Saturday, August 17, 2013

And...We're Done

Okay, there are still a few things to fix over at the new blogs, but I'm going to go ahead and launch.  Everything that needs to be in place is.  All's that's left is cleanup and learning how to tweak details in WordPress, such as changing the background of the posts to something other than white.  (That apparently will involve editing the source code.  I'm going to make sure I know what I'm doing before I try that.)

Anyway, Blogger has been good, but it's time to move on to my own website.  All of the content here has been moved over, although as is the case with WordPress, the formatting didn't always follow.  Instead of running two blogs, I'm running four.

They are:

Adventures Fantastic:  heroic fantasy and historical adventure
Futures Past and Present:  classic and contemporary science fiction
Gumshoes, Gats, and Gams:  noir and detective fiction
Dispatches From the Lone Star Front:  Texas and Southwest history

All four are up and live.  There's a new email address associated with them,

See you over there.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Since I'm between summer school and the start of the fall semester (which always starts at least a week earlier for me than the students), I've actually had some time to work on the new website.  It's almost done.  There are a few things I've still got to do.  I'm not going to rush on them, since I don't want to do anything I can't reverse.  I've already made one bad call setting up WordPress that I later discovered WordPress won't let me change.  I don't want any others.

I've transferred the archives over to the new site.  Not everything made the transition.  WordPress dropped some of the formatting.  That includes breaks, meaning that all posts in their entirety are on one page, rather than the first few paragraphs with links to read the rest.  I can put them back in by hand, but that will take a while.  It won't be an immediate priority.  Once the site launches, all the posts will have the proper formatting.

I'm hoping to have everything ready to go by the first part of next week, if not over the weekend.  I'm not done with the details by any means.  In some respects WordPress is more complicated than Blogger, but it allows me more freedom to tweak some things.  There will be changes as I go along and learn things. But the basics will all be there when I launch.

So, unless something cataclysmic happens in the next few days, this is the penultimate post of Adventures Fantastic in its Blogger incarnation.  The next post will be the announcement of the new (and hopefully improved) version, with a full set of links.  I'll still leave this site up, since any links to previous posts will point here.  At least until I change them, which may turn out to be more trouble than its worth. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

World Fantasy Nominations Announced

The nominees for this year's World Fantasy Awards were announced this evening.  The winners will be announced at this year's World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, UK, on October 31 - November 3.  Adventures Fantastic would like to congratulate all the nominees.

They are as follows:

Life Achievement:
  • Susan Cooper
  • Tanith Lee
  • The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Graham Joyce (Gollancz; Doubleday)
  • The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
  • Crandolin, Anna Tambour (Chômu)
  • Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson (Grove; Corvus)
  • “Hand of Glory”, Laird Barron (The Book of Cthulhu II)
  • “Let Maps to Others”, K.J. Parker (Subterranean Summer ’12)
  •  The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon)
  • “The Skull”, Lucius Shepard (The Dragon Griaule)
  • “Sky”, Kaaron Warren (Through Splintered Walls)
Short Story:
  • “The Telling”, Gregory Norman Bossert (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 11/29/12)
  • “A Natural History of Autumn”, Jeffrey Ford (F&SF 7-8/12)
  • “The Castle That Jack Built”, Emily Gilman (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 1/26/12)
  • “Breaking the Frame”, Kat Howard (Lightspeed 8/12)
  • “Swift, Brutal Retaliation”, Meghan McCarron ( 1/4/12)
  • Epic: Legends of Fantasy, John Joseph Adams, ed. (Tachyon)
  • Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic, Eduardo Jiménez Mayo & Chris N. Brown, eds. (Small Beer)
  • Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane, Jonathan Oliver, ed. (Solaris)
  • Postscripts #28/#29: Exotic Gothic 4, Danel Olson, ed. (PS Publishing)
  • Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Random House)
  • At the Mouth of the River of Bees, Kij Johnson (Small Beer)
  • Where Furnaces Burn, Joel Lane (PS Publishing)
  • The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories Volume One: Where on Earth and Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands, Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
  • Remember Why You Fear Me, Robert Shearman (ChiZine)
  • Jagannath, Karin Tidbeck (Cheeky Frawg)
  • Vincent Chong
  • Didier Graffet & Dave Senior
  • Kathleen Jennings
  • J.K. Potter
  • Chris Roberts
Special Award Professional:
  • Peter Crowther & Nicky Crowther for PS Publishing
  • Lucia Graves for the translation of The Prisoner of Heaven (Weidenfeld & Nicholson; Harper) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  • Adam Mills, Ann VanderMeer, & Jeff VanderMeer for Weird Fiction Review
  • Brett Alexander Savory & Sandra Kasturi for ChiZine Publications
  • William K. Schafer for Subterranean Press
Special Award Non-Professional:
  • Scott H. Andrews for Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • L. Timmel Duchamp for Aqueduct Press
  • S.T. Joshi for Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, Volumes 1 & 2 (PS Publishing)
  • Charles A. Tan for Bibliophile Stalker blog
  • Jerad Walters for Centipede Press
  • Joseph Wrzos for Hannes Bok: A Life in Illustration (Centipede Press)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Morlock in Love

Wrath-Bearing Tree
James Enge
Pyr Books
Trade paperback, 320 pp., $18.00
ebook  $11.99 Kindle Nook

Across the Narrow Sea, in the land of Kaen, something is killing the gods.  In order to determine if this is a potential threat to the Wardlands, the Graith of Guardians sends Morlock Ambrosius and Aloe Oaij to investigate.

Morlock is secretly in love with Aloe.  Aloe isn't in love with him.  At least not yet.  In his afterward, Enge describes this book as a love story with sword and sorcery interruptions.  To a point, that's true.  But if you take the sword and sorcery out, the love story is pretty thin.  Magic is so much a part of Morlock that you can't tell much of a story about him if there's no magic involved.

This was a strange novel in some ways.  Not the love story portion.  Enge handles that very well, starting with the misunderstandings between Aloe and Morlock to her growing admiration of, and ultimately love for, Morlock.  I realize that last sentence sounds like this is just Jane Austin with fantasy trappings.  In the hands of other, lesser writers, that's what you would get.  Not so here.

At times Wrath-Bearing Tree is a very weird book.  As Morlock and Aloe visit the cities of Kaen, it's almost like reading some of the "true accounts" of travelers in the early days of the Age of Exploration.  Strange, bizarre, and completely unlike anything you're familiar with.  For instance, and this isn't the weirdest example, there's a mountain on which the inhabitants either herd goats or sheep, but never both.  The reason is the religious significance of what an individual herds.  Once a year the two religions have a major battle (which of course Morlock and Aloe get caught in), but the goats and sheep used in those battles are anything but cute livestock.  And I'm not even sure how to describe the The Purple Patriarchy.

Because of this, much of the book reminded me of Jack Vance with doses of Clark Ashton Smith here and there.  The unusual societies were one of the highlights of the book for me.  Enge has some fun along the way.  During the Purple Patriarchy chapter, Aloe and Morlock have run afoul of the local traditions and need to escape.  They do so with the aid of a group of adventures trying to put together a quest, D&D style.

Eventually Morlock and Aloe encounter Morlock's father Merlin.  Morlock has never met his father, so it's an emotional reunion.  Merlin as Enge depicts him is an interesting character, although not an admirable one.  I would like to have seen more of him.

The main portion of the book, in which Aloe begins to fall in love with Morlock is told entirely from her point of view.  The reader already knows how he feels about her.  It's interesting to watch her misunderstandings about him change as she gets to know him better.  One word of warning.  The sex scenes are extremely graphic, so if you are offended by that sort of thing or it's not your cup of tea, you may want to keep that in mind. 

The subtitle of Wrath-Bearing Tree is A Tournament of Shadows, Book 2.  There are some unresolved issues in the larger story arc, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Enge resolves them.  I'd also like to thank Pyr Books for sending me the review copy. 

Enge's work is unlike anything else out there that I've come across.  To some extent, it may be an acquired taste, because he's not a paint-by-numbers kind of writer.  His work is original, imaginative, and one of a kind.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Return to the Shifted World

Kindred and Wings
Philippa Ballantine
Pyr Books
Paperback 340 pp., $18.00
ebook $11.99  Kindle  B&N

If you read Philippa Ballantine's Hunter and Fox last year (reviewed here), then you will be glad to know that the sequel hits the shelves on August 6, which is tomorrow as I'm writing this.  The good folks at Pyr books were kind enough to send me a review copy, for which I would like to thank them.

I enjoyed the novel, but I liked the sequel even more.  Kindred and Wings takes up where Hunter and Fox left off. Talyn is still seeking the Caisah's death, but she's going to discover there are other things that should be a higher priority.  Finn the Fox, aided by the dragon Wahirangi, continues his quest to find his brother.  Meanwhile, Talyn's brother Byre will discover that dealing with the Kindred is not without cost. And hanging over everything is the growing menace of White Void.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Perils on Planet X Returns

If you aren't familiar with Perils on Planet X, written by Christopher Mills and drawn by Gene Gonzales, then you're missing out.  It's a weekly sword and planet comic.  The writing and illustration are top notch.  Mills and Gonzales have taken a few weeks off for a well-deserved summer break, but now they're back with the first installment of the second chapter.  Now's a good time to get caught up on the story.  All pages are free.  You can check it out by clicking the link above.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I've spent part of this evening working on the new site.  All four of the new blogs have been created, and I've written the introductory post for three of them.  I don't have any graphics in place yet. Since each blog will have a different focus, I want each one to have it's own logo.  That will take a little time to set up.   Hopefully within a couple of weeks.

On a unrelated topic (not really since time spent on one is time not spent on the other), I've almost finished the last of the novelettes that received Hugo nominations.  I should manage that before I collapse and go to bed.  I won't be able to read the novellas before the deadline to vote.  That's tomorrow, so I probably won't vote in that category.  I'll post some thoughts on the nominees when I get a chance in the next day or so.