Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Raksura Return

Stories of the RaksuraStories of the Raksura, Volume 1
Martha Wells
Night Shade Books
trade paper, $15.99
ebook Kindle $9.99 Nook $7.49

Have you ever had one of those books that took you forever to read?  Not because the book isn’t interesting, but every single time you try to read it, you can’t get more than a few pages further along before something interrupts you.

That was my experience with this book.  It seemed the Fates were conspiring to thwart me every time I picked the book up.  But I persevered.

And I can say it was nice to revisit this world.  I would also like to thank Lauren Burstein of Night Shade Books for the review copy.  There are two novellas and two short stories here plus a couple of appendices.  Here’s what you get. Continue reading

RIP Judy Crider

Bill Crider is reporting that his wife Judy passed away earlier today from cancer.  Judy usually accompanied Bill to conventions, and I don’t recall ever seeing him at one where she wasn’t with him.  She was a quiet and gracious lady who was well loved by all who knew her.  I didn’t know her well, but I always enjoyed being in any group of which she was a member.  When she spoke, her comments were always insightful.  Judy had been battling cancer for a number of years, and I always admired the courage she and Bill displayed when I saw them.  She will be missed very much.

My condolences to Bill and his family; they will be in my prayers.

Happy Thanksgiving

armed turkey I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.  May it be full of fun, food, family, and joy.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more aware of the role of gratitude in my life, and particularly my need for it.  When I focus on what I have and on God’s blessings, I find it easier to have a balanced outlook.  When I look at things through a lens of thankfulness, I have a better perspective on the small irritations and disappointments.

Some of the things I’m thankful for:

My family.


The readers of this blog and the friendships I’ve made through it.

That I live in the greatest country in the history of the world.

The freedoms that come with living in the US.



turkeys could fly

For those who aren’t old enough to remember, here’s the clip of the classic episode of WKRP in Cincinnati the above image is from:


An Open Letter to the AAS

So with the holidays coming up, my reading list – We interrupt this blog post for the following public service message:

Earlier this month, the Rosetta mission made history by landing a probe on a comet.  This is slightly more difficult than playing a video game, in case you were wondering.

t 2Dr. Matt Taylor was the spokesperson spokesman for the ESA, the organization which accomplished this feat.  He wore a shirt which caused some people to get knots in their knickers.  I discussed this at the end of my review of Interstellar.  I’d hoped we’d heard the last of this because the stupid, it burns.

Then the AAS (American Astronomical Society) issued a statement.  Let’s look at it in detail, shall we? Continue reading

Dark Screams is Something to Scream About

Dark Screams v1Dark Screams Vol. 1
Brain James Freeman and Richard Chizmar, ed.
ebook only, $2.99
publication date December 9, 2014 preorder

I’d like to start off this review by thanking Brian James Freeman and Hydra/Random House for the review copy of Dark Screams Vol. 1. I had originally intended to review the book closer to the release date. I finished the first story while waiting for my son to get back from All Region Band tryouts and kept going. It turned out there were almost twice as many students trying out than were expected, so after 2 1/2 hours of waiting past the time they were supposed to be back, I had finished the book. I decided to write and post the review while the stories were fresh on my mind.

As you can tell from the title, this is the inaugural volume in a series.  There are currently five volumes planned, with more to come if sales and reader response are positive.

If the first volume is any indication, this should be a long-running series.  The editors have stated that each volume will have a variety of different types of horror from some of the top names in the business. Continue reading

Hot Lead, Cold Iron: The Best of Two Genres

Hot-Lead-Cold-Iron_cvr_frnt1-e1397613333382Hot Lead, Cold Iron: A Mick Oberon Job
Ari Marmell
Titan Books
Trade Paper $14.95
Ebook $9.99

I really like a good gangster story, especially a Depression era gangster story. If it’s set in Chicago, well, that’s a plus. And while tales set in the realm of faery aren’t among those I actively seek out, I’m willing to give one a try. Especially when the author is Ari Marmell.

And when Marmell combines both of those genres, I’m in. I would like to thank Tom Green of Titan Books for the review copy. I would also like to apologize for letting this one slip through the cracks and not reviewing it sooner.

Marmell first introduced the character of Mick Oberon in the short story “The Purloined Ledger”, included in his collection Strange New Words (reviewed here).

Oberon (yes, he’s related to that Oberon) is a private detective in Chicago.  Capone went to prison a year before.  Now the power structure among the mob is trying to restabilize.

Oberon is asked by a mobster to do a favor for his boss’s wife.  At first he turns down the job, but then he discovers his landlord and friend needs cash to keep the building.  So Mick reluctantly agrees to take the job. Continue reading

Robert E. Howard’s Swords of the North Available for Preorder

Swords-smThe Robert E. Howard Foundation announced last week that their next book, Swords of the North, is available for preorder.  I’ve ordered my copy.  Is that not a great cover?  The book ships in December, so it would make an excellent Christmas gift for the REH fan in your life, even if that fan is yourself.  Maybe especially if that fan is yourself.

Here’s what the announcement, lifted from the REH Foundation page:

There is a clear self-consistency among all of Howard’s tales which will readily demonstrate that underlying it all is a coherent vision of a fictional history of the world and mankind, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s term a “secondary” world, internally consistent, full of strangeness and wonder, “free from the domination of observed fact,” yet quite credible, a world rooted in the familiar if populated with the unfamiliar, a world that combines the ordinary with the extraordinary. Just as Tolkien’s “Arda” is our Earth, so too is Howard’s world.

-from Rusty Burke’s introduction

The REH Foundation Press is proud to present Swords of the North, a collection of Robert E. Howard’s Celtic/Viking adventure stories. The book checks in at 540 pages, and will be printed in hardback with dust jacket, in a limited first-print quantity of 200 copies, each individually numbered. Cover art by Aaron Miller and introduction by Rusty Burke. This volume marks the first publication of the fragment that begins with, “Between berserk battle rages,” which features Cormac Mac Art’s partner, Wulfhere Skull-splitter. It also collects for the first time in one volume all of the James Allison stories and fragments, both incomplete drafts of “The Temple of Abomination,” and other rarities. The book is expected to ship in December 2014. Pre-order yours today.


Swords of the North is $45 for REHF Members, $50 for non-members (all prices in US dollars) plus shipping. (How to become a member? Look here.)

Shipping prices and additional details (such as the contents) can be found at the REH Foundation website.

I Look at The Spawn of Cthulhu

Lovecraft Spawn Cthulhu frontMy latest post on the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series at Black Gate is up.  It’s over The Spawn of Chthulu, edited by Lin Carter.  Here’s the link to it.

This a collection of stories centered around Lovecraft’s “The Whisperer in Darkness”.  All of the stories that follow have some connection to Lovecraft’s tale.  I take a look at all of them.  If you’re into Lovecraft, check it out.

Here, Kid, Your First Sample is Free: A Review of Shattered Shields

Layout 1Shattered Shields
Jennifer Brozak and Bryan Thomas Schmidt, ed.
Baen Books
Trade paper, $15.00
ebook $8.99 Kindle Nook Baen

In case you’re wondering why I titled this post the way I did, it’s because this book is a perfect gateway drug into heroic fantasy.  All of the stories are well written and fast-moving, and with the exception of a couple that simply weren’t to my taste, I enjoyed every single one of them.  I’d like to thank Baen Books for the review copy.

There are seventeen stories here, so I’m not going to give a summary of each one.  I’m gong to focus on the ones that stood out to me.  Those of you who’ve read my reviews for a while know how my tastes stack up against yours, so even if we don’t always like the same things, you’ll get a good idea of what to expect from Shattered ShieldsContinue reading

When October Goes

Layout 1Now that Halloween is over, I’m going to shift gears a bit.  Time to return to more sword and sorcery here at Adventures Fantastic.  Or at least solid adventure fantasy.  I’ve already started reading Shattered Shields, edited by Jennifer Brozek and Bryan Thomas Schmidt, which hits shelves on Tuesday.  I don’t know if I’ll have the review up by the release date, but I’ll do my best.

Pyr and Solaris have both sent me copies of some cool titles since the first of the summer that I never got a chance to work into the schedule.  I really want to go back and pick read some of them.  They’re mostly fantasy, but there’s some science fiction mixed in.  Also, Night Shade has sent me some titles, and one of the first I’ll read is Stories of the Raksura, vol.1, by Martha Wells.  I’ll probably start that one by the end of the week.

Speaking of science fiction, there are some titles sitting around I want to read.  Some of them will be popping up at Futures Past and Present as I work them in.  I’ll also be reading some mystery/noir titles and reviewing them at Gumshoes, Gats, and Gams.

Plus there are some titles from various other publishers I want to read.  I’ll be mixing them in at random.  I’m going to try to strike a balance between titles that someone has sent me and stuff I just want to read for fun.  So you never know what’s going to pop up next.