Black Gate Online Fiction: The Testament of Tall Eagle by John R. Fultz

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Testament of Tall Eagle-smallBlack Gate is very pleased to offer our readers an exclusive excerpt from The Testament of Tall Eagle by John R. Fultz, the new fantasy novel from the author of the Books of the Shaper trilogy.

A second mountain sat atop the first. Yet the second mountain was made of glowing gold, beaded with shimmering crystals set in weird designs. The second mountain had been carved into slim, pointed spires like tremendous teepees of gold. Giant domes of sparkling stone gleamed brighter than Mother Moon at her fullest… All these things thrilled me and stole my heaving breath, but it was the eagles that filled my heart with joy.

Between the golden spires a flock of eagles soared. They skirted the surrounding peaks, and sometimes I heard their shrill songs tearing through the sky. Here are the Lords of All Eagles, I thought. The Eagle Spirit himself must live here. These are his people…

I had no idea how huge these eagles were until one of them descended. The light of the golden mountain made it a massive shadow winging toward me. It did not cry out, but I felt the great beating of its wings. They made a wind that nearly knocked me backwards, where I would have fallen to my death. But I knew no fear in the face of that great bird, for it served the Eagle Spirit, and had it not called me here?

John’s Books of the Shaper trilogy includes Seven Princes,Seven Kings, and Seven Sorcerers (Orbit Books). His short story collection, The Revelations of Zang, is a series of interrelated tales born in the pages of Weird Tales and Black Gate. His website is

The complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by Jon Sprunk, Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe, E.E. Knight, Vaughn Heppner,  Howard Andrew Jones, David Evan Harris, John C. Hocking, Michael Shea, Aaron Bradford Starr, Martha Wells, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, C.S.E. Cooney, and many others, is here.

The Testament of Tall Eagle will be published by Ragnarok Publications on June 8, 2015. It is 400 pages and available in digital format for $4.99. Learn more at Ragnarok Publications.

Read the complete first chapter of The Testament of Tall Eagle here.

Fletcher Vredenburgh’s Simakpalooza!

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

SimakpaloozaI don’t have time to read many other blogs. I barely have time to read this one, what with all the time I spend reading, and writing, and telling my wife how awesome Mad Max: Fury Road is. Seriously honey, sooo awesome. I wish I got to ride  in the desert, and take a giant chain elevator to work every day. Is there a word for when you envy the baddass folks who live in an apocalyptic dystopia? There should be such a word. And I bet that word would be awesome.

Anyway, I appreciate those moments when I get to read blogs written by other folks. Especially when they’re folks like Fletcher Vredenburgh, and especially especially when they look at one of my favorite writers, as Fletcher did this week with his Simakpalooza! (Is there a word for when you envy a writer who makes up a word? There should be such a word.) Here’s a sample:

I’m not sure what the first story I read by Clifford Simak was, but the first I remember is “Desertion.” It’s part of the book he’s probably most famous for, City. The novel is a mournful farewell to humanity and Earth and stars robot butlers and talking dogs… There’s a tremendous sense of wonder in the tale as the nature of what’s going on is revealed. I think of it as the story that showed me the true potential of sci-fi…

Sadly, Clifford Simak seems to have slipped into the ranks of the unjustly forgotten sci-fi writers of the past. Growing up, he was just part of the general fabric of sci-fi [for me], and most fellow sci-fi fans I knew had read at least something by him…

It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything by Simak. John O’Neill’s post about The Goblin Reservation and the comments reminded me how much I loved his work. There’s a warmth and comfortableness to his stories that I love.

Fletcher created an impressive tapestry of images from 17 Simak paperbacks to accompany his article (a tiny snippet is at right). Read the whole thing here.

Black Gate 4 is Sold Out

Sunday, May 17th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Black Gate Magazine 4-smallBlack Gate 4, originally published in Summer 2002, is now sold out.

BG 4 featured the start of a major fantasy series from Hugo Award-winning author Bill Johnson, a new novelette from David B. Coe, and fiction from Cory Doctorow, Tina Jens, Mark McLaughlin, Patrice Sarath, Keith Allen Daniels, and many others. The terrific cover art was by Charles Keegan. Here’s the issue summary:

A Chicago pub where the ghosts of Blues legends gather to swap tales and jam one final time… a post-apocalyptic cityscape where automated bombers still cruise overhead and the last rock band hears the sound of extinction… a wild west where a trio of demons test the wits of a lone bounty hunter… and the dungeons of Chateau Machecoul, where an aging knight comes face-to-face with a horror unlike anything he’s ever known.

Since the end of the print version of Black Gate, we’ve been selling the last of our back issues at ridiculously low prices. BG 14 and 15 were cover priced at $15.95 and $18.85 each, but now you can get any two two issues for just $15 — plus $5 for each additional issue after that. That includes our rare first issue. Get our first three issues for just $20!

Stock is running very low on most of our early issues, however, and we sold our last copy of BG 4 today. Back issues of Black Gate contain original short stories and novellas from Michael Moorcock, Charles de Lint, James Enge, Cory Doctorow, Devon Monk, Harry Connolly, Martha Wells, Howard Andrew Jones, Myke Cole, and many others.

Get all the details on our back issue sale here.

A World With Larger Teeth and Sharper Claws: Marie Bilodeau’s Nigh, the First Great Serialized Novel of 2015

Sunday, May 10th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Nigh Marie Bilodeau Book 2-small Nigh Marie Bilodeau Book 3-small Nigh Marie Bilodeau Book 4-small

Back in January I told you about Nigh, Book One, the first installment in a terrific new serialized fantasy novel from Marie Bilodeau, the author of the Heirs of a Broken Land trilogy. New chapters have arrived every month since, and there are now four full installments available. The most recent, Nigh Book Four, shot up the Amazon bestseller charts the week of its release, and has been getting some great press. Here’s the description:

With the hopes of the faerie realm turned to dust, Alva Viola Taverner and Hector Henry Featherson strike the final blow to the veil between worlds, shattering it and returning them to the human realm. But one hundred years has passed for humanity, and things have changed. The world awaiting them now bears larger teeth and sharper claws, and it hungers for much more than their lives.

Marie’s space fantasy Destiny’s Blood was nominated for the Aurora Award, and she blogs here at Black Gate every second Friday. Nigh, Book 4 was published on May 7 by S&G Publishing. It is 57 pages, priced at 99 cents. It’s available at, B&, and other fine digital bookstores.

Future Treasures: Storm and Steel by Jon Sprunk

Friday, May 8th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Storm and Steel-smallStorm and Steel, the long-awaited sequel to Blood and Iron — which Sarah Avery said “takes the prize for strange worldbuilding… full of powerful imagery and a vivid sense of place,” will be released in just a few weeks. Jon Sprunk is also the author of the popular Shadow Saga (Shadow’s Son, Shadow’s Lure, Shadow’s Master), and expectations are running high for the second volume of his new trilogy, The Book of the Black Earth.

An empire at war. Three fates intertwined.

The Magician. Horace has destroyed the Temple of the Sun, but now he finds his slave chains have been replaced by bonds of honor, duty, and love. Caught between two women and two cultures, he must contend with deadly forces from the unseen world.

The Rebel. Jirom has thrown in his lot with the slave uprising, but his road to freedom becomes ever more dangerous as the rebels expand their campaign against the empire. Even worse, he feels his connection with Emanon slipping away with every blow they strike in the name of freedom. The Spy. Alyra has severed her ties to the underground network that brought her to Akeshia, but she continues the mission on her own. Yet, with Horace’s connection to the queen and the rebellion’s escalation of violence, she finds herself treading a knife’s edge between love and duty.

Dark conspiracies bubble to the surface as war and zealotry spread across the empire. Old alliances are shattered, new vendettas are born, and all peoples — citizen and slave alike — must endure the ravages of storm and steel.

Storm and Steel will be published by Pyr on June 2, 2015. It is 479 pages, priced at $18 in trade paperback and $11.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Jason Chan. Learn more at Pyr Books or read our exclusive excerpt of the first novel here.

Rich Horton on The Breaker Queen by C.S.E. Cooney

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Breaker Queen-smallNot so very long ago, I finished all my tasks for the evening and kicked back in my big green chair with the latest issue of Locus, the news magazine of the SF & fantasy field. In Rich Horton’s short fiction column I found a pair of reviews of The Breaker Queen and The Two Paupers, the first two novellas in a new romantic fantasy series from our very own C.S.E. Cooney. Here’s what he said about the first one:

I’m a big fan of of C.S.E. Cooney’s work, so I’m very happy to point to two new, related, stories, available in electronic form from Fairchild Books. The Breaker Queen concerns Eliot Howell, a talented young painter, who has been invited to a party at Breaker House. He feels immediately out of place — the family is very rich and very privileged — and the friend who invited him is being unpleasant, but then he meets one of the maids and is instantly enchanted. For Breaker House exists in three worlds: the world of humans, the world of goblins, and Valwode, where Elliot’s maid Nyx is Queen. Elliot, even when made aware of the price one pays to visit Valwode, follows Nyx into her land, while she, simply desiring a dalliance with a mortal, finds that she may pay a price herself. It’s lovely and romantic, dark and sweet, erotic and thrilling.

The Breaker Queen is Book One of Dark Breakers. The second, The Two Paupers, was published on January 22, 2015. The pub date for the third has not yet been announced — but when it is, we’ll let you know all the details.

C.S.E. Cooney is a podcast reader for Uncanny Magazine; Mark Rigney interviewed her for us in late October. The two C.S.E. Cooney short stories we presented here, “Godmother Lizard” and “Life on the Sun,” consistently rank among the most popular pieces we’ve ever published. She is a past website editor of Black Gate, and the author of How to Flirt in Faerieland and Other Wild Rhymes and Jack o’ the Hills. Her newest collection, Bone Swans, is due out this summer.

The Breaker Queen was published by Fairchild Books on October 13, 2014. It is 80 pages, priced at $2.99 for the digital edition. No word on a print edition yet.

Vintage Treasures: The Silken Magic Books by Elizabeth Gilligan

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Magic's Silken Snare-small The Silken Shroud-small

I published Elizabeth Gilligan’s short story ”Iron Joan” in Black Gate 3 (read the complete story here), and it was an immediate hit. The tale of an indomitable woman — the daughter of the High Chief of Glen Cluain, shamed by her father’s house but gifted in her mother’s secret arts — who mysteriously leaves home at seventeen to settle in a tiny village, was a powerful story that SF Reader called “A deep, well-written tale. Highly recommended.”

Elizabeth Gilligan seemed to me like a writer destined for great things, and it wasn’t long before I was proven right. He debut novel, Magic’s Silken Snare, the first volume in Silken Magic, was published by DAW in April 2003, and was widely acclaimed. Locus called it an “Opulent tale and court intrigue and dark magics… [An] excellent first novel,” and Romantic Times said “An alternate Sicily is splendidly revealed… [with] robust characterizations, multiple storylines, and clever delivery.” It was followed by the second volume, The Silken Shroud, in April 2004, and it seemed obvious that this was the beginning of a stellar career.

Read More »

New Treasures: Between Worlds: The Collected Ile-Rien and Cineth Stories by Martha Wells

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Between Worlds Martha Wells-smallMartha Wells was one of the most popular writers ever published in Black Gate. In fact, her three Cineth stories featuring Giliead and Ilias helped bring us a host of new readers.

Those three stories have never been collected — until now. Between Worlds: The Collected Ile-Rien and Cineth Stories, one of six anthologies to be funded by the successful Six by Six Kickstarter in December, is now available. It contains “Holy Places,” “Houses of the Dead,” and “Reflections,” which first appeared in Black Gate 10, 11, and 12, as well as “Night at the Opera,” a brand new Nicholas and Reynard story set before The Death of the Necromancer, and two other stories.

We serialized Martha’s complete novel The Death of the Necromancer here.

The Six by Six project brought together six popular fantasy and SF authors — Martha Wells, Will McIntosh, Tina Connolly, Stephen Gaskell, Brenda Cooper, and Bradley P. Beaulieu — to create six new collections featuring each author. Two have shipped so far, Martha’s Between Worlds, and Futures Near and Far, featuring six stories by Will McIntosh.

In addition to the Black Gates stories and the new Nicholas and Reynard tale, Between Worlds also features “The Potter’s Daughter,” a prequel to Martha’s novel The Element of Fire, and the Giliead and Ilias story “Rites of Passage.”

Here’s the complete table of contents.

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James Maliszewski Launches The Excellent Travelling Volume

Sunday, March 29th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Excellent Travelling Volume-smallJames Maliszewski, Black Gate blogger and creator of the long-running hobby gaming site Grognardia, has launched a new magazine, The Excellent Travelling Volume.

The Excellent Travelling Volume is a 28-page, digest-sized print-only fanzine dedicated to Empire of the Petal Throne (EPT), the first roleplaying game set on M.A.R. Barker’s world of Tékumel. EPT was first released in 1975 by TSR, making it one of the first RPGs ever published.

Tékumel is one of the most popular and enduring settings in fantasy gaming. No less than four RPGs have used it since it first appeared, including Swords & Glory (Gamescience, 1983/84), the excellent Gardasiyal: Adventures in Tekumel (Theater of the Mind, 1994), and Tékumel: Empire of the Petal Throne (Guardians of Order, 2005). It was also the setting for several novels by Barker, including The Man of Gold (DAW, 1984) and Flamesong (DAW, 1985).

While Tékumel has remained popular, the original game which launched it, Empire of the Petal Throne, is now 40 years ago and an extremely rare TSR collectible. It was reprinted only once, by Different Worlds Publications in 1987. However, RPGNow sells a PDF version of the original rules for just $11. The game has a strong group of core fans who have kept it alive for four decades.

The Excellent Travelling Volume is produced under license from the Tékumel Foundation. The first issue (cover at left; art by Jason Sholtis — click for bigger version) was released in December 2014 and is already sold out. Issue #2 is now available. Issues have a very limited print run (200 copies) and go out of print fairly quickly; if you’re interested, I would suggest you act quickly.

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Fantasy Scroll Magazine 5 Now Available

Sunday, March 29th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Fantasy Scroll Magazine 5-smallThe fifth issue of the Kickstarter-funded online-only Fantasy Scroll Magazine is now available.

Fantasy Scroll was launched with an Introductory Issue #0 in January 2014, which was used as a proof-of-concept for a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign ended on April 23, 2014, raising $2,956 against a $2,500 goal, enough to fund a full year (four issues).

Fantasy Scroll has become a poster child for the right way to fund and launch a new fantasy magazine. All four issues were released last year, as promised, and the mag has been successful enough to self-fund issue #5. It’s accomplished that by selling merchandise, launching a mobile app, soliciting donations — and additional funding drives, creating a Starlight Patrol of enthusiastic backers and supporters at Patreon who help keep the magazine going.

Fantasy Scroll has published original short fiction by Ken Liu, Mike Resnick, Piers Anthony, Cat Rambo, Rachel Pollack, Seth Chambers, and many others. The magazine is edited by Iulian Ionescu, Frederick Doot, and Michelle Muller. It’s published quarterly, and the contents include all kinds of fantastic literature — science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal short-fiction — and run the gamut from short stories to flash fiction to micro-fiction.

Issue #5 is cover-dated February 2015, and includes 10 short stories from Emily Cataneo, Laurie Tom, Jarod Anderson and others — including “How the Grail Came to the Fisher King,” a new story by Black Gate author and blogger Sarah Avery.

Read More »

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