Tag Archives: Ballantine Adult Fantasy

New BAF Post on The Young Magicians

Young MagiciansI’ve got a new BAF post up at Black Gate.

This one is on The Young Magicians, the second anthology of the series that Lin Carter edited.  It’s a companion to Dragons, Elves, and Heroes.  This one starts at William Morris and continues up to what was then the present day (1969).  Included are selections by Lovecraft, Smith, Howard, Kuttner, Merritt. and de Camp, as well as Lin Carter himself.

Has it Really Been That Long Since I Posted?

I guess it has.  Time flies, whether you’re having fun or not.  The Fourth was laid back.  My wife took a few days off from work to visit her parents, and my son went with her.  Since I had classes starting while she was gone, I stayed here and had the house to myself, just me and the dogs.

Things have been hectic at work.  Classes started on Tuesday, and I still had seven teaching assistant slots to fill before labs started on Wednesday.  That number went up before it went down, but all the positions are filled and all the labs are covered.  I’ve got a good group of students in the course I’m teaching.  Summer students tend to be of higher quality than the general student population, and that seems to be particularly true about this bunch.  My class is every day from 8:00 to 9:50 in the morning, and they’ve done a great job of showing up on time and awake.  I wonder if the quiz I started class with on Wednesday had anything to do with it….

Age of IronAnyway, I’ve been a bit distracted, but I’m working on some things.  I’m reading Age of Iron by Angus Watson, which is up for a Gemmell Morningstar Award.  I’ve not gotten far, so I’m reserving any comments for the review.  I’m also reading for my next BAF post at Black Gate.  This is the Lin Carter edited anthology The Young Magicians.  Now that I’ve made it through the James Branch Cabell story, I should make better progress on it.

So unless something happens, I’m probably not going to have much to post about until next week.

The Rest of the Summer

The July 4th holiday, AKA Independence Day, is fast  approaching, which means for me that the summer is half over.  I’ve done a bit of traveling but that’s about to stop for the most part.

I’ll be teaching a class the second summer term, which starts on Tuesday.  It’s at 8:00 a.m.  That’s early, but that’s okay.  I’m tanned, I’m rested, I’m ready.  What that means is I’ll have a lot less free time on my hands.

Twelve Kings in SharakhaiCurrent projects are to finish Bradley Beaulieu’s new novel, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai.  I’ll do that in a bit and try to get the review up tomorrow night.  (Spoiler:  It’s awesome.)

I’ve not done a BAF post in a while, but I’ll start on the next book this weekend.  I’m going to try to read the short fiction that’s up for the Hugo that I’d not already read when the ballot was announced.  Ditto for the Gemmell Awards.  I won’t be able to finish everything on the Gemmell ballot before the deadline, but I’ll at least get a couple of books out of the way.

Aeronaut's WindlassI was accepted into the Ace Roc Stars program earlier this year.  What that basically means is that i get advanced copies of most of the upcoming books by either Ace or Roc.  The first batch of titles didn’t have much that interested me, but the second batch is a gold mine.  The first volume in Jim Butcher’s new series, the second Lizzie Borden novel by Cheri Priest, a couple of new fantasy novels and the first volumes in some space opera series.

In addition I”ll be trying to read as much fantasy, science fiction, and crime as possible.  I want to read as many of the Shamus Award nominees as I can.  Anyway, that’s what’s going on with reviewing and blogging.  Writing I’ll discuss in another post once i have some things in better shape.

An Evening with Peter S. Beagle and The Last Unicorn

20150415_185732If you’ve not read any of the works of Peter S. Beagle, what are you doing wasting your time reading this?  Go get some.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

If you have, then you’ll understand what a pleasure it was to visit with him and watch a screening of The Last Unicorn a couple of nights ago.  That’s him in front of the screen taking questions from the audience.  The Last Unicorn is the novel that made his reputation, but he’s written other works, especially short fiction in the last 20 years, that are all fantastic.

The Last Unicorn was published by Ballantine Books in 1968.  It wasn’t part of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, but it’s generally considered a precursor of the series, and later editions have the unicorn head colophon. Continue reading

Too Many Irons in the Fire

too-many-irons-in-the-fireJust a quick update.  This past week has been Spring Break, and I’m still waiting for the break part to begin.  This week has involved several days of unexpected travel.  (No, I didn’t go to the beach.  Or the mountains, either.)

I’m less than 75 pages from finishing several books, including the next title in the BAF series I’m doing for Black Gate.  I’m about halfway through Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning, and I’m making progress on a book for a major post that I’m not ready to talk about.

So, no, I haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth.  I’ve just got too many things going on.

Two Posts at Black Gate That Might Interest You

I’ve had a couple of posts at Black Gate recently that might be of interest to some of you.

What Rough BeastFirst, I’ve reviewed the weird western What Rough Beast, but James A. Moore and Charles R. Rutledge.  This chapbook has both a solid story as well as some superb production values.  And some monsters with a surprisingly understandable motivation.

The other post is the latest in my series covering the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series.  The topic in this one is James Branch Cabell’s Figures of Earth.

Check them out if they’re something you might be interested in.

Clark Ashton Smith Turns 122

ClarkAshtonSmithToday marks the 122nd anniversary of Clark Ashton Smith’s birth.  He was one of the Big Three of Weird Tales, the other two being H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard (but then I probably don’t need to tell you that).

Like Howard, Smith was also a poet as well as a fiction writer.  (Yes, Robert E. Howard wrote poetry, some of the best I’ve ever read.)  Unlike Howard, Smith’s fiction has a complexity to it Howard’s lacked, especially in word choice.  Isaac Asimov went on record complaining that he didn’t like reading Smith because he had to keep looking words up in the dictionary.  (You see, kids, in the dark days before computers we had these things called dictionaries and when you didn’t know a word, you went to the dictionary and…ah, never mind.)  And if Asimov had to look it up, then you know it probably wasn’t on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

smithPortrait01In spite of the work involved at times, Smith is still very much a writer worth reading.  I’ll be tackling at least one of his collections later this year for the posts I’m doing at Black Gate on the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series.  There were four now highly collectible volumes of Smith’s work published as part of the BAF series.  In fact the very first BAF book I ever owned was Smith’s Hyperborea.  I’ve only dipped into Smith’s works a little, but he was a writer of wild imagination.  We could use more like him today.

I Review Lud-in-the-Mist and The Book of Feasts and Seasons

Lud in the Mist front coverPart of the reason I’ve not posted much in the past week other than a few things Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is that I’ve been working on my other blogging gigs. (The rest of the reason is that Holiday Madness has totally disrupted my schedule.)

Over at Black Gate, the latest in my series on the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series is up.  The book in question is the wonderful Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees.  I really liked this one.  It was written before the tropes of modern fantasy had really been established.  As such, it had a freshness to it that many novels published these days don’t have.

Book of Feasts and SeasonsAlso, for Amazing Stories, I looked at John C. Wright’s The Book of Feasts and Seasons.  This is a short story collection that is centered around a number of holidays and feasts throughout the year.  Wright is an author I’ve begun reading in the last six months, although I had seen his books around for years.  I find him to be a writer of great heart and depth.  I’ll be reviewing more of his work over the course of the next year.

I Look at The Spawn of Cthulhu

Lovecraft Spawn Cthulhu frontMy latest post on the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series at Black Gate is up.  It’s over The Spawn of Chthulu, edited by Lin Carter.  Here’s the link to it.

This a collection of stories centered around Lovecraft’s “The Whisperer in Darkness”.  All of the stories that follow have some connection to Lovecraft’s tale.  I take a look at all of them.  If you’re into Lovecraft, check it out.

The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard: “The Children of the Night”

Howard HorrorThe Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard
Robert E. Howard
Del Rey
trade paper $18.00
ebook Kindle $11.59 Nook $13.99

I read this story for the first time recently in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy collection The Spawn of Cthulhu.  (The subject of my next BAF post for Black Gate.)  Just from the title, I could have sworn I’d read it before, but I think I would have remembered this one.

“The Children of the Night” was first published in Weird Tales in the April-May issue of 1931.  It’s an interesting little story in that it ties two of Howard’s series characters in with H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Continue reading