Publishing (Rawle Nyanzi): Understand something right now: If you talk about an IP, you are marketing it. It doesn’t matter if it’s praise or critique, squeeing or shouting down. All of these video complaints about modern American pop culture only strengthen it because all the attention makes it relevant, no matter what that attention is.

 

Popular Culture (Wasteland & Sky): it is detestable that the mainstream art and entertainment landscape is so abysmal these days. Everything has been flipped on its head, and turned around backwards. And we celebrate this subversion as if it’s a good thing. Storytelling has been vandalized and we refuse to clean the graffiti off despite knowing how dirty and soiled our monuments have gotten.

Poetry (Brain Leakage): Thinking about Achilles, heroes, and epics reminded me of a little thing I wrote some years back. I was taking a few classes on the G.I. Bill at the time, including a Creative Writing elective. It was a good class, but when we got around to the poetry unit, I found it dense and impenetrable. That’s absolutely no fault of the professor. Fact is, I only understand two kinds of poetry: heroic sagas or epics, and bawdy limericks. Read More

I mentioned last week that I have read way too much 1950s science fiction this year. Philip K. Dick and Science Fiction Adventures made up the bulk of it but a few other items sneaked in. Edgar Pangborn’s West of the Sun was an impulse buy at a Half-Price Books back in February. The back cover blurb interested me.

Edgar Pangborn (1909-1976) was not a prolific writer. He wrote crime fiction for Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine in the 1930s and had a story in Black Mask. He began to write science fiction in the early 1950s. Read More

God might not play dice with the universe, but the devils do.

In The Black Moon Chronicles: The Sign of Darkness, written by François Marcela-Froideval and drawn by Olivier Ledroit, Lucifer grows tired of his generals throwing matches in their little games. So he engineers a game in the mortal world where none of the players can deliberately lose. A Chosen One prophecy and the fall of an empire would do nicely. But what man will be chosen?

He might be a nameless lancer out in the woods, little more than a highwayman in armor. Call him Wismerhill after his home town, or Wis for short. It’s as good a name as any. But this half elf has an unknown past and hints of more sinister gifts, as the rogue Heads-or-Tails discovers in their first meeting. Wis may be sheltered and naive, but he falls into bad company with the mercurial rogue, whose personality shifts based on which of two magical swords, good or evil, he currently wields. The two fast friends embark on a series of petty crimes and capers. But the eye of the half-ogre Gorghor Bey soon settles upon Heads-or-Tails’ swords. Read More

Post-apocalyptic hell divers, fungoid dungeon lords, and summer break robot bottles stride through this week’s new releases.


Boy Battles Bot (Space Invaders #1) – A. K. Meek

Something strange is happening in Apple Valley…and it all begins one night when ten-year-old Jimmy sees a mysterious object crash to Earth.

Investigating, he finds an alien bearing a dire warning. A sinister force is on its way to take over the planet. Already its minions are infecting Apple Valley like a virus.

But all is not lost. Jimmy receives special powers to battle the impending doom. His quest to annihilate evil leads him to cities overrun with strange robots and hostile animals, to spooky cemeteries where things claw their way from the ground, and to a carnival that should’ve been shut down years ago for safety violations.

Late night B-movie indulgences, eye-searing video game marathons, and a lifetime of mindless consumerism give Jimmy the skills to get the job done. He must hurry because summer break’s almost over. Then it’s back to school. If there’s a school left…


Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense Issue #8 / Fall 2021 – edited by P. Alexander

Achilles “Whip” Hister is dead! The Galactic summit has turned into a massacre, and the Artomiques are ready to unleash their ultimate weapon: dreadnoughts based on the Space Shark Erlik created! Can anyone, or anything, stop them?!

Foes pursue the Mongoose and Meerkat in the frigid north, seeking to prevent retrieval of a magic trinket for a client! One of the bandits…appears to be Mangos!?

Ghosts of animals appear as if by magic in paintings! The phenomenon is a strange blessing… Until a butcher begins supplying choice cuts of mystery meat to the artist!

The fearsome legions of the God Badaxe are on the march, cleaving a bloody swath through the magical land of Pangaea. Countless villages have been burnt to the ground, their young male populations examined and beheaded. Somewhere, a boy with a strange birthmark on his right palm poses a deadly threat to the most powerful being in Pangaea-if he is allowed to reach maturity!

…and more!


Hell Divers VIII: King of the Wastes – Nicholas Sansbury Smith

A year has passed since the Hell Divers defeated the machines at Kilimanjaro. The freed captives have settled into their new home at the Vanguard Islands, joining survivors from around the world. But extreme weather and failed crops have raised the specter of famine. Ships must push deeper into dangerous red zones, only to come back with less loot—and fewer soldiers.

When the Hell Divers discover a scroll on a raid, King Xavier is faced with a long-buried truth that threatens the future of his people and all of humanity. The Vanguard Islands are not the salvation the sky people thought them to be. To survive, they must venture through the Panama Canal and into the wastes beyond.

With the future at stake, the Immortal once again dons his armor. But there is a reason the great Cazador armies never returned from the canal, and this time not even the King of the Wastes is prepared for what awaits them.


Manipulating Magic (Jeff the Game Master #2) – Jqime Castle and Troy Osgood

After the rogue patch did its damage, Jeff and the rest of Infinite World’s players face a new threat: Shelarag, the Mother of Dragons.

She’s pissed. Someone killed her lover, and now they will pay.

Still tasked with figuring out who or what is responsible for the chaos, Jeff must also figure out what the heck a Manipulator Class is. To help him on this journey, former GMs Torvi and Snapdragon will apply their extensive knowledge of the game to power-level Jeff and attempt to restore normalcy to the game.

Meanwhile, Dak, Jeweliette, Oliver, and the rest of the party find themselves stuck in the next questline to destroy dragon after dragon after dragon… after dragon.

Maybe Dan Shaklee should just pull the plug already… Read More

Games (Pulp Rev): The video game is the defining entertainment medium of the times. Combining high-impact visuals, immersive sound and deep player engagement, all within the comfort of the player’s home, the video game is the epitome of technological leisure. Its influence bleeds out into other media. In writing, we see this in the immensely popular LitRPG / gamelit genre: stories that incorporate video game tropes and mechanics.

 

Cinema (Bullet Proof Action): Deathstalker II (or Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans as it is also known) was originally conceived as another straight forward sword and sorcery flick, much like its predecessor in the franchise. But with an extremely low budget (reportedly in the $400,000 range), Director Jim Wynorski and the star of the film John Terlesky (replacing Rick Hill as the titular character from the first Deathstalker) basically threw out the original script for Deathstalker II and created a much different movie than the original. Deathstalker II never takes itself seriously.

Tolkien (Good News Network): I recently took to The Lord of the Rings trilogy books once again, as my lack of television has barred me from watching the films for two-and-a-half years, and I couldn’t help but measure everything I’ve seen since COVID-19 arrived to the circumstances of Tolkien and of his chief protagonist Frodo Baggins.

Review (With Both Hands): Dark Victory by Jason Anspach and Nick Cole [Amazon link] is in a way a return to normal. However, what that means in this case is not a sense of peace and clear, sunshiny days. The rise and fall of Goth Sullus and the governmental reset forced by the Legion’s invocation of its right to depose the legislature under Article Nineteen have shifted the balance of power, but even events as cataclysmic as these did not alter the nature of the factions that jostle within the galaxy.

Cinema (Stacker): as compelling as great science fiction can be, terrible science fiction retains its own special place in the annals of cinematic history. Whether filled with clumsy acting, shoddy special effects, amateur directing, or all of the above, bad sci-fi has become its own rich tradition complete with cult followings and midnight screenings. To think, there’d be no “Mystery Science Theater 3000” without these classic clunkers.

Review (David A. Riley): he bulk of this book (220 pages) is taken up with a three-part novel A Sorcerer of Atlantis, which tells the story of Brimm the Savant, his close friend Snoori, and Selinn of Ur, who is a swordswoman and princess and someone with whom not to argue.

Culture (Wasteland & Sky): What censorship is remains much simpler. Censorship is a way of silencing ideas deemed harmful for the general populace by simply forbidding them. Popular ways to implement it include government enforcement, social and peer pressure, mafia-style threats, and outright violence.

Gaming (Walker’s Retreat): Today, we return to the reality of game design and the needs of commercial viability. Specifially, we’re again talking about MMORPGs.

MMORPGs are very expensive and tedious to produce, and about as much to maintain. Because of these factors, you cannot get investment for a MMORPG aimed at a narrow target audience; the investors will demand a much wider audience in order to guarantee an acceptable return on investment, and “acceptable” means far more than you may expect if you have no familiarity with how they think.

Appendix N (Goodman Games): Much as I’d like to hope that Gary Gygax read Harold Lamb, he’s unlikely to have found his way to any of Lamb’s most influential work. It’s not that Lamb wasn’t in print. From the 1940s on, his histories and biographies were a mainstay on library shelves, and many modern libraries retain his books to this day. But as fine as they are – and some of them are very fine indeed – Lamb’s histories and biographies weren’t the texts that were important to Appendix N.

Cinema (Talking Pulp): There are very few films I watched more than Big Trouble In Little China once it was out on VHS and I rented it to dub a copy. New release VHS tapes were like $99 back then and I was still way too young to get a real job. I really loved this because of Kurt Russell. I can’t say that this was my introduction to him but this is probably the first film that made me know who he was.

Gaming (Geotrickster): Old School first person shooters (often now called Boomer Shooters despite the fact that they are mostly made by and for Gen Xers) are my second favorite type of game. Only turn based 4X strategy beats them. There was a time when they were my favorite (Phun Phact: I was once one of the top ranked Day of Defeat players). Once I went to college I entered a time when I thought I had out-grown the genre, but my continued playing of old games of this ilk meant that I really hadn’t so much as the newer releases weren’t appealing to me.

Publishing (Misha Burnett): First, what should you pitch? I would advise a collection of between 60,000 and 80,000 words total. Stories that have been previously published will need to revert to you before you can publish them again, check your contract to see how long an exclusionary period was specified. I prefer a mix of previously published and exclusive material–I want to give readers something that they can’t get anywhere else.

Art (Alexander Hellene): Nobody is persuaded by a think piece or a white paper. But when people who get paid large sums of money to appear on TV (where, remember, everything that happens on it is true to the majority of people because they can see it) and say that this or that happening in America is “literally The Handmaid’s Tale,” you have an instantly identifiable touchstone that millions of people will understand and nod along with.

Science Fiction (M Porcius): I have already written three blog posts about Donald Wollheim and Terry Carr’s World’s Best Science Fiction 1969 and its terrific John Schoenherr cover, covering a dozen of the stories it offers.  But I think there may still be some goodness to be wrung out of this fruit!  Today we’ll read four stories from its pages, tales by Fred Saberhagen, Fritz Leiber, H. H. Hollis and Terry Carr, as we continue the exploration of the anthology shelves of the MPorcius Library that has taken up my last five blog posts.

Comic Books (Dark Worlds Quarterly): Well, we are finally going to see Stalker get his wish…an in-person confrontation with Dgrth. Sadly, it will be the last issue of the comic, which simply could not sell enough copies to continue. Unlike a few titles later during the DC Implosion, Levitz/Ditko/Wood at least got to wrap things up a little. (I am still pissed we never got one more issue of Star Hunters!) We are given a small ending if not the ultimate fate of Stalker.

Cinema (Talking Pulp): This is one of those super low budget, low quality Argentinian sword and sorcery flicks from the ’80s that was trying to capitalize off of the craze. However, this isn’t one of the Roger Corman ones, so its quality is even worse.

Probably knowing that this was going to be a shit movie, the filmmakers leaned heavily into making this as sexy as possible with bringing in a whole crew of beauties that spent portions of the film wearing as little clothes as possible.

Art (DMR Books): Lee would go on to do covers for Short Stories and Weird Tales in the ’40s, both under the editorship of Dorothy McIlwraith. That is my favorite period of Coye’s career. Unlike some, I prefer his painted covers, which remind me of the work of his WT contemporary, Dolgov. Coye would later do line-work covers for Arkham House and Karl Edward Wagner’s Carcosa imprint.

Fiction (Marzaat): This is as much a story about urban crime and squalor, epitomized in 1980 by New York City, and the deadened people who inhabit it like the narrator as it is about a Lovecraftian horror. The opening epigraphs from Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer and August Derleth’s “The House on Curwen Street” aren’t as significant as the one from a New York City rape victim: “It taught me the foolishness of not being afraid.”

Science Fiction (Tor.com): When I was young, Robert Heinlein’s juvenile novels were among my favorites. But I only got my hands on about half of them. Over the past few years, I have been working to find them all, and one of the most recent I was able to read was Red Planet. Imagine my surprise to find that the Martian race that I had first encountered in Stranger in a Strange Land had been created over a decade earlier for Red Planet

Gaming (DVS Press): Gameplay over graphics! This is what you’re going to see from a lot of gamers these days, especially those on “my side” of things. They aren’t wrong.

The problem is, these things are usually presented as a dichotomy, or at least discussed as one—you are either choosing good gameplay or good graphics. The reality is we’re looking at a field for both things, a matter of emphasis, often a matter of art and graphics actually do matter.

Weird (USA Today): JACKSON, Miss. – What does a 750-pound alligator eat? Well, just about anything it wants, but items found in this particular Mississippi alligator’s stomach defy odds and date back thousands of years.

History (Defending Crusader Kingdoms): Historians such as Edbury posit that the Ibelins were inveterate opponents of the Lusignans until the early 13th century. They note that there is no record of Ibelins setting foot on the island of Cyprus before 1210 and insist that it is “certain” they were not among the early settlers―while admitting that it is impossible to draw up a complete list of the early settlers. Edbury, furthermore, admits that “it is not possible to trace [the Ibelin’s] rise in detail” yet argues it was based on close ties to King Hugh I.

You have all probably seen the movie, The Dirty Dozen. Seems like it ran every month on one of the cable channels back in the 90s. It was a movie like The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape that would feature an ensemble cast of male actors doing manly things.

I picked up a beat up copy of the paperback book that the movie was based on last month. I have been reading way too much 1950s science fiction this year and needed a change of genre.

I am not familiar with the author, E. M. Nathanson (1928-2016). Some online biographies mention him editing “pulp” magazines including Daring Detective by 1959. If I am correct, the only pulp magazine left by 1959 was Ranch Romances and I can find no Daring Detective from the 1950s in the Fictionmags Index. Read More

“You wanna be a major-leaguer? Then put on a swimsuit and punch a dinosaur!”


All Carly Vanders every wanted to do was to make cute clothes and get a little recognition for it. When she was young, her teacher tried to push her into athletics and breaking glass ceilings instead. Now that she’s grown up, Carly is a costume designer and dancer on a USO tour in a Central Asian country. One strange meteor strike and a coma later, she awakens in Area 51 with bioeletrical superpowers and a host of agencies and marketers trying to squeeze her into their often tone-deaf and heartless agendas. And when a simple act of kindness goes against her branding, Carly’s out on her own. Still wanting to do the right thing, she assumes the mantle of Kamen America, just in time to rescue captured overseas missionaries.

Part of the indie comics boom that got its start as a customer revolt against another of Marvel’s frequent attempts to reinvent itself for critical approval, Timothy Lim and Mark Pellgrini’s Kamen America mixes a little of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Captain Marvel and My Hero Academia. The result is an homage with heart that pokes fun at the often contradictory and hypocritical expectations and trends surrounding women in comic books and other media. It also means that there are plenty of reworked memes appearing for those have eyes to see. But the message and the memery take a back seat to Carly’s tale of how determination and doing the right thing win out in the end.

Even in the face of some serious “befriending” via superpowered blasts. Kamen America is a superhero book, after all. There’s no time for lengthy discussions between dodging radioactive meteors, dinosaur kaiju, slimy marketers, and superpowered rivals. So the message is simple, almost Saturday morning cartoon simple: be true to yourself. Sounds like a gross’s worth of current-year stories, but Kamen America avoids the subtext of rebellion and ironic conformity in most of them.

As for Carly’s penchant for posing, well, it is a superhero book. Lim and Pellegrini keep the fanservice to cute girl doing cute things without falling into the excesses of both American comics and Japanese manga when it comes to costuming and provocativeness. It’s a thin line between genre convention and excess, and Kamen America manages to skirt that difference adroitly.

Perhaps the most promising aspect of Kamen America is Lim and Pellegrini’s willingness to embrace digital distribution. Kamen America has been funded by Kickstarter campaigns. For most indies, that means that customers are out of luck if you miss the campaign. Part of this is by design, as indies are still stuck in 1990s speculative fantasies of $1,000,000 issues on the speculative market. By embracing digital distribution, Kamen America is constantly available to customers and becomes a friendlier series to readers looking for more issues.

Kamen America is a cute, clean-cut adventure that stands on its own despite the memery and criticism of comics’ current direction. And with a fourth issue on the horizon, there is more to come of this blend of American and Japanese superheroes.

Viking game worlds, Celtic fairy space opera, and genetic cyberpunk flavoe this week’s new releases.


Colony (Battle Ring Earth #2) – John Frater

Hiding deep in the Sleer battle ring, Simon Brooks and Sara Rosenski are learning the ways of the Sleer and to trust each other. Each day brings a new discovery and more danger, while Ray Fairchild, COP of Hornet Squadron languishes on Earth, suspected of treason for abandoning them on the alien structure.

Forced to choose between his career and his crew, Fairchild enables a rescue mission back to the Sleer structure while a maniacal Sleer commander moves to stop them.

But Sleer reinforcements arrive and Earth’s defense is in disarray…and where are Brooks and Rosenski?


Eerie – Gibson Michaels

In first century Ireland, the Celts and the Fae fend off an invasion of Roman legionnaires. In the Thirty-third century, a mining colony fights for survival as the world around it shakes and shatters. An ancient species seeks to end its long exile and return home. Three disparate worlds, separated by millions of light years and over three millennia of time, are now on a collision course. Their ultimate fates will be decided on a cold, barren world that is suddenly springing to life… Éerie.

“As fate determined that we would only get four stories from Gibson Michaels before he was taken from us, then it is only fitting that this work should be his grand finale. With Éerie, Michaels weaves a spell-binding tale that highlights the very thin line that exists between fantasy and reality. Éerie will leave you asking ‘Are we the dreamers or are we the dream itself?” For in the realm of Éerie, what seems real may not be real at all and what seems unreal is very real indeed.” – Richard Paolinelli, Author of “Escaping Infinity”


Honor & Iron (Frostworld #2) – Blake Arthur Peel

To weather the coming storm, you cannot stand alone…

Jarl Beckström has done the impossible. He has changed his class, leveled up, and joined the most elite warband in Norvaask. But in the aftermath of the battle with the draugr, chaos reigns. The Clan Lord has been usurped by his own brother, and the clanhold’s armies have been all but devastated.

Leadership is needed now more than ever.

A change in fortune places Jarl in a position of power, and he struggles beneath the weight of his newfound responsibly. Freya, on the other hand, now finds herself enslaved to the Spear Maiden, the infamous war leader from Jotungard, and wrestles with the fact that she may never be a fireborn again.

Meanwhile, darkness continues to spread. The legions of the undead are growing, and if left unchecked, they will consume the whole of Njordrassil like a plague.

Blood feuds must be ended. Alliances must be forged. The people must fight together or die alone. But can a mud farmer-turned-battleborn unite them

Only time will tell. Read More

Robert E. Howard (Adventures Fantastic): The city of Waco has recently become more known for being the center of home renovators and decorators than violence, unless you happen to be a member of a motorcycle street gang that meets up with a rival gang at a restaurant. But it used to be one of Texas’ wildest cities. Robert E. Howard wrote of many incidents that occurred there in his letters to his fellow authors.

H. P. Lovecraft (DMR Books): In his massive new book—Lovecraft: The Great Tales—John D. Haefele just might have written the best overview of H.P. Lovecraft–and the various Mythoi he engendered–thus far seen. JDH is a life-long student of Lovecraft’s fiction. Like Lovecraft before him, Haefele comes from the world of amateur press associations–‘apa’, for short. In this case, the preeminent Lovecraftian apa, The Esoteric Order of Dagon,

Games (Goodman Games): Original Adventures Reincarnated #6: The Temple of Elemental Evil has made it to the Goodman Games warehouse. It’s a massive slipcase that is already dominating our warehouse space, and making its presence known to every other product in the area. What does this mean to you, the fan? Well, it means that we are getting things in gear! We’ll get them shipped out as fast as we can!

Read More

The theme for the second issue of Men’s Adventures Quarterly is espionage. As I wrote looking at the first issue, Men’s Adventure Quarterly is top-tier in presentation. The 8.5 x 11 inch format allows for lavish reproductions of men’s adventure magazines including pictorial layouts.

The men’s adventure magazines from the 1950s to the 1970s overlapped the whole James Bond/spy era in popular culture. I can remember in the 1970s, it was an event when ABC would run a James Bond movie on Sunday night. That was the topic of conversation on the bus the next day. Star Trek, Kung-Fu, and James Bond was where it was. Read More

Queer things happen to the Foreign Legion in Africa; but the maddest affair of them all was that naval battle in the Red Sea.


In the cafes of Algiers, an old legionnaire with a cinnamon-colored beard holds court, telling all who pass by his classic old soldiers’ tales. Today, however, old Thibaut Corday’s humor is gone. Today, the old soldier is spooked by a puppet play outside of a mosque. Today, as long suppressed memories of the strangest parts of Africa come roaring back, old Corday unearths the story of the Death Watch.

Old soldiers may never die, but it is a shame that Theodore Roscoe’s tales of Thibaut Corday have, for most folks, faded away. Roscoe brings a relish to the old Frenchman’s tales, mixing the once best-selling legionnaire genre with a kind of naturalistic weird tale. And in “The Death Watch”, Roscoe and Corday blend into this mix the misdirection and stage magic that would fascinate so many pulp authors in the 1930s and beyond. But magic is magic, stage or otherwise, and it is treated with the same caution as a swordsman would treat sorcery or a handler his snake. Even if Corday eventually lets his audience peek behind the curtain.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, lets run the story back to its source, a strange Yankee recruit known as Jack the Goat. A man who is an outcast even among the outcasts of the Foreign Legion. A man whose valor old Corday never doubts. Read More

This week’s new releases open doors to other worlds for U. S. Army Rangers, Israeli tankers, Gilded Age artists, and dungeon building gamers.


China Mike (Abner Fortis, ISMC #2) – P. A. Piatt

Fresh from fighting bugs and clones on Pada-Pada, Second Lieutenant Abner Fortis and Third Platoon look forward to some well-deserved liberty on Eros-69, a plutoid colony built to provide all the earthly pleasures available in the far reaches of space.

When Fortis’s nemesis reroutes Third Platoon to Eros-28 instead, though, the Space Marines discover they’ve been sent to an industrial colony with limited R&R opportunities and no way back to the flagship. Everything goes downhill from there as two Space Marines are arrested and accused of dealing China Mike—a highly addictive and illegal synthetic drug—and Fortis is forced to either get involved in the war against the cartel or abandon his Marines to the local legal system.

However, as their involvement in the drug war deepens, Fortis suspects the platoon has been plunged into the middle of something much bigger. Rumors of a growing resistance movement against the colonial government abound, and it appears his men are being used to do the security force’s dirty work of putting it down.

As Fortis navigates his way between the corrupt colonial government, a corporate espionage agent, intergalactic mercenaries, and his own chain of command, he has to find the truth of the situation and answer one important question—is there any way for Third Platoon to be successful when everyone else on the planet wants them to fail?


The Cosmic Courtship – Julian Hawthorne

Mary Faust, a brilliant scientist, has developed a machine that can allow the conscious human soul to explore the cosmos! Her promising young assistant Miriam Mayne has accidentally transferred her consciousness to Saturn, where she falls under the enchantment of an evil sorcerer! Jack Paladin, her love, sets out after her on a thrilling celestial journey to the ringed planet! Swashbuckling adventure and high romance await in Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship!

While most are at least somewhat familiar with Nathaniel Hawthorne as one of the great American authors, less well known is that his son Julian was an incredibly prolific writer in his own right. Julian wrote on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from literary analysis of his father’s works to poetry to period romances and adventures. Late in his career, Julian even dabbled in the emerging genre of Science Fiction.

The Cosmic Courtship was serialized in Frank A. Munsey’s All-Story Weekly across four issues, beginning with the November 24, 1917 issue and running through the December 15, 1917 issue. While this story has been in the public domain for some time, it has never been collected or published elsewhere until now.


Dungeon Core Online – Jonathan Smidt

James thought he would be just another adventurer in the world’s most anticipated dungeon delving VRMMORPG. But when he logs in, he soon finds out that he won’t be diving the dungeon – he will be creating it. Pretty awesome right?

At least that was what he thought when he boldly chose ‘Random’ as his dungeon type…

Then he summoned his first mob. A fearsome, bloodthirsty demonic… Chicken.

Still, Demonic Farm Animals are the least of his worries. The person who is supposed to be teaching him the ropes is a weirdly advanced AI pixie who drinks too much and is overly fond of gambling. Oh and some mysterious figure seems to be watching and judging his every move – so signing that NDA is feeling like less and less of a solid choice.

Either way, James is up for the challenge. Even if it means building a dungeon around kamikaze sheep, enraged cows, unhygienic pigs and yes… Dickens.

At least his next randomly selected mob type can’t be worse… right?


Lay the Hate (Forgotten Ruin #4)  – Jason Anspach and Nick Cole

The War Begins…

The world of Ruin erupts into the flames of war as a great evil rises once more from the Tombs of Eternal Midnight. Werewolves and vampires march from the east, the orcs of Umnoth are on the move, and cities disappear beneath the boots of these savage hordes. Kingdoms field desperate armies in a last desperate bid to stop the tides of darkness, but the truth is clear.

The hour of final ruin has come.

Yet the wizard Vandahar has one more card to play: Rangers. Allied with elves and dwarves, they set out to strike at the very heart of the evil Lich Pharaoh’s domain by attacking from a wholly unexpected direction.

Survival. Asymmetrical warfare. Total surprise. This is what the Rangers do best.

But first they must survive the Citadel.

What the forces of evil have started, the Rangers will finish! Read More