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July – 2014 –

Monthly Archives:


When I read the second word in the book I couldn’t believe it. It had happened again! Just a couple of weeks ago I reviewed a book that I had liked very much. But, as I mentioned, the author had repeatedly made the odd mistake of placing Murmansk in Siberia. Commenter Trimegistus said: “Murmansk is […]

A key objective is lower e-book prices. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out-of-stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary […]

Recently, The CronoLink pointed out a quote from Tolkien, regarding the linguistic notion of “cellar door” being the most beautiful sound in the English language: Most English-speaking people … will admit that cellar door is “beautiful”, especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful […]

In just a few short weeks of reading influential books from fifty years ago, we’ve seen magic that could reduce civilizations to chaotic wastelands just on the basis of the incentives it created. We’ve seen clerics boldly face down alien marauders, secure in the knowledge that demons and devils cannot harm them. We’ve seen science and myth collide, […]

Next month we will be introducing a new author, not only to the Castalia House lineup, but to the science fiction world. We won’t say more about him or his forthcoming book yet, but here is the image which will appear on the cover. As to what it is about, we shall presently leave that […]

A short, but intriguing review of Tom Kratman’s Big Boys Don’t Cry: The whole work is a little surprising coming from Kratman, who knows and conveys that war is hell but has never before shown much inclination to question its ethical dimension at this level. At the end, he comes off almost like the hippies […]

When I finished reading Red Mercury, I knew I’d read the second book about the adventures of Major David Jones and Captain John Kowalski. Neptune Rising is even better. It tells the story of a previous mission of the duo, but it is not a prequel. You don’t need one to understand the other. This […]

“…[I]t doesn’t take long for the experience of the Numinous to unhinge the mind.” King Alfred the Great ascended the throne of England in 871. He saw his age as one whose literacy had fallen since the time of Bede (673-735), and his civilization as one that was decaying from within as it fended off […]

One of the longstanding debates in gaming circles is which of the core Dungeons & Dragons classes are least necessary to the game. Few people challenge the place of either fighting men¹ or magic-users on the roster. Indeed, Steve Jackson’s first role playing game was built around just those two archetypes, which isn’t surprising given […]

I know there is little hope that a 35,000-word story by “a self-published steampunk writer” could be made into a summer action movie. But Red Mercury should be! Early 20th century Europe seems inevitably headed for a big steampunk war. This is alternative history, so the coming conflict won’t be The Great War or WWII—Soviet […]

The Helsinki Science Fiction Society has offered up its free magazine-style anthology, Finnish Weird, to introduce science fiction and fantasy fans to the country’s unique take on weird fiction. Paper copies will also be available at the upcoming Loncon 3. Finnish Weird highlights the work of three authors and also has some interviews and editorials. […]

It’s hard to imagine, but the year 1968 might as well be ancient history now. Sure, it seems like just the other day that the Beatles were releasing “Hey Jude”, a song written to cheer up Julian Lennon in the aftermath of his parents’ divorce. In that same year, New Zealand reporter Peter Arnett quoted an […]