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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 […]

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, […]

As noted in a recent article, Sax Rohmer managed to write one of the greatest pulp novels ever, The Insidious Dr.Fu-Manchu, as well as one of its worst, Brood of the Witch-Queen.  While I examined the former in-depth, I didn’t do so for the latter. Well, I believe any negative opinion of a book deserves a full […]

At first glance, it seems strange that Arthur Henry Ward, writing under the pseudonym Sax Rohmer, doesn’t garner more attention on this blog.  After all, he wrote the enormously entertaining, successful, and influential The Insidious Dr.Fu-Manchu. But upon further reflection, it makes sense.  The book in question is not fantasy or science fiction.  And as we […]

Over at SuperversiveSF, Declan Finn wades into the strong female characters debate with a roundup of good and bad examples from film and television. The resulting discussion is both brisk and entertaining: Jeffro: Strong Female Characters…? Eh, no thanks. Let’s see some Feminine Female Characters. That’d really be something new! Declan Finn: [Arched Brow] You don’t […]