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  • Writer's pictureJohn R. Fultz

The Revelations of Zang

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

"It was 20 years ago today..."

John Molinero's tremendous cover painting for the new edition of THE REVELATIONS OF ZANG. Coming soon!

Well, not today exactly. However...

Back in 2003 I wrote the story that would become my first professional sale: "The Persecution of Artifice the Quill." In 2006 the story appeared in WEIRD TALES #340. It even got the cover! The faceless Vizarchs of the story create an eerie scene in the painting by the legendary Les Edwards. Waiting three years to see a story get published is not uncommon, even in this age of online/digital publishing.

During those years I wrote one new Zang story after another. Selling the first one had filled me with confidence and inspiration. Placing a story in WEIRD TALES had been a goal of mine for fifteen years--ever since I started writing back in college. So I wrote over a dozen more tales set in the weird and magical World of Zang.

The cover of WEIRD TALES #340, featuring a painting by Les Edwards that evokes the undead warlocks in "The Persecution of Artifice the Quill."
Josh Finney's cover to the REVELATIONS OF ZANG First Edition (2013).

THE REVELATIONS OF ZANG was my first story collection. Now, thanks to Rogues in the House, the book is coming back into print with a terrific new cover painting by John Molinero, as well as an introduction by the great Seth Lindberg.

After the first Zang story appeared in WT, the series jumped to the pages of BLACK GATE magazine, where it flourished for several years. A decade after I wrote the first story, all 12 of the Zang tales were collected into a single volume with a great cover by Josh Finney. The Zang Cycle was my first experiment with long-form storytelling. I wasn't quite ready to tackle a novel yet, but I wrote these stories as a "mosaic" that would interweave characters, plots, and themes to create a huge payoff at the end. That payoff took the form of the 16,000-word novella "Spilling the Blood of the World," the concluding story of the cycle.

This illustration for BLACK GATE'S presentation of "Return of the Quill" was done by the talented Kent Burles. It depicts a performance of Artifice the Quill's Glimmer Faire, an event which prepares the City of Narr for its own mystical rebirth.
"The Vintages of Dream" is not part of the original cycle, but it's the phantasmagorical heist-tale where I first envisioned the World of Zang. BLACK GATE published the story with this superb Kent Burles illustration.

Half of these stories were published in either WEIRD TALES or BLACK GATE, but the other half were published for the first time in the 2013 collection. Since then it's built a nice cultish fanbase, while I went on to write several novels. I have two other story collections out now, one fantasy and one horror, but THE REVELATIONS OF ZANG holds a special place in my heart. It represents where my head was at when my writing career was just getting off the ground. It also explores the concept of Art As Sorcery--and Sorcery As Art--an idea that has always fascinated me. After all, the written word is the original sorcery--and there's a reason you have to "spell" a word. But don't get me started 'cause I get metaphysical real quick. (Art = Magic)

"Oblivion Is the Sweetest Wine" introduced the Zang series secondary lead, a clever thief named Taizo. BLACK GATE magazine commissioned two great interior pieces by Mark Evans to accompany the story. This one features Syyra, Taizo's erstwhile love interest.
Mark Evans' second piece for "Oblivion Is the Sweetest Wine" offered BLACK GATE readers a peek into the catacombs beneath the spider-worshipping city of Ghoth.

A big Ah-nold sized thanks to the Rogues in the House crew for taking an interest in reviving this collection. It will stand proudly alongside their annual BOOK OF BLADES anthologies, and I'm hoping there will be plenty more of those as well. Will there be more new Zang tales? It's entirely possible.

Three latter-day Zang tales are included in WORLDS BEYOND WORLDS. I do write mostly novels these days, but I still crank out short stories now and then. If I write many more Zang Tales, we may need another collection. When I look at John Molinero's new cover painting, I see it as a symbol that represents my entire writing career. Much as Artifice was forced to flee across a strange continent in order to pursue his Art, I've had to fight my own battles over the years--and I'm still fighting.

Every writer fights those same battles.

It's what we're born to do.

And every victory is precious.

REVELATIONS OF ZANG is set for a January release (print and digital).

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