A Celebration of Classic British Horror: Gaslight, Ghosts & Ghouls by R. Chetwynd-Hayes, edited by Stephen Jones

Saturday, June 15th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Gaslight Ghosts & Ghouls-smallIn a May 30 Facebook post, Stephen Jones announced a major new career retrospective of British horror writer R. Chetwynd-Hayes, who died in 2001. Chetwynd-Hayes published early fiction in The Pan Book of Horror Stories in the sixties, and wrote the classic The Monster Club, the basis for the 1980 film starring Vincent Price and John Carradine.

Jones was Ron’s co-editor for two posthumous anthologies, Great Ghost Stories (2004) and Tales to Freeze the Blood: More Great Ghost Stories (2006). He also helped him compile several collections, and published Ron’s fiction in multiple anthologies. He’s the perfect man for the job of assembling a “Best of” survey of the five-decade career of one of the great names in 20th Century British horror. Here’s Stephen:

R. Chetwynd-Hayes… was one of the most important horror writers and editors working in Britain. Not only was he happy to write about such genre standards as ghosts, demons, ghouls, vampires and werewolves, but he also delighted in making up his own bizarre monster variations that managed to stretch the imaginations of both author and reader alike…

Ron published an impressive twenty-four collections of short fiction, twenty-four anthologies (including twelve volumes of the influential Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories series), thirteen novels and more than 220 short stories. His work was adapted for the movies, television, radio and comics, and reprinted in various languages around the world. One of his publishers described him as “Britain’s Prince of Chill”, and his volumes of ghost stories and humorous tales of terror once filled the shelves of nearly every public library in the UK…

With the centenary of his birth fast approaching this year, I decided that it was time to finally compile the “Best of” collection… as it was such a monumental occasion to be celebrated, we decided to go well beyond that — to create a volume that truly did justice to Ron’s work and his enduring legacy… Gaslight, Ghosts & Ghouls: A Centenary Celebration contains sixteen of Ron’s highly original tales of terror and the supernatural, which invariably combined horror and humour in equal measure, giving them a style that was uniquely the author’s own. These not only include a rare reprint of one of his novellas featuring “the world’s only practising psychic detective” Francis St. Clare and his vivacious assistant Frederica (“Fred”) Masters, but also two tales that have never been reprinted since their original publication, plus a vampire novella that is appearing in print for the very first time!

Gaslight, Ghosts & Ghouls: A Centenary Celebration also contains the longest interview with Ron ever published, conducted by Jo Fletcher and Jones, a detailed Bibliography, a full-color portfolio of covers by Les Edwards, rare photos, endpapers by John Bolton and Graham Humphreys, and a back cover painting by Walter Velez. It will be published by PS Publishing in three formats, including a jacketed hardcover, signed slipcase, and deluxe limited edition. The unsigned hardcover is offered at £25.00. It will premiere at FantasyCon in Glasgow, Scotland, October 18th–20th. The cover, “The Monsters Escape,” is by Les Edwards. Pre-order copies of the book here.


Help Hank Davis fill a Space Pirate Anthology

Sunday, June 9th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The-Pirates-of-Zan-Ace-Double Leinster-smallIt always pays to check in early and often with Hank Davis, the mad genius editor at Baen Books behind The Baen Big Book of Monsters and The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume 1. Here’s what he told me last month.

I was dorking around online, looking for stories and story ideas, and came across one of your Black Gate pages from way back in 2013, singing the praises of Leinster’s The Pirates of Ersatz/The Pirates of Zan, and bemoaning the dearth of space pirate novels. While I can’t do anything about the lack of space pirates in novel length, maybe the book will offset the lack.

Well, that certainly made me curious. When I asked him to elaborate, here’s what he said.

I’m going to be putting together an anthology of stories about space pirates, tentatively titled Cosmic Buccaneers, though that may change, and would appreciate suggestions from Black Gate readers of space pirate stories that have warmed the cockles of their heart. (Remind me to look up “cockle,” whatever that means.) Short stories preferred, though I could take a look at novelets — but probably can’t fit more than one or two in. And no novels, of course, even a great one like Murray Leinster’s great The Pirates of Ersatz/The Pirates of Zan.

And please no submissions of new stories. This is not a new story market and I’ll have to return any such submissions unread; sorry! And thanks for your help, and while the Internet Speculative Fiction Data Base is very helpful, please indicate where the story was pubbed or reprinted.

This is definitely good news for those of us who enjoy space pirate fiction (and really that’s everybody, right?).

He’s definitely come to the right place for ideas, anyway. If you’ve got a suggestion for a previously published space pirate story that belongs in the upcoming Cosmic Buccaneers, shout out in the comments and we’ll pass it along to Hank.

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The Golden Age of Science Fiction: On Wings of Song, by Thomas M. Disch

Friday, June 7th, 2019 | Posted by Steven H Silver

Cover by Malcolm Ashman

Cover by Malcolm Ashman

Cover by Michael Mariano

Cover by Michael Mariano

Cover by Lou Feck

Cover by Lou Feck

The Campbell Memorial Award, not to be confused with the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Author, was founded in 1973.  The award is a juried award and presented to the best SF novel published in the US. The award was founded by Harry Harrison in memory of the long-time editor of Astounding and Analog magazine. The first Campbell Memorial Award was presented to Barry N. Malzberg’s novel Beyond Apollo. The award is presented at the University of Kansas in Lawrence and over the years a weekend conference has grown up around the presentation of this award and the Sturgeon Award, which was founded in 1987 to honor short stories. In 1980, the award was presented on July 31.

Originally published from February through April in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Disch’s 1979 novel On Wings of Song takes place in a Balkanized United States, where Daniel Weinreb lives in an Iowa ruled by a conservative Christian movement which bans a variety of activities, including singing. After an ill-advised jaunt to Minneapolis to see a movie with a friend who disappears, Daniel finds himself harassed by his friend’s powerful father and eventually sent to a penal camp for a minor infraction.  While there, Daniel learns the secret of flying and its connection to singing. Freed from the prison camp, Daniel flees to New York to pursue a career as a singer and learn the art of flying, although his success leaves his idealism and hope in tatters.

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Vintage Treasures: The Weird Tales Anthologies

Monday, June 3rd, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Weird Tales Peter Haining-small More Weird Tales Peter Haining-small

Weird Tales and More Weird Tales (Sphere, 1978). Covers by Les Edwards

Weird Tales is unquestionably the most storied and respected American fantasy magazine. It first appeared in March 1923, and published its last issue in Spring 2014 — a nearly 91-year run. That’s impressive by any standard.

Of course, Weird Tales isn’t measured purely by its longevity. The three greatest pulp fantasy writers — Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith — did their most important work in its pages, and it also published classic fiction by Edmond Hamilton, C.L. Moore, Henry Kuttner, Algernon Blackwood, E. Hoffmann Price, Robert Bloch, Manly Wade Wellman, Seabury Quinn, Ray Bradbury, Fritz Leiber, Eric Frank Russell, Fredric Brown, Mary Elizabeth Counselman, Theodore Sturgeon, and hundreds of others. It remains the most collectible and desirable fantasy pulp, and individual issues sell for hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars.

There have been numerous anthologies and collections gathering much of the best work from Weird Tales over the years. Most were produced by Arkham House, the publishing house founded in 1939 by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei to preserve the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Arkham mined Weird Tales for decades, issuing many hardcover volumes, and in the process preserved the work of many fine writers. Many of their reprints are now highly collectible on their own, which doesn’t help those of us looking for an inexpensive introduction to the glories of Weird Tales.

Fortunately for folks like you and me, there are a number of affordable and highly readable books out there that can do the job. Here’s a dozen to get you started.

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IMHO: A Personal Look at Dystopian Fiction — Part One

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019 | Posted by Joe Bonadonna

George Orwell 1984-small George Orwell Animal Farm-small Brave New World Aldous Huxley-small

For the sake of this 2-part article, and not wanting to rely on memory alone, I’ve used a brief synopsis of each novel mentioned here, courtesy of Wikipedia.

I haven’t read a dystopian novel in decades. Why? First, because I’ve read enough of them and after a while I got burned out. Second, because I started to see the direction in which our governments and our world were and are heading. Reality intruded upon fiction, and such novels began to depress me, even if they ended on a happy, upbeat and optimistic note. I now read for escapism, to be entertained, or educated if I’m reading history or biographies.

During the Depression of the 1930s, and even through WWII, escapist entertainment was extremely popular, especially in films, because people wanted to forget, even for a few hours, what was happening in the real world. Today, in the Information Age, we are bombarded by both real and fake news, and by the landslide of dark, world events. And yet, dystopian fiction, in both literature and the cinema, are more popular now than ever. Is this the new escapist entertainment for the 21st century? Perhaps. Now, I don’t know what every writer and film maker had or has in mind, but I do know that in the past, authors always had a clear agenda: they were writing cautionary tales.

What I intend to do with the first part of this 2-part article is to introduce readers to early and perhaps all but forgotten dystopian novels that I’ve read. These are books I think should not be forgotten, books that are must-read novels. Part 2 will deal with more recent fiction, as well as an “incomplete/partial” list of films. So let’s begin, shall we?

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The Golden Age of Science Fiction: The 1973 Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist: Tim Kirk

Saturday, June 1st, 2019 | Posted by Rich Horton

Tim Kirk Phantoms and Fancies-small Tim Kirk CSA nyctalops-small Tim Kirk Under the Green Star-small

The Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist has been given since 1967. The first award went to Jack Gaughan, which should be a hint that it has often gone to people very well known for their professional artwork. (A similar statement applies to the winners for Best Fan Writer.) That said, these artists have all definitely done significant work in fannish publications.

Tim Kirk, another artist who has had a major professional career, was nominated for Best Fan Writer 8 times in the between 1969 and 1977, winning the Hugo in 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1976. It would be fair to say that for me, coming into contact with fandom in this period, my image of “fan art” was formed by Tim Kirk’s work, along with two more artists who won for their 1970s work, William Rotsler and Alexis A. Gilliland. (Not to slight the excellent Phil Foglio, but for whatever reason his art didn’t enter my consciousness until later. And Alicia Austin, four-time nominee and 1971 winner, was and is a favorite artist of mine, but for her professional work.)

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The Golden Age of Science Fiction: Don Maitz

Thursday, May 30th, 2019 | Posted by Steven H Silver

R. Bertram Chandler's The Far Traveler

R. Bertram Chandler’s The Far Traveler

C. J. Cherryh's Hestia

C. J. Cherryh’s Hestia

Jeff Rovin's Fantasy Almanac

Jeff Rovin’s Fantasy Almanac

The World Fantasy Awards are presented during the World Fantasy Convention and are selected by a mix of nominations from members of the convention and a panel of judges. The awards were established in 1975 and presented at the 1st World Fantasy Convention in Providence, Rhode Island. Traditionally, the awards took the form of a bust of H.P. Lovecraft sculpted by Gahan Wilson, however in recent years the trophy became controversial in light of Lovecraft’s more problematic beliefs. The Best Artist Award has been part of the award since its founding, when it was won by Lee Brown Coye. In 1980, the year Maitz received the award for his work, the convention was held in Baltimore, Maryland. The judges were Stephen R. Donaldson, Frank Belknap Long, andrew j. offutt, Ted White, and Susan Wood.

After graduating from the Paier School of Art in 1975, Don Maitz broke into the field with a black and white illustration for and ad that appeared in Marvel’s Kull and the Barbarians. In 1976, he provided the cover for the Science Fiction Book Club edition of Leigh Brackett’s The Book of Skaith: The Adventures of Eric Stark as well as books by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, and Lloyd Alexander.

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Vintage Treasures: Emergence by David R. Palmer

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Emergence David Palmer-small Emergence David Palmer-back-small

Cover by Jim Burns

The mid-80s were a good time to be a science fiction short story author. If you had a pair of popular tales in top-selling magazines like Analog or Asimov’s SF, that’s all it took to catapult you near the top of the field.

Take David R. Palmer, for example. His first published story, “Emergence,” was published in the January 1981 issue of Analog; it won the magazine’s Readers Choice awards, and was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novella. He followed it with his second (and last) short piece, the novella “Seeking,” in the February 1983 Analog, which also won the Analog award, and was nominated for both a Hugo and Locus Award for Best Novella. Palmer used the stories as the first two parts of his first novel Emergence (Bantam Spectra, 1984) and voila. He had a best seller.

Emergence made a major splash, especially for a first novel. It won the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, and was nominated for the Hugo, Locus, and Philip K. Dick Awards. The long-awaited sequel, Tracking, appeared 14 long years later. It was serialized in Analog magazine between the July and October issues, but has never been published in book form. In fact, other than a single follow up novel (Threshold, 1985), Palmer has never published another book — or short story, for that matter. Despite rumors over the years, he has yet to deliver on the astonishing promise of his first book.

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There’s a Lifetime of Reading in DAW Omnibus Volumes

Sunday, May 26th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The Initiate Brother Duology-small The Nightfall Duology-small Species Imperative-small

DAW Books was founded in 1971 by uber-editor Donald A. Wollheim after he left Ace Books. In the last five decades it’s published almost two thousand science fiction and fantasy novels (W. Michael Gear’s Pariah, released on May 14, is Daw Book #1823), and it has launched the careers of hundreds of writers, including C. J. Cherryh, Julie E. Czerneda, Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams, Kristen Britain, Melanie Rawn, Violette Malan, and Tanith Lee.

Right. So there’s lots of reasons to love DAW Books. But here’s another one you may not be aware of: it has a fascinating tradition of re-releasing much of its most popular SF and fantasy in compact and affordable paperback omnibus editions. In fact, of those 1800 DAW titles released since 1971, nearly a hundred are omnibus editions, many of which are still in print.

Hard to believe? I didn’t believe it myself until I found all three of the omnibus collections above in a recent trip to my local B&N and, after I brought them home, began to poke around to see just how many others were still available. I counted well over 50 without even trying. Here they are.

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A Tale of Two Covers: If This Goes On edited by Charles Nuetzel and Cat Rambo

Friday, May 24th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

If This Goes On Charles Nuetzel If This Goes On Cat Rambo-small

Art by Albert Nuetzell and Bernard Lee

If This Goes On seems like the perfect title for a science fiction anthology; I’m surprised it hasn’t been used more often. It was first used by Robert A. Heinlein for his 1940 famous novella, which became a key part of his massive science fiction Future History. The story won a Retro Hugo in 2016, but was renamed Revolt in 2100 for its publication as a novel in 1953. Charles Nuetzel co-opted the title 25 years after Heinlein used it for his first (and only) anthology, published in paperback in 1965, reprinting stories by Fredric Brown, Richard Matheson, A. E. van Vogt, Isaac Asimov, Fritz Leiber, Forrest J. Ackerman, and others (above left).

My recent interest springs, of course, from Cat Rambo’s brand new anthology If This Goes On (above right), funded by a June 2018 $12,000 Kickstarter campaign and published in trade paperback by our friends at Parvus Press in March. It contains 30 brand new SF tales by some of the most exciting writers in the field today, including Andy Duncan, Nisi Shawl, Sarah Pinsker, Scott Edelman, Beth Dawkins, and many more. Subtitled The Science Fiction Future of Today’s Politics, this ambitious anthology looks at what today’s politics and policies will do to shape our world a generation from now. Tales within include:

  • “Green Glass: A Love Story” by Lily Yu, Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominee, and winner of the 2012 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, filters the future of now through a wholly relatable lens: relationships and marriage.
  • Hugo-winning editor Scott Edelman’s “The Stranded Time Traveler Embraces the Inevitable” expertly employs an age-old science fiction convention to tell a deeply human tale of love, loss, and desperate hope.
  • Streaming our everyday lives has become commonplace, but in “Making Happy” Zandra Renwick examines a very uncommon consequence of broadcasting your every experience.
  • Former Minnesota Viking and noted equal rights advocate Chris Kluwe’s “The Machine” deals with one of the most important and hotly contested questions of the day: what truly defines citizenship and American identity?
  • Nebula winner Sarah Pinsker’s “That Our Flag Was Still There” uses possibly the most powerful symbol in American iconography to create a frightening and darkly illuminating vision of freedom of speech.
  • NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Literary Work Steven Barnes offers up the consequences of integrating technology and surveillance into our daily lives with his detective story “The Last Adventure of Jack Laff: The Dayveil Gambit”

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

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