Beyond the Gate of Shadows: Harold Lamb’s The Grand Cham
Apr26

Beyond the Gate of Shadows: Harold Lamb’s The Grand Cham

Beyond the Gate of Shadows: Harold Lamb’s The Grand Cham by Bill Ward “As evening closed in they were threading through gorges that hastened the coming of darkness. Often they looked back in the failing light. No one desired to be last. And then Rudolfo, in the lead, halted abruptly. ‘Before them in the twilight stood a great mound of human skulls.” When we are first introduced to Michael Bearn, young Breton ship-master in...

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A Look at Andre Norton’s Witch World
Mar04

A Look at Andre Norton’s Witch World

A Look at Andre Norton’s Witch World by Fletcher Vredenburgh Born in 1912, Alice Mary Norton worked as a teacher, a librarian, and finally a reader for Gnome Press before becoming a full-time writer in 1958. By then she’d already had a dozen books published, including such classics as Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D. and Star Rangers. Based on their easy style and simpler characterizations, most of her early books...

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My Favorite Solomon Kane Tale: “Wings in the Night”
Jan28

My Favorite Solomon Kane Tale: “Wings in the Night”

My Favorite Solomon Kane Tale: “Wings in the Night” by Robert E. Howard by Fletcher Vredenburgh “Wings in the Night” (1932), is one of Solomon Kane’s, Robert E. Howard’s swashbuckling Puritan, African adventures. In the face of darkness, he sees himself as Satan’s implacable foe.  Kane’s a dour man, dedicated wholly to defeating evil and meting out justice. In two separate stories, he spends years hunting for the killers of...

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A Look at John Bellairs’ The Face in the Frost
Jan21

A Look at John Bellairs’ The Face in the Frost

It Was a Dark and Silly Night – A Look at John Bellairs’ The Face in the Frost by Bill Ward Whimsy and suspense don’t generally mesh all that well together, for they tend to swing toward opposite poles of reader engagement. Whimsy tickles the intellect, relying on novel juxtapositions and a great deal of textual playfulness – it’s cute, it’s precise, and most often it resides in a place of certainty and safety....

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Where to Start With Robert E. Howard
Jan14

Where to Start With Robert E. Howard

Where to Start With Robert E. Howard by Bill Ward Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) was a giant and a father to giants, his literary creations so potent that they have informed popular culture and permeated mass consciousness down to the present day. But their very ubiquity can obscure and deceive – if two people strike up a conversation about Conan, are they actually talking about the same Conan? What’s going on with all of these...

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Appendix N Archaeology: Clark Ashton Smith
Dec27

Appendix N Archaeology: Clark Ashton Smith

Our Appendix N Archeology and Adventures in Fiction series are meant to take a look at the writers and creators behind the genre(s) that helped to forge not only our favorite hobby but our lives. We invite you to explore the entirety of the series on our Adventures In Fiction home page. Appendix N Archaeology: Clark Ashton Smith by Michael Curtis Gamers often point to Appendix N and decry the absence of a...

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Preserving the Flame: A Review of Phantasmagoria Special Edition Series #5: Karl Edward Wagner
Dec10

Preserving the Flame: A Review of Phantasmagoria Special Edition Series #5: Karl Edward Wagner

Preserving the Flame: A Review of Phantasmagoria Special Edition Series #5: Karl Edward Wagner by Brian Murphy What makes Karl Edward Wagner’s best writing so powerful? I believe he was chasing a dark muse, dangerous and unpredictable, vital and vivid. The one we see on the page of “Into the Pines,” a story which alone makes the new Phantasmagoria Special Edition Series#5: Karl Edward Wagner, worth its price tag: Out into the pines...

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Classic Covers: Poul Anderson
Nov23

Classic Covers: Poul Anderson

With scores of novels spanning the popular genres of science fiction and fantasy, with hundreds of magazine and anthology appearances, and with a career spanning the most creative era of visual marketing in publishing of the 20th century, Poul Anderson’s bibliography has the quintessential ‘Classic Covers’ ingredients. Here is but a small sample of the art that brought Anderson’s stories to...

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Northwest of Earth: A Look at C.L. Moore’s Iconic Space Adventurer
Nov20

Northwest of Earth: A Look at C.L. Moore’s Iconic Space Adventurer

Northwest of Earth: A Look at C.L. Moore’s Iconic Space Adventurer by Bill Ward Popular media is resplendent with celebrations of the romantic outlaw. From Robin of Locksley to the six gun strapping figures of the American Frontier, or the hardboiled gumshoes of detective fiction, the anonymous masked vigilantes of the pulps, even the globe-trotting adventurers of the Victorian era, and continuing right up to the spice-smuggling...

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Appendix N Archaeology: William Hope Hodgson
Nov15

Appendix N Archaeology: William Hope Hodgson

Our Appendix N Archeology and Adventures in Fiction series are meant to take a look at the writers and creators behind the genre(s) that helped to forge not only our favorite hobby but our lives. We invite you to explore the entirety of the series on our Adventures In Fiction home page. Appendix N Archeology: William Hope Hodgson by Michael Curtis In the now famed Appendix N, Gary Gygax lists roughly thirty authors...

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Short Sorcery: C.L. Moore’s “Shambleau”
Oct15

Short Sorcery: C.L. Moore’s “Shambleau”

Short Sorcery: C.L. Moore’s “Shambleau” by Bill Ward “And this conflict and knowledge, this mingling of rapture and revulsion all took place in the flashing of a moment while the scarlet worms coiled and crawled upon him, sending deep, obscene tremors of that infinite pleasure into every atom . . . And he could not stir in that slimy, ecstatic embrace—and a weakness was flooding that grew deeper after each succeeding wave of intense...

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Short Sorcery: Fritz Leiber’s “Thieves’ House”
Sep28

Short Sorcery: Fritz Leiber’s “Thieves’ House”

Short Sorcery: Fritz Leiber’s “Thieves’ House” by Bill Ward More than any other classic sword-and-sorcery series, Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are associated with thievery. It isn’t just that the twain, the dynamic duo of tall Northerner Fafhrd and shifty little Mouser, are themselves consummate rogues of wild daring and tremendous fame, but that the world they usually inhabit, the crazy...

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