Monthly Archives: April 2015

Gemmell vs. Gernsback, Round II

Once again, it’s that time of the year.  Award season.

And there’s one award that stands out above all the others.

It’s voted on by the fans.  And not just fans in the US, either.  Fans from all over the world can vote on it, making it an international award.

All fans are welcome.

The award comes with a gorgeous trophy.

It seeks to recognize the best writing and artistry in the field. Continue reading

An Evening with Peter S. Beagle and The Last Unicorn

20150415_185732If you’ve not read any of the works of Peter S. Beagle, what are you doing wasting your time reading this?  Go get some.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

If you have, then you’ll understand what a pleasure it was to visit with him and watch a screening of The Last Unicorn a couple of nights ago.  That’s him in front of the screen taking questions from the audience.  The Last Unicorn is the novel that made his reputation, but he’s written other works, especially short fiction in the last 20 years, that are all fantastic.

The Last Unicorn was published by Ballantine Books in 1968.  It wasn’t part of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, but it’s generally considered a precursor of the series, and later editions have the unicorn head colophon. Continue reading

More Great Fantasy from Down Under

Last QuarrelThe Last Quarrel, Episode One
Duncan Lay
Momentum Books
ebook $1.00 Amazon B&N Kobo ibooks AmazonUK

I’ve been saying for a while now that some of the best and most exciting fantasy isn’t coming from the Northern Hemisphere.  Some of the freshest stories I’ve read over the last few years have come from Australia and New Zealand.

Case in point, The Last Quarrel.  I’d like to thank MIchelle Cameron of Momentum Books for providing me with a review copy.  I’d also like to apologize for letting it slip through the cracks and not getting to it sooner.  (Although it’s been one of those semesters.  I finished the book nearly two weeks ago, and this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write the review.)

The Last Quarrel has been published in serial format.  The combined edition will be available on the 23rd.  I’ve pre-ordered it.  Yes, I liked it that much.  I said it’s been almost two weeks since I finished it, yet the scenes and characters from The Last Quarrel have stuck in my mind.  I often don’t remember much about what I read three days ago, so this one had some things that really stood out. Continue reading

Henry Kuttner at 100

kuttnerOne of my all-time favorite writers was born 100 years ago on this date.  Henry Kuttner was a prolific author who wrote in multiple genres.  Kuttner started out writing Lovecraft pastiche for Weird Tales.

Kuttner mentored Ray Bradbury and wrote the ending to Bradbury’s “The Candle” when Bradbury got stuck.  In the introduction to the Ballatine/Del Rey edition of The Best of Henry Kuttner (there was a 2 volume British edition by the same name with more and different stories), Bradbury says in reference to “The Graveyard Rats” that Kuttner didn’t want to be remembered as a minor league Lovecraft.  That’s a paraphrase, as I don’t have the book here with me.  I looked at “The Graveyard Rats” on Kuttner’s birthday last year. Continue reading

Reading Other People’s Mail

GardnerLettersCovMedLetters From Gardner
Lou Antonelli
The Merry Blacksmith Press
Trade Paper, 238 p., $14.95

Full disclosure time. I’ve known Lou Antonelli for nearly a decade. I met him because his wife was one of my students, although we had both attended a nearby convention a few months before but hadn’t met. I’m sure we would have eventually.

Lou was kind enough to give me a copy of his latest collection for review. (Thanks, Lou.) So far he’s only written short stories, but he claims he’s writing a novel. He tells lies for a living, so I’ll believe it when I see it. (Don’t tell him I said that.)

Anyway, this is an interesting collection. Lou shows us how his writing career got started. Each of the stories in this volume was submitted to Gardner Dozois during his last couple of years as editor of Asimov’s. In fact, the final story in the book is the last one Gardner bought. Immediately after buying it, Gardner left for vacation. When he came back, he announced his retirement. (Draw your own conclusions.) Continue reading

A Review of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 23

Apologies to Adrian Simmons, to whom I had promised this review a few weeks ago.  (To give you an idea of how hectic things are, I started this post on Sunday and am finishing it on Wednesday.) In the past, I’ve read HFQ in spare moments at work and have usually managed to finish an issue in about a week or ten days.  The problem this go around is that there hasn’t been any free time.

HFQ 23

Chimera by Giovanna Guimarães

Anyway, HFQ returns with one of its strongest issues.  Included are a wandering Comanche in Central America, sky pirates raiding a lost city, and an offering to a goddess which unleashes all kinds of problems. Continue reading