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Leigh Brackett is something of a staple here at Castalia House and for the Pulp Revolution crowd at large, but I must admit it’s taken me quite a while to get to her stuff. I’ve seen Alex’s reviews, of course, and I’ve noted her constant exclusion by the “women have historically been excluded from SFF!!1” […]

If you run across one of Barry Sadler’s Casca books you could do worse than picking up a copy. Casca is a Roman legionnaire that had the misfortune to draw duty on the wrong day and was assigned to the crucifixion detail for Jesus and two thieves. His  losing streak continues with a low dice roll […]

We conclude our discussion of the influence of pulp on Philip Jose Farmer with a look at his Wold Newton family. In Tarzan Alive, Farmer links his favorite British lord to dozens of fictional characters, many from the pulps, including Sherlock Holmes, Bulldog Drummond, The Shadow, Sam Spade, Nayland Smith of Dr. Fu-Manchu fame, James Bond, Professor […]

Tarzan as imagined by Edgar Rice Burroughs is a vivid hero that epitomizes full-blooded adventure and influenced generations of writers.  The Tarzan of Jose Philip Farmer is better; the ultimate, indomitable hero and my favorite fictional character. As we noted in last week’s column, Farmer was utterly fascinated with Tarzan and wrote several different pastiches […]

It’s often been asked what later science fiction writers the pulp masters influenced.  I wager there were many, even when it’s not directly obvious from the works themselves.  For instance, the adventurousness of Heinlein’s stories and his classic heroes remind me strongly of the best pulp authors. But speculation aside, of all the great science […]

My series of conversations with Cirsova authors concludes with Michael Tierney.  Anyone doubting the abundance of great science fiction, fantasy and even horror needs to get acquainted with the Cirsova crew.  I wish I had more time to interview all of the Cirsova team but look forward to exploring the stories of the authors I missed. A […]

I don’t profess to be an expert on the excellent Robert E Howard.  In fact, it was over two decades after Conan the Barbarian became a favorite character of mine that I read Howard’s stories about the Cimmerian!  My first exposure to the pulp titan was in the form of Saturday morning cartoon Conan the […]

Last week, I wrote an observation about Lovecraft’s works.  In the comments, several readers mentioned The Shadow over Innsmouth, a tale I had embarrassingly not read at the time.  I rectified this error soon after. And wow, what an amazing story!  An imaginative gem from beginning to end, with steadily mounting tension, an inspired explanation to the […]

This edition of the Cirsova Author Series features a Q&A with Kurt Magnuski, author of Othan, Liberator published in in Cirsova #3. Othan returns in Othan, Vandal, with the release of Cirsova #6 Before I get on topic I ask for tourist suggestions for visitors to Chicago but we quickly get to discussing Kurt’s work, […]

Like most here, I’m a fan of HP Lovecraft’s stories.  The imagination is astounding and the description vivid and memorable.  However, when I first read these tales a few years ago, I was most impressed by Lovecraft’s technical writing prowess.  He had a better, more articulate command of language than many serious dramatic writers possess, […]

Appendix N entry Hiero’s Journey by Sterling Lanier is one of my favorite books.  A thrilling masterpiece of fast-paced creativity and high adventure from start to finish. Its protagonist is Hiero Desteen, a powerful telepathic Christian warrior riding a “morse”, a mutation of a moose and a horse, in a post-nuclear wasteland filled with oddities, horrors, and […]

Certain writers evoke a time and place in an especially vivid manner.  To the point that a reader gains a genuine sense of familiarity with a setting completely alien to his own experience.  Its sights, sounds, and way of life.  One might imagine this is the province of serious dramas, but I have come across it […]