Blog Archives


Independent authors would do well to take a page from Darkest of Dreams, a collection of short stories written by four different authors.  The prospect of writing a 100,000 word novel, which provides around 300 pages of entertainment, requires a serious time commitment.  To say nothing of the costs associated with investing in editing, proofreading, and […]

Today we close the books on The Summer of Conan.  You can find all of my Conan posts here.  Over the course of three months, I read every Conan story Robert E. Howard wrote, watched all three Conan movies, and read twelve Conan pastiches.  I did not, unfortunately, get to any of the Conan comics.  […]

John Maddox Roberts wrote eight Conan books.  I have three—Conan the Champion, Conan the Bold, and Conan and the Amazon.  He is best known for his SPQR series, historical fiction mysteries set in Rome at the dawn of the empire.  Roberts may be the best of the Tor pastiche authors.  Robert Jordan may be a […]

The streets run red with blood when a man known only as The Sellsword comes to the dying mining city of Aldreth. The advanced infirmity of the plague-ridden nominal ruler, Duke Owain, has opened the door for two rival wizards to vie for control of the city. The sorcerer Varlak has run things on the […]

Operation Barbarossa: the Complete Organisational and Statistical Analysis, and Military Simulation is destined to become the essential reference and with Volume VI the most historically accurate game on the 1941 invasion of Russia. Historians, students, scenario and game designers will find the extensive data and the methodology to study modern conflict useful. For the lay […]

“What is this?”  I imagine you saying.  “What is Throne of the Bastards doing in the Summer of Conan?  I read the blurb and no mention of Conan is to be found.”  Throne of the Bastards isn’t openly a Conan pastiche, sure.  But it is only about two letters away. If you simply must read […]

 Post-apocalyptic literature has a tradition almost as old as literature itself. From the Egyptian drowning of the world in the seas of chaos to the pagan world eating wolf of Ragnarok to alien and kitchen-sink approach of the Biblical Apocalyptica, wondering about the death of the world is as natural as wondering about the death […]

Ready Player One is a festering mound of garbage, with barely any redeeming features. Neal Stephenson did it first, and better, in Snow Crash and Nick Cole did it better, and with more human drama and emotion, in Soda Pop Soldier. Next to them, Ready Player One is a billion dumptrucks’ worth of worthless crud.

My own column from two weeks ago got me thinking recently.  Has there ever been a good, nevermind great science fiction novel that did not feature a strong, unique hero?  We’re not considering short stories or novellas, as some don’t even have significant protagonists, but full-length works. At first, my mind couldn’t come up with an […]

I’m a big fan of Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series.  Following the adventures of Jim DiGriz, intergalactic thief extraordinaire, the books are action-packed from start to finish, inventive, and exceptionally funny.  Recently, I finished The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge, chronologically the fifth in the series, but actually the second Harrison completed, in 1970.  (Three prequels […]

Let’s look back at the month of April at some of the science fiction and fantasy books released that you might have missed. *     *     *      *      * For We Are Many (We Are Bob #2) – Dennis Taylor Bob Johansson didn’t believe in an afterlife, so waking […]

The copyright on this book says 2015, but I have my doubts.  My theory is that the author opened up a wormhole, reached through, and pulled this book from the slushpile of a 1950’s publishing house.  The tone and tenor of this book would not be out of place sandwiched between the covers of a […]