Monthly Archives: January 2017

Statistics Are Interesting Things

And no, this post isn’t going to be about math.  So come back here and quit running in terror.  The screaming is disturbing the neighbors.

Things have gotten rolling full speed at the day job, the offspring has gotten back into the swing of things, and I’m trying to juggle numerous (figurative) flaming chainsaws.

So while trying to kill time between interruptions at work this afternoon (there was too much going on to be able to shut the door and work on tasks that require extended concentration), I looked at the top posts for this blog.

It was rather interesting.  I didn’t compare or combine the numbers from when I was on Blogger, just looked at things since I set up my own domain.  I didn’t look at the other blogs, only Adventures Fantastic.  I ignored the most viewed page, which is the homepage, and looked at only individual posts, wherein a pattern quickly emerged. Continue reading

“Jirel Meets Magic” on C. L. Moore’s Birthday

Born on January 24, 1911, C. L. Moore is one of the favorite writers around these here parts.  As I stated a couple of days ago on Robert E. Howard’s birthday, I’m going to be focusing on a work by writers I’ve done multiple birthday posts on rather than trying to come up with something original in a tribute essay.  Today’s story is “Jirel Meets Magic”.

Originally published in the July 1935 issue of Weird Tales, “Jirel Meets Magic” is the third story of the Lady of Joiry.  It opens with Jirel leading a charge over the drawbridge of a castle, breaking the ranks of the defenders trying to stand against her, and calling for her soldiers to bring her a wizard named Giraud.

Why is Jirel attacking the castle?  Who is Giraud?  What is Jirel’s reason for wanting to kill him?  Who cares?  Moore’s writing pulls the reader in, sweeping him along at a breakneck pace.  These questions will be answered, but for now all that matters is the heady rush of battle.

Continue reading

I May Have Lost My Ever-Lovin’ Mind, but…

… I sat down last night and compiled a list of all the fiction I’ve written, started, or for which I have ideas developed enough to at least begin writing.  I tend to be something of a pantser, so I don’t always know everything that’s going to happen when I type the first sentence, but  usually I have some idea of what the ending will be or the general direction the story will take.

Anyway, I’m trying to get some stuff out there this year, and I’m not going to rely solely on anthologies and magazines (print and electronic) to do that.  I don’t have control over editors and what they choose.  Some stuff I’m going to make available myself through my own publishing outfit. Continue reading

Another Robert E. Howard Birthday

This is a good thing.  It’s Howard’s eleventy-first birthday.  I’ve been writing these tribute posts for a few years now, and I’m at the point I’m about to start repeating myself if I haven’t already.

So for those of you who may have stumbled in here from someplace else and aren’t quite sure what’s going on, Robert E. Howard was born on January 22, 1906.  He was  one of the greatest and most influential writers of fantasy and horror of the 20th Century, although those genres constituted only a small portion of his writings.

Rather than regurgitate biographical details or wax eloquent about his greatness, I’m going to pay tribute by looking at one of his works.  This is a practice I’ll be engaging in for other writers about whom I regularly read and blog. Continue reading

Reading A. Merritt on the Occasion of His Birthday

Well, sort of.  Merritt’s birthday was actually yesterday, but classes started the day before yesterday.  I was kinda busy.

Abraham Merritt was born on January 20, in Beverly, New Jersey.  He died in 1943.  Merritt was arguably the most highly regarded fantasy author of his day, with a fantasy magazine named for him after his death.  He was an assistant editor and later editor of The American Weekly, a position which apparently left him little time to pursue his own writing.  Even so, his work cast a long shadow over the field and his influence is still felt today, although most readers are probably unaware of that influence. Continue reading

James A. Moore’s New Series is Off to a Great Start

The Last Sacrifice
James A. Moore
Angry Robot Books
US/Canada Trade Paper $14.99/$18.99
UK Medium (B-format) £8.99
ebook £5.49 / US$6.99 / CAN $7.99

I really enjoyed James Moore’s previous fantasy series, Seven Forges AKA The Blasted Lands (I’ve seen it called both; individual novels in the series are reviewed here, here, here, and here).  His new series, called The Tides of War, starts with The Last Sacrifice.

The book opens with Brogan McTyre and a band of companions returning from a stint of acting as caravan guards.  Before he even gets home, Brogan is met on the road by a man bearing bad news.  Bad news and four gold coins.  The coins were left by The Undying, raiders who sweep through and take people as sacrifices to the gods.  They’ve take Brogan’s entire family. Continue reading

David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy Now Open to Public Nominations

I received the following press release about the Gemmell Awards this morning, so go ye forth and nominate:



The David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy enters its ninth year in 2017, once again giving readers and fans of the genre their chance to vote for the best fantasy novel, best fantasy debut and best fantasy cover art.

As of the 13th January, members of the public will have the chance to nominate their favourite titles for the Awards Longlist alongside the nominations from publishers. Titles must be in the category of epic or heroic fantasy, be traditionally published by a mainstream or independent press (self published titles will not be considered) and have been first published in English in 2016. Nominations must be made by email by the 31st January, including the category you would like to nominate each title for – The Legend Award for best fantasy novel, The Morningstar Award for best fantasy debut or The Ravenheart Award for best fantasy art.

Awards Chair Stan Nicholls said: ‘The Gemmell Awards have always very much been about giving the readers the chance to have their say on what has been the best fantasy, and the public nominations are a key part of that. If there’s a fantasy book you’ve loved this year, let us know and it can be considered for the awards process.’

Public nominations should be sent to Alex Davis, Awards Administrator, at with the subject header GEMMELL AWARDS NOMINATIONS. Nominations must be received by midnight on the 31st January 2017 (UK time) to be considered.

The David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy will be presented on the evening of the 15th July 2017 at the Edge-Lit 6 event in Derby. For more information on the event, visit or for more about the awards visit


The David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy were launched in 2009, in tribute to bestselling fantasy author David Gemmell, who passed away in 2006, and to honour the best fiction and artwork in the heroic fantasy field. Recipients of the awards include authors Andrzei Sapkowski, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Brent Weeks, John Gwynne, Mark Lawrence, Brian McClellan and Peter Newman; and artists including Didier Graffet, Raymond Swanland, Jason Chan and Sam Green.

The awards’ website page can be found at and its Facebook page at

A Look at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 29 & 30

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re big fans of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly around here.  Schedules have been hectic enough that I’ve gotten a bit behind on reading it.  Not that that’s anything unusual.

Issue 29 (see art by Vok Kostic here) has the first of a two-part epic poem, so I’ll start with issue 29 and use the poem as a bridge to my comments on issue 30.  Both issues had short poems, which I’ll not discuss as they aren’t particularly long.  The poems in Issue 29 were “Wench” by Scott Hutchison and “The Persuaders” by Colleen Anderson.  Issue 30 gave us another poem by Colleen Anderson, “Garuda’s Gambit” as well as “The Night Before Yule” by Daniel Stride. Continue reading

Thoughts on Dell Magazines Publication Schedule Change and the Role of Short Fiction

AFF_JanFeb2016_400x580This isn’t any breaking news, just something I’ve been ruminating about lately.  Back in November, Dell magazines announced that their four fiction magazines would be going to a bimonthly schedule.  Those magazines, in case you’re unaware, are Analog, Asimov’s, Ellery Queen, and Alfred Hitchcock.

Up until a few years ago I picked them up on the newsstand since I didn’t like how the USPS tended to tear things up.  (I learned this because F&SF wasn’t always available on the newsstand, so I had and still have a print subscription.  My copy came today, partially accordianized.)  When digital subscriptions became available, I switched over.  (Shelf space had a lot to do with it as well.)

Now, instead of ten issues per year, two of them double, the magazines will have six 208 page double issues.  The current schedule already contained two double issues.  I can remember when Analog published thirteen issues a year, two of them double issues IIRC.  But then I’m a dinosaur.  Sheila Williams, editor of Asimov’s, has said this will allow them to add 16 pages more than their current double issues as well as holding subscription prices steady.  I suspect cost more than anything is behind this move. Continue reading

Professor Tolkien’s Birthday

tolkien academicJ. R. R. Tolkien was born on this date, January 3, in the long-ago year of 1892.

The Lord of the Rings has cast such a long shadow over his life that it’s easy to forget that Tolkien was a university professor.  I wonder what it would have been like to take one of his classes.

Of course, there’s a good reason that TLotR has cast such a long shadow over Tolkien’s life.  The thing is a masterpiece.  It’s been well over a dozen years since I last read TLotR. I may try to fit it in sometime later this year if things let up a bit.