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BLACKTHORN OF MARS
Fantastic adventures in the red planet's future
where science and sorcery meet!

News Flash: BLACKTHORN: DYNASTY OF MARS is now on sale!
News * "Spires" Latest * E-Mail Us

The far future: The last war on Earth takes nine minutes. No one survives.

On Mars life continues, transformed into a new paradise by science indistinguishable from magic.

The farther future: Mars has fallen into feudal chaos, its technologies forgotten save for the remnants salvaged by the First Men, four tyrant sorcerers who carve out empires to clash with each other for supreme domination. The mad scientist Black Sorcerer, the war-loving Lord Ruin, the insane Sorcerer of Fatal Laughter, and the necromancer Lord of Night hold Mars in a death grip.

The hope: Ancient technologies lift a soldier from old Earth-that-was, a 21st century warrior who remembers the ideals and dreams of a better time, to troubled dying Mars. General John Blackthorn takes up the banner of freedom with the sorceress Aria, Princess of Mars, and Oglok, the genetically-engineered Mock-man, and begins the planet’s last desperate struggle for life.

The BLACKTHORN series created by Van Allen Plexico (Sentinels) draws together some of the best talent of the New Pulp movement to offer an ongoing series of SF adventure tales in the traditions of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jack Kirby. Explore the lush dangerous world of future-Mars, where lost ruins hold ancient secrets and terrible war machines devastate the land, populated by rogues and rebels, bards and pirates, monsters and villains. You may never escape!

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BLACKTHORN BREAKING NEWS:


October 18th 2012: BLACKTHORN: THE SPIRES OF MARS - THE CONCLUSION The full-length online novel complete at last! Discover the fates of John Blackthorn, Princess Aria, Oglok the Mock-Man, Tybald, Ysilde, and Mars itself in the nail-biting final chapter, online now! (And all feedback to our letters page on the story as a whole would be welcome too)
October 15th 2012: THE LAST SHADOW-DOOR: The penultimate chapter of our online serial SPIRES OF MARS cranks the adventure to maximum. Who lives? Who dies? Will Mars itself survive? Find out in Chapter 29, online now!
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Final update 18th October!

October 11th 2012: CLASH OF THE ARCHETYPES: Colonel Morningstar becomes a god. General Blackthorn remains a heretic. Details in Chapter 28 of our serial novel, online now!
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 15th October.

October 8th 2012: THE HEART OF MARS: "He popped a wheelie on the red-painted 1966 Electro-Glide Harley Davison and gunned off after the unicorn and the chimera." Writer I.A. Watson's favourite Blackthorn line appears in The Heart of Mars - Chapter 27 of our serial novel, online now!
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 11th October.

October 4th 2012: DOOM OF THE HARMONY SPIRES: In Chapter 26 of our serial novel, Tybald and Ysilde must face their enemies alone - and Colonel Morningstar wins!
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 8th October.

October 1st 2012: THE LADY OF THE LAND: Princess Aria claims a Harmony Spire... and is claimed by Mars! Our online story reaches it's turning point with Chapter 25 as revelations break and events begin to cascade.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 4th October.

September 27th 2012: DISRUPTED HARMONY: In Chapter 24 of our online serial we catch up with the villains of the piece and learn how they intend to win the day - but only one can be victorious! Place your bets!.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update1st October.

September 24th 2012: THE HALL OF TATTERS: Princess Aria returns to claim her birthright - and finally discovers the deepest darkest secret of the First Men's power! In Chapter 23, online now, we finally reveal why this series is called THE SPIRES OF MARS!.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 27th September.

September 20th 2012: TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES: Morningstar has set the perfect trap to kill Blackthorn, his friends, and everyone in a ten mile radius. Ysilde has betrayed everything she cared about. Blackthorn can only save the day by sacrificing himself. It all comes to a head in SPIRES OF MARS Chapter 22, online now.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 24th September.

September 17th 2012: THE LAST TESTIMONY OF LARS OLSSEN: The man behind Ysilde's kidnapping finally confesses everything, and then everyone wishes that he hadn't. Read all about it in SPIRES OF MARS Chapter 21 - then duck!
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 20th September.

September 15th 2012: ANOTHER FIVE STAR REVIEW FOR BLACKTHORN Feedback like this is always welcome! Take a look at the reviewer comments at http://www.amazon.com/Blackthorn-Thunder-Van-Allen-Plexico/dp/0984139265 and you'll see what we mean.

Septermber 14th 2012: CORRESPONDENCE OF MARS: We catch up on what folks had to say about SPIRES OF MARS Chapter 18, Chapter 19and Chapter 20.

September 13th 2012: THE TROJAN GOAT Blackthorn goes after not one but two major crimelords - with nothing but a particularly strong cheese to help him!.Read SPIRES OF MARS Chapter 20 to find out how.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 17th September.

September 10th 2012: WELCOME TO PHOENIX LANDING: It's a tough place even before there's a bounty on your head. Follow Blackthorn's adventures on Mars' north frontier in SPIRES OF MARS Chapter 19 and find out how to survive.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 13th September.

September 6th 2012: HUNTING OLSSUN: Okay, so Blackthorn's not actually in this latest chapter of SPIRES OF MARS, but we've pulled out some other requested cast to sub for him. Read Chapter 18 and see what we mean.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 10th September.

Septermber 4th 2012: SPIRES OF MARS IS BRILLIANT - OFFICIAL: At least that's one of the opinions in our latest batch of reader mail. Your opinion may vary. Take a look at the comments on Chapter 16 and Chapter 17 and decide for yourself.

September 3rd 2012: DEPTHS OF THE KRAKEN: It's Blackthorn's biggest adversary. Really. It's the size of a city block, and it's pretty damn cross. The Spires of Mars Chapter 17 puts our heroes against a foe that's definitely out of their weight class.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 6th September.

August 30th 2012: ONLINE NOVEL "SPIRES OF MARS" PASSES IT'S HALF-WAY POINT: Yes, we've got to the mid point of I.A. Watson's multi-part adventure! The Spires of Mars Chapter 16: Tortugos' Last Standgives us a war against ghost ships and a really big cliffhanger...
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 3rd September.

August 28th 2012: REVENGE OF THE MAILBOX: We finally catch up with correspondence on SPIRES OF MARS Chapter 13 Chapter 14 and Chapter 15 Your comments on their comments are welcome.

August 27th 2012: TIDE OF THE GHOST FLEET The dead have sailed to the floating city of Tortugos, and now they intend to claim the living - starting with Lady Ysilde and General Blackthorn! The Spires of Mars Chapter 15 is now available to chill you to the bone.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 30th August.

August 26th 2012: THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING MAIL Apologies for the lack of a letters page due to technical difficlties (we deleted the password to the mailbox). Normal correspondence will be resumed as soon as possible - assuming you corresponded. If you didn't, them correspond now. We'll never know you were late.

August 23rd 2012: THE LURE OF THE SIREN On the floating pirate city of Tortugos, Blackthorn seeks an alliance with the slippery Captain Korzan. But across the storm-lashed ocean the Ghost Fleet approaches, thirsty for souls. The Spires of Mars Chapter 14 is now online. Arrrrr!
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 27th August.

August 22nd 2012: NEW PULP ROUNDTABLE REVIEWS THUNDER ON MARS: Brad Mengel comments on our first Blackthorn anthology on Amazon, Smashwords, and here.

August 20th 2012: PIRATES OF THE AMAZONIS Searching for a marauder stronghold on a storm-tossed sea, Blackthorn faces treachery from the ship's crew that transport him - and from one of his own! Read Chapter 13 of The Spires of Mars right now!.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 23rd August.

August 19th 2012: CATCHING UP WITH THE COMMENTS: See what our faithful readers had to say about Spires Chapters 11 and 12 here - and tell us what you think of what they thought.

August 16th 2012: THE WAR OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS, has begun! Chapter 12 of I.A. Watson's ongoing online serial novel, The Spires of Mars features the cataclysmic confrontation between John Blackthorn and the Sorcerer of Night himself - and nothing will hurt our hero worse! Go to it here..
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 20th August.

August 13th 2012: DEVOTIONS OF DEATH, Chapter 11 of I.A. Watson's ongoing online serial novel, The Spires of Mars shows how our heroes get out of last time's cliffhanger only to face a much worse cliffhanger this time! And Oglok rides a gargoyle. Read it here..
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 16th August.

August 12th 2012: COMMENTS AND ADVICE: Cliffhanger fans, Morningstar boosters, and Kirby affecionados team up to provide our letters page this time.

August 11th 2012: THUNDER ON MARS COVER AT KIRBY-VISION: James Burns' Jack Kirby-inspired art on our first anthology is featured at the online gallery of the Kirby Museum here.

August 9th 2012: DOMAIN OF NIGHT, the tenth installment of I.A. Watson's ongoing online serial novel, The Spires of Mars is now out here. Blackthorn must enter the Hammer Horror-style land of the Sorcerer of Night, where the superstitious peasants hide after dark and it is a capital offence not to pay the Blood Tax!
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 13th August.

August 8th 2012: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE LETTERS PAGE? We've been asked why there was no letters update for Spires #8. Simple answer - no letters. However, we're back in the game for Chapter Nine, so here is what you had to say. And of course, more correspondence is welcome, except for that one from the African prince with the money to shift.

August 7th 2012: THUNDER ON MARS: THE TRAILER! The visionary Tommy Hancock has put together an amazing new YouTube promo for our first Blackthorn anthology. Check it out here.

August 6th 2012: THE CLOISTERS OF SILENCE, Chapter Nine of I.A. Watson's ongoing online serial novel, The Spires of Mars is available here. The chase turns dark as we finally meet Ysilde nim Loret in the Cathedral of the Sister of Silence.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 9th August.

August 4th 2012: AN INTERVIEW WITH ADAM DILLER: The stunning cover artist of DYNASTY OF MARS answers questions about his work. Learn more about the the man, his portfolio, and his binding non-disclosure agreements here.

August 2nd 2012: THE ECHO OF THE BARDS, Chapter Eight of I.A. Watson's ongoing online serial novel, The Spires of Mars is available here. Young quester Tybald learns what it's like in the big leagues with Blackthorn as a full attack squad of professional bounty hunters interrupt our heroes' investigations.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 6th August.

August 1st 2012: READERS COMMENT ON DYNASTY AND SPIRES AND A CERTAIN ARIA INTERVIEW: We love a readership that pays attention and says what it thinks. Take a look at this time's eclectic letters page if you don't believe us. And then send us a comment yourself!

July 31st 2012: PRINCESS ARIA INTERVIEWED: It's true! Our resident Princess of Mars gives a rare trans-temporal interview on Sean Taylor's Bad Girls, Good Guys, and Two-Fisted Action site. Hurry there to discover Aria's views on her stories, her writers - and John Blackthorn!.

July 30th 2012: THE HOUSE OF ABU MANSOOR, Chapter Seven of I.A. Watson's ongoing online serial novel, The Spires of Mars is available here. Princess Aria in a slaver's den! Oglok versus two crushing robot-golems! Blackthorn against the cruel trap of the Sorcerer of Fatal Laughter! And we blow our visual effects budget on gory and grotesque!
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 30th July.

July 29th 2012: READERS HAVE THEIR SAY ON DYNASTY OF MARS AND SPIRES CHAPTER 6: See the reception that news of our new Blackthorn novel got, and especially the feedback on its amazing cover. Plus, people are starting to feel the pace in our online serial. Read the buzz and perhaps respond on our comments page.

July 28th 2012: “BLACKTHORN: DYNASTY OF MARS” IS NOW IN THE SHOPS! I.A. Watson’s full-length saga of the Princess Aria Arcantrix, from her birth in the lost times of legend to her calling of the Earth-champion John Blackthorn and their stand against the tyrannical Sorcerers of Mars is now out in paperback and Kindle e-book. In a dark future, on a dying planet where hope has been forgotten, the last daughter of a royal house must give up everything and face her worst nightmares to save the world.

July 26th 2012: GOLD COINS FOR THE VIRGIN, Chapter Six of I.A. Watson's ongoing online serial novel, The Spires of Mars is available here. Tybald tan Throg is looking for his stolen sister. John Blackthorn is looking for a fight. Together they find the decadent slave-city of New Trinachria.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 30th July.

July 25th 2012: SEAN TAYLOR VISTS THE LETTERS PAGE: The writer of "City of Relics" from BLACKTHORN: THUNDER ON MARS turns up in person to answer a reader's question.Check what he has to say with the next exciting installment of our mail page.

July 23rd 2012: PITS OF THE DAMNED, Chapter Five of our ongoing online serial novel, The Spires of Mars by I.A. Watson, is now live here. in which our sundered heroes struggle against overwhelming odds and Princess Aria discusses philosophy with the damned.
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 26th July.

July 22nd 2012: READERS COMMENT ON INCANTRUS VEIL AND HTML: In a bumper postbag we heaf views about the Blackthorn website and even some comments on Chapter 4 of Spires of Mars. The debate's found on our letters page and you are welcome to add to it.

July 19th 2012: THE TOMB OF INCANTRUS VEIL, Chapter Four of our ongoing online serial novel, The Spires of Mars by I.A. Watson, is now available here. Twelve puissant wizards were slaughtered for their parts. One fell creature was built from their sundered spirits - and it waits for John Blackthorn!
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 23rd July.

July 18th 2012: MORE MAILBAG: Our post for Chapter 3 is perhaps more critical than previous editions but we want to hear all your views so keep 'em coming. See what our readers liked and didn't like at our letters page and feel free to weight in.

July 17th 2012: RIC'S COMICS #73: TALKING BLACKTHORN Prolific podcaster Ric Croxton talks to Van Plexico and I.A. Watson regarding all things Martian. Discover Van's long-term plans for the series. Learn how Ian accidentally wrote two Blackthorn novels. Hear the proper pronunciation of "Dynasty". All this and... Oglok's wedding? Ric's Comics #73 (scroll down), available from Wednesday 18th July.

July 16th 2012: BLACKTHORN: SPIRES OF MARS, our online serial novel by I.A. Watson, continues with Chapter Three: Guardians of the Shadow Door. Something in that cellar killed eight men in thirty seconds. Blackthorn, Aria, Oglok and Tybald go to see what it is!
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 19th July.

July 15th 2012: MORE MAILBAG: The comments are in on SPIRES OF MARS Chapter 2. We discuss comics influences, future plans, and the coolness of zombie robots, as you might expect. See what folks had to say and then perhaps give us your opinions on their opinion!

July 14th 2012: ADAM DILLER SIGNS UP FOR DYNASTY OF MARS! Adam Diller has held a wide variety of artistic positions within the video game industry ranging from Concept and Production Artist on through to Art Director, and working on everything from apps to RPGs to third-person shooters for the latest gaming consoles. When the realization hit that he hadn't had the opportunity to draw nearly as many Martian Princesses as he would have liked, he became an easy mark to recruit for this project.

Yet when much-in-demand Diller was approached about us using his placeholder cover image as seen at our Dynasty of Mars page he was concerned that it wasn't good enough! So he did better! If Adam's work doesn't scoop him a nomination or two in this year's pulp art awards there's no justice in the world. Check out his portfolios here and here

July 12th 2012: BLACKTHORN: SPIRES OF MARS, our online serial novel by I.A. Watson, continues with Chapter Two: Hunters in a Blighted Land. General Blackthorn and his team race through an undead-filled forest to save a kidnapped lady - but are they already too late?
Updates every Monday and Thursday! Next update 16th July.

July 12th 2012:THE READERS HAVE SPOKEN! It looks like this letter page thing might work out! We have comments back on the first chapter of SPIRES OF MARS. And a campaign to call our letters column "Blackthornmailed". Letters and Comments

July 10th 2012: I.A. WATSON INTERVIEWED AT THE NOCTURNE TRAVEL AGENCY. The author of our current serial novel discusses the origins of the Blackthorn series, the influences of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, how writing as part of a group of creators is different, and what's coming up next for future-Mars. Read the interview here

July 9th 2012: BLACKTHORN: SPIRES OF MARS, our online serial novel by I.A. Watson, goes live. Chapter One: A Night in the Deadlands is now available on this site! A desperate young man must cross the wasteland where everything dies – but nothing stays dead!
Updates every Monday and Thursday!

July 5th 2012: BLACKTHORN NAMED BEST NEW CHARACTER OF THE YEAR in the prestigious Pulp Ark Awards 2012. The series also collected nominations for Best Pulp Collection/Anthology, Best Pulp Cover art, and Best Pulp Interior Art.

July 2nd 2012: BLACKTHORN: DYNASTY OF MARS enters pre-production. The second volume of Blackthorn’s story and its first full-length novel nears publication. Penned by award winning author I.A. Watson (Robin Hood trilogy, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, Gideon Cain etc) this saga focuses on Aria, Princess of Mars – and spins an epic tale covering almost a thousand years and ending in cataclysm! More details available here.


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WE'D LOVE YOUR FEEDBACK. We want the adventures of John Blackthorn to be a fun, interactive experience. Your comments on our work so far can only help us improve! Encourage our creators and inspire the future of Mars with your comments. We'll post the best of them on our Letters Page and do our best to reply!

E-mail to JohnBlackthorn@mail.com

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I.A. Watson – Writer and Storyteller



Pulp Cosmic – White Rocket Books


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Refer all enquiries to the webmaster

Cover images:
Adam Diller
James Burns.

Other art:
Chris Kohler