Win a Copy of The Emperor’s Railroad, First Book of The Dreaming Cities by Guy Haley!

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

The Emperor's Railroad-small The Ghoul King-small

Two weeks ago we had a look at‘s impressive catalog of recent fantasy titles, and gave away free copies of each of their March releases. Today, we’d like to do something just as exciting: give you a chance to win one of three advance copies of Guy Haley’s new novella The Emperor’s Railroad, the opening installment of a terrific new adventure fantasy series, The Dreaming Cities.

What’s it about? Zombies! City States! Prehistoric beasts! Mutants and machine relics! Check out this awesome description.

Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.

Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.

Until now…

How do you win a copy? Easy! Just send an e-mail to with the subject “The Emperor’s Railroad.” That’s all it takes! Three winners will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries, and each will receive one of our precious advance proofs.

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Vintage Treasures: Machines That Kill, edited by Fred Saberhagen & Martin Harry Greenberg

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

Machines That Kill-small Machines That Kill-back-small

Today’s Vintage Treasure is a fine example of a recently extinct species: the mass market anthology.

Allow me a moment to mourn the loss of this beautiful and now-vanished creature. In days gone by, mass market anthologies thundered in vast herds across bookstore shelves, terrorizing lesser tomes. A single bookstore ecosystem could support a vast number of anthologies with a spellbinding array of thematic plumage, from horror to romantic fantasy to sword & sorcery and far future SF. In recent years, publishers such as DAW kept a dwindling number of anthologies alive in captivity for breeding purposes, but these efforts generally resulted in weak-blooded specimens about cats and unicorns. Today, the only relatives of the mass market anthology that survive are its larger cousins, the trade paperback and small press hardcover.

But not so long ago this creature strode proudly across the publishing savannah, introducing the curious to new writers, helping readers discover a wide range of different voices they might not otherwise encounter. The one I want to talk about today is the 1984 Ace paperback Machines That Kill, edited by Fred Saberhagen & Martin Harry Greenberg.

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That Movie About the Guy Who’s Stranded on Mars

Monday, March 28th, 2016 | Posted by William I. Lengeman III


Robinson Crusoe on Mars
Paramount Pictures, 1964
Directed by Byron Haskin

(There will be spoilers.)

So there’s this movie about a guy who finds himself in the rather grim position of being stranded on Mars — all by his lonesome (more or less – but we’ll get to that).

I think you probably thought you knew the one, but it’s actually not that one. Robinson Crusoe on Mars debuted about a half century before that other, more popular, “guy stranded on Mars” movie. I haven’t seen The Martian or read the book, so I can’t compare the two. I’ll confine myself to commenting on the earlier movie.

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Future Treasures: Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight by Liane Merciel

Monday, March 28th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Pathfinder Hellknight-back-small Pathfinder Hellknight-small

Liane Merciel is the author of Dragon Age: Last Flight and The River Kings’ Road. Her first two Pathfinder Tales novels, Nightglass and Nightblade, both followed the adventures of Isiem, raised as a wizard-priest of the dark god Zon-Kuthon in the grim nation of Nidal.

For her third Pathfinder Tales novel she switches setting to the city of Westcrown, and introduces us to the devil-blooded Jheraal, a member of the brutal organization of warriors known as the Hellknights, dedicated to maintaining law and order at any cost. When a serial killer starts targeting hellspawn like Jheraal and her child, Jheraal is forced to partner with a paladin and a cunning diabolist to defeat an ancient enemy to whom even death is no deterrent.

Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight will be published by Tor Books on April 5, 2016. It is 418 pages, priced at $14.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Jason Rainville. It also includes a 14-page sneak peek of Tim Pratt’s upcoming novel Liar’s Bargain (sequel to Liar’s Blade and Liar’s Island), and 13 bonus pages of ads for other Pathfinder novels and game books, which were a lot of fun to flip through.

March 2016 Lightspeed Magazine Now on Sale

Monday, March 28th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Lightspeed March 2016-smallThe cover story for the March 2016 Lightspeed is Caroline M. Yoachim’s “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station, Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0.” You have to admit, as title’s go, that one’s pretty darn good. The cover artist is Reiko Murakami.

The ebook-exclusive reprint this month is Mark W. Tiedemann’s novella “Miller’s Wife,” which originally appeared in Black Gate 4. Here’s what Rich Horton said about it when he reviewed it in the January 2004 issue of Locus.

The centerpiece of the Fall issue of Black Gate is Mark Tiedemann’s impressive novella “Miller’s Wife.” Egan Ginter is fleeing another failed relationship in the big city; he hopes a couple weeks at a friend’s house in the Ozark town of Saletcroix will heal him. But something odd is going on — Saletcroix’s valley is dying, and a bad run of luck is plaguing the townspeople… Tiedemann maintains the suspense very well, and resolves the story just that little bit unexpectedly to make it memorable.

Rich made “Miller’s Wife” his Recommended Story of the Month.

In his editorial, John Joseph Adams talks about the impressive success Lightpseed and its sister magazine Nightmare have had in the 2016 Awards season.

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The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: Elric & “The Jade Man’s Eyes”

Monday, March 28th, 2016 | Posted by Bob Byrne

Jade_FlasingBeing an avid Black Gate reader, you know that we devoted a lot of attention to the various works of Conan’s creator last year with our ‘Discovering Robert E. Howard’ series. I was very much a latecomer to Conan, as well as Howard in general. I’ve made up a lot of ground on Solomon Kane, El Borak and others, but I’ve still got a slew of Tor paperbacks featuring the Cimmerian that I haven’t read yet, among other stuff.

However, one fantasy series that I delved far deeper into at a much younger age was Michael Moorcock’s saga of Elric and the Eternal Champion. To my middle school, Dungeons and Dragons-playing mind, that stuff, with those awesome DAW covers, was pure gold. In fact, White Wolf would have been FAR better served to use one of those instead of the craptacular cover they put on Elric: The Stealer of Souls in 1998. It is beyond awful and I’m not going to include it in this post. You can Google it if you doubt me, but I’d take my word for it.

I was going through some boxes of books that aren’t on my shelves and I came across the Dell paperback of Lin Carter’s Flashing Swords #2. First published in hardback in 1974, it included a new story of the pale Melnibonian, “The Jade Man’s Eyes.” And with a Frank Frazetta cover, it’s miles ahead of the aforementioned White Wolf cover as well.

This collection has an interesting introduction that talks about Howard’s Conan as the birth of sword and sorcery (remember: forty-plus years ago and pre-internet, what we now regard as common knowledge and what’s popular and respected often wasn’t the case then).

Carter tells of the creation of The Swordsmen and Sorceror’s Guild of America, Ltd. (SAGA), including himself, L. Sprague de Camp and John Jakes. Fritz Lieber, Mike Moorcock and Jack Vance were added soon after, followed by Poul Anderson and Andre Norton. I imagine you’ll see a SAGA post here somewhere down the line.

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The Library of America Publishes Ross Macdonald

Sunday, March 27th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Ross Macdonald Four Novels of the 1950s-small Ross Macdonald Three Novels of the Early 1950s-small

The Library of America has been busy as all get-out recently, pumping out archival quality omnibus volumes of Kurt Vonnegut, Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Philip K. Dick, H. P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, David Goodis, and other 20th Century genre authors. The latest beneficiary of all this attention is hardboiled crime fiction writer Kenneth Millar, who published under the name Ross Macdonald.

The first volume, Ross Macdonald: Four Novels of the 1950s, packed in four novels featuring popular private detective Lew Archer:

The Way Some People Die (1951)
The Barbarous Coast (1956)
The Doomsters (1958)
The Galton Case (1959)

Here’s a look at the original paperback editions (click for bigger images).

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Series Fantasy: The Duelists Trilogy by Julia Knight

Sunday, March 27th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Swords And Scoundrels-small Legends And Liars-small Warlords and Wastrels-small

Every time a fantasy series successfully wraps up, we bake a cake.

This week we celebrated the completion of Julia Knight’s Duelists trilogy, published by Orbit in quick succession late last year, all with covers by Gene Mollica:

Swords and Scoundrels (400 pages, $14.99/$9.99 digital, October 6, 2015)
Legends and Liars (400 pages, $15.99/$9.99 digital, November 10 2015)
Warlords and Wastrels (400 pages, $15.99/$9.99 digital, December 15, 2015)

What’s so special about The Duelists trilogy? It’s an adventure fantasy series “full of ruffians, scoundrels and rogues,” and I absolutely love the series description. Here’s Anna Gregson talking about the books on Orbit’s website.

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Ramez Naam’s Apex Wins 2016 Philip K. Dick Award

Sunday, March 27th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Apex Ramez Naam-small APEX by Ramez Naam-back-small

Ramez Naam’s novel Apex, the third and final volume in the Nexus Trilogy, received the 2016 Philip K. Dick Award yesterday.

The Award is given each year to a distinguished original science fiction paperback published for the first time in the U.S.A. It’s named after Philip K. Dick, the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, The Man in the High Castle, Valis, and many other groundbreaking SF novels — most of which were originally published in paperback.

The judges also issued a special citation to Archangel by Marguerite Reed.

Apex was published by Angry Robot on May 12, 2015. It is 608 pages, priced at $14.99 in trade paperback and $6.99 for the digital edition. The previous volumes in the Nexus Trilogy are Nexus (2012) and Crux (2013). Nexus, the opening book in the series, was also an NPR Best Book of the Year, and won the Prometheus Award and the Endeavour Award.

Read the full award announcement at the Official Philip K. Dick Awards Home Page.

New Treasures: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Sunday, March 27th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Rebel of the Sands-smallIf you’ve noticed me covering a lot of Young Adult new releases recently, you’re not wrong. It’s a full time job keeping up with all the intriguing YA fiction flooding the market, and I’ve had to become a lot more selective than I used to be.

Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands cries out for some attention, however. It features a desert kingdom, mythical beasts, djinn, and an orphaned girl who becomes a gunslinger. Bestselling author Alison Goodman calls it “a wild ride… a stunning debut full of irresistible energy, heart-stopping action, and a new voice that sings.” It’s available in hardcover from Viking.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse — or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes — in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.

Rebel of the Sands was published by Viking Books for Young Readers on March 8, 2016. It is 320 pages, priced at $18.99 in hardcover and $10.99 in digital format.

See all of our recent New Treasures here.

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