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Black Gate #15, Spring 2011 Black Gate #15, Spring 2011
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Black Gate first appeared in print as a quarterly zine. That idea evolved over fifteen issues to the present form, a book-length anthology that comes out when it comes out. The previous issue, at nearly 400 pages, was so successful that the decision was made to stay at that length. For the amount, the price is quite reasonable, and the online subscription is half that.

Black Gate #14, Winter 2010 Black Gate #14, Winter 2010
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
This issue, clocking in at 384 pages, is more book than magazine. The editor's lack of free time due to the day job during 2009 is the reader's gain, as in addition to fifteen stories there are three novellas. Even the comic "Knights of the Dinner Table" is longer. (And a crack-up. See Neil Gaiman accused of plagiarism!)

Black Gate #13, Spring 2009 Black Gate #13, Spring 2009
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
One of the strengths of Black Gate is how issues exhibit a character distinct from one another. Issue 12 contained many sequels in ongoing series, but some readers wondered if the magazine was beginning to close in to a favored few authors. No danger. This issue does contain a true sequel and two stories that take place in settings familiar from other stories, but which are not true sequels. The rest are all new stories, and many of these from new authors.

Black Gate #9 Black Gate #9
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
It seems with every issue this magazine pushes the boundary of the fantasy genre just a bit more. With the range of stories in this issue, that practices continues. From the sword-and-sorcery of "Payment Deferred" to the hillbilly magic realism of "The Whited Child" it runs the gamut, bouncing from one extreme to another, and providing something for every reader.

Black Gate #8 Black Gate #8
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Black Gate looks for the best in fantasy adventure, delivering surprises in some stories, and familiar structures in others -- stories that entertain the reader along the way so that one can look forward to where it's going. Some issues range from comedy to horror, the settings from contemporary Earth to its history to strange magical worlds that never were. This issue happens to center mostly around magic worlds.

Black Gate, #7 Black Gate, #7
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
This issue features six stories; except for one they are either novellas or novelettes. Instead of a range, this issue's fiction leans far toward dark side of the fantasy spectrum; arguably one or two of them are downright horror. Perfect reading for the days of cold, long nights, wind-rattled barren branches and deep shadows.

Black Gate #6 Black Gate #6
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Its sub-title is "Adventures in Fantasy Literature." For the most part, adventure fantasy is not known for complex characterization or skillful prose. Each issue of the magazine has sharpened its focus on these two elements of good fiction, while never abandoning the brisk pacing, imagination, and swashbuckling fun, strangeness, or horror one expects in an adventure tale.

Black Gate #5 Black Gate #5
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Once again this magazine faithfully fulfills its mission statement: 'adventures in fantasy literature.' While this perhaps is not the strongest issue to date, these days especially, there's a lot to be said for sitting down with a series of entertaining stories with clearly defined good guys and bad guys—and a chance that the heroes might win.

Black Gate #4 Black Gate #4
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
The issue opens with a story that will cause anyone who has read H.P. Lovecraft to laugh out loud -- Michael Kaufmann and Mark McLaughlin's "The Loiterer in the Lobby." It continue with stories from Tina L. Jens, Cory Doctorow, Daniel W. Hill, Patrice E. Sarath and Nancy Varian Berberick. Sherwood's favorite is Bill Johnson's bravura "Mama Told Me Not to Come."

Black Gate #3 Black Gate #3
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
The editorial, in part says, that epic fantasy is "what we do best but there is still plenty of room... for a diverse range of fantasy genres." The reader will find that this statement is as true in this 3rd issue as it was in the previous. There is indeed a wide range, from horror to science fiction to a quiet, beautifully written story that could have appeared in a mainstream magazine without causing a blink.

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