Zombie Horse

Douglas Draa's page

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I read this book back in the 1970s. I think it was a Bantam edition and couldn't ever remeber the title even though I've never forgotten the story!
Million thanks!


Abram T wrote:

Hey! I just wanted to draw attention to an author that virtually nobody has heard of: Doris Piserchia.

Though she has authored many strange, wonderful and now out-of-print novels, folks who mine for the best of forgotten things agree that A BILLION DAYS OF EARTH is one of her greatest. Let me give you a little run-down of it:

In the far distant future, human beings have evolved into aloof, indolent creatures with incredible psychokinetic powers, and are called "gods" by those who have taken man's place in creating culture and running civilization. These new men are very close in appearance to homo sapiens, but there are some notable differences -- they have evolved from rats and dogs, after all. Chief among these is their lack of developed hands; to get over this handicap, most of them wear ingenious mechanical hands over their paws. It's all business as usual -- cults, college, corrupt politicians, pointless raids on sentient cat-bees -- until Sheen, an ego-devouring entity of silvery liquid, flows up from the bowels of the earth to take what's his. Has the apocalypse arrived? What role will Rik the rat-man play in determining the fate of the world?

This novel is full of action, emotion and so much vivid weirdness that you can barely get through a page without exclaiming "Zounds! How cool and creepy is that?" You also get a liberal dose of Piserchia's dry, dark humor (which is right up my alley).

Piserchia has also authored a number of other notable works, including MISTER JUSTICE, a fantastic tale of a masked, time-traveling vigilante, the government agents who want to take him down, and the superhuman criminal syndicate he wants to smash. Though most people who read the book agree that it's terrific (Clute and Nicholls even gave it an unqualified thumbs-up in their ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION), what's in print is only HALF OF THE STORY! Ace didn't want it all because it would make the ACE DOUBLE they aimed to compile too fat on one side. Just sayin' . . . it sure would be cool to...

Hey All,
I've been a JC fan since 1973 and as much as I'm excited about this film (or at least as excited as I can get over films in general anymore)
I'm pretty much settled on being disappointed.
Because no matter how hard they try (like in LoTR) my own vison of Barsoom is so personal and an intergral part of my youth that it won't live up to my expectations. This isn't any fault of the film makers, but I was so in to these books when I was 12 that no one can make a film that will make me happy. Of course I'll go though. As far as red skin is concerned, I#m also interested if they'll be egg-laying.

take care.

Mr. Sleazoid wrote:
Finally arrived last Thursday (April 8), and yes... it looks really good. Just started the intro. (PS Went to Ad Astra in Toronto on the weekend. The cover of "Who Fears" became exhibit A in a debate about the way covers are used to sell books. The last collection out used a close-up on a guitar. It could be about anything - even a music book. Clearly, a mass-market audience was intended. This one from Pazio is narrow-market = mock 1930-s Pulp cover with a screaming skeleton front & center.


I think you missed a collection.
Who Fears the Devil had the guitar cover.

UK(?)Star edition...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/0440197767/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&a mp;n=283155&s=books

Early 80s Dell cover...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/0440197767/ref=cm_c iu_pdp_images_0?ie=UTF8&index=0

The late 1980s Baen edition was called "John the Balladeer"
and had this cover.....


Take care.

Andrew Turner wrote:
I would like to take this opportunity to conduct my periodic reiteration of the fact that no-one has reprinted the complete Hounds of Tindalos since Jove's very poor-quality Arkham reprint back in 1978...

I'll back that up 100%!

I just re-read "The Early Long" and "The Horror from the Hills" and a lot of what FBL wrote is still great reading fun even today.
If you can get your hands on the story "The Man with a Thousand Legs"
consider yourself blessed. It's so bonkers and over the top that it'll be hard to forget! LOL

Shade wrote:

I just finished Maza of the Moon, and it was indeed fantastic. Thanks for the recommendation, Douglas!

My only disappointment was how quickly it ended. :)

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I found it to be a wonderful suprise.

I assumed (falsely) that it would be in line with the writings of Ralph miln Farley and Ray Cummings (both of who I didn't even like as a kid when Ace reprinted both.)
I think that Maza has held up very well. Which is sadly a rarity in SF this old.
It's all a matter of taste, but like I said before, I think that ..
Williamson's "Legiom of Space"
Hamilton's "Captain Future"
Smith's "Skylark" and "Lensmen" series haven't held up at all even though I truly love Jack Williamson and Edmond Hamilton.
And please check oout the 2 David Gerrold books I mentioned in a previous post on this thread.

If you want to read some very intelligent "Planetary Romance" then get your hands on a copy of Jack Vance's "Planet of Adventure series Omnibus"

Take care.

Hi Eric!
If you think the Unarius cult is weird then check this out...



and what I liked so much with Maza is how kline played on the readers assumptions.
I won't give away too much for those who haven't read it, but I loved how you assume how one group of people will go over to the villians. Then to see them side with the rest of Humanity, rise up and sacrifices 100s of thousands of lives. I found this wonderful when you consider when the book was written.

take care and enjoy the weekend.

Erik Mona wrote:

Oh, I really like Maza of the Moon. If I ever get a chance to do another Kline, that one is at the top of the list.

One interesting side note. Shortly after reading that novel, I was watching a video compilation of "weird" clips from the VHS era (dumb commercials, oddball public access stuff, etc.) and along came this promotional video for a space cult called UNARIUS.

A heavily made-up old woman explained the secret history of the universe, and much to my surprise, it mapped EXACTLY to the history of the solar system Kline invented in MAZA.

I wonder if someone involved in the cult read the Ace edition and incorporated it into their mythology.

It was pretty amazing.

The Ralph Milne Farley "Radio Planet" stories and Cummings Mercury Stories are also vewry lame (IMHO) when compared to Kline and Burroughs.
Please check out Klines's "Maza of the Moon". I was actualy shocked at how enjoyable it was. and I#m very picky when it comes to this kind of stuff.


I can't recommend this book enough!
take care and enjoy the weekend.


Hi Eric,
and here is an excellent 2-parter from David Gerrold.
This is a wonderful modern "space opera" that's been oop for over 15 years. They are intelligent and highly entertaining. He had at one time proposed it as a TV series.

take care.

http://www.amazon.com/UNDER-EYE-GOD-David-Gerrold/dp/055329010X/ref=sr_1_2? ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268724205&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.com/Covenant-Justice-David-Gerrold/dp/055356188X/ref=sr_1 _2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268724595&sr=1-2

Hi Eric,
have you thought of publishing any more multi-author anthologies?
Humans exisitng and/or being forced to adapt on hostile/deadly worlds?

Two thematicaly linked stories come to mind.
„Surface Tension“ by James Blish and „Call me Joe“ by Poul Anderson.
„Surface Tension“ deals with humanity seeding the stars with human life that has been adapted to live in various enviroments. I think blish wrote several stories with this background. „Surface Tension“ has these adapted humans living on a world consisting almost entirely of tidal basins and the humans have been reudced to microscopic size and live in these puddles. There only link to their origins are tiny tablets enscribed with knowledge. The story mainly deals with the first human expidition to the next puddle in a tiny submarine (spaceship). This is a well written story from the 1950s.

„Call me joe“ deals with a handicapped man occupying an Avatar (Centaur being) and attempting to survice on the surface of Jupiter. This is a great adventure story that is deeply moving aside from that fact that they thought Jupiter had a surface to live on. At least they give Jupiter an enourmous atmosphric pressure and amonia instead of oxygen. A very exotic and strange setting.

Hal Clement also wrote tons of stuff in this vein (Nitrogen Fix or „"Uncommon Sense" from his Laird Cunningham series of stories). And since these are relativly „modern“ stories I think that younger/newer/modern readers wouldn’t have any problem with the writing style or with political correctness.
take care.

I just found this.....


Manly Wade Wellman is a uniquely American voice. His writing has a style that is rural but never ever condescending that maybe finds its closest comparison in Clifford Simak. Wellman always wrote of the mountain folk with the greatest love and respect. They might be unschooled, but never ignorant fools. He used and added to North American folklore with hardly any European influence. In many ways I’ve always seen his Appalachia in the same way as I saw Burroughs Africa, a place that never was, but should have been. He also wrote quite a few stories with Native American characters that he also treated with great respect and portrayed with a dignity that was never maudlin.
The Silver John stories have the power to take you someplace that you will hate to leave. As a kid, when we would visit my grandparents down in NC, we would have to cross over the mountains from West Virginia, over Virginia and then down into NC. Interstate 77 wasn’t finished back then and we take 2 lane roads crossing over. This took 4 or 5 hours. You’d look out over forest that went as far as the eye could see, up, over, on and between the mountains and you’d think that ANYTHING could be out there. That’s exactly how the Silver John stories make me feel!

Take care.
Houses aint always houses and hounds aint always hounds

Elflock wrote:


Yeah,as I wrote a bit later in reply to Tyson..."I also thank Lin Carter no end for doing that Ballantyne Fantasy series in the late 60's/early 70's. That's how I(and many others of my generation no doubt)discovered Morris,Dunsany,Chambers,MacDonald,Crawford etc etc. Hope Mirrlees!"
And I did like Lin's Green Star series etc...;)


"Worlds End"
"Thongor" LOL!!!

Plus 4x hommages to Brackett's mars.

IMHO the Jandar series sucks some serious bilge water though!
I was a teen back in the 70s and loved all of these books!

take care.

Elflock wrote:

As far as I'm concerned,the only pastiche/homage that I ever read that was actually any good was the Elric series (Conan). His Michael Kane series was very ordinary. Well,of course,Brackett's Mars stuff was sort of a homage to Burroughs,but she totally managed to come up with something different and dare I say it,better!(I love ERB,but Brackett's characterisation was just better for me) On the subject of people who got hundreds of books published,have a look at the total rubbish that hacks like Lin Carter used to churn out...he tried to do everyone's style,including Brackett,Burroughs,Howard,CAS etc etc.,but he was just not at all in the same league,talentwise. But for some reason,he got hundreds of books published by major publishers. He even used the pseudonym H.P.Lowcraft at one stage...at least he seemed to realise his deficiencies! I know everyone loves Kuttner and Hamilton,but I would put both of them in the same category...people who could sort of write ok,and got millions of stories published,but they just didn't have the talent or the original ideas that for instance,their respective wives had. There just can't ever be another Leigh Brackett...or CL Moore...or Robert Howard...or Clark Ashton Smith...or...A.Merritt...or Francis Stevens!!

Poor Lin, everyone seems to beat up on the poor guy! LOL!

Go over to the REH forums and see how they love to tear into him because of his Conan Pastiches. And someone went off on him this last week over at the "CAS: Eldritch Dark" page because of his poshumous CAS "collaborations".
I realy dig his stories. They may be hack work, but they are "VERY ENJOYABLE" hack work. And if you ever read any of the intros he wrote for his books you will see that he admits right up front that he writes almost exclusively pastiches.
He always said he writes what he loves and said he loves Brackett, Burroughs, Howard, Smith, Dunsany, Doc Savage, Dying Earth ect.
So he was very up-front about what he wrote with out hardly any pretensions. And he did sell tons and tons of books back in the 1970s and 80s.
So I'll always have a soft spot in my heart and in my head for Lin Carter. And he was the best damned fantasy editior who ever drew breath!

Take care.

@ elflock.....

I was back home in Ohio last October and it wasn't much better than over here in Germany.

I despise media tie-in books. ST, SW. SG:SG2 D&D ect.
But I love those "Black Comapany" books from Glenn Cook!

Do classic SF stories still matter?

That all depends on the story. A great story is always a great story just as a poor story is a poor story.

And what is defined as „classic“?

Older than 20 years? 30? 40? 50?

Most stories written before J. W. Campbell’s „Astrounding“ haven’t held up very well at all.
This can be mostly blamed on poor writting. Before Campbell the „WOW Factor“ was the most important aspect of a „good“ SF story. Campbell went and changed all of that by demanding and upholding (for the time) very hight standards as far as characterization, plotting, writing and scientific plausability were concerned.

If someone turns their nose up at a story just because..

It’s old.
There’s no TV show, movie or video game tie in.
No solid state electronics (we’ve blown a tube)
No computers (get your slide rule out)
No emancipated women

Then they are only hurting themselves.

Let’s look at the 1920’s..

Even though it was still the Gernsbackian age, Edmond Hamilton, Murray Leinster, John W. Campbell, Jack Williamson and Clark Ashton Smith were turning out high quility, entertaining SF Stories. Go and grab a copy (if you can find one) of any of their „Best of“ collections put out by Ballantine/Del Rey back in the 1970s. Those stories will show you why these guys are considered „Grand Masters“.

Read Murray Leinster’s „Alpha Centauri“ or Stanley Weinbaums „Martian Odyssy“.
These stories could have almost been written last week.

Sure, some of these stories could be a little silly by todays standards, but that doesn’t reduce their entertainment value.

Of course there were lots of writers who couldn’t adapt to the huge changes in style and quality that John W. Campbell brought about with his editorship of „Astounding“. The guys who did adapt were already writing at this level and the new guys ca. 1939 were groomed for this new „golden age“.

Lots of Asimov and Van Vogt have held up very well. Almost all of Heinleins work is as relevant today as it was over 60 years ago.Go and read some Moore and Kuttner!

Now lets jump forward to the 1950s.
Look at
Fred Pohl
Poul Anderson
Damon Knight
Hal Clement
Theodore Sturgeon.
Jame Blish
Alfred Bester

All of these books have held up very well due to the amazing talents of the writers

And also in the 1950s

Philip K. Dick
Robert Silverberg
Harlan Ellison
And Jack Vance
All got their starts!!
And all of these men are giants to this day!

The list go on and on!

Larry Niven
Frank Herbert
Samual DeLaney
Thomas Disch
John Brunner
Brian Aldiss
Kurt Vonnegut

Hell, Arthur C. Clark started in the 1930 and made it u p into the 2000s!

All of these stories are of course products of their times. But so are Steinbeck, Twain, Dickens, Sinatra, Presley,Bogart, The Beatles, Dali and U2, but they all still matter very much today.

So yes the classics matter as far as any good story or novel matters

Hey all,
here's my two cents worth.
I think that D&D indeirectly hurt S&S back in the 80s.
We used to joke back then that when S&S was good it was untouchable.
and when it was bad it was D&D.
Maybe this isn't fair, but that was how a lot of us looked at it.
I see part of that being just plain snobs and part of it was that some of those early D&D tie in books were pretty lame.
I myself (if unfairly) saw them as simply commercials for TSR products just like Star Wars, Star Trek, War Hammer, Mech Warrior ect are all fictionalized as part of a product line.
D&D, Raven Loft, The Federation, The Empire ect. are all pre-exisitng universes from other forms of Media.
And as an outsider I saw these books as inferior to what was being created from scratch.
I know that this is/was unfair to these "products", but I saw them as products. Of course everyone who publishes is trying to sell me something, but for whatever reasons I looked down on these kinds of books and wouldn't buy them. I mean Greg Bear, Timothy Zahn and lots of other people write these things and these guys are already well known for there works outside of these "media-tie ins".
Shelf space is limited in a physical book store and what sells takes up the most space.
I live in Germany and a perfect example is our "mega bookstore" down town.
They have reserved some serious shelf space for english language SF and Fantasy. But most of this space is taken up by...
War Hammer
Role Playing tie-ins
film tie-ins
Terry Goodkind
Terry Pratchet
Harry Potter and all those Harry Potter Type books.
Metrosexual Vampire boyfriends, Goth Chick lit and paranormal romance.

The SF is mostly....

Star Wars
Star Trek
Mech Warrior
War Hammer
Douglas Adams
Peter F. Hamilton mega page multi volume epics

So we see that the market has greatly changed.
What sells get the space.
What doesn't sell gests sold on-line and maybe as POD.

And don't forget that up until the end of the 80s almost every dept. store, drug store and super market had tons of paperback space which has disappeared. so this allowed for (IMHO) much more diversity.

On one rack you'd find Thomas Disch next to John Norman next to Perry Rhodan next to Harlan Ellison next Theodore Sturgeon next to Damon Knight next to Heinlein next to Edgar Rice Burroughs ect. ect. ect.
and now space is limited and ruled by what sells best. They don't (IMHO) take any risks anymore.

So I wouldn't say that D&D directly destroyed S&S.

D&D was simply the forerunner of this market shift.
Fantasy and SF have become multi-media. When I was a kid and you needed a Fantasy or SF fix, you had to read a book.
But now that itch also gets scratched by DVDs, role playing and computer/video games.
This in turn influences your reading tastes.
You have to decide if a 12 year old in 1973 had the same interests or tastes as a 12 year old today. And as Isaac Asimov once said "the golden age is 12 years old".
Even though my tastes and interests have grown and changed during my lifetime, the foundation was layed over 37 years ago.
So when I see that "genre fiction" doen't orbit around my world view I have at times lashed out at it and accused it of being inferior to what came before.

So, even if I hate it, we have simply had a transition from the "genre" being almost entirely dominated by the written word to a "genre" that encompasses several different media which have cross polinated each other to the point (IMHO) of being inseperable from one another.

So yea! F#!ö€ng D&D ruined everything!! LOL

Ok, that's enough disjointed rambling.
Take care.

Hi Erik

If you ever publish the KEW "Kane" novels and stories and you end up needing a kidney, I'll give you one of mine (maybe LOL).

These stories need to be reprinted!!

They have a HUGE following!

Follow the paperback market on Ebay and you'll see that these have one of the highest re-sell prices for paperbacks. And it's most likely because folks want to read these titles and not just bag and save them like other titles.
Even beat up "reading" copies bring good prices!
I don't need to tell you how to do your job, but I bet you would have instant best sellers on your hands if you brought this series back out!

Serious question..
When you choose novels/stories to reprint, do you try to figure out/calculate how many copies a particular title sells?
And if so, how do you do it? Is it purely a gut feeling kind of thing?

Take care and thank you so very much for bringing back so many wonderful

Here are some KEW & Kane links




Gailbraithe wrote:

I like the basic composition of the Infernal Sorceress cover, but I'm not a real fan of the art. I'd make the sorceress more menacing, maybe cackling with a hand up forming a grasping claw. And have both guys with weapons draw and ready to fight, with either their back towards each other, or in a way that might be misleading (haven't read the book obviously) facing each other.

At anyrate, that's not really the direction I'd go with the covers. If Erik put me in charge of art design for Planet Stories, you get stuff that looks kinda like this.

Now that's just something I whipped up in an hour with graphics found on the internet and free fonts. But that's the kind of compositions I'd go for, something eye-catching and kind of campy, something sort of neo-pulp sensational.

The idea being you'd see it on a shelf and think "What is that?" and you'd have to pick it up and see. You go with pulpy sort of clip-art and a lot op-art style graphic stuff, and some goofy high intensity sales pitching, and you can totally use the fact that this is genuine adventure fiction from an older, less politically correct era as a real selling point.

But first you have to stand out from all the boring fantasy novels covers. The line right now is not doing that.


More in that direction!
I want to smell some cheese!! :-)

Take care.

Gailbraithe wrote:

I know it's been close to twenty years since I read them, but I don't remember Dejah Thoris laying eggs. Maybe I just blocked it out of my memory.

I remember the green Martians laid eggs...


all Barsoomian babes lay eggs. Even the Red Barsoomians. Dejah Thoris, Thuvia ect.

Here's the wiki link...


Gailbraithe wrote:

Erik and I are apparently the same age. Probably helps explain our similar tastes.

I discovered John Carter when I was 15. Found the whole collection sitting on a shelf in a friend's house. They were his dads, he'd never read them, but I got to borrow them. I knew I had to read them when i saw the Frazetta covers. I think I read all ten of them in a week. Great stuff, very influential on a lot of my games.

Plus, I'm pretty sure that "A Princess of Mars" is the book that gave the world the chainmail bikini, so, that's praiseworthy.


"Princess of Mars" actualy gave the world the "BBOEB"= Bare Bussomed Oviparous Euro Babe!!!

Take care.
Here are the Barsoom covers I had as a kid way back in the early 70's

I just read that you'll be re-issuing "The Sword of Rhiannon"
I just found a scan of the original cover from "Thrilling Wonder Stories"
where the story premiered under the title "The Sea Kings of Mars"


This screams Planet Stories.
This says "Quality Cheese"!! :-)

you need to try a little bit of the "retro look"

Take care.

This is truly great news. I'm so glad to hear the the line is doing so well. To be honest I wasn't so sure of how much support this line of books would receive from younger readers and gamers. and it is a pleasant suprise to see that the line is going strong.
take care and congratulations.


Sean Powell 17 wrote:

ok, this is a long shot - I have been trying for ages to track down a book which is set on Mars - only I don't remember the title, or the author - only that it was different, and I found it interesting. Read it at uni many, many years ago.

Plot of the book is that humans have landed on mars and started exploring some pyramids there, and there are traps in the pyramids meant to test teh intelligence of the explorers so that the supposedly long dead martians can determine if the explorers are intelligent enough to make it worth them reviving themselves.

The book starts off with the team having passed the intelligence type tests but the final one is based on music, and the guy exploring the pyramid is trapped and dies. So the team recruits this guitarist / muso character from earth called Ben, for the next mission, and he jams with the music that the pyramid puts out, which gets past the test. Then ... that's all I can remember.

if anyone knows what the heck I'm talking about, I'd be very grateful for a title and author so I can go look it up!



That's "LABYRINTH OF NIGHT" by Allen Steele


Take care.

"Lord of the Spiders" arrived last week!
To be honest, it's just what I remembered from the 1970's. 2nd rate Moorcock/3rd rate ERB

Erik Mona wrote:

You must love The Dying Earth, then.

As you should. :)

"Dying Earth" stories by Jack Vance

Lin Carter's "Gondwane" series
Clark Ashton Smith's "Zothique" stories
& lastly
Gene Wolf's "Books of the New Sun" series!!!! It's one of the greatest ( not just "Dying Earth") Science Fantasies ever written!! (IMHO)

Wiki Link....


Take care.

"Earth's Last Citadel" is also an excellent story.
It was one of his collaberations with C.L. Moore.
A group of WWII participants in the Sahara find an object resembeling a huge gemstone and get transported millions and millions of years into the furture.
Back when I first read it in the 1970's I was very impressed with the whole concept.
I guess I'm just a sucker for stories where the sun has become a Red Giant! LOL

Take care.

Erik Mona wrote:

That cover is incredible. Wow. WAAAAAY cooler than I expected when I saw it was a Lulu link.

I have the original DAW Imaro books, but they're buried pretty deep in the work bookcase, next to stuff like RAUM and ORON. Howard Jones from Black Gate has been prodding me to contact Saunders and pick up the Imaro flag, but I confess I have not yet read the books. They sound great and they're inching their way to the top of the pile, but they're not quite at the top.

I'm very excited because I'm about to hit four plane trips in seven days. I tend to read Planet Stories type fiction on planes more than anywhere else, and I've got quite a lineup ready to go.

Phil Farmer's Hadon of Ancient Opar is at the top of the list, but I've also got Sos the Rope by Piers Anthony, Across the Zodiac by Percy Greg, Warrior of Llarn by Gardner F. Fox, and Who Fears the Devil? by Many Wade Wellman.

On second thought, Imaro is not so deeply buried after all.

"Who Fears the Devil" is IMHo the greatest collection of 2american" fantasy stories ever written. Wellman also wrote quite a bit "Pulp SF" aside from all his Fantasy/Horror stories. Night Shade books has republished a ton of Wellman in EXPENSIVE hardbacks! We need affordable paperbacks. Can I assume that Night Shade has all the Wellman rights tied up or would they just have "Hardback" reprint rights.

What are the chances of seeing some Karl Edward Wagner books?
The Llarn books are fun, but just like the Moorcock Mars books, they are 2nd rate Burroughs.

Take care.

Secret of Sinahrat by Leigh Brackett.

MORE MARS Please!!!
Take care.

groovista wrote:
Douglas Draa wrote:

Favorite Mars?


Burroughs Barsoom

Leigh Brackett's "Colonial Barsoom" stories.

Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles.

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.

Red Planet by Robert Heinlein

Old Faithful by Raymond Z. Gallun (novelette)

Martian Odyssy by Stanly G. Weinbaum (short story)


Wow, Doug, that's the choice list! The Mars described in these works is what Den Valdron called the Shared Mars of 1880-1950 (http://www.erbzine.com/mag14/1405.html)

Shared Mars???


Don't you realize that what I listed is the...
It's the Mars that we are not encouraged to know about.
Haven't you ever asked yourself why most of these books and stories have been out of print for oh so very long?

If we Knew that this is the real Mars then we would all want to go there.
And as long as I live I will never accept that there could be any other kind of Mars.
Perish the thought! :-)
Take care.

James Sutter wrote:

We're going to be playing around some with the cover designs for Planet Stories in forthcoming books. While I can't say for sure that they'll be pulpier - while I love the subject matter of those old covers, I vastly prefer a more modern art style - I think they may take a turn for the artsy, and I'm hoping to get more monsters and things into the scene. For instance, we just got in the cover sketch for Infernal Sorceress (a never-before-published Gygax book, the last written before his death), and I'm more excited about that than anything I've seen from the line so far... it reminds me a lot of Mike Mignola and the old Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser covers.

One thing to note with these in regards to not feeling enough "planet" in the compositions: while I understand completely where you're coming from, the fact remains that many of the sword and planet books we've published so far place the emphasis firmly on the former. A lot of these old stories were straight-up sword-swinging fantasy by modern standards, with the barest hint of sci-fi thrown in so as to make it more marketable. In fact, with the exception of Northwest Smith, I think actual spaceships get about 30 seconds of "screen time" in the whole line to date (notably in The Ginger Star). While I'm excited to see things expand a bit to include more old-school science fiction in the coming year, we strive to remain true to the books, so if a novel is primarily about a buff dude with a sword (and really, what else is Stark, Kane, Elak, or Esau?), that's probably what will end up on the cover.

But please, everyone, keep the comments coming! Our style is very much in flux with these, and we're always open to new ideas.

Hi James,

I can't put my finger on it exactly, but it used to be oh soo many many years ago that it wasn't too terribly hard to recognize the difference between Sword&Sorcery, Sword&Planet and Fantasy just by looking at the covers.

look at this here.


It's a "BGWS" (buff guy with sword.) :-)

But it doesn't (to me) invoke traditional "Fantasy"
or this either...

http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/9a/33/801f729fd7a02c43be27f0 10.L.jpg

Or this...

http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/fb/34/6b69828fd7a0417ddcfcf0 10.L.jpg

These are great examples of "PLANET STORIES" You don't need any space ships for people to realize that these are not typical "Fantasy"
and as far as Sword&Sorcery goes, the covers need to be heroic!

like this....

or this...
http://www.hormiga.org/fondosescritorio/wallpapers/Dibujos-Animados/comic/Y ear-V-Fantasy-Art-Wall-235-Ken-Kelly.jpg
The one thing that so far all of the Paizo titles have had in common is that they all take place in "Weird Worlds"

I wish I could explain it better. I just don't think that the covers are "special" enough.
I can only speak for myself. But can't you remember being 12 or 13 and your browsing the paperback racks at the Drugstore and as your eyes are wandering over the covers there would be that one book that just screamed "pick me up!!" "I'm so cool that you just have to pick me up and ignore all that other mediocre mundane crap!!"
So far the books and stories that you have brought out are everything but mundane. These are all "in your face action and adventure"!!
and the covers should say that! They are holding back.

A perfect example are all the old Lancer Conan editions from 40 years ago. Conan wasn't a houshold name back then. REH had been mainly forgotten. But tons of readers got hooked because of those amazing eye catching Frank Frazetta covers and they took a chance and bought the books. In the end it was the quality of the writting that carried the day, but it was the Frazetta covers that kicked open the door to let Conan out.
These were the first paperbacks which sold millions of copies. And that was thanks to Frank Frazetta!
I guess I would be happiest if the books diplayed a little more playfulness and kitsch. But I know that that is all a matter of taste.
I still love this series regardless of my opinion of the covers.
so please keep it up and be successful.
Take care.

avidreader514 wrote:

I quite like the cover designs and artwork. The modern layout and imposing cover shots makes the series look slick, mature and distinctive. The volumes are sharp addition to my bookshelf.

I fear that retro-pulp stylings would made the series look cheesy.

My two cents. Keep up the good work!


I know that is all a matter of taste, but these are cheese!! Read the 3 Moorcock Mars novels. It chesse! High quality cheese,but still cheese none the less. This was Moorcocks 1960's take on Burroughs style 1930s planetary adventures.They are double retro!These are ENTERTAINMENTS. That's why I'm so passionate about this kind of fiction. It's fun! And IMHO that is not being brought across by the covers. These are stories written in broad strokes with bright colors.

Here are a few examples of what I mean.....





Take care.

tadkil wrote:

Show of hands folks.

How many people would subscribe to a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly Planet Stories short fiction magazine? I envision classic pulp style and feel with a sprinkling of reprints and some new authors.

This might also be a place to begin fictional explorations of Korvosa. I'd love to see that world through the lens of fiction.

Anybody else like this idea?

I think that it would be an excellent idea. I think it would be a great jumping off for new writers and an excellent platform for some classic reprints. The 3 big SF magaines that are still in business don't print much in this direction. During the early 70's there were a few re-print mags on the shelves. I have no idea how well they did though. I read a few years ago that SF-Literature is in HUGE trouble because there are less and less new readers. Young people can now get their SF and Fantasy fix through so many other outlet that readership has taken a huge down turn and the average SF Fan/Reader is now over 40 years old. so as much as I would love to see something in this direction, it would need to be made appealing to a younger target group for it to be financialy successful (I think.)

Take care.

I just saw the new "Ginger Star" cover. It is a scene staright from the book.
Which is good,But this is a SWORD & PLANET STORY!!!!!
I don't see any swords or planets.
I've read the books. But what should a new reader think when he/she see's that cover?
It looks like a witch burning during the middle ages.
To be 100% honest I find the art is very nice and well done but the layout/scene/content/feeling is very poor.
I assume (yeah, I know what happens when you assume.) that you major audience is gamers.
But give them some credit. It doesn't all have to look a D&D novleization and that's what most of theese look like. All that is missing is someone shooting rays from their finger tips or raising a staff.
A lot of a books success depends of a browser's first impression. There are lots of other books crying out for their attention and limited book budget
If I didn't already know and love these novels I would probably just walk on by.
I'm sorry but that's what this grumpy old man thinks.

Take care and enjoy the weekend.


Have you all decided how many books are comming out this month? I can't afford a triple shot month. That would blow my budget big time since I'm having the books shipped to Germany. and really P.O. the Mrs.!!!

Take care.

Vic Wertz wrote:
Douglas Draa wrote:


How come there is no delivery date listed any more??

Take care.

Because it arrived in the warehouse on Friday, and is now shipping!


How come there is no delivery date listed any more??

Take care.

Thank you for everything Mr. Gygax. I was only a fan of your writing and never a gamer ,but both my younger brothers and many of my friends were very deeply into AD&D. And I know that when they played, they were the happiest people in the world and I was always a little bit envious. Back in the 80's while stationed I even saw guys throw togehter campaigns during NATO manuevers ,now that was a dedicated fan base!
Anyone who could make so many people happy had to be someone very special.
God bless.

Vic Wertz wrote:
Douglas Draa wrote:
But I would bet that the target public is much younger than me or maybe gamers who aren't not that familiar with Sword & Sorcery, Sword & Planet and golden age Adventure SF.

Well, one of our main goals is raising awareness of classic out-of-print books and lesser-known authors among readers who are already buying more recent sci-fi and fantasy novels. But we're pleased to appeal to folks like you who already know what's between the pages.

Either way, we do appreciate the feedback!

How do you feel specifically about the covers up through April?

Here¡¦s my opinion(s)

For what it¡¦s worth¡K

Very good, but looks like a Horror novel.

Looks like a cover to one of the old Tor Books CONAN pastiches.
And it¡¦s not colorful enough.

Composition is nice, but once again too static and dark.

Very good, but still too dark.

Composition is good.
Stark is black=EXCELLENT!!
Colors are not bright enough.

Composition is nice, but too static form my taste.
He should be on the attack and not backed into a corner.
Again the colors are too subdued.
No sense of Place!

Another Tor CONAN pastiche.
Where¡¦s the winged babe?

Still too dark though.

Good companion to the Anubis cover.
And halfnaked Eurobabe/Harem girls are a good seller!! ļ

What I would like to see are covers that have a sense of WOW!!
Excitement! Action!! and FUN!!!

These are WONDER stories and that (IMHO) seems to be missing from these covers so far.

It's like a good burger. You're giving me excellent meat, but I still want some CHEESE with it! :-)

Take care.

Kruelaid wrote:

Yah, I gotta say, IMO Doug has a good point that's worth discussing.

Myself, I'm reading them because I've learned a little bit about the authors and I'm a gamer. That flashier covers might win more readers who don't know the authors and aren't aware of the D&D reading list is worth considering.

I'm the other way around...

I'm not a gamer.
I came to Paizo by way of the REH (Roert E. Howard) forum.
I'd be buying these books even if they had plain white covers! :-)
These are almost all writers from my youth (late 60's and 70's).
So I know who they all are. But I would bet that the target public is much younger than me or maybe gamers who aren't not that familiar with Sword & Sorcery, Sword & Planet and golden age Adventure SF. Almost all of these people were still in print back in the 70's. So they were still part of the literary landscape.
But times have changed and the world has moved on and I feel very strongly that these books need a special "look" to attract the attention of book store browsers and book store buyers. The greatest content in the world can't sell itself if no one even bothers to pick one up and look at it.
I know, I'm becomming a little fixiated with this subject. sorry
take care.

The Tarzan covers from the late 70’s early 80’s were mostly done by Neal Adams.
They were wonderful! Dark, gritty and exciting and fairly representational of the book contents.
His cover to „Tarzan at the Earth’s Core“ is IMHO the single best portrayal of PELLUCIDAR!!
Regarding the difference between UK and US book cover, I brought this up at the REH forum the other day. The UK covers for lots of SF books are too subdued form y tastes. Though from what I understand the covers by Chris Foss are very popular even though I find them too cold and sterile.
Go on the web and compair the UK „Lenman“ edition with the Chris Foss covers and the US editions with the Jack Gaughan covers.

There is nothing wrong with abstract covers. Go and „google“ Paul Lehr. He did tons of covers during the late 1960’s and 1970. mostly for Fawcett books. He did allmost all the Asimov cover in the early 70’s. They are so amzing! The first book I ever bought with my own money was the Fawcett edition of Wells „the Time Machine“ and War of the Worlds. I still have a copy today and still enjoy just looking at the cover! Sad, but true! &#61514;

Here are a few Paul Lehr links….



http://images.google.de/images?hl=de&q=paul+lehr&um=1&ie=UTF-8& amp;sa=N&tab=wi

This stuff is so eye catching that you just have to pick up the book and check it out.

And here is a link to the entire ACE SF series from the 1950’s through the present day.
These are great examples of Marketing through covers even when a ton of the books weren’t so good.


Or look at the Micheal Whelan covers to ERB’s John Carter/Barsoom books. I grew up with the earlier editions but these are probably the best ever!!

I know I keep repeating myself, but how old ist he main target audience?
Have they ever heard of most of thse authors?
Have they ever heard of Planet tories?
I would bet that most people under 40 have no recollection of this stuff.
So you need a HOOK to make this series stand out above all the other titles on the shelves
And that starts with the eye candy.

Take care.

Erik Mona wrote:

I'm not sure which covers you're complaining about. I think almost all of the "final" covers through April are appropriately pulpy, though your point about the colors is well taken.

To be clear, we post mock-up place-holder covers using existing art when we solicit the books because it is too expensive (at least right now) to get final covers 12 or so months before we make a penny off of each book.

Don't read too much into the covers of the recently announced books. They have almost nothing to do with what they will look like in their final versions.

Hey All!

Yeah, retro is a part of it, but not all of it.
From what I`ve read there is less and less shelf space for "Fantastic/Genre ficiton" and you need every advantage you can get.
I'm 46 years old and counting my time in the sevice I've spent over 23 years over here in Germany, so maybe I'm not as up-to-date as I used to be since I only get back to the states every 3 years. But it used to be that when I went browsing in the book stores, drug stores, news stands or even K-mart ect. I would often be attracted to books with realy cool covers. Of course there have been tons of shi#*y books with Frank Frazetta covers, but Frazatta sold tons of Shi#*y books just because of his covers. When a young person goes into a book store or even on line he/she probably has no idea who Leigh Brackett or Edmond Hamilton (just to name 2 authors)is. So the cover has to act as bait.
And I understand that the new covers are just mock-ups and hope that something else will be used because (IMHO) they just aren't striking enough (for my taste). A cover doesn't have to depict a scene from a book directly, but it still has to try to bring forth the "spirit of the story".
I guess I just feel that when someone doesn't have any idea who a specific author isyou need a visual presentation that will make them at least take the book off the shelf and look at it.
I want this series to succeed so very much and to have a long life, so I think that to attract new readers you have to grab their eye
Sorry for rambling so much.
take care.

Hi Erik,
have you all thought of reprinting any old anthologies?
Decamp but out 3 Sword& sorcery anthologies back in the 1960' and early 70's...

The Fantastic Swordsmen:
# Tellers of Tales" (introduction) (L. Sprague de Camp)
# "Black Lotus" (Robert Bloch)
# "The Fortress Unvanquishable Save for Sacnoth" (Lord Dunsany)
# "Drums of Tombalku" (Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp)
# "The Girl in the Gem" (John Jakes)
# "Dragon Moon" (Henry Kuttner)
# "The Other Gods" (H. P. Lovecraft)
# "The Singing Citadel" (Michael Moorcock)
# "The Tower" (Luigi de Pascalis, originally in Italian, translated by L. Sprague de Camp)

Wiki link:

Warlocks and Warriors:
* "Introduction" (L. Sprague de Camp)
* "Turutal" (Ray Capella)
* "The Gods of Niom Parma" (Lin Carter)
* "The Hills of the Dead" (Robert E. Howard)
* "Thunder in the Dawn" (Henry Kuttner)
* "Thieves' House" (Fritz Leiber)
* "Black God's Kiss" (C. L. Moore)
* "Chu-Bu and Sheemish" (Lord Dunsany)
* "The Master of the Crabs" (Clark Ashton Smith)
* "The Valley of the Spiders" (H. G. Wells)
* "The Bells of Shoredan" (Roger Zelazny)

Wiki link:

Or maybe..

Swordsmen in the Sky
Edited by Donald A. Wolllheim ( Founder of DAW Books)
THE MOON THAT VANISHED • s&p • Leigh Brackett

A VISION OF VENUS • s&p • Otis Adelbert Kline •

KALDAR, WORLD OF ANTARES • s&p • Edmond Hamilton

Sworsman of Lost Terra by Poul Anderson

People of the Crater by Andre Norton

Here is a link to some great Sword and Sorcery anthologie.
They also have a great list of old and forgotten/lost masters of Heroic Fantasy.


And Issac Asimov edited a HUGE anthology in the early 1970's called Before the Golden Age.
It contains great SF (over the top) stories from the early 30's's through to the late 30's. This is where I discovered "Prof. Jameson"

Here is the wiki link with contents ect.


The Tumithak stories included by Charles R. Tanner are 2 of my all time favorites.
Also the "Moon Age" by Jack Williamson and the "Tetrahedra of Space" by P. Schuyler Muller are real mind blowers!!
I hope that you might finds these interesting.

Take care.

Scribbling Rambler wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:

Not yet. Most of what I've read of his comes from our Amazing Stories archive, and has not subsequently been printed. My favorite, favorite story by RMW is "The Return of Satan" from the October 1939 issue of Amazing Stories. It is so riddled with clichés as to be considered unpublishable by most modern editors, but it is such a madcap _pulpy_ story that I loved every page of it.

His "The Secret of the Pyramid" from the July 1939 issue was also great fun.

I've been accumulating several of his paperbacks for the last year or so, but I've not yet had time to read them. He is probably best know for a sword and planet character entitled "Zanthar of the Many Worlds," and for a Tarzan clone called Jongor.

Anyone read any of this stuff?

Well, I ordered a couple of his novels on-line to check them out: "Star Wasps" and "Bell from Infinity". I'll let you know when I've read them (after they go in the to-be-read-pile-of-doom).

For the love of God man!! Don't reprint any of the Jongor books!!

I read one of those in the very early 70's and hated it even as a 12 year old!!

Take care.

I have only one beef with the series so far and even though some of the covers do appeal to me, most of them are just simply way to Generic.
The series is called PLANET STORIES for crying out loud!. Go and google up a few cover galleries to the old Planet Stories magazine.

They were garrish! Bold! colorful They screamed and jumped out at you.
I know that this is always a matter of taste, but to me these covers are too dark, boring and simply look like generic Fantasy/SF covers.

Go and check out the old DAW Books covers to Moorcock's mars trilogy.That was art that was better than the books deserved.

Or the old Jim Steranko the covers of the Skaith Trilogy that was put out by Ballantine in the 1970's. This was amazing stuff which probably had a huge influence on the sales of these book.
The "new" skaith covers don't look like "buyer magnets" to me. I don't even think that those are representative of the contents of the skaith books.

Or go look at the Jim Kelly cover for Almuric in the old Berkley editions!!

I don't want to insult anyone, but have the cover artists even read the books? It doens't look like it to me, but I could be wrong.
These books need to jump off the racks and yell "THIS IS SOME OF THE COOLEST STUFF EVER TO HAVE APPEARED ON THE PRINTED PAGE!!!!!!"

Is it possible to use some classic cover art or at least get an artist who understands that this is PULP FICTION and not Goth/MOODY ?
These are stories written in very broad colorful strokes. The covers should reflect it.

I am sooooo excited about this series, but I feel that the covers do not do the series justice.
There is an old story that the first cover for Glenn Cook's "The Black Company" was turned down by the publisher. The art was still laying on the publisher's desk when a buyer for a large chain saw it and said "I'll take 50,000 copies of whatever book has that cover". So even if you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover it'll still make a huge sales difference.

Take care.

Vic Wertz wrote:


Elak of Atlantis has been out for quite a while—it left our warehouse at the end of December. We don't have insight into amazon.de, but I'll have our senior book editor make some inquiries with Amazon's distributor.


Amazon.de has it now "in stock" so i went and ordered it. It should be here by Friday!! :-) yeee haw!!

Look at the cover of "The Secret of Sinharat" and you see that he is pretty dark skinned.

Hint Hint ..read my (entire) 4-star review... :-)

Take care.

Hey all!
I've been following this thread pretty closely and I'm starting to wonder how closely this series will follow the spirit/concept of "PLANET STORIES"
I'm almost 50 years old, so what I wish/want from this series might not be what younger readers want. You also have to understand that lots of these "forgotten, golden-Age writers" were still in print and more or less household names way up into the 1970's so I am more tolerant of "dated" SF than someone younger might be.

Here are some links to what I think should define (IMHO) the selection criteria for "PLANET STORIES"



There are tons of authors and Stories that deserve to be re-discovered by a newer/younger audience, But i think that this series would be the place for writers such as Lovecraft or even Isaac Asimov (even though I am a huge fan of both and both men are "Gods" of their fields.)

I think that the series should stick to adventure oriented Science Fantasy stories like those written by....
such past masters/mistresses as

Andre Norton.
early Ursula LeGuin
Poul Anderson
A.E. Van Vogt
Jack Vance
Maron Zimmer Bradley

Or especially Lin Carter, who is a genuine goldmine when you consider that the series has so far showed no shyness about printing pastiches (Moorcocks and Klines Mars stories)

Or more modern works such as
the "New Sun" (or "Urth") series by Gene Wolf


All of these people wrote/write a deft mixture of Sf and Fantasy that will appeal greatly to fans of both genres. These are also stories that are still accessible to newer/younger fans

If this series was named for example "The AMAZING STORIES Library", then most of the great genre writers would have a place here.
The series is called "Planet Stories" though and I think (IMHO) that the choice of stories should fit the theme/concept/spirit of "Planet Stories"

And one small request...
regarding what I said at the beginning about being tolerant of "dated" SF....
For god's sake don't print any E. E. "Doc" Smith!!! His dialog is so clunky that it hurts!! The Lensman and SkyLark series always sound so incredibly cool when being described, but go ahead and try reading them without wincing! I find them impossible to read and I grew up on reprints of this kind of stuff!!

What I'm mainly trying (albeit badly and disjointedly) to say is that we should decide what the spirit of this series is and then stick to it. Even when focused, there is such a wide range of styles, stories and voices that are not just "good" but truly "GREAT".
Take care.

"science fiction makes the implausible possible, while science fantasy makes the impossible plausible." Rod Serling

Hi Erik,
thanks for the reply. I'll stick it out and cross my fingers.
But IF I get hit with a triple month and my wife rips a huge chunk out of my butt I'll be flying back to the states and sleeping on your sofa!! :-)

Take care.

Erik Mona wrote:

Printing in China _is_ much cheaper than printing in the US. Basically, if we printed the books domestically we would not be able to produce the line.

Unfortunately, overseas shipping adds a certain unpredictable element to things, and both "Northwest of Earth" and "Almuric" have been delayed by factors outside our control. Both books are currently in America and on their way to us, but I am currently facing the unenviable position of Almuric arriving BEFORE Northwest of Earth, within about two weeks of one another.

"Lord of the Spiders" is pretty much on track, but I may hold it for a week or so to save subscribers from a triple-shot month. After "Lord" things should be fully back to a regular, monthly schedule.

I definitely appreciate your support in subscribing to the line, and I apologize if this causes problems for you. I am trying to get everything straightened out as best I can.


Erik Mona

Hey All,
are my eyes playing tricks on me? Are 3 TITLES coming out in March???
What's with one book every month? I have a subscription and I live in Germany. I'm paying about $18.00 a book including postage.
But, as I stated in another post.. I decided on subscribing so that this project would get the support it deserves. If I took the Amazon route I would be saving about $5 per book. Though this would not guarantee you any advanced sales and I understand how important advanced sales are to a publisher.
One book a month doesn't blow my budget, but 3 books in a month does.
If this is the case then I will mostly likely be forced to cancel my subscription, pick and choose which titles I truly want and go buy them through Amazon.de. If they are even being carried that is. They are not carrying "Elak of Atlantis" (they went and canceled my order saying the title is unavailable).
Is printing in China really so much cheaper than printing in North America??

Take care.

Hey all!

Has anyone considered reprinting some of Cordwainer Smith`s (Paul M. A. Linebarger) stories?
These would fit perfectly into the „Planet Stories“ line.
I’ve re-read quite a bit of his work lately and they have held up wonderfuly well. Just a good as Ray Bradbury’s work does.
Linebarger was an amazing man. He was a Spy, Diplomat, Linguist and one of the Greatest SF writers ever.
Most of his stories take place in the same universe/future called the„Instrumentality of Mankind”.
These stories are simultaniously heartbreaking and optimistic. Everything needed for a good “Planet Story” are here. Sacrifice, love, adventure, philosophy,redemption,sacrifice, what is humanity, humor ect.
These are stories that read on so many different levels that it boogles the mind. On one level they are far future adventure stories. On the other hand they are also religious/philosophical treatsies.
No matter what, they are all entertaining!
Cordwainer Smith is too important of a figure to be forgotten. His story “Scanners Live in Vain” was one of the first stories to be admitted to the SF Hall of Fame by the Science Fiction Writers of America. His work was a great influence on Robert Silverberg who helped initiate the “ Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award“. This is givien every year at the World SF Convention to groundbreaking and important writers who have been more or less forgotten by modern audiences.
The winner(s) in 2004 were Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore. As a married couple the wrote many stories under the pseudonom „Lewis Padgett“. But most Planet Stories readers already now them through Elak and Jorie.
The winner in 2005 was none other than LEIGH BRACKETT!! Most PS readers know her also.
So if 3 of these winners have already appeared in Planet Stories ,shouldn’t then the man who inspired this award also appear in Planet Stories.

Here is the „Cordwainer Smith“ Wiki link…


So people, please read up on this man and give your opinions!!
You won’t be disappointed.

Take care.

Has something gone wrong with the "Elak" delivery? Amazon.de just canceled my order. They said that it is not available??
Does this book even exist? Or does amazon have an overseas distribution problem?? Since Amazon.de doesn't charge postage it is cheaper for me to order through them instead of ordering back issues from you all directly. It would be also cheaper for me to order the new volumes directly from Amazon.de and save the postage all the way to Germany. But I figured that by subscribing I would help the series with "pre-order" sales. Will the later volumes also be delayed?

take care.

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