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Blog Archives


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. […]

Crime Fiction (Vintage Pop Fictions): The Snake, published in 1964, is the eighth of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels. It is a kind of sequel to The Girl Hunters and you absolutely have to read The Girl Hunters before reading The Snake. Some further explanation is however required. Between 1947 and 1952 Spillane wrote six […]

Pulp (Pulp Flakes): There’s visible improvement in the January 1942 issue of Black Mask. More pages, for a start. 128 pages excluding the covers, and a readable font. There are nineteen pages of ads, so actual fiction is around 112 pages. One more story than the Ellsworth era issue we saw recently. The price is the same, fifteen […]

Pulp (Pulp Flakes): Last week we saw how the competition was hurting Black Mask during Fanny Ellsworth’s editorial reign. And hinted that it might need a bigger backer. That backer was Popular Publications, a phenomenon created by Harry Steeger and Harold Goldsmith, who had started with four titles and a combined print run of 400,000 copies. Authors (Sprague de Camp Fan): […]

Fiction (Goodman Games): Linwood Vrooman Carter was born on June 9th, 1930 in St. Petersburg, Florida. In the august company of his fellow Appendix N authors, Lin Carter is a figure both of high esteem and some controversy. As an editor and critic, he is indispensable, most notably for his role in editing the landmark Ballantine […]