Cover Reveal: Midnight Widows Issue 2

I’m proud to unveil the cover art for Midnight Widows issue 2! I think Marcela Hauptvogelova did a lovely job with the illustration. Really happy with the results.

If you haven’t yet joined Edith, Kateryna and Gabriela on their journey, well, if you donate via my Patreon or Ko-Fi, then you’ll be entitled to PDF copies of both issue 1 and (when it’s available) issue 2.

A textless version of the cover art is below the fold:

Continue reading “Cover Reveal: Midnight Widows Issue 2″

Werewolf Wednesday: Filipino Fantastic

My Killer Horror Critic column on werewolf cinema has reached what is, to the best of my knowledge, the first Asian contribution to the genre: Beast of the Yellow Night

Past instalments:

MAGA 2020 & Beyond Part 6: The Worst of a Grim Bunch

maga2020MAGA 2020 & Beyond is the gift that keeps on giving. Unleashed upon the world in 2017 by right-wing science fiction publisher Supeversive, it may well be the worst SF anthology I’ve ever read. I’ve come across a couple of self-published collections that are worse in terms of execution, but this is a book where awfulness is baked into the central premise.

As I said in an earlier part of this series, the main problem in formalistic terms is that the book is based on the assumption that Trump and his loyalists will always win, never even breaking a sweat at whatever the foul forces of leftism have to offer – a Superman without Kryptonite, or even a halfway—credible supervillain. This robs the stories of their tension and turns many of them into chest-thumping bragging-sessions rather than narratives with conflict and progression. The team behind the book overlap significantly with the Sad/Rabid Puppies campaigns at the Hugo Awards, which complained that modern SF/F was too message-driven; yet I can think of nothing nominated at the Hugos in recent years that compares with this lot in terms of preachiness.

And now, having written the first, second, third, fourth and fifth posts in this series, I come to three utterly terribl stories. Really, these ones are abysmal even by the standards of the anthology. Prepare yourself for the single worst stretch in the entirety of MAGA 2020 & Beyond

Continue readingMAGA 2020 & Beyond Part 6: The Worst of a Grim Bunch”

The House of Eddas: Meet Balder in Journey Into Mystery #106

Thor106“The Thunder God Strikes Back!” concludes the story that began in the previous issue, with Mr. Hyde and the Serpent teaming up against Thor. Exploiting a loophole in the only-a-worthy-person-can-lift-the-hammer rule, the two antagonists use a mechanical crane to grab Mjolnir. Thor is eventually able to get it back and send the villains packing, but due to a misunderstanding he ends up with Jane Foster angry at his mortal alter-ego, Don Blake.

So, another conventional superhero yarn, then. Perhaps the most significant thing about this story is the time it takes raising the profile of Mr. Hyde in Thor’s rogues gallery. The Serpent is dealt with some time before the climax, leaving Hyde to take centre stage as Thor’s most evil enemy: “Of the many foes I have battled – even including the crafty Loki – you are the most completely evil – the most thoroughly wicked of all!!”

Clearly, while Marvel was introducing an ever-larger number of mythological figures into the Thor mythos, these took no precedence over the comic’s superheroic aspects: hence, the frankly generic villain Mr. Hyde being bigged up at the expense of Loki.

Continue reading “The House of Eddas: Meet Balder in Journey Into Mystery #106″

MAGA 2020 & Beyond Part 5: All Hail the God-Emperor

maga2020Ah, MAGA 2020 & Beyond, the anthology that keeps on giving. Published in 2017 by right-wing sci-fi specialists Superversive Press, this book tried to imagine the glorious future awaiting America when Trump was re-elected, and now serves as an intriguing time capsule from a recently-evaporated era. If you’ve made it through the first, second, third and fourth posts in this series and still want more, here are a few more predictions that turned out to be just a tiny bit off…

“Insurance for Life” by Tamara Wilhite
An anti-abortion, private-companies-are-better-than-public-healthcare story. Trump has defunded Planned Parenthood, and a new option has arisen for women facing unplanned pregnancies: fertility insurance. With this plan, the mother of an unplanned baby will be granted a substantial sum of money to cover expenses, along with other safety-nets such as free accommodation during pregnancy. The main character is a woman who splits up with her boyfriend after she learns that he’s only interested in having the child so that he can net some of the insurance money.

As with a number of stories in the anthology, “Insurance for Life” would probably have been better off as a blog post. It’s a thin narrative stretched over a message but, in its favour, that narrative is at least reasonably well-constructed: the author adopts a gentle, empathic tone as she nudges us towards her point.

Continue readingMAGA 2020 & Beyond Part 5: All Hail the God-Emperor”

Werewolf Wednesday: Vampires!

‘Tis the day for my weekly Killer Horror Critic column on werewolf cinema! This time I’m covering another Paul Naschy outing: The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman

Past instalments: