Monthly Archives: May 2015

Envisioning the Feminine Future

Feminine FutureThe Feminine Future: Early Science Fiction by Women Writers
Mike Ashley
Dover Thrift Editions
ebook and print both $4.50
Amazon B&N

So in a previous post, I wrote about forgotten women writers from the early days of the science fiction pulps.  While I was reading Partners in Wonder (the book under discussion in that post), I came across a review of The Feminine Future.  Several of the stories in the latter were specifically singled out by Eric Leif Davin in the former.

I immediately picked it up.  It didn’t cover quite the same ground as Partners in Wonder, which looked at women authors in the early pulps.  In other words, the time period it was concerned with began in 1926, when Hugo Gernsback launched the first pulp devoted entirely to science fiction, Amazing Stories.

Science fiction had of course existed long before then, although it was called scientific romance.  (I find it interesting that scientific romances were considered respectable, science fiction was, and at times still is, viewed as trash.)  Mike Ashley doesn’t confine himself to the pulp era.  He gathers stories from women writers going back to the popular fiction magazines of the late 1800s.

Here’s what the book includes: Continue reading

RIP, Tanith Lee (1947-2015)

Tanith LeeFantasy author Tanith Lee passed away on Sunday, May 24 at the age of 67.

Lee was the author of a number of works, many containing a strong erotic component.  Her works include The Birthgrave Trilogy, The Flat Earth Series, The Wars of Vis, Red as Blood or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer, The Secret Books of Venus and many other works.   Her writing is characterized by lush, descriptive prose.  Lee’s work has won both the British Fantasy Award (Death’s Master, 1983) and the World Fantasy Award (“The gorgon”, 1983; “Elle Est Trois, (La Mort)”, 1984).  In 2013 Tanith Lee was awarded the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Women Other Women Don’t See

Trigger Warning:  Humor, Snark, Truth, Thoughts That Might Be Different Than Yours.

In case you’re wondering, yes, the title of this post is a riff on the James Tiptree, Jr., story “The Women Men Don’t See”.  And yes, there is a book review buried in here.  I’ll provide the pertinent information about the book later.  First, though, some context.group of men

I’ve heard for years that there were virtually no women writers in science fiction and fantasy before [insert date du jour here] because they were discriminated against by all the men in the field and had to use masculine pseudonyms or initials if they wanted to write sf/f.  The actual date when this began to change is something of a moving target and depends loosely on the age of the person making the statement.

This belief is pretty widely held in the field, to the point that it’s almost holy writ.  And while men have spread this myth, women tend to be the loudest in voicing it. Continue reading

Memorial Day Weekend

I hope everyone has a happy Memorial Day weekend.  Be safe if you’re traveling.   For those of you who don’t live in the US, this is the official start of summer, at least in Texas.  I don’t know about states in the northern part of the country.  The public schools still have a week to go, but it’s mostly final exams and graduations.

Summer classes for me will start on June 1.  I’m not teaching the first summer term, but I will the second.  I’ll still be making sure the labs run smoothly no matter what.

I’m hoping to get caught up on a few titles I’ve started and never finished.  I’m hoping I can get more reading done than I have been lately.  I’m also hoping to get back on track writing fiction on a regular basis.  I’ve got one story I need to finish by the end of the week.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve got a major post I’ve been working on.  I managed to finish it today.  It will go live Tuesday with a followup on Wednesday.  After that, I’ll review the latest issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly.

That’s about all I’ve got for an update.  For those of you who are celebrating, have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

Finally I would like to thank all members of the military for their service.

“Arimetta” by Manley Wade Wellman

kadath_1981071_v1_n4“Arimetta” was originally published in Kadath #4 in July of 1981, something that isn’t listed in the ISFDB.  It was reprinted once in Sin’s Doorway and Other Ominous Entrances, The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman, Volume 4 (Night Shade, 2003).  The latter is where I read it.  It’s the type of story set in the mountains that Wellman became known for.

This is a fairly short tale, one that’s loosely connected to the John the Balladeer stories.  Earl Wood is wandering the mountains and ends up literally singing for his supper in the cabin Big Don Imbry shares with his wife and daughter.  John taught Earl how to play the guitar, which makes him immediately welcome.

One of the songs Earl plays is “Wildwood Flower”, which he learned in Arkansas.  The song is an actual folksong, not a fictional one.   (Here’s Johnny Cash singing it.)  Welllman changes the name of one of the flowers mentioned from “aronauts” to “arimetta”.  That line has been changed in all the recordings I can find of it online to “the pale and the leader and eyes look like blue”.

“Arimetta”, from what I’ve been able to determine from my Google-Fu, is a woman’s name from that region of the country that’s no longer common and doesn’t appear to ever have been. Continue reading

“The Golgotha Dancers” by Manly Wade Wellman

Golgotha Dancers“The Golgotha Dancers”
Manly Wade Wellman
ebook $0.99

This story was originally published in the October 1937 issue of Weird Tales.  It’s now available as a short story in electronic format.

This is an early Wellman, so it doesn’t have the strong sense of place as his later work set in the Southern mountains, such as the John the Balladeer stories.  Still, it’s a solid piece of fiction in its own right, even if it isn’t Wellman’s best work.

Just so you know, below the CONTINUE READING line, there will be spoilers. Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Manly Wade Wellman

Manly Wade WellmanManly Wade Wellman was born on this day in 1903.  He’s best known for his stories of John the Balladeer, a minstrel who wandered the southern mountains with his silver stringed guitar.  Other series characters include the occult detective John Thunstone and Hok,

I don’t recall when I first became aware of Wellman, but it had to be in junior high or early high school.  Quite possibly a John The Balladeer story in an anthology.  We moved in the middle of my sophomore year, and the small town we moved to had a little second hand book shop.  Among the treasures I found there (Green Lantern #1) was an almost complete run of F&SF from the mid 70s to the early 80s.  Of course I bought them all.

These issues had a number of short stories by Wellman, many of them stand-alones.  I devoured them over that summer between my sophomore and junior years.  Wellman’s incorporation of Southern and mountain folklore was unlike anything I’d read.  I’ve kept my eye out for his work ever since.   Later, when Nightshade published its five volume collection of Wellman’s work, I bought those.

So tonight, after everyone goes to bed, I’ll raise a glass in Wellman’s memory and read some of his work.

Dark Screams 3: The Screaming Continues

Dark Screams 3Dark Screams 3
Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar, ed.
Hydra
ebook only, $2.99

The screaming in this case being more screams of enthusiasm. It’s starting to look like editors Freeman and Chizmar have a solid anthology series on their hands. I’d like to thank Mr. Freeman for putting me on the list to receive review copies.

Dark Screams Volume 3 hit digital shelves a week ago, but with final exams to grade and other end of the semester tasks, I only finished it this evening. It’s another solid installment in this series. Here’s what you get. Continue reading

Cover Reveal for James A. Moore’s City of Wonders

So here it is.  The cover for the forthcoming third volume in James A. Moore’s epic fantasy series that began with Seven Forges.  The artist is Alejandro Colucci, who did the first two covers.  Mr. Colucci was nominated for a Gemmell Award for his cover of The Blasted Lands.  Well deserved, I say.  I also think he’s outdone himself with this one.

CityOfWonders-300dpi

I’d like to thank Penny Reeve of Angry Robot Books for providing me a copy of the cover and inviting me to participate in the cover reveal.   I’d also like to thank her for providing 5 copies of the first two books (that’s 5 copies of both Seven Forges and The Blasted Lands) as a giveaway.  To get in on the goodness of this series, email me at the email address at the top of the page (keith [at] adventuresfantastic [dot] com) and tell me which book you want, Seven Forges or The Blasted Lands, and why.  (Sorry, only one title per person.)  I’ll forward the email to Angry Robot, and they’ll contact you about where to send the book.  That will be faster than Angry Robot sending me the books to mail to you.  This is, of course, first come, first served.

Here’s the cover copy:

Old Canhoon, the City of Wonders, is having a population explosion as refugees from Tyrne and Roathes alike try to escape the Sa’ba Taalor. All along the border between the Blasted Lands and the Fellein Empire armies clash and the most powerful empire in the world is pushed back toward the old Capital. From the far east the Pilgrim gathers an army of the faithful, heading for Old Canhoon.

In Old Canhoon itself the imperial family struggles against enemies old and new as the spies of their enemies begin removing threats to the gods of the Seven Forges and prepare the way for the invading armies of the Seven Kings. In the distant Taalor valley Andover Lashk continues his quest and must make a final decision, while at the Mounds, something inhuman is awakened and set free.

War is Here. Blood will flow and bodies will burn.

City of Wonders goes on sale in November.  Remember in yesterday’s post how I said I hated waiting.  That’s especially true here.

Facing the Beasts of Tabat

1425Cover-657x1024Beasts of Tabat
Cat Rambo
Wordfire Press
ebook $5.99  Smashwords Kobo   Amazon
paperback $15.99

I’d intended to have this review up nearly a week ago but illness and then finals side railed it. There have been some books in the last six months where I’ve not been able to get reviews posted due to Life Happening, and by the time I’d managed to fine and/or make the time, I no longer had any interest in writing the reivew.

This is not one of those books.  And I would like to thank Eva Eldridge of Wordfire Press for the review copy.

Beasts of Tabat is a refreshing fantasy with a steampunk level technology, all manner of magical beasts, swordplay, plenty of intrigue, and one of the most original political situations I’ve seen.  It’s also Cat Rambo’s first novel, not like it reads like a first novel or anything.  It doesn’t. Continue reading