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January – 2016 –

Monthly Archives:


Current fantasy by the big publishers can be roughly divided into either estrogen or scatology. Estrogen is female oriented and about getting in touch with your feelings.  See Carries Vaugn’s “Strife Lingers in Memory” for a prime example. Scatology is the obsession with body fluids and functions with the idea that it is “keeping it […]

Maria Popova at Brain Pickings has uncovered a fascinating piece by H. P. Lovecraft: the advice he gave to aspiring writers in the January 1920 issue of The United Amateur. His praise for the King James Bible is especially striking: It is also important that cheaper types of reading, if hitherto followed, be dropped. Popular magazines inculcate […]

The Bubble Dwellers by Ross Rocklynne appeared in the Fall 1945 issue of Planet Stories and was one of two ‘novels’ in this issue. The Bubble Dwellers was definitely one of those fantastic stories that makes the pulps worth checking out.  An evil hypnotist, strange humanoids with a mystic connection to their once glorious past, […]

Jon Peterson’s research over at Playing at the World has lead him to uncover the source of not just D&D’s iconic fireball spell, but also the root of a great many of the Tolkienesque elements that were incorporated into the earliest editions of the game. As he reports there: I was aware of the existence […]

Dirk Loechel’s highly entertaining Science Fiction Spaceships comparison chart is worth a look: Loeschel included as many ships that he could think of that are listed at between 100 meters and 24,000 meters, and here’s what I see when look for some of my favorite ships from books: There aren’t many portrayed.

Anybody following Blog Watch, Sensor Sweep, or my Top Gaming Blog posts from 2014 and 2015 will know that some of the best blogging on the internet is done by guys that design for and comment on the GURPS role-playing system. It always seemed like one of the internet’s better kept secrets to me, but that’s […]

In the last article I wrote for Wargame Wednesday I looked at what Wargaming is like as a hobby and today I am going to share a little bit of what makes a good Wargaming environment. Across the whole span of Wargames there are certain commonalities, things you can expect and things that many look […]

Immensely Sad (The Chronicle of Higher Education) Prominent Medieval Scholar’s Blog on ‘Feminist Fog’ Sparks an Uproar — “It’s too easy to take his blog and point out everything that is wrong with it and label him a misogynist and walk away from it like it is a car wreck. He was symptomatic of a […]

Happy Superversive Tuesday, everybody! Today, we’re going to do something completely different: We’re going to talk about the little known sequel to that children’s sci-fi classic, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. What? Not sci-fi? Nonsense. Of course it is. Gum that changes flavor so that it tastes exactly like a full meal? A special machine […]

When Andrew Liptak at Kirkus Reviews reported that A. Merritt was influenced by the most significant female science fiction author between Mary Shelly and C. L. Moore, this was something that I had to go see for myself. Merritt produced some of the strangest stories ever made. The chance to see what made his career even […]

The infinite stair from Zork III! Extreme daddy issues! Maximum offense for all squares everywhere! Dudes in distress and the women who solve physics problems to save them! Marriage and male privilege in a post-scarcity future! Yes, friends, it’s time to take a look at the short fiction of today’s science fiction and fantasy scene. No […]

David Hartwell died a few days ago due to an accident that resulted in a cerebral hemorrhage. He was an editor who seemed to be intertwined with my own journey through science fiction and fantasy for the past 35 years. Hartwell edited the Timescape Imprint of Pocket Books from 1981 to 1984. I remember that […]