Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What I've Been Up to at My Other Blogging Gig

I thought I'd list the posts I've done over at the Amazing Stories (TM) blog.  I'll probably do this every month or two in case something I've done there catches your eye.

I started out with "Opening Salvo" and "What I Mean When I Say", both of which were intended to set the tone and the focus.  The former states I'll be reviewing indie published and small press books, while the latter defined what I mean by terms like "indie published" and "self published".

Then I started in on reviews.  The first, "Five Military SF Novellas by Five Authors" was a review of a project Kevin J. Anderson put together, Five by Five.  I followed it up by a review of Space Eldritch, "Dead Cosmonauts and Other Eldritch Horrors."

"Frogs in Aspic, Like a Box of Chocolates" was a review of the short story collection, Frogs in Aspic by Keith P. Graham.  Graham was an author I'd not read before this book.  I looked at a sword and sorcery novel next, Morticai's Luck, in "Swashbuckling with Morticai".

The two most recent posts both concerned Joshua P. Simon, whose work I've reviewed on this site, here and here.  "Three Military Fantasy Shorts" examined three shorter works that fill in some of the backstory in Simon's Blood and Tears Trilogy.  Then, I followed the review up this week with "An Interview with Indie Author Joshua P. Simon", which is just what it says it is.  I ask Mr. Simon a number of questions involving his work, how he got started writing, and what it's like to be an indie author.

I'm tending to focus more on science fiction, since Amazing Stories started out as a science fiction magazine, but as you can see, I've included a number of fantasies. 

Check out what's going on at Amazing Stories.  There's a lot of great content being put up every day, and I'm not saying that because my name is on some of it.  I've gotten behind, so when spring break rolls around in a couple of weeks, I'm going to be playing catch-up.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Famous Fantasy Writers in a Five-Way

Uh, story that is.  A five-way story.

Get your minds out the gutter.  This isn't that kind of blog.  It's suitable for the whole family.  Yesterday's post not withstanding.

And you guys in the back knock off the giggling.  Geez, what I put up with.

Anyway, the story I'm talking about is "The Challenge from Beyond", the fantasy version.  I don't have a copy of the science fiction version, which is long out of print.

I first read this story when I was in high school.  I was 14 when I discovered C. L. Moore, so I couldn't have been any younger than that, but I doubt I was older than 15.  I found a beat up copy of the anthology Horrors Unkown at a yard sale and picked it up primarily on the strength of a couple of early Ray Bradbury stories I'd never heard of.

Everything else was just bonus, including a Northwest Smith story by C. L. Moore, "Werewoman", which I'll discuss in my series on Northwest Smith.

The lead story in the anthology was a round robin fantasy, "The Challenge From Beyond", in which C. L. Moore, A. Merritt, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Frank Belknap Long each wrote a chapter.  I'll discuss it with spoilers below.

Blogging Northwest Smith: Scarlet Dream

"Scarlet Dream"
C. L. Moore

This post contains content of an adult nature and is not suitable for younger readers.  You have been warned.

"Scarlet Dream" is the third Northwest Smith story.  In terms of sexually charged imagery, it's the most explicit of the ones so far, hence the warning above.  (My discussions of "Shambleau" and "Black Thirst" can be found here and here.)  There will be spoilers, as well.  You've been doubly warned.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Return of Cora Oglesby

She Returns from War
Lee Collins
Angry Robot Books
UK Print
ISBN: 9780857662743
Format: Medium Paperback
R.R.P.: £8.99
US/CAN Print
ISBN: 9780857662750
Format: Regular Paperback
R.R.P.: US$7.99 CAN$8.99
ISBN: 9780857662767
Format: Epub & Mobi
R.R.P.: £5.49 / US$6.99

You might recall from my review that I loved The Dead of Winter, the novel that introduced monster hunter Cora Oglesby.  It was an action packed weird western with a number of supernatural menaces, not the least were some vampires that most decidedly did not glitter.

Well, Cora Oglesby is back.  That in and of itself is a good thing.  This is Collins' second novel, and it's going to be subject to the scrutiny most second novels get:  Is it as good as its predecessor, or is the author a one trick pony?

I can say for sure that Lee Collins is not a one trick pony.  But is She Returns from War as good as The Dead of Winter?  That's a tricky question to answer, and it's tricky precisely for the reason that Collins isn't a one trick pony.  Allow me to explain.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Sets a High Bar for Quality

The latest issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly has been out for a while, and I've been meaning to get to it for a few weeks now.  I finally managed to carve out some time, and I'm glad I did.  This is one of the strongest issues I've seen from this publication, maybe the strongest.  The stories selected certainly set a high bar for quality.

There are three stories and two poems in this issue.  Here's what you find:

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Taste of Sour Grapes

I'm gonna bitch now.  You've been warned.

I have a point to all this, but still, this is mostly going to be a sour grapes kind of post.  I thought I'd let you know in case you aren't in the mood.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Gad, what a week.  We're still trying to figure out if a student sent a stand-in to lab, or if he drove halfway across the state after a death in the family, returned for lab, and then drove back for the funeral.  Whoever showed up for lab was cheating big time.  And the student this person was claiming to be is in hot water.

Anyway, it's turning into one of those years.  I'm managing to keep up with my deadlines at Amazing Stories, but it's getting a little tight.  I think I can pull ahead over the next week.  Deadlines at work, on the other hand, not so much.

I've not been posting much because I'm trying to finish a story by tomorrow.  That's the deadline for submissions.  Things should pick up here by early next week. 

Due to financial constraints and family politics, I won't be attending ConDFW this weekend.  (I don't wanna talk about it.)  The North Texas Irish Festival and Scarborough Renaissance Fair aren't looking too promising, either.  (Ditto.)

For some reason, my thoughts keep drifting back to cons I attended in the 90s.  There seemed to be more commonality among folks.  We tended to enjoy many of the same books and shows.  There was a greater sense of community.  Now it's like I don't have a clue what people are talking about anymore.  I suspect my time constraints have tightened more than fandom has changed so that I'm not able to keep up with as many movies and shows.  Living in an area where things were only an hour or two away at most, rather than a minimum of five hours, made a difference, too.

Maybe I'm getting old and tired, but some of the fun and sense of wonder seem to be missing.  Probably nothing a good week's sleep won't cure.  Anyway, this is a glimpse of what's been going on inside my head lately.  Hasn't been a lot of fun.  Since misery loves company, I thought I'd share my life as a crotchety old geezer.

Now you kids get off my lawn.

UPDATE:  I finished the story and just sent it off.  It's part of a S&S series I'm calling the Chronicles of Rodrik and Prince Balthar.  It's the fourth one I've finished.  There are three more in various stages of completion.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Margaret Brundage in the Atlantic

There's a nice write-up on Margaret Brundage over at the online home of The Atlantic.  In addition to showing scans of half a dozen Weird Tales covers, there's some biographical information and a link to a forthcoming biography

If you're a Brundage fan, check it out.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

This Femme is Quite Fatale

Bill Pronzini
Cemetery Dance
175 p.
trade hardcover $19.99
signed limited edition hardcover $50
deluxe traycased and lettered edition $175

One of my favorite subgenres, and probably the one I read the least since I started this blog, is that of the private eye.  And one of the top practitioners of the form is Bill Pronzini.  His Nameless Detective series has been going since the 70s, with new entries still being added.

The most recent is the novella Femme, published this past fall by Cemetery Dance along with a reprint of another Nameless novella, Kinsmen.  They were separate volumes, but Cemetery Dance had a preorder special.  I snatched them both up.  (The trade editions, but even without the signatures, they were a good buy and look great on the shelf.)

Both feature top notch covers by Glen Orbik; more on that shortly.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Perils on Planet X Premieres

If you like Sword and Planet, and who doesn't, then you'll want to check out Perils on Planet X. It's a weekly web comic written by Christopher Mills and drawn by Gene Gonzales.  The first page went live a little while ago.  This one looks like it's going to be a great deal of fun, and I find the clean lines of the art especially appealing.  I mean the promo art shows not one but two lovely ladies with swords.  It's got to be good.

Today's post gives the setup, so I'll let you read it there rather than recap it here.  But do check it out. 

I'll close with best wishes to Mills and Gonzales for a successful run on this comic.