Swords Against Darkness snuck out in late July! Prime Books has had some major schedule changes, but things are now rolling along and books are barreling down the old retail trail. So if you’ve been waiting for this one—or are just now getting excited about it—you will find its glorious thickness (in print) in bookstores online and off or its tons of text (in ebook) in the usual places! I’m rather proud of this one. I think I (inadvertently) took a fresh look at sword & sorcery while paying homage to what you usually think you might find in such a tome.
NEW YORK FANTASTIC:
Fantasy Stories from the City That Never Sleeps
Edited by Paula Guran
Trade paperback: 424 pages | $15.95
Night Shade Books (November 7, 2017)
(Also available in ebook)
An intriguing but insular man with telekinetic powers becomes New York City’s greatest superhero . . . A love affair blossoms between the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building . . . There are tunnels under New York that do not appear on any map . . . Being a Manhattan real estate broker for supernaturals is a real challenge . . . Editor and anthologist Paula Guran collects a diverse array of unusual and memorable tales set in the Big Apple. Anyone who’s visited New York, New York knows what a “magical” place it is; these stories reveal just how marvelous, extraordinary, mysterious, and even occasionally eerie a truly fantastic city can be.
Introduction: A Place Apart – Paula Guran
How the Pooka Came to New York City – Delia Sherman
…And the Angel with Television Eyes – John Shirley
Priced to Sell – Naomi Novik
The Horrid Glory of Its Wings – Elizabeth Bear
The Tallest Doll in New York City – Maria Dahvana Headley
Blood Yesterday, Blood Tomorrow – Richard Bowes
Pork Pie Hat – Peter Straub
Grand Central Park – Delia Sherman
The Land of Heart’s Desire – Holly Black
The City Born Great – N.K. Jemisin
La Peau Verte – Caitlín R. Kiernan
Cryptic Coloration – Elizabeth Bear
Caisson – Karl Bunker
Red as Snow – Seanan McGuire
A Huntsman Passing By – Richard Bowes
Painted Birds and Shivered Bones – Kat Howard
Salsa Nocturna – Daniel José Older
Weston Walks – Kit Reed
The Rock in the Park – Peter S. Beagle
Shell Games – George R. R. Martin
[click image for larger version]
I happily remain as senior editor for Prime Books, but, for now, our schedule has been reduced as has my salary. I am seeking new opportunities. I am NOT looking to edit for individuals. Otherwise, I’m open to most anything I’m qualified to do. You can get an inkling of my background in the field here Download my brief resume (PDF) here or email me: email@example.com.
Call for Submission
As the editor of the anthology series The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror (Prime Books) I am reading for the 2018 edition, which will include material published in 2017.
We define “dark fantasy” and “horror” broadly. Try reading the previous volumes and read this introduction to the first volume. And yes, we select dark SF as part of the mix. You can see the most recent ToC in this post.
Guidelines: The work must be published during the calendar year of 2017. If serialized, it may have begun in the previous year and ended in current. Direct submissions to the editor as well as suggestions are greatly appreciated. PDF, Word doc, or RTF are preferred, ebook if needed to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: YBDF&H. If a physical copy is submitted please email for mailing address
Deadline: November 1, 2017. If your work/publication is being published late in the year, please try to get it to me in some form by that date. Overall: the earlier I get the material the better.
Please post and/or pass this on to others.
Swords Against Darkness
edited by Paula Guran
Type: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: April 26, 2017
Flashing swords and fearsome magicks . . . high adventure and wondrous wizardry . . . dread monsters and vast rewards . . .
Tales of sword and sorcery at their best offer keen wit, ingenious perception, freewheeling imagination, and canny invention. From its swashbuckling beginnings of good versus evil battles to clashes of more nuanced principles set in complex settings to havoc shaped by grittier perspectives, ambiguous morality, deep history, and expansive worldbuilding―readers continue to be thrilled by the exploits of great warriors and mighty mages.
Swords Against Darkness: an epic anthology of short stories and novellas from classic to modern, each tale a memorable vision from masters of mistresses of heroic fantasy past and present!
Paula Guran, Introduction: “Knowledge Takes Precedence Over Death”
Forging & Shaping
- Robert E. Howard, “The Tower of the Elephant”
- C. L. Moore, “Hellsgarde”
- Clark Ashton Smith, “The Dark Eidolon”
- Jack Vance, “Liane the Wayfarer”
- Leigh Brackett, “Black Amazon of Mars”
- Fritz Leiber, “Ill Met in Lankhmar”
- Michael Moorcock, “While the Gods Laugh”
Normalizing & Annealing
- Tanith Lee, “Hero at the Gates”
- C. J. Cherryh, “A Thief in Korianth”
- Karl Edward Wagner, “Undertow”
- Katherine Kurtz, “Swords Against the Marluk”
- Mercedes Lackey, “Out of the Deep”
- Michael Shea, “Epistle from Lebanoi”
- James Enge, “Payment Deferred”
- John Balestra, “The Swords of Her Heart” (original)
Tempering & Sharpening
- Joanna Russ, “Bluestocking”
- Samuel R. Delany, “The Tale of Dragons and Dreamers”
- Elizabeth Moon, “First Blood”
- Saladin Ahmed, “Where Virtue Lives”
- Scott Lynch, “The Effigy Engine: A Tale of the Red Hats”
- Steven Erikson, “Goats of Glory”
- Elizabeth Bear, “The Ghost Makers”
- Kameron Hurley, “The Plague Givers”
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2017
Contents (in alphabetical order by author’s last name)
“Lullaby for a Lost World,” Aliette de Bodard (Tor.com 06/16)
“Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies,” Brooke Bolander (Uncanny #13)
“Wish You Were Here,” Nadia Bulkin (Nightmare # 49)
“A Dying of the Light,” Rachel Caine (The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft)
“Season of Glass and Iron,” Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales)
“Grave Goods,” Gemma Files (Autumn Cthulhu)
“The Blameless,”Jeffrey Ford (The Natural History of Hell)
“As Cymbals Clash,” Cate Gardner (The Dark #19)
“The Iron Man,” Max Gladstone (Grimm Future)
“Surfacing,” Lisa L. Hannett (Postscripts 36/37: The Dragons of the Night)
“Mommy’s Little Man,” Brian Hodge (DarkFuse, October)
“The Sound of Salt and Sea,” Kat Howard (Uncanny #10)
“Red Dirt Witch,” N. K. Jemisin (Fantasy #60)
“Birdfather,” Stephen Graham Jones (Black Static #51)
“The Games We Play,” Cassandra Khaw (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
“The Line Between the Devil’s Teeth (Murder Ballad No. Ten),” Caitlin Kiernan (Sirenia Digest #130)
“Postcards from Natalie,” Carrie Laben (The Dark #14)
“The Finest, Fullest Flowering,” Marc Laidlaw (Nightmare #45)
The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com)
“Meet Me at the Frost Fair,” Alison Littlewood (A Midwinter Entertainment)
“Bright Crown of Joy,” Livia Llewellyn (Children of Lovecraft)
“The Jaws That Bite, The Claws That Catch,” Seanan McGuire (Lightspeed #72)
“My Body, Herself,” Carmen Maria Machado (Uncanny #12)
“Spinning Silver,” Naomi Novik (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales)
“Whose Drowned Face Sleeps,” An Owomoyela & Rachael Swirsky (Nightmare # 46/What the #@&% Is That?)
“Grave Goods,” Priya Sharma (Albedo One #6)
“The Rime of the Cosmic Mariner,” John Shirley (Lovecraft Alive!)
“The Red Forest,” Angela Slatter (Winter Children and Other Chilling Tales)
“Photograph,” Steve Rasnic Tem (Out of the Dark)
“The Future is Blue,” Catherynne M. Valente (Drowned Worlds)
‘‘October Film Haunt: Under the House’’, Michael Wehunt (Greener Pastures)
“Only Their Shining Beauty Was Left,” Fran Wilde (Shimmer 13)
“When the Stitches Come Undone,” A.C. Wise (Children of Lovecraft)
“A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers,” Alyssa Wong (Tor.com 03/16)
“An Ocean the Color of Bruises,” Isabel Yap (Uncanny #11)
“Fairy Tales are for White People,” Melissa Yuan-Innes (Fireside Magazine Issue 30)
“Braid of Days and Wake of Nights,” E. Lily Yu (F&SF, Jan-Feb)
Turned in what will be December’s edition of my Locus review column. Squeezed in 27 stories.* (Wow, that’s three already!) I ran out of room to cover these tales below, but I also had been intending to recommend some new dark fiction for the witching season, so here you go!
Like many publications, Fireside Fiction Company celebrates the Halloween spirit with dark stories for October (Issue 37). Guest editor Daniel José Older hits home runs with all three. (Hey, live with some baseball metaphors! The Cleveland Indians** are in the World Series.)
Melissa Moorer offers a creepy urban-legendesque tale with “The Get-Get Man.” The eight-year-old narrator is too young for her eloquence, but this is forgivable as her attitude is spot on and the descriptions of the titular character are both poetic and frightening.
Cassandra Khaw cuts close to the bone of dark reality in the near-future fictional world of “Speak” where editors have neural ports and the media doesn’t cover mere murders. (Although if a 19-year-old widow had been killed by a “self-propagating, self-modifying virus named Sutee” rather than “roasted alive in a crematory” by her family, it would make tech news.) Very scary future; very scary reflection on now. (BTW: Khaw’s become one of my favorite newer writers. I cover her “Hammers on Bone” for Tor.com and a story in The Dark in the Locus column.
Takes a really good piece of flash fiction to impress me, and Alyssa Wong (another new-ish favorite) impresses in the third, quite dark, October story. She does more than tug the heart strings with the encapsulated tragedy and mad science of “Rabbit Heart”—she wrenches those strands without mercy.
And as long as we are looking at Fireside Fiction Company… let’s catch up with September’s issue (#36):
In the near-future “Emergency Management Protocol,” C. C. S. Ryan imaginatively combines a relationship, how we can be isolated even though/because we are well networked, AIs, and a rescue attempt facilitated in part by a technologically advanced dildo. Excellent characterization of the narrator and, all-in-all, quite enjoyable.
“Delta Child” by Malon Edwards is another piece of flash. It’s shock-fiction about a guy, child of an experiment gone wrong, turned monstrous. For something so short, it depicts the narrator and even his the briefly seen baby mama well. Still, I’d like to have seen it developed as a more-nuanced, longer tale.
Not exactly horror but certainly gonzo weird: “Homesick” by Sarah Gailey. Crab-like, fortune-telling aliens that freeze as they tell your fortune (“She’s staring back at me with those ancient iridescent bug-eyes of hers. They’re starting to frost over—her eyelashes are limned with white and it’s spreading. She’s grinning at me.”)… Humanity at home on an alien planet… Earth abandoned… One desperate woman. This story by Gailey is awesomely weird. It twists the whole “alien invasion” trope inside out AND then tips it on its head.Cool stuff.
- The Dark (10/16 & 11/16)
- Tor.com (9/11/16 & 10/11/16)
- Uncanny #12 (9-10/16)
- Black Static #54 (9-10/16)
- Nightmare #48 (9/16)
- Nightmare #49 (10/16)
- And stories from:
- Shimmer #33 9/16
- Apex Magazine #89 (10/16)
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies #209 (10/16)
- Strange Horizons (10/3/16)
Tananarive Due’s Ghost Summer: Stories has received the 2016 British Fantasy Society Award for Best Collection. It is not the first honor for the book as it was nominated earlier for the prestigious non-genre NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction. We’ve known one another a long time and has been an honor to finally get to work with her.
I am working on Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore, a reprint anthology for Prime Books.
I’ve compiled the following lists of stories. (No, I have not read all of them yet. Some I may not be able to track down at all. Some may not fit the theme. Some are probably not genre. Etc.) But if you have or know of another speculative fiction (SF/F/H) short story/novelette/novella about a librarian (or librarians) or a library (or libraries)—let me know! Email email@example.com Deadline September 16!
(Art above is by Julie Dillon)
[Alphabetical by Author; ignore notations]
- Edoardo Albert, “The Last Librarian, Or a Short Account of the End of the World” (Daily SF)
- Therese Arkenberg, “The Storms in Arisbat”
- Alec Austin, “Blood Remembers”
- Kage Baker, “The Books”
- Kelly Barnhill, “The Taxidermist’s Other Wife”
- Elizabeth Bear, “In Libres”
- Gregory Benford, “The Sigma Structure Symphony”(SETI Library)
- Matthew Bey, “The Secret of Pogopolis”
- Richard Bowes, “There’s a Hole in the City” (librarian protag)
- Jon L. Breen, “The Adventure of the Librarian’s Ghost”
- Gary A. Braunbeck, “Paper Cuts” (just books, no library?)
- Damien Broderick, “Time Considered as a Series of Thermite Burns in No Particular Order” (destroy Martian plague in library)
- P.D. Cacek, “The Grave” (about?)
- Jason K. Chapman, “Brief Candle”
- Amal El-Mohtar, “The Green Book”
- Ruthann Emrys, “Those Who Watch”
- Esther M. Friesner, “Death and the Librarian”
- Shaenon K. Garrity. “Librarians in the Branch Library of Babel” (Borges take-off)
- Glenn Lewis Gillette, “She Called Me Sweetie” (library enough?)
- Erin M. Hartshorn, “Matchmaker”
- Xia Jia (translated by Ken Liu), “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler”
- Naim Kabir, “On the Origin of Song”
- Ellen Klages, “In the House of the Seven Librarians”
- Yoon Ha Lee, “Effigy Nights” (about library?)
- Yoon Ha Lee, “Architectural Constants” (only one a librarian?)
- Thomas Ligotti, “The Library of Byzantium”
- Kelly Link, “Magic for Beginners (TV show/magic librarians)
- H. P. Lovecraft, “The Shadow Out of Time”
- Scott Lynch, “In the Stacks”
- Ken Macleod, “The Vorkuta Event”
- Jennifer Mason-Black, “In the Library of Souls”
- Sarah Monette, [Kyle Murchison Booth]
- Sunny Moraine, “It Is Healing, Never Whole” (enough?)
- Steven L. Peck, “A Short Stay in Hell” (novella 106 pp) ?
- Steven Piziks, “Hoard”
- Steven Piziks,“A Quiet Knight’s Reading”
- Tim Pratt, “The Fairy Library”
- Tim Pratt, “Care and Feeding (DSM)
- Robert Reed, “A Woman’s Best Friend”
- E. Saxey, “The Librarian’s Dilemma”
- Ken Scholes. “Of Metal Men and Scarlet Thread and Dancing with the Sunrise”
- Carrie Vaughn, “The Librarian’s Daughter”
- Joshia Viola, “The Librarian”
- Connie Willis, “Nonstop to Portales”
- A. C. Wise, “With Tales in Their Teeth, From the Mountain They Came”
- Caroline Yoachim, “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Love, Death”
* * * *
- Poul Anderson,“Wolfram” (nongenre?)
- Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel”
- Jorge Luis Borges, “Book of Sand”
- Ray Bradbury, “Exchange” +
- Grant Burns, “A Note from Senora Sector” ?
- L. Sprague De Camp & Fletcher Pratt, “No Forwarding Address”
- Ramsey Campbell, “The Enchanted Fruit”
- Ramsey Campbell, “In the Shadow”
- Ramsey Campbell, “Call First” (library porter ?)
- Orson Scott Card, “The Originist”
- Fred Chappell, “The Lodger” +
- Richard T. Chizmar, “Like Father, Like Son”?
- August W. Derleth, “The Sandwin Compact”
- August W. Derleth, “The Slayers and the Slain”
- Hal Draper, “MS Fnd in Lbry” (fluff)
- Mircea Eliade, “Nights at Serampore”
- Elizabeth Emmett, “Enchantment +
- Carol Emshwiller, “The Circular Library of Stones” +
- Carol Emshwiller, “The Word Was to the Wise” +
- Neil Ferguson, “The Second Third of C.” +
- Michael Flynn, “Mammy Morgan Played the Organ; Her Daddy Beat the Drum” +
- Gerald W. Gabbard, “More Things” (fluff)
- Nikki Giovanni, “The Library” +
- M. R. James, “The Tractate Middoth” +
- David H. Keller, MD, “The Cerebral Library” (1931)
- S. King, “The Library Policeman” (Four Past Midnight)
- Ursula K. LeGuin, “The Phoenix” +
- Ursula K. LeGuin, “True Love” (nongenre) -
- Martin Loran, “An Ounce of Dissension”
- Jack McDevitt, “The Fort Moxie Branch” +
- Mary C. McKinlay, “Like a Diamond in the Sky” –
- Steven Millhauser, “The Library of Morpheus” (Excerpt from novel?)
- Hector H. Munro (Saki), “The Story of St. Vespaluus” +
- Margaret Oliphant, “The Library Window” (1896)?
- Edmund L. Pearson, “Their Just Reward” +
- James Tiptree, Jr., The Starry Rift (3 novellas: Librarian Moa Blue, Chief Assistant Librarian used as framing device?)
- “Lizard Lust” Lisa Tuttle ? /
- Warren W. Wager, “A Woman’s Life” ?
- Augusta Walker, “The Day of the Cipher”
- Harold Wooster “Machina Versatalis: A Modern Fable”-
If you subscribe to Locus, and flip (digitally or with a digit) to page 19 of the new June issue, you will notice “Locus Looks at Books: Paula Guran”…well, that is what it says in my PDF version… Oops! My assignment was not to look at books, but at periodicals—specifically periodicals with short dark fiction. We’re on a trial run for now, with the column running every other issue. First up, this time around:
- Nightmare 4/16, 5/16
- The Dark 5/16
- Cemetery Dance 4/16
- Black Static 3-4/16
- Strange Aeons #19
And no, contractually, I can’t republish the reviews here (or anywhere) for a while. Read Locus.*
My next deadline is in mid-June (for publication in the August issue). I am trying to be as current as possible considering the six+-week gap, so I would appreciate getting original fiction for any upcoming (June-July-August) issues as soon as possible.
For the last seven or so years, I’ve been looking at dark fantasy and horror fiction from an annual P.O.V. for The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror series, i.e. I haven’t been looking at WHEN anything was published as long as it fell within the year I was covering, nor was I paying all that much attention (initially) to what was a periodical and what was an anthology.
Now it matters! At least for these purposes.
So, if you edit or publish a periodical (or what is supposed to be a periodical) heads up! I need to see your original fiction on a timely basis. Online, print, whatever. Edited, yes, but it doesn’t need to be the final final version or publication lay-out. Nor do I need the entire issue, just the original fiction. Word docs or rtf will do.
For now, at least, I’m looking only at periodicals for Locus. Anthologies and collections I still need for “year’s best,” but for the next deadline—only periodicals.
- I may not be able to cover your publication. I have limited room. (But I definitely can’t review it if I never see it at all. This holds true for Year’s Best, too) No promises.
- I don’t know what the hell “horror” or “dark fantasy” or “dark fiction” is either. I have broad definitions. Try me. You can get some idea of what I think from What the Hell Do You Mean by “Dark Fantasy and Horror”?, the first introduction for The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2010.
- I regularly find great dark stuff in periodicals that are not necessarily all dark. So, I may review just the dark stuff. Don’t really know.
- Authors: Sorry, but for this I need the material from the editor or publisher of the magazine.
- I’ll try not to duplicate the efforts of Gardner Dozois or Rich Horton, who both review short fiction for Locus, but that may happen.
- Reviews are opinion. I strive to be a fair, professional reviewer. I am not a cheerleader.
- Yes, I am qualified: I reviewed regularly for Publishers Weekly for over a decade, was review editor for the original print incarnation of Fantasy for a few years (returning in 2009 to edit reviews for its online version), a columnist for Cemetery Dance for five years, and editor for the print section (reviewing, interviewing, and writing articles about sf/f/h) of CFQ (Cinemafantastique) Magazine (2004-2006) I served as nonfiction editor for Weird Tales magazine in 2011. I am a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
Spread the word!
*If you are one of those folks who don’t feel Locus pays enough attention to the dark side…hey, obviously they are trying to do something about it or I would not have this gig.