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.

Birthday Bonus: A Collaboration Between Bloch and Kuttner

“The Grab Bag”
Robert Bloch and Henry Kuttner
Originally appeared in Weird Tales, Spring 1991

Robert Bloch and Henry Kuttner were friends, and they collaborated on a handful of stories before Kuttner’s death.  Since the two previous posts dealt with their birthdays, I thought I would talk about one of those collaborations as sort of a birthday bonus.

I know nothing about the provenance of “The Grab Bag”.  Bloch is attributed as the first author.  I speculate on the authorship at the end of this post.  For now is a synopsis.  I’m going to avoid spoilers since this is a horror story, and I don’t want to give away the ending. Continue reading

Breaking the Bough on Kuttner’s Birthday

“When the Bough Breaks”
as by Lewis Padgett
originally published in Astounding Science Fiction November 1944

Henry Kuttner was born on April 7, 1915.  Anyone who has read much of this blog knows that Kuttner is probably my favorite author, at least on days ending in “y”.  After his marriage to C. L. Moore, everything he and Moore wrote was a collaboration to one degree or another.

Both authors were masters of fantasy, science fiction, and and everything in between, including horror.  Much of their best work was published in Astounding in the mid-1940s.  Almost all of these stories have been collected in at least one of Kuttner’s collections, either in his lifetime or in the years since.  There are a few that haven’t, which I’ll address at another time.  Continue reading

Bloch at 100

Robert Bloch was born on April 5, 1917 in Chicago.  Today marks the centennial of his birth.  He died of cancer in 1994.

Bloch wrote in multiple genres, including horror, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery, often more than one in a single story.  Bloch sold much of his early work to Weird Tales and contributed to the Mythos.  He also worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood.  His best known novel, Psycho, was adapted by Alfred Hitchcock into the classic film of the same name.

Sadly, this one novel has at time overshadowed his short fiction.  To my mind, that was the area in which he excelled.  Bloch was one of the best, often mixing humor with horror, and he should be remembered.  Sadly, like many authors who have passed on, he is in danger of being forgotten by the younger generations.  In spite of that, he still casts a long shadow over the field of fantastic fiction today.

I intend to honor his memory by reading something of his.

 

Stanley G. Weinbaum at 115

Stanley G. Weinbaum was born on this date, April 4, in the year 1902.  He had a brief career as a science fiction writer in the mid-1930s before dying of lung cancer.  While he is to a large degree forgotten today, he still casts a long shadow over the field.

His first story was “A Martian Odyssey”, in which he introduced aliens that were truly alien and not simply bug eyed monsters.  We’ll take a look at that story in more depth at a later date.

For now, suffice to say that the impact of that tale was significant.  Weinbaum followed it up with a sequel and then went on to write about a solar system populated with interesting and unique aliens.  Weinbaum had a unique voice.  I think in part that was because the tropes of the field hadn’t solidified, some would say ossified, into the more rigid standards they are now. Continue reading

Chicken Fried Cthulhu

Hey, folks, the Chicken Fried Cthulhu Kickstarter has 25 hours left as I write this and is still a ways from funding.  This is an anthology of southwestern flavored Cthulhu and Lovecraft themed stories.  It’s set to premiere at the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio this year.

If it funds.  It’s from the same crew that brought you Skelos, and there’s an impressive lineup of authors listed, including Robert E. Howard and Joe Lansdale.  Part of the reason the goal is so high is that the editors want to pay the authors professional rates, and that takes money.

So if you’ve been thinking about pledging, please do so.  I would really like to see this project get off the ground.  I am not an author in the anthology and my only connection to the project is that I’m friends with the guys putting it together.  I just want to read the stories.

Spring Has Broke

No, this isn’t about the trees budding leaves and the weeds grass turning green. That happened back in the middle of February. Spring break started today.  I’ll be in the office for part of it.  We’ve had someone who has been responsible for setting up and taking down all the experiments in our introductory labs.  She walked into my office on Tuesday and said, “I thought you should know that I’m retiring at the end of the month”.  I said something nice, but what I was thinking was “…but we still have another four labs to do at the end of the month…”

I’ll be picking up the slack, which means going in on Monday to learn where she stores some stuff and some other details, as well as catching up on a few things that fell between the cracks this past week.  How this is going to shake out over the long term has yet to be determined.  That includes the impact it might have on my writing time.

And speaking of writing, I’m hoping to get some done this next week.  I’m not going to set any goals or make any public announcements until things are finished.  Other than going into work on Monday and getting some yard work done, plus some general straightening and organizing, I plan to read, write, and blog for the next week.

In Defense of Romance

What?  Yes, of course that’s a click-bait title.  It worked, didn’t it?  You’re here, aren’t you?

This is not the type of lice hunting romance I’m in favor of.

There’s been some changes recently to how authors can categorize their works when uploading them on Amazon.  Amazon has implemented the following restriction:  Do not add books from any Romance category to these categories: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children’s.

(Children’s? Who puts romance in a children’s book? What the hell is wrong with some of you people?)

And of course the butt-hurt has been epic.  A casual scroll through the comments quickly revealed some of the women who write “blended” novels will be putting them in the science fiction and/or fantasy sections rather than the romance section (which is where they probably belong).

But that’s okay.  I don’t get my recommendations for what I read from Amazon very often.  Usually it’s from people whose taste I know aligns with mine.

They want to write and read that stuff, that’s their business, and I have no problem with their doing so.  As long as they don’t scold me for not reading it or invade my space with it, we’ll be fine.

Here’s the type of romance I’m advocating: Continue reading