The 2018 World Fantasy Awards Ballot

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

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The 2018 World Fantasy Awards Ballot, containing a whole bunch of books I haven’t read yet, has just been announced. The ballot is compiled by the voting attendees of the World Fantasy Convention, all of whom clearly read a lot more than I do. Where do they find the time? Don’t they have blog posts to write, like normal people?

At least I have my membership for the convention, so I’ll be there to watch all the excitement unfold. It’s still a few months away, so I a little time to get caught up. Wish we luck.

As has been tradition since 1998, the coveted Life Achievement Award is being given to two recipients. This year they are Canadian author Charles de Lint and DAW Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth (Betsy) Wollheim. Both are fine selections, richly deserving of this recognition.

The winners in every other category will be selected by a panel of judges. Here’s the complete list of nominees, with links to our previous coverage.

Life Achievement

  • Charles de Lint
  • Elizabeth Wollheim

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Who Is Mysterio? The Early Days of the Spider-Man Villain with the Fishbowl on His Head

Saturday, May 26th, 2018 | Posted by Ryan Harvey

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News dropped on Monday that actor Jake Gyllenhaal will likely play the part of Mysterio in the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, whatever it’s called. (Spider-Man: Back from the Ashes would work.) Gyllenhaal is an excellent choice to play a whole range of Spidey villains — the actor’s earned trust on that front thanks to his performance in Nightcrawler. But the real news for me is Mysterio, regardless of who’s putting on the mesh green outfit with eye-brooch accessories. He’s a Spider-Man villain overdue for the big screen treatment.

(Oh, and we now know for certain that Michael Keaton will return as the Vulture, probably to stoke the fires about the Sinister Six getting together. Bokeem Woodbine’s Shocker is still alive, and it looks like Scorpion is in play as well. Only two more slots to fill! Maybe Kraven the Hunter and … The Kangaroo? I hope it’s the Kangaroo.)

So who is this Mysterio bloke? Short version: he’s a special effects wizard who decided to go into a life of crime and put a fishbowl on his head. Because comic books. He doesn’t have superpowers, but he can put on a helluva light and illusion show and he specializes in reality-bending tricks and mind games, making him an ideal movie bad guy.

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The 2017 Nebula Award Winners

Sunday, May 20th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

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I turned 54 years old today. And as a birthday present to me, just as it does every year, the Science Fiction Writers of America gave out the 52nd Annual Nebula Awards. This year they were presented at the SFWA Nebula Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center.

Unlike the last 2015 and 2016 events (which were held in Chicago), I was unable to attend, but they somehow went on without me. Here’s the complete list of winners.

Novel

The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Novella

All Systems Red, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)

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2018 Locus Awards Finalists Announced

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Persepolis Rising-small New York 2140-small The-Collapsing-Empire-small

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the nominations for the 2018 Locus Awards. I still don’t understand why this isn’t a national holiday.

The Locus Awards, voted on by readers in an open online poll, have been presented every year since 1971. That’s… uh… (counts on fingers) 47 years, which makes a virtual genre institution. The final ballot lists an impressive ten finalists in each category, including Science Fiction Novel, Fantasy Novel, Horror Novel, Young Adult Book, First Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Anthology, Collection, Magazine, Publisher, Editor, Artist, Non-Fiction, and Art Book. The winners will be announced at the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle from June 22-24, 2018.

It’s an impressive list of nominees this year. Have a look.

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Announcing the 2018 Hugo Award Finalists

Saturday, March 31st, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Featured_HugoAward Spiffy

Holy neutron stars, it’s the end of March, and you know what that means…. it’s time to announce the finalists for the 2018 Hugo Awards! Doubtless most of you paid close attention to Rich Horton’s suggestions for the best science fiction and fantasy of last year, did a lot of heavy reading over the last four weeks, and thoughtfully cast your nominating ballots. Or maybe not.

But either way, it’s time to see who all your fellow voters nominated. Ready? Here we go.

Best Novel

The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi (Tor)
New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
Provenance, by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty (Orbit)
The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

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Black Gate on the list for the 2018 REH Foundation Awards

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 | Posted by Bob Byrne

REHaward_ShanksIf you were to take a poll at Black Gate World Headquarters, asking for the staff’s favorite author, I’d put my money on Robert E. Howard coming in at the top spot. ‘Conan’ appeared in a Black Gate headline over a decade ago (thank you, Charles Rutledge!). Ryan Harvey, John Fultz, Bill Ward, William Patrick Maynard, Brian Murphy, Howard Andrew Jones, Barbra Barrett and more have written about Howard and his works under the Black Gate banner.

And the respect and love of Howard’s work has only increased over the past few years. All with the standard Black Gate quality. For the third year in a row, there is a solid Black Gate presence on the Robert E. Howard Foundation Preliminary Awards List. Our nominees for 2018:

The Cimmerian—Outstanding Achievement, Essay (Online)

(Essays must have made their first public published appearance in the previous calendar year and be substantive scholarly essays on the life and/or work of REH. Short blog posts, speeches, reviews, trip reports, and other minor works do not count.)

BOB BYRNE – “Robert E. Howard Wrote a Police Procedural? With Conan?? Crom!!!”

JAMES McGLOTHLIN – “A Tale of Two Robert E. Howard Biographies”

M. HAROLD PAGE – “Why Isn’t Conan a Mary Sue?”

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Modular: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Announced – Never Say Never

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 | Posted by Bob Byrne

Pathfinder_PlaytestrulebookYesterday, Paizo announced an upcoming playtest for a 2nd Edition of Pathfinder. Wow.

For years, Paizo officials have said that there would never be a second edition. I suspect that all evidence of those statements have been scoured from the Internet. A quick search didn’t find any. There might have been qualifiers along the way, such as ‘unless the demand is too great’ or some such. But I remember the message as ‘We won’t do a 2nd Edition.” With the inference, ‘Making you buy all of your stuff over again.’

I thought that they might be adhering to that pledge when they put out Starfinder, a science fiction RPG. That seemed like a smart approach if they couldn’t update the original Pathfinder.

But I believe that events conspired against them. The best thing that ever happened to Pathfinder was 4th Edition D&D (granted – it was the impetus for Pathfinder). The worst thing that ever happened to Pathfinder was 5th Edition D&D.

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Announcing the 2017 Nebula Award Nominations

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Spoonbenders Daryl Gregory-small Six-Wakes-Mur-Lafferty-smaller Annalee-Newitz-Autonomous-smaller

If you’ve been saving your reading muscles for major awards season, I have good news. SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, released its nominees for the 2017 Nebula Awards yesterday, and you’re into for some terrific reading. Time to book a reading vacation, and make all that hoarded eye lubricant and daily wrist exercises finally pay off. Here’s the complete list of nominees.

Novel

Amberlough, by Lara Elena Donnelly (Tor)
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, by Theodora Goss (Saga)
Spoonbenders, by Daryl Gregory (Knopf)
The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty (Orbit)
Jade City, by Fonda Lee (Orbit)
Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz (Tor)

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A Farewell to Roc Books

Friday, February 16th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

logo-pub-rocThe big 2017 Year in Review issue of Locus magazine arrived this week, and the second paragraph of the annual summary confirmed something that’s been whispered in fannish circles for a few months: that parent company Penguin Group has “quietly retired” the Roc Books imprint, folding it in with its existing Ace line. Only four books with the Roc logo were published last year, and none is on the schedule for this year. It’s the end of an era in many ways.

Roc Books was founded by John Silbersack in 1990. Over the last 27 years it has published hundreds of science fiction and fantasy titles by Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. Le Guin, Guy Gavriel Kay, Peter S. Beagle, Arthur C. Clarke, Nancy A. Collins, Terry Pratchett, Andre Norton, and hundreds of others. It had a well-deserved reputation for taking chances on new authors, and many of those gambles pay off handsomely, like Jim Butcher, Anne Bishop, Carol Berg, Rob Thurman, and many more. Roc proved to be a warm home for many Black Gate authors, including E.E. Knight, Devon Monk, and others.

There were many reasons to be a Roc fan over the decades. For me, they were simple. The editorial team had a profound and enduring appreciation for adventure fantasy, especially during the lean years when the market turned towards YA dystopias, paranormal romance, and other trendy niches. They loved a great series, and gave many quality series the time they needed to truly find an audience. The whole line had a distinct look, so much so that for 27 years you could tell a Roc Book at a glance.

The editors, authors, artists and packagers at Roc Books gave us countless hours of reading pleasure over the past quarter century. Penguin has decided to quietly retire the imprint, but there’s no reason we have to let them go without a worthy send-off. If you’ve got a favorite Roc title or two, I invite you to help us say farewell by giving them a shout-out in the comments.


Incendiary Conspiracy Theory Suggests Possible Collusion Between She-Ra: Princess of Power and Hordak

Monday, February 12th, 2018 | Posted by Nick Ozment

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The 1985 cartoon She-Ra: Princess of Power was a spin-off of He Man and the Masters of the Universe aimed at young girls. It ran for 2 seasons, 93 episodes, and was canceled in 1986. Both series were produced by Filmation in conjunction with toymaker Mattel.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS AN OFFSCREEN CONVERSATION FROM A SECRET RECORDING OF SOME OF THE SUPPORTING CAST. 

This is a partial transcript of video obtained from the memory files of one of Hordak’s captured Hover Robot spies. It has never been declassified or released on Etheria or Eternia, and we are publishing the audio transcript here at Black Gate at great personal risk, like the brave souls in the movie The Post. You’re welcome, people of planet Earth!

FLUTTERINA: “Well, since we’re dishing gossip, lemme tell you guys — totally off the record — lemme tell you what bothers me about this whole She-Ra charade. I saw her lift a whole lake once.”

LOO-KEE: “Huh?”

FLUTTERINA: “A whole lake. With the bedrock beneath it — like a bowl, ‘cuz you can’t just lift a body of water — and toss it like a mile through the air. A lake. That puts her at what power level? Like a hundred He-Mans? So why doesn’t she just stamp out The Horde?”

KOWL: [flaps his ear-wings and hovers excitedly] “Yeah! Every time she ‘defeats’ Hordak, she just lets him slip away. Sometimes she sees him off with a shake of her finger and a ‘Don’t you ever get up to this sort of mischief again’!”

FLUTTERINA: “It is kind of demented, isn’t it? Like she just likes toying with him, dragging out a cruel game for her own perverse pleasure.”

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