New Treasures: The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

Saturday, August 15th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Dinosaur Lords-smallI love dinosaurs. And epic fantasy. Epic fantasy with dinosaurs? That’s just a no brainer. Emily Mah interviewed author Victor Milán on his new novel The Dinosaur Lords — which George R. R. Martin calls “A cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones” — just last week; check it out here.

Intrigue, beauty, brutality, and dinosaurs – welcome to Paradise.

A world made by the Eight Creators on which to play out their games of passion and power, Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often cruel place. Men and women live on Paradise but dinosaurs predominate: wildlife, monsters, beasts of burden – and of war. Colossal plant-eaters like Brachiosaurus; terrifying meat-eaters like Allosaurus and the most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus rex rule the land. Armored knights ride dinosaurs to battle legions of war-trained Triceratops and their upstart peasant crews. Seeking to centralize real power in his figurehead Fangèd Throne, Emperor Felipe of Nuevaropa sets off a chain of wars that may blaze up to consume the continent called the Tyrant’s Head. But is Imperial ambition the only spark, or are more sinister forces at work?

And so we have as our players in the tale: Fallen hero Karyl Bogomirsky, who wants to escape from constant headaches and nightmares and gets lured into the quixotic task of raising an army from a province of pacifists. Part-time Dinosaur Master and minstrel, and full-time rogue Rob Korrigan, who wants to get paid and laid — but he follows the man he’s written and sung about into what looks like certain disaster. Princess Melodia, who is eager to escape the shadow of her indulgent but neglectful father the Emperor but is faced by consequences she never anticipated. And Imperial Champion Jaume, Count of the Flowers, the Empire’s most celebrated swordsman and poet, who wants to serve Beauty and the right. But what can he do when faced with two equally wrong and ugly choices?

The Dinosaur Lords was published by Tor Books on July 28, 2015. It is 448 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover, and $12.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Richard Anderson.

Future Treasures: The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

Monday, June 29th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Dinosaur Lords-smallVictor Milán is the co-author of Runespear, and the author of the Star Trek novel From the Depths. His latest novel has the good fortune to be released while the hottest movie of the summer, Jurassic World, makes dinosaurs a hot property again. The Dinosaur Lords is the opening volume in a sprawling new fantasy series that George R. R. Martin calls “A cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones.” It will be released by Tor next month.

A world made by the Eight Creators on which to play out their games of passion and power, Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often brutal place. Men and women live on Paradise as do dogs, cats, ferrets, goats, and horses. But dinosaurs predominate: wildlife, monsters, beasts of burden — and of war. Colossal plant-eaters like Brachiosaurus; terrifying meat-eaters like Allosaurus, and the most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus rex. Giant lizards swim warm seas. Birds (some with teeth) share the sky with flying reptiles that range in size from bat-sized insectivores to majestic and deadly Dragons.

Thus we are plunged into Victor Milán’s splendidly weird world of The Dinosaur Lords, a place that for all purposes mirrors 14th century Europe with its dynastic rivalries, religious wars, and byzantine politics… except the weapons of choice are dinosaurs. Where vast armies of dinosaur-mounted knights engage in battle. During the course of one of these epic battles, the enigmatic mercenary Dinosaur Lord Karyl Bogomirsky is defeated through betrayal and left for dead. He wakes, naked, wounded, partially amnesiac — and hunted. And embarks upon a journey that will shake his world.

The Dinosaur Lords will be published by Tor Books on July 28, 2015. It is 448 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover, and $12.99 for the digital edition.

New Treasures: The Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milán

Monday, July 18th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Dinosaur Lords-smaller The Dinosaur Knights-small

Knights riding dinosaurs! It’s so far over the top, it’s almost irresistible. The first installment in Victor Milán’s dino-chivalry mash-up was The Dinosaur Lords, which appeared in hardcover last August, to a surprising amount of critical praise (and more than a few astonished stares.) The second volume, The Dinosaur Knights, was published by Tor earlier this month.

Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often cruel world. There are humans on Paradise but dinosaurs predominate: wildlife, monsters, beasts of burden, and of war. Armored knights ride dinosaurs to battle legions of war-trained Triceratops and their upstart peasant crews.

Karyl Bogomirsky is one such knight who has chosen to rally those who seek a way from the path of war and madness. The fact that the Empire has announced a religious crusade against this peaceful kingdom, the people who just wish to live in peace anathema, and they all are to be converted or destroyed doesn’t help him one bit.

Things really turn to mud when the dreaded Grey Angels, fabled ancient weapons of the Gods who created Paradise in the first place come on the scene after almost a millennia. Everyone thought that they were fables used to scare children. They are very much real.

And they have come to rid the world of sin… including all the humans who manifest those vices.

Emily Mah interviewed author Victor Milán for us last year, just before the release of The Dinosaur Lords — check it out here.

The Dinosaur Knights was published by Tor Books on July 5, 2016. It is 444 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Richard Anderson.

Victor Milan Talks Planet Paradise, His Many Pen Names, and a Plastic Dinosaur with Metallic Paint on It

Friday, August 7th, 2015 | Posted by Emily Mah

DinoLordsCoverSmall 74250_126262914098950_3697860_nI had the opportunity to sit down with Victor Milan last month to discuss his current release, The Dinosaur Lords. As a member of his writers group, I’ve read the early drafts of this novel and am very excited to see it in print. George RR Martin refers to it as “Game of Thrones meets Jurassic Park,” and that’s a pretty good synopsis.

Set on the lost Earth colony of Paradise, feudal society humans live among dinosaurs of all epochs – wild dinosaurs, tame dinosaurs, and even war-mount dinosaurs. Hence the awesome knight on dino-back image that graces the cover of the book. Combine this with the sudden manifestation of a mythical angel of doom, and you’ve got the kickoff event of the story.

While Victor Milan is a well-known, prolific author, many people don’t know how prolific. On top of the dozen novels out under his own name, he’s also written many, many more under pen names. His career so far spans thirty-one years of publishing history, including the infamous midlist apocalypse of the 1980’s. Together, he and I discuss the ups and downs of the business and his journey so far.

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Vintage Treasures: Dinosaur Beach by Keith Laumer

Friday, July 3rd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Dinosaur Beach Keith Laumer-small Dinosaur Beach Keith Laumer 1975-small Dinosaur Beach Keith Laumer Baen-small

It’s a pretty popular time for dinosaur novels, what with Victor Milán’s upcoming The Dinosaur Lords, and the biggest movie of the summer being Jurassic World. What many people don’t realize is that dinosaur stories weren’t created by the makers of Jurassic World. They weren’t even created by Steven Spielberg, director of Jurassic Park, way back in the last century in 1993. Believe it or not, they weren’t even created by Michael Crichton, the author of the original 1990 novel. Dinosaur novels were totally created by the science fiction novelist Keith Laumer, in his 1971 novel Dinosaur Beach.

Okay. After doing some, y’know, actual fact checking, it turns out Keith Laumer didn’t completely create the dinosaur novel. But it’s true enough for our purposes. Which are, to give us an excuse to talk about Dinosaur Beach.

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The Mid-April Magazine Rack

Saturday, April 16th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Asimovs-Science-Fiction-April-May-2016-rack Beneath-Ceaseless-Skies-196-rack Clarkesworld-115-rack GrimDark magazine 7-rack
Nightmare-Magazine-March-2016-rack Galaxys-Edge-19-rack Swords and Sorcery magazine March 2016-rack Tom-Thom-by-K.-M.-Ferebee-rack

This month we started our coverage of Mike Resnick’s bi-monthly magazine Galaxy’s Edge with the March/April 2016 issue, packed with intriguing stories by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley, Larry Hodges, and many others… including Kary English and Robert B. Finegold’s tale of an assassin dispatched to kill the latest incarnation of the Goddess of Kindness. Michelle Ristuccia reviews the story at Tangent Online.

In “Shattered Vessels” by Kary English and Robert B. Finegold, M. D., Shevirah’s purpose as an assassin falters when he falls in love with an incarnation of Chesed (Kindness). English and Finegold’s deftly woven kabbalist tale pits destiny against love through multiple reincarnations of the characters, spanning thousands of years. The narration brings these large themes down to a personal level so that readers will identify with the protagonist’s plight despite the large time-span. Readers do not need to be familiar with the Kabbalah to enjoy this story.

In his March Short Story Roundup, Fletcher Vredenburgh reviews the latest issues of Swords and Sorcery and GrimDark magazines — including a Dinosaur Lords story by Victor Milán, “Red Seas, Red Sails,” which “gives readers savage pirates, brave knights, and of course, a dinosaur. Specifically, a Pliosaurus funkei, a huge aquatic beast that GMD‘s editors knew would make a great cover.” For our vintage magazine readers, Rich Horton reviewed the February 1972 Analog and an anthology of tales from Science Fiction Adventures, Matthew Wuertz continues his issue-by-issue re-read of perhaps the greatest SF magazine of the 50s with the April 1953 issue of Galaxy, and Doug Ellis shared a remembrance of a 1936 party attended by H.P. Lovecraft.

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

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March Short Story Roundup

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 | Posted by Fletcher Vredenburgh

ssm50March has come and gone and now it’s time for the short story roundup. It was a nice month for short swords & sorcery storytelling. Not a spectacular month, but a nice one.

I’ll start with Curtis Ellet’s Swords and Sorcery Magazine, Issue #50. Now in its fifth year, SSM, like most low-paying publications, is a hit-or-miss proposition for readers. Both of #50’s stories are hits.

The Altar of the Toad” by Davide Mana is a simple and solid story with just enough characterization, world building, and action to serve as a perfect example of the minimum of what I want from the genre. I don’t need every S&S story to be a staggeringly brilliant literary achievement, only for it to take me away from the blacktop and the sounds of honking horns for a little while.

Aculeo, an ex-legionary, and Amunet, an Egyptian sorceress, make a tremendous mistake when they respond to a plea for help from a blind woman:

“I prayed for delivery,” she said, her head tilted to one side. A strand of stringy hair had come loose from her coif, and brushed her wrinkled cheek as she spoke. “I prayed for warriors, to deliver my daughter from the mouth of the Toad.”

In this genre that sort of request is bound to bring trouble. It does, and with more than a hint of Lovecraft Mythos terrors. Even though there are plenty of intimations that “Altar” is part of a larger narrative, it stands perfectly well on its own, something I prize highly. Mana has self-published several other stories of Aculeo and Amunet and I am very curious how they stack up against this one.

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September Short Story Roundup

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 | Posted by Fletcher Vredenburgh

oie_2021448ETqDlkzrHere we are again, friends, with a passel of new heroic fantasy tales to extol. And September was a splendid month for new stories. In fact, one is in contention for my favorite of the year so far…

…and I’ll start with that particular story: “Poor Bright Folk” by James Lecky in the latest issue of Curtis Ellett’s Swords and Sorcery Magazine, #44. Elathan is a bard of the Aos Si (more commonly called the Sidhe, or fey folk) traveling through the once brightly-colored land of Orialla. On entering a forest glade he meets a woman whose very appearance unnerves him:

Her hair hung in a long braid almost as far as her knees, deep lines marked her cheeks and forehead, yet she stood straight as a staff, her movements fluid and easy. Her clothing – a straight dress and a short cape – were a patchwork of various colours and materials, some smooth and strong, others coarse and faded.

The sight of her disturbed me in a way I could not give voice to and I wished for nothing more than to be away from this place and this strange woman.

Her name is Mual and when she asks him to play for her at her home he finds himself saying yes in words that seem to come from outside himself.

In Mual’s castle Elathan discovers she is working a vampiric sort of magic over her servants and now him. To escape her clutches and free his fellow captives the bard must use his wit and wiles. Lecky didn’t try, thankfully, to emulate some sort of old-timey style with his prose, yet “Poor Bright Folk” has the feel and resonance of the best fairy tales from out of the deeps of time.

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Grimdark Magazine 5 Now Available

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

GrimDark Magazine 5-smallGrimdark is a quarterly magazine of dark fantasy. Editor Adrian Collins summarizes the latest for us nicely in his Issue #5 Line Up post:

Grimdark Magazine issue #5 is chock full of grimdark goodness. We’ve pushed the genre boundaries of grimdark a bit more in this issue, with zombie apocalypses and cold-hearted near-future sci-fi to go with the three fantasy pieces, which include a Dominion of the Fallen short story by Aliette de Bodard.

The Line Up post even has a nifty teaser trailer. Check it out. In his review of the first few issues, Fletcher Vredenburgh seems to like what he sees:

From a swords & sorcery perspective, the biggest — and potentially most interesting — new publication out there is Grimdark Magazine… grimdark fantasy is nihlistic/realistic storytelling that moves the genre forward/destroys the genre, and features characters with realistic motives/who are utterly vile. Whether you like or hate the fiction coming out under the rubric, Grimdark Magazine, by its very nature, is going to feature S&S… At only $2.99 a pop, I’ll be keeping up with Grimdark Magazine

The latest issue went on sale in October, and contains new fiction by Aliette de Bodard, Chadwick Ginther, Sean Patrick Hazlett, David Annandale, and T.C. Powell, as well as an excerpt from Victor Milan’s new novel The Dinosaur Lords, book reviews, interviews with James A. Moore and Peter Orullian, and an article titled ‘Who is the Grimdark Hero?’ by C.T. Phipps.

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The Future of Fantasy: The Best New Releases in July

Monday, July 27th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

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We’re more than three quarters of the way through July, and I’ve barely scratched the surface on the 30 new books we covered in The Best New Releases in June. If I want to get caught up, I’ll have to cut back on late-night superhero movie marathons with my kids (and probably sleeping, and eating.)

July’s crop of new fantasy releases includes some terrific work from C.S.E. Cooney. Peter V. Brett, Max Gladstone, Wesley Chu, Lou Anders, Melinda Snodgrass, Victor Milan, Chris Willrich, Elizabeth Bear, Nnedi Okorafor, D.B. Jackson, and many others. There are 33 in the list this month, so let’s get started.

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