In 2015, Douglas Draa resurrectedWeirdbook with issue #31 (the weird fiction magazine had been dormant since 1997). Fast forward to 2021, and issue #44 is now available. In addition to the core issues, there are themed anthologies spawning. Annual #1Witches came out in 2017; and Annual #2: Cthulhu appeared in 2019 (discussed on Black Gate).
This year, for Annual #3, Weirdbook challenged authors to come up with memorable takes on zombies. The result is this fantastic collection of 34 new stories. Draa looked for tales that were fun, entertaining and scary. He also wanted fresh meat (i.e., he didn’t want to serve up a bunch of Romeroesque, plague zombies). …
September/October 2021 issues of Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Cover art by Eldar Zakirov, Kurt Huggins, and David A. Hardy
The September/October print magazines are still on sale for a few more days, which means there’s still time to grab them before the November/December issues push them off shelves. Here’s a few reasons to do that. We’ll start with Victoria Silverwolf’s Tangent Online review of the current Asimov’s.
“Sleep and the Soul” by Greg Egan takes place in the United States in the first half of the Nineteenth Century. In this version of the past, however, people do not sleep, and any form of unconsciousness is considered to be equivalent to death. The protagonist is knocked out in an accident and is buried. He manages to escape from his coffin, but finds out that his parents think of him as a demon wearing their dead son’s body. He leaves his home with the woman he loves, taking on a new identity in an attempt to avoid the mobs who would destroy him as a monster. He goes on to become involved with a showman and a dentist experimenting with anesthesia…
The narrator of “Shooting at Warner’s Bay” by Michèle Laframboise is an actress, with a role in a monster movie being filmed on a remote, uninhabited island. The place turns out to have its own weird dangers. This story about making a cheap horror film is, itself, similar to a B movie…
Published by Goodman-Games. Paperback, PDF, eBook (80pages). ISBN 9781950783816.
Announcing the availability and contents of the Tales From the Magician’s Skull #6, a magazine of all-new swords & sorcery fiction! Issue #6 features cover art by Doug Kovacs of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
Yes, mortal dogs, you read that correctly. The Skull brings readers a new series of stories set in Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar! Licensed by Leiber’s estate, the forthcoming stories and novellas faithfully expand upon the legendary tales of Lankhmar’s most famous duo.
Issue #6 is available at the publisher’s website Goodman-Games, in Paperback, eBook, and PDF (PDF’s are also available on DriveThru RPG). In the future, expect the paperback of issue#6 available from Amazon, like many of the previous issues.
I’m going to change the focus of the Weird Tales deep read slightly, to hopefully give a somewhat more coherent view of the magazine by focusing on a particular year, while still maintaining the month-at-a time format. First up is January 1936, followed by the ten subsequent issues published that year. (One issue was bi-monthly, and I’ve already covered the July issue, so you can just check that particular installment in the link provided below if you’re so inclined).
The January ‘36 WT is full of familiar names. Seabury Quinn, August Derleth, Paul Ernst, C. L. Moore, Robert E. Howard, and H. P. Lovecraft (with a reprint) all appear in the line up. The issue grades out to a respectable 2.44, largely avoiding poor stories but also scoring only a few outstanding ones. The two vying for best of issue were Moore’s Jirel and Howard’s Conan, the second installment of the longest Conan tale he was to write. Howard gets the nod on a toss-up.
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #49 was released to the world in August.
“A Song of Pictish Kings,” by Adrian Cole, artwork by Andrea Alemanno and Gary McClusky. Elak of Atlantis returns to our electronic pages! Generations of Pictish raiding along the Atlantean coast comes to a sudden halt and a bold Chieftain of the Picts requests the aid of the Atlanteans against a mutual supernatural enemy. Or is it a trap? Or is it both? Thrill to the adventure of young King Elak as he unthreads the mystery!
“Old Ghosts,” by Greg Mele, artwork by Justin Pfiel. Mele returns with another tale set in his alternate history Meso-American Azatlán world. Few living men would dare to cross seasoned warrior Nopaltzin Seven-Reed, but the dead play by different rules and have different goals. Even the greatest warrior cannot live without sleep and Nopaltzin must take the fight into the world of the dead. A phenomenal tale!
“The Pass,” by Nick Mazolillo, artwork by Andrea Alemanno. Young Strand has nearly finished his training guarding the world from Otherworld. But the Otherworld has its own rules and logic and young Strand’s difficult apprenticeship is coming to a difficult end. A great, dreamy work that drifts into nightmare.
Interzone 290-291. Wraparound cover by Vincent Sammy
There was some uncertainty about the fate of British SF magazine Interzone at the beginning of the year. Well, I was uncertain, anyway. Long-time publisher and editor Andy Cox announced the magazine was being sold, then quietly announced it wasn’t. The January-February 2021 issue never appeared. But then, out of the blue, this beautiful and massive double issue appeared in June to lay all doubts to rest. Here’s the description from the website.
192 gorgeous full color pages packed full of modern science fiction and fantasy: New long and short stories by Alexander Glass, Tim Major, Lyle Hopwood, Daniel Bennett, Cécile Cristofari, Matt Thompson, John Possidente, Lavie Tidhar, and Shauna O’Meara; Climbing Stories by Aliya Whiteley (x2); Ansible Link by David Langford; lots of book reviews; six and a half thousand words of Nick Lowe’s Mutant Popcorn; wraparound cover art by Vincent Sammy and story illustrations by Jim Burns, Vince Haig, Richard Wagner, Dave Senecal, Ev Shipard and others.
Interzone is one of the most beautiful SF magazines on the market. Here’s a sample of some of the gorgeous interior art.
Johnny Mayhem, man of a thousand faces, leaping from body to body, putting right things that had once went…no wait! That’s the television show, Quantum Leap, which ran from 1989 to 1993. Never mind. Decades before Sam Beckett went leaping through time, there was another bodiless adventurer doing much the same thing. His name was Johnny Mayhem.
July/August 2021 issues of Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Cover art by Shutterstock.com, Tomislav Tikulin, and Alan M. Clark
Short story reviews have been part of the genre since the first SF pulps started publishing letters from young fans in the back pages in the 1920s. What’s different these days is that you can read reviews online, get excited about the current issues, and leisurely make your way to your local bookstore in plenty of time to grab the magazines you want.
That’s a consequence of multiple factors — including the move to bi-monthly publication for most major print zines, and the endurance of review sites like Tangent Online, Locus Online, and Quick Sip Reviews, among others — but it’s largely due to a small group of short fiction reviewers, almost all volunteers, who move quickly to read the latest zines and get thoughtful and well-written coverage posted with all dispatch. Here’s what a few of those folks thought of the July/August genre print magazines.
I made an enjoyable foray into the November 1982 “’Science Fiction Summer’ Wrap-Up Issue” of Starlog Magazine over the 4th of July weekend, to see how well the reviews of various films have held up. When were the reviewers prescient, and when were they embarrassingly myopic? Did any of them have a sense that they were reviewing films during a year that is now regarded as one of the greatest ever for genre cinema?
1982 is a pretty significant year for science fiction, fantasy, and horror. In retrospect it is kind of incredible how many films that are considered iconic played in movie theaters that summer. Just check out this list of films reviewed: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Kahn. Conan. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.Blade Runner. Tron. Poltergiest. John Carpenter’s The Thing. And while Mad Max 2 debuted down under in 1981, it made its American debut (as The Road Warrior) in 1982.
Weird Tales, January 1945. Cover by Margaret Brundage
This time we’re jumping ahead in our deep read of the Unique Magazine, to the January 1945 issue. The old guard has largely changed. Howard has been dead for almost six years, Lovecraft out-lived him less than a year. C. L. Moore hadn’t published in WT since 1939, Clark Ashton Smith longer. (Reprints not considered,) That doesn’t mean there were no familiar names. Seabury Quinn, August Derleth, Edmond Hamilton, and others continued to contribute. New writers, like Ray Bradbury, were coming on. Though the Golden Age was definitely over, that doesn’t mean the magazine didn’t publish quality material.