Future Treasures: Gloriana: Or, The Unfulfill’d Queen by Michael Moorcock

Saturday, November 26th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

gloriana-or-the-unfulfilld-queen-smallMichael Moorcock is best known today for his ambitious Eternal Champion story arc, which includes the sword & sorcery classic Elric of Melnibone, the Hawkmoon novels, the Chronicles of Corum, the Von Bek novels… and man, a whole lot more. Seriously, if you want to dive in, there’s a whole lot of reading ahead of you. The Wikipedia page, which lists roughly a billion novels and short stories in the seres, will get you started.

But some of Moorcock’s most acclaimed fantasies were standalone works — including the World Fantasy Award and John W. Campbell Award winner Gloriana: Or, The Unfulfill’d Queen, which first appeared nearly 40 years ago. The tale of a beautiful but sexually frustrated queen who finds herself drawn into deadly court intrigue, Gloriana has been reprinted over a dozen times, and at the end of the month Saga Press returns it to print again in a handsome new hardcover description. Here’s the description.

In this “spellbinding” (The Sunday Times) award-winning fantasy, the vast empire of Albion is ruled by the beautiful and forlorn queen, Gloriana who must battle against a nefarious scoundrel, Captain Quire, and a court soured by debauchery with her wits.

First published in 1978, Gloriana is the award-winning story set in the alternate English kingdom of Albion that reimagines Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

Bawdy, cruel, and brilliant, Gloriana has been awarded the World Fantasy Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction, and is often cited as one of the great works of speculative fiction and fantasy along the lines of J.G. Ballard, Thomas Pynchon, and Philip K. Dick.

Gloriana has previously been published in the US by Avon Books, Questar, Warner Aspect, and the Science Fiction Book Club, and in the UK by Fontana, Gollancz Fantasy Masterworks, Gateway/Orion, and others. I’ve collected half a dozen examples below, with a gorgeous sampling of cover art — including the 1986 Flamingo edition, one of the rare examples of full frontal nudity I’ve ever seen on a mass market fantasy cover.

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Weirdbook 33 Now Available

Saturday, November 26th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

weirdbook-33-smallI was very pleased to finally get my hands on a copy of Weirdbook 33 this week, the third issue of the newly re-launched weird fantasy magazine. It follows issue #32 by just four months, which is lightning fast in the world of small press magazines.

While the last issue contained 25 short stories, this time editor Doug Draa mixes it up a little with a focus on longer fiction. Here’s an excerpt from his editorial.

This issue is going somewhat against the norm in that there are only 9 pieces of long fiction, a single flash piece, from the esteemed James Aquilone, and our talented rouges gallery of poets this time around. The nine stories are all of novelette or novella length.

I was tempted to call this our “Super-duper Occult Detective Halloween Spooktacular,” but feared that that would have been overdoing things a wee bit. To be honest, it’s purely coincidental but this issue contains 3 detective pieces. One of them is a new “Nick Nightmare” story from British Fantasy Award winner Adrian Cole, another one is from rising star John R. Fultz, and the third is a tale of shamanistic detection set in the true north strong and free by the extremely talented Bruno Lombard.

This issue also sees the return of two genuine masters to the pages of Weirdbook. A powerful, erotic dark fantasy by Jessica Amanda Salmonson and a wonderfully pulpy adventure from the pen of Franklyn Searight himself.

This issue is even larger than the last one, clocking in at an impressive 178 pages. Here’s the complete table of contents.

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Last Chance to Win a Copy of Sarah Avery’s The Imlen Brat

Friday, November 25th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Imlen Brat-small

Ten days ago we announced a contest to give away two copies of Sarah Avery’s new book The Imlet Brat. Sarah has been a blogger at Black Gate since the days when our server was a coal-powered gear box in Howard Andrew Jones’ barn, and we were writing breathless articles about hot new writers Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft. Sarah is also the author of “The War of the Wheat Berry Year” (from BG 15) and the acclaimed novella collection Tales from Rugosa Coven, which won the Mythopoeic Award in 2015.

There’s still an opportunity to win one of these beautiful books, but time is running out. To enter, just send an e-mail to john@blackgate.com with the subject “The Imlen Brat,” and a one-sentence review of your favorite fantasy novella.[In honor of Sarah’s legacy as one of our most popular writers, we’ll also gladly accept a one-sentence review of your favorite story from Black Gate magazine — including any of the tales in our Black Gate Online Fiction library.]

That’s all it takes! Two winners will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries, and we’ll reprint the winning entries when we announce the winners. All entries become the property of New Epoch Press. 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, or anywhere postage for a trade paperback is more than, like, 10 bucks. Eat your vegetables.

The Imlen Brat was published by Point Quay Press on October 30, 2016. It is 70 pages, priced at $9.99 in trade paperback and $2.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Kate Baylay. Copies are available at Amazon and other fine outlets. See more details here.


Goth Chick News: Days of the Dead Drags into Chicago

Friday, November 25th, 2016 | Posted by Sue Granquist

days-of-the-dead

Halloween heaves its last rasping breath each year in the Windy City when the annual Days of the Dead show lopes in around mid-November.

Granted, by this time not only are all traces of skeletons and zombies utterly erased, but rather than being replaced by little paper pilgrims and turkeys, Santas and Black Friday deals had long been encroaching on the tombstones in the retail aisles.  Still, there are enough of us not ready to let go of “the season” that the hotel playing host to the event for the last several years is dangerously close to violating the fire code for maximum capacity.

Not to be confused with the lively Mexican holiday honoring the dead, Dia de los Muertos celebrated on November 1, this Days of the Dead (“DotD” for you cool kids) is billed as the event “Where Horror Comes to Party”; which is sort of the same thing, only different.

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My Top Ten TV Series Adaptations

Friday, November 25th, 2016 | Posted by Violette Malan

true-bloodNot long ago I posted about my top ten novel-to-movie adaptations, (see here) and it spurred a flurry of opinions and alternate suggestions. Today I’m thinking about TV series and the difference here is that TV are just as frequently adapted movies as they are from novels. The requirements of this kind of adaptation are different from those of novel-to-movie. For one, the source material has to provide an ongoing story line, what’s called “series potential.” Obviously, that’s most easily done from something that’s already a series to begin with. But there are other criteria.

huff-debtAs Goldman says about adapting novels for film, the TV series should retain the intention of the original material, but perhaps the issue of length isn’t as problematic. On the contrary, the more of the original source’s complexity that can be kept, the better, as TV adaptations can explore avenues and characters in ways a movie can’t. On the other hand, series requirements sometimes lead to unexpected changes to the source material.

Here, in no particular order, are my choices.

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Pirates, Golems, and the Dread Queen of the Skies: Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding

Friday, November 25th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

retribution-falls-small the-black-lung-captain-small the-iron-jackal-small the-ace-of-skulls-small

Retribution Falls, the opening volume of Chris Wooding’s four-volume Tales of the Ketty Jay saga, was short-listed for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Pretty auspicious beginning for a steampunk adventure series featuring pirates, sky battles, and armored golems.

The series has been widely acclaimed over the years. Publisher’s Weekly praised its “Beautifully crafted prose and remarkably imaginative scenes,” and SFFWorld called it “One of the best pieces of fun I’ve read in a long while… a whip-cracking pace and with characters you care about.” James Rollins said “Pirates, sky-ships, and golems are just the trappings for a far-flung adventure of stunning imagination and brilliant craftsmanship,” and Peter Hamilton called it “A fast exhilarating read… the kind of old fashioned adventure I didn’t think we were allowed to write anymore, of freebooting privateers making their haphazard way in a wondrous retro-future world.”

The pics above are of the British Gollancz editions, which have better covers than their US counterparts. Here in the US, the first two were reprinted by Spectra with the Gollancz covers, and the last two by Titan, with new covers that have more of a Firefly feel (deliberately, I think).

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The Limits of Wargaming #2: Betrayals, Surprises and Strategic Advantage

Thursday, November 24th, 2016 | Posted by M Harold Page

(Click to buy print)

The King’s forces have fortified themselves into a bend in the river. (Click to buy print)

10th July 1460, near Northampton, England. Battle of Northampton. It’s the Wars of the Roses. King Henry VI — well His Grace’s advisers, anyway — the Lancastrians, if you must — versus the Yorkists led in this case by the Earl of Warwick .

The King’s forces have fortified themselves into a bend in the river.

They’ve got a ditch, wooden stakes, perhaps carts, certainly cannon.  They’re gearing up for a rerun of the Battle of Castillon (an English defeat so utterly embarrassing that the swords of fallen English men-at-arms are a scholarly category in their own right!)

Warwick’s men advance into a hail of armour-piercing arrows, cannon balls and crossbow bolts. It looks as if he’s going to try to grind through the defences — the battle will be down to killing power and morale.

Except it doesn’t turn out that way.

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New Treasures: Things From Outer Space, edited by Hank Davis

Thursday, November 24th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

things-from-outer-space-smallHank Davis is my kind of editor. He’s one of the very few out there still mining pulps and science fiction digest magazines and packaging them up for a modern audience, in terrific books like In Space No One Can Hear You Scream (2013) and The Baen Big Book of Monsters (2014). In short, he’s one of the only folks introducing the work of Edmond Hamilton, John W. Campbell, Clifford D. Simak, Randall Garrett, Fritz Leiber and others to a modern audience — or at least, one of the very few doing it in affordable mass market editions, which is the way I discovered all those great wrters, mummnly-mumble decades ago.

Things From Outer Space is Hank’s latest, an original paperback collecting tales of “Mostly very, very bad things that want to harm humans and destroy Earth. Or take it for their own. Original stories and reprints of classics from the scary side of science fiction!” Here’s the description.

THE THINGS ARE COMING…

As we all know, in space, no one can hear you scream. Which doesn’t mean that anyone is safe just because they’re standing on the soil of planet Earth, because if a thing from out there drops in, screaming probably won’t save you.

Earth has spawned myriad unpleasant life forms which are bad news for humans, ranging in size from the Ebola virus to the great white shark up to the Tyrannosaurus Rex (extinct, fortunately for us) — and that’s just one planet. What even more deadly life forms might the billions of planets in our galaxy have spawned? And suppose the things are intelligent and capable of crossing space and coming here . . .

Considering that very possibility are the masters of science fiction starring in this book, including Robert Silverberg, David Drake, Sarah A. Hoyt, James H. Schmitz, Fritz Leiber, Robert Sheckley, Murray Leinster and John W. Campbell, as well as classic stories of extraterrestrial horrors by H.P. Lovecraft, George Allan England and more.

E.T. might have been happy eating Reese’s Pieces, but other visitors from the void might have less dainty appetites. And there are probably worse things than merely being eaten…

Alas, description notwithstanding, there is no contribution from Murray Leinster. But there are twenty stories of nasty alien creatures, new and old. Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

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Prime Books Reveals the Contents of The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2017, edited by Rich Horton

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

the-years-best-science-fiction-and-fantasy-2017-smallYesterday Prime Book publisher Sean Wallace announced the Table of Contents for the ninth (ninth!) volume of Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, one of the very best of the Year’s Best volumes. Rich said this about it:

I am excited as I am every year to be able to publicly share the contents of my Best of the Year anthology. Thrilled to share the riches of our field — honored that so many wonderful writers allow me to publish their stories.

The book will be available next summer from Prime Books. And without further ado, here’s the compete TOC, sorted alphabetically by original venue.

“Seven Ways of Looking at the Sun-Worshippers of Yul-Katan” by Maggie Clark, Analog
“All that Robot Shit” by Rich Larson, Asimov’s
“Project Empathy” by Dominica Phetteplace, Asimov’s
“Lazy Dog Out” by Suzanne Palmer, Asimov’s
“The Visitor from Taured” by Ian R. MacLeod, Asimov’s
“Openness” by Alexander Weinstein, Beloit Fiction Journal
“In Skander, for a Boy” by Chaz Brenchley, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
“Laws of Night and Silk” by Seth Dickinson, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
“Blood Grains Speak Through Memories” by Jason Sanford, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
“Rager in Space” by Charlie Jane Anders, Bridging Infinity
“Ozymandias” by Karin Lowachee, Bridging Infinity

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Future Treasures: The Liberation, the Final Novel in The Alchemy Wars by Ian Tregillis

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

the-mechanical-ian-tregillis-small the-rising-ian-tregillis-small the-liberation-ian-tregillis-small

Concerning Ian Tregillis, last year Howard Andrew Jones wrote:

Ian is an extremely gifted writer… I have to wait to read his books until I have a substantial amount of time in front of me, because I usually can’t stop reading once I begin… I power read the last two [of the Milkweed Triptych] because I couldn’t stand not knowing what happened next. Blew an entire writing day. His work is dangerous for me that way as few modern authors are.

High praise indeed from our Managing Editor. But he’s not alone in his assessment — Publishers Weekly called The Mechanical, the opening volume in his new trilogy, “Superb alternate history filled with clockwork men and ethical questions on the nature of free will… a gripping story,” and George R.R. Martin labeled Ian “A major talent” (a quote that’s been slapped on every single volume of The Alchemy Wars). Now the long-awaited third and final volume in the trilogy will finally be released next month by Orbit.

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