November 2016 Lightspeed Magazine Now Available

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

lightspeed-november-2016-smallTrying to keep up with uber-editor John Joseph Adams is exhausting. In his capacity as editor of two magazines (Lightspeed and Nightmare), a prolific anthology editor, and editor of John Joseph Adams Books for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, he produces more books than I can read every month. Here’s a snippet from his editorial in the current Lightspeed on his various doings this month.

As you may recall, in addition to editing Lightspeed and Nightmare, I am also the series editor of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, which launched last year. The first volume was guest edited by Joe Hill, and the 2016 volume (which came out October 4) is guest edited by Karen Joy Fowler…

My new anthology [What the #@&% is That?] — co-edited with Douglas Cohen — releases this month…. I just released new editions of my anthologies Federations and The Way of the Wizard. The new covers are both by the wonderful and talented Matt Bright at Inkspiral Design… Next month, the final volume in the POC Destroy series will publish as a special issue of Fantasy Magazine (which was merged into Lightspeed back in 2012).

In my role as editor of John Joseph Adams Books for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, I just acquired a novel by debut author Bryan Camp: The City of Lost Fortunes, a novel about a magician with a talent for finding lost things who is forced into playing a high stakes game with the gods of New Orleans for the heart and soul of the city. Publication date is tentatively scheduled for Spring 2018. Meanwhile, I also bought a story by Bryan for Lightspeed, so you’ll be seeing his short story debut sometime in the near future as well!

Whatever brand of coffee John is drinking, I need some. On top of everything else, John also reports that this month’s Lightspeed includes a special section on comics and graphic novels by four guest-columnists: Christie Yant, Jenn Reese, Kate Galey, and Rachel Swirsky. They’re also adding a new regular book review columnist, joining Andrew Liptak and Amal El-Mohtar.

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Jonathan Strahan on the Best Short Novels of 2016

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

the-best-story-i-can-manage-robert-shearman-smallJonathan Strahan used to edit a marvelous anthology series for the Science Fiction Book Club called Best Short Novels. He published four volumes, from 2004-2007. On his Coode Street website yesterday, Jonathan published “An Imaginary List” of his picks for a 2016 volume.

I was pondering what I’d put into my old Best Short Novels series, if I was still editing it for someone today. After a bit of reflection I came up with the following list. I wasn’t restricted to Hugo length requirements, so one story is actually a long novelette, but this list would still come close to 200,000 words which is about right for the old series.

Here’s his selections for the ten best short novels of 2016, including five entries from the new novella line, two from collections, and one each from Asimov’s SF and F&SF.

The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor)
The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor)
Every Heart A Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor)
This Census-taker, China Mieville (Del Rey)
“The Charge and the Storm,” An Owomoyela (Asimov’s)
The Devil You Know, K.J. Parker (Tor)
The Iron Tactician, Alastair Reynolds (Newcon)
The Best Story I Can Manage, Robert Shearman (Five Storeys High)
“The Vanishing Kind,” Lavie Tidhar (F&SF)
A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor)

We discussed Jonathan’s Best Short Novels series in a feature earlier this year, and we covered the latest from here.

See Jonthan’s complete post here.

The Late-November Fantasy Magazine Rack

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

50-years-of-star-trek-volume-2-rack clarkesworld-122-rack beneath-ceaseless-skies-212-rack swords-and-sorcery-magazine-october-2016-rack
scrolls-of-legendry-2-rack heroic-fantasy-quarterly-q30-rack locus-november-2016-rack weirdbook-33-rack

This month Fletcher Vredenburgh pulled double duty with his Short Story Roundup, reviewing the latest issues of Curtis Ellett’s Swords and Sorcery Magazine and the team-edited Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, plus the first two issues of Dave Ritzlin’s Scrolls of Legendry. Tony Den also looked back at the pulp magazine appearances of H. Warner Munn, including Weird Tales, Weird Terror Tales, and Famous Science Fiction.

For our modern readers, we reported on the news that Asimov’s SF and Analog Magazine have switched to bi-monthly publication.

Check out all the details on the magazines above by clicking on the each of the images. Our Early November Fantasy Magazine Rack is here.

As we’ve mentioned before, all of these magazines are completely dependent on fans and readers to keep them alive. Many are marginal operations for whom a handful of subscriptions may mean the difference between life and death. Why not check one or two out, and try a sample issue? There are magazines here for every budget, from completely free to $35/issue. If you find something intriguing, I hope you’ll consider taking a chance on a subscription. I think you’ll find it’s money very well spent.

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Modular: A Brand New Column! And About T1 – The Village of Hommlet

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 | Posted by Bob Byrne

hommlet_moduleYou might have noticed the name ‘Modular’ being tagged onto the front of some gaming-related posts over the past several months. Well, being the savvy folks we are we here at Black Gate, we know that Role Playing Games (RPGs), whether tabletop or electronic (Pc/video game/MMO) are immensely popular. And we periodically post about RPGs, in addition to other types of games: such as this one I did on the Dungeons and Dragons Board Game line. And because we’re an on-the-ball kind of website, we’ve noticed that those posts do pretty well.

So, beginning in January, we’re kicking off a regular gaming column called…. you guessed it, ‘Modular.’ The primary focus will be on Role Playing Games, but we want to write about all kinds of fun games and gaming-related topics such as movies, television shows, books, etc. Posts will be written by various Black Gate contributors, and we’re also going to invite some industry folks to come visit, like we did with our popular ‘Discovering Robert E. Howard’ series.

I’m really excited about ‘Modular,’ as I think we’re going to be presenting you with some great stuff – both contemporary and nostalgic. From pen and paper Kickstarters to Dungeons and Dragons history. To give you a taste of what’s coming, the following was intended to be one of the first posts in the series next year. It’s a look at just about my favorite module, T1 – The Village of Hommlet. And as I mention at the end, there’s going to be a follow up post with my thoughts on why The Temple of Elemental Evil was delayed for several years.  If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover, or even something you’d like to write a post about, email me at The latter is how I ended up with my own column, ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes,’ here at Black Gate. So….

The golden era of my RPG life is Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D).  To prepare for this post, I sat down and read my favorite AD&D module. Now, there are quite a few which I’m still fond of and would like to play again. But T1 – The Village of Hommlet is the leader of the pack. Surprisingly, I’m not particularly crazy about T1-4, The Temple of Elemental Evil (ToEE), the much-delayed sequel, which is usually listed near the top of every “All-Time Greats” list. For me, Hommlet is a completely self-contained adventure in and of itself.

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Emily Bold on Celtic Lore, Timeless Romance, and Accidentally Swearing in Gaelic

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 | Posted by Emily Mah

thumbAs many of you know, my alter-ego is E.M. Tippetts, an indie chick-lit author. This means I do my best to stay on top of the indie publishing scene. Most people think of the English speaking markets when it comes to indie publishing, but Germany actually had more market penetration early on by the self-published set. Up to half of the top 100 were indie at any given time in 2012 (as opposed to a quarter on One such success story is Emily Bold, who I had the privilege of meeting online via my German translator.

When he suggested I try cross-marketing with her, I first looked up the one book of hers that was available in English at the time, The Curse, and was dismayed to see it was paranormal romance. This is not my favorite genre, but I downloaded it and began to read…

…and finished it about a day and a half later. It was that good. Forget everything you thought you knew about paranormal romance. Payton, the male lead, was cursed with immortality along with the rest of his clan hundreds of years ago, and has been in emotional stasis ever since. Not everyone in the clan considers this a curse; what could be better than living for eternity and never again feeling any form of pain?

Enter Samantha, an American exchange student who has no idea about her ancient, Scottish bloodline, nor the prophecy that she alone can fulfill.

Because of the wealth of background research in this series, and Emily posting on Twitter that she sometimes finds herself swearing in Gaelic without even thinking about it, I assumed Emily was a historian. But no, detailed background research is just another of her many talents.

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New Treasures: Congress of Secrets by Stephanie Burgis

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

congress-of-secrets-stephanie-burgis-smallStephanie Burgis is the author of the Kat, Incorrigible trilogy of Regency fantasy adventures for kids. Masks and Shadows, her first historical fantasy novel for adults, was published by Pyr earlier this year. Martha Wells calls her newest, Congress of Secrets, “A gripping and enjoyable historical fantasy thriller, with engaging characters scheming for survival and revenge, fighting addictive alchemical magic against the lush background of the 1814 Congress of Vienna.” That’s good enough for me.

In 1814, the Congress of Vienna has just begun. Diplomats battle over a new map of Europe, actors vie for a chance at glory, and aristocrats and royals from across the continent come together to celebrate the downfall of Napoleon… among them Lady Caroline Wyndham, a wealthy English widow. But Caroline has a secret: she was born Karolina Vogl, daughter of a radical Viennese printer. When her father was arrested by the secret police, Caroline’s childhood was stolen from her by dark alchemy.

Under a new name and nationality, she returns to Vienna determined to save her father even if she has to resort to the same alchemy that nearly broke her before. But she isn’t expecting to meet her father’s old apprentice, Michael Steinhüller, now a charming con man in the middle of his riskiest scheme ever. The sinister forces that shattered Caroline’s childhood still rule Vienna behind a glittering façade of balls and salons, Michael’s plan is fraught with danger, and both of their disguises are more fragile than they realize. What price will they pay to the darkness if either of them is to survive?

Our previous coverage of Stephanie Burgis includes:

A Most Improper Boxed Set
Masks and Shadows
Stephanie Burgis on Scandals in Regency England, Magickal Bathwater, and an Illness That Is No Laughing Matter by Emily Mah

Congress of Secrets was published by Pyr on November 1, 2016. It is 347 pages, priced at $17 in trade paperback and $9.99 in digital formats. The cover was designed by Nicole Sommer-Lecht.

The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: Get Hard Cased (with Charles Ardai)

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

ardai_fiftyCharles Ardai co-founded the internet company, Juno. That success gave him the opportunity to start his own publishing imprint, Hard Case Crime, which both reprints forgotten pulp novels and also publishes new novels in the genre. The roster of Hard Case Crime authors is beyond impressive: Lawrence Block, Max Allen Collins, Lester Dent, Erle Stanley Gardner, Stephen King, Wade Miller. Richard Stark, Donald Westlake and many more.

Hard Case Crime has found several “lost” books by some big names, including James M. Cain and Gore Vidal. While Erle Stanley Gardner is best known for Perry Mason, he put out 29 books about a mismatched duo of detectives, Bertha Cool and Donald Lam. The Knife Slipped was to have been the second in the series but it was cancelled by the publisher. A week from Tuesday, on December 6, a veritable treasure goes on sale. Hard Case Crime is printing, for the first time ever, that unpublished Cool and Lam novel. I’ll be writing ab out Cool and Lam right here, next week. But today, I’ve got a Q & A with Charles Ardai!

A never before published Cool and Lam novel. Wow! How in the world did you get your publisher hands on that?

Jeffrey Marks, a biographer in the mystery field who has written about Craig Rice and Anthony Boucher among others, was working on a bio of Erle Stanley Gardner when he came across references to an unpublished Cool and Lam novel among Gardner’s papers. He brought it to my attention, and my reaction was roughly the same as yours: Wow. With the assistance of Gardner’s grandson we got a copy of the typescript from the University of Texas, where Gardner’s papers are held, and I read the thing, hoping against hope that it hadn’t remained unpublished for 75 years for good reasons. And far from deserving to be unpublished, I found it was easily one of the most enjoyable books in the series!

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Atlantis, Vikings, and the Hordes of Kublai Khan: Merlin’s Ring by H. Warner Munn: Part II

Sunday, November 27th, 2016 | Posted by Tony Den

terrortales-smallTime to come clean! When I published Part 1 of my review of Merlin’s Ring last year, it was not because the article was so massive that it had to be broken down into smaller parts. Rather, it’s because I was unable to finish the book promptly, and soon enough unforeseen circumstances left me deprived of my copy, wondering what happened to Gwalchmai and Corenice. John O’Neill suggested I proceed with what I had, and commit to completing the review later.

A replacement book was not an easy find. Mr Munn’s works are like hens teeth where I live. Honestly I have only ever, quite recently, come across one in a second hand book shop – alas it was The King of the World’s Edge, which is the book that caused me to seek out Merlin’s Ring in the first place!

Well, thanks to the internet and a service called Alibris, I finally received a replacement volume from Floridas. Not in as good a nick as my previous, pristine volume, but it is the first printing Ballantine version, which I suppose is something.

Part 1 of my review left off where Gwalchmai had joined forces with Joan of Arc, and became part of the army set to liberate Orleans. One has to appreciate the admiration for St Joan that Mr Munn must have had. His passion for the subject is strong, and the resultant detail a joy to read. My own knowledge of Joan of Arc has (until now) been somewhat sketchy. Pretty much the basics: when she lived, that she was burned as a heretic, and there have been a few recent movies about her.

While I can’t say whether Munn’s account is historically accurate, at least the recent movies have acquainted me with the subject of Joan of Arc. Munn’s Secondary characters are detailed and believable, with small quirks that can easily be believed. One example is Master Jean, the best marksman in France when it comes to the “hand cannon” (predecessor to a harquebus). The secret to his skill is cleverly woven into the plot, something rather mundane by today’s standards but so revolutionary, and risky, for a gunner in those days.

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The B&N Sci-Fi Blog on The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of November

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

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Jim Killen has been as the science fiction and fantasy buyer for Barnes & Noble for nearly 20 years, and every month he shares his top new SFF releases at the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog. His November list includes exciting new books from Brandon Sanderson, Ben Bova, Emma Newman, Christopher Hinz, Kim Harrison, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Erika Johansen, David Weber, David Dalglish, and others — including Culdesac by Robert Repino, the sequel to the widely acclaimed Mort(e), the tale of a housecat who becomes a war hero in an apocalyptic battle between humans, giants ants, and sentient animals.

Repino returns to the war-torn world he established in Mort(e) as the War with No Name rages on. The Colony, a race of intelligent ants, has humanity on the run before its army of sentient and intelligent animals. Culdesac, a housecat-turned-general for The Colony, is a brutally effective warrior, for whom violence is always the answer. As his forces occupy the town of Milton, however, he must prepare for a brutal counteroffensive from the humans, even as he discovers secrets that threaten to undermine his understanding of this new universe. Repino imbues a startling sense of realism to a story about an intelligent cat’s desire to wipe out humanity; Culdesac’s story is not only tense and violent, but oddly emotional and touching.

Culdesac was published by Soho Press on November 15. It is 128 pages, priced at $9.99 in trade paperback and $7.99 for the digital edition. We covered Mort(e) here.

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Reverse-Turing Testing the Editor of Black Gate, or How I Said Goodbye to My Spam Followers

Saturday, November 26th, 2016 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

56043582This week, my friend Marie looked at my website because I didn’t know what I was doing. You may recall that one of the reasons I blog at Black Gate magazine is because I assume no one would ever read anything I put on my personal web page.

So far I’ve been with Black Gate about three years and love it here. But I haven’t lavished the same love on my own website.

So Marie looked at it and found I had literally hundreds of comments! You can’t imagine the shock and delight I experienced for 2.75 seconds.

Until she said “I think these are all spam comments.” Personally, I thought she was suffering from sour grapes, because she didn’t have 137 comments on her posts.

“But they’re engaging with me!” I said. “They like my posts!”

“No,” said Marie (continue imagining sour grapes). “It’s almost all spam. You have a couple of real people though.”

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