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January – 2017 – - Page 2

Monthly Archives:


The one thing you can count on is that pretty much anything the Poindexter types sneer at is going to be uncommonly good. That’s no joke. Everything they hate is awesome: male power fantasies, colonialism, Madonna-Whore complexes, the failure to pass the Bechdel test, cultural appropriation…. Seriously, if you just make sure to do all […]

Spend enough time with anime, manga, or JRPG video games, and you’ll encounter the seven secrets of the school, a set of mysteries used to awe transfer students. Upon further investigation, each of these secrets is usually revealed to be nothing more than an exaggerated rumor or a strange trick of sound and light. But […]

Walk through the aisles of any Barnes & Noble and you see the same cover concept over and over: a brilliantly dressed female hero, standing around… looking cool! It is the very antithesis of dynamism. Nothing is at stake. Nothing is happening. There is no danger. There is nothing to thrill or titillate. Decades ago, […]

Victory Games’ NATO: the Next War In Europe was an excellent change of pace. While each turn had a rather lengthy order of play with dozens of phases, it actually played out quite smoothly! We made a few mistakes our first time through, but it still ended up being a fun and fast-paced strategic level […]

Post-Christian authors struggle so when it comes to contrast. The bad guys are just misunderstood or else they had a hard time when they were growing up. The good guys…? Their flaws go well beyond quirks and shortcomings and veer into outright psychological damage. But who are you going to root for in a clash […]

I will go on record saying that I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged more than I didn’t. Ayn Rand and I wouldn’t see eye to eye in a number of areas, and I have a feeling she’d hold me in contempt in a few other areas, given her aggressive atheism and disdain for charity and my relatively […]

The divide between what readers are supposed to like and what they actually like can be no clearer than it is in the career of A. Merritt. The most popular story of all time according to the readers of Wonder Stories magazine back before the Campbellian Revolution had fundamentally transformed science fiction? The Moon Pool […]

As great as swords & sorcery is, it is not the field to enter if you’re looking for a way to put your wife and kids through college. The real story of how Swords Against Darkness editor Andrew J. Offutt made ends meet would come as a shock even to his own son– who only found […]

WRIGHT ON: Lost Works The Real Buck Rogers Inspired by the Appendix N columns of Jeffro Johnson, and by the gift by a generous fan of a complete collection of the Ballantine ‘Adult Fantasy’ line edited by Lin Carter, I would like to invite, in this and future columns, the readers here at the Castalia […]

Today is the 111th birthday of Robert E. Howard. Born in Peaster, Texas and lived in Cross Plains for his adult life. He died too young at age 30. There are three transformational writers for fantasy fiction of the 20th Century: Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, and J. R. R. Tolkien. Almost all fantasy […]

I called it. I don’t remember the exact date, and someone else gave it the absolutely apt name of “Pulp Revolution”, but I was the first to prophesize that the book in your hands (then a still-incomplete series of web posts) would spark a literary movement. People (among them the august author of this eldritch […]

Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories and Edgar Rice Burrough’s tales of Barsoom were my primary entry points into the world of pulp SFF over the past couple of years. For me, the blood-pumping action and arguably unparalleled prose of the old masters are but one source of pleasure. Perhaps equally gratifying is the insight gained in […]