Monthly Archives: January 2012


Terrifying barbarians, cunning mages, and daring heroes run rampant through these exceptional examples of the exciting sword and sorcery genre. In “Tower of the Elephant,” Conan takes up jewel thievery but proves to be far better with his sword. “The Flamer Bringers” finds antihero Elric infiltrating a band of bloodthirsty mercenaries and outwitting a powerful sorcerer. “Become a Warrior” is the unexpected tale of a child who loses all she holds dear, only to gain unforeseen power and unlikely revenge. Further entries come from early legends such as Jack Vance and Catherine Louise Moore, the next wave of talents including Fritz Leiber and Michael Moorcock, and modern trendsetters like George R.R. Martin, Karl Edward Wagner, and David Drake. This essential, fast-paced anthology is a chronological gathering of influential, inventive, and entertaining fantasy—sure to appeal to action-oriented fans.

A perfectly schlocky cover.

And look at that lineup. Mighty, mighty fine. The anthology seems to be a re-print anthology hoping to chronicle the progression of the Sword & Sorcery sub-genre, something that fans introduced to Fantasy by the likes of Game of Thrones might be particularly interested in if they’re curious about the roots of the genre. Which stories by the listed authors would you like to see included in the anthology?

The Sword & Sorcery Anthology will find store shelve in June, 2012, published by Tachyon Publications.

ARCTIC RISING by Tobias Buckell

Global warming has transformed the Earth, and it’s about to get even hotter. The Arctic Ice Cap has all but melted, and the international community is racing desperately to claim the massive amounts of oil beneath the newly accessible ocean.

Enter the Gaia Corporation. Its two founders have come up with a plan to roll back global warming. Thousands of tiny mirrors floating in the air can create a giant sunshade, capable of redirecting heat and cooling the earth’s surface. They plan to terraform Earth to save it from itself—but in doing so, they have created a superweapon the likes of which the world has never seen.

Anika Duncan is an airship pilot for the underfunded United Nations Polar Guard. She’s intent on capturing a smuggled nuclear weapon that has made it into the Polar Circle and bringing the smugglers to justice.

Tobias Buckell first came to my attention with the release of Crystal Rain (REVIEW), a crackin’ SF adventure with a Caribbean flare. The sequel, Ragamuffin (REVIEW) proved that Buckell was no slouch by expanding his universe and showing nice versatility as a writer without relying on ballooning word counts. Since then, his novels have always been firmly on my radar.

His newest novel, due out Feb. 28, 2012, is called Arctic Rising and presents another side to Buckell’s storytelling. While it’s not related to his previous novels, Arctic Rising is sure to be a smart eco-thriller with no lack of frenetic action and a torrid pace. I’m eagerly awaiting my change to jump in.

Centuries ago, the fifty-mile-wide mouth of the Lancaster Sound imprisoned ships in its icy bite. But today, the choppy polar waters between Baffin Island to the south of the sound, and Devon Island on the north, twinkled in the perpetual sunlight of the Arctic’s summer months, and tons of merchant traffic constantly sailed through the once impossible-to-pass Northwest Passage over the top of Canada.

A thousand feet over the frigid, but no longer freezing and icechoked waters, the seventy-five-meter-long United Nations Polar Guard airship Plover hung in a slow-moving air current. The turboprop engines growled to life as the fat, cigar-shaped vehicle adjusted course, then fell silent.

Inside the cabin of the airship, Anika Duncan checked her readings, then leaned over the matte-screened displays in the cockpit to look out the front windows.

You can read the first two chapters of Arctic Rising on

The Sword of Shannara by Terry BrooksVia Suvudu:

I have just finished a 10,000 word short (?) story that takes place just before Allanon sets out to find Shea Ohmsford in Sword. I will be posting it online in a few months on all the major sites as an ebook for readers who want something new leading up to publication of the Annotated Edition of The Sword of Shannara and the first book in the new Shannara’s Dark Legacy, coming in late August. I haven’t done anything with Allanon in almost 30 years, so it really was time for a new story. Keep your eye out for it on our website and on all the major book burying sites.

As an unabashed Shannara fanboy (and the pre-Morgawr books, in particular) this is great news. I recently read Brooks’ only other short story, Imaginary Friends, and was reminded of what a fine storyteller he can be when he really digs into a story and gives it the meat that his newer novels seem to lack. It might seem odd suggesting that Brooks might find this meatier writing by writing short fiction, rather than longer fiction, but there was a certain thoughtfulness to Imaginary Friends that gives me confidence. Brooks has said before that he doesn’t feel that he’s very good at short fiction; to counter that, I think that challenge is a good thing for a writer and his recent novels have seemed somewhat staid and too easy, suggesting that a challenge is exactly what the veteran writers needs. I am Very much looking forward to seeing Brooks stretch his story telling muscle by revisiting one of his most interesting characters.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Screenshot

When rumblings of a new X-com game first hit the gaming scene a few years ago, fans were understandably excited. The classic SRPG series helped define the genre and is considered one of the greatest and most influential of all time. Fan disappointment was also understandable, then, when it was revealed that the new X-com game was going to be a first-person shooter developed by 2K Marin, a far cry from what fans were used to or wanting. That game, simply titled XCOM, has sat in limbo, restarted and re-imagined several times and caught in development doldrums. A rather ignominious end to the storied franchise.

Enter, Firaxis, the developers of the equally legendary and revered Civilization series. The latest edition of Game Informer revealed XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a strategy game that will be instantly familiar to fans and has quickly surpassed XCOM in terms of importance and fan fervor.
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Dungeons and Dragons


2008 saw the release of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Ed., a release that was originally met with some strong vitriol from fans who were bothered by both the relatively small amount of time since the previous major release (3.5, released in 2003) which required a major time/cash investment for core players, and the drastic changes made to the game (ostensibly to make it more welcoming and inviting to new players). As we all know, the Internet has a drastic inability to respond proportionately to issues that bother them and in the four years since its release, fans have cooled down considerably and 4th Ed has fans and detractors in equal proportion.

Now, hoping to head off similar controvery with the next release of the classic Role Playing Game, Wizards of the Coast is looking to its fans for feedback on how they can improve things next time around.

A testing period will be open for a significant amount of time after the new editions is finalized a move the powers at Wizard of the Coast are hoping will assuage any fan fears of over-simplified rules or any other emphasis that might perceive as being wrong. Specifically, this new effort is centered around the notion for face-to-face interaction between gamers in a traditional tabletop play environment. James W. Ward, the former vice president of TSR Inc.

Here’s a suggestion, WoC, how about not asking your fans to spend a few hundred dollars every four years if they want to keep up with your product? How about spending your time and resources on creating great add-on content and adventure modules to keep fans interested in your product? There was 11 years between 2nd Ed. and 3rd Ed., 12 years between AD&D and 2nd Ed. Remember those days? The golden age?

You can find out more information about 5th Ed., along with how you can contribute to the development process, on the official D&D website.