Newsletter August 4, 2021
Webcomics. Plus Book Reviews, Promotions and more.
The Lampworks Lamplighter SF & Fantasy News & Reviews
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In this issue
There’s a wealth of independently-produced comics on the web. I’m speaking not of ‘funny pages’ comics, but of illustrated stories with a strong narrative. Many of these are the equal of the commercially-produced ones, although it takes some sifting to find the gems among a large pile of good efforts. Then there’s the ones that start out so promisingly, and then suddenly go silent as the author discovers there’s not enough hours in the day to follow through on everything. Here are a few of my favorite ones that are either consistently updating or are completed.
A recent discovery for me was The Glass Scientists (https://www.theglassscientists.com/) which chronicles a rather different Jekyll and Hyde character through a gaslamp London filled with other characters from horror novels, both well-known and not.
The Secret Knots (https://thesecretknots.com/) is a sporadically-updating comic with beautiful artwork. The storylines could be called literary fiction in their style, and frequently pack a Twilight Zone punch to them. A great example is “11 signs you are not getting enough sleep.” I’m always excited when a new one shows up on my RSS feed.
The Bouletcorp (http://english.bouletcorp.com/) is the funny musing of a French artist, which comes out in batches as he translates them from the original French. He frequently takes a wry observation to hilarious extremes.
One more for this time. Lackadaisy Cats (http://lackadaisy.foxprints.com/comic.php) is a fantastically drawn period comic, set during Prohibition in St. Louis, with two gangs of rival, rumrunning cats. It’s amazing the personalities that this artist can put into the face of a cat. It’s on a brief hiatus while the artist works on an animation of the comic, but it looks like it should resume.
What are your favorite webcomics? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monsieur Resche is an art thief. He has crossed a bridge into a quaint town, a town that disappeared from Switzerland four centuries ago. Magic is possible there; in fact, all the magic that our world once had has ended up there. A precisely tied knot, an exactly folded paper, or a cunningly drawn figure can unlock wonders and horrors.
Resche has a mind that lets him excel at this new craft, but that brings him to the notice of powerful mages who play a great game of geomancy with tiles the size of countries. And when he looks for the bridge back to Geneva, it is nowhere to be found.
The Fractalist priest offers aid that may not be what it appears, the Jeweler has intricate schemes, the newspaper editor has taken an interest, the Astromancer had good advice before she was murdered, and Resche’s cat just makes wisecracks.
Knots is a compelling story filled with unexpected characters, plot twists, literal location twists, mystery, and redemption.
Have Kindle Unlimited? Read Knots for free on Amazon!
Buy on amazon Bookshop.org
What We‘re Reading
Visit our archive of reviews and recommendations on the Books We Like page of our website. You‘ll find over one hundred recommendations in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Non Fiction.
Trail of Lightning
After the apocalypse, the former Navaho reservation rises as the nation of Dinétah. The gods and monsters of their ancestral past rise along with them. The gods play a long game, and often damage the people who they raise up to champion them. The people need champions to protect them from the monsters. Maggie Hoskie knows both sides of this.
When sudden killings in remote towns coincide with a visit from Coyote, Maggie reluctantly takes up the role of her mentor, the Monsterslayer. The journey is perilous, not least because there are truths about herself that Maggie doesn’t want to face.
This is a richly-painted world and a mythology that may be less familiar to many. It’s not your usual apocalypse.
Buy on Bookshop.org amazon
The Battle of Trafalgar was a pivotal moment in English history. Life would have been very different if the French fleet hadn’t been trapped and sunk in that engagement. When Joe Tournier steps off the train at Londres, Gare du Roi, he has no memory of his past, but does have a conviction that the world isn’t right. His only clue is a postcard with a picture of a lighthouse on the North Sea, off the coast of Lewis Island. It’s a pivot point of history.
Joe has to stay out of mental asylums, escape from slavery, and work his way back through the memories of the past. Except there may have been more than one of those.
This is great historical fiction and alternate history besides. I look forward to each of Natasha Pulley’s new books, and this has been no exception.
Buy on Bookshop.org amazon
You may also enjoy…
Failure is not acceptable
Bartholomew Roberts is retiring, leaving his son in command of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. It is his first command, and it may be his last. The Alliance will do everything in their power to ensure that he fails.
Failure in the Alliance is not tolerated. If Doc Roberts is lucky, they will hang him. If not, he will be sent to a reeducation center, mind-wiped, and a control collar will be placed around his neck, then he will be paraded in the streets of Avalon’s capital city, as an example of what happens to people who fail in their missions.
He can’t afford to fail!
Free via StoryOrigin
Ruins on Stone Hill
F. P. Spirit
What do you get when you mix a novice wizard, a reckless warrior, a sharp-tongued thief, & a saintly cleric? Swords, sorcery, & sarcasm.
Glolindir thought he knew all about magic until he came face to face with his very first monster. He only survived thanks to his new friends: a gallant warrior as talented as he is reckless, a mysterious halfling whose knives are nearly as sharp as his tongue, and a saintly gnome whose very touch can heal.
Buy via StoryOrigin
The Void: The Stone Legacy Prequel
Would you give your life to save the world?
Ludovic Stone was the arms-bearer and right-hand of Archmage Alastor an Ulbrecht and Sorceress Lianna; protecting them throughout the years from political threats and standing by their side through the hardships they faced due to their stature.
A failed assassination attempt against Lianna prompted Alastor to act and perform a grievous ritual to tap onto the power of the Void, the dark forces beyond the universe. Has he betrayed his friends and family to gain power? Can Lianna stop Alastor before it’s too late? Will she and Ludovic be able to save the world from the evil warlock he has become? What if it was all just a lie?
Free via StoryOrigin
The Neighbor You Don’t Know
Just your typical exploration of an unknown planet. Or is it?
After countless years of preparation Mission Terra Firme One is finally ready to commence and give Earth the answers it has long waited for, about the planet Neighbor.
The TSS Cartographer is about to arrive and its First Officer Baldwin “call me Win” Tavares believes that he might just be able to touch his hand to that rocky ground and that’d be enough for him to learn everything there is to know about their old Neighbors, the things they’d done and what they’d left behind.
But not everyone is as kind-hearted or has such noble intentions, and Neighbor holds more mysteries than anyone could have imagined. Exploring it might open the gates for a flood that threatens to drown everything, and Win must make decisions that hold his life, and that of all around him, at stake.
Free via StoryOrigin
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