Weird Tales (Rough Edges): I’ve been meaning to read Henry Kuttner’s Elak of Atlantis stories for a long time now, and I’m getting to the age where I’m feeling a bit more urgency about getting around to the things I want to do.

Star Wars (Nerdrotic): The Acolyte is everything Kathleen Kennedy’s Lucasfilm wants and it is truly Disney Star Wars in it’s final form.

Cinema/Firearms (Isegoria): I recently re-watched Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time in decades, and I noticed that the film takes place in 1936 — which got me thinking about the year and what didn’t fit. Read More

The arrival of the electronic format of text and print on demand has allowed a flourishing of the small press. Niche genres that the Big 5 would not look at can be presented economically.

Savage Realms April 2024 is if I am correct, the 28th issue of the magazine. I salute their hard work the past three years. A friend of mine who published a very good non-fiction small press publication in the 00s said to me that “A magazine is a ravenous beast that has to be fed.” Read More

Every week, the Castalia House Blog spotlights some of the many new releases in independent, pulp, and web novel-influenced science fiction and fantasy.

The Burned Book (Arkwright Cycle #1) – Brian Niemeier

An outcast boy with a terrible secret …

A disillusioned priest seeking release from fate …

The restless son of a fading race seeking his destiny …

Thrown together by chance, their historic quest will span a continent. And change all worlds forever.

Zebrin wanders the human-dominated mainland, having fled his people’s rigid island refuge.

Alone in barbaric lands, he yearns to find himself in those his race shuns.

But when an ambitious emperor drafts him for a harrowing mission to the farthest ends of the world, will he discover and embrace his divine calling? Or will the kingdom he was ordained to save fall?

The answer lies in The Burned Book.

The Last Ship (Galaxy In Flames #2) – Nicholas Sansbury Smoth

Held captive by Dark Horse Company, Captain Axel Finn is faced with a mission to humanity’s ancestral home after all contact with the planet is lost. Learning his mother might be hiding there, Axel agrees to help his adversaries, and deploy on Vengeance, the last Steward ship. But his decision might lead to his downfall if the Wrath have already arrived on Earth.

On the treacherous Wooly planet of Dari, bounty hunter Rangnar Soki becomes the prey, finding himself the target in a deadly game of survival. His path to rejoin the Axel’s crew hinges on passing a test of Dari’s most revered guardian. Meanwhile, the surviving crew of the Trash Squid faces their own struggles to repair their damaged ship and leave Dari to find Captain Finn.

At the Citadel, Sergeant Jax Brito returns from her harrowing mission on Corinnia after drilling into a construct brimming with alien embryos. This grim discovery sends shockwaves through the CANDF ranks, and reality dawns on them all: the countdown to the Wrath invasion was wrong, it has already started, and no part of the galaxy is safe.

Shield of Darkness (The Shield War #2) – Johnathan Moeller

War is coming between the Shield Knight and the Exarch. But neither sees the dark power manipulating the battle from the shadows.

To drive the Exarch from her stronghold on the Isle of Kordain, Ridmark is gambling on a bold strategy – to reach the Isle through the twisting caverns of the Deeps.

But the caverns of the Deeps are filled with deadly dangers and deeper mysteries.

And disturbing one of those mysteries might wake a darkness to dwarf even the Exarch herself…

Read More

Fantasy (Rageaholic): The Witcher vs. Elric: Popular Plagiarism

Games (Bounding Into Comics): To the surprise of no one without a grain of sense, Japanese players are not happy with Ubisoft’s decision to use Assassin’s Creed‘s first official foray into the island nation as a platform for more ‘diversity activism’.

Comic Books (Paperback Warrior): Gold Key marched out their sword-and-sorcery comic, Dagar the Invincible in October 1972 with the blurb “Tales of Sword and Sorcery”. The entire series was visually created by artist Jesse Santos and written by Donald F. Glut. It ran a total of 19 issues with two issues reprinting the debut (#19 published under the Whitman brand).

Streaming (Nerdrotic): “ARE THEY TROLLING?!” ‘Rings of Power’ Season 2 Inspired by *sigh* BREAKING BAD…

Cinema (Frontier Partisans): There are three storylines that look to converge on a nascent townsite in the San Pedro Valley of Arizona — the titular “Horizon.” I say “look to converge” because after three hours, they still haven’t yet. That’s left to the next chapters in this purportedly four-part cinematic epic. So, what we have in this first installment is a whole lot of foundation with no resolution. None at all. Read More

I have read foreign language fantasy translated into English when I find them. DAW Books had some translations of French writer Daniel Walther. The anthology Terra SF II (DAW Books, 1983) had more fantasy than science fiction, all from European writers. I have wanted to read the two novels of Norwegian writer Egil Rasmussen for a while. No translations into English sadly.

Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski has taken off more than any other non-English writing fantasy writer.

The Witcher has been available in English translation in the U.S. since 2009. There has been the game and the Nexflix series since 2019. I have not seen the Netflix series nor played the game. Read More

Every week, the Castalia House Blog spotlights some of the many new releases in independent, pulp, and web novel-influenced science fiction and fantasy.

Daughter Of The Night – Toby Neighbors

She didn’t ask to be taken

She didn’t go looking for power

Now she’ll have to choose a side and live with consequences… if she can.

Azree’el has nothing and knows very little of the world when she’s sold to a hunter for bait. The Heterrids were human once before their DNA was stolen and subjected to massive gene editing. Eventually, they were discarded on a planet to be hunted by the Vanj who drove them underground in search of safety. But Azree’el is about to be taken to the surface, to face mortal danger at the hands of their sworn enemies. But maybe she’ll surprise everyone. Maybe she’ll find a way off world and discover there’s much more to this Daughter of the Night than anyone ever knew.

Emissaries of Deceit (The Vanished #4) – Jay Barnson

Love, War, and Politics in the Land of Monsters

As their enemies circle ever closer to their hidden refuge of Alcort, Aiden and Lyselia must embark on a desperate secret mission to contact members of Lyselia’s noble family. The plots of ambitious nobles and military officers may prove more dangerous than the monsters lurking within the Frontier. Completely out of his depth, Aiden must rely upon Lyselia’s loyalty and skill in navigating political intrigue if either of them are to return to Alcort alive—let alone hold back the oncoming tide of an inevitable war.

Literary Outlaw #3 – edited by John Graves

What would you do if the Antichrist moved into your neighborhood? That’s the premise of The Man Who Did Nothing by New York Times bestselling author Karen Traviss. You don’t want to miss this perceptive tale from a modern science fiction master.

In The Summer of Grunge by John Graves, a young man finds a rare comic book in his late grandfather’s attic and dreams of the fortune that will soon be coming his way, but he soon discovers that life doesn’t always work out the way we plan.

This issue also includes classic stories by H.P. Lovecraft, Booth Tarkington, a serialized novel by Thornton Wilder, and 27 pages of uncanny comics! Read More

Science Fiction (William Emmons Books): This installment of the Official William Emmons Books Newsletter is a look at the October 1949 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. I’ll be getting into the meat of the issue in this post. But since this is the first full issue of Astounding I’ve reviewed here, I’ll start by laying down some background on where this issue fits into the long life of Astounding.

Pulp (Rough Edges): I’ve gotten interested in the obscure pulp author Henry Treat Sperry, probably because when I looked him up on the Fictionmags Index, I noticed something odd. His first published story was “Hands Beyond the Grave” in the September 1934 issue of TERROR TALES, the first issue of that iconic Weird Menace pulp.

Pastiche (Sprague de Camp Fan): The Banquet of Souls” by Steven Savile is the second Solomon Kane adventure in this Heroic Legends e-book series. Beside these two e-books put out by Titan Books, there were at least two other non-Robert E. Howard Solomon Kane tales published fairly recently. One by Nancy Collins and one by Paul De Filippo. Read More

Around 42-43 years ago, had you gone to a chain bookstore like Walden Books or B. Dalton Bookseller at your local mall, there would be a good sized shelf of Andre Norton books.

“Andre” Norton, born Alice (1912-2005) was a writer that started out more in the young adult market but became one of Donald Wollheim’s mainstays for Ace and DAW Books.

The Witch World series was one of those “fantasy” series you would find. At the time Ace had reprinted the Lancer Conan series, Ace had Fritz Leiber’s “Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser” series. Who can forget how popular Roger Zelazny’s “Amber” series was? Read More

Every week, the Castalia House Blog spotlights some of the many new releases in independent, pulp, and web novel-influenced science fiction and fantasy.

Defiance of the Fall #13 – J. F. Brink

War has arrived to Zecia.

Zac returns from the Perennial Vastness, finding Earth already embroiled in war. The Kan’Tanu Cult is pouring into the sector, determined to make it theirs. The System is fanning the flames with treasures and opportunities, using the conflict to choose candidates for its trial.

A strong arm and a sharp axe isn’t enough to keep Earth safe. Zac has to secure the resources and alliances necessary for his empire, all while dealing with the fallout of Leandra’s schemes.

But who can he trust? The appearance of the Ultom Courts has set the Multiverse astir. Powerful outsiders are flocking to Zecia in search of fortune, where the local Sealbearers are prey. One wrong move and it’s over.

The Fabricator’s Mask (The Queen’s Blade #6) – D. K. Holmberg

A strange land brings deadly new dangers. 

Surrounded by the power of fabrications, Zaren must protect Prince Dorian as he finalizes the trade agreement with Ardem.

When his apprentice is attacked, and Zaren finds a strange fabrication, he starts to question the real reason behind the trade.

All is not as it seems. Zaren may be the key to ensuring the success of the delegation—and saving all of Ardem.

But can they trust the Queen’s Blade?

Farthest Reaches – Brandon Ellis and Max Wolfe

Earth’s only chance for survival rests in the hands of one ship…

…None of its crew are prepared for what is to come.

Space Force’s first interstellar mission, Captain Scott Moore is set to lead the first starship to venture outside our solar system, the U.S.S AtlantaDespite years of preparation, an unintended explosion takes Moore’s ship across the galaxy with no hope of returning.

Stranded in the void, Moore and his crew must discover a way home. But out amongst the stars, we are not alone.

When attempts to communicate with an alien race fail, a war begins… one that will spell the end of humanity.

Read More

Weird Tales (Tellers of Weird Tales): Three stories appeared in Weird Tales under the byline “Houdini.” I have nominated Otis Adelbert Kline as the author of the first, “The Spirit Fakers of Hermannstadt” (two-part serial, Mar.-Apr. 1924). John Locke has offered Harold Ward as possible author of the second, “The Hoax of the Spirit Lover” (Apr. 1924). The third story, “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs” (May/June/July 1924), is known to have been the work of H.P. Lovecraft.

Fiction (Paperback Warrior): Max Brooks hit a home run with his first novel, World War Z, in 2006 proving that he was an author with a knack for innovative military combat fiction. His 2024 release is a 50-page novella called Tiger Chair about an imagined Chinese invasion of the USA’s western coast.

Conan (Rough Edges): For years, though, I’ve been meaning to read John C. Hocking’s novel CONAN AND THE EMERALD LOTUS, which has a pretty favorable reputation even among Howard’s most devoted fans. I believe it was Morgan Holmes who first told me that Hocking’s book is the best of the Conan pastiches published by Tor. I should have gotten around to it long before now, especially since the author comments from time to time on this very blog. Read More

There is more sword & sorcery from a writer normally associated with a different genre. This time it is James Reasoner who is well known for westerns and some well regarded crime novels.

“Washed ashore on a jungle-choked island in the delta at the mouth of the great Jehannamun River, Jorras Trevayle has survived an attack by pirates only to find himself in a desperate race to rescue a beautiful young woman from the sinister plans of an evil sorcerer and save himself from becoming the prey of a Nloka Maccumba—one of the giant serpents raised by the inhabitants of this bizarre, perilous land. Read More

Every week, the Castalia House Blog spotlights some of the many new releases in independent, pulp, and web novel-influenced science fiction and fantasy.

Ghost Signal (Rift Warrior #2) – B. V. Larson

Acheron Colony was supposed to be humanity’s greatest windfall. Using long-range sensors, the planet tested out as a super-earth—but the reality is frightening. Instead of finding a green world bursting with life, the colonists find a dead rock covered in ash. Something has dismantled every organic molecule on Acheron—and no one knows how or why.

When a mysterious signal that defies explanation begins to pulse from an alien ruin, the colonists panic. Something ancient was here long before them, and the signal, like a heartbeat, won’t let them forget it.

Alien-built guardians arise, marching on the unsuspecting humans. Fearful they will be erased just like the last civilization, the colonists call to Earth for help. Special forces operative Dane Tanner of XCU responds to their pleas. Dispatched to Acheron with time running out, Tanner and the colonists must decode the Ghost Signal to either shut down the murderous guardians or harness their power.

A Grift Too Far (Rex Nihilo #6) – Robert Kroese

Join the galaxy’s most notorious con man, Rex Nihilo, and his ever-loyal, ever-exasperated robot sidekick, Sasha, in their craziest adventure yet! Marooned on a planet whose inhabitants have modeled their civilization on World War II movies, Rex and Sasha have only one hope of escape: unearth a secret cache of weapons that’s been hidden somewhere on the planet.

The war is make-believe, but Rex and Sasha’s predicament is all-too-real, and to get off Yurp the duo find that they have no choice but to beat the Yurpians at their own game. With Rex’s cunning schemes and Sasha’s dry wit, they’re prepared to turn the tide of history—over and over again.

Can Rex and Sasha pull off the ultimate grift and escape Yurp? Or will they become permanent fixtures in the planet’s never-ending wartime farce?

Phantom Whispers #1 – edited by Ian Nol

Spaceships, tanks fighting pig men, shapeshifting forest monsters, inter-dimensional cartoon characters, and psychic ghosts abound. Heed the whisper in your ear, step out into the void, and enjoy you’re journey into the zany, bizarre, disturbing, and otherworldly.

Phantom Whispers is a short story anthology magazine made by independent writers in the pulp tradition of old fantasy, sci-fi, and horror fanzines. We’re proud to announce our first volume, featuring stories by Ian Nol, JD Sauvage, Robert Garron, Hermann Morr, and Rawle Nyanzi, with wonderful hand-drawn art by the talented Scribbles n’ Bits.

Read More