Gen Con just announced that legendary fantasy author R. A. Salvatore is the 2022 Author Guest of Honor!
Thirty-four years ago, he created the character of Drizzt Do’Urden, the dark elf who has withstood the test of time to stand today as an icon in the fantasy genre. With his work in the Forgotten Realms, the Crimson Shadow, the DemonWars Saga, and other series, Salvatore has sold more than thirty million books worldwide and has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list more than two dozen times. He considers writing to be his personal journey, but still, he’s quite pleased that so many are walking the road beside him!
He will be participating in severalWriter’s Symposium events (click to browse and register via the GenCon portal) during the convention, including book signings and appearances.
May/June 2022 issues of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Analog Science Fiction & Fact. Cover art by Alan M. Clark, 123RF, and NASA
There’s a fine batch of print magazines piled on my nightstand this week. But the clear highlight is the return of James Enge’s delightful traveling wizard Morlock Ambrosius, who made his debut in Black Gate 8. “The Hunger” appears in in the pages of F&SF; Sam Tomaino at SF Revu calls it “Richly done fantasy with a lot of detail in so few pages.”
On the thirteenth of Bayring on her world with three moons, Tilsyni escapes her servitude in a house and dares to walk out into Skeleton Park, a very risky venture. She winds up joining a man who looks like an old peddler but is really a warrior named Morlock Ambrosius with a great sword. When animated skeletons attack, Morlock chops them up. But they just come back together. What can they do about them? Morlock finds a way.
The May/June print magazines contain stories by Norman Spinrad, Octavia Cade, Albert Cowdrey, Paul Di Filippo, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Rich Larson, Sheila Finch, R. Garcia y Robertson, James Van Pelt, Bruce McAllister, Robert Reed, Adam-Troy Castro, C.H. Hung, Alice Towey, Jerry Oltion, Sean McMullen, Brendan DuBois, and many others.
Saint Death’s Daughter by C.S.E. Cooney (Solaris, April 12, 2022)
Here’s a novel I’ve been anticipating for some time — years even. C. S. E. Cooney has been working on it for even longer, to be sure. It is in a sense her first novel, except that an earlier planned novella, started I believe long after this novel was first drafted, got away from her a bit and ended up novel length, even though it has only been published in an original anthology. (This is The Twice-Drowned Saint, from the Mythic Delirium anthology A Sinister Quartet, which is well worth your time for all its stories.)
Time for full disclosure — I’ve known Claire Cooney for a long time now, and I consider her a good friend. I’ve been reading her fiction since 2007, when her first stories appeared, and I’ve reprinted several of her pieces. We are both long-time contributors to this eminent publication (and indeed it was John O’Neill, the overlord of Black Gate, who introduced us.) Claire gave me an advance copy of Saint Death’s Daughter. So calibrate this review as you will — I was praising her work before I knew her, mind you (and I thought the author of “Stone Shoes” might be male at first.) Still, I clearly am predisposed to like her fiction.
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.