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Blog Archives


D&D (Grognardia): Longtime readers may object that I’ve already done a Retrospective post on The World of Greyhawk. Pedantic as ever, I must reply that, while it’s true that I have indeed written a post about The World of Greyhawk, I have never written one about World of Greyhawk. n 1980, TSR published The World of […]

Myth (Dark Worlds Quarterly): Whether you call him Siegfried (in the German The Nibelungenlied) or Sigurd (the Völsunga saga, and the Poetic Edda), it doesn’t really matter. He fights the dragon Fafnir and wins. It is one of the classic myths that lies behind much of Sword & Sorcery. In the original tale, Siegfried is […]

RPG (Arbiter of Worlds): This week marks the 24th episode of my series of instructional videos about how to be a better gamemaster. In this week’s video, I discuss how to mash up your favorite RPG system with another system to make a unique hybrid game. Car Wars + Traveller yields Driver. Cyberpunk + Runequest […]

Tolkien (Quillette): Fantasy is more popular than ever, and this is the direct consequence of Tolkien’s success. But the genre has survived by adapting, and in an age of secularism, that process has involved evaporating the religious themes Tolkien cared about so deeply. Pulp (Pulp Flakes): Robert Reeves, the author of the Cellini Smith stories […]

Science Fiction (Fantasy Literature): Conquerors From the Darkness first saw the light of day as a $3.50 Holt, Rinehart and Winston hardcover in 1965, with a cover by Alan E. Cober. The novel was an expansion of Silverberg’s novella “Spawn of the Deadly Sea,” which had appeared in the April 1957 issue of Science Fiction […]

H. P. Lovecraft (Sprague de Camp Fan): Lovecraft: A Biography (Doubleday, 1975) was one of de Camp’s most ambitious works of nonfiction, and, at 175,000 words, one of his longest. It was originally even longer. De Camp notes in his autobiography that the manuscript was 200,000 words, which Doubleday considered too long, and was shortened […]

Art (Paperback Palette): Paul Alexander (1937-2021) was one of the premier ‘gadget’ illustrators in science fiction. This cover for Signet’s 1985 paperback edition of Isidore Haiblum’s The Hand of Ganz shows just how outstanding he was at creating believable mechanical hardware. From his eye-catching start in 1976, till his retirement in 1998, Alexander produced more […]

Gaming (Rageaholic): How the industry ruined itself by giving us what we want. Tolkien (Black Gate): I have decided to take “Discovering Tolkien,” the title of this series, as my means of entry into the subject. By doing so, I can only hope that I happen to make (if not “new”) interesting or sideways observations […]

Book Stores (Porpor Books): Earlier this week I made a road trip down south to the Knoxville area. I had a number of goals in mind, including a visit to the newly opened Bucc-ees in Sevierville. But I also took time to visit the McKay Books franchise in Knoxville. D&D (En World): Today (Thursday 27th […]

D&D (Walker’s Retreat): While I talk a lot about Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition, I have mentioned other games that are fit for purpose. Below is a short, not-exclusive, list. Traveller: I prefer the original edition, but I have yet to see anything disqualifying about the subsequent ones. Firearms (Tom Kratman): McNamara seems to […]

Review (With Both Hands): Hacking Galileo by Fenton Wood is many things: an adventure, a lament for an age now lost, even a manual for subverting obsolete technology. This book is for the adults who once were the spergy GenX and GenY kids who are the stars of this book. The kids who built radios […]

Pulp (Pulp Flakes): Last week, we saw Popular Publications was struggling to make money on Black Mask at the fifteen cent price point in 1946. How could they make it work? In May 1946, Black Mask went to publishing every other month, a sure sign of trouble. Detective Fiction Weekly had stopped publication in 1944. […]