There is a secret passed down from one sitting President to his successor. Whenever the fight against crime or foreign meddling endangers the very Constitution itself, each new President is instructed to dial a secret number and ask for the services of a special man. Then hang up the phone and know that the threat will be dispatched. But never ask the voice on the other end about the man who makes crime lords and foreign agents disappear.

His name is Remo, and he was a former cop sent to Death Row for a crime he did not commit. Instead of execution, Remo Williams was given the chance to serve his country in a new manner.  Under the tutelage of Chuin, master of the sun source of all martial arts known as Sinanju, Remo has become America’s greatest assassin: The Destroyer.

For more than 45 years and 150 novels, Remo Williams and Chuin have irreverently faced the nation’s foes, foreign and domestic, in the men’s adventure series The Destroyer. Along the way, the Master of Sinanju and his apprentice have faced power mad business tycoons, Russian agents, gangs of street thugs, Mafia hitmen, African slavers, neo-Nazis and Black Panthers, Mayan gods, and even the odd alien or two, reaping a terrible harvest along the way. If a group has shouted “Death to America” or smashed a window in protest, Remo has been set upon a thinly veiled version in the books. But in Dr. Quake, Remo is sent to investigate that old standard of pulp and men’s adventure, the mad scientist. Someone in California has demonstrated the ability to control earthquakes, and is blackmailing a small town. When this master of science’s ambitions for extortion grow more audacious (“Hello, Mr. President”), Remo and Chuin must race the Mafia to find and destroy the earthquake machine. Read More

You have no idea how many ways to kill you are lurking in the little laboratory of mass destruction known as your neighbor’s garden.

Gardening is just a hobby for most – but for some, it’s a matter of life and death. 

Who keeps killing soil scientists and agriculture industry executives around the world? If you dare to ask, you may end up as the next corpse left to serve as garden compost. When gardener Jack Broccoli and his boss are targeted by a radical farming cult, Jack’s entire life is turned upside-down as he’s forced into a terrifying world of international agro-industrial intrigue. 

TURNED EARTH is a frighteningly funny novel by master gardener David The Good and the first in the Jack Broccoli series of gardening thrillers.

This is one of those books you have to read to believe that it’s real. Yes, it’s a gardening thriller, and somehow, inexplicably, the concept actually works. Also, it appears that gardeners have considerably more ways to kill you than ninjas, hit men, and the U.S. Marine Corps combined. We’re now officially terrified of all those little blue-haired women who spend their days laboring painstakingly over their well-tended laboratories of mass destruction.

From the first review of TURNED EARTH: A Jack Broccoli novel:

  • This might the world’s first garden thriller ever to be published. Imagine Mel Bartholomew meets Liam Neeson as written by a graft of Douglas Adams and Dave Barry, and lyrics by David Byrne, if it had lyrics. You aren’t going to read the secrets of Life, the Universe, and Everything, but you will be asking yourself “How did I get here?” and “That’s not my house” which is more of a statement than question.

Have you heard the one about how readers don’t cross genres, and so authors should pick one and stick to it if they want a large readership?  Apparently, neither has Robert Kroese, because his Dream of the Iron Dragon breaks every rule in the modern playbook, and always to good effect.

The time-travel subgenre of science-fiction has a long pedigree that stretches back to H. G. Wells and arguably beyond.  A few well-known works hand wave away most of the science-fiction and instead focus on the historical fantasy that arises when the time-travel introduces anachronistic technology to the past.  The Conrad Stargard/Crosstime Engineer series by Leo Frankowski drops a modern engineer into Poland ten years before the Mongols arrive, for example.  More recently, Eric Flint flung a West Virginia mining town into the heart of the Thirty Years War.  Some authors drop the modern men into a fantasy realm to see how knowledge of black powder might change things.  Examples include H. Beam Piper’s Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, in which a Pennsylvania cop slips into an alternate history where a priestly caste rules using the arcane knowledge of the sacred charcoal/sulfur/saltpeter recipe, and William R. Fortschen’s Lost Regiment, which plonks a Civil War era regiment of troops onto a wild planet ruled by hordes of iron age, giant nomadic aliens.  In each of these cases, the focus of the narrative revolves around the aftershocks of high-tech advances on low-tech societies, politics, and wars. 

While often classes as alt-history, these time-travel stories differ from pure alt-history in that they don’t change a historical event – as Harry Turtledove is wont to do – but drop modern man and his engineering knowledge into the past, or a near enough facsimile.  Instead of watching small changes ripple outward (or simply re-writing actual history with a few name swaps), these time-travel stories grapple with issues such as paradoxes, how the travelers’ knowledge of history can help or hinder their cause, and how the lack of modern infrastructure hampers any attempt to introduce high-technology into the low-tech world.

Robert Kroese’s Dream of the Iron Dragon takes things one step further by presenting a decidedly hard science-fiction universe where one unfortunate accident throws a starship back to Viking age Scandinavia.  Read More

Image result for batman ninjaI had been keeping my eye on “Batman Ninja” ever since I saw the completely bonkers trailer for it. “Batman Ninja” is the story of Batman and the other villains and heroes of Gotham City transported by Gorilla Grodd’s time machine into feudal Japan (why the time machine brings them to Japan is never explained, because who cares).

And guys, I gotta tell you, I LOVE these types of concepts – these reimaginings of classic characters in new settings. I loved “Marvel: 1602” (until the ending). I loved “Sherlock” (the first two seasons anyway). And if not for the Injustice Gamer’s poor review, I probably would have picked up “Gotham by Gaslight” (I still intend to read the comic, though). Heck, in “Tales of the Once and Future King” I reimagined the story of King Arthur into a post-apocalyptic Britain that had devolved into a wild west level of technology, and currently have an idea to set a superhero story in the actual American old west. I think this sort of stuff is super cool.

So “Batman Ninja” was right up my alley. But did it live up to its potential?

Let me put it this way: “Batman Ninja” was completely insane, visually stunning, ridiculously over the top and tons of fun, and yet…it didn’t QUITE give me what I was hoping for – because it didn’t take enough risks.

I’ll explain. Read More

This week I discovered something so absolutely amazing, so utterly startling, that I was compelled by my sheer amazement to share it here, with you my loyal readers:

The much ballyhooed 2015 Mad Max video game, a sorta-but-not-really movie tie in for Mad Max: Fury Road, by (not so) famed developer Avalanche Studios, makers of Just Cause 2, is utterly and totally ripped off from Id Software’s disappointing 2011 game Rage.

WAIT!

Before you get all persnickety about that whole “ripped off” thing, let me explain that I do not consider this to, of necessity, be an insult. To quote one of our foremost modern intellectuals, myself:

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Alt★Hero #1: Crackdown is now available on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

When Captain Europa offers Janelle Jeanneret a recruitment deal she can’t refuse, the French model doesn’t hesitate to sign up with the Global Justice Initiative. After all, they’re providing her with a killer apartment in Brussels, a new outfit, and even a flashy new name, in addition to paying her an awful lot of money… and it’s even tax-free! But is there a catch? And how is a group of superhumans based in Europe going to go about establishing global justice anyway?

Alt★Hero is the first in an exciting new line of superhero comics from Arkhaven Comics.

We anticipate getting the French, Italian, and German digital editions out next week, after they go out to the backers. The Comixology edition should be the week following, with the limited edition gold logo print editions being published the week after that. The foreign language editions will also be published in print.


From the early reviews:

  • The only thing missing is a Charles Atlas-style ad in the back. Can’t wait until Issue 2.
  • It feels like GI Joe meets the Justice League. It was an enjoyable read that simply left me wanting to read the next installment. The character dialogue was top notch.
  • It has a sharp, crisp story that sets the stage for some future stories, provides some good background on some characters, and establishes this series as one to keep an eye on.
  • The world is a big place, and you need to actually understand other cultures and how geopolitics works in order to portray that diversity properly. Which explains why modern comics writers are usually so hopelessly out of their depth. This team isn’t.
  • This is a fantastic start… It very much reminded me of the old Iron Man and Thor comics of the 80s I loved as a kid.
  • Unique characters with incredible powers but very human attitudes in an interesting and unexpected story. And surprisingly funny! 

Gaming (Modiphius): “The Archdruid is dead!

Now is the time to reclaim the world for civilisation.

Akharon is a world scarred by a magical druidic war and overflowing with monsters. Much has been lost, waiting to be reclaimed by those bold enough to set foot outside of civilisation’s last bastion, Stronghold. It is a world besieged by malevolent forces who channel the planet’s own dark magic and direct strange otherworldly creatures with malicious intent. It is a world where death and mystery wait around every corner, behind every tree, and in every rocky crag.”

 

 

Books (Amazon): “Come back to those mist-shrouded days of yesteryear when the land shook under the tread of barbarians, wizards and monsters! Join such legends as Lin Carter’s legendary Thongor in a new tale of mighty deeds and fearless swords. Thrill to new characters who take up the bloody axe ofwar and adventure like Charles R. Rutledge’s ageless Kharrn and Adrian Cole’s Elak of Atlantis while discovering new characters destined to carve their names in bloody history. None can stand before them for they are THE MIGHTY WARRIORS!” Read More

This is a guest post written by Alex Stump:

My two little brothers have been watching My Little Pony for a long time now. I watched a couple episodes (and also the unholy spin-off series Equestria Girls) and I’ll be 100% honest…My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a really good show. But don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not coming out as a Brony. I, as an 18-year-old man have better things to do then obsessing over a show made for seven year olds. Which really fascinates me, what is it about this kid’s series that attracts so many young adults? It’s a question that has been going around since the show premiered and the most widely accepted questions/theories I’ve seen are:

  1. A) People like MLP for the same reason people like Star Trek or Firefly.
  2. B) These people had terrible childhoods and they watch MLP to experience the childhood they never had.
  3. C) These people had awesome childhoods and watch MLP because it gives them a sense of nostalgia.

And D) People watch MLP because they’re mentally handicapped.

These answers have some truth to them but I find them to be mostly flawed…So how about I give you my own answer to the question.
Sure, everyone has his or her own reason for watching, but I think there’s a unifying reason why. You see I believe the reason why MLP is so popular and why it stands out in the entertainment industry is because the show has a “thing”.

What is this “thing” you ask? Well, this “thing” is very important to fiction. It goes all the way back to ancient times. It was prevalent in the 20th century but sadly is being abused and forgotten in the 21st century. Let me give you some examples: Read More

Edmond Hamilton (1904-1977) was the main writer of science fiction for Weird Tales magazine in the late 1920s and 1930s. Or rather I should say, the best science fiction writer for Weird Tales. He was an early writer of space opera alongside J. Schlossel and Edward E. Smith for the pulp magazines.

Hamilton did have some forays into sword and planet fiction. He had the three adventures of Stuart Merrick in Magic Carpet and Weird Tales magazines in the 1930s. A one off story was built around the idea of two men on different worlds sharing each other’s existence as dreams.

The story was “Dreamer’s Worlds” that appeared in the November 1941 issue of Weird Tales. It starts with Khal Kan, Prince of Jotan, scouting out a Dry-lander tribe. He is accompanied by little wizened Zoor and squat Brusul. Hamilton liked ensemble casts in his stories.

Khal Kan is not given much description outside he is tall, young with a “hard, merry face.”

The trio enters the Dry-lander tent town posing to be wandering mercenaries. Khal Kan wanted to get a look at the king’s daughter, Golden Wings. Their cover is blown and Khal Kan mouths off to Golden Wings. She gives him a whipping and has he and his companions tied up. Zoor manages to use a hidden flat blade in his shoe to cut himself and his companions free from their bonds. Read More

Brace yourself for the next exciting issue of StoryHack Action & Adventure.

Taking cues from the greatest pulp magazines of a bygone era, StoryHack publishes all-new stories of bravery and derring-do in a wide variety of genres. There is something in here for everyone, and each story includes art.

Here’s what you will find in this issue:

  • Predator/Prey Relationships by Julie Frost. When Ben’s ability to shift into a werewolf is stolen, he must play a most dangerous game to get it back.
  • The Temple of Baktaar by Jason Restrick. What deadly curses await when a pair of adventurers delve too deeply into an ancient, supposedly-abandoned temple?
  • The Gambler’s Tale by Jon Mollison. Mike has a plan to not just beat the house, but bring it crashing down entirely. The mob has other ideas.
  • Crystal, Brass, and Copper by Matthew X. Gomez. When a robbery goes horribly wrong, can Bahar get any part of her old life back?
  • Junior Partner by Brian K. Lowe. With his superhero captured by dangerous foes, a sidekick must decide what he is made of.
  • The Crawlers beneath Avaris by David J. West. With city guards and assassins hot on his tail, Brutanis is forced into an underground maze. What he finds there may be worse than the trouble he’s fleeing.
  • High Ground by John M. Olsen. Captain Alexander Kemp’s space station Icarus suffers an attack in orbit as the government on Earth below collapses. Can their advanced tools and mental grit keep them alive as they respond to a series of escalating attacks?
  • The Chronicle of the Gorgon’s Island by Keith West. A cursed prince and his right hand man are shipwrecked on an uncharted island with an unruly crew. Will the monster they find there kill them before they kill each other?
  • Kakerlacs by Alexandru Constantin. After a long stint with the Corps, Mike returns to his hometown in the California desert, only to get tangled up in a sinister plot involving cops and tweakers who are more than they seem.

The Man of Bronze, the Wisewolf’s daughter, a Wild West King Arthur, and the Ark of the Covenant feature in this week’s roundup of the newest releases in fantasy and adventure.


Closure (Javin Pierce #3) – Ethan Jones

Covert operative Javin Pierce will avenge his betrayal or die trying . . .

Off the grid, Javin Pierce is struggling to heal from his wounds. Immediately he’s forced into a shaky deal with former enemies not only to secure his partner’s release from a Saudi jail, but also to settle the score with the traitor who double-crossed them.

While his new rogue team crosses Iraq’s treacherous lands, he can barely stay ahead of the deadly threats coming from all sides. As Javin sets his sights, alliances around him crumble. So with no one left to trust, in an ever-changing maze, how will Javin survive the deadliest mission of his life?


Destruction’s Ascent (Dragon Ridden Chronicles #3) – T. A. White

When the past rises, the world burns.

Newly conscripted into the Emperor’s dragon corps, Tate Fisher is still trying to figure out all that her new position entails. Along with an elevation in status comes dangerous enemies. Enemies who would rather see the dragons fall into ruin than remain in their current place of power.

When a dragon goes missing, followed by a child close to her, Tate is forced to confront the hidden agendas of those in the highest seats of authority. Her search for the truth takes her deeper into the maze of tunnels that lie beneath the city. It’s a place where secrets lurk and dangers abound.

There, she’ll uncover a plot whose origins stretch all the way back to the beginning of this world—one that can only end in the destruction of everything she knows and loves. The key to saving her city lies in her uncertain past. If only she could remember what that was.


The Disclosure Protocol (Warner & Lopex #8) – Dean Crawford

In the United States, the CIA is being held to ransom. Perfectly focused images of Unidentified Flying Objects are being sent to Langley with a demand: provide full disclosure of what the government knows about UFOs or these images will go public.

Struggling with the task of identifying the perpetrators of the images, and aware that they must somehow know when and where UFOs will appear, the CIA sends General Scott Mackenzie in search of Ethan Warner and Nicola Lopez, the only known former US agents with the skills to track down the perpetrator. His mission; obtain the technology that is allowing someone to predict when and where UFOs will appear and ensure that nobody else can access it.

But as the investigation unfolds, so Ethan and Nicola learn that the Russians are also seeking the same technology. As a race against time develops to get the upper hand, victims of strange abduction events implore the government for help, including the parents of a seven-year-old girl who is suffering seizures and post-traumatic stress from her experiences.

From the Indian Ocean to the lonely deserts of Utah, Scotland to Nevada, Ethan and Nicola discover the startling truth about alien abductions and UFO sightings, and realise that full disclosure isn’t about UFOs at all: the knowledge the CIA possesses will change the course of human history…


Dispersal (Guns of the Waste Land #3) – Leverett Butts

Guns of the Waste Land recasts the legends of King Arthur as an American Western.

Set in the late 19th century outside the West Texas town of Bretton, this third volume continues the stories of the men and women devoted in their own ways to Sheriff Ardiss Drake: Percy Murratt, still living with Ardiss, is in love. Unfortunately, so is Ardiss’ foster brother, Caleb and with the same woman. Gary Wayne Orkney has recovered as much as possible from the beating he received from Lancaster O’Loch and desperately wants to ride a horse again and continue is service as a deputy. Reverend Merrle Tallison is considering leaving Bretton and finding a life for himself. Finally, Ardiss’ estranged wife, Guernica, continues to seek closure for the events that brought her to the wilds of the Waste Land. Read More

The Automagic Horse by L. Ron Hubbard appeared in the October 1949 issue of Astounding. It can be read here at Archive.org.

Finally, a dame! And she’s having none of that animatronic Moloch….

It figures that the first really good story I’d read in Campbell-era Astounding would be by L. Ron Hubbard. Maybe not good enough start a religion around the guy and give him all my money, but The Automagic Horse is a solid story that would certainly be at home in Planet or Thrilling.

A team of special effects expects have been grafting and defrauding Hollywood studios to get spare parts and tools to build a spaceship. The spaceship will take them to the moon and stars, and they’re gonna be rich and famous… someday.

They get hired to make a stunt horse so that the SPCA won’t be all over the studio for a scene in which a horse has to kick down the door of a burning barn. This may be the job that will finally put them over the top with the funds that they need to finish carving out an underground workshop to test gamma rays… except the studio sends an accountant to keep track of the funds and audit their past projects!

To make matters worse, she’s a no-nonsense dame intent on seeing that the studio hangs onto every penny of their investment!

Read More