The Money Where the Mouth Is – Derek Writes an Ongoing Webcomic

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

Briarworld-Bright-Red-Logo-on-Black-small

In my four or five years blogging for Black Gate, readers have probably become used to me interviewing comic creators and editors, reviewing new comic books and webcomics, small press and large, as well as revisiting classic comic runs and discovering new podcasts that dig into how the sausage is made.

It was becoming increasingly obvious to me that it was time for me to ante up and join the game rather than sitting on the sidelines. And it is a lot different than writing short stories and novels! But, in the last year, I had two 16-page comic book stories published by Markosia Press in the UK.

Gorillas in the Ring (with artist Wendy Muldon and letterer Ian Sharman) appeared in the anthology FLIP (Dec 2018), and Frankenpuppy (with artist Trevor Markwart) will appear in the anthology FLIP 2 (Jan 2020), although our story is being released digitally as a stand-alone preview to the anthology and is at Comixology now for $1.99.

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Arok the Robot

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 | Posted by Steve Carper

Arok vacuuming

Arok the robot first hit the national news in June 1975 when it married Linda Hoffman, the president of the Allan Kemp Fan Club, at the annual convention of fan club presidents in Chicago.

I’ve long ago concluded that the modern world is one long real-time game of MadLibs. Even so, if that sentence doesn’t make you sit bolt upright in front of your screen then my whole career as a chronicler of robot history is a failure.

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The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog on The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of July 2019

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Salvation Day Kali Wallace-small Gods of Jade and Shadow Silvia Moreno-Garcia-small The Hound of Justice Claire O’Dell-small

There’s a phenomenon in software development known as feature creep. As you design and build a new product, you can’t resist adding just one more cool feature… until pretty soon your shiny new product is 12 months late, due mostly to a laundry lists of new features that go way beyond the original spec.

Sometimes I think the same thing is happening to Jeff Somers’ monthly Best New Science Fiction and Fantasy list. His May list was packed 24 titles, more than I recall the lists having last year. And his July rundown contains a whopping 28 books.

Not that I’m complaining. It’s  fantastic list, with brand new novels by Bradley P. Beaulieu, Peter McLean, Chuck Wendig, Mercedes Lackey, Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, Molly Gloss, Christopher Ruocchio, C.S.E. Cooney, Fonda Lee, Timothy Zahn, JY Yang, and many others. Jeff’s not padding the list — there really are that many books this month that deserve your attention. Here’s a look at some of my favorites.

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An Uncomfortable Truth

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019 | Posted by S.M. Carrière

Good morning, Readers!

A fair warning, I’m attempting to tackle a topic that is currently at the center of a great deal of controversy in the realm. Because speculative fiction is a realm. This is especially of issue in the YA community.

A further disclaimer: despite my struggles to get noticed in a marketplace flooded with writers, I am fully aware that as a white, cis-het woman, I have a lot of privilege in this field. That will unavoidably impact what I’m trying to say here a little. If you belong to a minority, feel free to correct me where I misstep. I am always looking to learn, and I never mean to offend.

pixabay spellbook.

Literal magic.

Novels are incredible things. They are, frankly, magical. They are the conduits to adventure, to wonders unheard of. They are a means to explore truth via outlandish lies. They grapple with grief and loss, danger, and rage. Through the magic of books, we can face our greatest fears, from the safety of our comfiest nooks, and emerge triumphant. Novels, particularly the speculative, allow us to experience things we normally would be denied.

This includes the experiences of people we could never be.

As writers, it is our job to inhabit these lives that are not our own and bring them to life on the page. Oft times, these people are not folks that look, act or sound like us. They are people whose lives differ vastly from our own. Still, we write their experiences and pray that we are doing well. At risk of raising some fury, there is a limit to what we can do, and, I firmly believe, what we should do.

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A Taste of Uncanny

Monday, July 29th, 2019 | Posted by Caroline M. Yoachim

Uncanny Year 6

We here at Uncanny Magazine are in the middle of the Uncanny Magazine Year Six: Raise the Roof, Raise the Rates! Kickstarter, and what better time to have a snack break and take a look at the roles food plays in fiction?

Fictional food is powerful. It evokes senses beyond sight, resonates with our personal and cultural experiences, and can be comforting… or viscerally off-putting. I have drooled over the lemon cakes from Game of Thrones, and — like so many people — been deeply disappointed by the reality of Turkish Delight.

And now without further ado, here is a tasting menu of the ways Uncanny stories have made use of food!

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The Games of Origins Game Fair

Monday, July 29th, 2019 | Posted by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Shadowrun Sixth World Box-smallMy first science fiction convention was 2001’s Eeriecon III, in Niagara Falls, NY. This was a literary convention, where almost all of my time was spent lapping up the wisdom of authors and scientists, discussing worldbuilding, sociology, magical systems, story structure and narrative, and all manner of other things of interest to writers, both old pros and aspiring novices.

These days, I make less of those literary conventions, and have migrated more into gaming conventions with the family. Less intellectual stimulation, perhaps, but it’s a much more active environment, with more to do. And though the intellectual discussions are perhaps not as rigorous (rule lawyering aside), there is no shortage of mental stimulation … let alone sensory stimulation … at these gaming conventions.

The most recent of these gaming conventions I attended was the mid-June Origins Game Fair, in Columbus, OH. This was my second year making that convention, and I’ve got to say that I somewhat prefer it to the more overwhelming GenCon. There is a bit less spectacle, a bit less overt consumption (you can, for example, actually walk through the exhibit room without colliding into people … usually), and more of an emphasis on just playing fun games.

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately

Monday, July 29th, 2019 | Posted by Bob Byrne

Cussler_DevilsGATEEditedSo, Hither Came Conan wrapped up last week. I mean, it’s really done this time. And A (Black) Gat in the Hand starts up next month, so I’ve got a couple weeks to fill with some meanderings. More aimless than my normal meanderings.

I’m wrapping up the most brutal month-long period of my work year, and I’ve been lining up hernia surgery in a couple weeks. So, I’ve been reading (and listening to audiobooks when I can) a ton for stress relief. I figure I’d talk about some of that reading for today’s column.

CLIVE CUSSLER

I’ve been reading Cussler for decades – from way back before he pieced off the writing of all his books. I used to grab each Dirk Pitt book when it came out. With the possible exception of Robert Ludlum, no one has ever been a ‘stay up late, page turning’ author for me, more than Cussler has.

Cussler’s adventure tales frequently involve water and sea exploits. Two of his heroes, Dirk Pitt and Kurt Austin, work for NUMA – the National Underwater Marine Agency. It’s a fantasy organization for Cussler, with unlimited funds and governmental support, to reclaim treasure, stop terrorists, Bond-like villains – anything. And The Oregon Files are about a fantasy crew on a super high-tech ship that does similar world-shaking missions for the CIA. Cussler books are exciting and fun.

My love of the Pitt books waned quickly with the introduction of his kids, Dirk (really – the SAME name?) and Summer. The shark was jumped in Valhalla Rising. I didn’t care for Trojan Odyssey, and when Cussler’s own son, Dirk became co-author, on Black Wind, I gave up on the series. There is far too much to read – including better books from the Cussler world, to read a ‘meh’ series. I have read 18 of the 25 Pitt books, and just re-read The Mediterranean Caper, while listening to the unabridged Black Wind. I have no desire to move forward on the seven books I haven’t read yet. I’m much more likely to re-read something.

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The Golden Age of Science Fiction: The 1973 Ditmar Award for Best Fanzine: SF Commentary

Sunday, July 28th, 2019 | Posted by Rich Horton

SF Commentary 26-small SF Commentary 31-small

The Ditmar Awards, for achievement in Australian Science Fiction (including Fandom), have been presented annually since 1969. In most years some variety of a Best Fanzine Award has been given.

SF Commentary, edited by Bruce Gillespie, won the 1973 Ditmar Award for Best Australian Fanzine. Overall, Gillespie has won 16 Ditmars, for Best Australian Fanzine, Best Fanzine Editor, and Best Fan Writer. He has also won 3 Atheling Award for Best Criticism. (The Atheling Awards are part of the Ditmars, I believe, so in reality Gillespie has won 19 Ditmars.) SF Commentary first won the Ditmar Award in 1972, and most recently just last year, in 2018.

SF Commentary began publication in 1969. 99 issues have appeared to date, with the latest having just been posted at efanzines.com. It appeared very regularly through 1981, was revived from 1989 through 1993, again between 2000 and 2004, and one or two issues per year have appeared since 2011, these latest primarily in electronic form. In the early years John Foyster and Barry Gillam occasionally shared editorial duties with Gillespie, but since 1975 Bruce has been sole proprietor.

I have been reading issues of SF Commentary in this latest (post 2011) series regularly, and I have corresponded regularly with Bruce Gillespie in various fora since for the past 15 years. Bruce is intensely interested in SF and in its literary ambitions, and his magazine has long reflected that. SF Commentary issues are huge, and stuffed with long critical articles and reviews.

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New Treasures: The Big Book of Classic Fantasy edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

Sunday, July 28th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The Big Book of Classic Fantasy-small The Big Book of Classic Fantasy-back-small

One of my favorite anthologies of the past few years — perhaps my absolute favorite — is The Big Book of Science Fiction, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. It’s a companion book of sorts to their 2012 Tor volume The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, a monumental 1152 page collection of weird fantasy from roughly the last century.

But I don’t file it with that book, or the Vandermeer’s other fine anthologies. Instead, I give it a place of honor on the shelf with my other Vintage Big Books, which include Otto Penzler’s The Big Book of Adventure StoriesThe Big Book of Ghost Stories, and The Vampire Archives. Which is why I was so excited to see the VanderMeer’s add another book to that illustrious set this month: The Big Book of Classic Fantasy, a thoroughly impressive tome that unearths the fascinating origins of modern fantasy.

Kirkus Reviews calls The Big Book of Classic Fantasy a “quintessential anthology destined to become the standard by which future fantasy classic anthologies are measured… a must-have.” It contains rarely-seen tales from Asian, Eastern European, Scandinavian, and Native American traditions, including brand-new translation of fourteen stories never before printed in English. Contributors include the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, E. Nesbit, Christina Rossetti, Jules Verne, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, L. Frank Baum, H. G. Wells, Arthur Machen, Edith Wharton, George MacDonald, G. K. Chesterton, Leo Tolstoy, Willa Cather, Zora Neale Hurston, Vladimir Nabokov, Hermann Hesse, William Hope Hodgson, Lord Dunsany, A. Merritt, E. R. Eddison, John Collier, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Fritz Leiber, Robert E. Howard, J. R. R. Tolkien, Clark Ashton Smith, and many, many others.

Here’s the impressive Table of Contents.

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Pervert and Unnatural: Two Books from Image Comics Exploring Sex

Saturday, July 27th, 2019 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

the-pervert-ogn-small Pervert 2-small

** Explicit Sexual Language and Stuff (Obviously!) If you’d prefer something less sexual, check out my interview with Plaid Klaus of Image Comics’ Void Trip right here **

I often dive into the first issues and first trades at Image to taste test new series, new voices, new art styles, new genres. I also find it interesting to look at pairs of series as foils to one another.

It isn’t that one series is created in response to another, or that they’re even in the same genre, although often the are; it’s sometimes cool to read across themes.

Recently, I read The Pervert and Unnatural from Image. I was intrigued by what the series were saying about sex and sexuality, not only individually, but when taken as a pair of works.

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