Rainbringer: The Symphonic Heavy Metal of Weird Fiction
Edward M. Erdelac has been writing entertaining weird fiction for over a decade. He pushes boundaries. One of his first spotlights on Black Gate was in 2014 regarding his Merkabah Rider (concerning the 19th-century Hasidic Jewish mystic turned gunslinger). Erdelac also wrote an entry in Tales of Cthulhu Invictus mentioned in my recent 2022 review of Richard L. Tierney’s Simon of Gitta tales (this connection resonates since both Tierney and Erdelac extended the mythos of Robert E. Howard’s magical Ring of Set… more on that below). The author clearly has a knack for extending the landscapes (dreamscapes?) of modern fiction.
With Rainbringer: Zora Neale Hurston Against The Lovecraftian Mythos, Erdelac invites us to follow a fictionalized version of Zora Neale Hurston throughout the North American Twentieth Century. On the face of that description, you may not be hooked. Like most people, I presume, I had no idea of who she was…. or why she may present a wonderful lens into cosmic horrors. Read on! She’s a strong, witty survivor who is uniquely qualified.
C.S.E. Cooney reads from her debut novel Saint Death’s Daughter, out this week from Solaris Books
It’s a week of celebration here at Black Gate! Tomorrow sees the long-awaited publication of SAINT DEATH’S DAUGHTER, the debut novel by the uber-talented C.S.E. Cooney, our first website editor. How exciting is this book? Amal El-Mohtar said, “I have never read anything so utterly alive,” Publishers Weekly proclaimed it “remarkable and… worth savoring,” and Locus called it a work of “Twisted genius!” It’s about time the world caught on to the extraordinary — and extraordinarily twisted — genius of Claire Cooney.
An all-star cast of Black Gate writers and bloggers gathered together to celebrate this past weekend, and we managed to record it all — including one of the most entertaining reading sessions we’ve seen in many years. Martha Wells read an excerpt from her multi-award winning Murderbot series, James Enge shared a Morlock story, Howard Andrew Jones delighted us with a tale of Hanuvar, Sarah Avery read a creepy fae story, and Zig Zag Claybourne shared an exciting fragment from his new novel.
To kick it all off, C.S.E. Cooney read from her new novel, the tale of a young necromancer with an allergy to violence who must navigate sinister intrigues to avenge the murder of her parents. Watch it all right here. Enjoy – -and be sure to check out Saint Death’s Daughter, on sale tomorrow at better bookstores everywhere!
Richard L. Tierney’s Sorcery Against Caeser; Review and Tour Guide of Simon of Gitta’s Sica & Sorcery!
Greg Mele recently paid tribute to Richard L. Tierney at Black Gate. That memorial post covers the author’s life and bibliography very well, so check that out; Tierney co-authored books with David C. Smith will be echoed here. The Goodreads S&S group is hosting a two-month group read of his work presently (March-April 2022), which spurred me to read Scroll of Thoth; Simon Magus and the Great Old Ones.
That book lingered way too long on my shelf. It was packaged as horror influenced by history, with a mage protagonist; however, having read it now, I argue that it is more Fantasy than Horror or Historical Fiction. If assigning genre categories floats your boat, then Sword & Sorcery is more accurate.
This January, Black Gate highlighted the Rogues In the House S&S podcast. This round we highlight the So I’m Writing a Novel (SIWAN), a podcast chronicling author & freelance editor Oliver Brackenbury’s journey of writing an S&S novel, discussing craft and building community with a focus on the genre.
We have an ongoing series on Black Gatediscussing “Beauty in Weird Fiction.” We corner authors to tap their minds about their muses and ways to make ‘repulsive’ things ‘attractive to readers.’ Recent guests on Black Gate have included Darrell Schweitzer,Anna Smith Spark, & Carol Berg, Stephen Leigh, Jason Ray Carney, and John C. Hocking. See the full list of interviews at the end of this post. This one covers emerging author M. Stern who writes weird/horror fiction and sci-fi. He has had stories appear in Weird Book #44, Startling Stories#34, and Doug Draa’s clown anthology Funny As a Heart Attack. There’s some strange and complicated beauty to be found in all of those. He also has published in several other markets including Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror and flash fiction that deals with aesthetics and transgression in Cosmic Horror Monthly #19.
The Year’s Top Robot and AI Stories: Second Annual Collection (Infinivox, November 21, 2021). Cover by Maurizio Manzieri
I’ve been reading and writing about Year’s Best volumes for decades, and I’ve covered a lot of them, including anthologies by Terry Carr, Don Wollheim, Harry Harrison and Brian Aldiss, Gardner Dozois, Jonathan Strahan, Rich Horton, Neil Clarke, and many others.
So I hope you can appreciate what a pleasure it was to receive a copy of Allan Kaster’s The Year’s Top Robot and AI Stories: Second Annual Collection in the mail in December, a book that fulfilled a long-held dream. It’s the first Year’s Best to include a story of mine: “The Ambient Intelligence,” originally published in the October 2020 issue of John Joseph Adams’ Lightspeed magazine.
Dark Breakers by CSE Cooney (Mythic Delirium, February 15, 2022). Cover by Brett Massé
It’s been a delight watching the meteoric career of C.S.E. Cooney, Black Gate‘s first Website Editor. Her short fiction has been reprinted in Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year and Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy (five times); her novella “The Bone Swans of Amandale” was nominated for a Nebula Award in 2015, and in 2016 she won a World Fantasy Award for her collection Bone Swans.
Somewhere in there she also found the time to release three albums (Alecto! Alecto!, The Headless Bride, and Corbeau Blanc, Corbeau Noir), and a poetry collection, How to Flirt in Faerieland and Other Wild Rhymes, containing her 2011 Rhysling Award-winning “The Sea King’s Second Bride.” More recently she published a Tor.com novella (Desdemona and the Deep, 2019), and in April of this year Solaris releases her long-awaited first novel, Saint Death’s Daughter.
Last week Mythic Delirium Books published her newest book Dark Breakers, a collection of five linked stories — including three never before published — all set in the same world as Desdemona and the Deep. ZZ Claybourne calls it “an art deco mural under the guidance of Galadriel, Zora Neale Hurston and the Brothers Grimm,” and Publishers Weeklyproclaims it “Extravagant and gorgeous.”
Today we corner John C. Hocking whose Conan pastiche we reviewed a few months ago.
John C. Hocking is an American fantasy writer who is the author of two well-acclaimed Conan novels and has also won the 2009 Harper’s Pen Award for Sword and Sorcery fiction for his story, “The Face In The Sea”. He lives in Michigan with his wife, son, and an alarming quantity of books. He is a nigh-obsessed reader and writer of lurid pulp fiction, the author of Conan and the Emerald Lotus, the “Black Starlight” Conan serial, and their time-lost companion, Conan and the Living Plague, and an obedient thrall of Tales From the Magician’s Skull.
For clarity, we’ll actually corner him twice. Firstly, here on Black Gate, we’ll cover his weird, pulpy muses & Conan pastiche; secondly, in a companion interview, we’ll cover his King’s Blade and Archivist series on the Tale from the Magician’s Skull Blog.
Greeting, Black Gate readers! C. S. E. Cooney here, hijacking Zig Zag’s post (with his permission).
I’m just popping in to say that Black Gate and Mythic Delirium are hosting an ARC giveaway for Dark Breakers: my forthcoming collection featuring all new stories and novellas from the world of Desdemona and the Deep. Goblins, bargains, battles, body paint, and talking statues abound!
Drop a line in the comments below with a favorite line from one of your favorite story collections, and we’ll put your name in our hat (probably one with sequins on it) to send you your very own Dark Breakers ARC!