Posts Tagged ‘literary adventure fantasy’

At WorldCon This Weekend

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

This weekend I’ll be at WorldCon this weekend, in San Antonio, Texas. (Right near The Alamo, apparently.)

I’m not on any panels, although I highly recommend the State of Sword & Sorcery: New Trends one Friday at 4PM. It features BCS authors and novelists Saladin Ahmed and Chris Willrich and Pyr Books editor/BCS fan Lou Anders. That sounds like an awesome topic, a lot like the S&S panel I moderated at World Fantasy 2010, and I’m bummed that I won’t be at the con yet by then.

But I will be out and about Saturday and Sunday. Saturday night, I’m planning to hit this bar-hosted author event that will include BCS authors Cat Rambo, Brad Beaulieu, Ann Leckie, and Saladin Ahmed.

Sunday night I’ll be at the Hugo Awards banquet, where BCS has the honor of being a nominee for Best Semiprozine. (The ceremony apparently will be streamed live at In case you want to see me in a suit and tie.)

I will have a stack of BCS flyers and some brand new postcards of the forthcoming Best of BCS Year Four anthology. If you see me wandering the cavernous convention center or the party floor of the hotel late in the small hours, feel free to say hello!

At ReaderCon This Weekend

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

I will be at ReaderCon— one of my favorite cons!– in north Boston, again this year.

Saturday at 11:30 AM, I have a solo Reading from Beneath Ceaseless Skies, where I will read from some stories from the magazine. Audience’s choice! Older stories, current ones, and even forthcoming ones from later this summer or our Fifth Anniversary Double-Issue this Oct.

Saturday at 2 PM, I am on the panel The Relationship of Reality and Fantasy. It’s about fantasy secondary worlds borrowing elements from real history, in particular the social consciousness facet of societies, and readers’ interpretations of them; for example the irony of fans who accept magic and dragons but balk at the idea of female pirates or a black Lancelot because they’re “unrealistic.” It asks, whose reality does fantasy need to reflect in order to be believable?

I deal with fantasy secondary worlds all the time with BCS, so I have plenty of thoughts on this. Whose reality do I think that fantasy needs to reflect in order to be believable? Come to the panel and find out. :)

I will have shiny BCS flyers and postcards. I hope to also have the shiny tiny rocket-ship badge pin that I get for BCS being a Hugo Award finalist this year. :)

Feel free to drop by the Saturday reading or panel or to stop me in the halls and say hello!

If you’re looking for me in the bar, note that this year, the bar is closed for renovations! The horror! But the fancy restaurant’s bar apparently will be open late, so you might find me in there. :)

Lower That Crossbow, Pardner

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Last week while pondering swords & sorcery as I jotted notes for the roundtable S&S discussion for SF Signal Podcast #108, I had a neat revelation.  Lou Anders, Hugo-winning editor and huge S&S fan, mentioned the same thing during the podcast, so this connection has clearly caught other peoples’ eye too.

Swords & sorcery and Westerns are very close kin.

The similarities jump out at you.  A strong feel of adventure. A “gritty” hardscrabble environment.  Hardscrabble characters, often from the lower levels of society, trying to eke out a living. Often weighed down by emotional baggage or scarred backgrounds. Often on the darker side of law or morality. Often battling antagonists from higher levels of society (rich cattle barons instead of rich sorcerers!).

These parallels are quite fitting.  Westerns have a powerful lure in American culture–something about the freedom and adventure in gorgeous untamed lands, in elegant firearms, in carving out your own existence in a wilderness.  Swords & sorcery has a similar lure–not so much the American classics of freedom and carving out an existence, but definitely adventure in awe-inspiring (fantastical) lands and elegant (pre-gunpowder) weapons. And they both are a perfect backdrop for troubled heroes and bitter struggles.

This may explain why I so love “Weird West”–the uncommon spec-fic subgenre that combines paranormal stuff with Old West settings.  Whether a historical Old West, like Kenneth Mark Hoover’s Haxan stories, or a fictional Old West-flavored world like Erin Cashier’s “Hangman” or J.S. Bangs’s “The Judge’s Right Hand.” It has the same hardscrabble feel as S&S, but in a setting that feels fresher in SF/F yet still has a strong pull of adventure.

I wish there were more Weird West. And I’m going to add more Elmore Leonard and Larry McMurtry to my stack of Fritz Leiber and GRRM.

Giant Beetles, Spies, Sabotage…

Friday, July 8th, 2011

…and what happens after your mentor is killed.

My story “Of Casting Pits and Caustic Salts” is now live in the e-zine Heroic Fantasy Quarterly.  It’s about a lady spy, in a land where giant insects are the beasts of burden, who must complete her sabotage mission after something happens to her mentor.

It’s the first of my “literary adventure fantasy” stories to see print.  Readers familiar with my ethos for Beneath Ceaseless Skies know that I see no reason why stories set in fantastical worlds can’t convey just as much about the human condition as literary stories set in the “real” world.  Giant beetles are awesome, and surviving after your mentor is gone is a very human struggle.

It’s also my first story to appear in an e-zine.  Ironic, isn’t it, for a guy who publishes an e-zine and says that online magazines are the future of short fiction. :)  I’m happy to be appearing online, where readers will be able to find the story for free and at their convenience.  I’m also happy to be appearing in HFQ, a stalwart semi-pro zine offering adventure fantasy short fiction for free online.

So check out HFQ and  “Of Casting Pits and Caustic Salts”.