestapo!) That’s it; that’s all that stands between you and a copy of one of the most gonzo SF novels of the year. Three winners will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries and we’ll announce the winners here on the Black Gate blog on Sept 29. What could possibly be easier? But time is running out — the contest closes Monday. Here’s the book blurb:

Carter Sloan is a trained assassin — the best there is, pulled out of cryogenic sleep whenever an assignment demands his skills. So when he’s kept in the deep freeze for 258 years, he’s seriously pissed off.

Yet his government needs him, to hunt down the enemy known as the Daughter of the Brass Dragon. The future of the galaxy-spanning Reich depends on it, so Sloan is off — screwing, swearing, and shooting his way across interstellar space.

It’s action, adventure, and disgusting gelatinous aliens as only Victor Gischler can create them.

No purchase necessary. Must be 12 or older. Decisions of the judges (capricious as they may be) are final. Not valid where prohibited by law. Eat your vegetables. Gestapo Mars will be published by Titan Books on September 22, 2015. It is 277 pages, priced at $14.95 in trade paperback and $7.99 for the digital version.


September 2015 Nightmare Magazine Now on Sale

Saturday, September 26th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Nightmare Magazine September 2015-smallThe September issue of the online magazine Nightmare is now available. In his editorial this month, John Joseph Adams justly celebrates his recent awards, nominations, and publications:

We won another Hugo! Our sister-magazine Lightspeed took home the rocket for Best Semiprozine, but also, just as exciting there were two other Lightspeed Hugo victories: Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s story from Lightspeed, “The Day the World Turned Upside Down,” won the Hugo for Best Novelette, and one of our illustrators, Elizabeth Leggett, won the Hugo for Best Fan Artist…

In other awards news, the World Fantasy Award nominations were also announced recently, and I’m pleased to report that I have been once again nominated in the “Special Award, Professional” category. I am extremely honored to be nominated again (now for the seventh time overall, including three Anthology nominations), and I will be in Saratoga Springs, New York for the World Fantasy Convention (November 5-8) when the awards are presented (where I look forward to losing to Gordon Van Gelder in person)… And ICYMI last month: Both Lightspeed generally and our Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue specifically have been nominated for the British Fantasy Award!

Releasing this month, on September 15, is a new anthology I edited called Loosed Upon the World, the definitive collection of climate fiction… Then in October comes the debut of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, part of the prestigious Best American series. In it, guest editor Joe Hill and I present the top twenty stories of 2014 (ten science fiction, ten fantasy).

As we’ve noted previously, John Joseph Adams is one busy guy. It’s a full time job just keeping up with him.

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Conan is My Spirit Guide

Friday, September 25th, 2015 | Posted by M Harold Page

ByCrom2

What if Conan were your spirit guide?

What if Conan were your spirit guide?

It’s such a lovely high concept and the implicit conflict — modernity versus barbarity — gives it instant viral appeal for those in the know (a bit like, I hope, Swords Versus Tanks). It also pings that contrast we Blackgate folk all experience: reading heroic fantasy on the way to a desk job, pausing Halo to change a diaper, leaving off writing a fight scene to print off My Little Pony coloring in sheets.

hunk-raSo I clicked the link and found the tumblr (now mostly gone because the comic has been published). I was expecting the hilarity of Doonesbury’s Boopsie channelling Hunk Ra. Instead I got something different. Just as funny, but deeper laughs and some profound thoughts about modernity and why we still need Conan.

Rachel Kahn, the creator of Conan is My Spirit Guide, By Crom! is a real Conan fan and the joke is always on the modern character.

Read More »


Laxmi Hariharan on Marketing Books in India, Her Ruby Iyer Series, and Bombay as a Modern Day Dystopia

Friday, September 25th, 2015 | Posted by Emily Mah

LaxmiRubyLaxmi Hariharan is both an indie author and a marketing professional. Her latest book, The First Life of Vikram Roy, is now for sale.

Black Gate readers will appreciate that Laxmi helped launch the SyFy Channel in Europe. Her Ruby Iyer Series is about a young woman in present day India, who is knocked off a train platform one morning, onto a live wire. 10,000 volts of electricity later, she doesn’t die as might be expected, but rather becomes much more than she ever dreamed she could be. Interlaced with her story is the mileau of modern India and ancient Bombay.

While most indie authors focus primarily on western publishing markets, Laxmi put a good portion of her resources towards marketing in her native India. As one of the first indie authors to break into this market, she’s in the ideal position to share what she’s learned from the experience.

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New Treasures: The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

Friday, September 25th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Death House-smallSarah Pinborough won a British Fantasy Award last year for her novella “Beauty,” and she was nominated for a Bram Stoker in 2013 for her novel A Necessary End, written with F. Paul Wilson. Her latest novel, The Death House, has gotten a lot of attention, including a cover blurb from Stephen King: “Moving and totally involving. I couldn’t put it down.” The publisher’s release that came with it described it as “a contemporary novel with a compelling dystopian setting… with strong YA crossover appeal.” I suppose I could just wait for the movie then.

Toby’s life was perfectly normal… until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test.

Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House; an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They’re looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it’s time to take them to the sanatorium.

No one returns from the sanatorium.

Living in his memories of the past, Toby spends his days fighting his fear. But then a new arrival in the house shatters the fragile peace, and everything changes. Because everybody dies. It’s how you choose to live that counts.

We last covered Sarah here with her 2013 novel A Matter of Blood, the first book in The Forgotten Gods trilogy.

The Death House was published by Titan Books on September 1, 2015. It is 286 pages, priced at $14.95 in trade paperback and $7.99 for the digital edition. The cover design is by Julie Lloyd.


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