Writers (Tellers of Weird Tales): Harold S. Farnese didn’t write any stories, poems, or articles for Weird Tales, nor was he a cover artist or illustrator. His eight letters published in “The Eyrie,” the letters column of Weird Tales, failed to land him in the top twenty contributors in that category. You might say that he was a pretty minor figure in the history of the magazine and its contributors. Except for that part where he was so central to a certain understanding of what we call the Cthulhu Mythos. Beyond that, Farnese may have been the first person to adapt a work by H.P. Lovecraft to a form other than verse or prose.

Fiction (John C. Wright): Conan is young here. The internal chronology of the stories is subject to some guesswork. But it is fair to say that this is the second or third tale in Conan’s career, taking place after Frost Giant’s Daughter (1934). We see him for the first time in what will be his signature costume: “naked except for a loin-cloth and his high-strapped sandals.”

I found, as I often do, that not only is Robert E. Howard a better writer than I was able, as a callow youth, to see he was. He also easily surpasses the modern writers attempting to climb his particular dark mountain. From the high peak, brooding, he glares down at inferior writers mocking him, and, coldly, he laughs.

Particularly when Howard is compared with the modern trash that pretends to be fantasy while deconstructing and destroying everything for which the genre stands, he is right to laugh.

Let us list the ways. Read More

Four days to go. 1,035 backers. Can we make it to the six-digit mark? Trust the plan!

You can read the earlier pages here: Page 1, Pages 2 & 3.

The men’s adventure magazines that flourished from the early 1950s to the middle 1970s put an emphasis on art. The quality of both cover and interior art is superior to the average pulp magazine of 20 years earlier.

Norman Saunders, Mort Kunstler, and Raphael DeSoto are among the better known artists who produced covers for these magazines. One artist I did not know is Samson Pollen.

Pollen produced cover and interior art for the men’s adventure magazines. He also did a fair amount of paperback covers though only one in science fiction and fantasy which is why I was unaware of him. I think he did some of the Captain Gringo book covers.

New Texture has produced two art books of Samson Pollen’s art.

Pollen’s Women is a hardback book reproducing Pollen’s art featuring women. The book is a hardback, 140 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches in a landscape orientation.

There is a short essay at the beginning “Painted Women” by Samson Pollen as told to Wyatt Doyle on Pollen’s career as an illustrator.

A good number of the illustrations are interior black and whites, some tinted blue or red. The emphasis is on women in all sorts of situations. Exotic adventure, war, crime, nympho nurses etc.

These are beautiful, curvy, feminine women in these illustrations. Having seen the changes in paperback covers the past 43 or so year, it really hits home how far cover illustration has fallen the past 15 years.

Like any art book, Pollen’s Women is not cheap. Cost is 39.95 from Amazon. This book is well made, laid out, and just pleasing to the eye and to hold. There is a also a companion book, Pollen’s Action.

Bounding Into Comics has an exclusive on FIVE complete pages from Alt-Hero: Q. We were going to post all five pages here by the end of the weekend, but when BIC asked for the exclusive, we could hardly say no. So, go check them out!


From Bounding Into Comics‘s article:

Arkhaven Comics is currently running an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign for their upcoming Alt-Hero: Q series by Bane co-creator Chuck Dixon and artist Hélix Haze. Colors are provided by Arklight Studios. The series will be released in individual issues and ultimately collected into a graphic novel. There will be six total issues and each issue will be 24 pages long. The story will be set in the Alt-Hero universe alongside Vox Day’s Alt-Hero series and Chuck Dixon’s Avalon.

The series finds inspiration from the QAnon phenomenon and will have a focus on “ordinary men and women who make the choice to become extraordinary through their selfless actions to save others.” If you are unfamiliar with the QAnon phenomenon, Chuck Dixon told us “this will be an intro, at least in a fictional sense to what it’s all about and what its mission is.”

Arkhaven Comics’ Publisher Vox Day hinted at what we can expect from this story:

“It’s going to be our answer to the question that everyone is asking: “who is Q”. Everyone has a different theory, everyone has a different explanation. Since we’re setting this in the world of Alt-Hero, that allows us to throw out some outlandish ideas about what’s really going on underneath all the various conspiracy theories. We’ll be launching it as soon as we have the sample pages to show the potential backers, so in about two weeks. It’s an awesome script and people are going to love it.”<

Chuck Dixon gave us some more key details keying in on the series main protagonist Roland Dane:

“What we’re presenting is an action/thriller hero that I’m really excited to be creating. We’ll be inserting him into stories of global cabals and dark conspiracies that threaten not only world peace but the basic human rights of the individual. Our guy, Roland Dane, is an experienced law enforcement professional who has to drop out of the system to act as an operative for the mysterious organization he knows only as Q. Roland is a little rough around the edges and his methods are often direct but he’s one man trying to make a difference for all of us.”

Take a look at the first five pages:

Arkhaven Comics is pleased to announce GUSSIE AT BAY, the fifth issue in the RIGHT HO, JEEVES series, which tells of the travails of the inimitable Bertie Wooster, who is summoned from the comforts of #3A Berkley Mansions, London to Brinkley Manor by his imperious Aunt Dahlia. Love is in the air and Wodehousian shenanigans are afoot, as Wooster’s well-meaning attempts to help out his friends sort out their romantic difficulties only leads to one disaster after another… including his own engagement to the unbearably soppy Madeline Bassett!

Adapted from the classic Wodehouse novel by comics legend Chuck Dixon and drawn by SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN illustrator Gary Kwapisz, GUSSIE AT BAY is issue #5 of 6 in the RIGHT HO, JEEVES series.

The other four issues in the series are available on Amazon. Issues #1 and #2 are also available in print at Arkhaven Direct, Barnes & Noble, and can be ordered through your local bookstore.

Three best-selling space operas return in this week’s roundup of the newest releases in science fiction.


Agents of Mars (Starship’s Mage: Red Falcon #3) – Glynn Stewart

Captain David Rice and the crew of Red Falcon have spent two years infiltrating the arms smuggling underworld of the Protectorate of the Mage-King of Mars. When the co-opted rebellion on Ardennes reveals a supply chain of weapons intended to fight Mars, this makes them the perfect team to investigate.

His new mission brings him across old friends and old enemies alike, but as his suspects start turning up dead, David realizes he isn’t the only one following the loose ends.

As shadowy enemies move to position themselves for civil war, Red Falcon’s crew must chase an ever-shrinking set of clues. If they succeed, they might just buy the Protectorate peace for their lifetime.

But if they fail…


By Right of Arms (Terra Rising #1) – J. T. Buckley

The Confederated Nations of Terra receive a mysterious distress signal from Earth’s closest celestial neighbor, Alpha Centauri. Captain Aaron Richardson and the crew of the TNS Intrepid are shocked and horrified by what they find. What they discover launches them into a new universe of political and military intrigue.

Using ancient legends, they forge Earth’s position in the Principean Empire and discover the secrets of Earth’s distant past. Thwarted at every turn by pirates, they must fight a race of aliens who are intent on killing all humans and destroying the Earth. Unable to do it alone, they must seek assistance of new allies to save their home.


Empire Dawn (Road to Empire #1) – Dietmar Arthur Wehr

The grand experiment of a democratic Commonwealth of Star Nations has failed. With colony after colony leaving the Commonwealth, Earth finds itself in desperate straits as ecological disaster and mass starvation looms in the near future. The collapse of the Commonwealth means there’s now a power vacuum but no shortage of ruthless egos looking to fill that vacuum.

Will it be the Republic of Corona, the most prosperous and populous colony world, or a resurgent Earth under a messianic leader or perhaps a power-hungry interstellar corporation? With stakes this high, political intrigue, backstabbing and betrayal are par for the course.


Infinite Exodus (Infinite Exodus #1) – N. R. Whitaker

Locked inside an unreleased game awaits a world of untapped possibility–and consequences.

Gerard is a would-be scientist, not a soldier, but his father is nowhere near fit for the open-ended rescue mission into the Parallel, a hyperrealistic VR world that was stolen for government applications from genius game developer Ned Dixon. As a fan of Dixon’s immersive and often twisted worlds, Gerard thinks he knows what he’s getting himself into by taking his father’s place, but within the Parallel awaits an infinite number of sinister surprises.

The mission is simple: Play through the deadly game’s storyline to save the living researchers trapped within. Not so simple? Dealing with a snarky A.I. who knows Gerard doesn’t belong and fending off the monstrous angels Dixon programmed to make the crew’s job as difficult as possible. Read More

Six days left. The story continues. Back the Alt-Hero: Q campaign here.

 

L. Ron Hubbard’s A Can of Vacuum appeared in the December 1949 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. It can be read here at Archive.org.

A Can of Vacuum is a droll Mil-SF short about officer-hazing (which makes Hubbard’s own military service worth briefly noting; here, it’s been noted). A green ensign, Bigby Owen Pettigrew, has shown up on base all bright-eyed and ready to make a good impression. The project assignment officer. Scout Commander Carpdyke, finds this exasperating and, as the regular prankster around the base, has quite the scheme to put young Pettigrew in his place.

Carpdyke tells him about a new phlebotinum-based technology: Rudey Rays, which could solve all the galaxy’s problems if only they could be harnessed. It’s all very new and very top secret which is why the Ensign has never heard of them before. Carpdyke issues the green officer bogus orders to procure a quart of rudey rays by any means necessary. He hopes to send Pettigrew on a wild goose chase to keep him out of his hair for a while.

Of course, things go immediately wrong. The supply officer Carpdyke was counting on to play along was out, and his fill-in took the orders seriously. Pettigrew is off with a commandeered ship to go looking for and collect rudey rays around novas. Shit hits the fan, and the base is in a panic to find the missing ensign and recover the ship he’s taken off with. The base commander thinks he’s screwed and has to keep things under wraps, because it happened on his watch and would be seen that he’d been complicit in having turned a blind-eye to the hazing of new officers—it HAS to be dealt with in house.

Read More

“Come then, try my steel and I will send you to hell where you belong. The gods of my people look down upon those that prey on the weak. There is no honor in it. There is no honor in you. I will enjoy killing you.”–Mortu


In Mortu and Kyrus in the White City, Schuyler Hernstrom returns to sword and sorcery, blending Dying Earth, Mad Max, and even a little Shaw Briothers kung fu into a future Earth recovering from the heavy hand of an alien overlord. The namesakes Mortu and Kyrus, a pagan motorcycle barbarian from the North and a Christian monk from Zantyum respectively, are on a quest to break the sorcerer’s spell that chains Kyrus into the form of a monkey. On the long road, they find a caravan attacked by nomads and a wayward Christian knight. Mortu and Kyrus intervene with a few sharp strokes of Mortu’s axe, and in gratitude, the caravan invites the duo to their White City. Within moments of their arrival, Mortu and Kyrus are swept up in the dark secrets beneath the foundations of the City.

Following in the well-worn path of sword-and-sorcery duos inspired by Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Mortu and Kyrus split the questing responsibilities in the traditional way. When presented with a mystery, Kyrus, as befitting a trickster or a thief, discovers why the mystery happens, while dour Mortu is called in to make sure the mystery ends. But Mortu is more in the mold of Conan than Fafhrd, a barbarian suspicious of civilization, not infatuated with it. Kyrus is a blend of Eastern and Western monk archtypes, a true believer, but a wandering monk nonetheless, full of the trickery and misfortune that such monks herald. Laudably, Hernstrom does not take the easy route and make Kyrus a hypocrite. Read More

We’ve shown you the creators. We’ve explained the concept. We’ve shown you the artwork. With only a week left, now it’s time to start showing you the story. A new page will be introduced every day. You can rest assured, and you will see, that The Legend Chuck Dixon is living up to his well-deserved laurels.

Back the Alt-Hero: Q campaign here.

The return of the Sellsword is going to be SAVAGE.

Thrust into a conspiracy of kings and bandits, he fights for what is right.

Taking place years before Brutal and Fierce, the Sellsword is enticed into joining with a secret band of rogues and stealing back the treasures of a kingdom! But can he tell the difference between friends and foes?

And when the fate of nation hangs in the balance can he choose the right thing at the cost of his very soul?

SAVAGE is an action-packed adventure in the vein of classic pulp fiction and epic fantasy. If you like gory battles, larger-than-life characters, fearsome warriors and witty humor, then you’ll love James Alderice’s gritty tale.

From the transcript of the Arkstream:

I’m excited about this. We we have another crowdfunding campaign that’s going on, that’s been very successful, Alt-Hero: Q, some of you are probably already backing that one, but Ember War is significant in a different way. It’s significant because this is the first time that a major science fiction writer is doing a comics-related crowdfunding and so this is potentially quite significant. Just like the original Alt-Hero, this is an experiment. The magic of crowdfunding is not that you can get people to give you a lot of money if you’re lucky, if you happen to hit the right sweet spot at the right time, the magic of crowdfunding is that it tells you where the demand is ahead of time.

And you know, we weren’t that serious about getting into comics originally. I’d had people lobbying me for three years to do it, and finally I said, “okay fine,  we’ll see if there is genuine demand for it.” As it turned out as you know there turned out to be ten times more demand for it than we ever imagined, and so this is a test, this is an experiment. If you like military science fiction, if you want to see more military science fiction turned into graphic novels, it would be a very,  very good idea to support the Ember War campaign even if you’re not familiar with either Richard Fox or the Ember War Saga. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed because it is a really good story.