Future Treasures: Dragons, Droids and Doom, Year One, edited by Iulian Ionescu and Frederick Doot

Sunday, August 30th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Dragons Droids and Doom-smallFantasy Scroll Magazine is one of the great success stories of genre crowdfunding. It was launched with a successful Kickstarter campaign in April 2014, in which it raised enough to fund itself for a full year (four issues). All four issues were released on time, as promised, and since then it’s been operating nicely under its own steam. This year it upgraded to bimonthly, attracting top talent like Robert Reed, Sarah Avery, Pauline J. Alama, Beth Cato, and many more, and the magazine continues to prosper.

Fantasy Scroll has supported itself by selling merchandise and launching a mobile app — and through a Starlight Patrol of enthusiastic backers and supporters at Patreon who help keep the magazine going. Best of all, they’ve announced a new line of anthologies, the first of which, Dragons, Droids and Doom, contains all 51 short stories published in their first year. Here’s editor Iulian Ionescu:

It’s with great pleasure that I introduce you to Dragons, Droids and Doom, Year One, the very first anthology from Fantasy Scroll Magazine. It contains all stories published in the year 2014, and what a cool bunch of stories! There are 51 stories from 49 authors, including names you’ll recognize, such as Mike Resnick, Ken Liu, Piers Anthony, and Cat Rambo. You will also find stories from up-and-coming authors and some from first-time published authors. All in all, I believe it’s a great mix of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and paranormal short stories that will appeal to a wide audience.

We last covered Fantasy Scroll Magazine with issue 7.

Dragons, Droids and Doom, Year One will be published in early November, 2015. It is $14.95 in trade paperback, and $5.99 for the ebook. The cover is by Mondolithic Studios. Read more — including the introduction by Mike Resnick, and two sample stories — at the website, and see the massive table of contents here.


Future Treasures: The Sleeping King by Cindy Dees and Bill Flippin

Friday, August 28th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Sleeping King-smallI’m not all that familiar with live action role-playing (LARP), but I certainly know it has its fans. One thing I hear about it is that it brings the storytelling aspect of role playing to life in a way much superior to tabletop gaming, and I believe that’s true. Cindy Dees is something of a pioneer in the LARP community — she’s been involved with Dragon Crest, one of the original live action role-playing games, for over twenty years, and is the story content creator on the game. She’s also a New York Times bestselling romance and suspense writer, with more than 50 novels to her credit. For her first venture into fantasy she’s partnered with Dragon Crest founder Bill Flippin on a new epic fantasy series, featuring near immortal imperial overlords, a prophecy of a sleeping elven king, and two young people set on a path to save the day.

The planet Urth was once a green and verdant paradise. Powerful elemental beings with deep magic were stewards to this wonder, but not all could agree on its destiny. When gods war, it is the small who always suffer and the First Great Age ended with a battle that nearly destroyed all life. To end the conflict an Accord was put in place to preserve the balance of life, and the elementals withdrew their influence to allow new, less powerful races to grow and to thrive in the world.

That balance was destroyed, however, when the Kothites, a race of near immortals, came to Urth. In the ensuing centuries they have wreaked havoc on the planet, and the mortal races of men, elves, and other creatures seek a way to break free of the Kothite menace.

There is a fable told to those who hope that there is a Sleeping King, a powerful elvish elemental trapped in a spell, who possesses powers that may bring Urth back to health. Many seek this treasure: a mad Immortal Emperor who would destroy it to ensure his race’s power forever. An avaricious governor who seeks to enrich himself beyond measure. Old powers seeking to capture lost glory. A young girl seeking to thwart property to save her future, and a young woodsman out to discover a lost past. Together they might finally extinguish the Black Flame of Koth.

The Sleeping King will be published by Tor Books on September 8, 2015. It is 496 pages, priced at $25.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Stephen Youll.


Future Treasures: A Red-Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

A Red-Rose Chain-smallThere are times when I’m looking for a good standalone fantasy… and there are times when I want to sink my teeth into something a lot more substantial. I discovered Seanan McGuire’s urban fantasy October “Toby” Daye series with the eighth volume, The Winter Long, and now I’m impatiently waiting for the ninth installment, A Red-Rose Chain, to arrive next month. Carrie Cuinn at SF Signal tipped me to them saying “These books are like watching half a season of your favorite television series all at once,” and that was just the kind of engrossing read I was looking for.

Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life — and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

A Red-Rose Chain will be published by DAW Books on September 1, 2015. It is 358 pages, priced at $7.99 for both the paperback and digital versions. The cover is by Chris McGrath.


Future Treasures: Dragon Heart by Cecelia Holland

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Dragon Heart Cecelia Holland-smallCecelia Holland has written over thirty novels, ranging from historical fiction to science fiction to historical fantasy. Her novels include the space opera Floating Worlds, the Viking saga trilogy The Soul Thief, Byzantine Empire tale Varanger, and The King’s Witch. Her latest is a tale of new-born empires, ancient kingdoms, deadly court intrigue…. and a mysterious dragon of the sea.

Where the Cape of the Winds juts into the endless sea, there is Castle Ocean, and therein dwells the royal family that has ruled it from time immemorial. But there is an Empire growing in the east, and its forces have reached the castle. King Reymarro is dead in battle, and by the new treaty, Queen Marioza must marry one of the Emperor’s brothers. She loathes the idea, and has already killed the first brother, but a second arrives, escorted by more soldiers. While Marioza delays, her youngest son, Jeon, goes on a journey in search of his mute twin, Tirza, who needs to be present for the wedding.

As Jeon and Tirza return by sea, their ship is attacked by a shocking and powerful dragon, red as blood and big as the ship. Thrown into the water, Tirza clings to the dragon, and after an underwater journey, finds herself alone with the creature in an inland sea pool. Surprisingly, she is able to talk to the beast, and understand it.

So begins a saga of violence, destruction, and death, of love and monsters, human and otherwise.

Dragon Heart will be published by Tor Books on September 1, 2015. It is 286 pages, priced at $25.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Lucas Graciano.


Sample All Ten of Tor.com‘s Upcoming Novellas With Their Fall 2015 Sampler

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Tor 2015 Fall SamplerI’m very excited to see that Tor.com has made an impressive commitment to a distinctive new line of premium novellas coming out this fall. It’s not just that I love novellas — these books really look terrific.

These are short novels, ranging in size from 96 to 224 pages, and all are available in trade paperback for around $12.99, or in digital format for just $2.99 each. The line includes a great mix of established authors — including folks we’ve discussed enthusiastically here at Black Gate, like Daniel Polansky (Low Town), Michael R. Underwood (Shield and Crocus), Paul Cornell (London Falling), and Nnedi Okorafor (Who Fears Death) — and some exciting new discoveries. Tor.com has just released a free sample of all ten books in their Fall 2015 Sampler. It’s available now through multiple outlets. Check it out!

You can now download a free ebook sampler that will give you an exclusive sneak peek at all ten of our Fall novellas. Featuring authors such as Kai Ashante Wilson, Nnedi Okorafor, K. J. Parker, Daniel Polansky, and many more, this sampler contains exciting new fantasy worlds, harrowing science fiction adventures, stolen memories, edible angels, and talking salamanders. Download the sampler now from Amazon or iBooks. (A Barnes & Noble link will be available soon!)

We’ve previously covered two upcoming titles in the Tor.com fall catalog, Alter S. Reiss’s Sunset Mantle and Kai Ashante Wilson’s The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, and we’ll be covering more in the coming weeks. All ten will be available globally in ebook for $2.99 US/CAN, trade paperback, and audio format. See the complete catalog of upcoming novellas at Tor.com.


Future Treasures: Sunset Mantle by Alter S. Reiss

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Sunset Mantle-smallI’ve really been impressed with what I’ve seen of Tor.com’s new line of novellas. There are ten on the schedule, from a diverse range of exciting authors — including Nnedi Okorafor, K. J. Parker, Daniel Polansky, and Michael R. Underwood — and they look terrific.

The first to go on sale will be Kai Ashante Wilson’s debut, The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, and Tor.com will publish roughly one a week through most of the fall. September 15th sees Alter S. Reiss’ Sunset Mantle, the tale of an exiled warrior, and a doomed settlement called the Reach Antach…

With a single blow, Cete won both honor and exile from his last commander. Since then he has wandered, looking for a place to call home. The distant holdings of the Reach Antach offer shelter, but that promise has a price.

The Reach Antach is doomed.

Barbarians, traitors, and scheming investors conspire to destroy the burgeoning settlement. A wise man would move on, but Cete has found reason to stay. A blind weaver-woman and the beautiful sunset mantle lure the warrior to wager everything he has left on one final chance to turn back the hungry tides of war.

Sunset Mantle will be published by Tor.com on September 15, 2015. It is 192 pages, priced at $12.99 in trade paperback, and just $2.99 for the digital version. The cover is by Richard Anderson. Read a generous excerpt at Tor.com.


Future Treasures: Koko the Mighty by Kieran Shea

Sunday, August 16th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Koko the Mighty-smallThe first Koko novel, Koko Takes a Holiday, set in a war torn future 500 years from now, flew under the radar for me. That was probably a mistake. Sandman Slim author Richard Kadrey called it “a vivid and brutal old school (in the best sense) cyberpunk headkick,” and Publishers Weekly said its “sheer velocity keeps the story rattling along like a big geeky pinball machine.”

A review copy of the sequel, Koko the Mighty, arrived next week, and this looks like a perfect time to jump on board. The book will be released in trade paperback by Titan at the end of August. Check it out.

With an outstanding Ultimate Sanction bounty still on her head, Koko Martstellar (ex-mercenary and saloon madam extraordinaire) and Jedidiah Flynn (former orbital sky-cop) have narrowly escaped death in paradise. Rescued during a storm, Koko and Flynn are taken in by what amounts to a self-sufficient outlander cult. To save Flynn’s life, Koko barters her warrior skills and assists the de-civ group in fending off their most imminent threat: a horde of genetic-mutant raiders. However, even with the group’s foes bested and their idealist lifestyle somewhat enticing, being among the outlander de-civs doesn’t sit well with Koko. In spite of the de-civ group’s hospitality and Flynn’s arguing that they have it pretty good, Koko suspects something is amiss. People within the outlander group’s interlocking compounds keep disappearing with flimsy explanations — people like the girl who died on the cliff before Koko and Flynn’s rescue — and soon the group’s leadership assesses Koko as a threat to their secret agenda. As the mystery unfolds, Koko’s limits and loyalties — perhaps even her love for Flynn — will be tested.

And as if that isn’t enough, bounty agent Wire has managed to track down Koko and, after a little politicking, is preparing to lead an army of genetic-mutant raiders in a last-man-standing battle against the cult…

Koko the Mighty will be published by Titan Books on August 25, 2015. It is 327 pages, priced at $14.95 in trade paperback and $7.99 for the digital edition.


Future Treasures: The Path of Anger by Antoine Rouaud

Friday, August 14th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Path of Anger-smallI don’t know about you, but it takes a lot for me to commit to a new fantasy series. The Path of Anger, the first volume of The Book and the Sword, has all the right ingredients: imperial intrigue, long-buried secrets, assassinations, a missing sword, and a mystery tangled up with the birth of a new regime… Antoine Rouaud is a debut fantasy writer who works at NPR Radio. The Path of Anger was translated from the French by Tom Clegg.

There will be blood. There will be death. This is the path of anger…

Year 10 of the new Republic, in the remote port city of Masalia. Dun-Cadal, once the greatest general of the Empire, has been drinking his life away for years. Betrayed by his friends and grief-stricken at the loss of his apprentice, he’s done with politics, with adventure, and with people. But people aren’t finished with him — not yet.

Viola is a young historian looking for the last Emperor’s sword, said to have been taken by Dun-Cadal during the Empire’s final, chaotic hours. Her search not only leads her to the former general, but embroils them both in a series of assassinations. Dun-Cadal’s turncoat friends are being murdered, one by one, in the unmistakable style of an Imperial assassin…

But as Dun-Cadal comes to realize, none of these developments — not even the surprise of meeting his supposedly deceased apprentice — has been the result of chance. An intrigue transcending the fates of the individual characters has been put into motion, and its secrets are revealed one by one as the story unfolds.

The Path of Anger will be published by Thomas Dunne Books on August 25, 2015. It is 437 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Larry Rostant.


Future Treasures: Cthulhu Fhtagn!, edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Cthulhu Fhtagn-smallRoss E. Lockhart has edited some of my favorite Cthulhu anthologies, including the terrific The Book of Cthulhu and The Book of Cthulhu II. When he left Night Shade Books he founded Word Horde, which has produced some excellent books over the past year — including The Children of Old Leech, the genre-bending anthology Giallo Fantastique, and Molly Tanzer’s novel Vermilion.

His newest project is Cthulhu Fhtagn!, featuring 19 original weird tales inspired by H. P. Lovecraft, available in trade paperback and digital format next week.

In his house at R’lyeh, Cthulhu waits dreaming… What are the dreams that monsters dream? When will the stars grow right? Where are the sunken temples in which the dreamers dwell? How will it all change when they come home?

Within these pages lie the answers, and more, in all-new stories by many of the brightest lights in dark fiction. Gathered together by Ross E. Lockhart, the editor who brought you The Book of Cthulhu, The Children of Old Leech, and Giallo Fantastique, Cthulhu Fhtagn! features nineteen weird tales inspired by H. P. Lovecraft.

Cthulhu Fhtagn! will be published by Word Horde on August 15, 2015. It is 330 pages, priced at $19.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Adolfo Navarro.

See all of our coverage of the best upcoming fantasy releases here.


Future Treasures: Dungeons & Dragons: Out of the Abyss

Monday, August 10th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Out of the Abyss D&D-smallFor all the accolades and buzz for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, there have been shockingly few releases supporting the game. Beyond the core rulebooks (published 12 months ago now), Wizards of the Coast has published only two adventures, one accessory, and a DM’s screen:

Hoard of the Dragon Queen (Adventure, August 2014)
The Rise of Tiamat (Adventure, November)
Dungeon Master’s Screen (January)
Princes of the Apocalypse (Accessory, April)

So I was very pleased to see another major item on the publishing schedule: Out of the Abyss, a massive 256-page Underdark adventure for characters of levels 1–15.

The Underdark is a subterranean wonderland, a vast and twisted labyrinth where fear reigns. It is the home of horrific monsters that have never seen the light of day. It is here that the dark elf Gromph Baenre, Archmage of Menzoberranzan, casts a foul spell meant to ignite a magical energy that suffuses the Underdark and tears open portals to the demonic Abyss. What steps through surprises even him, and from that moment on, the insanity that pervades the Underdark escalates and threatens to shake the Forgotten Realms to its foundations. Stop the madness before it consumes you!

The next release on the schedule is Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, an accessory that ties into the highly anticipated Sword Coast Legends computer RPG coming out next month. It arrives in November.

Out of the Abyss will be published by Wizards of the Coast on September 15, 2015. It is 256 pages, priced at $49.95 in hardcover. There is no digital edition.


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