Author Archives: Keith West

A Look at Two Issues of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Plus a Kickstarter

If I could have one superpower, I think it would be the ability to split myself into multiple bodies.  That way, maybe I wouldn’t be so far behind on reading, writing, and review.  You know, the important stuff.

Anyway I promised Adrian Simmons, the editor of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, a review for both the previous and current issues.  Both are strong issues. Continue reading

Rocket’s Red Glare Now Available for Preorder

Rocket’s Red Glare, a space opera anthology from Rough Edges Press and edited by James Reasoner is now available for preorder.

Here’s the jacket copy:

From distant galaxies to the mean streets of Hollywood . . . from the war-torn skies of France in 1918 to the far side of the moon . . . The stories in Rocket’s Red Glare exemplify the adventure, courage, and sense of discovery so vital to the American spirit. Whether daring to cross interstellar space or battling alien conquerors when they come right to our own back yard, the characters in these tales never give up, never stop fighting for their country, their lives, their honor. Featuring all-new stories by Sarah A. Hoyt (part of her USAian series), Brad R. Torgersen, Martin L. Shoemaker, Lou Antonelli, James Reasoner, and more, Rocket’s Red Glare is packed with space opera excitement, dazzling scientific speculation, gritty action, and compelling characters.

Rocket’s Red Glare is only available in electronic format ($6.99) at the moment.  the print edition will be out within the next few weeks.  This is a stellar lineup, and I’m proud to be part of this anthology.

UPDATE:  Both electronic and print copies are now available.

Birthday Reading: Manly Wade Wellman

Manly Wade Wellman was born, this day, May 21, in 1903 in Portuguese West Africa.  He was one of the greatest writers of horror and dark fantasy of the 20th Century, although he’s not as well known today as he should be.  His best known literary creation was John the Balladeer, and wandering minstrel of the Appalachian mountains.  Wellman began writing in the 1920s, and sold a number of stories to Weird Tales.  He was still writing in the 1970s and 1980s, and a number of his short stories were published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

In honor of his birthday, I’m going to look at two short stories.  Both were published in the pulps in the late 1930s.  I read both of them in Sin’s Doorway and Other Ominous Entrances, published by Night Shade Books in 2003.  It’s volume 4 of the 5 volume The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman. Continue reading

Ruminations of the Relevancy of Being “Relevant”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “relevant” as “having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand” and “having social relevance”.  Just so we’re on the same page, relevance is defined as “practical and especially social applicability” and “the ability to retrieve material that satisfies the needs of the user”.

Anne McCaffrey Photo: Edmond Ross/ Random House

Why, I’m sure you’re asking, am I quoting the dictionary?  Well, Monday on the interwebz, one side of a conversation was showing up in my Twitter feed.  I’ve been trying to stay off Twitter these days because it’s a time sink, and I don’t have much time to sink.  What caught my attention was a quoted tweet from a person in the conversation whom I don’t follow.  The statement was “I’d recommend broadening your horizons.  Anything written in the last 15 years is more relevant than McCaffery’s entire oeuvre”.

Some context, and no, I’m not going to name the person who said that.  My intention is not to engage in personal attacks but to challenge the mindset behind the words because it’s pretty widespread.  Seems someone somewhere declared this week Space Opera Week.  Tor dot com is posting a number of essays on that theme.  There was one post that brought out the old saw about women haven’t traditionally written space opera, and the few that have, well, they wrote it from a man’s perspective, horror of horrors.  Brackett and Moore, in other words.

Certain parties responded.  Conversations ensued.  Anne McCaffrey’s name was brought up.  The statement above was made.

Let that sink in.  Yes, you heard it right.  Someone said that anything written in the last 15 years was more relevant than Anne Freakin’ McCaffrey’s entire oeuvre. Continue reading

StoryHack Kickstarter is Live!

The StoryHack Kickstarter has gone live!  If you want to experience some action-oriented pulp adventure, you’ll want to check this one out.

There’s an Issue 0 already out, done as a proof concept.  The cover is there.  As I said in yesterday’s post, I’m excited to be included in the first issue.  It’s available for free during the duration of the Kickstarter campaign, just go here.  And if you like the contents, please think about supporting.

StoryHack Issue 0 Has Gone Live

I’m a day or two late on this announcement since I left town the day it was made, but StoryHack Issue 0 has gone live.  The electronic version is currently $1 on Amazon.  Bryce Beattie, the editor and publisher, has put it up for free on Smashwords, as well as Barnes and Noble, so Amazon should price match soon.  There’s also a print version for $9.99.

I’m excited about StoryHack, and not just because I have a story in it.  (I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about having a story in it.)  I’m encouraged by the number of startup publications with an emphasis on action and adventure.  It looks like we’re about to have a renaissance of pulp sensibilities, and that’s a good thing.

StoryHack Issue 0 is free because it’s a proof of concept for a Kickstarter campaign to launch the magazine.  The Kickstarter should go live in the next day or three.  Get a copy, read it, and if you like what you see, pledge the Kickstarter.  I’ll let you know when it launches.

Dark Screams 6 Releases Tomorrow

Dark Screams 6
Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar, ed.
Hydra
ebook $3.99

The Dark Screams series of ebook anthologies is back, and that’s something to scream about, joyfully of course.

This one has half a dozen selections, unlike its predecessors, which had only five.

Here’s what you get: Continue reading

Gemmell Awards Shortlist for 2017 Announced

The shortlist for the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy have been announced and voting is open.  Voters have until midnight (GMT) on Friday 2nd June to vote at the website listed above.

The finalists are:

RAVENHEART AWARD  (Best cover art)

Alessandro Baldaserroni for Black Rift by Josh Reynolds  (Black Library)

Jason Chan for Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence  (Harper Voyager)

Sam Green for The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson  (Gollancz)

Kerby Rosannes for Nevernight by Jay Kristoff  (Harper Voyager)

Paul Young for Wrath by John Gwynne  (Tor)

 

MORNINGSTAR AWARD  (Best debut)

Mark de Jager, Infernal  (Del Rey UK)

Christopher Husberg, Duskfall  (Titan)

Megan E O’Keefe, Steal The Sky  (Angry Robot)

Adrian Selby, Snakewood  (Orbit)

Jon Skovron, Hope and Red  (Orbit)

 

LEGEND AWARD  (Best novel)

John Gwynne, Wrath  (Tor)

Jay Kristoff, Nevernight  (Harper Voyager)

Mark Lawrence, The Wheel of Osheim  (Harper Voyager)

Brandon Sanderson,The Bands of Mourning  (Gollancz)

Gav Thorpe, Warbeast  (Black Library)

 

Contents of StoryHack Issue 0 Announced

There’s a Kickstarter launching soon for a new publication entitled StoryHack Action and Adventure.  It’s just what the name implies.  Action and adventure stories from multiple genres, all with a pulp sensibility.  Bryce A. Beattie is the editor/publisher.  He has put together an Issue 0 prior to the Kickstarter launching.

Here is the lineup, in alphabetical order, by first name:

You might recognize some of those names.  *waves at David*  Yes, that’s me, the fifth one down.  I’m thrilled to be included in this anthology and am looking forward to reading the rest of the stories.  You can be sure I’ll let you know more as launch date for the Kickstarter becomes available.

 

I Aspire to a State of Burnout…

…because I suspect it might be an improvement.

Things have been pretty hit or miss here at the blog lately.  I managed in the last week to get birthday posts up for Stanley G. Weinbaum, Robert Bloch, and Henry Kuttner, along with a post on a collaboration between Bloch and Kuttner.  Looking back, I’m not sure how I did it.

Things at work have gotten pretty hairy.  My title is Undergraduate Teaching Lab Director, which means I’m in charge of the graduate teaching assistants, come up with lab homework, handle student issues, and such.  My regular job assignment includes teaching one course.  I’m also teaching an additional course as an overload (for which I’m compensated.)

We’ve had a person who sets up and takes down the equipment each week, maintains it, and orders more when we need to buy things.  This is a full time position.  That person recently retired.  Being a state university, we’re subject to the governor’s hiring freeze that was issued earlier this year.  What that means is that I’m picking up most of the slack.  There are a few folks who are helping out, which I greatly appreciate, but for the bulk of the work is on me.

I don’t really mind helping out in the short term.  The hiring freeze extends through August, so I’ve got these responsibilities over the summer.  I’ve been told to expect this to be part of my job going into the fall.  My attitude on that isn’t so positive, but I’ll deal with that at the proper time.

The result is that I’ve fallen behind on blogging commitments.  I promised a review of the latest HFQ and a survey of the works of Nictzin Dyalhis (this is for a paying market).  Those were promised for Spring Break.  That was three weeks ago for those of you who are keeping score.  I also haven’t  forgotten to finish the series on Kuttner’s Baldy stories.  I just haven’t gotten to them yet.  I also need to write reviews of a mystery novel and A. Merritt’s Dwellers in the Mirage.

I’ve managed to get a little fiction writing done.  Not much, but a little.  Hitting a routine before summer classes start might be a bit of a trick because we’ve got four and a half weeks before finals, and each of those weeks has its own unique schedule differences.  I’m not dead yet, although at the end of a few days lately I’ve felt like it.  Most days I’m too tired to write much of anything.  I’m going to try to get some more stories into slush piles.  I was going to try and put together a collection of short stories (horror and dark fantasy), but I’ve still got two to finish and a third to start.  I may try to hit slush piles with some of them instead.

One of the consequences of these extra opportunities responsibilities is a need to manage my time better.  I’ve started cutting back on Twitter and social media.  That will continue.  I’ll be keeping a lower profile, trying to honor my blogging/reviewing commitments, and maintain some level or fiction productivity.  Things may be feast or famine for a bit, but that’s better than nothing.