Friday, April 27, 2018

May June Groupreads - Brak the Barbarian and Tales from the Magician's Skull


The Goodreads Sword & Sorcery Group welcomes all to join their May June 2018 Groupreads:


Topics:

(1) Tales From the Magician's Skull - Link to Discussion Folder
Recently kickstarted, it is time to delve into this Howard Andrew Jone's led magazine.

(2) Brak the Barbarian - Link to Discussion Folder
Before John Jake's wrote about the civil war, he wrote Clonans! With Frazetta covers no less!

Masthead Banner Art Credits

(a) Tales from the Magician's Skull #1
edited by Howard Andrew Jones / cover art by Jim Pavelec 2018

(b) John Jakes's Brak the Barbarian / cover art 1977 by Charles Moll
Brak the Barbarian (Brak the Barbarian, #1) by John Jakes Tales from the Magician's Skull #1 by Howard Andrew Jones 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Abbott App - Mad Libs for Warrior Women

I'm proud to know Steven Abbott, a professor & consultant in the coatings & formulation industries. He is also a wizard at making HTML and Javascript Applications. We met as we partnered on a Surfactant Phase Behavior (one section of his Practical Surfactant eBook/App-set)

Well, his creativity has been corrupted by his granddaughters! And now he is writing Apps for fiction, Mad-Lib style creations of stories that are personalized. It's easy and fun. Just enter content into the fields and press download story. Check it out:



Here are his words from his Linkedin post:

Steven Abbott:
"This is nothing to do with work. Girls don't tend to have exciting (geeky) stories written about them. I wrote a large set of helicopter rescue stories for my granddaughter Ella, then another set where she flies an anti-gravity ship (invented by the Professor) to the moon, Mars etc. With her permission, I've now put the text on-line in a way that you can enter the name of your daughter, granddaughter, family friend and immediately get a fully personalised version as a Word document.

You can then have fun adding your own illustrations (a key part of what Ella and I did together). The early stories are very simple because they were made up on the spot. The later ones needed lots of research before telling them. The final helicopter story is a blockbuster expedition on Everest and the anti-grav trip to Mars features all the big sites on that planet. They are currently only in English (Ella is German but bilingual) but in principle could be translated to other languages if anyone wanted to help."


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Necroscope - Review by S.E.

Necroscope by Brian Lumley
SE. rating: 5 of 5 stars

Weird ESPionage from the master of mashing up horror and adventure:

Brian Lumley's Necroscope is not heroic fiction, which I typically focus on. It is very entertaining and has connections to Weird Sword & Sorcery adventure which led me to read it:

1) Heroes of Dreams & Khash series: I discovered Lumley’s writing via his Weird Sword & Sorcery. Vintage dark fantasy spawned in the early 1900’s from the work of pen-pals R.E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft; though it seems rare to find quality Conan-Mythos mash-ups. Lumely has done so a few times. First, his Hero of Dreams series is an overt mashup of Lovecraft’s Dreamcycle and Leiber’s Fafred and Gray Mouser series. Lumley’s Tarra Khash series (a.k.a. Tales of Primal Land) was written in a similar vein (i.e. fun Sword & Sorcery adventure in a Weird-Fiction, Cthulhu-esque world).

2) Blood Omen Legacy of Kain: A huge fan of the Horror S&S Game Series “Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain”, I was delighted to learn that Lumely’s writing influenced Denis Dyack’s vision of Nosgoth. Denis Dyack, creator of Silicon Knights, made the original Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain game (various incarnations from 1996 thru 2009). As a Kain fan I did not know the influence from Lumely until I saw an interview on Youtube (The Quantum Tunnel 2016 called Blood Omen Legacy Of Kain Deep Dive 1) in which Dyack reveals that the classic horror/action-rpg game was influenced by Lumey’s Necroscope series. Given the Visceral, Vampire, Lovecraftian, and Time Travel elements, this makes sense; however, the book has a contemporary setting versus the medieval one in the game.

As a fan of Khash, Heroes of Dreams, and Legacy of Kain… I just had to check out Necroscope. So what is it really?

Necroscope is “ESPionage” fiction (a word coined in this book), blending paranormal horror with spy adventure. It kicks off a series of 18 books (published 1986 to 2013). This first entry is entertaining and sets an expansive foundation for a wild ride. People with supernatural powers (predicting the future, speaking to the dead, etc.) are being enlisted into government agencies.

The book is ostensibly about the battle between the United Kingdom vs. the Russian governments special forces, but the conflict is really about Harry Keogh (speaker to the dead) vs. Boris Dragosani (who approximates a vampire). Each is associated with a government, but each is motivated by personal goals which take center stage. The reader learns about supernatural powers as these two do. After they master their respective powers, they go to battle in a most bizarre way chock-full of undead things and over the top time travel.

Expect lots of changing perspective and lots of story threads that will gel about half way through. Artwork is unexpectedly sprinkled throughout the book (even the Kindle version). The geometry puzzles and Moebius Strips shown relate the story and make for fun, relevant, diversions. This is very digestible horror for non-horror fans. A very fast read, recommended to just about everyone who likes dark adventure.


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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Helen's Daimones is now Audible

Helens Daimones Audible Book cover
The beautiful, haunting narration by Kathy Bell Denton for the Helen's Daimones audible book - LINK is now out. (just released April 2018). Seriously, check out Kathy Bell Denton's awesome voice in the sample (click the play button on audible, OR the Youtube video below).

Private message me, S E Lindberg, for a complimentary review copies of the book (any format: paperback, ebook, or audio).

First come first serve Audible Promotional Codes for the entire book (no membership required),
For US:
H4BPTUC4DRDKH
SXK53NLR3CKS8
HCZRRJ5KZ3823

First come first serve, Audible UK codes:
FLTPM6E8F4QAA
H5T7B6GSNPS9G
EC42R44B8BQRZ




Reviews:
Fletcher Vredenburgh from Black Gate reviews Helen's Daimones (link to 2017 review) .
"Helen is one of the stranger heroes to feature in swords & sorcery. Is she delusional, mad, gifted? I was never quite sure — she is only a little girl — but I was never able to take my eyes off her. With a cast as strange as this novel has, Helen remains the focus throughout. Even when she’s off stage, the question of what she is doing always seems to rise to the fore."

"Too much of what’s called grimdark is little more than sex and gore splashed over a standard epic fantasy story. True horror — and at its heart, Helen’s Daimones is a horror story — unsettles, disorients, and makes you feel like the world will fall out from under your feet at any moment. Lindberg’s novel does all those things."


Beauty in Ruins reviews Helen's Daimones LINK
The Dyscrasia novels by S.E. Lindberg are deep, intricate reads that harken back to the pulp days of Lovecraft, Howard, and others... Helen's Daimones is weird fantasy, weirdly told, for weird readers. As the strongest of the three stories to date, it makes for a great introduction to Lindberg's world, and creates more than enough interest for a fourth entry.

What this chapter did for me was breathe real life (no pun intended) into Lord Lysis. He becomes a sympathetic character here, especially in his encounter with a tragic young woman (buried alive so many years ago), the ghosts of her children (hung for their corruption), and their army of dolls (crazy, dangerous dolls). He's still a monster, a fearfully powerful being, but he's also a personality here. As for Doctor Grave, he was already a full-fledged character, but he becomes a little more chilling here as new layers of mystery leave us to question his deeper motives.--- Bob Milne 2017


Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Guide to Dyscrasia Fiction

Here's a guide to Dyscrasia Fiction.
A fourth book is in the works (working title "Helen's Storm")

New to the series? Start with Helen's journey in Helen's Daimones


Friday, March 16, 2018

The Literate Thief - Review By SE

Literate Thief by Walter Rhein
S.E. rating: 5 of 5 stars

Highly recommended dystopian reading; intellectual heroic fantasy that unfolds fast furious .

"Never let a lesser person hold dominion over your sense of worth. If you doubt your own logic, you become vulnerable to oppression, violation, and control"- scholar Adam Lockhart


Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark inspired this Slaves of Erafor series (a dark muse for sure). When and how should passive intellectuals fight back against blind oppression? It is a timely philosophical question for many, especially in a day in which faux news is eroding our confidence in society's collective intelligence. At what point is violent revolution warranted? Rhein offers an entertaining adventure that invites us to consider such dilemmas. Don't worry, it reads as fun escapism--not a manifesto.

This is a stunning sequel to the The Reader of Acheron, which introduced us to Kikkan (an educated brute, a freed slave--he's the pipe-wielding dude on the cover) and the duo of Cole & Quillion (nuanced mercenaries). The three men go on a mission, inspired by a rare scholar named Lockhart: find a teacher, a literate thief, in Edentown. They are continuously dogged by an oppressive, illiterate government. Acheron was ambitious and rewarding, introducing us to a future in which reading is prohibited; Thief is even better.

Stylistically, the Literate Thief is very realistic (no mythological monsters or contraptions exist) but it does "feel like" Steampunk Fantasy. Its tone is more Grim than Hopeful, but that reflects the daunting conflict our heroes face. Its faces several humans against (a) organized authoritarian government, (b) a drugged, apathetic populace, and (c) an impoverished ruined city-scape. There are several instances you will hope that they can escape into the infested, haunted subway for relative safety from the dangers above.

Walter Rhein mixed up just the right number of opposing & cooperative players and places. As much as the Literate Thief fleshes out the World of Erafor, it opens up new vistas into weird science (futuristic alchemy & drug use) while exposing more mysteries. One the one hand, the geography crystallized: places like: San Borja, San Aryan, Brinewater, and Edentown all became distinctive characters unto themselves; on the other hand, characters like Quillion, Cole, and Kikkan demonstrate wild heroics while revealing more about themselves... and new people (i.e., the antagonists Orion and Janus, and the roving library-scholar) offer up an atlas full of new stories. There is a thief of course: Simyon, a friend of the seductive archer Valeria; they make a great pair. But is Simyon the titular Thief?

Drugs play a prominent role. First there is Bliss, that is voluntary, and involuntary, imbibed by the abundant, lower classes; these addicts become so consumed they resemble mindless, cannibalistic demons. There is also an unnamed steroid-like substance the governing brutes consume, which may be harvested from the humans they torment.

The Slaves of Erafor is an unfinished series, so don't expect all mysteries to be explained. I haven't felt the giddy need to read the next book (in progress) since I was a teenager devouring series like Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar or Margaret Weis's Dragonlance.

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