October 2016 Lightspeed Magazine Now Available

Monday, October 31st, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

lightspeed-october-2016-smallJeremiah Tolbert has had a pretty impressive short fiction career — in the last few years he’s been published in Asimov’s SF, Giganotosaurus, Interzone, the sword & sorcery Cthulhu anthology Swords Vs Cthulhu, and other fine places. Some of you will also remember his very fine story in Black Gate 15, “Groob’s Stupid Grubs.” His latest tale for Lightspeed is “The Cavern of the Screaming Eye,” a futuristic role-playing tale which he describes thusly:

The first in the Dungeonspace sequence of stories, “Cavern” involves the story of a boy struggling with the legacy of his dead brother, a great d-space crawler lost to one of the most deadly dungeon anomalies the City has ever seen – The Black Hole.

His mother will kill him if he takes up d-space adventuring – she can’t bear to lose another son to the high-risk world of dungeon crawling. But an addiction to the thrill of adventure might just be in his blood, and now he find himself embroiled in the new kid’s dungeoneering schemes. Will they survive… the Cavern of the Screaming Eyes?

Here’s Charles Payseur’s summary from Quick Sip Reviews.

This story imagines a future fantasy world where young people can enter into d-space, a sort of dungeon-crawling game, only one where the stakes are life and death. The main character, Ivan, has recently lost his brother to the game, a brother who was a hero to many but a terror to Ivan. His home life a mess, Ivan is surprised when a new kid at his school offers friendship and, more than that, an opportunity to get involved in dungeon delving… This also feels like the start or something larger, because the story introduces many things that don’t exactly pay off. But it does create the sense of a larger world and a larger mystery which Ivan is just discovering, that will undoubtedly have huge implications for him, his family, and his new friends. It’s an entertaining piece and light but with a lifting optimism and fun that makes it a pleasant read and a fine story!

Read Charles’ complete review of the October issue here.

This month editor John Joseph Adams offers us original fantasy by Jeremiah Tolbert and Kat Howard, and fantasy reprints by Aliette de Bodard and Will Kaufman, plus original science fiction by Stephen S. Power and Mary Anne Mohanraj, along with SF reprints by Karen Joy Fowler and Fran Wilde.

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We All Live in Lovecraft Country

Monday, October 31st, 2016 | Posted by Jackson Kuhl

lovecraftcountryLovecraft Country
by Matt Ruff
Harper (384 pages, $26.99 hardback, $7.99 digital, February 2016)

Pam Noles grew up the daughter of a mother who was very active in the NAACP and a father who, because of his color, had to sue their city after being turned down eight times for a firefighting job. Noles also grew up loving all things science fiction — books and B movies — even though nobody on those book covers or in those movies resembled her family.

On Saturday nights Noles watched schlocky movies hosted by an Elvira knockoff called The Ghoul, backed by a cast of weirdos (every big market had something similar — in Philly we had Saturday Night Dead, hosted by Stella “The Maneater From Manayunk”). During breaks in the movie they performed skits.

Usually it would be just me in the basement sprawled on the floor surrounded by snacks, Legos and books to read during the commercials. If he was off shift, sometimes Dad would come down and join me in his leather recliner by the stairs. Every once in a while Mom called down from the kitchen Are you letting her watch those weird things? And we’d lie in unison, No. If she came down to check for herself, Dad would get in trouble.

Dad had his own names for the movies.

What’s this? ‘Escape to a White Planet?’

It’s called ‘When Worlds Collide.’ I’m sure I sounded indignant.

‘Mars Kills the White People.’ I love this one.

Daaaaad. It says it right there. ‘War of the Worlds’. I know I sighed heavily, but was careful to turn back to the tv before rolling my eyes.

Once he asked me which was more real, the movie or the skits between. I didn’t get it, and told him that they were both stories, so they were both fake. He didn’t bring it up again until a skit came on. I can’t remember if it was a ‘Soulman’ skit or one of the caveman gags (the cavemen were multicultural — basic white, Polish, Italian, and black). But I remember Dad saying, how come you never see anybody like that in the stories you like? And I remember answering, maybe they didn’t have black people back then. He said there’s always been black people. I said but black people can’t be wizards and space people and they can’t fight evil, so they can’t be in the story. When he didn’t say anything back I turned around. He was in full recline mode in his chair and he was very still, looking at me. He didn’t say anything else.

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The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: Holmes for Halloween

Monday, October 31st, 2016 | Posted by Bob Byrne

halloween_arcanumI don’t really do horror. Now, I am a huge Robert R. McCammon fan and of F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack. Of course, I’ve read a fair amount of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu stuff (man, that creeps me out). And bits here and there from Robert E. Howard, Les Daniels, Anne Rice and a few others. But overall, I don’t really enjoy the genre, so it’s not an area I have a lot of experience with.

However, I have come across several examples of Holmes in the genre. And it being Halloween, let’s take a quick look at few titles that involve horror or the supernatural. Those two things aren’t always the same, you know.

The Unopened Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (John Taylor) There was a time when Holmes pastiches were relatively uncommon and, pre-Amazon, you grabbed what you could when you saw them on the shelves. I still remember being excited to buy books from Richard Boyer, L.B. Greenwood and Frank Thomas. Another was a short story collection by John Sherwood, a writer for the BBC. “The Wandering Corpse,” “The Battersea Worm,” “The Paddington Witch,” “The Phantom Organ,” “The Devil’s Tunnel” and “The Horror of Hanging Wood” are all supernatural-tinged stories. The last one remains a favorite of mine and something I wish I’d thought up.  Taylor wrote four more Holmes adventures, which were read aloud by Benedict Cumberbatch. I’ve not heard them, but every couple of years, around this time, I read a few stories from his book.

Gaslight Anthologies (edited by J.R. Campbell & Charles Prepolec) In 2008, Canadians Campbell and Prepolec put out Gaslight Grimoire, a collection of eleven creepy Holmes tales. It was followed by thirteen more in Gaslight Grotesque, and finished up with another dozen in Gaslight Arcanum. That’s 36 stories of horror and weirdness. You can certainly tell what you’re getting from the covers of the last two books. If you’re a Holmes fan and really like the horror genre, these three anthologies are just what you’re looking for.

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Black Gate Wins World Fantasy Award

Sunday, October 30th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

world-fantasy-convention-2016-banner-small

I’ve just returned from the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, Ohio, where I got the chance to meet up with several of our talented and far-flung contributors, including Bob Byrne, Patty Templeton, C.S.E. Cooney, Matthew Wuertz, Sarah Avery, Fred Durbin, Ellen Klages, Amal El-Mohtar, Derek Künsken, Brandon Crilly, Marie Bilodeau, David B. Coe, Jeffrey Ford, and many others.

But the highlight of the weekend — by a pretty wide margin — was receiving the World Fantasy Special Award in the Nonprofessional category. Here’s the text of the brief acceptance speech I hastily sketched out on my cell phone, just before the banquet ended.

Wow.

In 1996, I started SF Site, one of the first genre websites. It quickly grew to over 150,000 readers per month. By 1998, as the most innovative and forward-thinking publications in the genre were creating the first ground-breaking websites, we decided to do something REALLY forward-thinking: Launch a print magazine.

Black Gate lasted for 15 print issues, until 2011. In November 2008 our Managing Editor, Howard Andrew Jones, said we should revamp the magazine’s website. I was the voice of reason. “Seriously, who wants to read more than one article a month, Jones?”

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Space Colonies, Interstellar Fleets, and The Martian in the Attic: The Best of Frederik Pohl

Sunday, October 30th, 2016 | Posted by James McGlothlin

The Best of Frederik Pohl-smallIn my continuing posts of Del Rey’s Classic Science Fiction Series, we now come to the third volume in the series, The Best of Frederik Pohl (1975). The introduction was done by none other than the writer and editor Lester del Rey himself (1915-1993). As with The Best of Stanley Weinbaum and The Best of Fritz Leiber, the cover art for Pohl’s volume was done by Dean Ellis (1920-2009). And as with Leiber’s volume, the author himself, Frederik Pohl (1919-2013), gives an afterword as well commenting on several of the stories within.

To call Pohl a giant of science fiction is a cliched understatement. Pohl wrote and edited science fiction for over seventy years. He won numerous awards and was editor for many years of Galaxy and If magazines. His mark on science fiction is absolutely indelible.

But, I have to admit, I had actually never read any of Pohl’s stories before this volume. So I came to The Best of Frederik Pohl with fairly neutral eyes, though expecting to read some great classic science fiction. What did I find? Let me comment on a few the stories in this volume that really struck me and then I’ll give some final overall thoughts on Pohl’s work.

The story “Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus” was a fairly on-the-nose satire against Christmas commercialism — a pretty easy target. But, surprisingly, this satire was set within the context of a love story about a department store manager seeking to marry the daughter of a very conservative missionary. Not what I was expecting. What was even more surprising was that this turned out to be a very heart-stirring little romantic tale, very unexpected given the cynical bite of the story’s overall point.

Interestingly, in retrospect, the sci-fi elements of this story seem fairly tangential now. In fact, I don’t remember exactly what the sci-fi elements in this story were. And this wasn’t the only story like this. I often found myself trying to remember exactly what made Pohl’s stories examples of science fiction. I’ll return to this point.

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Something Nasty, Something With Claws

Saturday, October 29th, 2016 | Posted by Brendan Detzner

brendan-detzner-the-orphan-fleet-small brendan-detzner-the-hidden-lands

Whenever I have an idea for a story, it usually came from at least six different places, three or four or which I’ll have forgotten by the time the story is done. Let’s see how well I do this time:

I grew up in a house where bookshelves were the most important pieces of furniture, and I was happy to take advantage, but in a hidden corner of the basement was a particularly important shelf, the one where my dad kept his old 70’s science-fiction and fantasy paperbacks. Roger Zelazny, Harlan Ellison, Michael Moorcock, Gene Wolfe. Not a bad haul. In one of those books, a short story collection from Gene Wolfe, was a story called “The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories,” which is about a child reading a story featuring a villain who he later imagines (or maybe not, it’s a Gene Wolfe story) breaking the fourth wall and discussing his role as a bad guy. He talks about how he and the hero seem to hate each other, but that backstage they actually get along and understood their interdependence.

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Future Treasures: What the #@&% Is That? edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen

Saturday, October 29th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

what-the-is-that-smallWhat’s the deal with all these fabulous Saga anthologies? Where are they all coming from?

First there’s The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe, which arrived just last week. If you love fairy tales (and who doesn’t?), it’s the most important and high profile anthology in years.

But as much as I love fairy tales, my heart truly belongs to monster movies, and tales of strange and nasty creatures. John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen understand that, and their gift to readers like me is What the #@&% Is That?, a glorious collection of brand new monster tales by some of the top writers in the field. It arrives in trade paper from Saga Press next week.

Fear of the unknown — it is the essence of the best horror stories, the need to know what monstrous vision you’re beholding and the underlying terror that you just might find out. Now, twenty authors have gathered to ask — and maybe answer — a question worthy of almost any horror tale: “What the #@&% is that?”Join these masters of suspense as they take you to where the shadows grow long, and that which lurks at the corner of your vision is all too real.

Includes stories by Laird Barron, Amanda Downum, Scott Sigler, Simon R. Green, Desirina Boskovich, Isabel Yap, Maria Dahvana Headley, Christopher Golden, John Langan, D. Thomas Minton, Seanan McGuire, Grady Hendrix, Jonathan Maberry, Gemma Files, Nancy Holder, Adam-Troy Castro, Terence Taylor, Tim Pratt, An Owomoyela & Rachel Swirsky, and Alan Dean Foster.

What the #@&% Is That? will be published by Saga Press on November 1, 2016. It is 368 pages, priced at $16.99 in trade paperback and $7.99 in the digital edition.


Cover Reveal: Damnation by Peter McLean

Friday, October 28th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

peter-mclean-burned-man-novels-small

Drake, the first novel in Peter McLean’s new series, was published in January. The highly-anticipated second novel, Dominion, will be released on November 2nd in the US, and November 4 in the UK and the rest of the world. Here’s what I said about Drake late last year.

Peter McLean’s first novel will be released in paperback by Angry Robot in early January, and it sounds pretty darn good.

Don’t believe me? Drake features a hitman who owes a gambling debt to a demon, his faithful magical accomplice The Burned Man (an imprisoned archdemon), the Furies of Greek myth, an (almost) fallen angel named Trixie, and oh, yeah. Lucifer. Dave Hutchinson calls it “a gritty, grungy, funny, sweary noir thriller with added demons. Don Drake is a wonderful creation.” I told you it sounded good. Drake is the opening installment in a new series titled The Burned Man.

Black Gate is very proud to present an exclusive cover reveal for the third novel, Damnation, scheduled to appear on May 2 of next year. See below for additional details of the book, and a high-res pic of the cover.

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My Top Ten Novel-to-Movie Adaptations

Friday, October 28th, 2016 | Posted by Violette Malan

3-musketeers-posterLast time I was having a look at William Goldman, both his screen and novel writing. You can see the whole post here, but for my review of my top ten movie adaptations, I’d like to repeat what Goldman says about writing screenplays:

Here is one of the main rules of adaptation: you cannot be literally faithful to the source material.

Here’s another that critics never get: you should not be literally faithful to the source material. It is in a different form, a form that does not have the camera.

Here is the most important rule of adaptation: you must be totally faithful to the intention of the source material.

— from Which Lie Did I Tell?

In another spot, and I’m paraphrasing here, because now I can’t find the quotation, he tells us how a book has maybe 400 pages, and a screenplay has around 135 pages, and not full pages at that, so what do you think happens between one version and the other?

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Black Gate’s Closet: Gourdgeous Pumpkin Clothes

Friday, October 28th, 2016 | Posted by Patty Templeton

Hear ye, hear ye, THE GREAT PUMPKIN COMETH!

To please the Orange Overlord it is requested that you stock yer wardrobe in her minions.

Worried that you don’t have enough Halloweenery to gladden the Frightening Foreman? Panic not, inhabitants of the Hocus Pocus. Here be a starter list of gourd garb to grab goodwill.

  1. For those of you that wish Flashdance was just a wee bit more autumnal:

flashdance-pumpkin-shirt

Get your shoulder shimmy on, here.

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