Archive for the Occult Detective Awards Category

The 7th Annual Occult Detective Awards

Posted in Occult Detective Awards on January 6, 2017 by Occult Detective

Let’s all take a deep breath. We’re six days into the new year and 2016 is well and good behind us. There were some decidedly dark days this past solar return. We said goodbye to more than a few noteworthy celebrities, many of whom were instrumental in shaping yours truly. We also weathered an election unlike any I have seen in my half century on this planet.

But weathered it and all the rest we did. The thing is, there was a number of good things that came out of 2016 and I’d like to showcase some of them today as I proudly announce those tapped for excellence in (drum roll,please)…





The English Magic Tarot
by Rex Van Ryn, Steve Dooley, & Andy Letcher


Bloody Mary’s Guide to Hauntings, Horrors,
and Dancing with the Dead
by Bloody Mary


Lost Powers
edited by J. Douglas Kenyon


Rune Soup
Gordon White




The Secret History of Twin Peaks
by Mark Frost


by Alan Moore


“The Nothing”
by Stephen Mark Rainey


Skelos: The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy
edited by Mark Finn, Chris Gruber, and Jeffrey Shanks


A Long December
by Richard Chizmar


The Weiser Book of the Fantastic and Forgotten
edited by Judika Illes

.:. PODCAST.:.

The Horror Show with Brian Keene
Brian Keene & Dave Thomas




Conan by Monolith


The Tome of Beasts 5E by Kobold Press


Critical Role






Alan Moore & Jacen Burrows

.:.Graphic Novel/Collection.:.

Harrow County, Vol 2: Twice Told
Cullen Bunn & Tyler Crook




Stand-Out Episode: “Weaponizer”


Stranger Things
Stand-Out Episode: “Chapter Six: The Monster”


The Curse of Oak Island
Stand-Out Episode: “Sword Play”



The Occult Detective Quarterly Team
(editors Sam Gafford and John Linwood Grant, publishing chief
Travis Neisler, and consulting editor Dave Brzeski)


And there you have it folks, another year celebrated and creators elevated. If nothing else, it was a good year for genre. Next year’s awards will be a bit different. For the past seven, eligibility requirements fell on those considered having been released within the calendar year in question. Next year, to be eligible, a work merely has to be new to me within that time frame. That should broaden the scope a bit, and give things released in later months a better chance at recognition.

And as always, I am open to review copies. You can contact me via email at caliburn (at) comteck (dot) com.

That’s all for this year’s awards… Don’t forget to tune in Monday for a very special Last Writes as we give Gamerstable, the best darn RPG podcast on the internet, a proper send off. Till then, Skál, and may the gods smile upon you.


The Sixth Annual Occult Detective Awards

Posted in Occult Detective Awards on January 4, 2016 by Occult Detective


Hard to believe 2015 is already in our rearview. I didn’t read as much as I’d have liked, that’s for sure, but there was some exciting stuff I stumbled upon throughout the course of the year.

Here’s a few of the things that deserve a round of applause —



Liber L. Vel Bogus :
the Real Confession of Aleister Crowley
by Richard T. Cole


H.P. Lovecraft & the Black Magickal Tradition
by John L. Steadman


The Essential Guide to Possession,
Depossession, & Divine Relationships
by Diana L. Paxson


The Magicians of the Gods
by Graham Hancock


Freeman’s Reviews
Freeman Presson



Jake Helman: Human Monsters
by Gregory Lamberson


Numero Zero
by Umberto Eco


“Seeking Whom He May Devour”
by Josh Reynolds


Trigger Warning
by Neil Gaiman


A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests
edited by Joshua Reynolds & Miles Boothe



Alan Moore & Jacen Burrows

.:.Graphic Novel/Collection.:.

Sandman: Overture
Neil Gaiman & J.H. Williams III



Stand-Out Episode: “The Saint of Last Resorts, Part 2”


Ash vs The Evil Dead
Stand-Out Episode: “The Dark One”


Expedition Unknown
Stand-Out Episode: “Viking Sunstone”


Miles Boothe of Emby Press
for keeping the nightmares alive

The Occult Detective Awards are coming…

Posted in Occult Detective Awards on January 2, 2016 by Occult Detective


Tune in for the Sixth Annual
Occult Detective Awards
January 4 2016

The 2014 Occult Detective Awards: The Wellman

Posted in Occult Detective Awards with tags , on January 7, 2015 by Occult Detective



ryan as constantine

John Constantine

John Constantine? The Manly Wade Wellman Award is being given to a bloody fictional character? Yeah, well, don’t say that to Alan Moore or a handful of others who have laid eyes on him. Moore actually met Constantine on two occasions, but to my knowledge, Moore’s the only one who ever exchanged words with him. The story, as they say, goes something like this —

“One interesting anecdote that I should point out is that one day, I was in Westminster in London — this was after we had introduced the character — and I was sitting in a sandwich bar. All of a sudden, up the stairs came John Constantine. He was wearing the trenchcoat, a short cut — he looked — no, he didn’t even look exactly like Sting. He looked exactly like John Constantine. He looked at me, stared me straight in the eyes, smiled, nodded almost conspiratorially, and then just walked off around the corner to the other part of the snack bar. I sat there and thought, should I go around that corner and see if he is really there, or should I just eat my sandwich and leave? I opted for the latter; I thought it was the safest.   I’m not making any claims to anything. I’m just saying that it happened. Strange little story.”

“Years later, in another place, he steps out of the dark and speaks to me. He whispers: ‘I’ll tell you the ultimate secret of magic. Any cunt could do it.’ “

jld0In many ways, 2014 felt like the year of the Conjob. He was starring in three comics; his own title, Constantine, plus Justice League Dark, and Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three (though none of them hold a black ritual candle to the late, great Hellblazer series) and, of course, there’s the television show.

The idiot box version had a rocky start but actor Matt Ryan has done a stellar job throughout. The writers have seemingly found their groove, mainly by mining the original source material for the juicier bits, and the supporting cast has settled into their roles. Ratings could, honestly, be better, but it is performing solid enough considering it’s been playing to a 10pm Friday night audience.

Will the series make the leap to a second season? Only the fates can say, but I’m pulling for it… and I’m sure John is too, wherever he may be.

They’ve since decided to bump the show to the 8pm hour. Sure, it’s still on Friday night, but this gives them a fighting chance at least.

I’ve a sneaky suspicion that if John Constantine wants to be on television, he will be on television, regardless of what the rest of us might think.

Hellblazer_1So, here’s to you, John bloody Constantine, you rotten, spellcasting bastard. You’ve managed to con your way into our living rooms and have taken up root on our spinner racks. You’re even a god damn action figure. Good on ya, mate. I’m sure you’re reaping the benefits in some fashion or another. If there’s an angle, you’re working it, to be sure.

And if I’m tipping my hat to you, I guess I’d best tip it as well to Alan Moore, Jamie Delano, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Paul Jenkins, Warren Ellis, Brian Azzarello, Mike Carey, Peter Milligan, and all the rest who helped spread your stories to an unsuspecting world.

Look, the Wellman Award is meant to honour those who have made a positive impact on the occult detective gene. Last year’s recipient, Tim Prasil, earned his award for the amazing research he did and continues to do, delving into the genre’s rich and storied history and shedding new light on the past. Conjob’s nod is because he represents not where the genre comes from, but where it’s going.

So, here’s your sodding award, John Constantine — a replica of John Thunstone’s cane sword. Keep it close. Treat it well. And be sure to wipe the bloody demon gore off the damned thing or it’ll take to rust.

Best of luck, chief, and if you’ve any black magic left up under that ragged trenchcoat, could you possibly #SaveConstantine?

The 2014 Occult Detective Awards: Television

Posted in Occult Detective Awards on January 6, 2015 by Occult Detective


While it’s true I might watch too much television, in my defense, there’s a lot of quality programming on that just can’t be missed. Which leads us to Day Five of the 5th Annual Occult Detective Awards and my picks for what and who out-shined the rest on the small screen.

.:. Best Occult Detective Series
Standout Episode: “A Feast of Friends” Season 1 / Ep 4

.:. Best Horror Series
Standout Episode: “Closer than Sisters” Season 1 / Ep 5

.:. Best Fantasy Series
Stand Out Episode: “The Watchers on the Wall” Season 4 / Ep 9

.:. Best Historical Drama Series
Stand Out Episode: “Answers in Blood” Season 2 / Ep 5

.:. Best Drama Series
Stand Out Episode: “Form and Void” Season 1 / Ep 8

.:. Best “Comic Book” Series
Standout Episode: “Unthinkable” Season 2/ Ep 23

.:. Best Animated Series
Stand Out Episode: “Joshua and Margaret Investigations” Season 6 / Ep 16

.:. Best Hallowe’en Special

.:. Best Webseries
Standout Episode: “Lords of Waterdeep Extended Edition” Season 2 Extended / Ep 8

.:. Best Reality Series
Standout Episode: “Walt’s Treehouse” Season 4 / Ep 2

.:. Best Documentary
Hosted by Neil Oliver

.:.The Ghostbreaker Award for Excellence in the Televised Research and Investigation of the Strange and Unusual

Rick and Marty Lagina

.:. Best Actor
Matt Ryan as John Constantine

.:. Best Actress
Eva Green as Vanessa Ives
Penny Dreadful

.:. Best Ensemble
True Detective

.:. Best Writer
David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Game of Thrones

.:. Best Director
Neil Marshall
Black Sails, Constantine, Game of Thrones

The 2014 Occult Detective Awards: Swords & Sorceries

Posted in Occult Detective Awards on January 5, 2015 by Occult Detective


Occult Detective Stories might be my first love, but close on their heels is the Sword & Sorcery genre. As such, Day Four of the 5th Annual Occult Detective Awards honors such tales. My only regret is I didn’t get the chance to read King of the Bastards by Steven Shrewsbury & Brian Keene because I’m sure if I had it would have found a place among the following recipients —

Best Novel
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

This is not the book I was expecting. Set in the world of Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles, this haunting tale features one of the author’s most compelling characters, Auri. Rothfuss has warned readers to not begin his series here, but I beg to differ. I was enchanted by this book and believe it is Rothfuss’ finest work, allowing him to exercise another set of writerly muscles and prove him to be a master of his craft.

Best Novella
The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin and Luis Royo

This one surprised me. A lifelong fan of Royo’s to begin with, seeing his art coupled with a fairy tale-esque story set in Martin’s Song of Ice & Fire, The Ice Dragon is a tremendous all-ages adventure of courage and sacrifice.

Best Collection
Swords of the North by Robert E. Howard

Howard is the undisputed king of the sword and sorcery tale. Hell, one could easily say he invented the genre. Swords of the North is a brilliant collection of Howard’s Celtic and Viking adventure stories. Clocking in at over 500 pages, this is a must-have for Howard fans.

Best Short Story
The Viking in Yellow by Christine Morgan

I’ve been a fan of Christine’s for a while now. We both share an affection for Norse tales and she has delivered a real nasty piece of work in Celaeno Press’ In the Court of the Yellow King. Lovecraft and Vikings — it’s a match made in, well, Hel I suppose.

Best Compendium
The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Elio Garcia, & Linda Antonsson

Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire has dominated the fantasy genre for nearly twenty years, a domination that has only escalated since the launch of the successful HBO series. With fans clamoring for more, Martin, along with Garcia and Antonsson delivered. A history of Westeros, as recounted by a maester, is a brilliant way to add to Martin’s rich tapestry and filling it with beautifully rendered maps and lavish illustrations makes this a must-have supplement to everyone’s favorite fantasy series.

The Arneson-Gygax Award
Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) by Wizards of the Coast

D&D came roaring back with a vengeance with the release of its fifth edition. Not willing to rest on its laurels, Wizards’ assembled a design team that did the unthinkable — they changed the game. Culling some of the best aspects of the previous four editions, 5e has streamlined the game, simplified the rules, and made “roleplay” take precedence over “roll play”. I’ve been running two separate campaigns for months now and I am shocked to say that this is my favorite iteration of the game yet… and I’ve been actively playing since 1978.




Posted in Occult Detective Awards on January 4, 2015 by Occult Detective


Forgive me. I find myself still under the weather and so the Fifth Annual Occult Detective Awards will have to continue tomorrow. In the meantime, perhaps you’d like to take a stroll through the Awards, past and present. Just follow this handy little link — The Occult Detective Awards Archive

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