May 9, 2013
This is news I have been waiting a long time to hear. Chris Willrich has taken his characters Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone on an adventure beyond the short form, where they’ve been entertaining readers since 2002, and into the uncharted territory of a novel entitled The Scroll of Years, to be published by Pyr in September.
This is sure to be superb. Willrich writes some of the most beautiful prose I’ve seen in the fantasy genre, and his characters are unique and compelling.
June 6, 2011
I just discovered today another review of Return of the Sword that fell completely under my radar. Argentinian author Gustavo Bondoni penned his positive impressions of the anthology back in October of 2009 for SFReader.com. Bondoni writes:
“The stories strike a balance between entertainment and character development that is satisfying from both a literary and an adventure point of view.”
That’s not always an easy balance to strike. And I was very happy to see he enjoyed my own contribution to the anthology.
“A couple of stories stood out for me – ‘What Heroes Leave Behind’ by Nicholas Ian Hawkins is a somewhat poignant story of an aging warrior who, nevertheless, accepts his duty and ‘The Red Worm’s Way’ by James Enge, a convoluted tale in which nothing, and no one is what they seem.”
It’s always nice when someone says your story stands out, but this praise is particularly pleasing because Bondoni is a rather prolific author, and the other tale he mentions is written by a World Fantasy Award nominee.
This reminds me I need to start writing again one of these days soon.
September 7, 2009
Summer doesn’t seem to be dying gently, but I can feel that fall will soon be here. I see that the high school football season has begun, which always brings to mind this poem:
Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio
By James Wright
In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.
All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.
Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.
I also recall the bittersweet returns to the library after the long summers of my college days: eager to learn, reluctant to give up lazy days. I do think of those early days of fall semesters with a fondness that this quotation by Alcuin (from right around the end of the 8th century) captures beautifully:
“O how sweet life was when we used to sit at leisure amid the book boxes of a learned man, piles of books, and the venerable thoughts of the Fathers; nothing was missing that was needed for…the pursuit of knowledge.”
Autumn has always been a creatively inspiring time for me, and I hope the tradition continues this year.
May 26, 2009
I’m reading Primitive Mythology, book one of Joseph Campbell’s The Masks of God, and came across this passage:
“…it must be conceded, as a basic principle of our natural history of the gods and heroes, that whenever a myth has been taken literally, its sense has been perverted; but also, reciprocally, that whenever it has been dismissed as a mere priestly fraud or sign of inferior intelligence, truth has slipped out the door.”
I post it here because a) mythology and fantasy literature are closely related (or one in the same?), and therefore the usefulness of one can be attributed to the other, and b), it approximates my own thoughts on the subject of myth, religion, rite, and ceremony. When I write “the utility of mythology,” I refer to its usefulness in achieving human understanding.
Campbell has an uncanny ability to distill complex metaphysical concepts into terms most people can understand. So far, I’ve come across numerous pithy paragraphs like this that make me feel as if he pulled the very thoughts from my mind–thoughts which I couldn’t quite articulate, or at least not nearly as well–and transcribed them on the page. I highly recommend The Masks of God.
May 7, 2009
Deuce Richardson, the heavy-metal-looking blogger at The Cimmerian (a website devoted to “Robert E. Howard, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the best in heroic fantasy, horror, and historical adventure”), just posted a review of Return of the Sword.
He had some very positive things to say about the anthology, which means a great deal because the praise comes from a gathering place of experts in the heroic fantasy and sword-and-sorcery genres.
March 4, 2009
Every once in a while, in my endless search for hard-to-find books, I come across a deal that seems too good to be true. This time, I found a copy of Jessica Amanda Salmonson‘s The Dark Tales for a ridiculously low price. Only 277 copies of this hard copy collection were printed by the United Kingdom’s Sarob Press in 2002 — 225 limited edition copies (one of which I now have), and 52 deluxe/lettered editions.
The Dark Tales assembles 14 of Salmonson’s high fantasy tales “intended to be completely dark and decadent, all set in the same unpleasant world distant in place and time, inspired…by a fondness for the magazine Weird Tales in its classic period.”
It arrived in the mail today. When I opened it, the binding released a string of delicious cracks. It’s truly in pristine condition.
I’m looking forward to this one. My exposure to Salmonson’s work has been largely limited to her edited volumes and her essays. In fact, I’m quite fond of her essay Enjoying Heroic Fantasy, which I wrote about on this site as part of the Return of the Sword blog tour.
Needless to say, I’m thrilled to have found a copy of this book in such good shape, and at such a low price.