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

Balboa takes on all comers in war, computer hackers crack the human brain, a near-immortal alien bumbles through galactic politics, and Britain’s fleets take to space once more in this week’s roundup of the newest releases in science fiction.


Bound by Honor (Vigilante #4) – Terry Mixon  and Glynn Stewart

An enemy of newfound strength. A friend gone missing in the night. A threat that can be ignored no more.

Brad Madrid, Commodore of the Vikings Mercenary Company, has once again been drawn into the war against the resurgent Cadre. Called into action in battles across the Solar System, from the fogs of Venus to the ice fields of Ceres, he faces deadly enemies at every turn.

In the midst of the chaos, Brad learns that his Agency contact and partner, Kate Falcone, has gone missing before she could deliver the evidence of treason she carried. With millions of lives at stake, finding her cannot be his first priority, but he searches as he goes.

Then an old enemy shares a poisonous gift as they flee from battle: the Cadre doesn’t have Kate Falcone. They know who does, however, and the hints they give Brad lead him to the one place he thought he would never make war…


Empire Ascendant (Road To Empire #2) – Dietmar Arthur Wehr

The grand experiment of a democratic Commonwealth of Star Nations has failed. With colony after colony leaving the Commonwealth, Earth finds itself in desperate straits as ecological disaster and mass starvation looms in the near future. The collapse of the Commonwealth means there’s now a power vacuum but no shortage of ruthless egos looking to fill that vacuum. Will it be the Republic of Corona, the most prosperous and populous colony world or a resurgent Earth under a messianic leader or perhaps a power-hungry interstellar corporation?

The ten year old Tau Ceti Empire is at a critical junction. The power vacuum left over from the collapse of the Commonwealth has been filled by five multi-planet star nations, the TCE being one of them. If the other four join forces and attack the TCE, it will be overwhelmed and crushed. But the longer Empress Brandenburg waits, the bigger the difference in military strength becomes. She must make plans soon because the leaders of the other four are already making theirs.

Who will ultimately stand astride a unified human star empire?


Hard Luck Hank: Dumber Than Dead (Hard Luck Hank #7) – Steven Campbell

Hank is getting married!

The space station Belvaille has become home to a species of actors. The newest edition to the Post Colmarian Confederation  are the Damakan race. As a species they are capable of “broadcast empathy.” Their acting skills are so powerful they are able to make people believe their portrayals are literally happening—even over remote transmission.

Belvaille, with its access to powerful radio telescopes, becomes an entertainment powerhouse, cranking out Damakan dramas and tragedies across the empire. As the city modifies is resources to accommodate the new cash cow, Hank is hired to protect important actors by the city’s premier talent agent: his butler Cliston.

But the good times don’t last as Damakans start getting murdered and whole productions are sabotaged and even outright attacked. The Navy threatens to get involved as their favorite tele programs are interrupted and Garm, the Adjunct Overwatch of the city, enlists Hank to find the source of the violence and put an end to it.

Hank fears his own betrothed is in danger as the city gets dragged into a gang war of which no one knows the cause.


Make Science Fiction Fun Again – Jon Del Arroz 

Do you miss the days when science fiction stories meant fun, crazy ideas? When a short fiction collection would entertain you and wow you with its strange, bold worlds? Then you’ll love the leading Hispanic voice in Science Fiction’s debut short fiction collection. With influences ranging from Heinlein, to McCaffrey, to Burroughs, these short stories run a gambit of telling unique stories that couldn’t be published by a major publisher today.

Inside, you’ll find tales of fighting monsters on alien planets, Nazi soldiers stumbling into a futuristic war where all life is at stake, AI coming to life and inhabiting a sexbot’s body, baseball on the moon, and more. It also features an introduction by Castalia House blogger and fan favorite, Daddy Warpig and the first collaboration between Jon Del Arroz and S. Misanthrope in “Unsafe (In) Space”.

Read it now and together we can make science fiction full of wonder again, we can make science fiction entertaining again, and we can Make Science Fiction Fun Again! Read More

Mousehole, by Stuart Harbour appeared in the Winter 1954 issue of Fantastic Story Magazine. It can be read here at Archive.org.

Mousehole is one of those stories that takes a sort of cutesy approach to weird horror. The premise is Lovecraftian, the outcome grisly, and the results droll.

The nutshell of the story is a mad scientist creates a dimensional rift that results in the shrinkage of matter passing through it. It’s more a magic hole than a scientific one, but hey. Anyway, the mad scientist dies and his relatives inherit the house.

The husband is an abusive jerk who treats his wife like crap. Hubby is certain mad scientist has stashed a fortune somewhere in the house. Wife thinks she’s going crazy hearing noises coming from a room or corridor which is inaccessible and shouldn’t really exist [one of those “I think this locked door inside is this locked door that opens outside, but it doesn’t fit the house’s blue prints”].

They check out the secret room, which actually opens out to a mouse hole; the cat reaches in and tears the husband apart. Kitty gets pets.

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Do you miss the days when science fiction stories meant fun, crazy ideas? When a short fiction collection would entertain you and wow you with its strange, bold worlds? Then you’ll love the leading Hispanic voice in Science Fiction’s debut short fiction collection. With influences ranging from Heinlein, to McCaffrey, to Burroughs, these short stories run a gambit of telling unique stories that couldn’t be published by a major publisher today.

Inside, you’ll find tales of fighting monsters on alien planets, Nazi soldiers stumbling into a futuristic war where all life is at stake, AI coming to life and inhabiting a sexbot’s body, baseball on the moon, and more. It also features an introduction by Castalia House blogger and fan favorite, Daddy Warpig and the first collaboration between Jon Del Arroz and S. Misanthrope in “Unsafe (In) Space”.

Read it now and together we can make science fiction full of wonder again, we can make science fiction entertaining again, and we can Make Science Fiction Fun Again!

Don’t let the cover fool you, Choose Your Own Apocalypse won’t leave you flipping back and forth based on choices you make.   Presented by The Space Balrogs, a collective of science-fiction authors who pool their writing talents and marketing savvy, this book feels more like a sampler platter than a meal, and that’s not a criticism. As a low-cost investment, both in terms of price and time, Choose Your Own Apocalypse does exactly what it should – it gives readers a chance to take eight very different authors for a test-drive, and it helps the readers find more works by those same authors.

As a whole, the collection is a mixed bag. The tone of the stories ranges from firmly tongue in cheek to deadly earnest, and the transition can be a bit jarring. Given the subject matter, end of the world stories requires a deft touch. You can’t just explain that the stakes are the world and expect readers to invest in the stakes. Our earth might be where the Arby’s lives, and therefore worth saving, but you need to convey a sense of the world within the story as well. Is it worth saving? More importantly, the main character has to be presented with care, whether fighting to end the world or fighting to preserve it.  Some of these stories succeed better than others, but which Armageddon is right for you…is up to you.

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Baron Roman Von Ungern-Sternberg starts to revive the Mongolian Empire

I don’t play Hearts of Iron but once a friend starts talking about the Kaiserreich mod the only option is to just grab a beer, settle in and listen.

In the Kaiserreich universe the Central Powers won the Weltkrieg (First World War) and in Great Britain the stresses of losing the Weltkrieg made Orwell’s prediction of red militias billeted in the Ritz* come true and subsequent rise rise of syndicalist governments in England, France and Italy. With capitalism on the ropes, the United States, despite initially benefiting from avoiding the war, is under tremendous social and economic pressure and a second civil war may be in the works. The Whites win the Russian Civil War, Austria Hungary chooses to decentralize and Germany heads a powerful Mitteleuropa alliance.

I noticed that my friend’s descriptions always included topics near and dear to my heart:

An obsessive focus on minor nations and allies?      Check; see the wiki for the “Minor Monday” reports.

A love of history, especially obscure personalities and events that pervades the entire game?      Check; read about Costa Rican politician Jose Figueres Ferrerand,

Attention to detail in creating plausible game events and historical personalities’ decision trees?      Check; review the different progress reports on regions and nations.

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See the source image“Prince of Egypt” is a 1998 animated movie made by Dreamworks back before Dreamworks ruined western animation with “Shrek”*. It is a musical made in a different, more mature and adult style than the Disney renaissance films that were all the rage those days. It is also probably the last great biblical epic ever put to screen, made in an entirely different era than the golden age of those sorts of films (how there has never been a movie made of “Esther” I’ll never understand).

The animation of “Prince of Egypt” – save for a janky CGI shot of Moses’s basket floating down the river – is stunning, at times absolutely breathtaking. The score of the movie has gone down in legend. Almost no song misses the mark – the opening number “Deliver Us”, would be one of the greatest openings in cinematic history if not for the aforementioned janky CGI – but as an overall scene it’s breathtaking. The only song that doesn’t work perhaps as well as it should is the Egyptian magicians singing “You’re Playing with the Big Boys Now”, partially because the modern expression feels out of place, but the animation in that scene is so eerie and fantastical it’s a forgivable sin.

The emotional heart of the film comes down to two relationships: Moses’s with Ramses, the Pharaoh at the time of the story, and Moses’s with God. The real coup of the film is the early work they do establishing the relationship between the stepbrothers. This gives the later scenes weight and heart that really helps you empathize with the difficulty of Moses’s situation and with the feelings of betrayal Ramses feels. Those early scenes also do a lot to help you understand why Ramses acts the way he does: Raised from birth to be the leader of a great dynasty, with immense pressure not to be the first weak link in the royal line, and told from the moment he gained the throne that he would be the most important, most powerful person in the world. Is it any wonder he would refuse to listen to a traitor speaking for the God of a slave race? Read More

Fiction (Weekly Standard): In 1975, Christopher Tolkien left his fellowship at New College, Oxford, to edit his late father’s massive legendarium. The prospect was daunting. The 50-year-old medievalist found himself confronted with 70 boxes of unpublished work. Thousands of pages of notes and fragments and poems, some dating back more than six decades, were stuffed haphazardly into the boxes. Handwritten texts were hurriedly scrawled in pencil and annotated with a jumble of notes and corrections. One early story was drafted in a high school exercise book.

Film (Forbes): With less than two days left to go on Kickstarter, The Dreams in Gary’s Basement: A Documentary on Gary Gygax has more than tripled its original funding goal and recruited role-playing game royalty to the production.

The documentary film about Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax launched a crowdfunding campaign on October 16 with a fundraising goal of $25,000.

Fiction (DMR Books): On this day of thankfulness, I feel obligated to express my debt of gratitude toward an iconic literary creation and the author who gave him to me and the world. That icon is Tarzan and his creator was Edgar Rice Burroughs. By Farmerian/Wold Newtonian reckoning, Tarzan was born on this date in West Africa in 1888. The coincidence of Lord Greystoke’s one hundred and fortieth birthday and Thanksgiving 2018 was too much to pass up. Respects must be paid.

Military History (Black Gate); What if I told you that the Highland army at Culloden in 1746 wasn’t really a “Highland” Army?

What if I also told you that apart from a few front-ranking testosterone-poisoned sword and targe men, it fought like any other 18th century European army and that at least half the men looked like regular soldiers draped in tartan tat — sashes, tartan trews, a better quality version of the kind of stuff tourists still pick up in Edinburgh’s gift shops — to show which side they were on?

Yes, I’ve been reading Jenn Scott’s new Better is the Proud Plaid: The Clothing, Weapons and Accoutrements of the Jacobites in the ’45. (UKUS)

Fiction (Jon Mollison): The modern day monster genre suffers from a dearth of creativity that leaves most stories feeling like a scene from “The Monster Squad”.  Vampires?  Garlic.  Werewolf?  Silver.  Blue haired land whale?  Crime statistics and logic.  Or they feature protagonists who feel flatly perfect and impregnable.  Or they take place on the streets of another bland city on another bland night.

Fiction (DMR Books): I am a huge fan of the ‘dying earth’ subgenre as personified by such writers as Jack Vance and Clark Ashton Smith (and to a lesser degree, the Barsoom series of E.R. Burroughs). Both Smith and Vance created worlds that were on the verge of a final collapse; technology has reverted to that of the ancient Bronze Age, the operating system of the universe has shifted from laws of causation to magic, societies are highly decadent and the sun is a swollen, red orb. “The Reavers of the Dead” is a story that was slated to appear in a defunct anthology entitled Tales from the Red Earth! Judging from that title, it is a safe assumption that the collection was a tribute to Vance’s Dying Earth and Smith’s Zothique cycle. Singer’s story certainly succeeds in this regard. Lorn is part of a contingent of fighting men who have crossed the depleted continent of Khabor, sacking the

remnants of once great cities under a black banner.

 

Fiction (Every day Should be Tuesday): No, Robert Jordan Would Not Have Pulled a George R.R. Martin Had He Lived

By pull l a George R.R. Martin,” I mean let his series drag on infinitum while he worked on other stuff.  This post springs from a Twitter debate with Kevin Xu, who put forward that scurrilous proposition.  This aggression will not stand, man.  I refuted it at the time, but some things deserve to be said at more than 280 characters at a time.

Gaming (Brian Niemeier): White Wolf, publishers of Vampire: The Masquerade–a tabletop role-playing game that gained massive popularity in the 90s–has succumbed to a politically correct outrage mob.

Sales and printing of the V5 Camarilla and Anarch books will be temporarily suspended. The section on Chechnya will be removed in both the print and PDF versions of the Camarilla book. We anticipate that this will require about three weeks. This means shipping will be delayed; if you have pre-ordered a copy of Camarilla or Anarchs, further information will follow via e-mail.

History (Frontier Partisans): There is much to like about Outlaw/King, Netflix’s telling of the rebellion of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. In a very real sense, this tale is a prequel to North American frontier history, for the contested Scots/English borderlands bred the people who, 400 years on, would form the cutting edge of the 18th Century frontier. As HP over at Hillbilly Highways points out:

The history of the Scots-English border region is the history of hillbillies.

The film offers a brutal and breathtaking depiction of medieval warfare, better than anything else I’ve seen.

Fiction (John C. Wright): MAKING SPACE OPERA GREAT AGAIN!

Have you been disappointed by the drab, dull, and unimpressive way most space sagas, franchises, and the beloved epics of childhood have been treated in recent times?

Writers of space adventure stories, if they dare write the kind of old-school, honest, rousing, tale of action, intrigue, and interstellar deeds of derring-do we all enjoy, when men were men and women were space princesses, are ignored by modern publishers, scorned by the press, shunned by the long established science fiction awards.

Space opera is the genre where at least one planet is blown into asteroids before the end of Act One. Such tales are peopled by dashing star-captains, villains space pirates, lovely princesses, cunning secret agents, roaring monsters, ancient ruins on accursed planets, dying worlds, exploding suns, and dazzling visions of grandeur.

Fiction (Playernone): While these stories are marked as based on the Cthulhu mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft, they aren’t necessarily Lovecraftian in style and as such, I don’t think Howard was even able writing in the archaic hallmark style of his lanky penpal. Or even if he would have been capable of imitating the style, he probably wasn’t interested in doing so.

Never the less, the bizarre horrors his contemporary colleague created did interest him enough to write stories that were thematically similar to what Lovecraft did. And so he ended up leaving his own mark to this brand of cosmic horror.

Gaming (Playing at the World):

Dungeons & Dragons grew out of a tradition of miniature wargaming, and distributors of figurines were among the first companies to supply D&D to hobby shops. Although the D&D rules downplayed the necessity of using minis, they do tout their value in adding “real spectacle” to the game through “the eye-appeal of the varied and brightly painted miniature figures.” Miniatures were to early D&D what graphics became for computer games. Supplying miniatures suitable for fantasy RPGs ultimately grew into a substantial industry of its own, but at the humble beginning, the first miniatures that TSR sold along with D&D were made by the father of American miniature wargaming: Jack Scruby. Above are examples of some of these early Scruby miniatures arrayed for combat.

Gaming (Table Top Gaming News): I could sit here and post a Black Friday Sale post every half-hour and still be at it for days, it seems. So, instead, I’m bundling all the ones I’m coming across together here for you. Peruse at your leisure.

George R. R. Martin was on the Stephen Colbert Show Wednesday night. Colbert asked him about The Winds of Winter. Colbert said to him:

“Aren’t you supposed to be finishing The Winds of Winter this entire time? Not to add to the chorus of ‘what has taken so long,’ but this is a 700-page detour!”

Martin had this to say in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:

“I know there are a lot of people out there who are very angry with me that Winds of Winter isn’t finished. And I’m mad about that myself. I wished I finished it four years ago. I wished it was finished now. But it’s not. And I’ve had dark nights of the soul where I’ve pounded my head against the keyboard and said, “God, will I ever finish this? The show is going further and further forward and I’m falling further and further behind. What the hell is happening here? I’ve got to do this.”

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Pulps and comics are kissing cousins. Not only have comics plundered the pulps for heroes, stories, and franchises, in many cases, comics and pulps were owned by the same publishers. For instance, Street & Smith’s Chelsea House imprint ran comics of most of their pulp books. But Marvel holds special ties to science fiction. Not only does The House of Ideas continue to provide opportunities for science fiction writers to work in comics, it set the stage for the Campbelline Revolution through Marvel Science Storiesa nine issue pulp that ran between 1938 and 1941.

Like Marvel Comics’s predecessor, Timely Comics, Marvel Science Stories was part of the Red Circle imprint, published by Martin Goodman, who would later become a cousin by marriage to Stan Lee. Red Circle books covered the gamut of westerns, detective stories, weird menace, and adventures, but they appealed to a baser instinct than most of their competition. That’s right, Red Circle dealt with the “spicies”, those salacious stories of sin and sadism that seem so utterly quaint in today’s age of Game of Thrones.

Originally, Marvel Science Stories adhered to the growing fannish standard of science fiction. But as editor Robert O. Erisman learned, sex sells:

Initially, Erisman seems to have taken note of the fans’ requests but by 1939, Marvel’s sales were starting to drop and, under pressure from Martin Goodman, Erisman stepped up the sex content of the magazine. With the sixth issue dated December 1939, the ‘science’ was dropped and the title changed to Marvel Tales. The covers became more like those of the other weird-menace pulps, with girls being lowered into all manner of torture devices, and the horror writers took over. Jack Williamson recalled how Erisman got him to include some spicy passages in his previously unsold story “The River of Terror” which was then published under the title “Mistress of Machine-Age Madness” (May 1940). Williamson feared having his name linked with it, so it appeared under the house name Nils O. Sonderlund. “It looks more insipid that daring now,” Williamson later recalled, “but  didn’t want my name on it then. For most of us in those days science fiction had to be pure as snow.”

Williamson was not the only one in science fiction to despise Marvel Science Stories. Fandom’s impressions were generally negative, if not outright hostile:

“I was just about to write you a letter of complete congratulations when my eyes fell upon Kuttner’s “The Time Trap”. All I can say is: PLEASE, in the future, dislodge such trash from your magazine.”–William Hamling

“For some half a dozen issues or so, a magazine I won’t name” published “spicy” stories about “the hot passion of alien monsters for Earthwomen. Clothes were always getting ripped off and breasts were described in a variety of elliptical phrases” for its “few readers” before “the magazine died a deserved death” — Isaac Asimov

Some of this is just fannish snobbery, as Williamson explained. And Marvel’s sister magazines “Dynamic Science Stories”, “Uncanny Stories”, and more fell along the same pattern, with similar disdain for the quality. “Historians identify only three stories of quality: Nelson S. Bond’s “The Message from the Void” (published under the pseudonym “Hubert Mavity”); L. Sprague de Camp’s “Ananias”; and Manly Wade Wellman’s “Insight”.”

But what Marvel Science Stories represents is the first new science fiction magazine since the original rush of science fiction stories. “After 1931, when Miracle Science and Fantasy Stories was launched, no new science fiction magazines appeared until August 1938, when Abraham and Martin Goodman, two brothers who owned a publishing company with multiple imprints, launched Marvel Science Stories.” It kindled publisher interest in science fiction and fantasy as a genre, leading to the creation of Planet Stories, and more. And to compete in this new boom market of science fiction, Astounding hired John Campbell…

So, if it was not for the publication of Marvel Science Stories by a smut peddler of its day, science fiction would not have generated the attention and the dollars from publishers. And the genre would have continued to stagnate in the mess caused by Hugo the Rat’s predations. After all, as Gus Grissom said in The Right Stuff, “No bucks, no Buck Rogers.”

Samurai struggle with honor in civil war, dragons soar over nuclear wastelands, and Louis L’Amour, Andre Norton, and David Drake return in this roundup of the newest releases in fantasy and adventure fiction.


Blade of Retribution (Blood Samurai #3) – Lynn Francis 

An emperor’s wraith from the grave that would see the fall of a dynasty and the rise of the samurai.

At great cost to his soul and sanity, Riku believes he has the demon Sutoku under control. With the aid of the witch Takiyasha hime the demon Sutoku is no longer a separate presence but a part of Riku – a part that demands the blood of those he seeks his vengeance upon.

The war that had been brewing has been in stalemate and a supernatural famine is tearing apart the land. Before it reaches it’s breaking point the Taira move against the Minamoto and the Minamoto will be ready.

For they have also made a pack for power and as betrayal after betrayal comes, the dark forces that threaten to consume the land grow stronger and stronger.

Will Riku be able to overcome his past and stop both his and his country’s descent into madness?


Cirsova: Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction #10 – edited by Cirsova Publishing

Cirsova Magazine is for readers who want exciting tales of daring heroes up against impossible odds in exotic settings. It’s also for authors of adventure SFF.

Novelette

  • Crying in the Salt House, by B. Morris Allen

Short Stories

  • Jeopardy Off Jupiter IV, by Spencer E. Hart
  • The Best Workout, by Frederick Gero Heimbach
  • A Song in Deepest Darkness, by Jason Ray Carney
  • Amsel the Immortal, by Lauren Goff
  • An Interrupted Scandal, by Misha Burnett
  • The Sword of the Mongoose, by Jim Breyfogle
  • When Gods Fall in Fire, by Brian K. Lowe

Poetry

  • My Name is John Carter (Part 7), by James Hutchings

Dragon Mage – Andre Norton and Jean Rabe

Shy realizes that she is lucky to be taken in by her grandparents after her father dies–but life above an antique store in Slade’s Corners, Wisconsin is not exactly the place a teenage girl wants to be.

One day while going through boxes of her father’s boyhood stuff, she comes upon a rare old set of dragon puzzles … all of which are missing pieces. Her grandmother recalls the fantastic tales Shy’s father would tell about his travels to lands of dragons and adventure. She always thought that these fantasies were inspired by the puzzles Shy has found.

Shy realizes that by mixing and matching the different sets she can complete a single dragon puzzle that combines all of the others. Upon doing so she is whisked away to ancient Babylon where she must continue the duties of her father’s legacy as a servant to the dragon and a savior of the world.

 


Iron Garland (Harbinger #3) – Jeff Wheeler 

For three years, Sera Fitzempress has been a pawn in a gilded prison—the floating manor of Pavenham Sky. Disgraced and exiled from society, she has been isolated from the downtrodden she’s determined to liberate. But although Sera may seem subservient on the outside, the stubborn princess has only become emboldened.

Now in charge of her family’s estate, Cettie Pratt has grown into an independent young woman, although she continues to be tested by the high society of the clouds. Advancing in the magic of the Mysteries, Cettie is also a useful tool of defense during turbulent times. However, as more of Cettie’s mysterious past comes to light, her greatest challenge may be a reckless stranger with a dark secret.

The fog of war is drawing in, and with it comes a startling new enemy who may unravel secrets that both women would prefer stay hidden. But their secrets may be the only way to stop the coming darkness…

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Allow me to take a break from my usual column this week. Rather than sharing with you a small slice of the vast rich cake of independently produced genre fiction, I’d like to elbow my way into your celebration in order to express my gratitude and give thanks to some richly deserving parties.  I’ll have an interesting review of an interesting anthology next week whose apocalyptic visions wouldn’t do much to help aid in the digestion of today’s traditional feast.

First, to our hosts, for opening up the doors of this blog and sharing their audience with a few fresh new names. The trust they placed in our hands means a great deal to me personally, and with every post, I can only hope to honor and live up to that trust. Also, a special thank you to Vox Day for following in the footsteps of his ancestors and sharing his wisdom about this strange new post-BigPub world of publishing with those of us new to publishing.

Thank you also to all of the readers of this blog. Particularly the commenters. The wealth of information presented by my fellow bloggers has opened my eyes up to the vast depths of sci-fi and fantasy history and provided incredible insights into the modern world of pop culture, but with every post comes at least one comment to serve as a nice dab of whipped cream on the blogging pumpkin pie. If you don’t stick around for the comments, you’re missing out on a lot of the fun. The regulars here often provide added context or nuance, or in my own case corrections (ahem) that prove the adage that all of us are smarter than any of us. Read More