Grimdark Magazine 5 Now Available

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

GrimDark Magazine 5-smallGrimdark is a quarterly magazine of dark fantasy. Editor Adrian Collins summarizes the latest for us nicely in his Issue #5 Line Up post:

Grimdark Magazine issue #5 is chock full of grimdark goodness. We’ve pushed the genre boundaries of grimdark a bit more in this issue, with zombie apocalypses and cold-hearted near-future sci-fi to go with the three fantasy pieces, which include a Dominion of the Fallen short story by Aliette de Bodard.

The Line Up post even has a nifty teaser trailer. Check it out. In his review of the first few issues, Fletcher Vredenburgh seems to like what he sees:

From a swords & sorcery perspective, the biggest — and potentially most interesting — new publication out there is Grimdark Magazine… grimdark fantasy is nihlistic/realistic storytelling that moves the genre forward/destroys the genre, and features characters with realistic motives/who are utterly vile. Whether you like or hate the fiction coming out under the rubric, Grimdark Magazine, by its very nature, is going to feature S&S… At only $2.99 a pop, I’ll be keeping up with Grimdark Magazine

The latest issue went on sale in October, and contains new fiction by Aliette de Bodard, Chadwick Ginther, Sean Patrick Hazlett, David Annandale, and T.C. Powell, as well as an excerpt from Victor Milan’s new novel The Dinosaur Lords, book reviews, interviews with James A. Moore and Peter Orullian, and an article titled ‘Who is the Grimdark Hero?’ by C.T. Phipps.

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Scrolls of Legendry #1 is Your Source for Old-School Fantasy Reviews

Sunday, October 11th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Scrolls of Legendry 1-smallD.M. Ritzlin, editor of Swords of Steel, is a man who knows sword & sorcery. His latest venture is an intriguing little magazine devoted to reviewing overlooked heroic fantasy, horror, and weird fantasy of all kinds. Here he is in the editorial for the first issue:

Scrolls of Legendry is for the overlooked and forgotten, whether they’re lost classics or things that would be better off undiscovered. We’re only going to review old, out of print books, with a few exceptions for reprints or other works of interest to us. Some of these titles probably haven’t been reviewed in decades… or in some cases, at all.

As you may have inferred from the title, the main focus in the pages of Scrolls of Legendry is fantasy (especially of the sword & sorcery variety), because that’s what we’re most passionate about. But we’ll also include related genres such as horror, historical adventures, and science fiction. If you’re a fan of the great authors of Weird Tales like Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith, Scrolls is for you.

In addition to reviews, each issue we’ll have a story or article. For our debut, Jeff Black presents us with “The Heaviest Sword.” It takes place in Japan, an underused setting for sword and sorcery.

The first issue proved to be surprisingly packed for such a slender little zine, crammed with articles on long out-of print texts by H. Bedford-Jones, John Christopher, Tanith Lee, Robert Lory, F. Van Wyck Mason, Thomas Burnett Swann, Karl Edward Wagner, and others.

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October 2015 Lightspeed Magazine Now on Sale

Friday, October 9th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Lightspeed October 2015-smallIn his editorial this month, John Joseph Adams takes a few minutes to highlight a few of his accomplishments in the past month. It’s an impressive list.

In case you missed the news last month, we won another Hugo!… Lightspeed took home the rocket for Best Semiprozine, but also, just as exciting, there were two other Lightspeed Hugo victories: Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s story from Lightspeed, “The Day the World Turned Upside Down,” won the Hugo for Best Novelette, and one of our illustrators, Elizabeth Leggett, won the Hugo for Best Fan Artist. Congrats to them both, and thanks to everyone who voted for all of us… We won the Hugo for Best Semiprozine last year as well, but most of our team wasn’t able to be in London to accept the award in person (none of us except for our podcast producer, Stefan Rudnicki, were able to make it), so having all of us there in person this year made it extra special for us.

In related news, I also personally won an Alfie Award (for Best Editor, Short Form), a new, possibly one-off award presented by George R.R. Martin. It was created in response to controversy this year over the Hugo nominations… (They’re made out of vintage car hood ornaments, which closely resemble the original shape of the first Hugo Awards.)

This month is the debut of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, part of the prestigious Best American series. In it, guest editor Joe Hill and I present the top twenty stories of 2014 (ten science fiction, ten fantasy)

This month Lightspeed has original fantasy from Emil Ostrovski and Nike Sulway, and fantasy reprints by Kevin Brockmeier and Delia Sherman, and original SF by Maria Dahvana Headley and Adrian Tchaikovsky, plus SF reprints by An Owomoyela and Gregory Benford. All that plus their usual author spotlights, an interview with security expert and futurist Marc Goodman, and book and movie reviews. eBook readers get a bonus novella reprint of James Tiptree Jr.’s “Slow Music,” and a pair of novel excerpts.

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The October Fantasy Magazine Rack

Thursday, October 8th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Knights-of-the-Dinner-Table-224-rack Asimovs-Science-Fiction-October-November-2015-rack Apex-Magazine-Issue-76-rack Beneath-Ceaseless-Skies-182-rack
Shimmer-27-rack Nightmare-Magazine-September-2015-rack Weirdbook-31-rack Locus-October-2015-rack

There are magazines for every taste on the rack in early October — with great fiction, comics, news, poetry, and lots more. The big news this month is the long-awaited return of Weirdbook, under the capable stewardship of editor Douglas Draa. Adrian Simmons also did a little investigative reporting on what really happened to that brilliant short story you submitted to your favorite fantasy magazine three months ago, in “Slushpile Blues,” Darrell Schweitzer took a look back at perhaps the most famous editor the genre has ever known in “John W. Campbell Jr. and the Knack for Being Wrong About Everything,” and Matthew Wuertz continued his issue-by-issue review of Galaxy magazine, with the December 1952 issue.

Check out all the details on the magazines above by clicking on the each of the images. Our mid-September 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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October 2015 Locus Now on Sale

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Locus October 2015-smallThe October issue of the Newsmagazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field features an long interview with author Elizabeth Hand, reports on Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention — including the complete Hugo voting results, a new column by Kameron Hurley, short fiction reviews from Gardner Dozois and Rich Horton, and reviews of new books from Gene Wolfe, Christopher Moore, Ian McDonald, Michael Swanwick, Mercedes Lackey, Paul Tremblay, and many others.

There’s also detailed reporting on Stephen King’s National Medal of Arts, the 2015 Chesley Awards Winners, the National Book Awards Longlists, and the Ness Fundraiser.

In addition to all the news, features, and regular columns, there’s also the indispensable Listings of Magazines Received, Books Received, British Books Received, and Bestsellers. Plus obituaries for Wes Craven and Ned Brooks, and Letters from John Helfers and Michael Bishop. See the complete contents here.

We last covered Locus with the May 2015 issue. Locus is edited by Liza Groen Trombi, and published monthly by Locus Publications. The issue is 62 pages, priced at $7.50. Subscriptions are $63 for 12 issues in the US. Subscribe online here. The magazine’s website, run as a separate publication by Mark R. Kelly, is a superb online resource. It is here.

Our mid-September Fantasy Magazine Rack is here. See all of our recent fantasy magazine coverage here.

Knights of the Dinner Table 224 Now on Sale

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Knights of the Dinner Table 224-smallKnights of the Dinner Table follows the misadventures of a group of misfit gamers from Muncie, Indiana. It is written and drawn by my friend Jolly R. Blackburn, with editorial assistance by his talented wife Barbara. Black Gate readers may remember the KoDT spin-off The Java Joint, which appeared in the back of every issue of BG (and was eventually collected in a single volume in 2012).

KoDT magazine is published monthly. The core of the publication is the comic strip, but the issues are huge — 64 pages — and rounded out with news, reviews, features, and a variety of entertaining gaming columns. It is, hands down, the best way to stay informed on the adventure gaming hobby each month.

I bought the first issue back in 1994, and contributed a book review column for several years in the late 90s. It amazes me to see that, with 224 issues under his belt, Jolly is now closing in on Dave Sim’s legendary 300-issue run with Cerebus. That’s a monumental accomplishment.

KoDT 224 contains no less than nine full-length strips, plus some short “One-Two Punches.” The cover is by Steven Cummings, a smart parody of Seven Samurai.

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

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Galaxy Science Fiction, December 1952: A Retro-Review

Sunday, October 4th, 2015 | Posted by Matthew Wuertz

Galaxy December 1952-smallThe cover of the December, 1952 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction was creating using a technique called “Camerage.” Editor H. L. Gold describes it as

A three-dimensional montage effect — but it’s not a montage… All the objects in the picture are assembled at one time, illuminated by projected colored lights… and are shot by a number of cameras placed on different planes.

To me, it looks a little odd — or at least this particular use of the technique looks a little odd. (Click the image at right for a bigger version.) Seeing an image online doesn’t quite match up with what you see on an actual copy of the magazine; I can’t quite explain the difference. But however you view it, the cover still doesn’t connect with me.

Ring Around the Sun (Part 1) by Clifford D. Simak — It started with a few inventions — a cigarette lighter, a razor blade, and a light bulb. These items would last forever, the manufacturers claimed. Additionally, another group supplied synthetic carbohydrates for consumption, helping humanity’s food supply. Each had its own effect on the economy, in both subtle and obvious ways.

Jay Vickers learns of the newest arrivals — the forever car and the forever house — with indifference. He doesn’t need a new car and doesn’t like the idea of a new house, no matter how reasonable the financing may be, even if it seems like they’re being given away.

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October/November 2015 Asimov’s Science Fiction Now on Sale

Sunday, October 4th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Asimov's Science Fiction October November 2015-smallAsimov’s Science Fiction October/November issue — the traditionally “slightly spooky” issue — contains a huge new 34,000-word novella from the brilliant Aliette de Bodard, the sequel to her Hugo and Nebula Award nominee, On a Red Station, Drifting, plus stories from Alan Smale, Ian Creasey, Rick Wilber, Ian McDowell, and many others. Here’s the description from the website:

Aliette de Bodard’s October/November 2015 cover story is an enormous new novella that plunges us into a far future where various factions struggle to find the lost “Citadel of Weeping Pearls.” Success will require travel through time and space. The journey could result in death, or it could give the empire the weapon it needs in a war against archenemies.

Our traditionally “slightly spooky” issue is full of outré stories of the macabre. A trio of tales makes use of English and Irish locales and lore. Alan Smale entices us to the West Midlands for a chilling look at “English Wildlife”; Ian Creasey draws us further north to York, and, then through hyperspace, to listen while a young girl spins a sinister yarn about “My Time on Earth”; and Rick Wilber takes us from the beaches of West Ireland to the coast of Massachusetts for one character’s just rewards in “Walking to Boston.” We remain in the U.S. for Sandra McDonald’s ghostly account of “The Adjunct Professor’s Guide to Life After Death”; venture to the old west for Ian McDowell’s uncanny legend of “The Hard Woman”; and voyage through time with Timons Esaias to find out what happened in “Hollywood After 10.” Daryl Gregory escorts us to another realm for a surprising twist on a familiar tale of witchcraft in “Begone”; and new author Brooks Peck lures us to a space station in Earth’s Orbit to view the consequences of living “With Folded RAM.”

The striking cover art this issue is by Maurizio Manzieri, for “Citadel of Weeping Pearls.”

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Shimmer 27 Now on Sale

Friday, October 2nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Shimmer 27-smallShimmer #27, cover-dated September 2015, offers four new stories. Two are currently available on the website; the last two will be available later this month.

Dustbaby,” by Alix E. Harrow
There were signs. There are always signs, when the world ends.

A July Story,” by K.L. Owens
Iron red, linseed-cured, and caked in salt, in a place where the mercury never crept much above fifty Fahrenheit, the two-room house chose to keep its back to the sea. A wise choice, given the facing of the windows and the predilections of the wind.

“Black Planet,” by Stephen Case (available October 6)
Em did not dream the world. When the lights went out and the absence of her brother in the room across the hall became palpable, it was simply there, hanging in the space above her bed. She would stare at its invisible form, spinning silent and unseen, until she slept.

“The Law of the Conservation of Hair,” by Rachael K. Jones (available October 20)
That it has long been our joke that our hair lengths are inversely proportional, and cannot exceed the same cumulative mass it possessed on the day we met.

See the complete issue here.

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John W. Campbell Jr. and the Knack for Being Wrong About Everything

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 | Posted by Darrell Schweitzer

Analog October 1965-smallI’ve been listing copies of Analog (from a lot I acquired over the summer) on eBay for some time, and looking through them as I have. What strikes me forcefully — though of course I had been aware of it for years, being old enough to remember when JWC was still editing — is how John Campbell had an eerie ability to be wrong about just about everything, from Dianetics to the Dean Drive to supporting George Wallace in the 1968 election to the statement that television would never catch on because you’d have to stop what you’re doing and WATCH it.

It goes on and on, rather relentlessly. Only in Analog would you find, as late as the 1960s, an article on the positive benefits of smoking.

The latest one I’ve come across is the editorial in the October 1965 issue, in which Campbell lambastes largely straw-men “Litteraeurs” on their inability to write, dismissing approved mainstream literature (about which I suspect he knew very little) as “sex in suburbia” and making the famous claim that he gets more printable manuscripts from Cal Tech or Harvard Law School than from the Harvard Literature department. “How come they keep turning out Literature graduates that can’t sell stories?”

Of course the fallacy here is that the purpose of Literature departments is to turn out writers, and that “sell stories” means sell stories to Analog. I am sure the editors of The New Yorker or the major literary magazines would have had a different view. But this was a very common Philistine cant at one time. From at least the New Wave period, all the way up to the Sad Puppies, we have heard the complaint that these damned Literature majors are ruining Science Fiction.

That John Campbell was unquestionably a great editor while being so wrong about so many things is hard to explain — thought it does explain why the field seemed to be leaving him behind by the last few years of his life.

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