Blog Archives


Daddy Warpig’s recent posts are generating a great deal of discussion. Well, discussion may not be quite the right word for it. As Alex has noted, it reads more like an all out brawl set to the fight music from season two of classic Star Trek. People are triggered. Cherished illusions are being mauled before their […]

You know the story. In the early days of science fiction, nobody really cared about getting the science right. But then John Campbell came along and changed all that, and a Golden Age ensued. It’s bunk. Science fiction authors were concerned with scientific accuracy even in the bad old days. And there were plenty of readers cruising […]

Rampant Coyote has yet another account of how what he’d heard about the pulps just didn’t stack up to his own reading experiences: As I first started digging into the history of the pulps, the story I heard was that these were a training ground for genre fiction writers. They got their start in the […]

 The Worm Ouroboros Back in the day, ere ever Appendix N was penned by Gary Gygax, the lover of works of fantastic fiction was starved. Paper shortages in World War Two had killed off magazines catering to weird tales of oriental splendor, monsters and wizards and deeds of derring-do, and older books venturing into the […]

There’s bit of a push right now for some of us to moderate our tone. The fear is that we’re going drive away potential readers… at the very time when this blog is having it’s best month ever in terms of traffic. The concern is that we might lose our rep for being builders… at […]

Campbellian Science Fiction stories—alternately “men with screwdrivers” or Blue SF—are provably inferior to the Fantasy & Science Fiction stories of the Pulps. Campbell is the Silver Age, the Pulps the Golden Age. This is not because the writers and editors of the Silver Age sucked. They had talent, skill, and imagination in abundance. Unfortunately, what […]

Strong opinions piss people off. Strong opinions, expressed forcefully, piss people off even more. To those offended, I say this: Campbell, confreres, and successors have—for seventy-nine years—pumped out self-serving propaganda that paints the Pulps as worthless. Constant recitation of a litany of calumnies has succeeded in erasing not only the virtues of the Pulps, but […]

Here’s the Great Myth of the Golden Age of Science Fiction: “Science Fiction sucked until the coming of John W. Campbell and the Big Three—Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein. Together they swept away the puerile garbage of the Pulps and brought about Science Fiction’s Golden Age.” This is, not to put too fine a point on it, […]

WRIGHT ON: Lost Works The Real Buck Rogers II Let us visit the lost and neglected works of the golden age of science fiction pulps or the silver age of pre-Tolkien fantasy, and see the futures as once they were.  AIRLORDS OF THE HAN. by Philip Francis Nowlan is the second half of the seminal Buck […]

Here is the narrative: Science Fiction was a tiny genre, largely ignored by the general public, a niche of a niche, only appealing to teenage boys… until Star Wars. Then, it got big. Star Wars blew up so big, they had to coin new terms to describe it: summer blockbuster. It was so big, it […]

WRIGHT ON: Lost Works The Real Buck Rogers Inspired by the Appendix N columns of Jeffro Johnson, and by the gift by a generous fan of a complete collection of the Ballantine ‘Adult Fantasy’ line edited by Lin Carter, I would like to invite, in this and future columns, the readers here at the Castalia […]

Anne M. Pillsworth and Ruthanna Emrys over at have covered A. Merritt’s “The Woman of the Wood” and their reaction is I think indicative of just how far contemporary fantasy has strayed from the older styles. They look at this story and they have no idea how to categorize it. It’s that different from […]