Todd McAulty announced at the Black Gate newsgroup on SFFNet that a free PDF of Black Gate 12 will be available on the website for a limited time. They’re not abandoning print publication, but they are looking toward some kind of electronic publication in addition.
It’s a good issue to offer as a free sample, I think. My story in it is just some of the old sword-and-sorcery hokum about golems and glass lizards where the plot hinges on the narrator’s menarche; REH did it a million times. But the issue also has a Martha Wells story about Ilias and Giliead which should please her many fans and win her some new ones. And there’s a new Dabir and Asim story from Howard Jones. For those who don’t know this series, they’re fantasy-mystery adventures set in the fabled reign of Haroun-al-Rashid. They’ve been appearing for a few years now in various venues, but “Whispers from the Stone” is chronologically the first in the series and a a great place to start. Issue 12 also has new stories from Todd McAulty, Ed Carmien and Constance Cooper, and the lead story is an intriguing story of spiders, theft and death by John Fultz (“Oblivion is the Sweetest Wine”). Then there’s the pulp reprint that Black Gate usually does: this issue it’s the final, long-lost episode of the Tumithak saga. I have an irrational fondness for the Tumithak stories, going back to when I read Asimov’s Before the Golden Age as an impressionable youngster, so my response to this story isn’t wholly rational. As always, the issue is feature-rich with a letters column, reviews of books and games, a new solo-fantasy adventure, John’s editorial and the Knights of the Dinner Table comic. (At first I thought Eddie was an idiot; now I suspect he may be some sort of genius, a suspicion helped along by the silent revelation in this episode that he’s a Mac user.)