As [redacted] reported earlier this month, the release of Black Gate #14 is imminent. Whilst copies of the new issue, like unto blood-mad dogs of war, await release from the loving clutches of the printer, publisher John O’Neill has been providing previews of some of the stories.
Foremost among the contributors to BG#14 (in this blogger’s opinion) is John C. Hocking. Hocking exploded on the Sword-and-Sorcery scene back in the ’90s with the release of Conan and the Emerald Lotus. In the opinion of myself and many others (including Steve Tompkins), Lotus remains one of the best Conan pastiches ever written. Before JCH could get his second novel, Conan and the Living Plague, published by Tor, CPI pulled the Bokhauriot carpet from under him.
Undaunted, Hocking picked himself up, slapped some mud on his wounds and marched on. He went on to pen the online graphic novella, Catspaw (illustrated by Storn Cook, who also limns Hocking’s latest tale), as well as appearing in Pitch-Black’s Lords of Swords S&S collection. Since then, Hocking has placed fiction in Black Gate on more than one occasion. John O’Neill’s write-up on Hocking’s most recent tale of Brand the Viking can be found here.
A sneak peek of Matthew David Surridge’s “The Word of Azrael” can be found here.
An excerpt from “The Mist Beyond the Circle” by Martin Owton can be found here. This tale looks interesting.
Due to the brevity of the excerpt given, it’s hard to make a call on “Freedling” from Mike Schultz. Still, it looks like it could be an enjoyable read. A sample can be found here.
Finally, “The Renunciation of the Crimes of Gharad the Undying” by newcomer Alex Kreis is an amusing short work of fiction. Sort of like Prince John (or King Namedides) writing a Magna Carta-style document for the People’s Republic of Angleterre. O’Neill has posted the entire piece here.
Black Gate #14 looks to be the biggest chunk of Sword-and-Sorcery to hit the stands in periodical form for at least a decade. Get up in the fundament of your local retailer and demand they stock it.