I like to read books on paleontology. I used to read Peter Ward’s books a couple decades back. Bakker’s The Dinosaur Heresies and Adrian Desmond’s The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs are on my shelves. One recent book that is garnering attention is Thomas Halliday’s Otherlands. The book was released on February 1, 2022 from Random House.

I heard about this book around May. I checked, the local library has a copy of it but it was checked out, and checked out, and checked out. It was checked out this summer two different times for five weeks! If you check out a book from the library, read the thing.

The book is divided into sixteen chapters in 416 pages (6 1/8 x 9 ¼ inches). Halliday works his way backwards starting with the Mammoth Steppe in Alaska at the end of the Pleistocene. Each chapter is a different epoch or period with a specific setting. Read More

Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense #12 – edited by P. Alexander

Daredevil Dylal O’Lal desires the impossible: to put his footprint on the surface of the sun! Though most insist it cannot be done, the existence of a young woman who proves to be wholly impervious to flames suggests his ultimate feat is achievable!

Ripped by magic from the frozen world of the primitive cavemen, Vran finds himself in even stranger environs! Can he track down the foul wizard Foad Misjak within the halls of a giant castle that is teeming with cannibals and magically animated statues!?

The Strickland Line has a bug problem! Journalist Harv Wallender is accosted by a nasty critter… Quite the inconvenience! But then the critter starts to grow…!

..and more!

He Who Fights with Monsters #7 – Travis Deverell as Shirtaloon

Jason arrives at a kingdom in peril and he’s surprised to discover that it’s not his job to save it.

With the authorities fulfilling their responsibilities (for once), he looks forward to some quiet time to rest and recuperate.

The locals might not find ceaseless monster onslaughts and an inter-dimensional invasion relaxing, but Jason has had a rough few years. He’s doing his best to let go of his anger.

While his team is caught up in duty, Jason has no shortage of people looking to interfere with his rest. Enemies–old and new–are circling, and even would-be allies are trouble. A princess finds him inconveniently alive, an ancient king arrives at his barbecue, and the local Church of Fertility are uncomfortably enthusiastic about including him in their practices. As his friends strive to reach him from the far side of the world, they are all frustrated by obstacles.

Jason is finally back in the world he longed for, but he is not the same man he was when he left. As the pressure on him mounts, allies and enemies alike will find that out the hard way.

KTF: Part One (Galaxy’s Edge #17) – Jason Anspach and Nick Cole

The Savage Wars never ended.

As Kill Team Victory and General Chhun take control of the cities on Kima, a war every bit as spiritual as it is physical rages in the deepest parts of galaxy’s edge. The Legion, and the Republic military at large, struggle to deal with a sudden multitude of planetary invasions and uprisings — with rumors of mysterious ships breaking the peace achieved by Article Nineteen.

Meanwhile Captain Aeson Keel continues his search for Prisma, aided by friends from both his past and present. But only mankind’s oldest ally can hold back the tide of ultimate destruction. For an unknown darkness is closing in, and the Republic once again stands on the threshold of galactic war.

Mark of the Fool – J. M. Clarke

The gods chose him. He said no.

After his parents died, Alex Roth had one desire: become a wizard. Through hard work, he was accepted into the University of Generasi, the world’s greatest academy of wizardry…

Fate, however, had other plans.

On his eighteenth birthday, he is Marked by prophecy as one of his kingdom’s five Heroes, chosen to fight the Ravener, his land’s great enemy. But his brand is ‘The Fool’. Worst of the marks.

Rather than die or serve other Heroes like past Fools, he takes a stand, rejects divine decree…and leaves. With his little sister, his childhood friend, and her cerberus, Alex flees for the university, hoping to research the mystery of the Ravener. He’ll make lifelong friends, learn magic from mad wizards, practice alchemy, fight mana vampires and try to pay tuition.

There’s one small problem. The Mark insists on preventing the Fool from learning and casting spells, while enhancing skills outside of divinity, combat, and spellcraft…

…that is, unless he learns to exploit the hell out of it. Read More

Celziz plans to denounce Teriz, a royal guard of Alness, as a traitor who shirked his duty as the city fell! Jalani hopes that Mangos can stop him before it gets him killed!

Mangos is the Mongoose, a skilled, boastful, and hotheaded swordsman, while Kat is the Meerkat, a beautiful yet mysterious woman who favors the oblique approach to her well-chosen blade. Together, they’ll take on any job to keep their purses full and their cups overflowing.

And, for the first time, Mangos speaks in his own words. This is a  fitting development, as Mangos has been the perspective character that the narrator follows throughout the series. Here, it heightens his separation from everyone else in the story, for, in all things Alnessi, Mangos is an outsider struggling to understand. It also showcases his character arc, as Mangos’s adventures have given the hot-headed swordsman a contemplative side.

Swords, after all, are no use when you are trying to keep a friend from throwing his life away. Read More

T.V. (IGN): Aware of what Sapochnik was accomplishing on Game of Thrones, Condal asked if he would want to develop a Conan series with him and immediately agreed. “He was then off making Thrones for a year,” he explains. “I was writing scripts and sending them to him and he was sending me feedback.We wrote three scripts and a Bible for that show. And then it was unceremoniously jettisoned over there when Lord of the Rings happened.”

Horror (Too Much Horror Fiction): The stories collected in Nest of Nightmares (Sphere Books, March 1986, creeeeepy baby bird cover art by Nick Bantock) exist in a homey, cozy world… until, of course, those threads begin to unwind and fray and snap, launching the (always) female protagonist into a stratosphere of pain, guilt, loss, death.

Sword & Sorcery (thepulp.net): “Two Sought Adventure” takes a look at the 80 years of Fritz Leiber’s characters Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Presenting are Jason Aiken and Morgan Holmes. It was recorded Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, at PulpFest 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Read More

Good sword & sorcery fiction has a strong horror element. It becomes Lin Carter when it doesn’t. What is more natural than putting the sword with Halloween, that spookiest of Celtic holidays?

DMR Books has a forthcoming anthology of new fiction, Samhain Sorceries. The book contains 10 stories in 210 pages.

Keith Taylor is the master of Irish sword & sorcery since the 1970s. Felimid McFal, hero of five novels and scattered stories returns to venture in a boat on Samhain’s eve to open a metaphysical gate with some evil spirits. Read More

Sgt. Hawk: Under Attack is book 3 in Patrick Clay’s “Sgt. Hawk” series. Leisure Books originally published the book in 1981.

The opening chapter is a bitter fight on an island against well entrenched Japanese troops on a mountainside. Hawk uses a flame thrower in cleaning out one machine gun emplacement.

Chapter 2 has Hawk’s battalion in landing craft on their way for a short break in New Guinea. Things get bad when the LST carrying almost all the officers is sunk by a Japanese sub. The depleted battalion lands in the port of New Oss in a fictional area of New Guinea called Malang. A review of the situation has only two surviving offices, a captain is who is an attorney who deals with men who went AWOL and a major who is the battalion chaplain. There is a Sergeant Major who outranks Hawk but incompetent and useless. Read More

A friendly reminder to everyone that, unlike many bloggers who mysteriously stop blogging, I have NOT disappeared. You can find my work periodically on the Pinkerton’s Ghosts youtube channel.

But enough of that now. Today we’re here to discuss something else. I found a new book! Normally not news, except that I REALLY, really loved this book.

Seriously. This is the best book I’ve read in years. I was blown away. I read it in two days, sneaking peeks at it on break at work.

That book is “The Eighth Arrow”, by Fr. J. Augustine Wetta, O.S.B.

Read More

Rings of Power (Samuel D. James): Well, after watching the first two episodes, I can report that Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel The Rings of Power is neither as good as its advertising claims, nor as bad as its critics insist. Like many—perhaps most—other pop culture artifacts of the streaming era, it is mostly a collection of juxtapositions: gorgeously staged, but tepidly written; epic in scope, but often predictable.

RPG Magazines (Grognardia): Issue #49 of White Dwarf, with its cover by Angus McKie, is dated January 1984. Editor Ian Livingstone uses this (in)auspicious date to muse briefly about George Orwell’s influential novel and the role RPGs might play in fending off Big Brother.

Fiction (Nick Diak): Vanguard literary magazine Weird Tales pioneered pulp, cosmic horror and sword and sorcery stories. Their upcoming issue, #366, is devoted to tales of heroic fantasy with new stories, poems, and essays contributing to the contemporary fantasy canon. A few contributors to this sword and sorcery special issue have graciously shared tidbits of their poems and stories along with relationship with the genre. Read More

A fairly new small press publication is Savage Realms. It is a magazine with an ambitious monthly schedule.

Their website states:

“Savage Realms Monthly is a new sword and sorcery magazine for fans of R.E. Howard, Karl Edward Wagner, and Michael Moorcock, featuring heroic tales of savage barbarians, evil wizards, and beautiful maidens. We aim to revitalize the Sword and Sorcery genre with brand new tales of adventure from some of today’s most talented authors. Our first issue is scheduled to land in January and will be available in Kindle and print formats.”

Issue # 1 is dated January 2021. 110 pages, 5 x 8 inch format. Contents include four stories. Read More

Some complain about the culture. Others do something about it.

Support non-woke authors and get yourself some great books from both established and emerging talent for only $0.99 – many titles free! It’s a sale too big for just one blog post, three sales in one!

It’s that time of year again, where author Hans G. Schantz (of The Hidden Truth series) brings together an ever-increasing band of authors for one of the largest sales in science fiction and fantasy. Featuring a wide assortment of conservative, centrist, and just plan apolitical writers, this Fall’s sale celebrates not only the vast array of independent and small publisher fiction not subject to the insanity of New York trends, but also the return of BasedCon.

And, most importantly for readers, hundreds of titles are offered, all either 99 cents or free. This sale is usually a weekend sale, but individual authors may choose to extend the savings even longer.

Read More

Arminius, Bane of Eagles (War on Rome #1) – Adrian Cole

Swords clash with ancient sorcery in this first volume of ADRIAN COLE’S epic alternative world trilogy.

Set in an alternative Romano-Celtic Europe, ARMINIUS, BANE OF EAGLES opens with the murder of young Claudius, 14 year old brother of Germanicus, during the last years of the reign of Augustus Caesar, ruler of the vast Roman Empire.

In this world, Arminius, the Germanic tribal leader and destroyer of three entire Roman legions in the Teutoburger forest, and Germanicus, ambitious Roman conqueror and potential heir to the Empire, avoid assassination attempts and set out on a course that will eventually see them clash in a war that will shake the foundations of their world.

Their battles and campaigns are brought vividly to life as history twists and turns down ever darker passageways, where sorcery and elemental forces collide with the Roman war machine, and the conspiracies of the Via Tenebrarum, a secret cult dedicated to the elder gods of Old Night and whose web enmeshes a world, weave a corrupt future for humanity.

Set in the forbidding landscape of the Germanic forests, across the northern seas, in the far reaches of Caledonia and mysterious regions of Britannia, to the heart of Rome itself, WAR ON ROME races to a dramatic climax that will determine the history of European generations to come.

Character Creation (Mystic Seasons Upload #1) – William Myrl

Hollen doesn’t want to die, and that’s weird.

As an Artificial Intelligence operating as the help function for Mystic Seasons: Mythopoeia, the world’s premier Full Immersion RPG, Hollen shouldn’t care that his server is being downsized, but he does. He issues a quest to a new player to find a way to keep him alive, and together they discover hidden aspects of the game. But Hollen isn’t the only AI trying to escape.

Acarus, an in-game god, has developed a virus to infect players and propagate into the real world. Can Hollen find a new host before the server crashes or the moderators delete them all?

The Futility of Intent (The Anisian Convergence #4) – Mike Wyant, Jr.

To avoid the truth of her origins, Lieutenant Dee Terganon has thrown herself into wiping out the last bastions of demons on Laconia. But the strange, dark power she can harness is changing her. Her nails are falling off, and her skin is growing yellow and scaly like the beasts she hunts.

On the other side of the galaxy, the planet Shiva lays cracked open like an egg, ripe for mining. Ceriat and Eleni, searching for a new home far away from the turmoil, make the last faster-than-light jump in the galaxy. But instead of arriving at Earth as planned, they fall out of FTL around Laconia, amidst utter chaos. Hundreds of ships have all appeared in the same space, and as they crash and fight, Ceriat and his crew ‘escape’ to the surface in a ball of flame.

Meanwhile, seated on a throne of corpses on Laconia’s moon, the genetically modified demon, Argus One, watches the chaos with his eyeless face.

And laughs. Read More

The Return of Sgt. Hawk by Patrick Clay was originally published by Leisure Books in 1980. It has been just been reissued by Rough Edges Press. The novel starts soon after a landing in the Philippines by Hawk’s Marine regiment. They are a lone Marine regiment amide army troops on the island of Lamare. My guess is “Lamare” is a stand in for Lyete.

The Marines take a town and Hawk becomes friendly with an American girl and her mother. The Japanese counterattack and the U.S. lines fall back. Hawk is worried about the girl and her family while the U.S. forces stall. Hawk’s company is sent to a salient where they discover first dumps of American supplies and then find gold bars. An artillery barrage obliterates two of the Marine platoons. Hawk leads his platoon into Japanese lines to as it appears the Army commander, Gen. Kravanart is out to kill them. He is. The finding of the gold and American supplies has sealed their death warrant. Kravanart even sends out a recon squad to kill Sgt. Hawk. Read More