The Late November Fantasy Magazine Rack

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Cemetery-Dance-73-rack Beneath-Ceaseless-Skies-185-rack Clarkesworld-110-rack Lightspeed-Magazine-November-2015-rack
Interfictions-Online-rack Beneath-Ceaseless-Skies-186-rack The-Dark-Issue-10-rack Nightmare-Magazine-November-rack

We’ve got lots of great magazine coverage to point you towards the best new short fiction this month. We started our coverage of Interfictions with issue #6, and reported on the arrival of the massive Best Of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Volume 1. In our reviews section, Learned Foote took a look at Nike Salway’s “The Karen Joy Fowler Book Club” in the October Lightspeed, and Fletcher Vredenburgh highlighted the best in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, and Swords and Sorcery Magazine in his October Round-Up. For vintage fiction fans, Matthew Wuertz journeys back over 60 years to look at a magazine from January 1953, with fiction by Philip K. Dick and Clifford D. Simak, in the latest installment of his issue-by-issue read of Galaxy.

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

As we’ve mentioned before, all of these magazines are completely dependent on fans and readers to keep them alive. Many are marginal operations for whom a handful of subscriptions may mean the difference between life and death. Why not check one or two out, and try a sample issue? There are magazines here for every budget, from completely free to $12.95/issue. If you find something intriguing, I hope you’ll consider taking a chance on a subscription. I think you’ll find it’s money very well spent.

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Collecting Arthur C. Clarke

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Arthur C. Clarke paperback lot-small

A couple weeks ago I reported here on a pristine collection of 35 Isaac Asimov books I purchased on eBay. Coincidentally, I also happened to stumble across blogger Mark R. Kelly’s Asimov Re-read. I found many of his comments right on the money, and Mark’s insights became the core of my article.

Eclipsed by all that discussion was the fact that the same day I also purchased a lot of virtually new paperbacks by Arthur C. Clarke (above). Although it was roughly the same size (32 titles) and same vintage (30+ years), and the books were in similar gorgeous shape, I expected to pay much less for them. And that’s exactly what happened: I took the lot home with a single bid for $27, less than a third of what I paid for the Asimov collection.

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Breathtaking and Truly Epic: Barnes & Noble on Michael Livingston’s The Shards of Heaven

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Shards of Heaven-smallMichael Livingston’s stories for Black Gate were widely acclaimed by our readers. So I’m looking forward to seeing how the wider world reacts to his first novel, on sale this month from Tor. I got my first taste when I saw this rave review from Sam Reader at Barnes & Noble:

The Shards of Heaven is breathtaking in scope. With the first volume of a planned series intertwining Roman history and myth with Judeo-Christian mythology, Michael Livingston has created something truly epic… He uses real events and characters as the backbone for a truly inventive epic fantasy like novel, a massive undertaking that launches a tremendously ambitious series.

With Julius Caesar dead, a civil war threatens to destroy Rome. On one side is Octavian, Caesar’a ruthless successor, who will resort to any means to assert his power over the Empire. On the other are Caesar’s former ally Marc Antony and his lover Cleopatra… But then history twists, and Octavian’s half-brother Juba, a Numidian prince and thrall of Rome, uncovers something that will upend the conflict completely: the Trident of Poseidon, which gives the wielder the ability to control any fluid with an extension of will. The discovery comes with the knowledge that the trident is but one of the legendary Shards of Heaven, artifacts whose immense power hints at the existence of a strength greater than man’s…

The action here is big and bloody… Livingston uses violence in sudden, sparing bursts, each fight given a sense of purpose and consequence — until he doesn’t: the book’s centerpiece is the Battle of Actium, a massive naval conflict both grand in scope and enormously complex in its intricacies. Livingston keeps tight control over both.

The Shards of Heaven will be published by Tor Books on November 24, 2015. It is 414 pages. priced at $25.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital version. It is the opening volume in an epic new historical fantasy series set against the rise of the Roman Empire. See our previous coverage here.

Is the World Finally Catching Up to Blade Runner?

Friday, November 20th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Beijing today

Over at Imgur, a user named vadge posted the above pic with the caption, “Blade Runner is set 4 years from now in 2019. This picture is Beijing, today.”

As John R. Fultz noted in a Facebook comment, “And still no damn hovercars…” But at least we can look forward to Goblin Gliders in our very near future.

The Top 50 Black Gate Posts in October

Monday, November 16th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Terra Incognito A Guide to Building the Worlds of Your Imagination-smallWith his very first article for Black Gate, Richard C. White shot right to the top of the charts with the most popular article for the month, “World Building 101: The Village.” Here’s a sample:

Just because you have water doesn’t mean you can put any number of people in an area. The Cahokia Mounds in Illinois were believed to have held up to 40,000 people which would have made it the biggest city in North America until the 18th century. However, archeologists now believe the reason that Cahokia was abandoned was not due to warfare but because they had so many people that the water became too polluted to support the population. Even pioneers in the 19th century soon learned you can only dig a well so deep before it doesn’t provide enough water. An overabundance of people/livestock/ irrigation can cause a drought as easily as Mother Nature. So, when planning your village for your story, think about how do your people get their water and how they deal with waste water.

Coming in second was Fletcher Vredenburgh’s look back at one of the most popular fantasy novels of the 20th Century, “You Can’t Go Home Again: The Annotated Sword of Shannara: 35th Anniversary Edition by Terry Brooks.” The third most popular article last month was Derek Kunsken’s interview with Christopher Golden, Co-Author of Joe Golem, Occult Detective.

Rounding out the Top Five for the month were Goth Chick, with her look at Sony Pictures’ Freaks of Nature, and M Harold Page’s catalog of tips for those trying to write a novel this month, “NaNoWriMo is coming!”

The complete list of Top Articles for September follows. Below that, I’ve also broken out the most popular overall articles and blog categories for the month.

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Orbit US Announces Major Expansion

Saturday, November 14th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Orbit LogoOrbit Books has published some of the most acclaimed SF and fantasy of the past few years — including Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, Peter Higgins’s Wolfhound Century, John R. Fultz’s Books of the Shaper trilogy, N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, Mur Lafferty’s The Shambling Guide to New York City, M.R. Carey’s debut The Girl With All the Gifts, Ian Tregillis’s Alchemy Wars, and many, many others. Now comes word that Orbit’s success has been great enough that they are planning to grow their publishing schedule by 50% next year. The Orbit Team posted this announcement on their website on Friday:

Orbit, the SF and Fantasy imprint of Hachette Book Group, announces a major expansion plan starting from Fall 2016. The imprint will increase the number of titles it publishes by 50% to approximately 90 titles each year. Additional staff, including editorial, marketing, and design, will be recruited to support the expansion.

Tim Holman, Orbit Publisher and Hachette Book Group SVP, said: “There is a huge and diverse audience for SF and Fantasy out there, and it’s the perfect time to be expanding the list. Orbit is currently the fastest growing SF and Fantasy imprint in the U.S. with an increasing number of New York Times bestsellers – most recently Ann Leckie, whose debut Ancillary Justice was also the first novel to win every major SF award. Since our launch in 2008, we have been committed to publishing the most exciting authors in the field and looking for creative ways to connect with new readers. We’re very much looking forward to building on the success we’ve had, expanding the publishing team, and welcoming more authors to the list.”

This is great news for readers — and writers, time to polish those NaNoWriMo manuscripts! See the complete announcement here.

Paul Di Filippo Asks if the Simak Renaissance is Finally Here

Thursday, November 12th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

I Am Crying All Inside-smallLast month I made some noise here at Black Gate about The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak — the long-awaited multi-volume project from Open Road Media. Six volumes have been announced so far, and three were released on October 20.

Over at Locus Online, Paul Di Filippo asks if this is finally the beginning of the Simak Renaissance.

Much as I loved Heinlein’s work, I loved Simak’s more, in what was perhaps a different fashion. If you can imagine both men as uncles, then Heinlein was the loudly dressed, blustering uncle who blew into town once a year from Manhattan, trailing clouds of glory from his exotic exploits and dazzling you with his cosmopolitan ways; whereas Simak was your local bachelor uncle who lived modestly in a cabin and who could always be counted on to fix your bike or take you fishing or console you when your dog died. And he never mentioned that he had a Purple Heart medal tucked away in his sock drawer.

But precisely by having this unassuming nature, in both his personality and on the page, Simak did not generate as many headlines or partisans as did Heinlein. And since his death, it seems to me that his star has unjustifiably faded a bit. There was a laudable attempt a decade ago to get all his stories into print. But the project fell apart after only two (now highly collectible) volumes: Physician to the Universe and Eternity Lost & Other Stories.

Now comes Open Road Media with the stated intention of issuing all of his short fiction in fourteen books. Hooray! Maybe the Simak Renaissance is finally here!

See Paul’s complete article here.

Mark R. Kelly on the Best of Isaac Asimov

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Isaac Asimov collection-small

It’s hard for me to be objective about Isaac Asimov. By modern standards, much of his fiction is not very readable. But the man introduced me to science fiction virtually single-handedly. More than that, he also instilled in me an enduring love of the pulps (via the amazing Before the Golden Age), taught me the fascinating history of the genre, and showed me convincingly that science fiction was, at its core, a community of writers — of fascinating people, who deserved to be read and known.

But of course, it began with his fiction. I thrilled to many of his books in my youth, especially I, Robot and his Foundation novels. I even read — and immensely enjoyed — The Early Asimov, a collection of barely-publishable stories from the earliest days of his career, interleaved with Asimov’s funny and self-deprecating remembrances of life as an aspiring teenage writer in the late 30s. You probably had to be an aspiring teenage SF writer yourself to have any hope of appreciating that book… but I was, and I loved it.

I recently bought the collection of 35 Isaac Asimov books above on eBay. I paid quite a bit for it ($82.17, which is a lot for relatively modern paperbacks), but they were all in virtually flawless condition, and my copies had been read to pieces. I’ve been slowly unpacking the box they arrived in, and taking the time to sample Asimov’s fiction and non-fiction. It’s been a long time since I returned to the man who first acquainted me with SF. Coincidentally, I discovered that Locus Online editor Mark Kelly has been, like me, re-reading Asimov as an adult and blogging about the experience, and I found his thoughts mirrored my own in many respects.

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2015 World Fantasy Award Winners Announced

Sunday, November 8th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Bone Clocks David Mitchell-smallUnlike last year, I was unable to attend the World Fantasy Convention, but from all reports it was just as exciting and rewarding as ever. They presented the World Fantasy Awards right on time at the end of the convention, and I’m happy to be able to share the winners with you.

For the last several years the coveted Life Achievement Award has been given to two recipients, and this year the judges continued that tradition, presenting the award to both Ramsey Campbell and Sheri S. Tepper for their outstanding service to the fantasy field.

The winners were selected by a panel of judges. This year’s winners of the World Fantasy Awards are:


The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Random House)


We Are All Completely Fine, Daryl Gregory (Tachyon)

Short Fiction

Do You Like to Look at Monsters?, Scott Nicolay (chapbook, Fedogan & Bremer)

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The November Fantasy Magazine Rack

Sunday, November 8th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Apex-Magazine-Issue-77-300 Asimovs-Science-Fiction-December-2015-300 Clarkesworld-109-300 Gygax-Magazine-6-300
Fantasy-Scroll-Magazine-Issue-9-300 Nightmare-Magazine-Queers-Destroy-Horror-300 Fantastic-Stories-of-the-Imagination-sept-oct-2015-230-300 Swords-and-Sorcery-Magazine-October-2015-300

Lots of magazine news in early November. The huge Kickstarter-funded Queers Destroy Horror! special issue of Nightmare shipped, and small press magazine Crossed Genres announced that it will close with the December issue. In reviews, Learned Foote took a look at Emil Ostrovski’s “Tragic Business” in the October Lightspeed, and Richard Horton examined the January 1962 issue of Fantastic, with fiction by Randall Garrett and Erle Stanley Gardner, in his latest retro-review.

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

As we’ve mentioned before, all of these magazines are completely dependent on fans and readers to keep them alive. Many are marginal operations for whom a handful of subscriptions may mean the difference between life and death. Why not check one or two out, and try a sample issue? There are magazines here for every budget, from completely free to $12.95/issue. If you find something intriguing, I hope you’ll consider taking a chance on a subscription. I think you’ll find it’s money very well spent.

Read More »

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