Sword & Sorcery: "An earthier sort of fantasy" discussion

Tales from the Magician's Skull #1
Group Reads > (a) Tales from the Magician's Skull

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message 1: by S.E., Gray Mouser (Emeritus) (last edited Apr 27, 2018 03:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2344 comments Mod
Recently Kickstarted, Howard Andrew Jones brings a new S&S magazine full of dark fantasy.

message 2: by S.E., Gray Mouser (Emeritus) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2344 comments Mod
Order the paperback from Good Man games:

Notice that #2 is coming in JUNE!

Peter (jimmyshelter) | 82 comments I'm reading it, but slowly as the pdf can't be opened on my ereader. So laptop reading only.

message 4: by S.E., Gray Mouser (Emeritus) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2344 comments Mod
I need to touch base with Howard Andrew Jones again on eBook options (especially for overseas/ non US folk where shipping is prohibitive).

Backers of the KS got the PDF, but it is unclear if non backers can get them (the Goodman Games website highlights the paperbacks).

Peter (jimmyshelter) | 82 comments Now I know the quality I might spring for the print version, but when backing the extra shipping did make me back the pdf reward.

I'd love an epub version, but I imagine that would cost a lot of extra work for an edition that will not show all the artwork in the best way.
I do love the old school pulp/D&D feel of the artwork. Reminds me a lot of the Dungeons and Dragons Rules Cyclopedia.

message 6: by Al (new)

Al Burke (alburke47) | 211 comments Peter wrote: "I'm reading it, but slowly as the pdf can't be opened on my ereader. So laptop reading only."

You could try and convert it using Calibre.

Peter (jimmyshelter) | 82 comments When I did convert it myself, I ran into problems with the 2 column layout: a lot of text got jumbled with sentences from both columns iterating.

message 8: by Al (new)

Al Burke (alburke47) | 211 comments Yeah, it's not perfect. I've tried to convert stuff in the past with mixes results.

message 9: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Tomamichel | 42 comments You can try messaging the pdf to yourself, then it should be able to be opened on your e reader.

I think you can also email it to your ereader, it has its own email address as well. Settings might show this.

message 10: by Al (new)

Al Burke (alburke47) | 211 comments The problem with PDFs on e-readers is you can't always change the font, and it's usually tiny.

message 11: by Joseph, Master Ultan (new)

Joseph | 1268 comments Mod
I ran into the same problem when I picked up a couple of issues of Black Gate in PDF -- PDF is pretty much unreadable on my Kindle, and when I tried to convert, the two-column layout meant I would've had to hand-correct pretty much every single line. Sigh.

I'm guessing it's not practical, especially with all of the interior art, but I'd love a straight text-only (or text-mostly) .mobi or .epub version.

message 12: by S.E., Gray Mouser (Emeritus) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2344 comments Mod
PDF of Tales from the Magician's Skull #1 Available!:
Progress on Goodman Games electronic version, the PDF to the first issue is now available online. The Kickstarter backers had these already, but for those overseas...or not original backers... you too can grab a copy.


message 13: by S.E., Gray Mouser (Emeritus) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2344 comments Mod
Initial thoughts of the Print Copy:

1) The quality is great (the artwork, editing, illustrations, paper-feel etc.); this magazine is just fun to hold.

2) The Appendix! What a great design idea! To drive home the RPG elements of the stories, these guys created items and rules related to each story for the Dungeon Crawl Classic RPG. This is really cool. read the story...then go play it.

3) "What Lies in Ice" A Gaunt and Bone story by Chris Willrich - For me this was 3-stars, but I think YA-adult and RPG-lit readers will enjoy it more. For a short story, this has a huge party of protagonists (>6), heavy doses of comic relief, and an overabundance of fast-paced story telling that shoots for ADHD action scenes rather than elements-that-build-on-eachother. It reminds me of a Marvel Avengers movie. It has too much in it to allow an old fogie like myself enough to grasp on to, but it does have a lot of neat things going on (as disjointed as they are). My favorite concept/creature: Hands of the Sea (which is the first item in the Appendix!).

4) James Enge's "The Guild of Silent Men : A Story of Morlock Ambrosius". 5-star! Although less action than the previous story, this fantasy-murder mystery delivers more than enough swords-n-sorcery while fleshing out Thain Morlock's background and motivations. A fun read that also serves to make me want to learn more. Perhaps I should go get Blood of Ambrose right now.

message 14: by S.E., Gray Mouser (Emeritus) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2344 comments Mod
Ooh, the illustrations are nice and varied. For Enge’s story, Russ Nicholson drew a full page. Very reminiscent of his drawings for the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

message 15: by Nik (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nik Hawkins (nihawkins) I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Lindberg's assessment on points 1 and 2.

I liked the Gaunt and Bone story much more, though. The whole concept of the setting I thought was brilliant, and, typical of Willrich, he packs a ton of characterization and description into a small space (without slowing things down), which is why I think he can handle such a large cast of character in a short story. I also enjoyed how the tale filled the gap between the Gaunt and Bone short stories and the novels just a little more.

Enge's tale was highly satisfying and made me like Morlock even more. Reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading tales of the crooked man in Black Gate (and how I always eagerly awaited the next one).

message 16: by S.E., Gray Mouser (Emeritus) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2344 comments Mod
You are well read! I also like it when short stories connect other stories/novels of a universe/character. Unfortunately, I haven't read Gaunt and Bone before and got a bit lost. Glad to hear it resonated with you.

I'm almost done with the set. A great collection.

message 17: by Howard (new)

Howard Jones (joneshoward) | 68 comments It's been interesting reading the reactions different people have had. Some say THIS story is the best and some say THAT story is the best, which pleases me. I've been told nearly every story is the best one in the issue at this point.

Now I DID have one fellow tell me at a convention that the Willrich story was the very best in the magazine and all the rest fell short, and that kind of feedback doesn't make me entirely happy, of course, except it meant that he LOVED the first one. And I enjoy the idea of presenting fiction that somebody loves. I just smiled and thanked him for reading and he explained that he loved the wild magic of that one and that the others didn't have that. I'm glad he clarified. Sorcery in most of the other tales is a lot more gritty and subtle, and if big bold magic is his groove, it's true, he wouldn't have seen nearly as much in the others.

Anyway, I'll be following along this thread, and if anyone has questions for the editor I'll be here to answer them.

message 18: by S.E., Gray Mouser (Emeritus) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2344 comments Mod
Sweet, welcome Author/Editor Howard Andrew Jones!

Peter (jimmyshelter) | 82 comments I'm two stories in as well.

I really liked the Gaunt & Bone story. I've enjoyed a few of their earlier short stories, and I'm certainly planning to pick up the novels in the future. (For people who want to read more or their exploits, Beneath Ceaseless Skies issues 1 & 2 serialize another Gaunt & Bone story).
To me it seemed like two of my favorite characters were running through a classic D&D module.

The Morlock story was less in my wheel house, but it might be because of my unfamiliarity with the character. To me it felt a bit that it was meant to add to the backstory of an already established character, and I didn't really click with Morlock, a bit too morose

I love the artwork so far, a real classic feel! Reminds me of my old D&D books.

message 20: by S.E., Gray Mouser (Emeritus) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2344 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "I'm two stories in as well.,,,I didn't really click with Morlock, a bit too morose ..."

Thanks for indicating where more Gaunt and Bone can be found.

About Morlock... that is funny. Conversely, I like "morose adventure" more than "fun-adventure".

Not sure why humor breaks the mood for me. It is why most Marvel movies fall flat with me. I think I need to lighten up.

Peter (jimmyshelter) | 82 comments I just got the preview version of issue #2. Looking great again!

message 22: by Nik (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nik Hawkins (nihawkins) Seth, nothing wrong with having particular tastes. There's so much out there, if you don't narrow it down somehow, you'll go crazy from wanting to read it all.

For anyone interested in more Gaunt and Bone stories and where to find them:



I'm looking forward to issue 2 next month!

message 23: by S.E., Gray Mouser (Emeritus) (last edited May 27, 2018 05:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

S.E. Lindberg (selindberg) | 2344 comments Mod
Just posted my review (and a had a call out to this discussion):

June 15th = release of #2.

Backers got an early glimpse at a draft PDF. Perhaps some read ahead (Peter?)

Peter (jimmyshelter) | 82 comments I'm still reading issue #1: because I only read it from my laptop screen I have less reading opportunities: my home-work commute is normally my reading time. :)

Issue #2 looks great though!

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