Goth Chick News: The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2 For You Cool Kids)

Thursday, March 31st, 2016 | Posted by Sue Granquist

cosplay C2E2 2016

Ah, March in the Windy City.

The snow is (mostly) gone, the grass isn’t really grass but mud mixed with the lovely remnants of road salt and temperatures have snuck just high enough to wear spandex without fear of frostbite; which can only mean one thing.

It’s C2E2 time in Chicago.

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Vintage Treasures: The Robot Who Looked Like Me by Robert Sheckley

Thursday, March 31st, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Robot Who Looked Like Me-small The Robot Who Looked Like Me-back-small

Robert Sheckley wrote over two dozen novels before his death in 2005, but he’s best remembered today for his short fiction, gathered in some 20 collections between 1954 and 2014. He has a fine reputation for a sharp wit, idiosyncratic style, and offbeat sense of humor, and that’s kept some of his most famous collections in print for years — including The Robot Who Looked Like Me, originally published in the UK in 1978, reprinted by Bantam in the US in 1982, and still in print over three decades later.

The Robot Who Looked Like Me contains thirteen stories, including the title story, originally published in Cosmopolitan (!) in August 1973. It’s not at all the kind of story I’d expect to find in Cosmopolitan, but maybe things were different in the early 70s. Very, very different.

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Beneath Ceaseless Skies 195 Now Available

Thursday, March 31st, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 195-smallBeneath Ceaseless Skies 195 is the second issue to use Sung Choi’s cover art Research Lab. The next issue, #196 (published this week) changes up the artwork again. They’re moving so fast they’re hard to keep up with these days.

Issue #195 is another Science-Fantasy double-issue, featuring a bonus story and a bonus podcast. It contains original short fiction by Aliette de Bodard, Sarah Pinsker, and Jason Sanford, podcasts by Aliette de Bodard and Sarah Pinsker, a reprint by Chris Willrich, and an Audio Vault reprint by Aliette de Bodard.

A Salvaging of Ghosts” by Aliette de Bodard
In the darkness at the hole in the ship’s hull, Thuy isn’t blind. Her suit lights up with warnings — temperature, pressure, distortions. That last is what will kill her: the layers of unreality utterly unsuited to human existence, getting stronger and stronger as the current carries her closer to the wreck, crushing her lungs and vital organs like crumpled paper when her suit finally fails. It’s what killed Kim Anh on her last dive.

The Mountains His Crown” by Sarah Pinsker
The soldier shrugged. His look was almost sympathetic. They turned back toward the fields. I would have liked to tell them to take the road, to stop trampling our remaining crops, but I knew better than to rile them. The soldier’s horse dropped the chewed flower stalk as they disappeared back between the rows.

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Series Fantasy: The Books of the Raksura by Martha Wells

Thursday, March 31st, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Cloud Roads-small The Serpent Sea-small The Siren Depths-small The Edge Of Worlds-small

I’m cheating a bit with these books, since technically they’re not all part of the same series. Also, the newest volume, The Edge of Worlds, won’t officially be released until April 5th — but Amazon and B& both have copies in stock today, so let’s go with it.

Martha Wells’ tales of Gilead and Ilias were some of the most popular stories we ever published in Black Gate, and her Books of the Raksura trilogy captivated readers around the world. Her latest novel, The Edge of Worlds, expands her world of the Raksura with the start of a brand new series. That brings the total books set in the Three Worlds to four:

The Cloud Roads (300 pages, $14.99/$9.99 digital, March 1, 2011, cover by Matthew Stewart) — excerpt
The Serpent Sea (320 pages, $14.99/$9.99 digital, January 25, 2012, cover by Steve Argyle) — excerpt
The Siren Depths (320 pages, $14.99/$9.99 digital, December 4, 2012, cover by Steve Argyle) — excerpt
The Edge of Worlds (388 pages, $24.99/$13.99 digital, November 10 2015, cover by Yukari Masuike) — excerpt

All four are published by Night Shade Books. Links will take you to our previous coverage.

Here’s the description for The Edge of Worlds.

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Feeding the Hyenas in Harar, Ethiopia

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 | Posted by Sean McLachlan


Yours truly feeding a hyena while Yusuf looks on

The first thing you learn if you spend any amount of time living in Harar is that it is not a human town. It is a human town during the day and a human and hyena town at night.

This medieval walled city in eastern Ethiopia has been a center of trade for centuries. Situated in a temperate climate between the central Ethiopian highlands and the Somali desert, it spent much of its history as an independent city-state. The Hararis have a distinct culture and language confined almost exclusively to the town within the walls. The surrounding countryside is dominated by the Oromo, who have their own language and culture.

The Harari and Oromo share space with another language and culture, that of the hyenas. Not seen much by day, they come out at night to scavenge food and wander the labyrinth of alleys that make up Jugol, the old city. Humans and hyenas have become accustomed to one another and have developed a unique and close relationship.

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Future Treasures: Asteroid Made of Dragons by G. Derek Adams

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Asteroid Made of Dragons-smallI love the small press — that’s where a lot of the most creative and innovative work is being done today — but you do have to dig a bit to find the really good stuff. So when do you make of a small press, Kickstarter-funded fantasy novel that gets a write-up like this in Publisher’s Weekly?

An unlikely band of heroes — some of whom are trying to kill one another — must gather together in order to save their world from the return of an ancient menace in an excellent, irreverent mix of sword-and-sorcery fantasy and SF. Adams’s flippant tone recalls Terry Pratchett, taking the skewering of tropes down a very dark path as he establishes a fantasy world built from the ashes of a technological one.

That’s the kind of notice that makes a guy sit up and pay attention. Asteroid Made of Dragons will be released by Sword & Laser in trade paperback next week. Here’s the complete description.

When a lone goblin researcher stumbles across an artifact containing a terrifying message — that the world is in grave and immediate peril — she scrambles to find help. A very unusual asteroid (one constructed as a cage for dragons) is headed straight for the planet, and Xenon is the only person in the world who knows. As she clambers across hill and dale with her quill, journal, and dwindling coin purse to untangle the mystery, she’ll need plenty of luck to find the right clues and the right sort of help.

Meanwhile, our heroes have their own problems. They have a bank to rob, a sea to cross, and a kingdom to infiltrate. Luckily, Rime is a wild mage — the laws of reality quiver when she gives them a stern look–and her guardian, Jonas, wields a reasonably sharp sword. But Rime is slipping ever closer to the abyss of madness, and Jonas is wanted for murder at their final port of call. To make matters worse, the mage-killing Hunt and its commander, Linus, follow the duo like a patient shadow, bent on Rime’s destruction.

When the wise are underfunded, the brave are overbooked, and the cruel are unconcerned, can the world be saved from destruction?

G. Derek Adams is the author of Spell/Sword and its sequel, The Riddle Box. Asteroid Made of Dragons will be published by Sword & Laser on April 5, 2016. It is 278 pages, priced at $14.99 in trade paperback and $8.99 for the digital edition. The cover was designed by David Drummond.

Otto Binder on John W. Campbell

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 | Posted by Doug Ellis

John W Campbell-small

John W. Campbell (photo by Astounding cover artist Hubert Rogers)

Back to Otto Binder letters today. This one, from Binder to his friend, Jack Darrow, dated May 23, 1937, was written just before Binder was cut loose from Otis Adelbert Kline’s literary agency, which happened on June 1 of that year. As a result of his job upheaval, Binder spent some time, unsuccessfully, trying to land a gig as an editor (and a few years later interviewed with Ziff-Davis re: the Amazing Stories opening before it was given to Ray Palmer).

The letter is primarily of interest due to its discussion of John W. Campbell, a few months before Campbell would become editor of Astounding. It’s a shame that no more detailed record of the story telling game played at Binder’s house between him, Dr. John Clark, Frank Belknap Long, Campbell and Campbell’s wife exists; it would have been fascinating to sit in on this! Binder is clearly a fan of Campbell’s fiction (later on, when he found it difficult to sell to him at Astounding, he was not nearly as much a fan of his editing).

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Take a Daily Trip Back to the Future with Galactic Journey

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Galactic Journey logoRich Horton and Matthew Wuertz have been writing retro-reviews of vintage SF magazines for Black Gate for years, and they have a lot of fans. In fact, it seems to me there’s a steadily growing interest in classic SF, and SF magazines, and a fresh crop of websites popping up to feed that interest. One of the best I’ve found is Gideon Marcus’ Galactic Journey, which reviews SF magazines as they appeared, 55 years ago.

Step through a portal that leads 55 years to the past. 1961: A youthful President named Jack Kennedy promises to reinvigorate America. Formal relations with Communist Cuba have been severed. The first American Mercury flight, piloted by a chimpanzee, anticipates an impending manned mission. Science fiction is a burgeoning field in print and on screen. It is the world of the Galactic Journey.

Jaunt back five and a half decades and dive into the sci-fi and Space Race headlines of the day. See the world through the eyes of a fan with a vintage time frame, but a progressive mindset.

At the Hugo-recommended Galactic Journey (, you’ll experience the world of day by day, exactly 55 years ago. You’ll stroll down memory lane — or be immersed in a whole new world. Read the in-depth articles on each satellite launch, with behind-the-scenes looks at the people who made them fly. Enjoy the thorough, slightly snarky, and never dull reviews of fiction and films, with links to copies of the reviewed works so you can follow along at home. Live an entirely different time without leaving the comfort of your screen.

Gideon covers F&SF and Analog every month, and the bi-monthly Galaxy and IF in alternating months. He’s looking for reviewers to cover Amazing and Fantastic. The blog has been active since October 2013, starting its coverage in late 1958.

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March 2016 Apex Magazine Now on Sale

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Apex Magazine March 2016-smallIt’s a pretty star-studded line up this issue of Apex, with fiction from Lavie Tidhar, Elizabeth Bear, Jason Sanford, and Travis Heermann. Jason Sizemore gives us the complete scoop in his editorial.

Our three original works this month are all over the place thematically. In Lavie Tidhar’s novelette “Agent of V.A.L.I.S.”, the protagonist is a forgotten science fiction writer who gets involved in an adventure containing Philip K. Dick, Jesus Christ, and an all-powerful sentient AI. Jason Sanford’s story “Death Flowers of Never Forgotten Love” posits what if we had the technology to alter our memories of the recently deceased. “Screaming Without a Mouth” by Travis Heerman mines the unsettling fog of J-horror with modern technology in a memorable and depressing manner — a story that our readers will recognize as belonging in no other publication than Apex Magazine.

We welcome Elizabeth Bear back to our pages with “Dolly.” Her reprint about emerging sentience and a murder is a recent classic of the genre.

Russell Dickerson interviews cover artist Vincent Sammy about how to create horror within art without resorting to over-the-top gore. Andrea Johnson questions author Travis Heerman about the use of an epistolary format and productivity. Rounding out the issue are five great poems from five great poets: Rodney Gomez, Caleb J. Oakes, Matthew Chamberlin, Annie Neugebauer, and David Barber.

Our podcast this month is “Death Flowers of Never Forgotten Love” by Jason Sanford.

Here’s the complete TOC, with links to all the free content.

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New Treasures: Brutal Pantomimes by Rhys Hughes

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Brutal Pantomimes Rhys Hughes-smallRhys Hughes is an amazingly prolific short story writer with dozens of collections to his credit, including The Smell of Telescopes (2000), Nowhere Near Milk Wood (2002), and Bone Idle in the Charnel House (2014). His novels include The Percolated Stars (2003), The Young Dictator (2013), and Captains Stupendous (2014).

His latest is a handsome new collection of 10 stories (most previously unpublished) from Egaeus Press, with a cover by František Tichý and interior illustrations by Jacques Callot. Check it out.

Brutal Pantomimes contains ten tales of absurd exoticism, weird adventure and wild fantasy from the shockingly prolific and highly acclaimed Rhys Hughes. Most of the stories, novellettes and novella included have not previously been published and some are regarded by their author to be amongst his best works.

Enjoy pirate shenanigans, a globe of the Earth that is a voodoo doll, the dubious gifts of a Greek god, impossible angles, improbable sciences, impractical philosophies, a rare tropical yeti in a submarine and so much more. Featuring an introduction by Michael Cisco…

The book is a lithographically printed, 256 page sewn hardback with colour endpapers and cover by František Tichý, as well as illustrations throughout by Jacques Callot. It is limited to 300 copies.

Brutal Pantomimes was published by Egaeus Press on February 6, 2016. It is 256 pages, priced at £32.00 (including postage). The cover is by František Tichý. Order directly at the Egaeus Press website.

See all of our recent New Treasures here.

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