Blog Archives


A few weeks back, I wrote a review of the anthology Legends. I enjoyed the book quite a bit and wasted little time to tackle Legends II. Newcon Press, August 2015, 215 pages not including some ads at the back of the book. Ian Whates once again edited the anthology. Twelve stories, most of which […]

The Mouser did not find his watch a pleasant one. In place of his former trust in this rocky nook, he now scented danger in every direction and peered as often at the steamy pit as at the black entrance beyond the glowing coals, entertaining himself with vivid visions of a cooked priest somehow writhing […]

In Mage Tome, Rod Walker turns his pen towards fantasy with the first of a series of adventures featuring master thief Rowan of Kalderon. While his The Thousand Worlds series follows in the footsteps of Heinlein’s juveniles, here Walker casts an eye towards the thieves of sword and sorcery pulps and dungeon crawl games for […]

A year and a half ago, I wrote a post about David Gemmell and how in my opinion he saved sword and sorcery fiction in the 1990s.  I think it was after that that I found out the Legends anthologies. The books are subtitled “Stories in Honour of David Gemmell.” I was not familiar with […]

I first came across the Ruritanian romance, a genre featuring adventure in a small, fictional, usually European kingdom, in Nabokov’s Pale Fire.  While that version was decidedly un-heroic, as Nabokov’s tragicomic works tend to be, it still impressed me as a promising setting for a story.  Later, in Philip Jose Farmer’s Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of […]

Come, reader. Let us continue the review and commentary of the Conan stories of Robert E Howard. This episode is Tower Of The Elephant, first appearing in in Weird Tales, March 1933. Conan is young here. The internal chronology of the stories is subject to some guesswork. But it is fair to say that this […]

Does this genre have a name? Sabercat, by T L Knighton, throws the reader into the cockpit of a tramp space freighter as its captain and crew try to carve enough credits out of an uncaring universe to stay one jump ahead of insolvency. It’s the same plot used to such good effect in Karl Gallagher’s Torchship series.  Travelleresque […]

I love heavily illustrated books about fictional genres and publishing– Geoffrey O’Brien’s Hardboiled America, Lee Server’s Danger is My Business, Randy Broecker’s Fantasy of the 20th Century being some examples. A new addition is Grady Henrdrix’s Paperbacks from Hell (“The Twisted History of ‘70s and ‘80s Horror Fiction). This book had some buzz last year […]

The premise of the first standalone in Jason Anspach and Nick Cole’s Galaxy’s Edge series is simple: what if Darth Vader went to Dagobah instead of Luke Skywalker? But reducing IMPERATOR down to that single question does a disservice to the first glimpse beneath the hood of the Emperor, Goth Sullus. Here they lay bare his […]

Ben Espen of With Both Hands beat me to the punch with an in-depth review of Galactic Outlaws.  My review of this runaway fright train of action and adventure published right here on the Castalia House Blog tried to convince you, dear reader, to give this series a shot by taking the shallow, non-spoiler, route.  […]

One could make the argument that Fredric Brown (1906-1972) is the most important crime writer of the late 1940s/early 1950s. He certainly seems important enough to warrant two separate reprint series, one in the 1980s and one now. Something I can’t think of any other crime writer from the period. You probably know Fredric Brown […]

I had heard about the anthology The Book of Swords sometime last year before its publication. The cover looked good but I was not filled with any great enthusiasm. I have read anthologies edited by Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin starting with Warriors (Tor Books, 2010). I wrote a review of the anthology […]