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TE-CoverWithLogoIt’s here! now has THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE available in Kindle format for only $4.99.

I’ll post an update as soon as the print version of the book goes on sale.

TALL EAGLE on Facebook
TALL EAGLE @ Ragnarok

TE-PartyPromoThe Grim Tidings Podcast did a Tribal Fantasy episode wherein we talked about THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE, the craft and business of writing fantasy, grimdark authors, and much more.

Check it out and give us a listen!

Read the complete Chapter 1: “On the Spirit Trail” now at

Read an excerpt from Chapter 4: “On the Blood Trail” at Grimdark Magazine.

THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE goes on sale June 8th.

TALL EAGLE on Facebook
TALL EAGLE @ Ragnarok


TE-CoverWithLogo“TALL EAGLE is myth-making of epic scope. Fultz has rapidly matured into a major fantasist.” — Laird Barron​ (Author of THE BEAUTIFUL THING THAT AWAITS US ALL)
“…vivid characterizations and thrilling action scenes…plays against the traditional faux-European inspirations of so many fantasy writers. A thrilling rollercoaster of a read!” — Mark Smylie​ (Author of THE BARROW)
“Fultz delivers the goods.” — Howard Andrew Jones​ (Author of DESERT OF SOULS)

“An addictively readable blend of adventure fantasy a la Edgar Rice Burroughs and Michael Moorcock with classic western pulp from authors like Max Brand. 4 OUT OF 4 STARS”– Paul Goat Allen​ (FULL REVIEW HERE)


TALL EAGLE on Facebook
TALL EAGLE @ Ragnarok

TALL EAGLE @ Grimdark

Cover art by Alex Raspad

Cover art by Alex Raspad

A brand-new excerpt from THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE is now available for reading at the Grimdark Magazine website.

This excerpt comes from Chapter 4 – “On the Blood Trail”, wherein Tall Eagle takes the warpath alongside Bear Killer. Here’s a sample:

“We painted our faces death-black, with two red lines on forehead and chin representing the spilled blood of our enemies. We consecrated our shields, arrows, bows, axes, and spears while the women urged us on with the high song of their screaming. In the cool wind of midnight we left the Winter Village and followed Bear Killer into the mountains, moving quiet as snakes through mounds of fallen leaves. The glow of the village fires faded as we marched toward the mountainous country of the Urkis.”

Read the full excerpt right HERE. 

And the complete Chapter 1: “On the Spirit Trail” is still available at

THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE goes on sale June 8th.

TALL EAGLE on Facebook
TALL EAGLE @ Ragnarok


600full-tanith-lee          “Though we come and go, and pass into the shadows, where we leave behind us stories told – on paper, on the wings of butterflies, on the wind, on the hearts of others – there we are remembered, there we work magic and great change – passing on the fire like a torch – forever and forever. Till the sky falls, and all things are flawless and need no words at all.”

–Tanith Lee

TALL EAGLE: Chapter 1

Chapter 1: “On the Spirit Trail”
is posted now at for free reading.

The book goes on sale June 8.    

TALL EAGLE on Facebook
TALL EAGLE @ Ragnarok

THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE will be published in June by Ragnarok Publications.

Nick Sharps interviews me in some detail about TALL EAGLE at the RagnaBlog.


TALL EAGLE on Facebook
TALL EAGLE @ Ragnarok





THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE will be published in June by Ragnarok Publications.

THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE will be published June 8 by Ragnarok Publications.

Ragnarok has announced June 8 as the release date for THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE.

The countdown begins…

A preview of Chapter 1: “On the Spirit Trail,” will soon be available for free reading at

Early in June a second preview of the novel–an excerpt from Chapter 4: “On the Blood Trail” — will appear at (also free)

YBWeirdFictionOn June 9 I’ll be guesting on the Far-Fetched Fables Podcast, which is presenting a special audio adaptation of my story “The Key To Your Heart Is Made Of Brass” (from YEAR’S BEST WEIRD FICTION, Vol. 1).

I’m also planning an appearance on the Grim Tidings Podcast to discuss “grimdark” fantasy, TALL EAGLE, and The Books of the Shaper. I’ll post the airdate here as soon as its confirmed.

TALL EAGLE on Facebook
TALL EAGLE @ Ragnarok


ORO: Opus Primum

Italian psychedelic doom-rock geniuses UFOMAMMUT have created some of the most haunting, inspiring, and downright exhilarating sounds of the 21st Century thus far. They’ve become crucial additions to my own “Music To Write By” playlist. For their album “ORO: Opus Primum” (2012) they did something I’ve never seen before–they made a psychedelic video not for a single track, but for the ENTIRE ALBUM. When I discovered this, I had to share it. So grab your headphones and enjoy this 51-minute trip into the astral psychosphere.

BTW, the band released a brand-new album recently called “Ecate”, named after the ancient goddess of sorcery…I wonder if we’ll get another album-spanning video this time.

Reviewer Paul Goat Allen gives THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE 4 out of 4 stars in his advance review of the book. Some highlights:

“…seamlessly fuses together elements of
fantasy, western, horror,
and even a powerful romance.”

– and –

“An addictively readable blend of adventure fantasy à la Edgar Rice Burroughs and Michael Moorcock and classic western pulp from authors like Max Brand, TALL EAGLE takes two tried-and-true categories (adventure fantasy and western fiction) and creates something utterly delectable…”

Read the complete review right HERE.

THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE is set for release in June 2015.

Interview @ WEIRD TALES

Probably my all-time favorite WT cover, painted by the great Stephen Fabian. This issue also featured Tanith Lee's masterpice "Kingdoms of the Air," which is what the cover illustrates.

Probably my all-time favorite WT cover, painted by the great Stephen Fabian. This issue also featured Tanith Lee’s masterpiece “Kingdoms of the Air,” which is what the cover illustrates.

Last year WEIRD TALES posted an interview with me at their website. However, some time later the site either self-destructed or was a victim of sabotage. In any case the interview has been lost along with the rest of their site. So I thought I’d run the interview here on my own page. Thanks to Doug Draa for doing the interview and to Laird Barron for linking it on his website.

WT: SEVEN SORCERERS was recently released and it concludes T-the Shaper Trilogy. Is this the last that readers will be seeing of The Shaper’s world?

JRF: Never say never. The three books definitely tell a complete story, culminating with a massive invasion. Currently there are no plans for a sequel series, however I do have an idea for a return to this world a hundred years later. Some of the characters would still be alive—giants are very long-lived and sorcerers may prolong their existence with magic—but when and if I return I’ll probably focus on the OTHER side of the world—the side we didn’t get to see in much detail in this series. I never wanted to be trapped or pigeonholed into a never-ending series. I’m anxious to spread my figurative wings and try some new things. I have a completely different series in the works right now, and I’m working on a project that’s also entirely different. Like most writers I want to stretch myself and conquer new ground, but I also have a soft spot for The Shaper Trilogy. So I might return to the Shaper’s world, but not right away.

My first pro sale, "The Persecution of Artifice the Quill" appeared in WT #340, with a cover by Les Edwards that evokes the faceless Vizarchs in that story.

My first pro sale, “The Persecution of Artifice the Quill” appeared in WT #340, with a cover by Les Edwards that evokes the faceless Vizarchs in that story.

WT: Having read your articles for BLACK GATE, your own blog, and the afterword to SEVEN PRINCES it is obvious that you have a deep love for vintage genre fiction. Do you feel that these older works deserve more attention from younger readers than they might be receiving?

JRF: Sometimes, yes. This is an issue no matter what creative field you’re in: In music people often ignore the originals in favor of third-generation imitations. It’s the same with film and comics, not just fiction. I think any self-respecting fantasy fan should do some research (it’s so easy in the Age of the Internet) and find out who came first, who originated the tropes of our genre, and who set the wheels of our genre in motion. There is a lot to love in the history of pretty much any genre. I understand that some people are only interested in what’s “new” and some don’t want to read stories or books written in what are considered “outdated styles.” But that argument holds no water with me. Certainly the works of Shakespeare and Poe are written in “outdated styles” compared to modern writers like Martin and King—yet both authors have created timeless work. If someone doesn’t read Lord Dunsany, for example, because it’s “too old,” that person is missing a lot of great stories. The same goes for Tolkien: I grew up with some friends who preferred more modern readers imitating Tolkien because they didn’t like Tolkien’s “outdated style.” I’ve always thought it was silly, too, when people refuse to watch black-and-white movies simply because they’re not in color. Those people are missing some of the best films ever made, and the same goes for readers who don’t read Shakespeare, Poe, Dunsany, Tolkien, and other old-school writers. Yet it helps to remind myself that the experience of all art is subjective. People should be free to like what they like. Personally, I try hard to keep a balance in reading/re-reading old favorites and new works, although I admit I’m drawn more to older books. I’ve always loved exploring used bookstores, and I can always find a treasure or two in them.

WT-ZamboulaWT: Do you think that these older works contain a special something that many contemporary stories and novels are lacking? Or do you think that such laments like the one I just expressed is simply nostalgia for the stories that introduced many reader s to genre fiction? (Asimov did once say that “The Golden Age is twelve.”)

JRF: Well, Asimov did have a point: Some of the books read in that “golden age” of around 12 years old (like the movies you see at that age) can really stick with you for life. It’s a very impressionable age and books/movies/comics often “imprint” themselves on young minds. For example, one of my favorite films is BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES. My mind knows that the first movie (PLANET OF THE APES) is a better film, but I saw BENEATH when I was like six years old, and re-watched it for years on television whenever it was on (these were the pre-VCR days). That movie imprinted itself upon me, and I will always love it. LORD OF THE RINGS imprinted itself upon me in the same way, although it happened at an even younger age. In my teens Moorcock’s ELRIC stories imprinted themselves. In my early 20s its was Tanith Lee’s FLAT EARTH series and the story-cycles of Darrell Schweitzer. But I also remember discovering Lord Dunsany at this time, reaching all the way back to 1911 to read A DREAMER’S TALES. So I think this imprinting happens early in life for most people, but for some of us (artists?) we continue to be imprinted by things we discover throughout our whole life. Perhaps this separates writers and creative types from “normal” people, who generally are too busy with living Real Life to keep being imprinted by works of art. Or perhaps that’s too simplistic and not accurate. Your question seems to be asking “Is it all just nostalgia?” and I have to say definitely no. There is a lot more to it, and here’s why: A great work of art is a great work of art. Let’s go back to Shakespeare again. His works are 500 years out of date, yet they still represent the best and worst of humanity, as well as some of the greatest stories every told by man. Timeless is the word. Great art is timeless. By its very nature Art defies time and space. Nowhere is this more true than in the realm of storytelling, an ancient art that has been with us since we were cave-dwellers.

FUNGI #21, the magazine's 30th anniversary issue.

FUNGI #21, the magazine’s 30th anniversary issue.

WT: I finally had the chance to read “The Key to Your Heart Is Made of Brass” and “Flesh of the City, Bones of the World” in the 30th Anniversary Issue of FUNGI. I found the world you’ve created therein (The Urbille) to be one of the most original settings that I’ve read in ages. Both stories were entertaining and extremely moving. Did you have any trouble placing them?

JRF: Ha! Yes, these stories were too damn weird. First “Key” (then later “Flesh”, which is its sequel) was rejected nine times by nine different editors. “Key” made the editorial rounds for four years before it found a home. One editor kept “Key” on her desk for a solid year before rejecting it, then another editor kept it for another year before declining to publish it. It was kind of surreal: Everybody had good things to say about the story, but for whatever reason they didn’t want to publish it. A third editor didn’t like the ending of “Key”, while a fourth editor thought I was trying to make some silly misogynist statement. However, I got so many positive comments about “Key” that I wrote a sequel to it—even though I hadn’t sold it yet—and then I sent the sequel (“Flesh”) on the same editorial round-trip journey. Both stories were rejected exactly nine times before Pierre Comtois asked to run them in the 30th Anniversary issue of FUNGI. This marked the first time I ever had two stories running in the same issue of any magazine. Now that the amazing Laird Barron has recognized “Key” and included it in his YEAR’S BEST WEIRD FICTION, Vol. 1, I feel entirely vindicated. I may write more stories in the universe of the Urbille. Possibly even a novel. A very weird novel.

WT: What would you be creating if you were to write purely for yourself and sales be damned. Or are you already doing this?

7Princeswallpaper-iphoneJRF: That’s exactly what I did when I wrote SEVEN PRINCES. I didn’t have an agent or a book deal. I had only the raw determination to “graduate” from short stories (which I’d been selling semi-regularly for a few years) and comics to prose novels. I started writing the novel on blind faith, with no constraints but my own imagination. I decided to write a “Big Fantasy Novel” and told myself “I will find an agent” and “I will get it published somewhere…somehow.” The first draft of the novel I entirely scrapped, came back the next year and wrote a new novel in the same world but set 20 years into the future. I usually have summers off from teaching, so that’s my main “writing season.” I started SEVEN PRINCES thinking “I will not rush this. It will take as long as it takes, and it will be everything I’ve always want to see in an Epic Fantasy.) I wrote exactly what I wanted to write, and I joined a local writers’ group to get priceless feedback on the early chapters. It took me three years to find an agent, and one year after I found him, he found me a deal with Orbit. The great thing about that deal was that I had carte blanche to write the second book (SEVEN KINGS) and third book (SEVEN SORCERERS) with very little editorial intervention up-front. However, I did get some good editorial feedback after each novel was completed, mostly from the terrific Tom Bouman (who is no longer with Orbit). Although I’m writing ostensibly for the “fantasy market” I don’t think about it in that way. I still write first and foremost for myself. If I can’t please me, how could I ever hope to please anyone else?

WT: If you could spend an evening over beers with any two writers in the world, one living and one dead, who would they be and why?

DEATH'S MASTER was the novel that made me an instant Tanith Lee devotee.

DEATH’S MASTER was the novel that made me an instant Tanith Lee devotee.

JRF: For my living writer I’d have to pick Tanith Lee. Her work is immensely inspiring. She is a true Storyteller of the highest calibre, not to mention a Fantasy Grandmaster. I’ve always wanted to meet her, but I’m sure I’d be tongue-tied and starstruck. But if I could get over that initial shock (perhaps a beer or two would do it) I’d love to discuss writing, storytelling, history, and the state of humanity with Tanith well into the wee hours of the night. For a non-living writer, I’d have to pick Clark Ashton Smith. Last summer I drove through Auburn, California, for the first time. It was late at night and it was a surreal experience—the tiny town where Smith lived and wrote all of his life. I wanted to find the place where his cabin used to sit and hold a vigil or meditate there. I’m hoping to make it back there when I have a bit more time to commune with his spirit. Smith is my favorite of the “big three” WEIRD TALES writers, and his dark fantasies have inspired me since I was a kid excavating his work from second-hand bookstores.

WT: Here is a list of names: Abraham Merrit, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Darrell Schweitzer. I think that your writing includes you as the newest addition to this list. What is your opinion of that?

WT-Freas1950JRF: That is a very humbling compliment, so thank you very much. Smith and Howard are definitely among my strongest influences, as is Darrell Schweitzer. Darrell has given me great advice on writing, storytelling, and publishing for going on two decades now. I started sending stories into WEIRD TALES when I was in college—the late 80s. I’ve talked in many interviews about the many rejections I got from Darrell and the advice he gave me in those letters. Eventually, after 15 years of learning my craft and submitting to WT, he bought my first story “The Persecution of Artifice the Quill” for WEIRD TALES #340. [This story now appears in my collection THE REVELATIONS OF ZANG, where it begins a 12-story cycle.] A year or two later I finally got to meet with Darrell in person at the World Fantasy Convention, and have enjoyed the pleasure of his company a few more times since. But it’s not just the fact that Darrell has been a mentor—he is also one of the greatest living fantasy writers on the planet. His work speaks to me in a metaphysical way that feels like true sorcery. His writing is magic, and in a perfect world his many story collections would be far more widely appreciated. This often happens to true genius—it is misunderstood and unrecognized by all but a certain segment of society. It’s not often that one can gain the friendship of an author whose work has been so important to you. So I consider myself lucky to have earned the friendship of Darrell Schweitzer. I dedicated my first novel SEVEN PRINCES to him. (I have to admit that I haven’t read much by A. Merrit, though I am familiar with him.)

THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE will be published in June by Ragnarok Publications.

THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE will be published in June by Ragnarok Publications.

WT: Do your students read your stories? And what has been their reaction?

JRF: Most kids these days don’t read short stories—or at least they don’t seek them out. They’d rather read novels. Many of my students have read SEVEN PRINCES, and some have read the entire Shaper Trilogy. I teach at the high school level, and the students find it fascinating that I’m a “real author.” Of course the first two questions they ask are usually “Are you famous?” and “Are you rich?” And while I am neither, they still appreciate that they’re being taught to write (and read) by an actual writer who knows what he’s talking about. I also am sure to donate copies of my books to my school library so students can read them even if they can’t afford to buy them. Libraries are still so important, even in this age of digital entertainment. A book will never run out of batteries.




Cover art by Alex Raspad.

The talented Oksana Dmitrienko did three superb interior illustrations for THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE, and here they are for your viewing pleasure. Each image illustrates a key scene from the book, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Oksana’s work has a real classic illustration feel to it. These images would have been right at home in a pulp magazine from the early 20th Century. (Click images to enlarge.)

Big thanks to Ragnarok Publications for going the extra mile on the artwork for TALL EAGLE. This is going to be one gorgeous volume inside and out.


“A second mountain sat atop the first. Yet the second mountain was made of glowing gold, beaded with shimmering crystals set in weird designs. The second mountain had been carved into slim, pointed spires like tremendous teepees of gold.”



“Like a vast centipede it crawled on dozens of segmented, pointed legs depending from its slug-like body. It was longer than eight horses standing nose-to-flank in a row. A great, stinking worm. It had crawled into our camp, and grabbed Bear Killer in its mouth.”



“Some grave battle wound had deadened the eye and torn away part of the face. A gleam of white bone showed below the left temple, surrounded by a furrow of pink, raw flesh. Despite this disfigurement, despite the bone-white eye and the mouth twisted into a grimace of hatred, I knew that face better than any living man’s.”

 THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE will be flying your way in June.

TALL EAGLE: The Cover!


Click for larger view

Feast your eyes, my friends…

It’s the final cover design for THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE, featuring the fantastic painted artwork of Alex Raspad and logo design by the talented Shawn King. It’s truly a thing of beauty.

Ragnarok Publications will release the novel in both print and electronic formats in late June.

Here’s my official spoiler-free overview of the novel, which I’ve described as a Tribal Fantasy:

A young warrior’s vision-quest unveils an alien city full of magic and mystery. As a tribal rift threatens to destroy Tall Eagle’s people, night-crawling devils stalk and devour them, so he seeks the wisdom of the high-flying Myktu. These fantastic beings offer him hope, a chance for rebirth and prosperity, as two separate realities converge. Yet first Tall Eagle must find White Fawn–the girl he was born to love–and steal her back from the camp of his savage enemies. His best friend has become his deadliest rival, and now he must outwit an invading army of conquerors to lead his people into the Land Beyond the Sun. 

THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE is the epic saga of The People, as told in the words of their greatest hero.

Here’s a previous post where I talked about some of the major inspirations for the novel.

Finally, a look at Raspad’s cover art free of text and logo. Love that sky!

A look at Alex Raspad's stunning cover painting sans text and logo

Click for larger view


That Is Not Dead…

ThatIs NotDeadTHAT IS NOT DEAD, the historical Cthulhu Mythos anthology I mentioned here awhile back, is now slated for a February release from PS Publishing.

It includes my story “Anno Domini Azathoth”, which is set in the 1781 Arizona Territory.

Oh, the horror….the horror…

I posted an updated table of contents with full cover art at 

Pre-order THAT IS NOT DEAD here.



Rag-2I’m so excited to announce that my next novel, THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE, will be released by Ragnarok Publications later this year.

Joining the Ragnarok family is a true pleasure for me. They are one of the fastest-growing and most intriguing of today’s indie publishers. They make fantastic books and they have a growing stable of stellar talent such as Kenny Soward, Django Wexler, Alex Bledsoe, Tara Cardinal, Rob Hayes, Seth Skorkowsky, Mercedes M. Yardley, and more.

(Hit up their website for a complete list of authors and books.)

TALL EAGLE is what I call a Tribal Fantasy. It’s a tale of high adventure born in the mysteries of pre-colonial North America. The protagonist is a young Native American fighting to lead his people from the jaws of extinction to a new life in the Land Beyond the Sun. To greatly simplify the story, it’s a bit like LAST OF THE MOHICANS meets LORD OF THE RINGS.

51YEjhgluTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_While most traditional fantasies evolve from pseudo-medieval European concepts, this one grew directly from North American history. It takes place somewhere around the year 1700, about twenty years after the “great horse dispersal.” My initial inspiration for THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE was a terrific non-fiction book by historian T.R. Fehrenbach called COMANCHES: THE HISTORY OF A PEOPLE. The extensive research in this book is fascinating, evocative, and like nothing else I have experienced. Reading it in between the writing of SEVEN PRINCES and SEVEN KINGS inspired me greatly. That raw enthusiasm gave birth to a new fantasy epic that sprouted directly from the soil of history.

TALL EAGLE‘s people are NOT Comanches, but they are loosely based on earlier tribes whose migration created the Comanches (who discovered horse power and became masters of the Great Plains in the 1700s). At this time in history the Amerindian peoples were confronted with aggressive and overwhelming European cultures … but what if one of those lost tribes was exposed to a culture of the fantastic? And what if that changed EVERYTHING for those people? That was the seed that grew into THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE.

51Nc52jg3tL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Another influence I’m proud to acknowledge was Max Brand’s classic THUNDER MOON series. These were pulp tales written during the heyday of pulp fiction, featuring a white youth raised by the Cheyenne. The THUNDER MOON stories pack a powerful punch of old-west adventure, but they also reflect the dignity and wisdom of the traditional Cheyenne way of life. The author obviously did his research, and despite the white protagonist these books showcase a keen understanding of the Great Plains cultures.

The old story of the “white man adopted by natives” has been used time and time again in fiction and movies–from A MAN CALLED HORSE to LITTLE BIG MAN to DANCES WITH WOLVES—it’s a well-explored myth. However, I didn’t want to tell that same old story, so my protagonist is a full-blooded member of his tribe. He embodies the culture, philosophy, and spirit of the ancient Amerindians, who inhabited a pristine magical world long before European invaders took it away from them.

TALL EAGLE is not meant to recreate history, but to inject it with traditionally fantastic elements. On that note we have monsters, giant eagles, and alien races all showing up. It’s also a coming-of-age story, a romance, and a tale of primal adventure.

windwalkerAnother huge inspiration for me was the 1980 film WINDWALKER, a forgotten classic starring Trevor Howard and James Remar. I saw this movie when I was 11 years old and I never forgot this powerful story of love, family, and survival.

WINDWALKER features very little English, as the languages of the Crow and Cheyenne are spoken for most of the movie, supported by English subtitles. It has always been one of my favorite films, a timeless story of prehistoric North America.

We’re currently working on the TALL EAGLE cover art, and I’ll be showing it here as soon as it’s ready. Needless to say, this is NOT your typical fantasy novel, and I’m so grateful to find a publisher unafraid to take a chance on something unusual. Fantasy enthusiasts will not be disappointed.

THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE is set for a late June release.

More info here as news develops…

Long Live the King

“I don’t know why I do this. I’m not qualified to analyze it, but I love doing it. It seems to me that the world is full of people;
I have to draw those people.”

–Jack “King” Kirby, 1974


This cosmic Jack Kirby piece is entitled simply enough, “God.”

GOMER PYLE’s “Mimesis”

SWEET. I’m enjoying an amazing album for the first time. It’s “Idiots Savants” by GOMER PYLE. There’s no other word for this album–and this song–and this video–than “awesome”–which doesn’t even begin to describe their heavy psychedelic greatness. But don’t take my word for it, take a trip on the cosmic-thought sonic wavebeam yourself, i.e. watch the video for “Mimesis,” the second song on the album.

AvWizMore often than not the best art comes from the indie side of any field. Case-in-point: AVATARS OF WIZARDRY from P’rea Press. It is one of the best works of pure dark fantasy I’ve read in a long time.

This superb collection of poems inspired by the work Clark Ashton Smith and his mentor George Sterling offers one fantastic, phantasmal head trip after another, transcendental goth romanticism with shades of cosmic sword-and-sorcery.

Now I’m not usually someone who seeks out poetry. I teach it often, but fantastic poetry is something of a rarity in academic texts. Reading this collection (with some Pink Floyd, Kyuss, or Monster Magnet rumbling softly in the background for good measure) takes me right back to the “wonder years” of my early reading life.

From the ages of 9 to 12 I discovered the amazing fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and other great fantasists. Reading AVATARS OF WIZARDRY sends me back to those days when fantasy was still dangerous, mysterious, and full of strange wonders.


I first discovered CAS’s “The Hashish Eater, or The Apocalypse of Evil” in Lin Carter’s legendary NEW WORLDS FOR OLD collection. The same volume that introduced me to the amazing godfather of modern fantasy, Lord Dunsany. Oh, this was a good one…

One of Smith’s greatest poems “The Hashish Eater, or The Apocalypse of Evil” was inspired by George Sterling’s “A Wine of Wizardry.” Both of these poems are celestial odysseys of fantasy perfection. They begin AVATARS OF WIZARDRY back-to-back and are followed by eight poems from more contemporary writers: Alan Gullette, Wade German, Michael Fantina, Richard L. Tierney, Liegh Blackmore, Bruce Boston, Earl Livings, and Kyla Lee Ward. The result is an epic fantasy experience like none other. The words “psychedelic” and “phantasmagorical” are barely enough to describe it.

These poems aren’t for the shallow-minded 160-character world that we live in today. Each one is an epic adventure beyond space and time, directly into the center of eternal imagination, rife with cosmic transcendence. This is spirit-freeing fantasy in the best sense of the word, literary escapism as psychological catharsis. It’s some of the best damn poetry I’ve ever read, which makes it some of the best fantasy I’ve ever read, period.

You don’t have to be a poetry expert (or fan) to take this cosmic ride. Just get yourself a copy before they’re all gone.



Elder Wisdom