Friday, March 30, 2012

More Science Fantasy at Beneath Ceaseless Skies

I've been swamped lately between dayjobbery and trying to finish a novel for review at Futures Past and Present, which is why I've not posted anything for almost a week.  The current issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies went out to subscribers nearly two weeks ago and live on the web a few days after that; I finished reading the stories last weekend.  It's late Friday night and I'm just now getting time to sit down and write it.

Not that you want to hear about my chronological issues.  You want to know if the current issue is worth reading.  The answer is, of course.  The real question is, what are the stories about and how do they compare with the previous issue, which kicked off the science fantasy month?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Little Something for the Discerning Steampunk Gentleman (or Lady)

Gearheart's Steam-punk Glamor Revue
Antarctic Press Entertainment

Okay, I know this isn't the usual thing I feature here, but a little variety never hurts.  I met the editor Guy Clayton Brownlee and associate editor Patricia Ash at ConDFW, where they had a copy of the first issue.  I was impressed the production values; this publication was clearly a labor of love.  Patricia Ash was kind enough to send me copies of the first two issues.

What Gearheart's Steam-punk Glamor Revue is about is beauty, whether that beauty is the female form, well-designed costumes, or colorful art.  Just for the record, it isn't porn.  The raciest the photos get is cleavage and/or thigh.  Each of the first two issues contains a piece of original short fiction as well.  The ladies in the photos aren't professional models.  Rather they are steampunk aficionados who made their own costumes.  In keeping with steampunk culture, the magazine is, as stated in the editorial of the first issue, hands-on and do-it-yourself.

Here's what the first two issues contain.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Announcing the Human Wave

If you're tired of fantasy and/or science fiction that has no story, tries to shove a political or philosophical viewpoint down your throat, seeks to improve you, or engages in literary navel gazing, well, pardner, you're not alone.  If you've read many of my posts here, especially the (for lack of a better word) editorials, you know I don't care much for that sort of thing either.

It seems neither does science fiction and fantasy author Sarah A. Hoyt.  Yesterday she issued a manifesto for a new movement within the genre that she calls the Human Wave.  Today she followed that post up with this one, in which she laid out the characteristics of what makes an individual a Human Wave reader/writer.  In short, she defines Human Wave fiction as fiction that is concerned with story, you know, that plot, character, something-happens, beginning-middle-end thing.  If this is the sort of fiction you like, check out what Sarah has to say.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Online Magazine: Swords and Sorcery

I don't remember now how I became aware of it, but there's a new online fantasy magazine entitled Swords and Sorcery.  It's a monthly, and the March issue is the second issue.  I read the two stories in it last night.  Here's my overall impression.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tales of the Emerald Serpent Launced on Kickstarter

I came across something a few minutes ago I wanted to pass along.  Scott Taylor has launched a new project on Kickstarter.  It's called Tales of the Emerald Serpent.  It's a shared world anthology with a couple of my favorite writers signed on, as well as some I've heard good things about and have been intending to try.  The authors are Lynn Flewelling, Harry Connolly, Juliet McKenna, Martha Wells, Robert Mancebo, Julie Czerneda, Todd Lockwood, and Michael Tousignant. This will be an illustrated anthology, with Todd Lockwood, Jeff Laubenstein, and Janet Aulisio providing the art.  If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, then please click on the link above, read the description, and watch the introductory video.

Even if you don't support this project, you might want to consider supporting other projects on Kickstarter.  Several fantasy authors and game producers have recently posted projects on the site.  This seems like a good way for niche audiences to find things they like that major publishers would never do.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Odds and Ends

I thought I'd pass along a few items of interest that have come across my computer screen in the last couple of days.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Science Fantasy Emphasis at Beneath Ceaseless Skies

If you check out the current issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies and happen to be paying attention, you might notice references being made to Science-Fantasy Month.  This in my opinion is a good thing since science-fantasy is one of the subgenres we don't see much of these days.  And since BCS is published every two weeks, and this is the first issue of March, there should be another issue with this emphasis next week.  So how does this issue hold up?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What I Thought of John Carter

Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris
Yeah, I know the movie is entitled John Carter, not Dejah Thoris, but I'd rather look at Lynn Collins than Taylor Kitsch. Besides, in many ways she's the central figure of the film.

This review is going to be a little different than some of the ones I've posted. Confession time:  As much science fiction and fantasy as I've read over the past [ NUMBER DELETED] decades, I've never actually gotten around to Burroughs until now.  (Please don't judge me.)  Every time I've intended to, something has disrupted my reading schedule.  Which is not to say that I'm not familiar with the basics of at least some of his work.  I just don't have a strong working knowledge of the details.  I'm about one-third of the way through A Princess of Mars right now, and I will definitely read the other books in the series.  So I won't discuss where the film deviates from the written work; there are plenty of people more knowledgeable than me to do that. Start with Ryan Harvey's review.  Instead, what I'm going to do is approach the film from the perspective of someone who would be a member of the general public rather than a fan.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mastering the Shadows

Shadow's Master
Jon Sprunk
Pyr Books
trade paper, 313 pp., $17.95

Jon Sprunk is a relative newcomer to the fantasy field, this being only his third novel, the conclusion to a trilogy.  And a right satisfying conclusion it is, at that.  The story that was begun in Shadow's Son (reviewed here) and continued in Shadow's Lure (reviewed here) wraps up in Shadow's Master.  This one is darker, bloodier, and better than its predecessors.

While I won't give any spoilers to the present book, I might let a few slip from the previous volumes.  Just giving you notice. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Photos of Robert E. Howard Discovered

In a wonderful and surprising piece of news, Patrice Louinet has discovered 3 unknown photos of Robert E. Howard.  For the full story and a peek at the first one to be released, check out the latest post at Damon Sasser's REH Two Gun Raconteur

Sunday, March 4, 2012

RIP Ralph McQuarrie

I've been traveling this weekend, so I just heard the news when I got home and logged in to the computer.  Ralph McQuarrie has passed away.  He was most famous for his work on Stars Wars, but I think my favorite work of his was the set of illustrations for Isaac Asimov's Robot Dreams, back in the 1980s.  He will be missed.  Rest well, Ralph, and peaceful dreams.