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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mailboxes, Shelves, and What I'm Reading

Stacking The Shelves and Mailbox Monday are a pair of weekly memes that are about sharing the books that came your way over the past week, and which you've added to your shelves - whether they be physical or virtual, borrowed or bought, or for pleasure or review.

Still keeping the review pile in check, but I was offered some weird fiction, strange tales, and erotic horror that I couldn't refuse:

Shadows & Tall Trees: 6 edited by Michael Kelly 
Published May 20th 2014 by Undertow

Shadows & Tall Trees is the flagship publication of Undertow Publications (UP), a small press based near Toronto. In 2010 and 2013 the journal was a finalist for the British Fantasy Award for Best Periodical/Magazine. Peter Straub has called Shadows & Tall Trees “A beautiful and courageous journal.” Stories published in Shadows & Tall Trees have been selected for reprint in The Best Horror of the Year; The Best British Stories; The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror; Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing; The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror; and Wilde Stories: The Best Gay Speculative Fiction. Many notable authors have graced the pages of Shadows & Tall Trees, including Robert Shearman, Steve Rasnic Tem, Alison Moore, Nicholas Royle, and Nina Allan.


Infection & Rubberwerks by Lyka Bloom
Published October 9th 2013 & January 17th 2014 by Smashwords Edition

Infection: When Julia Dane is hired to locate a lovely attorney's missing step-sister, she finds herself drawn into a world of bondage and supernatural terror.

Rubberwerks: A group of young American tourists discovers an abandoned building in the Mexican jungle. Within, they discover a threat that promises intense pleasure at the sacrifice of their minds and bodies. Filled with rubbery transformations and erotic horror!


Fateful Encounters by Vovo Verdan
Published May 6th 2014 by Melange Books

As far as twenty three year old Glen Verne was concerned, the crime was committed for all the right reasons. But unfortunately, the authorities didn't agree.

Throughout our lives we encounter people who affect us in very different ways. Sometimes the encounter leads us down a path we would rather not have traveled – sometimes, however, it's just the path we needed.

Glen Verne is a complicated twenty three year old man. He works a dead-end job and any form of excitement is always welcome. He has had his fair share of misfortune in life, and it is this misfortune that has shaped him as a person. He has also had his fair share of good fortune, but as Glen Verne discovers, bad decisions will subjugate good fortune every single time - especially when so many fateful encounters are involved.

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is another weekly meme, this time focused on what books are spending the most time in your hands and in your head, as opposed to what's been added to your shelf.

With an eye towards my scheduled reviews for the next few weeks, I'm currently turning pages with:

Between Jack Bauer and Turk Mako, it's a bad month to be a drone! Seriously, I'll be hosting a review and giveaway this week so be sure to stop ny.

• The White Towers by Andy Remic
The Iron Wolves have been sentenced to death by insane King Yoon. If this is even half as good as the first, it'll be awesome

• A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda
With the second Night's Edge book due for release in November, it's long since past time I get cracking on Julie's first fantasy effort. Stunning so far.

What's topping your shelves this week?

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Truth About "Sorry Charlie" By Angela Dalton Lucius (GUEST POST)

For many years I have carried the truth about the characters in my story Sorry Charlie, which was included in the Southern Haunts Book II Devils In The Darkness Anthology. When Alexander Brown asked me if I was interested in submitting a story based on demons, I was a little nervous as to whether I should just create a made up, fictional story, or tell a story based on a true event. I wrestled with it for many sleepless nights and was not sure I wanted to open that closet and tell the story of this experience. It brought many memories and nightmares to the surface that I had long ago buried. But I am glad now that I decided to face these fears and share the story with others.

I was a new nurse, only out of nursing school for a short time. I was living in a house that had spirits of its own and was going through a somewhat troubling time in my personal life. Writing this story brought back not only memories of the events that happened, but of memories of that troubling time in my life, so I knew I had to walk some dark hallways to be able to put this story on paper. While the story was not hard to remember in detail, it was rather disturbing and hard for me to keep it toned down to make it appropriate for younger readers. There were many events that I did not include because of the graphic nature of them. But the events that I did include in the story are all based on actual events that I experienced.

The story of Charlie and Ann has left a major impact on my life and I will never wish this experience on another. It was frightening and scary and gruesome. The events of this story had a major impact on the reasons why I took the path of researching paranormal experiences, and why I spent seven years of my life studying and researching ghosts, spirits and demonic subjects. It also had an impact on how I choose to view God, religion and matters of spirituality in my personal life.

I spent many years after the events of this story, researching medical diseases of the mind, looking for answers to my many questions, but always feeling deeply in my soul that there was more to the answer than a medical diagnosis. I had witnessed things with my own eyes that could not be explained by traditional medicine, doctors or psychiatrists.

It made me wonder how many others had suffered with these same experiences and been told that they were ill, crazy or insane.

I believe from my own personal experiences through this event and many others that I have witnessed and have yet to tell about, that there are unseen forces in this world that make themselves known to us when it suits them, we only see them, when we open our eyes.


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About the Editors

Alexander S. Brown is a Mississippi author who was published in 2008 with his first book, Traumatized. Reviews for this short story collection were so favorable that it will be released as a special edition. Brown is currently one of the co-editors/coordinators with the Southern Haunts Anthologies published by Seventh Star Press. His horror novel, Syrenthia Falls is represented by Dark Oak Press. He is also the author of multiple young adult steampunk stories found in the following anthologies Dreams of Steam Vol 2 & 4, Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells, and Capes and Clockworks. Look out for his controversial piece, “The Last Lamb” found in the anthology, Luna’s Children.

Louise Myers was born in New Orleans. During her teenage years, she was uprooted from everything she knew and was replanted in Mississippi. Though the transition was difficult, she is grateful for this change. She says this because she knows that both places are a world all to their own. She is the wife of a wonderful husband and mother of three beautiful children, as well as the proud parent of a spoiled mutt. She was assistant editor for Southern Haunts: Spirits That Walk Among Us and was proud to be part of The Southern Haunts Series once again. She is a beta reader, book doctor, editor, and author. Though this is her first story in print, she has been weaving tales for many years. With the gentle, yet firm, shove from a very special person, she has decided to dive into the world of print. She has many thoughts on several topics she’d like to write, mostly involving ghost stories.

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About the Book

Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness edited by Alexander S. Brown & Louise Myers
Seventh Star Press, LLC (March 10, 2014)

From the fiery abyss of the underworld comes 20 hellish tales from the south and southwest. Within these charred pages are stories that will introduce you to the many demons that stay hidden but are always nearby…

20 authors provide stories of possessed people, objects, houses, highways, and the devil’s favorite playground - the forest.

Dare to meet Deidless, a demon who is a buyer of souls. Discover what kind of demons men can summon. Read of battles between good and evil. Learn of ancient artifacts and stones that crave sacrifice. Finally, become acquainted with legions of evil.

Again, we invite you, sit back, dim the lights, and prepare yourself to meet the devils in the darkness.

Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness is the next installment in the exciting anthology series that began with Southern Haunts: Spirits That Walk Among Us.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday - The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: August 5th 2014 by Tor Books

The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

Full of swashbuckling adventure, buoyant magic, and irrepressible charm, The House of the Four Winds is a lighthearted fantasy romp by a pair of bestselling writers.


While my tastes generally run more towards epic than lighthearted, Mercedes Lackey is always a great read, and I've quite enjoyed her more traditional fantasy collaborations with James Mallory to date, so I'm looking forward to this. Magic and pirates? Sign me up, captain!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Horror Review: The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Six edited by Ellen Datlow

When it comes to the annual 'Best of' anthologies, Jonathan Strahan may be the editorial King (especially in recent years) of sci-fi and fantasy, but Ellen Datlow is the undisputed (and long-reigning) Queen of horror.

That brings us to The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Six, which is scheduled to hit the shelves early next month. The anthology begins with her usual summation on selection, awards, and notable novels, magazines, stories, anthologies, collections, and more. If you ever wondered just what an editor has to go through to put together an anthology like this, or wondered just how much reading they might have to do, then gaze in awe and wonder at the wealth of material she had to read to get to this point. It's staggering.

With 24 pieces from different authors clocking in at anywhere from 1,100 to 15,800 words, there's a lot to read here. My approach to these kinds of anthologies tends to be layered, with a first pass at stories by authors I recognize, a second at the titles that intrigue me the most, and a final pass as the rest of the collection. It's an approach that I find interesting because it allows me consider the individual merits of the stories, as opposed to how they compare to the bigger names in the collection.

As for those recognized names I hit on my first pass, Simon Clark's The Tin House is a different sort of haunted house tale, one populated by memories (particularly the guilty) ones of those who passed in cruelty, while Steve Rasnic Tem's The Monster Makers takes an awkward, uncomfortable look at the cruelty of children - children who are neither as innocent nor as blameless as we might like to think. Kim Newman's The Only Ending We Have was my second-favorite of the collection, a Hitchcock tribute about a young woman on-set for Psycho that I had to read twice - once for the story, and a second time to catch all the references. Down to a Sunless Sea by Neil Gaiman will likely garner a lot of attention, but as much as I liked its surreal sort of dreamy quality, I was left wanting something more. The final story in the anthology, Brian Hodge's The Same Deep Waters as You was the one story to beat out Newman for my favorite entry, with a fantastic tale of Lovecraftian monsters versus Homeland Security.

Of those I encountered on my subsequent passes, Stephen Bacon's Apports was a great tale of a vengeful poltergeist; Steve Toase's Call Out involved a twisted sort of human sacrifice that I quite enjoyed; and Lynda E. Rucker's The House on Cobb Street was an amazingly constructed story that I can't find a way to describe without spoiling the tale. The Fox by Conrad Williams was a great campfire horror story (literally) that does a nice job of building the suspense to a never feverish intensity, while Tim Casson's The Withering was a solid period piece about a young woman who can hear the voices of the dead, and who is called upon to determine a question of guilt.

Overall, a solid collection of atmospheric, subtle sort of horror stories that unnerve and creep rather than outright horrify. With a focus more on emotion than gore, Datlow has taken what seems a very 'classic' sort of approach to The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Six, and I suspect that will really appeal to many readers. Check it out, even if just for Newman & Hodge - they're worth the price of admission alone.

Paperback, 448 pages
Expected publication: June 3rd 2014 by Night Shade Books 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Horror Review - Chills: A Short Story Collection by Sahar Sabati

Chills: A Short Story Collection by Sahar Sabati
Published October 20th 2013 by Sahar Sabati

Synopsis:

The same people are impossibly spotted in two different places at once; a man considers murdering the husband of a woman he loves; while driving home very early in the morning, a driverless car appears out of the fog and follows two sisters home.

Fear of the unknown, emotional intensity, and plain old creepiness will give you chills long after you have finished reading the seven stories in this collection.

Review:

Seven stories all to give you the Chills. The writing seemed pretty basic to me. Some of the stories seem like they are written from personal accounts.

Of the seven I can't say I was creeped out as if reading somebody like Jack Ketchum, but I felt the eeriness from the pages.

The best of the collection in my opinion is "Double Double." A deja vu romp! A family is seen numerous times at a McDonald's. Not to ruin most of story. Death walks a line of strange behavior.

Don't let my review stop you from reading. A fast paced read of short chills from an interesting collection.

(as posted by Donald on Goodreads)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mailboxes, Shelves, and What I'm Reading

Stacking The Shelves and Mailbox Monday are a pair of weekly memes that are about sharing the books that came your way over the past week, and which you've added to your shelves - whether they be physical or virtual, borrowed or bought, or for pleasure or review.

Still keeping the review pile in check, but a few new additions this week:

The Mirror Empire: Worldbreaker Saga 1 by Kameron Hurley
Expected publication: September 4th 2014 by Angry Robot 

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin.

As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.

In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.


The Flip by Michael Phillip Cash
Published May 4th 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Julie and Brad Evans are house flippers. They buy low, clean out the old occupants junk, and try to make a profit. Enter Hemmings House on Bedlam Street in scenic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island.

Too good a deal to pass up, but with an ominous secret. The old Victorian Mansion has dwellers that do not want to be dispossessed. As the house reveals it's past, will the couples marriage survive The Flip?



The Forty-First Wink by Jay Walley
Expected publication: June 16th 2014 by  Ragnarok Publications 

Marty is having a bad morning. Roused from slumber by a gang of polo mallet-wielding monkeys and a mysterious voice in his wardrobe, he must quickly come to terms with the fact that the world outside his door is now the world inside his head. Lying in wait amidst bleak, gloomy streets, deserted theme parks, and circus-themed nightclubs, lurks the oppressive shadow of a myriad of giggling, cackling pursuers, hell bent on throwing a custard pie or two into the works.

Assisted by a string of half-cocked schemes, a troupe of tiny unlikely allies, and (literally) the girl of his dreams, Marty sets out on a heroic quest to wake up and get out of bed.

Early reviews have compared it to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Equal parts epic, funny and dark, The Forty First Wink plummets headlong into the realms of askew reality, adding elements of the macabre, and squeezing in an unlikely love story for good measure. It will take you on a journey where not even the sky is the limit, and literally anything could be around the next corner. The question is, do you have the guts (and the sanity) to find out?


The Emerald Tablet: A Thriller by Pamela Hegarty
Published April 3rd 2014 by Sky Castle Publishing

NEW HIGH STAKES THRILLER FROM BEST-SELLING AUTHOR ASKS READERS, WHAT DO YOU DREAM? Trapped between a man who vows to save her future and a lover from her past, Princeton historian Christa Devlin is thrust into a heart-pounding quest for one of the world's most dangerous and powerful artifacts. . . the Emerald Tablet. Last seen in the hands of Alexander the Great, the Emerald Tablet can open the portal between life and afterlife, between man and spirit and, Christa hopes, between her and the traumatized mind of her beloved father. Her ruthless adversary will stop at nothing to find the Tablet first and weaponize its power using the mind-controlling nanobot technology at the island's prototype Dream Resort.

Christa races through the jungle-choked island where the imagined becomes real, prehistoric animals morph into nightmarish beasts and love can twist into evil. She must find the Emerald Tablet and solve its ancient puzzle before the world spirals into a catastrophic future and she loses her father forever. FROM THE AUTHOR: What if technology could tap into your inner thoughts and make the imagined become real? Some might develop this as the ultimate amusement ride or, taking it deeper, realize that it's a portal to our inner soul, a way to strip away physical limitations and discover what truly makes us human. But this concept is as old as humanity.


Stars and Other Monsters by Phronk
Expected publication: June 13th 2014 by Forest City Pulp

Stan Lightfoot is the perfect paparazzo. His dog, Bloody, can track down anybody, anywhere, which comes in handy whenever a celebrity involved in a juicy scandal tries to avoid public attention. He’s about to get the perfect picture—a real privacy-invading winner—when he runs into a vampire who ruins his life.

From the dark and vulgar mind of Phronk—author of Baboon Fart Story (Google it)—splashes a neo-vampire trip through nightmare America, full of movie stars and other soulless creatures, mind-numbing romantic comedies, and a Wal-Mart in every town.

When the vampire reveals a celebrity crush of her own, Stan finds a way to keep her from eating him. Helping a murderous monster fuck a movie star wasn’t exactly what Stan had in mind when he got into photography, but it’ll buy him a few days. Can he find a way to escape a creature with god-like power before she reaches her destination?

Probably not.

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is another weekly meme, this time focused on what books are spending the most time in your hands and in your head, as opposed to what's been added to your shelf.

With an eye towards my scheduled reviews for the next few weeks, I'm currently turning pages with:

• A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda
With the second Night's Edge book due for release in November, it's long since past time I get cracking on Julie's first fantasy effort. Stunning so far.

The Visitors by Sally Beauman
My first attempt got bogged down in relationships when I wanted archaeology, so taking a second crack at this one to see if we connect.

• The White Towers by Andy Remic
The Iron Wolves have been sentenced to death by insane King Yoon. If this is even half as good as the first, it'll be awesome

What's topping your shelves this week?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Awesome Jones by AshleyRose Sullivan (Character Guest Post)

My name is Frank Moore and I’ve been on this corner, selling these flowers, day in and day out, for almost twenty years. I’ve lived in Arc City all my life. My parents grew up here and I went to school at Kurtzburg High in Old Town. That’s where I met Jake. Now we live here in Woolfolk and we have two daughters--almost teenagers. So, yeah, of course they know all about Captain Lightning. Who doesn’t? And he’s great. I’m not saying he’s not great. When he saved that dignitary last week… that was amazing. We’re all glad he’s here to protect us.

But, when I was a kid, I loved The Baron. I loved The Baron. I had all his books and even the little, fake pearl BFC cufflinks. Baron Fan Club. I had to save up ten proofs of purchase and five weeks worth of pay from working at my dad’s old flower stand just to get them. I think I still have them. They’re probably in the attic at my mom’s.

When The Baron disappeared I never really got over it. A lot of people were like that, I guess. We all just kept hoping he’d be back. And then, before we knew it, Captain Lightning was here and, like I said, I love Captain Lightning and my daughters love him even more, but he wasn’t my generation’s hero, you know? Actually, I heard there’s a new exhibit at the museum downtown. All about heroes and such. I’d bet they’d have a lot of old Baron memorabilia. I’d like to show my daughters some of the lady heroes I grew up with. The Tempest. Silver. Miss Moxie. I should take them before they’re too grown up for that stuff.

As I was saying, I’ve been here in Woolfolk a while and I can’t see going anywhere else. This neighborhood is safe. My kids go to a good school. Jake’s commute isn’t too bad into High Towers. The folks here are nice. There’s a really sweet couple that I guess live around here and they come by every night. Lona is the girl’s name. Don’t know her guy’s name but he’s completely ga-ga over her. Only a matter of time before they get married, if you ask me.

Alright, I’d better go. I was just about to pack up the cart for the night but looks like there’s a customer walking this way.

Have a good night.


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About the Author

Born and raised in Appalachia, AshleyRose Sullivan has a BS in Anthropology and an MFA in Creative Writing. She lives, writes and paints in Los Angeles with her husband and their many imaginary friends.

Visit her site at: www.ashleyrosesullivan.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ashleyrosesullivan

GoodReads page: https://www.goodreads.com/AshleyRose

Twitter: @MyYearOStarTrek


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About the Book

Awesome Jones by AshleyRose Sullivan
Seventh Star Press; 1 edition (March 19, 2014)

The only thing Awesome Jones wants is to be a superhero. Until he falls in love.

Despite his colorful name, Awesome Jones is a painfully average man who dreams of being a superhero, just like the ones who patrol his city. It’s been that way since he was a little boy, raised by his grandfather after his parents’ death.

The day Jones starts his new job as a file clerk at Akai Printing Company he meets secretary Lona Chang and everything changes. Lona sees something in Jones that no one ever has and the two quickly become inseparable. But when the perfect pair’s domestic bliss is threatened by a super-powered secret from the past, Awesome Jones has to make a choice. He must decide whether he should play it safe or find the strength to live up to his name and risk everything he’s come to love to save the day like he always dreamed.

This superhero novel is more than just a comic book in prose—it’s a fairytale for adults.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fantasy Review: Shield and Crocus by Michael R. Underwood

Well, this is so very much not what I was expecting. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just that it took me a while to realign my expectations and allow myself to enjoy what I found.

Basically, Shield and Crocus is an epic fantasy novel with superheroes . . . or a superhero novel set in an epic fantasy realm . . . take your pick. Michael R. Underwood takes an ambitious approach to his storytelling here, mashing up genres that you'd otherwise think incompatible, and setting it all in a city built amidst the bones of a fallen giant.

For his medieval take on The Avengers (with flavors of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns), Underwood puts together a complex, intriguing group of heroes with a wide range of magically-imbued powers. His is a world where anybody can be a hero, if only they can survive the curse/gift of the Spark-storms without going mad. The five supervillains - or crime lords, as you will - are evil tyrants, bent on dominating everything and everyone around them. They're completely one-dimensional, with nothing in the way of redeeming qualities, but that's par for the course with the superhero genre, and doesn't take anything away from the story.

Like the aforementioned graphic novels, this is an exceedingly grim tale, full of hopelessness and despair. A happy ending is in no way guaranteed, and you can rest assured there will be sacrifices required along the way - some of which you'll see coming, and at least one of which is a surprise. The narrative itself is very much that of an epic fantasy, as is the setting, while the dialogue leans more towards superhero adventure. It's a clash, at times, but overall it works reasonably well. While I would have liked to see the villains better developed, and thought a few of the heroes were somewhat neglected, I can't say enough about the mythology and the world building. Underwood put a lot of thought into constructing the world of Audec-Hal, and it shows.

Superhero novels and I haven't meshed particularly well over the years, with Myke Cole's Shadow Ops series being the most recent to fall flat for me, but there's a lot to be said for the novelty factor. Shield and Crocus was not what I was expecting, sure, but the novelty factor kept me reading, and that led me into what turned out to be a solid read. So long as you go into it with the right expectations, you're likely to enjoy it as an original twist on both genres.


Paperback, 416 pages
Expected publication: June 10th 2014 by 47north

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Courier 12 is My Favorite Because it’s All About the Numbers By Scott M. Sandridge (Guest Post)

Regardless of the font and type this post ends up as, at the moment of writing this I’m doing it in New Courier 12. This time around I’m doing it single-line spaced. But if I were writing a short story, I’d be doing it double-line spaced. Why do I do all my writing this way? Because it helps me figure out word count more easily. You see, in NC 12 one page is roughly 250 words when double-line spaced, 500 single-line (for you New Roman fans it’ll be approximately 300/600). As a writer, being able to quickly know the word count at a glance is important, especially when trying to find the right market to sub to. It does little good to send a 15k word story to a magazine or anthology asking for 5k word stories because, unless you’re Stephen King, your odds of acceptance has instantly dropped by a very large margin. 

As an editor it’s also important, especially if you’re editing a print periodical or print anthology with limited space. You have to know if the stories will “fit.” When it comes to online magazines and ebooks, while technically the “space” is virtually unlimited, reading on any type of electronic screen can be a chore for most; therefore, in the online world less is more; 3000-5000 for short stories, for novels around 50k-75k, 100k+ only if it’s really good.


I’m now halfway at the page, and my thoughts are “Will I make it to 500 words (the ideal length of the average blog post)? Might I end up going over? What should I write next?” I tend to start thinking that way once I reach the halfway mark of anything. My brain constantly runs the numbers, constantly keeps track. It’s not always perfect but good enough for an adequate guesstimate. Keeping to that word count is important to me when I’m writing for a specific market, whether it’s a zine or an antho. I take pride in crafting a good story or article within the word count limit of the market I’m targeting. Only when I’m writing a story without concern for where I’ll land it do I not worry about word count so much. In those moments, I’ll worry about finding the potential markets the story can “fit” in later. 

Obviously there’s a lot more to crafting a story and finding a home for it than just the word count. The genre/subgenre and many other factors also come into play. But where an editor might let a slight shift in those areas slide, the one thing most editors can’t let slide is the word count, at least not by too wide a margin. 

I’m now past the first page. Knowing New Courier 12 as I do, I know this article is now approximately at 520 words, including spacings. Not too less, not too more. But just right. Mostly.

End (at 550)


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About the Editpr

Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.

Visit his site at: http://smsand.wordpress.com

Twitter: @scottmsandridge

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smsandwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5772749-scott-sandridge

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About the Book

A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court edited by Scott M. Sandridge
Seventh Star Press; 1 edition (February 6, 2014)

The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the first volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Seelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the "good" faeries. But "good" and "evil" are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Seelie Court, from authors both established and new, including George S. Walker, Eric Garrison, and Alexandra Christian.

But be warned: these faeries are nothing like Tinker Bell.


Seventh Star Press; 1 edition (February 6, 2014)

The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the second volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Unseelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the "evil" faeries. But "good" and "evil" are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Unseelie Court, from authors both established and new, including Michael Shimek, Deedee Davies, and Nick Bryan.

But don't be surprised if these faeries decide to play with their food.

Waiting On Wednesday - Willful Child by Steven Erikson

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Willful Child by Steven Erikson
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: November 4th 2014 by Tor Books

From the New York Times Bestselling author Steven Erikson comes a new SF novel of devil-may-care, near calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space.

These are the voyages of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the...

And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through ‘the infinite vastness of interstellar space.’

The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence has taken his lifelong passion for Star Trek and transformed it into a smart, inventive, and hugely entertaining spoof on the whole mankind-exploring-space-for-the-good-of-all-species-but-trashing-stuff-with-a-lot-of-high-tech-gadgets-along-the-way, overblown adventure. The result is an SF novel that deftly parodies the genre while also paying fond homage to it.


I'm a huge Erikson fan, so when I heard he was coming out with his own take on the Star Trek parody/homage genre that really only Galaxy Quest and John Scalzi's Redshirts have properly nailed, I knew it'd be going on my must-read list. November seems so far away, but with a killer cover to share, it seems a bit closer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Horror Review: The Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea

Take one mysterious animal carcass washed up on shore, add a nearby government facility studying animal diseases, and then make the carcass just as mysteriously disappear, and what you've got there, my friends, is an urban legend with the makings of a conspiracy theorist's wet dream.

Yes, there really is (or was) a 'monster' that washed up on the shores of Montauk, New York in July of 2008. Thanks to a tip from the local media to Gawker.com, the story went viral, with the simplest explanation - that it was a decomposed raccoon - dismissed in favor any number of conspiracy theories. That's where Hunter Shea comes in, taking the most outlandish of those theories and running with it, straight into b-grade monster horror territory.

Montauk Monster starts with a drunk couple who head down to the beach for some late night sex, only to be savagely attacked by . . . well, monsters. Brutally torn limb from limb, their remains are found smoking in the sun, reeking of ammonia the next day, and slowly dissolving into puddles of goo. It only gets worse from there as people are attacked in their own backyards, on the street, and even in their homes. The monsters are like feral, rabid dogs the size of ponies, but with the teeth and claws of something much larger. Oh, and their bite isn't just toxic, it's infectious.

This is a fun book that piles on the gore and stacks up the body count as we go. It's brutal and over-the-top, almost cartoonish in its mad scientist villainy, but a very guilty pleasure. We're not quite talking Sharknado level of absurdity here, but it's a story that seems perfect for the small screen, late at night, with a little popcorn and alcohol. Think X-Files with a little less subtlety and a larger cast of characters - in fact, Shea throws everything into conspiracy side of the story, including FEMA, the CDC, and some other black ops folk.

It's a fast-paced, bloody, violent read that gets a little bogged down in explanations towards the end, but which still packs a final punch. The first few attacks were my favorites, dark and shadowy, with more the suggestion of monstrosity than outright confrontation. Having said that, some of the later set-pieces, such as the reality show broadcast and the ill-advised beach party were a lot of fun. The Montauk Monster is unlikely to go down as a classic work of horror literature, but I suspect you'll be seeing copies all over the beach this summer.


Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: June 3rd 2014 by Pinnacle

Monday, May 19, 2014

Horror Review: Shiner by Andrew Conlon

Shiner by Andrew Conlon 
Published April 20th 2014 by Andrew Conlon

Synopsis:

Ben Walters wishes his Dad would stay dead, but no one will let him rest. The bullies at school love to make fun of Dad's death, and at home, Ben's bereaved Mom has started to believe that haunting events within the house are messages from her deceased husband.

Ben finds peace and purpose in his job as a paperboy and enjoys the company of a few loyal friends, but the growing problems at home soon overshadow everything good in his life.

When chaos strikes the Walters household, Ben blames his otherworldy troubles on Mom and her drunken delusions, but after being forced to relive horrific childhood cruelties, he comes face-to-face with a toxic evil and the shocking truth about his family.


Review:

Just when you think you're reading an eerie horror story, the twist comes in near the end and blows your mind.

It's sad when Ben's father kills himself, but not for Ben. Bullied in school, his paper route is his getaway from his household terror. His alcoholic mother and his siblings he feels bad for, because they are always plopped in front of the the television.

His sister begins playing a game she calls "Knock Knock," and something she is talking to is replying to her questions, which is when all hell breaks loose.

Ben meets a man while on his paper route one day that changes his life. The man keeps piss in water jugs that he calls yera. Ben thinks he is insane.

5% in, the book takes a huge unexpected twist that jumps out and grabs you. A Lovecraftian monster. I'll say no more.

This was a five star read until the twist. Although it was very fast paced, with an action filled ending, I was just expecting terror in the wrath of Ben's mother (or vise versa).

Overall Shiner is a very interesting read, an adventure of lost love ones, and a bite of horror that keeps you reading more.

(as posted by Donald on Goodreads)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fantasy Review: The Very Best of Tad Williams

It's very strange. I've been a Tad Williams fan since the early 90s, when I first encountered (and subsequently devoured) his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn saga. I was absolutely blown away by the size and scope of the story, the complexities of the characters, and the depth of the mythology. I dabbled in the Otherland books, but never really got hooked, and I loved the Shadowmarch saga, although I still have 1 book left to read.

Maybe it's because I'm so enamored with him on that large scale that I've never really dabbled in his short stories, so there was a definite appeal in picking up The Very Best of Tad Williams for review. There were a handful of tales here that simply didn't work for me - 'And Ministers of Grace' was a tad too religious, while 'Black Sunshine' and 'Not with a Whimper, Either' were written in a style I didn't care for - there were also some very pleasant surprises.

'The Old Scale Game' is a great kick-off to the collection, with a con run by dragon and dragon slayer quickly getting out of control. It's quick, it's clever, and it's very funny. By contrast, 'The Storm Door' is a very dark sort of hard-boiled detective tale with a paranormal edge . . . and an ending I didn't expect, but which works beautifully.

We get lighter again with 'The Stranger’s Hands,' in which the darkest of magicians is caught masquerading as a miracle worker, while 'Child of an Ancient City' once again turns the tables on us, taking an Arabian Nights sort of approach to a mountain flight from old-school vampyrs. 'The Boy Detective of Oz' is an Otherland story that I really liked, which may put that saga back on my to-read list, in which Williams really has fun playing with the mythology of L. Frank Baum's world.

A very strange, but very strong story, 'Three Duets for Virgin and Nosehorn' is a sort of historical morality tale featuring a virgin beauty, a painter, a priest, a princess, and a (ahem) rhinocerous. Yes, rhinocerous. Nosehorn. Get it? Turning our attention from rhinos to zebras, 'Z is for...' examines the aftermath of a party, and the confusion of a hangover.

'Monsieur Vergalant’s Canard' is another odd one that I really can't explain, although it did leave me suitably amused. 'The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of' brings us back to the realm of hard-boiled detectives, this time centered around the murder/suicide of a famous magician, while 'A Fish Between Three Friends' is a short, but lively sort of fairy tale fable.

'Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air' is another religious themed tale, but this one worked for me because of its earnest absurdity. 'A Stark and Wormy Knight' is the one story I had read before, and it is just as funny and entertaining the second time around, particularly with its play of language. Finally, oddly meshing pulp fantasy and space opera, 'Omnitron, What Ho!' is a very funny tale about a young man and his robot, sent by his elders to prevent a marriage.

All-in-all, a solid collection of stories that does a nice job of exposing some new facets of Williams' literary talents. Even with the few that didn't work, The Very Best of Tad Williams is a better collection than most authors could ever hope to produce.


Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Tachyon Publications

Mailboxes, Shelves, and What I'm Reading

Stacking The Shelves and Mailbox Monday are a pair of weekly memes that are about sharing the books that came your way over the past week, and which you've added to your shelves - whether they be physical or virtual, borrowed or bought, or for pleasure or review.

I'm desperately trying to keep the review pile in check, but finishing the 1100 page monster that is Words of Radiance this week has left something of a thick void on my table that I felt tempted to fill.

Faust 2.0 by Michael Brookes
Paperback, 220 pages
Published August 15th 2013 (first published May 16th 2013)

A new entity is born into the internet. Is it the rebirth of an ancient evil in a new realm? Or something much worse?

A sexy looking avatar grants wishes for people across the web, but nothing is truly free, and for those who accept, what price must be paid?

Sarah Mitchell must discover the truth of this creature and stop it while it can still be stopped, but why is a mysterious lawyer dogging her every step?

Faust 2.0 is the first book in the new Mitchell & Morton series


The Wurms of Blearmouth by Steven Erikson
Paperback, 208 pages
Expected publication: July 8th 2014 by Tor Books

A new novella from New York Times bestselling author Steven Erikson, set in the world of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, The Wurms of Blearmouth.

Tyranny comes in many guises, and tyrants thrive in palaces and one-room hovels, in back alleys and playgrounds. Tyrants abound on the verges of civilization, where disorder frays the rule of civil conduct and propriety surrenders to brutal imposition. Millions are made to kneel and yet more millions die horrible deaths in a welter of suffering and misery.

But leave all that behind and plunge into escapist fantasy of the most irrelevant kind, and in the ragged wake of the tale told in Lees of Laughter’s End, those most civil adventurers, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, along with their suitably phlegmatic manservant, Emancipor Reese, make gentle landing upon a peaceful beach, beneath a quaint village at the foot of a majestic castle. There they make acquaintance with the soft-hearted and generous folk of Spendrugle, which lies at the mouth of the Blear River and falls under the benign rule of the Lord of Wurms in his lovely keep.

Make welcome, then, to Spendrugle’s memorable residents, including the man who should have stayed dead, the woman whose prayers should never have been answered, the tax collector everyone ignores, the ex-husband town militiaman who never married, the beachcomber who lives in his own beard, the now singular lizard cat who used to be plural, and the girl who likes to pee in your lap. And of course, hovering over all, the denizen of the castle keep, Lord—Ah, but there lies this tale.


The Valhalla Prophecy by Andy McDermott
Kindle Edition, 512 pages
Expected publication: September 30th 2014 by Dell

For fans of James Rollins and Matthew Reilly comes the new heart-stopping, globe-spanning adventure in Andy McDermott’s explosive series featuring American archaeologist Nina Wilde and ex-SAS bodyguard Eddie Chase.

MYSTERIOUS RUNE STONES.
AN ANCIENT VIKING MYTH.
AND A PROPHECY OF LIFE OR DEATH.

In a Stockholm museum, thieves steal an enormous Norse rune stone, but not before killing a security guard. When Nina Wilde, head of the International Heritage Agency (IHA), and her husband and ex-mercenary Eddie Chase arrive to investigate, they are told a chilling story: A scholar has discovered that the stone may be one of two keys to finding the mythological site of Valhalla, where the Vikings predicted the world’s final battle would begin. The second lies at the bottom of a Norwegian lake. But when Nina and Eddie race to the scene, they’re hit with a shocking surprise.

Covert agents from around the world are drawn into a lethal game, including a ruthless mole in the IHA. Then a disturbing secret surfaces from Eddie’s past, involving a mission in Vietnam and a woman he tried to save. Suddenly suspicious of her own husband, Nina cannot afford to stop the perilous search for the artifact. For somewhere in a remote wilderness, two forces are about to converge: one that could save the world. . . . and one that could destroy it.

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is another weekly meme, this time focused on what books are spending the most time in your hands and in your head, as opposed to what's been added to your shelf.

With an eye towards my scheduled reviews for the next few weeks, I'm currently turning pages with:

The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Six edited by Ellen Datlow
I'm beginning to hit a wall with all these 'best of' anthologies, so I'm picking and choosing through this one, but some great stories.


• A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda
With the second Night's Edge book due for release in November, it's long since past time I get cracking on reaching Julie's first fantasy effort.

The Visitors by Sally Beauman
My first attempt got bogged down in relationships when I wanted archaeology, so taking a second crack at this one to see if we connect.

What's topping your shelves this week?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Urban Fantasy Review: Shadows & Dreams by Alexis Hall

I'm not generally a political person, and I'm not usually one to get involved with one cause or another, but equality and tolerance are two things I have no problem standing up for. Since today is apparently the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (I stumbled across that fact this morning), and since I literally just finished a title that fits very well with that theme, I thought I'd do my part to show my support with a quick review.

I'm honestly not sure what compelled me to request a digital ARC when I saw Shadows & Dreams show up on NetGalley. I hadn't read the first Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator novel and knew nothing about the author, Alexis Hall, but something about the sarcastic tone of the cover blurb hooked me. I'm a sucker for a good vampire novel, and it's been a while since I dabbled in the sub-genre that Anita Blake made famous, so figured I'd give it a shot.

Damn, but I'm glad I did.

This was one hell of a fun read. Alexis Hall demonstrates more imagination and inventiveness here, in this single book, than many authors do in an entire (endless) urban fantasy series. Yes, you've got vampires and werewolves (both with an interesting mythology), but you've also got faeries and nymphs, demons, animated marble statues, angry unicorns, and even a Buffy/Batman figure. There's almost too much going on, like a superhero movie that tries to horn in one too many villains, but it actually works. This was a book that had me thinking, "Oh, that's cool" or "Hey, I like that" on a regular basis.

Much of the novel's charm, of course, rests on the weary shoulders of Kate Kane herself. She walks a fine line between parody and irony, being both a hard-drinking, heavy-smoking, hardboiled detective and an over-sexed, smart-assed urban fantasy heroine. She's also an out-and-proud lesbian, one who has left the landscape littered awkward relationships. She's currently in love/lust with a lesbian vampire prince, while being chased by a lesbian werewolf pack leader, with a lesbian ex-girlfriend (the aforementioned Buffy/Batman figure) still very much in the picture, and yet another lesbian ex-lover just having escaped from prison, where she was serving time for murdering Kate's business partner. Kate is conceited and self-assured, to the point of assuming that every woman who crosses her path is looking to flirt . . . and, you know, she's generally right.

In terms of plot, there are several interwoven stories here that not only cross paths naturally, but which each get a worthy climax. It all starts with a simple missing person's case, but ends in one of those paranormal battles upon which the fate of the entire world rests. The ways in which the stories cross paths keeps the novel moving from one scene to another, and prevents the story from ever lagging, even for a moment. It's an intense tale, full of both action and lust, but all of that is balanced with a steady dose of sarcastic humor. Again, like I mentioned earlier, there's almost too much going on, but Kate's narration keeps it all in check. She's a great character, and one I look forward to reading more about, especially with the very innocent and down-to-earth Elise as her ever-curious marble sidekick.

Comprised of equal parts urban fantasy, paranormal romance, vampire soap opera, and vigilante action heroism, this was one hell of a read. It's fun and feisty, with snappy dialogue and witty repartee, but it never cheapens the drama. There are some very large stakes here (pun intended), and while I thought Alexis Hall was writing Kate into a corner, I was entirely satisfied with the way everything came together to resolve the story. Shadows & Dreams is a book that knows very well that it's responsible for fitting into a niche, but which has a lot of fun claiming and twisting the genre tropes for its own end.


ebook, 362 pages
Expected publication: June 16th 2014 by Riptide Publishing

Friday, May 16, 2014

Cover Reveal: Burning Bright by E.J. Stevens (with Giveaway)

It's time for a cover reveal!  Feast your eyes on the cover for BURNING BRIGHT, the third full-length novel in the Ivy Granger urban fantasy series by E.J. Stevens.

Keep reading for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Cover Reveal



Burning Bright (Ivy Granger #3) by E.J. Stevens

Burning down the house...

Things are not going well at the offices of Private Eye. Jinx is having demon problems, the city is overrun with pyromaniacal imps, and Ivy's wisp powers are burning out of control, attracting the attention of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts.

Along came a faerie queen... It's the worst possible time for the Green Lady to call in a favor, but Ivy's bound by her deal with the glaistig. Too bad there's no wiggle room in faerie bargains.

Ivy must rid the city of imps, keep Jinx from murdering her one solid link to Hell, and fulfill her bargain with the Green Lady--with sidhe assassins hot on her tail.

Just another day's work for Ivy Granger, psychic detective.


Release Date:  June 17, 2014
Genre:  Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

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Previous books in this series: Shadow Sight (Ivy Granger #1), Blood and Mistletoe (Ivy Granger #1.5), Ghost Light (Ivy Granger #2), Club Nexus (Ivy Granger #2.5).

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Burning Bright Cover Reveal Giveaway

We are giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner!  

To enter, please use the easy peasy Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Giveaway ends May 30, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author


E.J. Stevens is the author of the Spirit Guide young adult series and the bestselling Ivy Granger urban fantasy
series. When E.J. isn't at her writing desk she enjoys dancing along seaside cliffs, singing in graveyards, and sleeping in faerie circles. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.

Connect with E.J. on Twitter, GoodreadsAmazonPinterest, and on her Blog.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How Pulp Writers of Decades Passed Set the Stage for Modern Fantasy Films

Literature inspires film, of course, but few might recognize that this correlation often goes beyond simply adapting works for the screen from the page. Early 20th century escapist fantasy writers set the stage for contemporary fantasy film, and their influences remain strong even years after their passing. Most fantasy fans credit Tolkien for the bulk of sword and sorcery themes, but other authors, such as Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, also helped to lay the groundwork for not only the memorable characters we find today, but also their epic nature and distinctive tropes.

An important entry in the development of the modern fantasy film was John Milius’s Conan the Barbarian, based largely on the writings of Robert E. Howard, and the Conan the Barbarian comic book series that Marvel Comics released in the seventies. The screenplay which was originally penned by Oliver Stone, although Milius altered Stone’s script significantly. The film, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the titular swashbuckler, performed well in the box-office during its initial theatrical run and is still regarded as a cult classic which can be streamed in its entirety on the internet, and is still shown regularly on television.



The film was not only a compilation of both Stone and Milius’s own ideas and plots from the original Conan stories, but also Howard’s successors, Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp. At the core of the film, however, was Howard’s base setting and character development. It was Howard who recognized the difficulties of historical accuracy, in addition to the extensive, time-consuming research that would be necessary. Howard chose to implement a timeless setting, also known as a “vanished age” which would avoid any issues regarding historical anachronisms, as well as wasted time on long exposition and explanations. Howard’s technique, using Earth, but Earth at a mythical or sparsely documented time, is a strategy we can find in a plethora of contemporary films: including any and all mythological Greek and Roman storylines.

Robert E. Howard’s work was also well known for its relentless, gory violence, a trait that can be found in its second namesake film, Conan the Barbarian (2011), as well as Troy (2004), 300 (2006), and Gladiator (2000). In addition to exemplifying Howard’s blood-and-guts style, these films are evidence of Howard’s lasting effect and large influence on not only sword and sorcery (historical fiction and fantasy) but also “sword and sandal.” The Hollywood obsession with ancient empires, mystical powers and destined heroes all fell in line with Conan’s storyline, and would spawn a number of films such as Hercules (1983), Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Immortals (2011).

Apart from, but sharing common fantastical subjects with, the sword and sandals movement, a similar era of fantasy was being inspired, due large in part to authors Fritz Leiber and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Lieber and Burroughs both contributed to sword and sorcery, and fantasy fiction as a whole, despite the often science fiction veneer to their works. The fantastical elements of their work were generally blended with planetary romance, and/or some sort of alien world described in lush detail, such as a far distant future or planet. Burroughs worked with lost worlds in The Land That Time Forgot, John Carter of Mars, (both of which were adapted into films) and his Pellucidar series, which focuses on another world located in the center of Earth. Fritz Leiber also excelled in all fields of speculative fiction, from fantasy and horror to sci-fi, and specialized in alternative histories, such as in his Change War series. One of the most seminal pieces of sword and sorcery was actually Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, a series of short stories and novellas. Like Burroughs’ work, Gray Mouser was set on an an alien world, Nehwon.

The work of Leiber and Burroughs, besides inspiring the film offsprings of their own stories, can also be found within planet, magic and science mixed films such as Avatar or Star Wars. Their influence is also rampant within the dystopian trend, with releases such as Wizards, The Matrix, The Hunger Games, and Elysium – all of which successfully blend fantastical elements, a dash of science fiction, and alternative Earth based setups.

A final area of fantasy not directly traced back to the most credited author, J.R.R. Tolkien, is the “horrors in this world” sector, which has resulted in films such as Pan’s Labyrinth, any films based on Stephen King’s work, or even Ridley Scott’s films such as Alien and Prometheus. Much credit is owed to H.P. Lovecraft, the undisputed king of the cosmic horror story, or, paranormal and alien entities just around the corner, underneath your bed, or in your backyard. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness is one example of this – the plot revolves around a scholarly expedition to Antarctica, where ruins and a city built by ancient astronauts houses a multitude of horrors. Other works of Lovecraft’s that perpetuated this theme include The Dunwich Horror, The Colour Out of Space and The Shadow out of Time. In fact, Guillermo del Toro, director of Pan’s Labyrinth (about a young girl in 1944 Spain and her profoundly disturbing and fantastical journey to the Underworld) has plans to also direct a rendition of At the Mountains of Madness.



Genre enthusiasts love connecting the dots between cinematic tropes in contemporary filmmaking and their favorite books from days of yore, but it would perhaps interest the uninitiated to pick up a collection of Howard pulp stories, or an old Leiber paperback, and discover that, for everything that might feel dated and esoteric about the texts, there are many themes that are just as present in the pop cultural collective consciousness as ever before.

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Brandon Engel is a blogger who works in Chicago. His chief interest include: horror literature; vintage animation; environmental law; and film. Visit his blog at http://brandonengel.blogspot.com/ for more up-to-date information.