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My book is available: “Dangerous Gamers.”

My DRM-free ebook, “Dangerous Gamers: The Commentariat and its war against video games, imagination, and fun,” is available on Amazon. Currently, it’s only in ebook format, but I intend to upload a paperback version as soon as possible (Amazon is giving me problems with the formatting of the Table of Contents and a few footnotes, and I need a new and better cover.)

Edit: The book has been updated (grammar, typos, etc.,) be sure that your version (in the “copyright” page) is at least version 1.1. If it isn’t, turn the autoupdates on.

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Gygax on post-70s fiction.

There is something missing in the big conversation about the current and future state of sff. Well, I’m sure there are many things, but I will focus on one.

Some of the people I read and follow claim that what is needed is to go back to the more pulpish roots of the genre, with AD&D’ Appendix N (not exactly pulp, but still, close enough) being a great starting point to know more about those now-forgotten or ignored classics. Some even read the editorials and interviews from old magazines to better understand the cultural zeitgeist of that era. Now, Appendix N may very well be a fundamental document of a bygone age, but it’s not like its author (Gary Gygax) died, struck down by a malignant curse in the prime of his life, just after penning his sacred doctrine.

Continue reading “Gygax on post-70s fiction.”

Post-apoc settings as a prerequisite of Sword & Sorcery.

What the title says.

There is no great sword & sorcery adventure without exploration and discovery. Exploration requires wilderness, and wilderness implies a negation of the World-Building (“everything needs to be mapped and known”) ethos in sff. Adventures require tension, and tension is impossible if everything is mapped, if civilization is dominant, or if the protagonist can go back to their HQ to resupply and rest. Hence, a vast blank space on the map and danger from wich you cannot escape are required: dungeons, caves, ruins, or being trapped inside a magician’s tower. The hero, if he wants to survive, has no other option but to keep going down.

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“But you ‘get’ a pulp story,” an interview with Hugh B. Cave.

Because the word “pulp” references the material on which those stories were published (compared to the “slicks,” for example) and not any specific genre or style (beyond the fact that all the stories attempted to be exciting -not a minor trait-) it is sometimes difficult to write about them without misrepresenting the whole phenomenon of the pulps, which was huge and encompassed at least three generations of authors. There is also the problem that most of the writers died many decades before our current literary and cultural controversies (or died too young,) or left the field once they could start writing in more prestigious circles.

Continue reading ““But you ‘get’ a pulp story,” an interview with Hugh B. Cave.”

Review: Cirsova #2

Cirsova 2
Cover art by Jabari Weathers.

Two months ago I reviewed the first issue of Cirsova. For those who don’t know about it, Cirsova is a magazine that specializes in fantasy inspired by the golden era of fantasy and science fiction (the distinction was blurry sometimes.) It also looks back to the pulps and tries to regain that spirit of weirdness and wonder that eludes contemporary fiction. The second issue is already here, and I can tell one thing right away: This second issue is even better.

 

I really liked the first issue, but I thought it still could be improved. It had a great variety of stories, though, so all kinds of readers could find something for them.

On the other hand, while I quickly realized which ones were my favorites stories, I can’t say the same about this second issue. But not because they aren’t any good, but because not only have the best one got better, the “average” has also improved.

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“Rescuing Women” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch — Cirsova

The essay “Rescuing Women” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch appears in the upcoming Summer Issue of Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.

“Apparently, women working in science fiction today need a hand up. For the past few years, women writers who got their start after the year 2000 have complained that they need to use […]

via “Rescuing Women” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch — Cirsova

Why you should read “The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody”

“Peter [The Great] emancipated the Russian women, except those in his own family. He put them into convents.”


“He had the haunted look of the true humorist. All his friends loved him.”

cleopatra by William Steig
Cleopatra, by William Steig

I was 19 or so the first time I read ‘The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody,’ by Will Cuppy (1884-1949,) and I was so in love with it I decided to write something similar. I began collecting notes and writing little encyclopedic articles about well, everything I could, in a style that combined (or tried) Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary’s sarcasm and Cuppy’s own brand of comparatively more light-hearted humor. Then I read that it took Cuppy 16 years and 15.000 notes to write that book (and he didn’t even finish it,) so I decided to do something else with my time.

It’s a tragedy that Cuppy, crippled with increasing depression and the prospect of eviction from his apartment, committed suicide, because his book became an instant best-seller when it got published (1950) just one year after his death. Not to mention that it’s one of the best books ever written.

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