Red Sun Magazine #4

My short story The Death of Giraurd de Vallays just got published in Red Sun Magazine Issue #4. Red Sun is one of the newer action oriented independent Fantasy and Science Fiction magazines that make up the exciting indy market. While I haven’t managed to read through back issues I like the blind reader philosophy and the fact that the editors are all military veterans.

The Death of Giraurd de Vallays is a story I care about because it’s actually the first short story I wrote when I decided I wanted to take up fiction. The only other place I submitted it to was the Writers of the Future contest where it got an Honorable Mention. I’m glad that if found a final home after sitting on my drive forgotten.

When I wrote it I was in a Red Sonja mood and also reading a book on the Cathar’s and the Albigensian Crusade.

Support indy magazines and my writing by buying the digital version, reading it, and leaving a review.

Get it Here.

The Law of Wolves: A Short Fable by Schuyler Hernstrom

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Two years ago I was brought out of my crap-fantasy induced ennui when I discovered Cirsova and the budding indy scene that was beginning to develop around that awesome magazine. The top issue, so far unsurpassed, was Cirsova #5. The centerpiece was Schuyler Hernstrom’s The First American. It blew my fucking mind. Here, after all this time searching for that elusive fantasy goodness I craved I finally found an author that delivered.

I immediately looked him up and bought his short story collection Thune’s Vision. Pure fucking metal.

This is hands down one of the best short story collections I’ve read in a long time. Hernstrom writes like a savage clone abomination of Robert Howard and Jack Vance. Barbarians, reptilians, shamans, witches, walking dead, and all sorts of dark gonzo madness fill the pages of this collection. Thune’s Vision is the Fantasy version of an underground death metal LP that you can only pick up at an invite-only exclusive show held in some cave in the middle of a dark wood. I read the whole collection in one sitting and immediately had to run to the gym to knock out a few sets of deadlifts so I could feel somewhat worthy. Read it now.
Last year I was fortunate enough to get a chance to check out an early draft of one of his stories, The Law of Wolves. It was the best short story I’ve read all year. It stuck with me and I thought about it and its critically important moral numerous times since reading it.
Finally a few weeks ago Hernstrom decided to publish it along with the first in a series of Mutant & Motorcycle post-apocalyptic novellas called Mortu and Kyrus in the White City.
The Law of Wolves is Hernstrom’s at his best. His take on the traditional Medieval European fable through a lens tinted by Lord Dunsany and Black Metal. The Law of Wolves is a moral fable that tells the truth, a much-needed antidote to the diabetes-inducing fantasy force fed to us by the House of Mouse. The Law of Wolves is a story about the price of turning your back on family, duty, and tradition. An honest truth about what happens when you play with fire, or in this case wolves.
Schuyler Hernstrom is the best independent fantasy writer out there. Read his collection Thunes Vision, read Mortu and Kyrus, and most of all read The Law of Wolves.

Pre-Tolkien Fantasy Challenge

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One of the often repeated refrains from the vile Cult of Resentment is that so much Fantasy is just rehashed, Tolkien fanfiction. Unfortunately, there is some truth in this, a lot of modern multi-volume fantasy is quite derivative of Middle Earth. Pale imitators lacking the poetic and moral compass of JRRT. Due to the popularity of the imitators, and the almost systematic erasure of most pre-Tolkien fantasy from the public sphere, a new reader often thinks of Middle Earth as ground zero for fantasy, myself included.

But that is starting to change, big thanks to Jeffro’s Appendix N for one, and also a revival of the pulp aesthetic by indie magazines like Cirsova and Storyhack and the many new writers affiliated with the PulpRev movement.

In order to educate, and also hopefully find some great reading material for myself, I propose a challenge to all my blogger friends.

Pre-Tolkien Short Story Challenge

  • Identify 3 Fantasy stories written before Lord of the Rings was published. 3 stories written before 1954.
  • Review all three on your blog, focusing on pre-Tolkien differences of similarities, and making sure you let us know where we can find them for ourselves.
  • Share the challenge.

I think this will be an interesting exercise. I hope a lot of people join me so I can compile a great collection of reviews that hopefully will inspire others to read older Fantasy.

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Storyhack Issue 2

Storyhack2Pretty excited to announce that I will have another story with Storyhack Action & Adventure. Bryce Beattie has fantastic taste when it comes to short stories so I feel honored to share space with some cool authors like David J West who wrote my favorite story in issue 0 and the awesome grimdark novel Brutal that I reviewed back in January. Not to mention Jon Mollison, author of Moon Full of Stars, another excellent independent novella well worth picking up.

Once the release date is revealed I will share it with everybody. Supporting independent publishing focused on exciting action and adventure that takes inspiration from the classic adventure pulps is critical, expecially in the age of constant regurgitated Mouse Wars, Lensflare Trek, and the lukewarm Marvel nonsense. So if you haven’t checked out Storyhack go ahead and pick up issue 0 for free and read my story. If you enjoy, please pick up the next two issues.