Sunday, August 14, 2011

Alphabets and Cities

If you haven't done so, I'd encourage you to read Yoon Ha Lee's new short story "A Vector Alphabet of Interstellar Travel" at, which reads like the crystallized remnant of a near-lightspeed collision of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker.

And if you liked the style of Lee's story, do head over to Strange Horizons and check out Benjamin Rosenbaum's earlier series of fictions titled Other Cities.

Review: The Desert of Souls

This is a review that originally appeared on the gaming site RPGnet. Their review system asks you to give a star rating from one to five. All in all I'd rather not assign star ratings, but I understand that they're useful as a shorthand impression. So, if I assume The Lord of the Rings is a five, Howard Andrew Jones' The Desert of Souls gets a four. I hope that gives you the idea that I liked it. Here's the review.

Short take: The Desert of Souls is a highly entertaining fantasy set in a well-realized Arabian Nights setting. It pulls off the neat trick of evoking Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber at the same time, while remaining its own thing.

Three issues up front: 1. This is my first review for RPGnet. Feedback is welcome. 2. Full disclosure: the author is also an editor at Black Gate magazine, which published a story of mine. 3. There will be mild spoilers, mostly of the first half.

Classic Quests: Jack of Shadows

Image credit: Jerry Segraves, from Wikimedia Commons

Back when I wrote about pulp versions of Mercury, where that planet was depicted as tidally locked, with a roasting sunward side, a frozen dark side, and a narrow habitable band between, I remembered a fantasy novel that portrayed a similar situation. It seemed too much to get into there, but eventually I wanted to post something about Jack of Shadows, a novel by my favorite writer, Roger Zelazny.

(Spoilers lie beyond the shadows...)

Late Comment