I have a short story in the first issue, so I've seen some of the art (which is extraordinary) and the layout, which mimics an old pulp magazine to great effect. Jones is a gifted editor and loves our genre, so I really hope this does as well as it deserves to do.
Wow, I was literally just reading this news at Howard's blog! I am looking forward to this publication even more than Skelos Magazine (still super awesome). Glad to see you have a tale in this first issue Mr. Hocking, love your work. I'm hoping that editors Jones and company will be accepting submissions in the future; it would be a lot of fun writing material for a magazine like this. Based on the cover of issue #1, this looks to be focused on old school Sword and Sorcery like the old Flashing Swords e-zine . Man, I sure hope so, this is a magazine I've been waiting for.
This anthology magazine will be published by Goodman Games and springs in large part out of a surge of interest in classic, old school fantasy adventure from gamers.
If you’re into RPGs then you’re likely familiar with Appendix N, which was found in the back pages of the first Dungeon Master’s Guide way back in 1979. This appendix was basically a list of books and authors that E. Gary Gygax, prime mover behind Dungeons and Dragons, had found inspirational in creating the game and running roleplaying campaigns. I played some D&D in those days, and was familiar with Appendix N. The thing is, back then it didn’t seem like that big of a deal.
Anderson, Brackett, Burroughs, Carter, de Camp, Derleth, Dunsany, Farmer, Fox, Howard, Leiber, Lovecraft, Merritt, Moorcock, Offutt, Tolkien, Vance, Wellman, Williamson, Zelazny…. and others. All familiar names. If their stuff wasn’t already on the shelves of myself and my players, the books were almost all on sale at the local B. Dalton, or at worst just a trip to the used bookstore away.
But that was then. Fast forward almost 40 years and things are different. The fantasy genre has grown exponentially, due in part to the RPGs Gygax helped establish, but many of those Appendix N authors are no longer so easily found and read. Some of them have, incredibly, become obscure. Many modern RPG fans have noticed this, taken the time to hunt up the books and authors listed in Appendix N, and have often (no surprise) been delighted by what they found.
So Tales From the Magician’s Skull offers new stories inspired by the classic fantasy fiction that helped lay the groundwork for fantasy gaming. Closer to the bone, this is a place to find fresh examples of Sword & Sorcery short fiction. And as far as I'm concerned there's never enough of that around.
Post by thedarkman on Aug 21, 2017 12:48:12 GMT -5
In an effort to become more realistic, fantasy has become too real for my tastes. Who wants to read about a hero filled with angst, confusion and crippling shyness? Not this guy. I want my heroes (men and women) to be confident, powerful ass-kickers. Not perfect, mind you. Gotta have a few faults and weaknesses, or we will never fear for their safety. But still figures worth admiring, and standards worth aspiring to. Old-school S&S had heroes like this in spades. Also lots and lots of cool Sorcery, crawling horror and bone-crunching swordplay!
Last Edit: Aug 21, 2017 12:49:06 GMT -5 by thedarkman
Yes! This is looking better and better as more info trickles out. It's as if this magazine came to us directly from the pulp days of yore without missing a beat; I will by supporting this mag with my milk money for sure, and maybe one day, possibly even contributing a tale...
On the Kickstarter page for Tales from the Magician’s Skull, Howard Andrew Jones is featuring a chain of short articles on reading, writing and role-playing Sword & Sorcery. Even if you have no interest in his anthology these articles are, and will be, good stuff.
Howard has already kicked things off with an essay on his definition of Sword & Sorcery, and one on Harold Lamb. Nobody is better qualified to talk about Lamb than Jones, and if you can read that essay without immediately trying to lay hands on some of Lamb’s work you’re made of sterner stuff than I.
You can find these articles on the site, under 'Updates'.
Only one week left before it's a done deal. This newly forged magazine of Sword & Sorcery stories is the real thing-- the brainchild of Howard Andrew Jones, whose fantasy fiction and peerless rescue of Harold Lamb's work speak for themselves.
Check out Howard, and his inspired publisher Joseph Goodman, as they hold forth on Tales From the Magician's Skull in this meaty interview at Black Gate...
And check out the Kickstarter. Even if you don't want to play you'll find some great stuff to read. The updates contain a nice stack of short essays on Sword & Sorcery, including two on REH (Finding Sword & Sorcery and Celebrating Robert E. Howard), and others on Harold Lamb, Leigh Brackett and much more.
"I was just telling an old writer friend what I would want to see for a story for Tales From the Magician's Skull.
While I will have more detailed guidelines at some point, I think this is a pretty succinct summary of what I'm after --
Come up with a cool character or characters, send them to awesome places and have them do interesting things. No naval gazing. No heavy-handed messaging. Speedy plot. Tension. Dread and surprise. Great swashbuckling action, but never mindless -- has to be meaningful to characters and move the plot. Sorcery is dangerous and weird and remarkable. Show us amazing things."
As I write this the Kickstarter has 18 hours to go. It's a success, having accumulated 700% of its goal. The first two issues are set up and now it's not a question of if there will be more issues, but how many.
Tales from the Magician's Skull is basically something I never thought I'd see: an elegantly produced, beautifully illustrated magazine devoted entirely to Sword and Sorcery short stories. The fact that it could be an ongoing venture is inspiring.
There's still time to get in on the ground floor. A pledge that would get you the first issue in print form costs less than most modern trade paperback novels. And you can easily discern that an issue of this magazine is much cooler than the vast majority of modern trade paperback novels.
Take a look. I think this is the most promising development in our genre in years.
Yeah, I know. I won't shut up about this for anything.
But check out the latest update from Howard Andrew Jones, called The Pledge of the Sword. It's a fiery, personal declaration of his passion for Sword and Sorcery, and an earnest pledge of dedication to editing a magazine celebrating the genre.
These are words of iron. You do not see this kind of thing very often.