Numenera, Nyarlathotep, and Runequest Glorantha: Some Recent Slipcase Sets

Sunday, April 21st, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha Slipcase-small

Kickstarter has fundamentally changed board game publishing over the past decade, and more recently it’s started to have a similar impact on Role Playing as well. Monte Cook’s first Numenera campaign in September 2012 famously raised $517,255 (on a $20,000 goal), and Chaosium’s 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu campaign bested that in June 2013, raising $561,836 (on a $40,000 goal), and those opened the floodgates. Since then some of the most popular RPG properties have turned to fans to get major projects off the ground, with impressive results.

I don’t back crowdfunding campaigns (with the exception of the Veronica Mars movie because, hey, Veronica Mars). But I do trail along after them and buy finished products. Sometimes — not always — that’s more expensive, but it does save me all the drama of late delivery and wondering if the project I funded will ever arrive. Like Judges Guild’s infamous reprint of the City State of the Invincible Overlord, promised in December 2014 and which still shows no sign over ever becoming real nearly five years later.

So far in 2019 I’ve purchased four crowdfunded boxed sets, and I’ve been very, very impressed with all of them. There were:

RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha — $119.99
Numenera Discovery and Destiny — $119.99
Call of Cthulhu: Masks of Nyarlathotep — $129.99
RuneQuest: The Guide to Glorantha — $169.95

All are still available to latecomers. Here’s a closer look at all four.

Read More »


Golden Age of Science Fiction: The 1973 Hugo Award for Best Editor: Ben Bova

Sunday, April 21st, 2019 | Posted by Rich Horton

Analog Science Fiction March 1972-small Analog Science Fiction June 1972-small Analog Science Fiction December 1972-small

The 1973 Hugo Award for Best Editor went to Ben Bova. This was the first year of the Best Editor Hugo. It has been awarded every year since then, though in 2007 it was split in two, with a Best Editor Award given for Short Form and Long Form editors. This last reflected the fact that the Best Editor was a de facto award for Best Editor Short Form all along. (While I completely agree that “Long Form” editors are tremendously important to the field, and deserve recognition, I still think that the Hugo voters – even people, like me, who are pretty well connected – are not really competent to evaluate Long Form editing.) The original impetus, I believe, for the Best Editor Award was as a replacement for the Best Professional Magazine award, and the idea was that the increased importance of original anthologies to the short fiction market meant that just awarding a “Best Prozine” award would miss some really important editors. In the event, however, the only two Best Editor awards not linked to magazines were Terry Carr in 1985 and 1987, and Judy-Lynn Del Rey in 1986 (award refused by her widower, Lester Del Rey.) Indeed, the only winner of the Best Professional Editor Short Form Hugo who is not primarily associated with a magazine has been Ellen Datlow (whose win in 2005 of the Best Professional Editor Award can be partly attributed to her role editing Sci Fiction, but whose later Hugos presumably result from her original anthologies and her editing of the Best Fantasy and Horror (now just Best Horror) collections).

Bova’s fellow nominees in 1973 were two additional magazine editors, Edward Ferman at F&SF and Ted White at Amazing/Fantastic. (Bova, of course, was the editor of Analog.) Terry Carr was nominated, presumably for the original anthology series Universe and for his Best Science Fiction of the Year series. And Donald Wollheim was nominated, probably for his role as chief acquiring editor at DAW, and for editing The 1972 Annual World’s Best SF. Conspicuous by his absence is Ejler Jakobsson, editor of Galaxy and If.

Read More »


Girls of the Wild’s: Fantastical MMA from Korea

Saturday, April 20th, 2019 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

 47314610_141532966831087_6690693684188097810_n

I try to read a bit of everything. I’ve blogged about Webtoons.com before — it’s a massive (like thousands) webcomic hosting site in South Korea. I’ve mentioned Newman, Cyko-KOmaybe Elf and Warrior, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve burned through 190 episodes (each one is equivalent to 4-6 comic book pages) of a 260 episode series called Girls of the Wild’s

large

It’s basically Harry Potter goes to a Korean Hogwarts, except instead of magic, it’s mixed martial arts, and instead of wizards, it’s a girls school. And now it’s co-ed for the first time, and a poor guy called Jaegu, who gets beat up and bullied a lot, and who has to raise his two kindergarten siblings because his mother abandoned them, is the first and only male student.

Read More »


L. E. Modesitt Jr. wraps up The Imager Portfolio with Endgames

Saturday, April 20th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Imager-small Imager's Challenge-small Imager's Intrigue-small Scholar Imager-small
Princeps Imager Portfolio-small Imager's Battalion-small Antiagon Fire-small Rex Regis-small
Madness in Solidar-small Treachery's Tools-small Assassin's Price-small Endgames Modesitt-small

Cover art for all 12 volumes by Donato Giancola

Every time a trilogy wraps up, we bake a cake at the Black Gate rooftop headquarters. Strangely, we don’t have a protocol for when a 12-book cycle completes, but we’re working on it.

L. E. Modesitt Jr.’s Imager Portfolio series opened with Imager in 2009, and around about book 8, Rex Regis, Tor started referring to it as “The New York Times Bestselling Imager Portfolio.” Modesitt has hit those rarefied heights before — the 20 books in his Saga of Recluse have sold over three million copies — but it was good to see him with another major success.

The final volume in the series, Endgames, arrived in February. This time the publisher refers to it as “the third book in the story arc that began with Madness in Solidar through Treachery’s Tools and Assassin’s Price” and, despite having counted several times, I make Endgames the fourth book in that sequence, but hey, whatever. You count any way you want Tor, and don’t let ’em give you any grief.

However you count his books, L.E. Modesitt deserves some serious respect. He’s produced more than seventy novels, including two science fiction series, the Ghost Books and Ecolitan Matter, four fantasy series, the Imager Portfolio, the Saga of Recluce, the Spellsong Cycle and the Corean Chronicles, and many popular standalone titles such as Solar Express, which Arin Komins at Starfarer’s Despatch calls utterly wonderful. All 12 volumes in the Imager Portfolio series are still in print, which is no mean feat. Here’s the description for the first one.

Read More »


The Golden Age of Science Fiction: David Langford

Saturday, April 20th, 2019 | Posted by Steven H Silver

David Langford

David Langford

The Fan Activity Achievement Awards (FAAN) were founded in 1976 by Moshe Feder and Arnie Katz. The award was presented annually from 1975 through 1980 and then became moribund until it was revived in 1994 and presented at Corflu, a convention for fanzine fans. Due to a change in the eligibility year, o awards were presented in 1996, but it has been presented annually since then. The Best Fan Writer Award was presented in the inaugural year to Don C. Thompson. From 1977-1979, Bob Shaw had a three year streak, which was broken in 1980 by David Langford, who won is only FAAN Award in 1980.

Considering David Langford as a fan writer from the perspective of 2019 is very different from his role in 1979. It has now been 10 years since his most recent Best Fan Hugo nomination and 12 years since the last time he won that award (although only 7 since he won his most recent Hugo Award for Best Related Work for The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition). In 1979, he hadn’t won any of the record-tying 29 Hugo Awards that have been voted to him.

Langford began publishing fiction in 1975 with the story “Heatwave” and his first book-length piece of fiction, An Account of a Meeting with Denizens of Another World, 1871 made its appearance in 1979.

From a fannish point of view, in August of 1979, Langford published the first issue of Ansible, which ran between 4 and 10 pages in quarto format until 1987. He ceased publication of it from 4 years before picking up again as a 2 page A4 newssheet in October 1991 and has been publishing it monthly since then.

Read More »


A Meditation on Futuristic Medicine: Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton

Friday, April 19th, 2019 | Posted by Elizabeth Galewski

Stronger Faster and More Beautiful CoverEvan will die if his organs aren’t replaced. A perfect organ donor has been lined up – his twin sister. But she’s still alive.

Milla should be dead. Only by becoming a cyborg was she able to survive the car crash. She tries to keep her new nature secret at school. But when the boy she likes actually listens to her, she can’t help but divulge the whole story. Now everyone knows she’s not quite human.

When the riot broke out, Elsie thought she was about to die with her family. Waking up, she learns that only she and her father survived. Her father, a charismatic minister, has always agitated against medical technology, calling it blasphemy. But now he’s changed his mind. And while she was unconscious, he’s had her changed, too.

Arwen Elys Dayton’s Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful advances in a series of episodes, each with a different narrator with a compelling original voice who confronts vastly different circumstances. Yet the book isn’t a collection of short stories. An extended meditation on the future of medicine, it explores the ethical and social ramifications of saving human life through recourse to machines, genome editing and cybernetics. The classic tension of science versus religion runs throughout the book. The human race itself is the protagonist, and there’s a clear narrative arc. Each excerpt takes us further into the future, and as the years pile up, humanity becomes increasingly unrecognizable to itself… Not to mention disloyal.

This book reminds us of science fiction’s highest calling – to provide readers with a way to think through the consequences and implications of nascent technology in order to move into the future more mindfully. Despite its heady content, however, Dayton knows how to bait a hook and keep readers turning pages. Over and over again, she presents characters that readers can’t help but connect with and feel for, no matter how strange their situation and bizarre the setting.

Read More »


In 500 Words or Less: The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

Friday, April 19th, 2019 | Posted by Brandon Crilly

The City of Brass-small The Kingdom of Copper-small

The Kingdom of Copper (Daevabad Trilogy #2)
By S.A. Chakraborty
HarperCollins (640 pages, $26.99 hardcover, January 2019)

No joke, I just wrote what would have been the opening two paragraphs for this post, and followed it immediately by typing the words, Wow, that sounds like a boring, stereotypical book review and I’m a hack. That’s a sign my brain is running low on capacity for anything other than novella and podcast revisions. Or, more likely, it’s run out of patience for reading anything that doesn’t immediately catch and hold my attention.

Luckily, the book I’m trying to extoll in this review is an easy sell. You might remember my review of S.A. Chakraborty’s debut novel The City of Brass, which I’ll admit I wasn’t totally enamored with because of the way the plot seemed to drag. Chakraborty’s follow-up novel The Kingdom of Copper, though, is exactly what you want from an author’s second book: even more of the elements you love, and an improvement in everything else.

Read More »


Goth Chick News: Plunging into Twisted Dark

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Traveller comic The Theory comic

In the name of full disclosure, I must admit I’m a sucker for a Brit. And if that Brit happens to write dark, twisted, steam-punky comics, then put your thumbs in your ears while I do a full on, fan-girl squee…

Okay, maybe scratch that mental image and let’s move on.

We first met British writer Neil Gibson back in early 2014 at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. Then he was promoting volume one of Twisted Dark; the illustrated story he had written which had just been published by indie comic house TPub in the UK.

In May 2015, Twisted Dark reached number one on the UK Kindle chart. And when I was in London’s famous Foyles bookstore last year, another of Gibson’s offerings, Tortured Life was highlighted as a “staff pick” in the graphic novel section.

Six volumes of Twisted Dark and several other series later, it’s clear I’m far from being the only fan of Gibson’s unique style of storytelling. So a couple weeks ago when he emailed to let me know his newest project with TPub, The Traveler, was complete and a Kickstarter campaign had been launched to bring it to life in print, I was as happy as a cosplayer at a 2-for-1 spandex sale to get a look and tell you all about it.

Read More »


Future Treasures: Decades: Marvel in the 70s – Legion of Monsters

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Marvel Decades Legion of Monsters-smallIf there’s a company out there that knows how to use nostalgia to shake dollars out of me, it’s Marvel. I’ve already shelled out for their deluxe hardcover Omnibus volumes, the black & white Essentials line, and more recently I’ve spent a fortune on their Epic Collections, which assemble 18 issues apiece of early core titles like Thor, Spider-Man, Avengers and Fantastic Four. Recently they’ve launched a Decades series that looks at some of the more offbeat comics from Marvel’s long history and, heaven help me, I’m reaching for my wallet again. In this case it’s for a nearly forgotten team book from the 70s which has never let go of my imagination.

Celebrate 80 years of Marvel Comics, decade by decade — together with the groovy ghoulies of the Supernatural Seventies! It was an era of black-and-white magazines filled with macabre monsters, and unsettling new titles starring horror-themed “heroes”! Now, thrill to Marvel’s greatest horror icons: The melancholy muck-monster known as the Man-Thing — whosoever knows fear burns at his touch! Morbius, the Living Vampire! Jack Russell, cursed to be a Werewolf-by-Night! And the flame-skulled spirit of vengeance, the Ghost Rider! But what happens when they are forced together to become… the Legion of Monsters? Plus stories starring Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Manphibian, the vampire-hunter Blade… and never-before-reprinted tales of terror!

COLLECTING: LEGION OF MONSTERS (1975) 1; MARVEL PREVIEW 8; MARVEL PREMIERE 28; MARVEL SPOTLIGHT (1971) 2, 5; FRANKENSTEIN (1973) 1; TOMB OF DRACULA (1972) 10; MATERIAL FROM SAVAGE TALES (1971) 1

Previous titles in the Decades series include Marvel in the 60s – Spider-Man Meets the Marvel Universe, collecting 60s Spider-Man stories from Amazing, Avengers, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, and other places; Marvel in the 50s – Captain America Strikes! which gathers material from Young Men, Captain America (1954), Men’s Adventures, and other mags; Marvel in the 80s – Awesome Evolutions, which collects some of the bizarre makeovers of the 80s, including Spider-Man’s black costume, Storm’s mohawk, Thor’s battle armor and the Hulk’s return to gray.

Decades: Marvel in the 70s – Legion of Monsters will be published by Marvel on April 23, 2019. It is 248 pages, priced at $24.99 in print and $16.99 in digital formats.


Galaxy Science Fiction, July 1954: A Retro-Review

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 | Posted by Matthew Wuertz

Galaxy-Science-Fiction-July 1954-small Galaxy-Science-Fiction-July 1954-back-small

The July, 1954 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction (cover art by Mel Hunter) opens with a note from H. L. Gold, the editor. Several authors had shared with Gold how it felt to sell a story to Galaxy. But Gold, an author himself, writes, “Do you think anybody has to tell me how that feels?” He was looking for jobs by day and writing by night in the early 1930s when jobs were scarce, and his “manuscripts seemed to be opened by a machine that slipped them unread, along with a rejection slip, into the return envelope.”

As an author myself, I couldn’t help but laugh; how often it feels that way when submitting stories and getting a form reply (by email in more recent years). One day, after being laid off from a position as a busboy, he checked the mail and found that he had sold his first story. He writes, “Don’t kid yourself that writing is a substitute for work. It requires as hard an apprenticeship as any other profession.” And as a final encouragement, he adds, “Magazines don’t have automatic remailing or story-writing machines. I just thought you might be wondering.”

Read More »


  Earlier Entries »

This site © 2019 by New Epoch Press. All rights reserved.