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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 […]

Over at Tor.com, Judith Tarr weighs in on a well trod discussion point: Every year or two, someone writes another article about a genre that women have just now entered, which used to be the province of male writers. Usually it’s some form of science fiction. Lately it’s been fantasy, especially epic fantasy (which strikes […]

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 […]