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April – 2016 –

Monthly Archives:


Raven Daegmorgan has delivered a top grade rant that will be of interest to fans of old style fantasy: …Elves in modern fantasy fiction suck — nigh every depiction of them post-Tolkien, in that they are not portrayed as otherwordly, supernatural, whimsical, fickle and dangerous others. That is, they are not fey, they are far too human…. […]

Cosmic Yo-Yo by Ross Rocklynne appeared in the Summer 1945 issue of Planet Stories. The Cosmic Yo-yo is a fairly short Blue-collar space romance by Ross Rocklynne.  This one was panned a bit in the letters to the editor in the following issue, partly because of its rather silly premise, but I actually really liked […]

Congratulations to the many Castalia House authors, columnists, and editors that have been nominated for a Hugo this year. Here is the complete list: “Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X) “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X) “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There […]

Appendix N (MPRNews) Frodo, Bilbo, Kullervo: Tolkien’s Finnish adventure — “Those expecting a typical Tolkien story will be unsettled by Kullervo: He is physically ugly, angry, destructive and uncontrollable. Raised as a prisoner of his father’s murderer, Kullervo survives all attempts to kill him and ruins every task he is given. Sold into slavery and mistreated by […]

One reason I value wargames is to stay sharp: Wargames require a lot of mental energy and processing power to play competitively. Even casually, there are a large number of variables and connections to make, moves to foresee and plan for, calculation of odds and unlocking possibilities. It’s exciting in the same way as rock […]

Maybe it’s just my evangelical Christian upbringing, but what Protestants call the “Intertestamental Period” has always been kind of fascinating to me. As a young’un, all I knew was that the Bible stopped for a while and then started up again; as a seminarian, I’ve got a way better grasp of what went on then, […]

When the subject of Appendix N comes up, people almost invariably turn toward the question of what more recent fantasy belongs on the list. Certainly, several people have made the case that Clark Ashton Smith should have been included in the first place. Many are irked that C. L. Moore was excluded as well. And no […]

A Miracle Of Rare Device: Tim Powers’ The Anubis Gates Tim Powers writes Secret History Hard Fantasy. He does extraordinary amounts of research for his novels and uncovers strange, inexplicable events that really happened and then builds a story out of explaining why. That sounds very dry and intellectual when I say it like that, […]

In the 1960s, Warren Magazines revolutionized comic books. Using the 8 ½ x 11 inch size with black & white interiors, the company side skirted the comic books code. Horror returned with the success of Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. I can remember issues of the magazines making the rounds on the bus ride home from […]

Assault on a City by Jack Vance appeared in the 1974 collection Universe: 4. I’m doing something a bit different this week; circumstances have kept me from having time to hit the pulp stack but having seen a few articles on the Sensor Sweep mentioning the rapey nature of some of Vance’s characters and the questioning […]

The recent discussions about “why we can’t talk about rpgs” have touched on some of the history of role-playing. One watershed moment that changed, fundamentally, how role-playing games are discussed (both within games and in the general public) cannot be overstated. Just as Dr. Frederick Wertham, with the blessing of academia and a concerned public, […]

The internet has been positively on fire with great material on wargaming the past couple of weeks here. Check it out: GMT Games now has Twilight Struggle up on Steam. This is the war game that very nearly burned down Board Game Geek– and it’s now available on the PC or Mac! If you want […]