Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Cora goes to the virtual 2021 Octocon

Octocon 2021 banner

Octocon is the Irish national science fiction convention, which normally takes place every October in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. However, as you may have noticed, 2021 is not a normal year and therefore Octocon is virtual this year. Which means that I can attend.

The virtual 2021 Octocon takes place from October 1 to 3. Registration is free, though donations are encouraged.

The full program is here and I encourage you to check it out, because there is a lot of great content.

You can find me on the following panels:

 

Saturday, October 2, 11:00 Irish Summer Time (UST+1): Around the World in 80 Pictures

Sakuya (moderator), Cora Buhlert, Ann Gry, Christopher Hwang

Whether you call them bandes dessinées, historietas, fumetti, manga or comics, stories told by pictures in a sequence have a long history and a global appeal. Regional traditions can influence each other through publishing styles and cultural ideas, and in this panel we'll take a sightseeing tour through the shared history of comics.

 

Saturday, October 2, 15:00 Irish Summer Time (UST+1): The Fantasy Genre Before Lord of the Rings

Elaine McIonyn (moderator), Cora Buhlert, Jack Fennell, Dr Helen Conrad-O'Briain

Tolkien popularised fantasy set in a fully realised secondary world with no direct link to our own. Yet there were authors working before The Lord of the Rings came to rule the demesne, including E.R. Eddison, Robert E. Howard and our own Lord Dunsany, whose books go in strange directions separate from those of Tolkien and his imitators. Join our panellists as they explore the work of these early fantasy writers.

 

Sunday, October 3, 15:00 Irish Summer Time (UST+1): Uncovering the Hidden Treasures of the Past

Ian Moore (moderator), Deirdre Thornton, Cora Buhlert, Michael Carroll, Cheryl Morgan

Science fiction as a genre looks to the future, but authors of the past can still have a lot to say to us even though their work may have fallen out of print and become a distant memory. Why have some writers and works been consigned to the vaults of history while others have remained on the shelves, and what would our panel most like to see restored from the archives?

So what are you waiting for? Register and join us at Octocon. It's going to be a lot of fun.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for September 24, 2021



It's time for the latest weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with Foundation, Dune, What If...? and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Star Trek: Lower Decks and the many versions of Star Trek, Star Wars Visions and Star Wars in general, the various DC Comics based TV shows, Prisoners of the Ghostland, Y: The Last Man, season 11 of The Walking Dead, the potential return of Quantum Leap, the 2021 Emmy Awards and much more.

Speculative fiction in general:

Comics and Art:
 
Film and TV:
 
Comments on Foundation
 
Comments on What If...? and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general (spoilers):

 
Comments on Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek in general: 

Comments on Star Wars: Visions and Star Wars in general: 
 
Comments on Dune
 
Comments on the various DC Comics based movies and TV shows:
 
Comments on Y: The Last Man:
 
Comments on season 11 of The Walking Dead:
 
Awards: 
 
Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews:
 
Classics reviews:

Con and event reports:
 
Science and technology:

Free online fiction:
 
Trailers and videos:

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for September 17, 2021



It's time for the latest weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with What If...? and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Star Trek: Lower Decks and the many versions of Star Trek, the various DC Comics based TV shows, Prisoners of the Ghostland, Malignant, Y: The Last Man, season 2 of What We Do in the Shadows and much more.

Speculative fiction in general:

Comics and Art:
 
Film and TV:
Comments on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Comments on Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek in general: 

Comments on the various DC Comics based movies and TV shows:
 
Comments on season 2 of What We Do in the Shadows:
 
 
Comments on Y: The Last Man:
 
Comments on season 11 of The Walking Dead:
 
Awards: 
 
Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews:
 
Classics reviews:

Con and event reports:
 
Crowdfunding:
 
Science and technology:

Free online fiction:
 
Trailers and videos:
 
Odds and ends:
 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Frozen Citadel (Kurval, Book 3) by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert

 

Release date: August 30, 2021
Subgenre: Sword and Sorcery
 

About The Frozen Citadel:

 

Before Kurval became King of Azakoria, he plied his trade as a wandering mercenary and sword for hire.

Kurval and his friend and fellow mercenary Tsabo are planning to take up service at the citadel of Harjula in the frozen north of the kingdom of Simola. But when they finally reach the citadel, they find it deserted, its inhabitants in the thrall of dark magic…

The new sword and sorcery adventure by two-time Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert and her occasional alter ego, 1930s pulp writer Richard Blakemore. This is a short story of 5900 words or approx. 22 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

 

Excerpt:

 

The wan northern sun was steadily sinking, casting the frozen land in a fiery hue and promising a deadly night on the ice, when Kurval’s keen eyes at last did spot something on the horizon.

At first, it looked like a massive wall of ice rising from the frozen wasteland. But as Kurval and Tsabo came closer, they noticed a giant gate flanked by lanterns that glowed an eerie red through the swirling snow. Arrow slits were set into that massive wall, which was topped by crenelations. So this had to be the Citadel of Harjula then.

“Wow, this place is huge,” Tsabo whistled, his normally booming voice barely audible over the icy wind, “I wonder what that wall is supposed to keep out.”

“Or keep in,” Kurval said darkly.

The fortress was built on a natural hill. A series of iced over steps, flanked by rocks jutting randomly out of the ice, led up to the massive gate.

At the bottom of the steps, Kurval and Tsabo halted.

“We’d best hail them,” Kurval said, “Lest we get an arrow in the chest for our troubles.”

Tsabo nodded and cupped his hands to his mouth.

“Ahoy, you there guarding the citadel,” he cried, his booming voice echoing across the icy wasteland, “We’re two mercenaries, come to take service, so open up the gate and let us in.”

They waited, but the gate did not open and the citadel remained silent. Only the lanterns next to the gate flickered red in the gloom like twin drops of blood.

Kurval and Tsabo exchanged a glance. “Mayhaps they have not heard you,” Kurval said.

He raised his voice. “Hola, you there at the citadel. We’re two mercenaries, come to join you in your duty and strengthen your numbers. We’re also really bloody cold, so let us in.”

They waited, but once again the gate did not open, the citadel remained silent.

Kurval and Tsabo exchanged another glance.

“What’s wrong with them?” Kurval grumbled, “Surely, they must have heard or seen us, unless they’re asleep at their posts.”

“Or dead,” Tsabo said darkly, “They may have been overrun by enemies and slaughtered.”

“Then why is there no evidence of any fighting? If they’d been attacked and overrun, surely there would be damage to the walls and bodies and arrows lying around. But there’s nothing. Nothing except those dead silent walls.”

Tsabo had no answer to that. “What exactly are those enemies that the citadel is protecting the kingdom from anyway?” he asked instead, “At Fort Kusela, they only vaguely spoke of creatures that live in the ice. But are those creatures even human?”

It was an interesting question. For come to think of it, the commander of Fort Kusela had been remarkably vague about what awaited them at Harjula. Only that there was always a need for skilled fighters at the citadel to defend the newly expanded borders of the kingdom of Harjula against its enemies that lurked far up in the frozen north, where the sun never sets in summer and never rises in winter. But just what those enemies might be, the commander either didn’t know or wouldn’t say.

“There’s no evidence of an attack by non-human creatures either,” Kurval pointed out, “In fact, there’s no evidence for any kind of battle at all.”

“Maybe a plague wiped them all out,” Tsabo pointed out, “Or black magic.”

“It’s possible,” Kurval replied, “Anything’s possible at this point.”

Tsabo looked up at the citadel with its forbidding walls. “So what do we do now?” he wanted to know.

“Move in closer and see if we can find a way in,” Kurval said.

“And what if there is a plague? Or black magic or something else?”

Kurval shrugged. “Well, it’s not as if we have much of a choice,” he said, “Either we find a way into that citadel or we freeze to death out here.”

 

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About Richard Blakemore:

Richard Blakemore (1900 – 1994) was a prolific writer of pulp fiction. Nowadays, he is best remembered for creating the Silencer, a masked vigilante in the vein of the Shadow or the Spider, during the hero pulp boom of the 1930s. But Richard Blakemore also wrote in many other genres, including an early sword and sorcery series about the adventures of a sellsword named Thurvok and his companions and another about a barbarian king named Kurval.
 
Richard Blakemore's private life was almost as exciting as his fiction. He was a veteran of World War I and II as well as a skilled sportsman and adventurer who travelled the world during the 1920s. He may also have been the person behind the mask of the real life Silencer who prowled New York City between 1933 and 1942, fighting crime, protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty, though nothing has ever been proven.

Richard Blakemore was married for more than fifty years to Constance Allen Blakemore and the couple had four children.

 

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About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 

Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres.

When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher. She also runs the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene and contributes to the Hugo-nominated fanzine Galactic Journey. Cora is a two-time finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer and the winner of the 2021 Space Cowboy Award.

 

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