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Category: Future Treasures

Future Treasures: Vinyl Wonderland by Mark Rigney

Future Treasures: Vinyl Wonderland by Mark Rigney


Vinyl Wonderland (Castle Bridge Media, June 25, 2024). Cover artist unknown

Mark Rigney will be familiar to most long-time readers at Black Gate. He wrote his first blog post for us (Portals: A Writer Blogs About Process) more than a dozen years ago, and never really stopped, with more than a hundred articles here over the last decade. We published several of his excellent short stories as part of our Black Gate Online Fiction library, starting with “The Trade,” and serialized his complete novel In the Wake of Sister Blue back in 2015.

Mark is perhaps best known to Black Gate readers as the author of the Renner & Quist novels — The Skates, Sleeping Bear, Check-Out Time, and Bonesy — featuring unlikely occult investigators Reverend Renner and retired investigator Dale Quist. Fellow BG blogger William Patrick Maynard called them “Funny, moving, enlightening, entertaining – Mark Rigney’s Renner & Quist series is in a class of its own. The recommendations come no stronger.”

His latest novel Vinyl Wonderland, on sale in three weeks from Castle Bridge Media, has all the markings of a breakout book. It’s a terrifically twisty mystery with a fantastical bent, and easily the best novel I’ve read so far this year.

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Future Treasures: Collecting Myself: The Uncollected Stories of Barry N. Malzberg, edited by Robert Friedman and Gregory Shepard

Future Treasures: Collecting Myself: The Uncollected Stories of Barry N. Malzberg, edited by Robert Friedman and Gregory Shepard


Collecting Myself: The Uncollected Stories of Barry N. Malzberg
(Stark House, March 8, 2024). Cover by Jeff Jordan

Barry N. Malzberg has had an enormously prolific career. He published his first science fiction story the August 1967 issue of Galaxy magazine, and over the next six decades has produced an astounding 500+ short stories, dozens of novels, eleven anthologies, and nearly two dozen collections. These days he’s well known as a genre historian and critic. That’s him on the back cover above, looking suitably curmudgeonly.

He’s currently enjoying something of a career renaissance, courtesy of editor Robert Friedman and publisher Gregory Shepard at Stark House Press, who together have returned some thirty-five Malzberg books to print. To mark that accomplishment, their latest Malzberg volume is something special. Not a reprint at all, but a brand new volume gathering thirty-five uncollected short stories. Collecting Myself: The Uncollected Stories of Barry N. Malzberg will be available on March 8.

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New Treasures: The Soulfire Saga by Matthew Ward

New Treasures: The Soulfire Saga by Matthew Ward


The first two books in The Soulfire Saga: The Darkness Before Them and The Fire
Within Them (Orbit, November 7, 2023 and June 11, 2024). Covers by Joe Wilson

I spent the Christmas break working on a number of projects, and not doing any of the catch-up reading I promised myself. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I did grit my teeth on January 1st and resolve to read more this year. Especially books from new writers.

I have a break coming up as I complete a big writing project, and as a reward I have my eye on the new fantasy series from Matthew Ward. He’s the author of the Legacy Trilogy, and this new project — featuring a thief caught up in a failed heist, on her way to the capital to be turned into an animated skeleton — sounds like just what I need. Adrian Collins at GrimDark Magazine says it’s “full of action, heart, betrayal, and set in a dark, engaging world,” and that’s all the recommendation I need.

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A Fantasy City That Feels Alive: The Burnished City by Davinia Evans

A Fantasy City That Feels Alive: The Burnished City by Davinia Evans


Notorious Sorcerer and Shadow Baron (Orbit, September 13, 2022,
and November 14, 2023). Cover Design by Lisa Marie Pompilio

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a groundswell of interest like I’ve witnessed for Notorious Sorcerer, Davinia Evans’ debut novel and the opening book in her Burnished City series. It didn’t get a lot of attention when it was released in trade paperback last year, but over the last twelve months I’ve seen a lot of discussion. Everyone is talking about this book.

The Book Nook says it’s “compelling… a remarkable and ambitious debut,” and Every Book a Doorway calls it “Dazzling… badass and honestly wondrous… the story never has a dull page.” Publishers Weekly labels it an “energetic epic… This is a charmer,” and Book Page doesn’t rein in their enthusiasm, saying it “deploys genre tropes with delirious glee and builds a rich and fascinating world.”

All this recent buzz is good timing, since the sequel, Shadow Baron, arrives next month, and that gives me just enough time to finish the first volume and get some hot cocoa ready in time for Book Two.

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Rogue Blades Entertainment re-unleashes Demons: A Clash of Steel Anthology

Rogue Blades Entertainment re-unleashes Demons: A Clash of Steel Anthology

Rogue Blades Presents Demons: A Clash of Steel Anthology ISBN-13: 9798863079608 (print) ASIN: B0045Y1LMS (Kindle); Cover Artist: Johnney Perkins. Interior Graphics: M.D. Jackson

 

In 2010, Black Gate announced Rogue Blades Entertainment Conjures DEMONS. This October 2023, the third edition has been issued and with it a revamped Kindle version! The original Kindle edition lacked a functioning, linked Table of Contents, but that’s all brought up to modern standards. It is dedicated to Robert Mancebo, author for several Rogue Blade Entertainment anthologies, who sadly passed away in 2023.

Jason M Waltz is well known amongst adventure fiction readers, especially the Swords & Sorcery crowd. With his Rogue Blades Entertainment Books and associated Foundation, he’s brought us the epic Return of the Sword (BG review) and then Rage of the Behemoth, and Demons.  He’s edited/published a variety of other anthologies with themes of Weird Noir, Pirates, and Sword & Planet with Lost Empire of Sol (BG review), and splendid nonfiction like Writing Fantasy Heroes (BG review) and recently Robert E. Howard Changed My Life (BG review). He recently ran a successful Kickstarter for another anthology as spotlighted on BG: “Neither Beg Nor Yield – A Sword & Sorcery Anthology with Attitude.” As you await Neither Beg Nor Yield, you’ll want to revisit Demons.

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Future Treasures: The Queen of Days by Greta Kelly

Future Treasures: The Queen of Days by Greta Kelly

The Queen of Days (Harper Voyager, October 24, 2023). Cover design by Richard L. Aquan

Greta Kelly is the author of the Warrior Witch duology (The Frozen Crown and The Seventh Queen, both from Harper Voyager). I’m hearing a lot of pre-release buzz about her latest, The Queen of Days, a fantasy heist tale released in hardcover in two weeks.

The Queen of Days is the tale of a lovable band of thieves hired to steal a statue during a religious celebration. Like all tales of great heists, this one goes very wrong — in this case, accidentally ripping open a portal that allows warring gods into the world, threatening the entire city.

Publishers Weekly calls it “A high-stakes heist in a secondary world populated by gods, demigods, and plenty of wily rogues,” and Library Journal says it’s packed full of “”Incredible worldbuilding [and] fast-paced action… a fantasy heist novel filled with interesting characters, a vivid world, and protagonists trying to find their way through.”

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I Loved This Book: Being Michael Swanwick, by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

I Loved This Book: Being Michael Swanwick, by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

Being Michael Swanwick (Fairwood Press, November 21, 2023)

Back in 2001 Michael Swanwick published a collection of interviews with his close friend, sometime mentor and collaborator, and fellow Philadelphian Gardner Dozois, called Being Gardner Dozois. That book focused on Dozois’s short fiction. And now Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, an accomplished writer of short SF himself, and a Hugo nominee for his 2016 collection of conversations with Robert Silverberg, Traveler of Worlds, has now published Being Michael Swanwick, a collection of interviews with Swanwick. This book covers essentially all of Swanwick’s short stories — which is pretty remarkable as he is quite prolific.

The book is organized chronologically, in five-year chunks, beginning in 1980, when Swanwick’s first stories, “Ginungagap” and “The Feast of Saint Janis,” appeared. I remember the excitement at the time about the Special Science Fiction Issue of the prestigious literary magazine TriQuarterly, and the surprise that a brand-new writer had a story (“Ginnungagap”) in it, amidst heavyweights like Le Guin, Wolfe, Delany, and Disch. Obviously the judgment of the editors has been vindicated — Swanwick would perhaps blush to read this, but his fiction fully stands with those great writers, and he is also clearly a writer of considerable literary merit, but also a writer who loves SF and Fantasy and inhabits the genre world enthusiastically.

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Future Treasures: The Big Book of Cyberpunk edited by Jared Shurin

Future Treasures: The Big Book of Cyberpunk edited by Jared Shurin

The Big Book of Cyberpunk (Vintage, September 26, 2023). Cover by Ociacia

While you and I have been spending our time talking about old paperbacks, Jared Shurin has been toiling away, making a rep for himself as an anthologist. The two volumes of original fantasy he assembled with Mahvesh Murad, The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories and The Outcast Hours, were both nominated for the World Fantasy Award, and his most recent books are two volumes of The Best of British Fantasy from NewCon Press.

His latest effort, on sale next week from Vintage Books, is an entirely different beast. The Big Book of Cyberpunk is a feast of a book, 1136 pages of fiction from the biggest names in science fiction. It belongs on your shelf next to the most monumental and groundbreaking anthologies of the last few years, including Jeff and Ann Vandermeer’s Big Book of Science Fiction, The Weird, and Lawrence Ellsworth’s Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure.

I was very pleased to see The Big Book of Cyberpunk is also the first appearance in print of Isabel Fall’s famous Hugo nominee “Helicopter Story” (2020), originally published in Clarkesworld under the title, “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter,” until that title generated such a furor of rage and resentment that the story was withdrawn after three days and the author entered a psychiatric hospital. Hopefully this will give that story more much-deserved exposure.

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Embroidered Worlds: Fantastic Fiction from Ukraine and the Diaspora

Embroidered Worlds: Fantastic Fiction from Ukraine and the Diaspora

Embroidered Worlds: Fantastic Fiction from Ukraine & the Diaspora (edited by Valya Dudycz Lupescu, Olha Brylova, and Iryna Pasko; Atthis; Arts Indie Publishing, TBD). Cover Illustrator, Taras Kopansky

Embroidered Worlds: Fantastic Fiction from Ukraine and the Diaspora

Here is a wild effort to crowdfund a fantastic fiction loaded with meaning. This post consolidates a few press releases with the hope that readers will follow along.

In the early months of the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, writers internationally looked for a way to help raise awareness and funds for humanitarian efforts. Through network and word of mouth, and several transfers of leadership and scope, a more comprehensive project developed. Now, with a primary focus on bringing Ukrainian storytelling to broader global audiences, they hope this book will raise awareness of Ukrainian culture, pride, and literature — and will encourage people to contribute to Ukrainian humanitarian and artistic causes alike.

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Future Treasures: Cave 13 by Jonathan Maberry

Future Treasures: Cave 13 by Jonathan Maberry


Cave 13
(St. Martin’s Griffin, August 29, 2023). Cover design by Rob Grom

Brandon Crilly introduced me to Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger novels, with his enthusiastic review of the ninth volume in the series Dogs of War in 2017.

This series is about way more than its main protagonist, Joe Ledger, and is filled with a host of deeply-imagined heroes and villains… Every Joe Ledger novel features some sort of established horror premise – like vampires, zombies, and even Cthulhu – and gives it a mad science twist…

But amid the nonstop, Die Hard-esque action that inevitably occurs, there remains that core character development, which continues from several books previous, as Joe Ledger’s allies struggle to remember who they are, why they fight, and why they can win, no matter what odds they face. And with a touch akin to J.J. Abrams, Maberry slowly reveals some key mysteries that go back to the beginning of the series and which, I hope, will be continue to be explored in an eventual tenth book.

The latest installment Cave 13, published in trade paperback next week by St. Martin’s Griffin, is the third volume of spin-off series Rogue Team International, in which detective Joe Ledger leads a team of elite specialists to deal with global threats.

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