Category epic fantasy

Magazine: Mothership Zeta, issue 2

Mothership Zeta The human brain isn’t perfect.  For example, most adults don’t remember the moment of their birth.  I’m different.  I remember the day I hatched, a fully grown human, from a pod on the mothership. I can’t tell you what the mothership told me that day, because the language she used has no written […]

21st-Century SFF Publishers

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’ve been struggling to find good science-fiction stories in magazines.  Although I haven’t blogged about longer fiction lately, I also have trouble finding good sci-fi and fantasy novels. I normally don’t pay any attention to a book’s publisher.  I usually decide what to read based on […]

Magazine: Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Tonight’s intro story is a continuation of my last intro story, which was a continuation of the previous intro story.  Heck, maybe you should just read the entire Four Apes Saga from the beginning. Herman is the first to break the standoff.  He charges into Balto’s tank, cracking it open, spilling the whale out and […]

Side Quest

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I sent myself on a magazine quest to find the best SFF magazine, and ultimately subscribe to it.  When I began my quest, I thought I’d review a dozen magazines.  I’ve already reviewed 32 magazines here, and I’ve discovered so many others that […]

Magazine: Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #32

Tonight’s intro story is a continuation of my previous Four Apes intro story: … Ape-proof steel doors slam shut across the exits, trapping us inside. I scan the upper walls and ceiling until I spot a security camera, then face it.  “Quit screwing around, Director.  The Bad Guys are up to some bad stuff, and you […]

Ichabod Brooks

Ichabod Brooks is a character written by fantasy author and fellow blogger Charles Yallowitz.  He’s a monster-hunter who’s been around the block a few times and knows the monster-hunting game inside and out.  Ichabod Brooks is, I mean.  I have no first-hand knowledge of Charles Yallowitz’s monster-hunting credentials. I’ve only read the first short story […]

Magazine: Storyhack, issue zero

Storyhack, issue zero On the Fourth of July, I feel it’s my patriotic duty to write another Four Apes intro story: Traffic around the Department of Agriculture headquarters in Washington DC slows to a crawl, as drivers gawk at the Eight Apes on the sidewalk outside. Samantha looks into my eyes.  “We don’t have to go […]

Magazine: Leading Edge, Issue 68

Leading Edge, Issue 68 The Saga of the Four Apes continues: Fu, Herman, Bobo, and I move quietly through the construction site, sticking to the nighttime shadows.  We know the bad guys have some connection to this piece of real estate, but don’t know the details.  We freeze when an attractive young woman steps from […]

Magazine: Phantaxis Nov 2016

Phantaxis Nov 2016 The following intro story will confuse you if you haven’t read my spaghetti western intro story: My phone rings, waking me up at 5AM on a Saturday.  Resisting the urge to throw it against the wall, I answer it.  “You better have a good reason for calling.” “Oh, I do indeed, sir. […]

Planetary Award Winners – 2016

The winners of the 2016 Planetary Awards have been announced. The winning short story was “Athan and the Priestess” from the collection Thune’s Vision by Schuyler Hernstrom.  I’ve purchased a copy, and I’ll review it once I’ve read the entire book.  I’ve only read the winning story so far, but I enjoyed it.  I found it very Conan-esque, […]

SFF Magazine News

I don’t have time to write up a magazine review (or a silly intro story) this week, but I thought I’d mention some news concerning two of the magazines which are competing for the top spot in my magazine quest. Red Sun Magazine’s third issue is out.  I haven’t read it yet, but it looks […]

Magazine: Deep Magic Aug 2016

Deep Magic, August 2016 I’m on the record as disliking prequels, but for today’s intro story, I decided to write a Four Apes prequel anyway: — The Assistant Director only makes me wait twenty minutes outside his office, so I know there’s a crisis. He motions for me to sit.  “We’re shutting down your program.” […]

Magazine: On Spec #102

On Spec #102 I don’t normally work for cartels, but my magazine quest is getting expensive, and this cartel doesn’t pay in worthless dollars — it pays in cold, hard maple syrup.  One of the cartel bosses lays out the problem he wants me to take care of, but I don’t speak French, so I just […]

Magazine: Space and Time, issue 125

Space and Time Magazine, issue 125 A steward shows me onto the cruise ship’s bridge and introduces me to the Captain, who reaches out to shake my hand.  “You’re that science journalist I’ve been hearing so much about.” “Science-fiction book-blogger, actually.  I’ve heard your ship’s library has a copy of Space and Time Magazine that I’d […]

Vote for the best stories of 2016

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
We’re expanding the voting pool for the awards this year, so read this entire post to find out if YOU are eligible to vote. But first, here are the 2016 stories nominated by book bloggers across the internet: Short Stories / Novellas “Athan and the Priestess” by Schuyler Hernstrom, found in…

Award Thoughts – Indie Reading

I’ve already posted my award thoughts concerning short stories, and the better novels I read last year. At the start of 2017, I made an effort to read some self-published books (and a couple of traditionally-published I hadn’t gotten to) to see if they might be worth nominating for best SFF book of the year.  (I […]

Award Thoughts – Novel

I’m having trouble picking my favorite novel of 2016, just like I’m having trouble picking a short story.  I don’t have as many novels to choose from, so I’ve expanded my candidates to include books that aren’t the first in a series. Joel Shepherd’s Drysine Legacy was in the lead, until I realized that although the […]

Submit Your 2016 Nominations

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
Happy New Year — it’s time to nominate your favorite science fiction and fantasy writing for the 2016 Planetary Awards. We’re doing only two categories this year: Shorter story (under 40,000 words/160 paperback pages) Longer story (novels) If you’re a book blogger, book podcaster, or booktuber, the nomination process is…

Review: The Second Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II CS Boyack‘s second experimental notebook is the perfect book to read just before Halloween. It has vampires, a haunted house, murderers, grave robbers — What? I missed the Halloween deadline? OK, I can work around that. Let’s try something else: CS Boyack’s second experimental notebook is the […]

Magazine: Plasma Frequency Q1 2016

Plasma Frequency My buddy Jack says he can get me a copy of Plasma Frequency Magazine. Well, he says he knows “a guy who knows a guy.” I’m at his house, helping him set up for a coworker’s surprise 70th birthday/retirement party. We lift an over-sized paper cake from the back of his truck, and […]

Magazine: Uncanny #8

Uncanny #8 I’m walking through a library, searching for a magazine, but I can’t seem to find one. Stuffed cats wearing hats and boots sit on the shelves of one aisle. Climbers in dark clothing move up the empty shelves of another. I avert my eyes from the next aisle, as a man and woman […]

Magazine: Grimdark #8

Grimdark Magazine #8 When I was a child, I passed my neighbor’s house every day while walking home from school. He would often be sitting on his front porch, tying his shoes, and would wave or say hello to me. I remember one day that was different from all the others: “Hi, Billy. I hope […]

Magazine: Albedo One #46

A bowl of cereal in one hand, a jug of milk in the other, I head to the kitchen table. There’s no room to set down my breakfast, because a two-foot-tall man in a three-piece suit is stretched out there, snoring. I use my elbow to shove him off, and he hits the floor with […]

Something for writers, something for readers

First, some news: I received a rejection letter for my first short story submission. I was originally going to give this post the pessimistic title of “Rejection #1”, because I’m a ‘glass is 96% empty’ kind of guy, not ‘glass is 4% full’. (According to The Grinder, 96% of stories are rejected at Analog magazine, […]

PDC on Facebook

I’ve bitten the bullet and created a Facebook page for Planetary Defense Command. Facebook considers PDC an “artist, band, or public figure”. I’m certain I’m not a band, and I’ve never considered myself an artist, so I guess that makes me a public figure — and I didn’t even have to put on a tie! […]

Today is the day

Originally posted on Entertaining Stories:
Well, it’s one of the days. My newest book The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II is now available for purchase on Amazon. It’s a pre-sale, and the books will deliver on August 31st. That is the other day. I wanted to do a short pre-sale, but Lisa my…

Magazine: Fantasy Scroll #9

Fantasy Scroll Magazine This can’t be the place. I’m looking across a dirty, crowded train station at a magazine stand. My sources tell me this is where I should look for my next magazine, but I’m thinking about looking for new sources instead. I decide not to approach right away, in case it’s a trap. I walk to […]

Cirsova #2 at Kickstarter

Cirsova’s second issue now has a page at kickstarter. If you haven’t heard of Cirsova, you can read my interview with the magazine’s founder, or my review of Cirsova #1.

Free David Drake

David Drake isn’t in prison (as far as I know) – I’m referring to free David Drake ebooks at Amazon. I don’t know if these are permanently free or short-term promotions, so grab them now if you want them. Several of the books are also available as audiobooks at audible; once you have the ebook […]

Free: Cirsova issue #1

The kindle version of issue #1 of Cirsova magazine is free at Amazon through Saturday, March 19th. I recently interviewed P. Alexander, Cirsova’s founder/editor, and I plan to review issue #1 in a couple of weeks. Get your free copy so we can compare opinions of the stories!

Magazine: InterGalactic Medicine Show #47

Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, issue 47 The department took away my canine partner, my badge, and my gun, but I’m still going to take down Talking Chicken. I leave my car by the highway and walk, baseball bat over my shoulder. I ignore the signs saying “Rainbow Farms employees only”. The huge metal […]

Short Story Writing Contest: Winning Story

Originally posted on Amid The Imaginary:
The Kiss of High Treason Chosen writing prompt: Knight To this day, words still whispered of the dark place concealed in the enchanted forest and the ancient secrets contained inside. Ariella had spent hours penetrating the thicket of oaks and silver birches hoping to uncover her one true desire.…

Nebula Awards vs Planetary Awards

Over the weekend, the Nebula Awards nominees for 2015 were announced. You’ll notice that there is no overlap between those books and the nominees for the 2015 Planetary Awards. I’ve been brainstorming possible reasons: 1) Either the authors who vote in the Nebula Awards or the bloggers who vote in the Planetary Awards have crawled […]

Nine novels down, five to go

I read nine novels in my search for planetary awards nominees, so I thought I’d give you a rundown of them before I resume my magazine quest.  I’ll also lay out my plans for reading other bloggers’ nominees. Traditionally-published, from best to worst: #1) Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia was my nominee. […]

Vote for the best stories of 2015

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
If you’re a book blogger, podcaster, or booktuber, then it’s time to vote for the best stories of 2015. You are allowed one vote per category, chosen from the nominated works listed below: Short Story / Novella: Something in the Water by C.S. Boyack, in The Experimental Notebook of C. S.…

Son of the Black Sword

Son of the Black Sword I’ve made my short story and self-published novel nominations for the Planetary Awards, and now I’m nominating Son of the Black Sword for best traditionally-published novel of 2015. This post will discuss the book, but won’t really be a review. I’m going to talk about the author’s previous work, my […]

Interview: P. Alexander

I’m in the back of a speeding van, loading a light machine gun. “How’d they find us so fast?” Cara looks over her shoulder from the driver’s seat. “Yeah, how did they spot four heavily-armed, ethnically-diverse strangers in a small town, driving a van with your logo on the side?” “Shut up, fool!” I kick […]

Maps of the World

If I’m at my computer without a specific task to perform, I’m likely to create strange things. Today, it was these maps. I decided to upload them in case they might spark a story idea in an author or roleplaying gamer. For those of you who’ve wondered what the world would be like with eight […]

Cirsova Issue 1 Kickstarter is Live! (please share!)

Originally posted on Cirsova:
The Kickstarter for Cirsova Issue 1 is a go!  Issue # 1 is done and paid for.  We’re just taking orders and raising money for the future so I can start work on Issue #2 right away! Basic pledge rates are as follows: Individual Copies $2 – PDF $10 + Shipping…

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #58

I keep my eyes on the rearview mirror as I speed across the Australian outback. Most of the pursuing vehicles are burning wreckage fading into the distance, but two are still on my tail. If I gunned the V-8 interceptor’s engine I’d lose them, but my fuel gauge is hovering just above ‘E’, so I’m […]

My 2015 Planetary Awards Nominations

The 2015 Planetary Awards have three categories open for nominations: shorter story (including novelettes and novellas), traditionally published novel, and self-published / small press novel. It wasn’t too hard for me to find a short story nominee. I’ve read a dozen 2015 science fiction magazines as part of my magazine quest, and I’ve also read […]

Magazine: Clarkesworld Nov 2015

Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 110 The Sri Lankan mountainside is steep, and the ground is slick with mud and algae-covered tree roots, but I’m not even breathing hard as I ascend — I’m riding in a palanquin carried by a gang of jungle squid. They wrap their tentacles around upslope trees and pull, repeating the process […]

Submit Your 2015 Nominations

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
It’s time for book bloggers, podcasters, and booktubers to nominate their favorite science fiction and fantasy books and short stories published in 2015. There are three categories for the 2015 awards: 1) Shorter story (under 40,000 words/160 paperback pages) 2) Traditionally published novel 3) Small press / self-published novel Nominations…

Magazine: Fantasy & Science Fiction Sep-Oct 2015

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction September/October 2015 I wipe the dragon’s blood from my axe as I enter its lair. Everyone in the business of dragon-slaying knows that killing a dragon is the easy part; the real work is searching through its disorganized treasure hoard. I expect an open cavern, but the lair […]

Free: Pearseus

Nicholas Rossis‘ book, Pearseus, Rise of the Prince, is free at Amazon from November 17th to the 20th. Nicholas is in Europe, and I’m not sure if the 20th cutoff applies to his time or to your local time, so don’t wait until the last minute to pick up your copy!

On a Quest

I’m setting off on a quest.  I won’t be sailing after the Golden Fleece, or throwing jewelry into a volcano. Instead, I’m searching for a science fiction / fantasy magazine worthy of my subscription dollars. I haven’t read a magazine in quite a while. For many years, my reading time was entirely devoted to scientific […]

Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) The good news: this novel has a great story. The bad news: most of that story is in the last third of the book. MINOR SPOILERS BELOW – ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK The book gets off to a promising start, as […]

Award Categories

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
We’ve announced a new science fiction / fantasy award, discussed who should be eligible to vote and when we should vote. Now, we tackle the issue of award categories. Should different genres get their own awards, such as one set of awards for science fiction, one for high/epic fantasy, and…

When to Vote?

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
This post continues the thread announcing a new science fiction / fantasy award, and discussing who should be eligible to vote. The next question is: when to vote? If a book is released on December 31st, it’s unlikely many potential voters will have read it by January 1st. So, how…

Who votes, and how?

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
The winners of our new science fiction and fantasy awards will be chosen by book bloggers, podcasters, and booktubers. That seems simple enough, but how do we decide if a person is one of those? Is one book review some time in the distant past good enough? One book review…

Creating New Awards

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
I’m asking my fellow book bloggers, along with podcasters and booktubers, to join me in creating a new set of awards for science fiction and fantasy stories. Why invent another award? In addition to numerous regional and sub-genre awards, there are currently two broad awards: The Nebula and the Hugo.…

Review: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack Four Royal Crowns (4 out of 4 rating) I had trouble reviewing this collection of 12 short stories. Deciding on a rating was easy — I enjoy short-format stories, and was totally immersed in 9 of the 12. My problem was what to write about each of them– […]

Writing Contest

I’ve agreed to be one of three judges in a writing contest. The contest is for those who have already self-published something, as first prize is a promotion package from a book tweeting service. Stories must be 1,500 words or less, and based on one of four “writing prompt” images, but can fall under any […]

Blurb Doctor: A Ransom of Flames

Anela has asked me to look at the first draft of a blurb for her upcoming work, “A Ransom of Flames”. A deadly blight. A crownless queen. A journey to the edge of the world. A mysterious blight is destroying the world of Aeden. At the return of each full moon the Vehlek, immortal men […]

Bookends: Leyfarers and Wayfarers

Leyfarers and Wayfarers is a collection of 16 stories (in a variety of genres) by G L Francis. As usual for my bookends series of posts, I read the first and last stories, then made a decision whether to continue. First Story: Tools of the Trade In this steampunk tale, Russian water spirits are killing […]

Interview: C. S. Boyack

It’s midnight, and I’m standing in a snow-covered field, waiting for C. S. Boyack. Something howls in the distance. The light of the full moon reflecting off the snow is almost as bright as daylight. Almost. A man approaches, and I spot fur sticking out from the top of his jacket. This guy has definitely […]

Say no to prequels

A while ago, I noticed that every time I read a novel (or see a film) that is a prequel, I like it far less than the original material. So, I’m going to make a conscious effort to avoid prequels in the future. I think I’ve boiled down my aversion to two factors: 1) Lack […]

Bookends: Wyrd Worlds

Wyrd Worlds is a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories by self-published authors. The book is free, as is its sequel, Wyrd Worlds II. The authors of these stories are hoping that you’ll enjoy their work, then seek out something else they’ve written. As usual for my Bookends series, I have read the […]

Science Fiction Podcasts

SCy-Fy posted a list of science fiction podcasts last month, and more recently has been running a series of interviews with sci-fi podcasters. Despite being a regular consumer of audio content, I haven’t started listening to podcasts yet. A friend recommended a non-fiction podcast, Hardcore History, and I became aware of several of the sci-fi […]

Bookends: Quantum Zoo

In an earlier review of The Power of Six, I mentioned my plans for a new feature where I read the first and last short story from a collection. In each post of this feature, I’ll briefly describe the two stories, and then indicate whether I’m inclined to read further in the collection. My theory […]