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     ‎”Here is a fantasy novel that manages to be as dark and gritty as an Abercrombie or Martin creation yet also sits comfortably within the realm of fairy tale, folklore, and myth, with its emotional verisimilitude never threatening to rob the series of magic or heroism, and its classic fantasy tropes never undermining its emotional complexity and heft.”  

–Robert William Berg on SEVEN PRINCES

Full review: http://www.robwillreview.com/?p=8903

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My latest interview was done on Twitter until the traffic blew up the site.

Here’s the transcript–some great questions were asked:

http://bryanthomasschmidt.net/sffwrtcht/2012/01/26/transcript-sffwrtcht-12512-with-john-r-fultz/

A big thanks to Bryan Thomas Schmidt for conducting the inquisition in dynamic fashion.

PEACE

Interview @ CivReader

Brand new interview with me at Civilian Reader:

http://civilian-reader.blogspot.com/2012/01/introducing-john-r-fultz.html

A couple of years ago I posted a piece at Black Gate for
Robert E. Howard’s birthday—and that fabled day is once again upon us. I wanted to run that piece again right here as a memorial to REH, the creator of CONAN, KULL, SOLOMON KANE, and so much more. One of WEIRD TALES’s greatest discoveries, Howard was a thunderous poetic voice unleashed to rattle the foundations of pulp fiction.

So here’s to the great Bob Howard– Happy Birthday!

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BLOODY BRILLIANCE

Why do I love the works of Robert E. Howard?

Emerald jungles filled with scalp-hungry picts. The primordial perfection of axe and spear. The clang of steel on steel beneath tattered banners, and the dying howls of winged terrors. Lost temples and fantastic jewels, mounds of gold steeped in the glow of eldritch flames…

The thunderous cadence of tribal drums and clouds rushing grey as death. Ruby-eyed witches and bloody claws trailing torn flesh. The primal rush of muscle and bone…battle cries like phantom bats above the field of honor. The stench of Stygian darkness where serpents gleam and glide, as terrible gods demand red sacrifices…

The sorcerer who peers beyond and calls up fiends from Hell…the clash of iron and the defiance of tyranny. The triumph of the noble savage against the cruelty of opulent empires. Colossal spiders and spitting vipers. The turn of a supple leg, the heaving of breasts and swirling of gossamer veils. The crushing embrace of bronze arms, the blazing passion of life against the black gloom of death…

The galloping hosts of antique nations, the cry of a night-beast wailing at the moon. The precarious dance of flesh and metal, the arcs of flying crimson. Spilling viscera. The brutal grace of prehistoric combat, the strength of arm and gnashing of teeth. The sparkling visions of a misted age, the mysteries of old worlds heavy as dreams…

The Cimmerian snow and glaciers, the breath of northern myth…the sweltering desert where vultures stalk parched prey…the rise of Slave to King…the simplicity of might making right in a world tossed on seas of blood. The damsels in distress and the avenging hero…the lantern jaws and sapphire eyes. The glittering towers collapsing in shards…

The ancient world transmogrified, embroidered with the brilliants of legend, steeped in the wine of epic storms. The blood and thunder. The broad-shouldered lug and the skull-faced horror…the sting of a whisper in darkness. The dripping dagger and the broken blade…

Crumbling continents and rushing seas, the cataclysm of evolution…Atlantis and the descendents of Valusia. Tiger totems. Solemn kings brooding on golden thrones…the serpents that walk on two legs…the wizards haunting graveyards and the bones that rattle and walk in moonlight…the Valley of the Worm.

The mystic spell of language…the well-turned phrase and the phantasm of imagery. The tales of obsession, the obsession with tales. The poetry of doom and the marching specters…the man, the legend, the visionary…

The spectacular stories, the gripping yarns, the wonderfully weird tales…

Immortality wrought in ink and parchment.

All this and more…that’s why I love REH.

All the images used in this post are paintings from the great Frank Frazetta. Nobody brought Howard's most famous creation to life quite like Frazetta. His covers sold millions of Conan books in the 1960s, popularizing the character like nothing that had come before them.


Let’s Get Epic…

     “When I was a kid, I read fantasy novels because the men were heroes, the villains were the most vile, despicable creatures possible, and the battles were epic. The stories were magical to my young mind, and I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in the realms of dragons and wizards each day after school. Thanks to John R. Fultz’s debut novel, SEVEN PRINCES, that magic is back in a big way.”

–James W. Powell
The Debut Review

Full review here:
http://www.thedebutreview.com/2012/01/14/review-seven-princes-by-john-r-fultz/

PRIMORDIA at Comixology

PRIMORDIA, written by me and illustrated by the great
Roel Wielinga, is now available on Comixology—the entire
3-issue series.

It’s a 96-page graphic novel, a stone age faerie tale epic adventure…a sword-n-sorcery romance…mythic storytelling about a land that never was and always is.

An “ultimate hardcover” edition is now on the way. But read the story online if you just can’t wait….

http://www.comixology.com/Primordia/comics-series/7021

BONUS: Here’s an interview I did about the comic back in 2007 for Comic Book Resources:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=12199

The SEVEN PRINCES Podcast!

The great Patrick Hester did a podcast interview with me
about SEVEN PRINCES and The Books of the Shaper.

I get to say whatever I want. You have been warned…

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2012/01/the-sf-signal-podcast-episode-102-an-interview-with-john-r-fultz/

“Here magic is the force than binds every single element and every single character. Without magic this book cannot exist. This is what draws you in, for in this world there are no limits, and, honestly, Fultz just runs with this amazing display of imagination in every single page.”

–Cristian Caroli on SEVEN PRINCES

‎     “A richly detailed background history filled with the legends of many cultures lends depth to a stand-out fantasy series from an author with an exceptional talent for characterization and world building.”

–The Library Journal on SEVEN PRINCES

Full review at:

http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2012/01/books/genre-fiction/sf-fantasy/science-fictionfantasy-reviews-january-2012/#_

     “This is fantasy of the Dunsany, Smith and Vance school, where breathless wonders spill off the page in spendthrift profusion. I can imagine a reader familiar only with the more prosaic, predictable and ‘realistic’ approaches to fantasy finding this novel to be the equivalent of a powerful dose of Black Lotus—dizzying, spellbinding, maybe even hallucinatory.”

–John Hocking on SEVEN PRINCES

NOTE: The Black Lotus is a powerful psychogenic plant with mystical properties found in the dark jungles of Stygia, according to Robert E. Howard’s legendary CONAN tales.

Now It’s Dark

“Fantasy for those who like it dark.” — The Bookbag on SEVEN PRINCES

Complete review: http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=Seven_Princes:_Books_of_the_Shaper:_Volume_1_by_John_R_Fultz

“The Yin and Yang of Fiction” is my latest essay, a guest blog at Falcata Times:

http://falcatatimes.blogspot.com/2012/01/guest-blog-ying-and-yang-of-fiction.html

Everything that exists in our universe possesses a dual nature…

io9 GOES DEEP with SEVEN PRINCES

Over at io9, Charlie Jane Anders posted a deep and insightful review of SEVEN PRINCES:

http://io9.com/5874601/an-epic-fantasy-that-doesnt-hold-back-on-the-epic

My favorite bits:
“There’s a determined rejection of the epic fantasy ethos of deferred gratification. The whole book contains about 10 books’ worth of story ideas and plot twists, in under 500 pages.”
       and
“You sort of wish Frazetta was still alive, just so he could illustrate some scenes from this book.”

Warning: There are some plot spoilers in the review, but you can read around them if you like.

Over at the Orbit Books website the “Seven Days for SEVEN PRINCES” have begun:

http://www.orbitbooks.net/

Day 1: You can read the entire prologue of the novel right here:

http://www.orbitbooks.net/seven-princes-prologue/

Day 2: My piece on the significance of the number 7 —

http://www.orbitbooks.net/2012/01/02/seven-days-for-seven-princes-the-significance-of-the-number-7/

Day 3:  Take the “7” Quiz

Day 4:   My piece on the origin of inspiration
http://www.orbitbooks.net/2012/01/04/seven-days-for-seven-princes-the-inspiration/

Day 5: Get your gorgeous SEVEN PRINCES wallpapers for laptop, iphone, and ipad — http://www.orbitbooks.net/2012/01/05/seven-days-for-seven-princes-the-wallpapers/comment-page-1/#comment-9835

Day 6: My piece on “The Horror/Fantasy Connection”
http://www.orbitbooks.net/2012/01/06/seven-days-for-seven-princes-the-horrorfantasy-connection/

Day 7:  Win one of seven free copies of the book–go now!
http://www.orbitbooks.net/2012/01/07/seven-days-for-seven-princes-the-competition/

‎”SEVEN PRINCES: It’s About Blood” is my first post at the official Orbit website, discussing the big and difficult question “What is your novel about?”

http://www.orbitbooks.net/2011/12/19/seven-princes-its-about-blood/

I’m thrilled to announce that I will be doing my first official signing (my “launch” signing) for SEVEN PRINCES at Borderlands Books in San Francisco on Saturday, January 7th. The book  hits U.S. stores on Tuesday the 3rd and drops in the U.K. two days later. Both releases span Orbit’s “Seven Days for Seven Princes” promotion, which will be feature giveaways, exclusive articles, and other cool stuff online.

Borderlands is such a cool place to go when you’re in the city. It’s a perfect venue in which celebrate the worldwide release of the First Book of the Shaper. If you’re in the Bay Area on 1/7/12, drop by Borderlands for a spot of tea, some sparkling conversation, and a whole of lot of great books.

Here’s a link to their site, with a schedule of this and other events: http://www.borderlands-books.com/index.html

We fantasy fans have certainly had our share of let-downs in this new age of Hollywood fantasy films. I won’t go over again how disappointing the latest CONAN movie was, or how empty the storytelling was behind the gorgeously weird vision of IMMORTALS. Instead, I’d like to talk about the movie that is going to put fantasy films back on the map in a big way. No, not THE HOBBIT — that’s too far away (but yes, it’s going to be magnificent).

I’m talking about one of the first heroic adventures written in the 20th Century, a story of swashbuckling swordplay, fantastic realms, and timeless romance. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ JOHN CARTER OF MARS comes to life this March in the Disney/Pixar film entitled simply JOHN CARTER. Everything I’ve seen and heard–and everything I keep seeing and hearing–only cements my opinion that this movie is going to be absolutely brilliant.

Here are a few reasons why:

– It looks amazing. Pixar has wisely gone with the Michael Whelan/Frank Frazetta style of portraying the fashions, weapons, and general look of the Martians and their world. Pixar rarely disappoints, and the new trailer with its abundance of green martians (Tharks) and white apes is proof positive.

– The script was co-written by the great Michael Chabon, Pulitzer-prize winning author of THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY, one of my favorite novels. Chabon is a storyteller with heart and substance…he’s the firm ground on which the Pixar scripters are helping to establish their version of ERB’s classic concepts.

– The new trailer! The first trailer with its emphasis on character and mood (rather than visual bombast) was impressive enough–the Peter Gabriel music was a nice touch. But this new one–adapting Led Zeppelin’s KASHMIR and showing us more and more of this fantastic world and its bizarre creatures, as well as the epic battle scenes and character drama–is an even stronger sign that this movie is firing on all cylinders. Here’s the link for those who haven’t seen the new one yet: JOHN CARTER trailer

– The actors. James Purefoy from ROME. Willem Dafoe from WILD AT HEART. Samantha Morton. Bryan Cranston. Thomas Haden Church. Lynn Collins (as Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars). And even though he’s not a household name (yet), Taylor Kitsch seems to fit the role of John Carter perfectly.

These are simply the latest reasons why I’m feeling extremely hopeful about JOHN CARTER bringing fantasy-adventure to a new level of quality. Perhaps this movie will be the first all-out fantasy to match the quality of Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS movies. What George Lucas tried to do with his STAR WARS prequels, we’re going to see Pixar do in a much more fulfilling way with the original source material that inspired Lucas in the first place.

It’s fascinating to consider that Burroughs created his first John Carter stories long before most of the other fantasy writers of the 20th Century revealed themselves. If Ireland’s Lord Dunsany was the grandfather of modern fantasy, then Edgar Rice Burroughs was his American counterpart. (NOTE: Examining the essentially American traits in the John Carter stories would require a whole separate article.) In essence, Burroughs — primarily with his John Carter and Tarzan stories — served as a literary bridge from the 19th to the 20th Century. He inspired generations of fantasy writers to follow.

I hope (and I believe) that this movie will be a fitting tribute to his achievements. What’s more, I hope it’s the first of many such films. People have been reading these stories for a hundred years now. That alone is proof of their power and durability.

Bring on the Tharks!

My interview with SEVEN PRINCES cover artist extraordinaire Richard Anderson at the Black Gate site:

http://www.blackgate.com/2011/11/26/the-art-of-richard-anderson-princes-kings-and-sorcerers/

Rich will also be doing the Second and Third Books of the Shaper, SEVEN KINGS and SEVEN SORCERERS.

Rich’s own site with gallery and blog: http://www.flaptrapsart.com

Aw, snap! Here’s some more advance proof that the long-awaited JOHN CARTER movie is going to be a thing of beauty. Readers of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ MARTIAN TALES will remember the great white apes of Mars (Barsoom). But I don’t think anybody–not even the scads of great comic book artists who adapted these tales in previous decades–has envisioned such a mass, gargantuan version of these white apes. Here’s a newly released shot of John Carter about to come face-to-face with one of those flesh-eating monstrosities. Burroughs himself would be in awe…

As for me, I hope these JOHN CARTER movies are polar opposite of what happened to CONAN. I hope they have great stories directly inspired by the Burroughs tales, great visuals, and a chance to be more than just a video game with live actors. So far it looks good for Carter and his Martian pals…but as with every movie we’ll have to wait and see it on the big screen before making any final judgments.

JOHN CARTER hits theatres on 3/9/12.

(Yeah, I know, it should have been called JOHN CARTER OF MARS. Eh, that’s Hollywood. I’ll forgive the title if the movie rocks.)

Speaking of Martian Tales, I have to give props to Marvel’s current adaptation of ERB’s very first John Carter novel A PRINCESS OF MARS, as brilliantly drawn by Filipe Andrade. There are a lot of John Carter comics on the market right now, but this one is truly a cut above the rest. Andrade puts his own visual twist on Barsoom and its inhabitants, while staying true to the spirit of Burroughs’ creations. I hope to see the same team tackle the second, third, and even more volumes of the original series. Kudos to Marvel for putting this great book together…

My article on Darrell Schweitzer’s dark fantasy classic
WE ARE ALL LEGENDS just went live at Black Gate:

http://www.blackgate.com/2011/11/10/sir-julian-the-apostate-doomed-knight-tragic-hero/

Check it out and see why you must read this collection of fantastical sword-and-sorcery weirdness…

Peace!
John

World Fantasy 2011 was terrific, as usual. The whole four-day experience seems like one continuous blur in retrospect. There never seems to be enough time to do everything you want to do, or enough time to hang out and chat with the people you only get to see once per year. However, I came away inspired, energized, and with a gaggle of new friends.

This week has been back-to-work and I haven’t really had time to decompress yet, but I thought I’d go ahead and post some of my “golden moments” from WFC 2011:

– Sitting on the “Villains” panel with Len Wein, Russell Blackford, Kay Kenyon, and F. Paul Wilson. We had a lively discussion on the nature and villainy and what defines a true villain as opposed to a “dark hero” or a simple antagonist. When asked to pick my favorite villain, I was totally unprepared, but I chose Azhrarn the Prince of Demons from Tanith Lee’s TALES FROM THE FLAT EARTH series. This panel worked so smoothly—kudos to moderator F. Paul Wilson—even without microphones we had a lively discussion and the audience really got into it as well. Discussing the psychology behind villainy was a particular high point of the panel. I had to bring up Mark Twain’s “The Lowest Animal” essay, where he explains that humans are the lowest form of life because we understand the difference between Wrong and Right, yet we still often choose Wrong. Bottom Line: The villain usually doesn’t think of himself/herself as a villain. And sometimes the antagonist isn’t really a “villain” at all—he’s simply a character with goals antithetical to those of the hero.

– Hanging out with the great Darrell Schweitzer—always a fascinating experience—and finding out that his YA novel THE DRAGON HOUSE is now being repped by my very own agent, the esteemed Bob Mecoy. Darrell’s book is going to tap into that Harry Potter vein and blow some young minds. Seriously.

– Hanging out with the BLACK GATE gang: John O’Neill, Howard Andrew Jones, and Scott Taylor. Some exciting developments with BG are in the works…the times they are a’ changin’. Howard’s sequel to THE DESERT OF SOULS is going to be a can’t-miss book.

– Meeting the very cool Nathan Long, known far and wide for his popular WARHAMMER novels. We had some interesting conversations about writing, and Nathan is going to be a huge part of where BLACK GATE is heading.

– Finally getting to meet Doug Cohen, assistant editor of REALMS OF FANTASY. Doug has been a supporter of my work for a few years now, and he’s made the leap from editor to writer of fantastic fiction. NOTE: I just found out today that REALMS has apparently bit the dust again. I’m sure Doug will be fine, but the magazine will be missed among fantasy readers.

– Joining several other writers at the WAY OF THE WIZARD reading. I particularly enjoyed Vylar Kaftan’s reading of her story “The Orange-Tree Sacrifice.” This short blast of raw imagination reminded me of Lord Dunsany meets Clive Barker; Vylar is one versatile writer. All the readings were great, and even the stories I had read already were seen in a new light when the actual author is reading them.

– Meeting the wonderful Wendy Wagner, skilled fantasist and part of the FANTASY MAGAZINE editorial team. Can’t wait to see more stories from her…

– Listening to Neil Gaiman chat with Connie Willis in a packed convention room. Neil is such a gracious and inspiring person. It’s no wonder he’s a superstar. His thoughts on the craft of writing and the power of fiction were enlightening and his well-told anecdotes were hilarious. I was also able to meet him briefly and shake his hand…I’ve got “Neil energy” radiating from my fingers. SHA-KOWW!!!

– The “Immortals” panel was probably the most thought-provoking panel I attended. There are so many aspects to immortality, and so many things to consider. One of the things I took away was how a race of supernatural immortals would most likely revert to childlike behavior (when we’re children, we believe we ARE immortal). This totally explains the irrational and fickle behaviors of the Greek Gods (as well as other pantheons). This panel got really “cosmic” really fast. My favorite moment: Someone brought up the Buddhist concept that we are all actually immortal—our bodies are ephemeral, yet our spirits are eternal. Every time we re-enter the physical world, we put on a new suit of flesh. Far-out, dude…

– Seeing the gorgeous copies of BROKEN TIME BLUES, a new anthology of fantastic fiction set in the 1920s edited by the awesome team of Jaym Gates and Erika Holt (who previously brought us the infamous RIGOR AMORTIS). Some great alternate-history tales in this volume, a collection I have personally dubbed “Weird History.”

– Hearing nothing but positive comments on Rich Anderson’s fantastic cover illustration for SEVEN PRINCES. His visual talent is making my book look incredible…and he’s already hard at work on the cover to the SEVEN KINGS, the Second Book of the Shaper.

Now that November has hit, I’m pleased to remind readers of this blog that SEVEN PRINCES will hit bookstores in exactly two months: January 3rd. (However, Amazon is already taking pre-orders.)

I’ll be starting on the SEVEN SORCERERS, the Third Book of the Shaper, at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, watch for my interview with artist extraordinaire Rich Anderson, coming soon to the BLACK GATE website.

Peace!

John