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.
You can see from the cover to the right that it will contain stories by James Reasoner, Bill Crider, John C. Hocking, Robert E. Vardeman, Scott Dennis Parker, and…er…ahem…Your Intrepid Blogger.
Here’s the ToC: Continue reading
There was a discussion on James Reasoner’s blog yesterday that he may come to regret, but I certainly hope not. He was featuring Dime Mystery Magazine, which was one of the top weird menace pulps back in the 1930s. The September 1934 issue, which is shown on the left. James said he’d considered doing a weird menace anthology for Rough Edges Press. Several rabble-rousers, myself included, urged him on. Any resemblance to the crowd chanting for the guy on the ledge to jump is a product of your warped imagination.
Well, James has taken our advice, and we hope he doesn’t live to regret it. He sent out an announcement today for the anthology. Some of you should seriously consider submitting to it. You know who you are. I’m going to try to get something ready. Click the Read More tag for the announcement. Continue reading
This just became available today. After grading exams all day, I needed a nice diversion. This sword and sorcery tale by a long time husband and wife team was just the ticket.
It was originally published in New Amazons, edited by Margaret Weis. Reasoner and Washburn have touched it up and made it available again.
It’s the story of Ralna, personal bodyguard to the Empress. She’s called back to the mountain village where she grew up for her younger sister Mardith’s wedding. It seems a wizard has come over the mountains, and among other things, he was to marry Mardith. The feeling is not reciprocated. The family needs Ralna to handle the situation.
I won’t go into any more details regarding what happens. This is a short story, after all. Rather I’ll talk about my reactions to some things. First, the wizard Grond, isn’t your stereotypical wizard. He’s not totally evil, although he’s not exactly a nice man either. He has some good intentions if he can get past his overdeveloped sense of self-importance.
And Ralna isn’t without her character flaws. She’s a drama queen of sorts, and likes to play to the crowd and make bombastic statements. She also has something of a chip on her shoulder towards the in village in which she grew up.
Probably the most admirable character is Mardith, who may be the most clever and admirable of the three.
This story didn’t go in the directions I was expecting. When I thought I knew how the conflict between Ralna and Grond would turn out, it went in a different direction. Reasoner and Washburn did some deft turning of stereotypes of their heads.
Washburn is a noted historical and mystery writer. Reasoner is best known for his westerns and historicals, although he’s got a nice body of crime fiction as well. (I especially enjoyed the short noir novel Tractor Girl.) They’ve written collaboratively and individually. And of course, they write across a number of genres in short fiction, having contributed to Cross Plains Universe (reviewed here). Reasoner has written enough science fiction to fill a collection (reviewed here), and I wish he would write more. He said in the blog announcement of “Look You on Beauty and Death” that he has a fantasy novel in his files that needs a bit of work, but that he intends to publish as an ebook. Maybe if we bug him enough…
Anyway, if you’re looking for a quick read, especially a quick S&S read, give this one a try.
When I was growing up, we lived in several towns, and one of those was Wichita Falls. There was a small radio station there that used to air The CBS Radio Mystery Theater after the 10:00 p.m. news. I would lie awake for the next hour listening to it when I was supposed to be sleeping. Some nights I would continue to lie awake long after the show ended if it was a scary episode (there were plenty of those). The show had a consistently high quality and was produced by producer of the old Inner Sanctum show from a few decades earlier. It even had the same creaking door. Henry Slesar and Alfred Bester both wrote scripts, although Bester only wrote for a year. He had gone on to other things by the time I started listening.
Other than some really low quality cassettes I used to record a few episodes of the show, I haven’t heard The CBS Radio Mystery Theater since 1980, when we moved to another part of the state.
Now all 1399 episodes are available online for free. I’ve already identified several favorites I want to hear again, and I’m trying to figure out the titles for several more. While I don’t recall any sword and sorcery, there were enough horror, suspense, and noir stories that I think some of you might be interested in listening. You can find them here. And thanks to James Reasoner for posting a notice about this on his blog.
Sigh. I really didn’t want to start 2012 with this type of post.