Marion Zimmer Bradley was a bestselling science fiction author, a feminist icon, and was awarded the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. She was best known for the Arthurian fiction novel THE MISTS OF AVALON and for her very popular Darkover series.

She was also a monster.

THE LAST CLOSET: The Dark Side of Avalon is a brutal tale of a harrowing childhood. It is the true story of predatory adults preying on the innocence of children without shame, guilt, or remorse. It is an eyewitness account of how high-minded utopian intellectuals, unchecked by law, tradition, religion, or morality, can create a literal Hell on Earth.

THE LAST CLOSET is also an inspiring story of survival. It is a powerful testimony to courage, to hope, and to faith. It is the story of Moira Greyland, the only daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and convicted child molester Walter Breen, told in her own words.

*     *     *      *      *

From the Foreword by editor Vox Day:

And then, of course, there was the historical Breendoggle, a fifty-year-old debate among science-fiction fandom concerning whether a child molester, Walter Breen, should have been permitted to attend the science-fiction convention known as Pacificon II or not. Believe it or not, the greater part of fandom at the time was outraged by the committee’s sensible decision to deny Breen permission to attend the 1964 convention; science-fiction fandom continued to cover for the notorious pedophile even after his death in 1993. In “Conspiracy of silence: fandom and Marion Zimmer Bradley”, Martin Wisse wrote:

Why indeed did it take until MZB was dead for her covering for convicted abuser Walter Breen to become public knowledge and not just whispered amongst in the know fans. Why in fact was Breen allowed to remain in fandom, being able to groom new victims? Breen after all was first convicted in 1954, yet could carry out his grooming almost unhindered at sf cons until the late nineties. And when the 1964 Worldcon did ban him, a large part of fandom got very upset at them for doing so.

The fact that fandom had been covering for pedophiles for decades was deeply troubling. And yet, we would soon learn that this wrongness in science fiction ran even deeper than the most cynical critics suspected.

On June 3, 2014, a writer named Deirdre Saorse Moen put up a post protesting the decision of Tor Books to posthumously honor Tor author and World Fantasy Award-winner Marion Zimmer Bradley, on the basis of Bradley’s 1998 testimony given in a legal deposition about her late husband. When Moen was called out by Bradley fans for supposedly misrepresenting Bradley, she reached out to someone she correctly felt would know the truth about the feminist icon: Moira Greyland, the daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen.

Little did Moen know how dark the truth about the famous award-winning feminist was. For when Moira responded a few days later, she confirmed Moen’s statement about Marion Zimmer Bradley knowing all about her pedophile husband’s behavior. However, Moira also added that her famous mother had been a child molester as well, and that in fact, Bradley had been far more violently abusive to both her and her brother than Breen!

I will not say more about the harrowing subject of this book because it is the author’s story to tell, not mine. But I will take this opportunity to say something about the author, whom I have come to admire for her courage, for her faith, and most of all, for her ability to survive an unthinkably brutal upbringing with both her sanity and her sense of humor intact.

Play 1 | Allies – Me/Axis – Dad | Outcome – Overwhelming Allied Victory (Axis forfeit)

This play-through we used the advanced game with the following variations and special rules:

  • No roll required for Paratroopers to drop.
  • No roll required for 150 Commando armor to make 1st turn movement.
  • 2 x Day 1 SS Panzer Divisions held in reserve until afternoon of the first day.
  • Forgotten/unobserved rules
  • Die-roll shift for forts
  • Planes cannot offset

The Germans had a weak turn one start and failed to make significant progress, due to an inability to make a break-out on the first turn. Allies managed to hold key strategic and tactical positions long enough to seriously bog down German progress along Elsenborn, delaying key reinforcements. Read More

Just in time for Christmas, it is now possible to order print editions directly from Castalia House through our partnership with Aerbook. At least, it is if you happen to live in the USA. So, those of you who have indicated that you’d like an alternative to ordering from Amazon can now do so, and will even, in most circumstances, get a discount from $1 to $3 dollars, depending upon the book in question.

For example, the trade paperback of A THRONE OF BONES is $25.99 instead of the usual $27.99. You will also be able to purchase books from both my Reading List and my Recommended Books List, although that will take a little time to put together. The shipping costs are based on your location, but they are reasonable. In a very few cases, such as The Ames Archives by Peter Grant, the price is actually a little higher than the retail price because we set a lower than usual retail price and discount structure.

Not all of our books are in the system yet, but we’re working getting them in there. Castalia authors who are interested in selling their print editions from their own sites should get in touch, as we can put together widgets for your site that will pull the listings directly from the Castalia Direct Bookstore, including your books that we don’t publish. And, of course, this will be another way to buy the 24-page comics that we’ll be putting on the market next year.

Also, for those who might be interested, we’ve added a Japanese literature section which includes many of the books our chief editor has read in the last three years. And no, Vox Day has no idea why six different editions of Kokoro were available but not a single one of Sanshiro.

I suspect that’s probably more than a little bit uncomfortable. I bet he can toast marshmallows like nobody’s business, though.

The Evil Within 2 video game is NOT a ripoff of the “Resident Evil” series. People may say so, but they’re idiots who know nothing about games or game design, and their opinions should be summarily discarded. (As should their right to have any opinions at all.)

Read More

Fiction (Tolkien and Fantasy): “Fantasiae was, according to its initial subtitle, the “monthly newsletter of the Fantasy Association,” based out of Los Angeles. The first issue was dated April 1973, and the final issue was no. 103 (volume 9 no. 10) from October 1981. The editor for the entire run was Ian M. Slater, who also contributed many articles and book reviews.

In the fourth issue, July 1973, Cory Panshin had a letter which noted:

“From what I’ve observed, the recent spate of children’s quality paperbacks hasn’t been very heavy on fantasy. I wonder if the Fantasy Association includes anyone with publishing connections to do a reprint program of children’s fantasy similar to what Lin Carter has done for Adult Fantasy with Ballantine?” Read More

In the post-Civil War West, the railroads are expanding, the big money men are moving in, and the politicians they are buying make it difficult for a man to stand alone on his own. So, Walt Ames moves his wife, his home and his business from Denver to Pueblo. The railroads are bringing new opportunities to Colorado Territory, and he’s going to take full advantage of them.

Ambushed on their way south, Walt and his men uncover a web of corruption and crime to rival anything in the big city. And rough justice, Western-style, sparks a private war between Walt and some of the most dangerous killers he’s ever encountered, a deadly war in which neither friends nor family are spared.

Across the mountains and valleys of the southern Rocky Mountains, Walt and his men hunt for the ruthless man at the center of the web. Retribution won’t be long delayed… and it cannot be denied.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN RETRIBUTION is the second book in The Ames Archives, the Classic Western series that began with BRINGS THE LIGHTNING. Author Peter Grant is a military veteran, a retired pastor, and the author of The Maxwell Saga and The Laredo Trilogy.

*     *     *      *      *

Walt woke from an exhausted stupor to find Isom shaking him relentlessly. “Lewis and Sandy are headin’ back, boss. They must have seen them coming.”

He shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs from his brain as he sat up. “Thanks.”

They splashed water on their faces, then made sure the spare horses were still securely picketed. When Lewis and Sandy arrived, they formed a line inside the trees on the west side of the creek, their guns ready in their hands. Walt favored his Winchester rifle and Isom his shotgun, while the other two relied on revolvers.

“What did you see?” Walt asked.

Lewis handed him his spyglass. “Thanks for lettin’ us use that, boss. There’s four of them, drivin’ our seven hosses an’ a pack horse.”

“Four? Not five?”

“We only saw four, boss.”

“I hope the other one hasn’t turned off somewhere. You sure those horses are ours?”

“No doubt about it. I recognized at least four of ’em through that spyglass. I’ve ridden most of ’em before. Will’s hoss is still carryin’ his saddle.”

“That’s good enough for me.”

They tensed as the riders and horses appeared at the top of the gentle rise, heading down to the ford. Walt said softly, “Wait until they’re all in the water. Lewis, you and I will be on this side of the road. Isom, you and Sandy cross to the other side and cover them from there. Let me do the talking. If any of them show fight or try to run, shoot them down. Remember, they killed Will, so they don’t deserve any mercy.”

“Got it.” “Sure, boss.” “Yes, suh.” The replies came in ragged unison.

“All right. Let me make the first move.” Read More

The mid-1970s was a golden age for new artists coming on the scene: Tom Barber, Carl Lundgren, Doug Beekman, Richard Hescox, Steve Fabian etc. One of those whose career weathered the changes in book cover art is Stephen Hickman (b. 1949).

His website has this to say:

“Hickman’s work has earned him critical acclaim, including a World Science Fiction Convention’s Hugo Award, 6 Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists and 2 Spectrum Gold Awards.

Since 1976 Hickman has illustrated over 425 covers for Ace, Baen, Ballantine, Bantam, Berkeley, Dell, Del Rey, Doubleday, Phage Press, Tor, Warren Publications and others.

In 1988 Hickman wrote The Lemurian Stone (Ace Books), which formed the basis for his Pharazar Mythos illustrations, The Lion Pavillion, is one example, and is also reproduced along with The Archers, in the 1994 edition of Spectrum.

In 1994 he was awarded a Hugo Award from the World Science Fiction Convention for the United States Postal Service’s Space Fantasy Commemorative Booklet of stamps, the first official recognition by the government of the SF genre. “

Read More

The Promethean is an amazingly funny novel exposing the utter insanity of modern academia and the world of technology. An extraordinary tale of ambition, social justice, and human folly, it combines the mordant wit of W. Somerset Maugham with a sense of humor reminiscent of P.G. Wodehouse.

When American billionaire Henry Hockenheimer discovers that conquering the corporate world is no longer enough for him on the eve of his 40th birthday, he decides to leave his mark on the world by creating the first Superman, a robot as intellectually brilliant as it is physically capable. But his ideas are thwarted on every side by the most brilliant minds of the academic world, from the artificial intelligence researcher Dr. Vishnu Sharma to the wheelchair-bound head of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of Her Majesty’s Government’s Bio-Engineering Research Fund, Nkwandi Obolajuwan, and, of course, Dr. Sydney Prout, formerly of the United Nations, now Special Adviser on Human Rights to the European Union.

And when Hockenheimer succeeds, despite all of the incredible obstacles placed in his way, he discovers that success can be the cruelest failure of all.

Now in hardcover ($19.99) and paperback ($14.99).

From the reviews:

  • Anyone who has read Stanley’s previous book can imagine the kind of surreal humour that results. My favourite was the psychopathic Scots Professor of Extreme Celtic Studies…. Daes yer maither stitch, Asimov. If I have a complaint about the book, it’s that too much of it seems like real life these days.
  • Reading this you keep forgetting it is a novel and not an autobiography set in our current day. Aside from a bit of computing power and an improved battery what is described in the book as far as technology goes is possible today. On the political and satire side, the politics wouldn’t surprise you if they were to show up in tomorrow’s news, the satire is biting as the motives behind the politics are exposed to the light of day. The academic satire almost doesn’t qualify as satire given you can probably match it at any of our more liberal institutions today.
  • I liked this considerably more than Owen Stanley’s previous literary excursion. I imagine part of that is my own experience among academics, whom Mr. Stanley gives here a fine and well-deserved skewering indeed. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed The Missionaries. It even has the reappearance of a character or two.
  • Mr. Stanley has managed to outdo even his tremendous debut novel with this rollicking satirization of modern hyper-liberalism. A number of good philosophical questions get raised in a very subtle manner, and sacred cows are suitably self-gored. This was a very good, dark satirical story, which I’ll read again. First my sides have to cease hurting from the Gaelic Rules Philosophy played here.
  • No Sophomore slump here! If you have ever had the suspicion that the age we live in has gone mad, The Promethean will confirm that that you are not the only one that has noticed.

Humor is an often neglected aspect of science fiction and fantasy.  Not only does it significantly improve less serious works, but it can make deep, thoughtful stories more memorable and engaging.  However, if it were so simple, then every book in those genres would be a barrel of laughs, right?  Not only is there the tremendous difficulty of writing a funny joke, which must elicit laughter without a comedian’s timing or pantomime, but there are several other pitfalls we shall examine.

The Central Plot of the Story Should be Treated Seriously

This is vital.  I’ve praised Harry Harrison’s outstanding Stainless Steel Rat series before, which is constantly humorous.  And yet, the villains are as menacing and ruthless as they come, committing wanton murder and torture.  The stakes are high and the action scenes are as tense as any other work of action science fiction.  Even Douglas Adams, with his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, never treated the central plot as a joke.  Sure, the characters and situations might be humorous, but the central quest was serious and at times, even tragic.  This is also true of books in Pratchett’s Discworld series, where the villains are terrifying and the final act is classic high stakes adventure.

By contrast, the plots I’ve read in Scalzi’s work are silly and treated as childish nonsense.

Read More

This week’s roundup of the newest titles in science fiction features a murder mystery on a generations ship, captured space princesses, a reformed thug battling aliens in the back alleys of a dying world, and the return to publication of the eighth volume of the classic anthology There Will Be War.

*     *     *      *      *

The Black Flag (Crimson Worlds Successors #3) – Jay Allan

The Triumvirate. Three clones of Gavin Stark who survived their evil master’s destruction. Now they have cheated death again, downloading their minds into an alien intelligence, a relic of the First Imperium. For three decades they have worked, silently, diligently, preparing their forces for the day that would launch the final assault.

Erik Cain, the legendary hero of the Marines Corps, the man who killed the real Stark. For years he was a prisoner of the triumvirate’s minions, held in brutal captivity on a dark world. Now he is free, battered by his long nightmare but never bowed, ready for the final struggle.

Darius Cain, Erik’s son, dread warrior and commander of the feared Black Eagles, the greatest of the mercenary Companies. Darius and his forces freed Erik Cain, and together with his father and his long-estranged twin brother, he is ready to rally the free forces of human space.

From the barren ruins of shattered Earth to the farthest reaches of human habitation in the galaxy, the final battle has begun. The Cains and their comrades are outnumbered, but the blood of warriors flows in their veins, and they will never stop, no matter what the cost…not until the battle is won.

*     *     *      *      *

Capital Starship (Ixan Legacy #1) – Scott Bartlett

The Galaxy’s Doomed Without Him

The Ixa smashed the galaxy to bits before they were defeated. Captain Husher has sounded the alarm in the decades since: the Ixa’s creators will return to finish the job.

But unlike Husher, the galactic government didn’t battle the Ixa, and the politicians have convinced themselves that maintaining peace means limiting the ability to wage war.

Now, the enemy has returned, with high-tech weapons that prove they haven’t limited their own combat capabilities in the slightest. If Captain Husher and his beleaguered supercarrier crew can’t manage to stop the invaders, they will happily devour the galaxy whole.

*     *     *      *      *

Forgotten (The Forgotten #1) – M.R. Forbes

Sheriff Hayden Duke was born on the Pilgrim, and he expects to die on the Pilgrim, like his father, and his father before him.

That’s the way things are on a generation starship centuries from home. He’s never questioned it. Never thought about it. And why bother? Access points to the ship’s controls are sealed, the systems that guide her automated and out of reach. It isn’t perfect, but he has all he needs to be content.

Until a malfunction forces his Engineer wife to the edge of the habitable zone to inspect the damage.

Until she contacts him, breathless and terrified, to tell him she found a body, and it doesn’t belong to anyone on board.

Until he arrives at the scene and discovers both his wife and the body are gone.

The only clue? A bloody handprint beneath a hatch that hasn’t opened in hundreds of years.

Until now.

*     *     *      *      *

Grey Cat Blues – J. D. Cowan

Siege on the Shadow Planet!

Ex-punk Two Tone is left for dead and his friend is taken. His assailants: men of mud from some place darker than Hell!

The inscrutable Sarpedon has slithered from the depths to rule a planet that has long abandoned hope for a better tomorrow. With no one to stop his spree of violence, it is only a matter of time before Two Tone’s world is overrun.

Old friends and a mysterious beauty gather by his side, but are they enough? Is it too late for this dying world? If all cats are grey in the dark, will anyone see the panther stalking its prey? Two Tone will find the answers the best way he knows how—through his fists!

Grey Cat Blues tells the tale of a distant planet at humanity’s end. In this place, a man must choose between love and hate. And where his choice leads him might not be where he expects . .

*     *     *      *      *

A Looming Shadow (Galaxy Ascendant #2) – Yakov Merkin

The war is over, but true peace remains elusive.

It’s been six months since the High Lord’s destruction at the Battle of Dorandor, and the Galactic Alliance is at peace—nominally, at least. While the Tyrannodons have become members of the Alliance, and their wartime allies readmitted, the anger and resentment against them has only somewhat subsided, despite efforts by High Executor Darkclaw to make his people into a true part of the Alliance.

First Scion Dalcon Oresh, hailed as the hero of the war, is focused on tracking down the fallen Scions, led by his former mentor, who have not been seen in some time—along with a number of Tyrannodons who remain loyal to the destroyed High Lord.

When Dalcon finally locates his quarry, he, as well as Darkclaw and Grand Admiral Nayasar, who had been looking forward to peacetime for an opportunity to start a family, are drawn into the hunt. More troublesome, the world to which they tracked the fallen Scions lies outside of Alliance space, in the territory of the mysterious Revittan Empire—who consider any intrusion into their space an act of war.

While Dalcon, Darkclaw, and Nayasar struggle to track down their enemies in a situation that they increasingly realize they had not properly prepared for, trouble is brewing outside, and their direct subordinates, Executor Keeneye and Admiral Felivas, have to make decisions that could threaten the hard-won peace that they have only recently managed to achieve.

*     *     *      *      *

The Recognition Rejection (Recognition #2) – Henry Vogel

After beating almost insurmountable odds, Jeanine has laid claim to her birthright: the largest duchy in the Star Kingdom. As Jeanine’s sworn enemy, Princess Olivia, distances the royal family from direct confrontation with the new Duchess, a new enemy arises. When Jeanine and Olivia are both kidnapped, their husbands — Drake and Prince William — must bury the hatchet and work together to rescue the women they love.

The Recognition Rejection continues the star-spanning saga of royalty and revenge that began in Vogel’s award-nominated novel, The Recognition Run, with the same flair for exciting story-telling fans of Vogel’s previous best-selling space operas have come to know and love.

*     *     *      *      *

Star Warrior – Isaac Hooke

In a galaxy where the fabric of reality can be bent and shaped by a privileged few, and almost any skill desired is a mere injection away, one young man is thrust into the fight of his life.

Tane, a hydroponics farmer with some mad cereal crop gene-splicing skills, decides to get chipped. The operation gives him full control over his autonomic nervous and endocrine systems, plus the ability to install custom memories.

All seems well until a couple of days later aliens come knocking at his door. And they aren’t the friendly type.

Soon Tane finds himself on a frenzied flight across the galaxy with a woman who can warp the very fabric of spacetime, her bodyguard–who’d just as soon kill Tane than protect him–and a starship that calls him snarky pet names. He’s on the run not simply from the aliens but the whole damn human space navy.

He only wished he knew why.

*     *     *      *      *

Terra Nova (Terra Nova Chronicles #1) – Richard Fox and Josh Hayes

Terra Nova. The promised world is humanity’s new home, safe from the threats of a dangerous galaxy, where veterans of a long war could live in peace. The promise was a lie.

Chief Katherine “Kit” Carson, of the elite Pathfinder Corps, joins the mission as a last-minute replacement, hoping to put a spotty past behind her and build a new life on a brave new world.

The expedition arrives on Terra Nova, expecting to join the first wave of colonists, instead they find abandoned cities and are soon faced with a new, terrifying enemy humanity has never encountered before.

For the colony to survive, Carson must unravel the mystery of her new home and learn the fate of the first mission to settle the planet…

*     *     *      *      *

There Will Be War Volume VIII – Edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr

Created by the bestselling SF novelist Jerry Pournelle, THERE WILL BE WAR is a landmark science fiction anthology series that combines top-notch military science fiction with factual essays by various generals and military experts on everything from High Frontier and the Strategic Defense Initiative to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. It features some of the greatest military science fiction ever published, such Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” in Volume I and Joel Rosenberg’s “Cincinnatus” in Volume II. Many science fiction greats were featured in the original nine-volume series, which ran from 1982 to 1990, including Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Gordon Dickson, Poul Anderson, John Brunner, Gregory Benford, Robert Silverberg, Harry Turtledove, and Ben Bova.

33 years later, Castalia House has teamed up with Dr. Pournelle to make this classic science fiction series available to the public again. THERE WILL BE WAR is a treasure trove of science fiction and history that will educate and amaze new readers while reminding old ones how much the world has changed over the last three decades. Most of the stories, like war itself, remain entirely relevant today.

THERE WILL BE WAR Volume VIII is edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr, and features 21 stories, articles, and poems. Of particular note are “Surviving Armageddon” by Jerry Pournelle, the brilliantly inventive “Dinosaurs” by Geoffrey A. Landis, “As It Was In the Beginning” by Edward P. Hughes, and the haunting “Through Road No Whither” by Greg Bear.

*     *     *      *      *

Who Takes No Risk (The Frontiers Saga: Rogue Castes #7) – Ryk Brown

Old allies go dark…
New worlds join the fight…
A rescue from an enemy held world…
A lone operative with a dangerous plan…

The Karuzari finally have the support of an industrialized system, but they need time to build their forces. Unfortunately, time is the one thing they may not have.

Captain Scott now faces a difficult decision: To risk it all on a single roll-of-the-dice, or to turn his back on an old friend, and a plan that could buy them the time they so desperately need?

As you may recall, our objectives with regards to the comics industry go well beyond Alt★Hero. That may be our aircraft carrier, but our goal is not to sail around the metaphorical seas and do naval exercises while looking pretty, it is to actually sink ships, blow things up, and send in the Marines to take territory. One aspect of our larger strategy fell into place earlier this week, now here is a glimpse of another one.

In addition to creating our own content, we are signing comics that are being produced by others that we believe will be of potential interest to comics readers who are increasingly dissatisfied with the SJW-converged material that Marvel and DC Comics are trying to push on them. Below is a page from what will likely be the first comic that we will release through our new channel.

That’s right. We’re doing Wodehouse. We also have a pair of Lovecraft Noir works in the mix as well as a possible adaptation of a popular military science fiction series by one of Amazon’s bestselling authors. Just to be clear, none of this is utilizing any of the resources provided by the Alt★Hero backers, it is merely the result of other content creators wishing to avail themselves of the alternative distribution channel we are creating by publishing with us.

Short Reviews will return next week with The Smoking Land by Max Brand in the February issue of A. Merritt’s Fantasy Magazine.

“Galactic Gamble” by Dominika Lein; Art by Anton Oxenuk

Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine is taking subscription orders from now through the end of January for our Spring (#7) and Summer (#8) issues.


  • Adrian Cole’s New Dream Lords saga continues in the Novella “In the Land of Hungry Shadows”.
  • In Dominika Lein’s Galactic Gamble, a gambler finds himself stranded on an alien world and his partner abducted when all of his debts are called in.
  • An evil mask in the possession of a necromancer may trigger an otherworldy invasion right in the heart of Coney Island in Michael Reyes’ The Iynx.
  • In Jason Scott Aiken’s The Legend of Blade, three orphans of the apocalypse are taken under the wing of a mysterious and powerful warrior.
  • You can find anything, from cheap trinkets to doomsday devices–and maybe even a second shot at love–in The Great Culling Emporium, by Marilyn K. Martin.
  • Having left Deodanth, following her deadly encounter with an Elder, Darla is hired on as a guide for an expedition to the ruins of an inhuman city in Louise Sorensen’s The Toads of Machu Hampacchu.
  • Plus flash fiction pieces from Michael Tierney and Abraham Strongjohn.

Read More