Authors (Paul Semel): It’s either a really good time to be a fan of writer Larry Correia…or a really bad one. Not only has he just released Destroyer Of Worlds (hardcover, Kindle), the latest book in his Saga Of The Forgotten Warrior series, but the paperback version of his short story collection Target Rich Environment Volume 2 is coming out at the end of the month, the paperback of Monster Hunter Guardian, the latest in his Monster Hunter series, will be released November 24th, and a new novel, Gun Runner, is scheduled to come out in February of next year.

Authors (CBChttps://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/charles-r-saunders-obituary-black-journalist-sword-and-sorcery-1.5723704): Those who knew Charles R. Saunders from the outside never would have guessed at the vast universes contained within him.

A big, solid man with a lion’s mane of beard and hair, he moved about his Dartmouth, N.S., neighbourhood like a cat, seemingly able to make his earthly frame disappear. One former colleague described Saunders as “the second-quietest journalist I’ve ever known.” Another thought he was dealing with a wizard.

Fan Film (Walker’s Retreat): Today I’m revisiting Axanar the pro-quality Star Trek fan film that Paramount stupidly decided to screw over years ago. Hollywood veteran Robert Burnett was involved, and he put out a series of videos talking about the very thing that got Paramount’s attention: the SFX shots. He put them into a short playlist and I want you folks to see it and listen to his commentary. Read More

Grosset & Dunlap had released five Conan the Barbarian paperbacks in 1978. There was a gap of more than half a year before Volume 6 was released in early 1979.

Roy Thomas was back with an energetic three-page introduction:

            “Conan is the most popular sword-and-sorcery hero in the world today. Period. . . Conan stands alone at the pinnacle – which somehow right and proper since it was Conan (along with Robert E. Howard’s earlier s&s creations Solomon Kane, King Kull, and Bran Mak Morn) who cast the genre in the precise mode it’s known for half a century now.”

Roy Thomas gives some space to Talbot Mundy and Fritz Leiber. He mentions Jane Gaskell’s “Atlan” books perceptively describing them as “a gothic-romance version of sword-and-sorcery, no less.”

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The time for the extermination of the casteless untouchables has come. Only Ashok Vadal and his battle-tested Sons of the Black Sword fight for the fleeing nameless, in the name of an unknown god that Ashok cannot bring himself to believe in. But Ashok knows his duty, even if that forces him to cross blades with his sword brother, the Lord Protector Devedas. And their duel will shake the foundations of the Empire to its core.

Larry Correia’s trilogies tend to follow the same course. So far, his pattern of explosive first book, tedious but necessary second, and a nuclear-hot finale is holding, even though Destroyer of Worlds is just a conclusion to Act One, not the completion of the series.

Ashok even gets character development between brutal battles, as he shifts his single-minded purpose from the Law to something more personal. The romance that results is awkward, but it fits Ashok’s near robotic personality and obsessive purpose. The forces that forged Ashok’s zealotry left little else to his personality, after all, so it a relief that Correia did not travel down the well-trod road where a sudden girlfriend changes a stoic into an openly expressive and emotional man. Ashok is still a zealot driven by duty, but his understanding of duty has widened slightly. And this new understanding will shatter the South Asian-skinned version of a Legend of the Five Rings RPG world.

But no one reads Correia for romance, especially when the clash of steel is in the air. And the action does not disappoint. Some science fiction authors pride themselves on being bards of the soldiers. Correia understands men of violence. And he pairs that understanding of motive, emotion, and will to the marriage of audacity and plausibility that sets his fight sequences apart. Better still, the action scenes drive the plot forward to the inevitable clash of brothers. And it wouldn’t be a Larry Correia novel without someone, somewhere firing a gun. Even in an South Asian-themed fantasy.

At this point, if Sons of the Black Sword becomes Correia’s main series, I wouldn’t be disappointed. Read More

Death’s apprentice on an alien world, interstellar Ghurkas, and the robot apocalypse fill this week’s new releases.


Acheron Inheritance (Federation Chronicles #1) – Ken Lozito

On a dying world along the galactic fringe, Quinton Aldren awakens in the body of an archaic android that’s barely operational. He has only vague memories of who he was and no idea what has happened. Everyone is gone and autonomous mechs are hunting for him.

As remnants of the old federations struggle to survive after a devastating war, old alliances are eradicated, leaving warlords and mercenaries to fill the void. When a powerful mercenary discovers Quinton’s origin, he’ll stop at nothing to capture and enslave him.

The galaxy has changed, forcing people to adapt, while the dangerous machines of the Federation Wars hunt for people like Quinton, and they don’t care who gets in the way. Quinton might have missed the war, but his link to the past could be the key to save humanity’s future. Will he survive long enough to discover it in time?


Death Cultivator – eden Hudson

Fight for your Death.

When regular high schooler Grady Hake is mistakenly taken by the Angel of Death, he thinks his life is over. Then he wakes up on a prison shuttle bound for Van Diemann’s Planet, a penal colony run by brutal gangs of criminal cultivators. This is his life now, and if he wants to survive it, he’ll have to learn to harness his unique Death Spirit, make friends with alien outcasts, appease a band of hungry ghosts, and fight his way into one of the strongest gangs on the planet.

From eden Hudson, bestselling author of Rogue Dungeon and Path of the Thunderbird comes a brand new series you won’t want to put down. Death Cultivator is a sci-fi wuxia for fans of shonen manga and anime such as Hunter x Hunter, One Piece, and Deadman Wonderland.


Falling Earth (The Circuit Saga #3) – Rhett Bruno

The time to return to Earth has come…

Cassius builds an android army under the control of ADIM in order to attack Tribune Benjar Vakari. While ADIM loves his creator unconditionally, he grows more independent by the day in his methods. Soon, he may be too powerful for anyone to stop.

Talon Rayne teams up with Sage Volus once more when Talon discovers that his daughter has been captured by the very Tribune Cassius Vale is after. Together, they have no choice but to ask for his help in saving her.

Are they just another cog in his scheme for bringing down the Tribune, or is there a part of him left that cares about anything other than vengeance? 


A Heart of Ice (The Great War #4) – Ralph Kern

The largest invasion in the history of the galaxy begins.

The People’s territory is a prize ripe for the Hegemony’s taking. Their worlds myriad. Their resources immense. From the highest echelons of government to the citizen toiling, it is a beacon of equality and a worker’s paradise.

Except some are more equal than others. To disobey, even to question, means death. Or worse.

Private Iriana Sharov is just one soldier in the People’s army of millions. When Hegemony assault ships darken the skies and disgorge legions of merciless troopers and mechs, she learns they are all merely pawns for their masters to sacrifice on an uncaring whim.

The two brutal empires collide. For Sharov and her comrades, hope is measured in surviving each day, even each hour, as it comes. But when she discovers her skill with a sniper rifle, Sharov soon finds herself a hero of the People.

Her odyssey will take her from the battlefields of an agricultural world, through the vicious street fighting of a labyrinthian factory moon, and into the very corridors of power in the People’s capital city.

But the greatest danger isn’t the Hegemony and its vast armies of ever-advancing troops and war machines. It is telling the truth to those who don’t want to hear it. Read More

THE OLD GODS ARE COMING BACK!

When a black op goes awry, the Nemesis Project pulls deniable operator Luke Landon off the line. But while mortal authorities want him to stand down, the gods aren’t done with him yet.

Pressed into a secret war between infernal and divine powers, Landon is thrust into a new campaign. The elder gods are returning to do battle with the Unmaker—and they are choosing agents to carry out their will.

In Japan, a goddess has chosen a shrine maiden as her soldier. The shadowy Organization, the secret rulers of the world, have her in their sights. Without official sanction or backup, Landon and his allies must go rogue to save her.

Landon has always been prepared to lay down his life. But this time, he may just have to give up his immortal soul.

PRINCE OF SHADOWS is the third volume of The Covenant Chronicles, the supernatural Mil-SF series by Kai Wai Cheah, Hugo-nominated author of Flashpoint: Titan.

Available in eBook format.

Menuvia.

A sparkling gem made rough stone, the seat of political power in the Kingdom of Vale. Revolt foments among the patrician class and open gang war looms on the horizon. As the Argentine Tower plots revolution, a lone thief with a past as dark as Menuvia itself picks the wrong lock and opens the wrong door. Shadows still cast in the dark of night, underneath THE LONG MOONLIGHT.

Featuring a series of original illustrations.


RAZÖRFIST was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He produces several web series, including ‘Film Noirchives’, ‘Metal Mythos’, and the popular ‘Rageaholic’ review and commentary series. Prior to that, he studied Journalism and Political Science at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The Long Moonlight is his first published novel.


Preorder here:

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Forthcoming (Cirsova): We’ve just received Schuyler Hernstrom’s foreword for Endless Summer, and we thought it was too good not to share:   Discussing stories is a complicated business.  Buried somewhere underneath layers of criticism, commerce, and identity you might find some deep understanding of Misha’s work. But I worry that careless digging will disturb the landscape. I challenge myself to think about his work with the care and sensitivity that he puts into it.

Memorial (The Silver Key): Word spread on Facebook last night that Charles Saunders, author of Imaro, has passed away. It is being reported he died in May. Odd that an obituary search turns up empty.  Let’s hope it may be a rumor, but it does not appear that way. Author Milton Davis, who continued in Saunders’ “Sword-and-Soul” tradition, broke the news, and many authors, friends, and peers have chimed in since. Read More

I received word a little over a week ago that Charles R. Saunders had died back in May.

I first heard of Charles Saunders in late 1983 from Bill who used to work at Phantom of the Attic on South Craig Street in Pittsburgh. I must have been discussing sword and sorcery with him when he said: “There is a new Imaro book coming out.” I asked what was an Imaro? He proceeded to tell me that Imaro was a Conanesque sword-and-sorcery character set in an alternate Africa. Sounded intriguing. Read More

This article was originally posted on 1 December, 2018 as “A Peep at The Spicy Pulps”. Next week, we’ll return to normal with a quartet of reviewed new releases, including the newest offerings in Fenton Wood’s Yankee Republic series and Larry Correia’s Saga of the Forgotten Warrior.


Last week, we examined how Martin Goodman, future publisher of Marvel Comics, combined science fiction with the popular “Spicy” genre to bring renewed interest to science fiction, fueling the first science fiction boom in the late 1930s. This would not be the only time the Spicies would shape the future of the pulp market. What once were stories intended to feature sexual content without obscenity soon turned into the salacious tales of sin and sadism of weird menace, the loss of the children’s market to comics, and government censorship of the pulps.

Between 1929 and 1934, many publishers, from the pornographic to the mainstream, were experimenting with ways to bring the spice of sex to popular fiction. Everything from toned-down porn to bad girl romances was tried, with the actual act disappearing behind the editor’s ellipse, leaving details to the imagination. But none lasted for more than a handful of issues until 1934’s Spicy Detective Stories sold out. Soon, a number of copycats followed suit, including Spicy Adventure, Saucy, and Spicy Mystery Stories, the last of which birthed weird menace.

The Spicy tale charted a perilous course between mainstream respectability and the thrill of sex. Anatomical descriptions were out, as was complete nudity and any details of the act the heroine submitted to. The women could disrobe voluntarily or have their clothes torn from them, but some scrap of cloth had to remain. The idea was to have a strong sexual element without being obscene or vulgar. After all, government investigation would reveal just who bankrolled these magazines, and the Mob did not want the attention. Read More

Necromancy, tomb-raiding, first contact disasters, and kaiju fill this week’s new releases.


Blood Craft (Black Magic Outlaw #7) – Domino Finn

For some investigations, you get nowhere relying on police.

When the supernatural rears its head in Miami, the sleuthing’s usually up to me, Cisco Suarez, resident necromancer and all-around hard case. All I ask is to kick back in paradise once in a while, spend some quality time with my girl, and maybe even find that special moment to pop the question.

But life doesn’t always play fair, and neither do monsters. Turns out, old grudges die hard. So come after me. Maybe I deserve it. But going after my family crosses the line.

It’s time to stop playing the sitting duck. It’s time to start a hunt of my own. Dressed to the nines and undercover at a silvan wedding, I’ll delve into the literal underworld to make the monsters wish they’d never messed with Cisco Suarez.

And hey, if I’m really lucky, maybe she’ll say yes.


The Carrion Hunter – Woelf Dietrich

The Northern Hemisphere is a toxic wasteland ruined by war between man and alien. It seems impossible for anything to have survived there. Australia and New Zealand remain habitable. But there lies the crisis.

Collected here are eight vignettes, snapshots of life on a dying earth, where humans and aliens co-exist carefully and with suspicion, and fragile alliances are forged only to shatter overnight. 


Originally appearing in the anthologies Interspecies: The Inlari Sagas, A Broken World, and Armistice, Woelf Dietrich’s short stories have now been collected here for the first time and with an introduction by bestselling author Adam Lane Smith who captures the spirit of science fiction beautifully as he unfolds and lay bare the heart of it to show us why we love the genre so much.



Collateral Damage – Adam S. Furman

Destructive Battles Rage Between Hellish Kaiju and Giant Mech Protectors

A desperate father must rescue his son when a deadly kaiju rampages across his city.

When opportunists lurk and buildings crumble around him, the battle might be the least of his worries. Each minute means more destruction, and the clock is ticking.

The first in a new kaiju series where the ordinary collides with the oversized, Collateral Damage is based on a short story of the same title originally published in Broadswords & Blasters Magazine. Experience the first taste of this series with a punch to the gut. Mind the shadows — you could be crushed.


Fortune’s Fool (The Fortune Chronicles #1) – Jeff Boyd

He digs through the past to unearth his future. But will rocketing into the expanse blast him into deadly trouble?

Xenoarchaeologist Mark Fortune just needs one big find to be set for life. Roaming the post-apocalyptic galaxy in search of riches, the pragmatic loner believes he’s finally made the breakthrough of his career when he activates an ancient portal. But when he’s catapulted onto an unknown planet, he’s followed by a revenge-driven skybiker out for his blood.

For the sake of survival, Mark and the motorhead form an uneasy alliance until they can escape the strange and unforgiving world. But the only path back home pits them against a ruthless warlord in a flying space fortress armed with pre-holocaust tech and a horde of killer robots…

Can Mark tear down a dictator before his newest discovery is otherworldly death? Read More

Authors (The Silver Key): Andrew J. Offutt was a complex, deeply flawed man. A resident of rural Kentucky, Offutt was a husband and a father who supported his family with a successful insurance business, a job which he did not love and ultimately abandoned to make the bold leap into full-time writing. He was at one time a promising science fiction writer. He also subjected his children to emotional neglect, held baseless grudges against various personages, lacked a full emotional maturity and cohesive personality, and held a life-long obsession with pornography.

New Release (DMR Books): Next week will see the release of the 20th title from DMR Books. After publishing numerous excellent authors past and present, for the first time I’ll get to release a collection of my own writings! Necromancy in Nilztiria contains thirteen stories of adventure and wonder with a touch of gallows humor. A few of the tales have appeared before in other publications, but most will see print here for the first time (including “A Twisted Branch of Yggdrasil,” which was supposed to be included in the ill-fated Flashing Swords #6).

Fiction (Dark Herald): It was written in 1954, you can tell it was written in 1954 because it couldn’t be written today. This is a work of high tragedy that is strongly influenced by the Norse sagas.  If you like Game Thrones but would prefer that it be written by a non-sadist that can actually fit a story that should only take two hundred pages, into two hundred pages.  This is the book for you.

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Volume 5 of Stan Lee Presents Conan the Barbarian contains a three-page introduction by Roy Thomas. He gives a chronology of Conan publishing. What is strange is he mentions the first three Temp paperbacks published simultaneously in February 1979, not 1978. Comics.org had a key date of 5-10-1978 for volume 5. Thomas also mentions 1980 as the projected date of release of the Conan movie.

“The Dweller in the Dark,” originally in Conan the Barbarian #12 (December 1971) is scripted by Roy Thomas, penciled and inked by Barry Smith, letters by Sam Rosen.

Synopsis: Conan becomes Captain of the royal guard in the small city-state of Zahmahn as well as the lover of Queen Fatima. When the Queen catches Conan with the servant girl Yaila in a delicate situation, she leaves them in the dungeon to be devoured by the Dweller in the Dark. They manage to escape, however, and Conan throws the Queen to the monster. According to tradition, Zahmahn can only be ruled by a female sovereign, so Conan nominates Yaila as the new queen. Read More