Asphodel by Jane Lindskold, Out Now!

Monday, January 29th, 2018 | Posted by Emily Mah

Asphodel Jane Lindskold-smallI had the privilege of reading Asphodel by Jane Lindskold soon after it was written and cannot recommend it highly enough.

It’s surreal, but in a very grounded way, if that makes any sense. Lindskold weaves together deep myth and literary allegory with fabulist escapism, and manages to take the reader on a very real journey into human love, loss, and redemption.

The book is available as a trade paperback, and as an ebook on Kindle, Nook, i-Tunes , GooglePlay, and Kobo.

Here’s the jacket copy.

Prison or Refuge?

Nameless in a doorless tower graced with seven windows, she is imprisoned. Who is her jailer? What is her crime?

After she discovers the secret of the seven windows, the nameless one, accompanied by two impossible companions, sets forth on fantastical journeys of exploration. But, for the nameless one, learning her name may not be a welcome revelation, and the identity of her jailer will rock the foundations of a tower that has come to be as much refuge as prison.

Read on for Lindskold’s post on how this book came to be.

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January 2018 Locus Now on Sale

Monday, January 8th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Locus January 2018-smallThere’s a great quote in JY Yang’s interview in the January 2018 Locus that I want to share with you. Here it is.

I don’t know how to write poetry. I was on the Writing Excuses cruise recently, and one of the instructors was Jeffrey Ford, and he gave a lecture that was about the last five percent — how you can get your prose to pop. You can write perfectly decent prose, but he was talking about ways you can get your mind to come up with interesting prose…. He gave some examples — one of them was a joke off the internet about how if you’re standing behind someone at the ATM at night, to show them you’re not a threat, you can give them a gentle kiss on the neck. He asked what part of that makes the text sparkle? It’s the word ‘gentle,’ because [it] exaggerates the entire sentiment of the joke. He suggests doing wordplay on a daily basis, and coming up with new terms. That’s something I do. I don’t say I bathe the dog, I say I wash her. I say we prune her instead of cutting her hair and things like that. I try to say or do things in interesting ways, and that comes up in my fiction. I like fiction that has interesting but effective imagery. I don’t like things that are overdone, tortured metaphors or similes, purple prose. A lot of the writers whose prose I admire, like William Gibson and David Mitchell, they express things in interesting ways, but it’s very simple. One interesting adjective in the sentence makes it sparkle. That’s what I try to achieve in my writing.

I think that’s neat. And, speaking as an editor who read through countless thousand submissions in the decade plus we were buying fiction for Black Gate, I think it also contains an essential truth. Before you put that tortured sentence to paper to prove the poetic power of your prose, remember that the core of really effective writing is simplicity. Yang is the author of The Tensorate Series from; we covered the first two volumes here. The third, The Red Threads of Fortune, is due in July.

There’s lots of other great stuff in the January Locus, including a feature interview with John Crowley, a column by Cory Doctorow, Best of 2017 lists from Amazon, Audible, Goodreads, and Publishers Weekly, and reviews of short fiction and books by Rich Horton, Gardner Dozois, Gary K. Wolfe, Russell Letson, John Langan, Stefan Dziemianowicz, Paula Guran, Liz Bourke, and lots more.

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From Ancient Opar to the Moon: An Interview with Author Christopher Paul Carey

Friday, December 29th, 2017 | Posted by Jess Terrell

Swords Against the Moon Men-full jacket-small

Christopher Paul Carey is a name well known to the readers of Philip José Farmer. In 2012, his collaboration with Farmer, The Song of Kwasin, was published by Subterranean Press in the omnibus Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa. Other installments in the Khokarsa series (also known as the Ancient Opar series) by Carey followed, including Exiles of Kho, Hadon, King of Opar, and Blood of Ancient Opar. As Farmer’s Khokarsa series was inspired by the lost city of Opar from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan novels, it is fitting that Christopher Paul Carey now tries his hand at Swords Against the Moon Men, a new novel set in the world of Burroughs’ Moon trilogy (The Moon Maid, The Moon Men, and The Red Hawk). I took some time to ask Chris about Swords Against the Moon Men as well as other aspects of his writing career.

Your latest novel, Swords Against the Moon Men, is the sixth volume in the Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs series. Could you tell us a little bit about the series, for the benefit of readers who are unfamiliar with it, and how your novel fits in?

The Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs is a new line of books authorized and published by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. The books are all set in Burroughs’ fantastical worlds but written by today’s authors. So far, the series includes four new Tarzan books (Tarzan: Return to Pal-ul-don by Will Murray, Tarzan on the Precipice by Michael A. Sanford, Tarzan Trilogy by Thomas Zachek, and Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy Under Siege by Ralph N. Laughlin and Ann E. Johnson), a sequel to Burroughs’ Beyond the Farthest Star (A Soldier of Poloda by Lee Strong), and now my novel, Swords Against the Moon Men, which takes place in the world of Burroughs’ lunar trilogy.

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The Poison Apple: True Interview – One-on-One with Charlaine Harris

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 | Posted by Elizabeth Crowens

Candid photo by Elizabeth Crowens

Candid photo by Elizabeth Crowens

I had the pleasure of interviewing Charlaine Harris at the 2017 Bouchercon, a mystery convention held this year in Toronto. Charlaine has written dozens of books from the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series that was made into the television series, True Blood on HBO to the Midnight series, which is now featured as the Midnight, Texas series on NBC.

One of the things I wanted to focus on in our interview is that you’ve been involved so many adaptations of your work. I know you’ve been writing for a really long time, but I have to ask you — when you were in your twenties what did you visualize? Did you think your career was going to take this turn?

Charlaine: Who could ever imagine this? I’ve met people I never thought I’d be in the same city with much less dining with and watching them work and then feeling… at least lip service… lucky to be meeting me! I thought, “This is just crazy and weird.”

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Wordsmiths: Black Gate Interviews Steven Erikson at Can*Con 2017

Friday, November 17th, 2017 | Posted by Brandon Crilly

As I’ve mentioned periodically here, I’m part of the planning committee for Can*Con, Ottawa’s annual conference on science fiction, fantasy and horror writing, and specifically help to develop each year’s program. This year I had the amazing opportunity to sit down for a live interview with Canadian fantasy writer Steven Erikson, author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen and Willful Child series and one of our 2017 Guests of Honor. And we even recorded it!

Above is the entirety of my interview with Steven, discussing his previous work, his writing process, the fantasy genre in general, and what’s coming next from this prolific author. The chance to chat with him was a huge privilege and an absolute blast, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

You can check out Steven’s work at or his new Facebook author page, and see our previous coverage of his work here at Black Gate.

Also check out Can*Con at (@CanConSF on Twitter) and keep an eye out for dates and guests for 2018!

Many thanks to Silver Stag Studios for filming this interview. Scope them out here (@SilverStagStdio on Twitter).

In Search of a new Weird Tales: An Interview with Joseph Goodman, Howard Andrew Jones, and the Talking Skull!

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Tales from the Magician's Skull-small

Recently Goodman Games announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund the launch of Tales From the Magician’s Skull, a magazine of all-new swords & sorcery fiction in the classic pulp style. The first issue is a delight for Black Gate readers, with tales from popular BG contributors James Enge, John C. Hocking, Howard Andrew Jones, Chris Willrich, Bill Ward, and others. And best of all, Goodman has invited Howard Andrew Jones on board as editor, guaranteeing a top-notch product. The spectacular success of the Kickstarter campaign — more than quintuple its goal, with more than a week to go — demonstrates just how well the creators have read the market demand for a true sword & sorcery publication. I sat down with Joseph Goodman, founder and publisher of Goodman Games, and Howard — along with their undead master, the mighty Magician’s Skull — to find out more about one of the most exciting magazine launches in a decade.

My first question is for Joseph… why a magazine? How does that fit in with your laser-like focus on classic gaming?

Joseph: Thanks for the interview, John! To answer your question, I have to start with Appendix N. In the 1982 edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide, the creator included an obscure bibliography. It was Appendix N, the 14th appendix in the book, where he listed the works of fiction that inspired him to create D&D. That list has since become notorious. It is now a de facto “required reading list” for diehard fans of the game.

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The Poison Apple: The Lure of the Vampire, an Interview with Author Nancy Kilpatrick

Monday, October 16th, 2017 | Posted by Elizabeth Crowens


Nancy Kilpatrick is an award-winning writer and editor. She has published 22 novels, 1 non-fiction book, over 220 short stories and 6 collections of her short fiction, comic books, a graphic novel, and she has edited 15 anthologies. Her work has been translated into 7 languages. Although not all vampire-themed, it’s all focused on the dark realm.

I noticed on your Amazon Author’s Page you did a non-fiction book about the Gothic movement.

I wrote one non-fiction book, The Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined. At the time I did that I was pretty much smack in the middle of the Goth world. The agent I had at the time approached me and said there was a publisher looking for a book on goth. When I contacted the publisher, he and I had a conversation, but he was looking for something with the slant of discouraging people from getting involved in the goth culture. This wasn’t what I wanted to write so my agent shopped it around, and there was a bit of a bidding war. Finally there was an editor at St. Martin’s Press who used to be into goth when he was younger, so he bought it, but unfortunately just at 9/11, which was a paralyzing time for the publishing industry.

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Paperbacks From Hell: An Interview with Author Grady Hendrix

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 | Posted by Matthew David Surridge

Grady HendrixGrady Hendrix is a man who knows his horror. I saw him speak about horror paperbacks from the late 60s through the early 90s at the Fantasia International Film Festival, where he previewed his then-upcoming book Paperbacks From Hell. His passion and knowledge were clear at once. So was his wit — he clearly took these books seriously, but also knew when to take them lightly. His presentation was a powerful and slightly manic guide to a weird world of which I’d known nothing: a paperback world of mutilated dolls, of killer clowns, of diversely-talented skeletons, and, of course, of Nazi leprechauns. I had to know more about his book, and spoke with him after the show, asking if I could interview him for Black Gate. He agreed. Since then, Paperbacks From Hell has officially been published, and you can buy it now at The book presents a striking new angle on horror fiction in the late twentieth century, and I hope the following interview further whets your appetite for Paperbacks From Hell.

I’ll start at the beginning, I guess: How did the idea for the book develop? You write a bit about how you feel in love with horror paperbacks, but how did you get from collecting them to writing about them and publishing a book?

I’ve always been a reader, but my first huge enthusiasm was for movies. And in film fandom there’s a proud tradition of wandering out into the wilds and bringing back the most obscure and strangest films you can find. I didn’t see that tradition so much with books, and yet there were these vast used bookstores containing a wilderness of paperbacks, and all I wanted was a map so I could start exploring. Turns out I had to make one myself. Other people will do a better job, but I’m hoping I’ve given them a place to start.

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Literary Wonder & Adventure Podcast: The Golden Age of Science Fiction, Part II

Saturday, September 9th, 2017 | Posted by Brian Murphy

Literary Wonder and Adventure Show The Golden Age of Science Fiction Part 2 Rich Horton

Part II of II; read a review of Part I here.

Host Robert Zoltan has returned with his second installment of a look back at the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Zoltan and (Edgar the Raven’s) guest for Part II is Rich Horton, editor of The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy (Prime Books), reprint editor for Light Speed, and columnist for Locus and Black Gate.

Horton endorses the standard narrative of the start and finish of science fiction’s “golden age,” which begins with editor John Campbell fully assuming the reigns of Astounding Stories around 1938, and ends when the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Galaxy began publishing in 1949 and 1950, respectively. These latter two magazines moved the genre in new directions, though not necessarily worse ones: Horton in fact argues that the fiction published in the silver age of the 1950s was often higher in quality, which seems to undercut the Golden Age moniker affixed to the Campellian era. But the golden age had the benefit of the “shock of the new”; it was a time when new ideas sprang from the pages of Astounding Stories with each new issue. It saw the emergence of some of science fiction’s greatest ideas and lasting tropes, if not consistently high execution or literary sophistication.

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The Poison Apple: A Cosplayer’s Best Friend, Interview with Photographer Bruce Heinsius

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 | Posted by Elizabeth Crowens

Josephine Chang as Silk

Josephine Chang as Silk

I wanted to preface that when I first met Bruce, we were both working as Still Photographers in Hollywood, and he was on Power Rangers, which has made a comeback with a new feature film after twenty-five years or so.

BH: I worked on the television show the first season shooting everything from action on the set to special shoots for calendars, trading cards, video box covers and magazines.

You and I have been out of touch for a while, but we reconnected on Facebook, because you took photos of someone else I was already friends with, and that’s when I noticed you started taking photos of cosplayers at conventions. Why don’t you share with the readers how you got involved with that?

Back in 2006, I was supposed to be doing a movie shoot. When I showed up, the person who hired me apologized and said he forgot to tell me it was cancelled because everyone was going to a cosplay event instead. So, I tagged along and was surprised how many comic book and animé characters were there. I wasn’t really doing action photos on that first event, but I still tried to create good portraiture while photographing people in costume.

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