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July – 2015 –

Monthly Archives:


This marks the end of the Violent Resolution blog series here on Castalia House. I’d like to thank Jeffro for recommending me, and Castalia House for giving me a shot at publishing this series on the different facets of combat mechanics in my chosen systems. What did I take away from it all?

Lin Carter is better known for editing the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series, but this volume from 1974 is anything but a backward glance at the forgotten classics of fantasy. Rather than a mythic past, this tale is set in a far future where the twentieth century isn’t even a dim memory. And though this volume […]

Weird Tales magazine was dealt a double blow with the deaths of Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft. At the same time, Clark Ashton Smith cut his fiction production by more than half. Fortunately, two Lovecraft protégés stepped in to fill the gap in the late 1930s– Robert Bloch and Henry Kuttner. Robert Bloch […]

Tags are useful, but incomplete. To help you (and me) keep track of some of the ongoing themes, issues and analysis in science fiction, I present this  partial and ongoing index. I will update and link back to it whenever it is appropriate: Decline and Fall of Science Fiction Chatter Before the Coup: 1991 in […]

Billy Ray Smith (Anthony Edwards): [outraged] You just shot that man in the back! Van Leek (Lou Gossett, Jr.): [unperturbed] His back was to me.                                                             […]

This book is just plain strange. It’s more in line with older works like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz than anything even remotely like Dungeons & Dragons. And as much as anything, it reinforces the impression that the fantasy genre as we know it today simply did not exist in the nineteen-forties. It says […]

Planet Stories is one of the places where sword and sorcery fiction went undercover from the mid 1940s to the early 1950s. The magazine published unabashed adventure fiction with pseudo-scientific trappings. Space fantasy is a good term for this sort of fiction. Leigh Brackettt, Ross Rocklynne, Bryce Walton, Emmett McDowell, Albert de Pina, and Ray […]

If the eye could see the demons that people the universe, existence would be impossible. — Talmud, Berakhot, 6 So, over the past few weeks, we’ve gotten a good look at lies, damned lies and maybe even a few “statistics.” Now I’d like to return attention to The Man in the High Castle, with those […]

Jeremiah, one of our cover artists, comments on one of his pieces. The idea behind this piece will be immediately clear to anyone who has seen, or read, The Return of the King. The story includes a scene where a series of beacons warn of an impending invasion. This piece wasn’t meant to be a […]

While this book was published too late to have any impact on the design of the initial iteration of Dungeons & Dragons, it nevertheless merited being singled out in Gary Gygax’s list of inspirational reading that appeared in his 1979 AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide. Given the wide range of authors presented here, this collection preserves a snapshot […]

Otis Adelbert Kline was a middling writer for the pulp magazines in the 1920s and 1930s. He was present in the very first issue of Weird Tales, March 1923. His last story, co-written with Frank Belknap Long was in the July 1943 issue of Weird Tales. One of his novels from Weird Tales is “Tam, […]

“Don’t you see? It’s Galaxy-wide. It’s a worship of the past. It’s a deterioration – a stagnation!”- Foundation, Isaac Asimov There is a natural, even reasonable resistance among those who appreciate Blue SF to want to defend it, but not at the cost of honor. Science Fiction itself, however, indicates that this concept is not […]