Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Desperate Hours – A One-Two Combo

Saturday, September 30th, 2017 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

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This week saw the first new Star Trek TV show debut in a long time. If you missed it, or because subscribing to CBS All-Access for a single show irks you, it was more than pretty good. In fact, I downright enjoyed myself in a way I haven’t since the Star Trek: Enterprise debuted in 2001. And it was my 12-year old son’s first real experience of Star Trek.

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Future Treasures: John Silence–Physician Extraordinary / The Wave by Algernon Blackwood

Saturday, September 30th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

John Silence Physician Extraordinary - The Wave-back-small John Silence Physician Extraordinary - The Wave-small

I’ve heard a lot of praise heaped on Algernon Blackwood’s 1908 collection John Silence–Physician Extraordinary over the years. In his review of Blackwood’s 1914 collection Incredible Adventures, Ryan Harvey wrote:

Of all the practitioners of the classic “weird tale,” which flourished in the early twentieth century before morphing into the more easily discerned genres of fantasy and horror, none entrances me more than Algernon Blackwood. Looking at the stable of the foundational authors of horror — luminaries like Poe, James, le Fanu, Machen, Lovecraft — it is Blackwood who has the strongest effect on me. Of all his lofty company, he is the one who seems to achieve the most numinous “weird” of all…

In my view, Blackwood achieved his finest work in his earlier collections The Listener and Other Stories (1907), John Silence — Physician Extraordinary (1908), and The Lost Valley and Other Stories (1910), where he combined his weird adventures with aspects of horror and fear. These earlier classics are supernatural horror, but are also superb works of mood.

Josh Reynolds discussed the collection in detail as part of his occult detective series The Nightmare Men here at Black Gate.

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Murder, Mystery and Intrigue: The Grim Company Trilogy by Luke Scull

Friday, September 29th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

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When I first heard of Luke Scull’s debut fantasy novel The Grim Company, which features a band of mercenaries in the service of the White Lady, I assumed it was an homage to Glen Cook’s classic debut novel The Black Company, about a band of mercenaries in the service of the Lady. But folks have compared it more frequently to Joe Abercrombie than Cook. Here’s Niall Alexander at Tor.com.

The Grim Company is as grimdark as fantasy gets… [it] is a genuinely great debut: fun yet fearsome, gritty and gripping in equal measure… In truth, no-one does grimdark fantasy better than Joe Abercrombie, but by the dead, Luke Scull comes incredibly close. The Grim Company can’t quite eclipse the likes of The Heroes, or Red Country; all told, though, this is a more satisfying debut than The Blade Itself.

In large part that’s thanks to an action-packed narrative, paced like a race. There’s never [a] dull moment in The Grim Company — even in the middle, where most stories sag. Here, there and everywhere there are extraordinary set-pieces: battles, by and large, but what battles they are! In the interim, there’s murder, mystery and intrigue; a meaningful, if somewhat simplistic magic system; no shortage of snappy banter; and such smooth worldbuilding that I hardly noticed it happening… Shiver me timbers, The Grim Company is pretty brilliant… a sterling exemplar of what the genre has to offer today.

Read the complete review here.

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Readings Right, and Readings Wrong

Friday, September 29th, 2017 | Posted by Violette Malan

chizineLike most other writers, I’ve given all kinds of readings, from story books to pre-schoolers (supporting early literacy) to academic papers on 18th-century pastoral poetry (supporting my academic career). I’ve had everything from great experiences (the kids really liked the animal noises) to eye-rolling ones (someone should have told the hotel hosting the NEASECS Conference that we would need lecterns) to amazing ones (people turned out at 8:30 on a Saturday morning to hear about the georgic).

I’ve had a room full of people show up, and I’ve had no one show up at all. I’ve arrived at places that invited me, only to find no one there who knew I was expected, and, I’ve been taken out for dinner first. I’ve read the same piece to both thunderous applause, and polite smiles. Altogether, a pretty mixed bag, and I don’t think there’s a single writer out there who can’t match me, story for story. So why am I taking you on this trip down readings-I-have-done lane? Because, while there’s not much you can do about the audience, there are organizers out there who get everything else right.

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Goth Chick News: If You Like Your Horror Victorian Style…

Thursday, September 28th, 2017 | Posted by Sue Granquist

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If you enjoy your scares draped in black velvet and crinolines, ala Guillermo del Toro’s period ghost story Crimson Peak (and I certainly do) then we’re both going to love a new film by Epic Pictures Group that debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) earlier this month.

Entitled The Lodgers (no relation to David Bowie’s classic Berlin-era album of a similar name), the film offers up a chilling ghost tale with in a rich, Victorian setting. The movie was directed by Brian O’Malley (Let Us Prey), and features performances by Bill Milner (X-Men: First Class, Locke), Charlotte Vega (The Misfits Club, Another Me), David Bradley (Captain America: The First Avenger, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones), Eugene Simon (Game of Thrones, Ben Hur), and Moe Dunford (Vikings, Patrick’s Day).

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The Evolution of Process — A Writerly Tale

Thursday, September 28th, 2017 | Posted by Julie Czerneda

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The young author with her first electric typewriter!

This guest post by Julie Czerneda is part of the #againstthedark blog tour. Enter a comment below to be entered to win her latest book in hardcover, To Guard Against the Dark, plus a mass market of The Gulf of Time and Stars (US and Canada entries only, please). To enter the tour-wide giveaway of the entire nine-book series, click here before October 16th at 5pm EST.

Once upon a time, there was an unpublished, (and never-thinking-to-be-published) writer named Julie, who would scribble her stories on paper (which she scrunched up to make taller stacks that whispered and rustled in a lovely, ever-so-literary way), when not typing with two fingers on the ancient and indestructible Underwood typewriter her mother gave her. (Then, yes, would scrunch up the paper to make taller stacks.) Eventually, Julie’s stacks burst from her desk drawer. Her mother found her a used portable electric typewriter and filing cabinet, suggesting she stop scrunching and write.

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Paperbacks From Hell: An Interview with Author Grady Hendrix

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 | Posted by Matthew David Surridge

Grady HendrixGrady Hendrix is a man who knows his horror. I saw him speak about horror paperbacks from the late 60s through the early 90s at the Fantasia International Film Festival, where he previewed his then-upcoming book Paperbacks From Hell. His passion and knowledge were clear at once. So was his wit — he clearly took these books seriously, but also knew when to take them lightly. His presentation was a powerful and slightly manic guide to a weird world of which I’d known nothing: a paperback world of mutilated dolls, of killer clowns, of diversely-talented skeletons, and, of course, of Nazi leprechauns. I had to know more about his book, and spoke with him after the show, asking if I could interview him for Black Gate. He agreed. Since then, Paperbacks From Hell has officially been published, and you can buy it now at Amazon.com. The book presents a striking new angle on horror fiction in the late twentieth century, and I hope the following interview further whets your appetite for Paperbacks From Hell.


I’ll start at the beginning, I guess: How did the idea for the book develop? You write a bit about how you feel in love with horror paperbacks, but how did you get from collecting them to writing about them and publishing a book?

I’ve always been a reader, but my first huge enthusiasm was for movies. And in film fandom there’s a proud tradition of wandering out into the wilds and bringing back the most obscure and strangest films you can find. I didn’t see that tradition so much with books, and yet there were these vast used bookstores containing a wilderness of paperbacks, and all I wanted was a map so I could start exploring. Turns out I had to make one myself. Other people will do a better job, but I’m hoping I’ve given them a place to start.

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Competition in Ancient Greece

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 | Posted by Sean McLachlan

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Marble statue of a discus thrower. Second century A.D. copy
of a fifth century B.C. Greek original. Said to have been found
in Hadrian’s villa in Tivoli. The Emperor Hadrian had quite a
thing for beautiful young athletes. His favorite youth, Antinous,
was immortalized in numerous statues. Antinous didn’t have
those awesome deltoids, though.

It’s autumn, and that means here in Madrid the summer art shows are wrapping up and the autumn exhibitions are upon us. Madrid has several fine galleries and world-class museums to choose from, and the line-up this year is looking pretty good. Stay tuned for some fun shows here on Black Gate.

In the meantime, one of the last of the summer shows to finish is Agon! Competition in Ancient Greece at the Caixa Forum, a private gallery owned by one of the big Spanish banks. The show brings together dozens of objects from the British Museum in London, some of which are usually on permanent display there and others that I’ve never seen before.

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Fantasia 2017, Day 11: Finding Forms (The H-Man, Bastard Swordsman, and Gintama)

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 | Posted by Matthew David Surridge

H-ManSunday, July 23, I was down at Fantasia’s De Sève Theatre before noon to see a screening of the 1958 film The H-Man (Bijo To Ekatai-Ningen). I intended to follow that up with another vintage movie, the Shaw Brothers–produced 1983 film Bastard Swordsman (Tian can bian). Finally, I’d wrap up the day with a contemporary movie, the manga adaptation Gintama, which promised a mix of action and comedy. I liked the variety the films seemed to represent, and I was especially curious about The H-Man, which had been directed by Ishiro Honda, director of Godzilla.

It was preceded by a talk about Honda’s life given by Ed Godziszewski, who had co-written (with Steve Ryfle) Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa. The book comes out on October 3, with a foreword by Honda fan Martin Scorsese. It was clear that Godziszewski knew his stuff, though he had so much material he ran out of time before the film had to start. Nevertheless, what he had to say was fascinating. Without wanting to replicate Honda’s Wikipedia entry (which is relatively sparse, anyway), I want to mention some of the more interesting points Godziszewski raised.

Godziszewski began by recalling how his book came about, with the assistance of Honda’s family, and how he and Ryfle were able to see Honda’s entire body of work, including films never seen outside of Japan and rarely inside. Honda had done a lot of realist movies, especially in the 50s, that had been lost to the public for a long time and were only now beginning to show up again. Godziszewski talked about the experience of seeing 25 films he’d known nothing about, and how they demonstrated that Honda was a versatile, wide-ranging filmmaker.

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New Treasures: The Tensorate Series by Jy Yang

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Red Threads of Fortune-small The Black Tides of Heaven-small

I continue to be impressed with the scope and ambition of the Tor.com novella series. With a release nearly every week for the past two years, the line has rapidly grown to some 100 novellas and full-length novels, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

It’s also doing some innovative and exciting things that no one else is attempting (and I don’t just mean hogging nearly all the novella-length award nominations). Case in point: JY Yang’s ambitious story cycle The Tensorate Series, composed of the twin novellas The Red Threads of Fortune, The Black Tides of Heaven, and two more upcoming novellas. The New York Times calls the first two volumes “Joyously wild stuff. Highly recommended.”

They were published simultaneously today. Here’s the descriptions.

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