Monthly Archives: November 2015

Don’t Go “Back There in the Grass”

Alfred Hitchock“Back There in the Grass”
Gouverneur Morris
It and Other Stories
ebook, various editions

No, that’s not a misspelling.  Gouverneur Morris (the first one from the American Revolution) was named after his Dutch mother’s family.  He was the John F. Kennedy of his day, meaning he, um, got around.

This one is his great grandson, who was a magazine writer in the early 20th century.  To my knowledge he didn’t write much in the way of the fantastic.  I read a couple of the other stories in It, including the title story (which was a disappointment), but they were all they type of mainstream things you would find in the upper tier magazines before the Great Depression.

I’d first read “Back There in the Grass” when I was a teenager in one of the Alfred Hitchcock Anthologies (Stories for Late at Night) in the school library or that I’d acquired from a garage sale.  The story has stayed with me all these years.  I came across a reference of Morris in a book I was reading the other day, and decided to see if I could find some electronic copies of his work.

There’s a danger in rereading stories you haven’t read since your youth; too often they don’t live up to your memory of them.  I’m glad to say that wasn’t the case here. Continue reading

A Review of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 26

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly–Q26Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 26 is now online.  This issue contains three pieces of fiction as well as three poems.  I found this particular issue to be one of the more enjoyable issues of HFQ in quite a while.  The stories are certainly among the best HFQ has published. Continue reading

Quick Update

It’s been a bit longer than usual since I posted.  If you keep up with me on Twitter, you know I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth.  It’s been busy, to say the least.

My son’s robotics team advanced to the state competition, which was the second weekend of the month, and I went with them.  (It’s really a regional competition because teams from other states were also there, but since it’s mostly Texas teams, we just referred to it as state.)  They came in 34th out of 59, which is approximately 20 spots higher than they’ve ranked in the past.  That’s a lot better than it sounds because my son’s team was four middle school kids working after school and competing against mostly high school teams, many of whom met as a class.  (My son’s robotics class is working on other projects.)  We’re all extremely proud of them.

Because of some weird thing with the university calendar, we only have three days left before classes are completely over and finals start.  So many of the time consuming things I normally deal with after Thanksgiving, such as wrapping up labs, have already been done.

Between travel for the robotics meet, ending the semester things, and really nasty allergies, I’ve not had time or mental ability to post or work on fiction.  I’m hoping to post quite a few things over the Thanksgiving weekend, so keep an eye on this space.

Tales from the Otherverse Now Available

Tales From The Otherverse webTales from the Otherverse went live today.  It’s available in paper format from Amazon for $9.99 and in electronic format from Amazon and Smashwords for $3.99.

I’m excited to be included in this anthology.  The other authors are an impressive lineup.  I’ve only read Robert Vardeman’s story,  and ti was a blast.  I’m looking forward to diving into this one over the holidays.

New Leigh Brackett Story Announced!

LB100-cover2-300x434I just preordered this!  This year is the centennial of Leigh Brackett’s birth.  I’m ashamed to say I missed that.

Fortunatley, Stephen Haffner is on the ball and has prepared a book to mark the occasion.  It contains an unpublished story as well her nonfiction and interviews with a number of friends.  You can order your copy here.

If the style of the lettering on the book is familiar, there’s a reason for that.  Before her untimely death from cancer in 1978, Leigh wrote the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back.   She also wrote the screenplays for the films The Big Sleep starring Humphrey Bogart and Rio Bravo starring John Wayne.

Brackett brought a hard boiled sensibility to her tales of outer space adventure.  Haffner Press is to be thanked for bringing her work back in high quality archival format.  Many of Haffner’s Brackett titles are out of print, but check out the ones that aren’t.  And order Leigh Brackett Centennial before all the hardcore Star Wars fans find out about it and buy up all the copies.

Dark Screams Volume 5 Now Available

dark-screams-5Dark Screams Volume 5
Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar, ed.
ebook only, $2.99

So this is the fifth volume of Dark Screams I’ve reviewed. I’d like to thank Hydra Books, Brian James Freeman, and Richard Chizmar for the review copy.

Once again, there are five stories in the volume. Unlike the previous installments in this series (long may it continue), not all of the stories were to my taste. They were all well-written, but I’m not the audience for all of them. Those of you who know my taste can use that as a guide as to whether you would enjoy the stories.

Here’s what you get: Continue reading

Tales From the Otherverse Announced Today

Tales From The Otherverse webRough Edges Press announced their next anthology earlier today.  I’m announcing it here because I’m included in it and am not above a little shameless self-promotion.  Tales From the Otherverse is an unthemed anthology of alternate history stories, meaning they don’t all deal with the same concept, such as Carthage defeating Rome or the Spanish Armada reaching England or Dewey actually defeating Truman.  I don’t know anything about the other stories (with one possible exception), but looking at the lineup, I’m humbled to be included in that group.  I’m also impressed with some of the company I’m in.  There is at least one person who hits the bestseller lists and at least one who is a multiple award nominee (multiple nominations for mulitple awards).

I said there was one possible exception to my statement that I didn’t know anything about the other stories.  I may have heard one of the authors read their story at a convention early in the year.  I know I heard one of them read a story that would fit this anthology, and I really hope it’s in here because it was awesome.  Since I don’t know the titles of any story but mine, I can’t be sure.

Anyway, setting my ego aside, I would encourage you to check this book out.  There are some top-notch authors in this anthology.  Rough Edges Press puts out some good books.  I’ll let you know when I get a publication date.

A Review of Rogue Angel The Mortality Principle

ba68522677f9baf40a854dd16e5e3443The Mortality Principle
Alex Archer
Gold Eagle
Paperback $6.99 Us/ $7.99 CAN
ebook $4.99

I think the best way to characterize the Rogue Angel series is to call these books the modern equivalent of the old hero pulps, only in this case it’s a heroine pulp.

The basic premise is that Annja Creed, who hosts the TV show Hunting History’s Monsters, has the sword once used by Joan of Arc.  Each book has some type of historical aspect to it.  Annja can pull the sword out of an interdimensional pocket any times she needs it.  She has allies in the form of two men, both of whom are hundreds of years old, Roux and his former apprentice Garin.

I enjoyed the first book in the series I read, Magic Lantern, and I’d been intending to read more. I picked up The Mortatlity Principle the other night in the book store and started reading.   Continue reading

A Review of Ghost in the Cogs

s786647801383493004_p17_i2_w640Ghost in the Cogs
Scott Gable and C. Dombrowski, eds.
Broken Eye Books
Paper $19.99
Ebook $6.99

I got an email a couple of weeks ago from Scott Gable asking if I would be interested in reviewing Ghost in the Cogs.  I had a lot of commitments on my plate (still do), but since the last steampunk anthology I’d read and the last ghost story anthology I’d read had both been quite enjoyable, I decided to give it a go.  This blending of genres seemed a natural combination, and it’s not one I’ve seen done a lot.  Now, I’ve not read a large amount of steampunk, primiarily because there’s so much of it and I only have so much time.  It seems I made the right decision to read Ghost in the Cogs.

There are 22 stories in this anthology.  I’m not going to attempt to provide a quick synopsis of all of them.  I’ll do what I usually do and highlight the ones I liked best.  But I want to make some general remarks before I do.   Continue reading