Blog Archives

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It’s easy to forget nowadays, given the legion of predictable, played-out, repetitive, and boring works, but the mystery genre is relatively young.  The earliest notable entries were several Poe short stories featuring C. Auguste Dupin (1841-1844), Collins’ The Moonstone (1868), and Dickens’ unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870). The Dupin stories were the earliest and most influential, […]

Mary Shelley gets a lot of credit these days. It’s been increasingly said that her seminal work Frankenstein birthed the science fiction genre. I personally find the arguments unconvincing, as do some of my esteemed colleagues. Make no mistake – Frankenstein was a great tale, and I certainly enjoyed my read-through of it last year. But […]

While far from unknown, and especially popular in the first few decades after its release, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World is rarely mentioned as a pulp adventure.  And yet, released in 1912, the same year as Tarzan of the Apes and a year before The Insidious Dr.Fu-Manchu, it’s part of the same tradition.  Primarily known for Sherlock […]

The other day I was leafing through my Treasury of Fantasy (I love me some shortish SFF) and pondering what to read next. Phantastes, perhaps, or the King of Elfland’s Daughter? I was hungering for something a bit leaner, and given that it had been quite some time since I had partaken of anything Arthurian, I decided […]

A frequent criticism of older stories, pulp or otherwise, is that they feature a “damsel in distress”.  That the woman in question is nothing more than a prize to be won.  This is considered bad, and earnest leftist writers of today seek to correct this horrible injustice by creating “strong female protagonists”. Right away, one […]

When I mention bold fighting heroes laughing at death and their enemies, odious and powerful villains, non-stop action and adventure in picturesque settings, and brave, beautiful, worthy women, what writer comes to mind?  For most readers of this blog, it would be Robert E. Howard.  But another name fits equally well, that of the great […]

So far we’ve looked at examples of strong women characters in SFF from both hundreds of years ago (Bradamante) and 20 years ago (Kathryn Janeway). We also talked about Leigh Brackett, the Queen of Space Opera, who made some major waves during the 40’s and 50’s. So why do I keep coming back to this? […]

Say what you will about the pulps, but even their most dogged detractor would admit they produced damn memorable heroes.  Tarzan is one of the most influential characters of the 20th century. Conan is still iconic and beloved to this day.  And a slew of others, like The Shadow, Red Sonja, and Doc Savage had […]

There are two myths about scifi/fantasy that refuse to die and must need be repeatedly bludgeoned back down – that women have historically been excluded from the industry and that there is a serious lack of strong women characters in the genre. In my last post I talked about the Queen of Space Opera, Leigh Brackett, […]

Late one night last year, I was looking for a new book to read and discovered that there was another work by PJ Farmer added to Project Gutenberg, The Green Odyssey.  A few hours later, I had finished a swashbuckling classic, a full-blooded adventure to rank with the best of Howard, Stevenson, or Sabatini. And […]

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” […]

Last week was #SpaceOperaWeek, so I’m a bit late to the party. Still, any time is a good time for space opera! Being a relative newcomer to both Appendix N and the pulps is a mixed bag. On the one hand, oh man – what an embarrassment of riches! Of what I’ve been able to […]