Monthly Archives: February 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.

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.Sam-Moskowitz-Horrors-Unknown-small

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.

The story was published in the September 1935 issue of The Fantasy Magazine, edited by Julius Schwartz.  According to the notes in Horrors Unknown written by Sam Moskowitz, who edited the anthology,  the two stories titled “The Challenge From Beyond” were written in honor of The Fantasy Magazine‘s third anniversary issue.

The science fiction story was written by Stanley G. Weinbaum, Donald Wandrei, Edward E. Smith, Harl Vincent, and Murray Leinster.  I’ve not read it, nor, as I said above, have a copy of it.  As a set, the reputations of the fantasy authors have fared better than those of the science fiction writers.

C. L. Moore

C. L. Moore

C. L. Moore opens the story by putting geologist George Campbell on a camping trip.  Awakened by a varmit getting into his supplies, he’s about to throw a stone he picked up in the dark at the animal.  He stops when realizes that what he holds in his hand isn’t a normal stone.  Shining his flashlight upon it, he discovers it’s a crystal cube.  It’s extremely old, with the corners almost rounded.  Inside is a small plate with some type of writing on it that seems to briefly glow after he turns off his flashlight. He’s fascinated and speculates on the origin of such an artifact.  He decides to wait until morning to examine the object more closely.

A. Merritt takes up the next section of the story.  Of all the authors who participated in this project, Merritt is the one whose name is most likely to be unfamiliar to contemporary readers.  The irony is that at the time this story was written he was the most well known, the biggest name if you will.  Recently Black Gate editor John O’Neill mentioned he had obtained a copy of Merritt’s only short story collection, The Fox Woman, and said he intended to review it at some point.  I’ve got a copy on my shelf. Maybe I can beat him to it.  (Not likely, given my time constraints.)

Abraham Merritt

Abraham Merritt

Anyway, Merritt picks up the story with Campbell, not being able to get back to sleep, deciding to investigate the crystal with his flashlight.  The thing does seem to glow briefly after he shines his light on it.  He plays around with the crystal and his light, and suddenly he finds himself being pulled into the crystal.  Merritt’s portion of the story ends with Campbell being sucked across the void.  Merritt leaves it up to H. P. Lovecraft to tell the reader where he’ll end up.

Of the writers involved in this story, H. P. Lovecraft has grown the most in reputation, although Howard is seeing a resurgence.  Lovecraft’s portion of the story is by far the longest.  All of the other writers’ contributions are between two and three pages.  Lovecraft’s is over seven.  Much of it is an info dump describing a race of beings in another galaxy or universe (Lovecraft appears to use the words interchangeably).  They resemble giant worm or catepillars, and early in their history they discover the means of space travel.  They use this ability to conquer any races they encounter.


H. P. Lovecraft

Their method is to send small crystals into the void, programmed to activate when they land on planets.  Any life form which picks up the cube finds itself transported to the home world of the worms, while a member of that race is transported into the body of the life form.  The imposter poses as a member of whichever species it has switched bodies with.  Some species the worms destroy, some they simply take over the bodies.  Of course, Lovecraft adds a great deal of pseudohistorical gobbledygook about occult theories from human history and such.

Lovecraft ends his portion of the story with Campbell discovering he inhabits the body of one of the worms, which Lovecraft is now describing as a centipede.


Robert E. Howard

If Lovecraft essentially inserted a Lovecraft story into the tale, Robert E. Howard did the same with his portion.  Campbell decides that the pleasures of humanity have bored him.  He wants to live a life filled with new sensations.  So he does what any Howard hero would do.  He grabs a sharp instrument which the scientist in the room with him only thinks of as a scientific instrument, not a weapon, kills the scientist, and goes on a rampage.

The god worshipped by these worms/caterpillars/centipedes/whatever is a sphere.  Campbell locates the room where the god is held, kills the priests, and holds the god captive until he’s made emperor.

And so it falls to Frank Belknap Long to resolve the story.  He takes an interesting approach.  Alternating paragraphs, he tells how the worm inhabiting Campbell’s body dies (It seems nothing can control the animal urges of a human being except a human being) and how Campbell, with the god’s aid, rules the world as a benevolent dictator.

Frank Belknanp Long

Frank Belknap Long

As a story, “The Challenge From Beyond” doesn’t work especially well.  Moore and Merritt’s portions fit together rather seamlessly.  The problem comes in with Lovecraft and Howard.  Each takes the story in an entirely different direction.  Not that there’s anything wrong with this in principle, but it can be rather jarring.  Especially if the character of the protagonist seems to change.  Howard’s portrayal of Campbell seems at odds to that presented by Moore and Merritt.

Lovecraft really doesn’t do much with Campbell, instead using his portion of the story as an infodump.  Campbell learns the history Lovecraft presents by absorbing it from the brain of the body he finds himself inhabiting.  The only real problem I have with Lovecraft’s portion is the length.  I think he could have left out some of his material and still had a strong, if not stronger, contribution.

I suspect the contributions of Lovecraft and Howard seem a little jarring to me because both writers had such strong personalities and distinct visions and authorial voices.  When writing alone these qualities are assets.  In collaboration, they can cause problems.  Still part of the fun of this type of writing is to try to leave an impossible situation for the next guy to try to resolve.

Long does a good job of tying everything together except that after Campbell has gone on a killing rampage, I find him being a good and benevolent ruler a little hard to swallow.  I will say that Long’s prose is strong.

Overall, this isn’t the greatest or best work of any of these authors.  That’s not surprising since Moore and Merritt don’t write enough to really establish a story, and Lovecraft, Howard, and Long have to deal with what the other have left them.  Still, this is a fun piece, and while definitely a product of its time, a small gem simply for who the contributors are.

“The Challenge From Beyond” is currently available in Adventures in Science Fantasy by Robert E. Howard and published by the Robert E. Howard Foundation Press.

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 andhere.)  There will be spoilers, as well.  You’ve been doubly warned.

When the story opens, Smith is wandering through the Lakkmanda Market on Mars.  The name has a decidedly Leigh Brackett feel to it.  “Scarlet Dream” was published in 1934, predating Brackett’s Mars by a few years, but still I can’t help wondering if Brackett was influenced a bit by the name.

Smith spies a shawl with an intricate pattern consisting of a scarlet thread woven in a blue and green background.  The Martian vendor displaying tells Smith the thing gives him a headache, and he sells it to Smith for a good price.

After he returns to his quarters, Smith tries to trace the pattern on the shawl, gives up, covers himself with it, and goes to sleep.  Sometime in the night he begins dreaming that he’s walking up a mist enshrouded stair.  He soon loses sight of the bottom.

Eventually he is nearly run over by a young girl with long orange hair, wearing a short shift, and covered in blood.  She babbles something about some type of monster killing her sister.  Smith manages to calm her enough to carry her to the top of the stairs.  Once there he takes her into a side room, sets her on a stone bench, and gets a little more explanation from her.

The girl, who is never named, tells Smith that he’s dreaming but that he’s entered a dream world that can only be exited by death or by a fate worse than dying.  Most of Smith’s questions are answered along the lines of “We find it best not to think/ask/do that.”  This includes trying to leave or learn new things.  Indeed, it’s only when Smith eventually decides to leave that the monster shows up and attacks him.  But that comes later.

One of the things she tells him is that no one has ever gone down the stairs he came up.  She only went down the stairs in a panic.  Why Smith doesn’t at some point try to retrace his steps is never explained.  But if he did, then there would be no story.

Smith and the girl are in giant temple, and she leads him outside to a lake and a small shrine containing two cots, two blankets, and a few clothes.  It’s completely open to the air, but since the temperature never changes, that’s not a problem.

The trees seem to bend towards them, and the grass certainly does.  Smith eventually learns that if a person stands barefoot in the grass for long, it will begin sucking blood through the feet.  The trees are implied to be flesh eating.

Smith sits with the girl beside the lake, drifts off, and comes to as night is falling.  Moore implies that at this point Smith engages the girl in sex.  Regular sex between them is implied, with the word “kiss” and its variations being a euphemism for more than a kiss.  In spite of the raciness of the covers Farnsworth Wright selected for Weird Tales, the contents tended to be squeaky clean.  One of Robert E. Howard’s early Conan stories was rejected because Wright felt Conan took too many liberties with a young lady.  (My opinion of that can be found here.)

Where Moore engages in some serious sexual imagery is when the girl shows Smith the only source of food.  She takes him to a hall in the temple in which there are people “eating”.  That there are other people present is mentioned more than once, but this is the only time we see them.  Smith has no interaction with them.  In fact, they’re only mentioned in a few sentences, basically as backdrop.

The way people eat is they kneel before spigots in the wall, spigots that curve upwards.  What they drink from the spigots is blood, with the hint that it contains some addictive substance.  Once Smith realizes what he’s drinking, he’s repulsed but finds himself returning the next day.  Moore goes into details describing how pleasant and yet repulsive feeding is, dwelling on the taste.

Now I don’t know what mental picture you get, but what comes to my mind now is the same thing that came to mind when I was 15.  Fellatio, although I had not encountered that word at the time.  It’s hard to escape that image.  The posture of kneeling, along with Moore deliberately stating that the spigots curve upward from the wall, leave little room for any other conclusion.  What I have to wonder is what Wright thought about this imagery, or if he even noticed it.  I doubt we’ll ever know.  Smith comes to enjoy the feeding more than the girl, although he never completely overcomes his revulsion of it.

Smith eventually spies mountains through the surrounding mist, attempts to leave, is attacked by the monster, and drives it off with his blaster.  It’s at this point that the girl tells Smith she would rather lose him to the fate worse than death than through death at the hand of the monster.  She helps him get home, although he doesn’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late.

Smith awakens to find his partner Yarol and a doctor leaning over him.  Smith has been in a coma for a week.  Seems Smith can’t be left alone to wander about on Mars without getting into trouble.  Yarol gave the shawl away while Smith was out.  The pattern was giving him a headache.

This is the third Northwest Smith story, and other than “Shambleau”, it’s the one that has stuck out the most in my mind since I first read the series nearly 30 years ago.  Again, I’m struck by how graphic the sexual imagery is in these stories.  If my parents had known what I was reading….

Moore seems to have a theme of vampirism going as well.  In the first story, the vampire fed on life essence, in the second beauty, and now the grass actually drinks blood.

I’m going to continue this series.  The post on “Black Thirst” is in the top 10 most viewed posts I’ve done.  Stay tuned.  There’s more to come.  Or should that be Moore to come?

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. Continue reading

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:

The first story is “Dusts of War” from Ben Godby.  This is a morally murky tale that is more than what it first appears.  The story opens with a peddler coming to an idyllic town at the foothills of a mountain range on a dusty summer day.  There’s a war on, but for the most part the war hasn’t had a huge effect locally.  Some food shortages, some able-bodied young men marching away to fight, but no combat in the area.

At first it seems that the story is about a traveling peddler stopping in a sleepy, poor, but idyllic little village.  But there’s more to the peddler than appears.  He’s on a mission, a mission that’s related to the war.

Forgive me if I indulge in minor spoilers.  The peddler is there to find a man, a man he’ll know because another man in a red cloak will speak with him.  He’s given this information by a farmer who palms him a note and then isn’t seen again.  The problem arises when the red cloaked man finally arrives speaks with two men at once.  The peddler isn’t sure which man is the one he’s looking for.

There are some powerful scenes in this story and places where the prose borders on the lyrical.  But much of the power of the tale comes from what we aren’t told rather than what we are told.  What is the war about, and who is fighting?  Which side is the peddler on?  Is he operating behind enemy lines or is he working covertly behind his own?  Who is the man the peddler is looking for?  Why is he looking for him?  What is the significance of the man in the red cloak?

None of these questions are ever answered, and some are barely hinted at.  The result is a morally ambiguous scenario where the reader isn’t sure who to root for.  The peddler is initially presented as a sympathetic fellow, but as the story progresses, he does things that are increasingly questionable.

All in all, a fine example of the less is more school of fiction.

Following this one up is “Shadows and Hellfire“.  This is the third story author R. Michael Burns has had in HFQ featuring his samurai Hokage’.  In this particular tale, Hokage’ decides he’s tired of being haunted by the ghosts of those he’s killed with his sword Demon-Fang.  He decides to get rid of it, and the only way to do that is to take it back to Hell.  The problem is that no one has entered the realms of the dead and returned.  At least not alive. 

Hokage’ isn’t worried about that.  He’s at the point where death would be a relief.  The problem is that to get rid of the sword, assuming he actually can in the first place, is that there are others who would like to take it from him.

This was a solid piece of Japanese fantasy, and well worth reading.

The final story is from David Charlton, “Kingdom of Graves“.  A plague is sweeping across the land, and the half-orc Rakhar is making a decent living traveling around burying the dead.  At least it’s a decent living by his standards.  It keeps him in drink.

Rakhar is hire by a dwarf to hunt down a local lord who abandoned his daughter to the plague and fled.  The lord had caught the dwarf diddling his daughter, and the dwarf has a soft spot for her in his heart.  He wants revenge, not so much for himself as for her.  What he and Rakhar find turns out to be something out of their worst nightmares.

This one reminded me of Tolkien in the names of some of the elf-like beings called Lornael.  I’m not a big fan of the type of fantasy that mixes a large number of races together in imitation of Tolkien.  Most authors, even good ones, can’t pull it off the way Tolkien did.  Charlton does a better job of it than most, but it doesn’t seem to me that he’s trying to imitate Tolkien so much as follow his example.  There’s history and backstory throughout the tale that gives the milieu some depth, making it more than a paint by numbers piece of fiction. 

This one didn’t have an entirely happy ending, but neither was it a downer.  The balance of happy and sad, for lack of better terms, made the conclusion more satisfying.  I can see how Charlton might revisit his heroes.  They make an interesting pair and have series potential.

I don’t typically discuss the poetry in HFQ at any length, primarily because the poems tend to be rather short.  Rather than write a review longer than the piece itself (I’ll leave that for the lit-crit folks), I’ll just give my impressions.

First, “Yashub-Geb” by James Hutchings.  I especially liked this one.  The rhyme and meter worked well.  Good poetry doesn’t read like it was written by Dr. Suess.  (Don’t get me wrong, I love Dr. Seuss; I just don’t read him for his poetics.)  This was written in the style I first encountered in high school English class.  I’ve reviewed Hutchings before, and this poem only reaffirmed my opinion of him.

The second poem is Lorna Smithers‘ “The Bull of Conflict“.   Smithers runs a poetry blog, and this poem is even better constructed than the Hutchings poem.  It practically sings.  Not surprising since Smithers is into bardic poetry.

So, all in all, a mighty fine issue.  High quality fiction, high quality poetry.  Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is one of the top sources of sword and sorcery and adventure fiction out there.  Read this issue and see why.

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.

Sour grape the first:  Back in late December I download a review copy of a forthcoming fantasy novel from Net Galley.  This is an online clearing house where publishers post novels for reviewers.  Request of a book is not an automatic guarantee of receiving a copy.  Anyway, life happened (more than once), and I didn’t get to the book until Saturday.  For one thing, it was more of a doorstopper than I thought it would be. I waited until I thought I would have the time to get through without taking a month and wiping out my other review commitments.  I just did that with a shorter book, and let me tell you, it tended to kill a lot of the joy of the book.  This particular novel came out at the end of January, and I wanted to get the review up since my original plan was to post the review on the release date.  When tried to access the book, I received a message saying the lending period of the book had expired.

Excuse me?  What lending period?  I don’t recall anything about a lending period when I requested a review copy of the book.  If I had been provided a paper review copy, I don’t think I would have been asked to return it after a certain amount of time had passed.  And what if I hadn’t finished the book when the lending period ended?  I guess I would have been out of luck. 

Personally, I find this rather insulting.  The assumption seems to be that I might give the book to someone else who wouldn’t pay the publisher.  For the record:  I have never given away or copied or allowed to be copied an electronic review copy.  Nor have I done the same with any paper review copies, although in the interest of space limitations, I may clear some out once the books go out print.

This is a publisher I had intend to read more from.  I still intend to read this particular novel.  It looks quite interesting.  But I’ll be buying it in a second hand store.  The same way I’ll be buying all the other books I read from this particular publisher from now on.  Which probably won’t be many. 

Sour grape the second:  I got a coupon via email from B&N for 20% off (that’s an additional 20%, in addition to my member discount) last week and used it on Friday.  It was a special Valentine’s Day promotion.  Sunday morning I got another coupon, same thing as the first, an additional 20% off, only this was a President’s Day promotion.  Both coupons expired today.

There’s a publisher who prices ebooks as the same price as mass market paperbacks.  Now I don’t think a publisher should necessarily make their ebooks dirt cheap, but considering ebooks don’t involve certain costs that print books do such as printing, shipping, warehousing, and returns, I don’t think ebooks should be the same price as a paper copy.  A dollar or two less should be reasonable.

I decided to use this second coupon to buy a fantasy novel from this publisher which got a lot of buzz last year.  It’s the sort of thing that would be perfect to review here.  (I could have used the coupon on the novel I talked about in sour grape the first, but I’m serious about waiting for a second hand copy.) 

Anyway, when I got to the register, it seems that this coupon had already been used.  It was the same one I used on Friday.  Seems the Valentine’s promotion and the President’s Day promotion were one and the same.  It would have been nice if B&N had made that distinction. 

And not sent me the same coupon again after I’d already used it.  It shouldn’t be that hard to program a computer to check and see if a coupon has been used and not send a second one.  But there are a lot of things it shouldn’t be hard to get a computer to do that trad pub can’t seem to figure out.

I didn’t buy the book at Barnes and Noble, in case you’re wondering.  Might order it from Amazon, though.  If I don’t get it second hand, that is.

These are two examples of what I consider stupid decisions in the publishing and bookselling world.  When this kind of disrespect is shown to customers and reviewers, it’s hard for me to feel sorry for traditional publishing and chain bookstores. 

Thank God there are lot’s of good indie writers out there.


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.

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. Continue reading

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.