Blog Archives

s

For elves, I’ll phrase the question differently from the orc post: What is your preferred mental image of elves, or which version of elves in folklore appeals to you? I like John Wright’s return of elves from a higher order of being into the feared and menacing folk from ancient folk tales (from “before Tolkien and Gygax […]

Since Jeffro Johnson renewed interest in Dungeons & Dragons’ Appendix N as an indispensable source for understanding both gaming and fantasy, there has been an on-and-off search for similar lists for those of us more inclined to spacesuits and rayguns instead of armor and swords. The most likely source, the Traveller RPG, was not as forthcoming about […]

Which interpretation of orcs across all media comes closest to your mental picture as your read Tolkien’s books? I’m not a fan of Peter Jackson’s orcs and Uruk-hai, especially the Moria scenes in which orcs are climbing down columns and walls like so many spiders. Researching SPI’s board game, War of the Ring, I came […]

Like many, I too thought that the French adaption of Michael Moorcock’s Elric would not fulfill the promised four book run. And although I found the first volume too disturbing for my comfort yet still among the best comics I have had the privilege to review, I am glad to see the wintry third volume finally hit shelves […]

On an Earth far enough in the future to be depopulated and recolonized by the survivors from other worlds, nine castles are the sum total of civilization. Through technological marvels and a hierarchy of subordinate slave species, humanity rules its home world as feudal lords. Occasionally, the younger men would break from the unceasing pageantry […]

In 1930, safe from the predations of Hugo “the Rat” Gernsback, future Appendix N author Jack Williamson returned to Amazing Stories, closing out the year with “The Cosmic Express.” In that far future, a pulp writer and his wife, Eric and Nada, are caught up in the nostalgia for more primitive times.  Eric writes hit […]

We need to have a conversation about Lovecraft. Specifically, we need to do away with the idea that talking about Lovecraft signals any sort of deeper understanding of the masters of pulp fiction. In the grand scheme of things, HP Lovecraft’s name serves as a talisman for basic-tier fans of the pulps. His writings are […]

Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné has enjoyed a storied history in comics. First portrayed in a 1971 bande dessinee, Elric next appeared in America alongside Conan the Barbarian. Over the next forty-five years and more, he has continued to wander from issue to issue and publisher to publisher to the delight of comics readers. Most recently, Elric […]

One of the appeals of writing science fiction is that it doesn’t have to be tethered to anything in our current world.  Presumably then, one doesn’t have to do any research or have any prior knowledge in coming up with a fictional society, planet, or universe.  Forget having to spend months of research to write […]

It’s extraordinarily difficult to write an effective work of horror or suspense, especially one that will be appreciated for generations to come.  Most of the audience has seen dozens of slasher films featuring killings and dismemberment in gruesome detail.  One can hardly shock them with that.  Moreover, write a work with fantastical elements and a […]

It’s January 22, which makes this HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBERT E. HOWARD DAY! Happy Eleventy Second birthday, Mr. Pulp Grandmaster. Howard was, it must be said, one of the greatest and most influential F&SF writers of all time, right up there with Edgar Rice Burroughs and A. Merritt. He wrote dozens of poems and hundreds of […]

Appendix N: The Literary History of Dungeons & Dragons is a detailed and comprehensive investigation of the various works of science fiction and fantasy that game designer Gary Gygax declared to be the primary influences on his seminal role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons. It is a deep intellectual dive into the literature of SF/F’s past that […]