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Novels set in the Roman Empire are popular, generally the period of the Julio-Claudian dynasty including Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. There are novels about Constantine and two about Julian the Apostate that I can think of off hand. I came across a novel about the Roman Emperor Aurelian, The Unconquered Sun. The average person […]

The historical novel binge continues with Richard O’Connor’s The Vandal. Doubleday published the hardback in 1960. Popular Library published the paperback in 1962. Richard O’ Connor was a writer who flourished in the 1950s and 60s. His books are a mix of biographies and fiction. Most deal with the Old West or the U.S. Civil […]

Issue number four of Men’s Adventure Quarterly is a “Jungle Girls” theme. I have reviewed previous issues of MAQ remarking on the incredible production quality. MAQ No. 4 is 144 pages with a mix of contents. Fifty-seven pages are devoted to Jane Dolinger. Dolinger was a travel writer from the 1950s to the 1970s. She […]

Best of collections are good introductions to a writer. In the case of The Best of Jerry Pournelle, it is a case of collecting various odds and ends, many I had not read before. This is a sort of memorial collection as it came out after his death in 2017. This is a big anthology […]

The sword-and-sorcery movie boom of the early 1980s did not last long. I was there and saw some of the movies when they came out. I knew when I saw Red Sonja in summer 1985 that it was over. Barbarians at the Gates of Hollywood by P. J. Thorndyke is an entertaining history and look […]

A FLOCK OF SHIPS by Brian Callison Reviewed by Richard Toogood             The year 1970 witnessed the salvaging of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s derelict S.S Great Britain from its ignominious scuttled fate in the Falkland Islands. But it also saw first publication of a novel which depicted the discovery of another lost vessel, similarly at a […]

Weirdbook is one of the great small press magazines from the golden age of the small press. The magazine petered out after 30 issues in 1997. The magazine returned in 2015 with a fairly regular schedule. Weirdbook #42 is a special issue of all fiction by John Shirley. The format is trade paperback, 6 x […]

A new fantasy anthology is Swords of Fire 2 from Rage Machine Books. The first Swords of Fire anthology was in 2010. Format is trade paperback, four novellas, 203 pages. G. W. Thomas is editor, cover by M. D. Jackson. The introduction is short and to the point. Editor G. W. Thomas discusses the format […]

The February 1957 issue of Science Fiction Adventures again featured three “complete new action novels.” The cover by William Bowman for Robert Silverberg’s “Slaves of the Star Giants” was not as good as the first issue. “Two Worlds in Peril” by James Blish and Phil Barnhart started the issue. James Blish might be best remembered […]

THE MIDNIGHT SEA by Ian Cameron Reviewed by Richard Toogood THE MIDNIGHT SEA opens, evocatively, on the bleak snow swept runway of Benbecula aerodrome in the Outer Hebrides. It closes upon an ebbing tide of the Kola Inlet. And dividing the two are twelve tumultuous days occupied with what Sir Winston Churchill described as “the […]

Original mass-market paperback books in its heyday is interesting. For the past two years, I have been learning some of that history belonging to a Men’s Paperback discussion group. Len Levison, Lou Cameron, Marvin Albert, Ralph Hayes, and Peter McCurtin are some of the writers from that period. Peter McCurtin (1929-1997) was Irish born, transplanted […]

Around fifteen years ago, there was an online magazine, Flashing Swords. One story that stayed with me was William King’s “Guardian of the Dawn.” The story stood above others in delivery. It featured Kormak, a member of an order that fights servants of darkness. “Guardian of the Dawn” was dark and moody with a strong […]

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