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It’s happened before. I get an old solitaire module for Tunnels & Trolls. I try it three times and get brutally destroyed very quickly every time. Then I run it for one of my kids and they just go through it like it’s nothing. Naked Doom is especially brutal, though. It opens up with your character […]

David C. Smith presents the first non-fiction piece in Swords and Sorcery II, and it’s a beauty. There exists a massive amount of scholarship on Robert E. Howard, his life, his history, and his work, and with very few exceptions (see: Damon Knight’s spiteful and amateur analysis), the analysts agree that Howard’s work conveys a […]

The superversive conversation at the moment has more or less centered around two topics (things tend to move in cycles; we’ll move on eventually): What makes a good “strong female character” The connection between superversive and pulp I’m not going to rehash that conversation; if you want to see the relevant posts, try these, and […]

One of the strangest pieces of criticism on Robert E. Howard was an essay called “Broadswords and Cardboard Barbarians” by Gary Hoppenstand from a small press publication called Starwind (Spring 1976). Gary Hoppenstand edited the small press magazine, Midnight Sun in the middle 1970s. Hoppenstand published Karl Edward Wagner in Midnight Sun within the first […]

Miracle Town by William F. Temple appeared in the October 1948 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories. Miracle Town gives off the sort of vibe you get from those more whimsical episodes of the Twilight Zone. It uses some scientific jargon and philosophy to fuel its magical and miraculous narrative; the implausible science (which is actually […]

You know the type. It’s the kind of story that takes a crazy, dream-logic premise and runs with it. The most famous example is “Scanners Live in Vain” by Cordwainer Smith. “Martel was angry. He did not even adjust his blood away from anger.” And then there’s “Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall” by Frank […]

“Campbell saw man as a tool-making animal.”-Brian W. Aldiss Brian W. Aldiss (born 1925) edited some of my favorite science fiction anthologies. I have read a little bit of Aldiss’ fiction but not much. I do respect the guy because he was in the British Army in Burma in World War 2 in Gen. William’s […]

The Square Pegs by Ray Bradbury appeared in the October 1948 Issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories. The Square Pegs is an idea piece that taunts us with what it could have been but was not. It may be one of the scariest Bradbury stories I’ve read, though it’s not a horror story. It left me […]

Readers familiar with the Pulp Revolution have certainly by now heard that with the death of the pulps, many genres fell out of favor. Hero pulps, sword and sorcery, and planetary romance have all declined from the heyday of the 1930s, often replaced entirely by other expressions of fantasy and science fiction. Yet as we […]

Sam J. Lundwall’s (born 1941) Science Fiction: What It’s All About was an Ace paperback from 1971. Lundwall is a native of Sweden who had a few novels published in the U.S. by Donald Wollheim first at Ace and then at D.A.W. The book is presented as a sort of beginner’s guide of getting some […]

I’m hesitant to review this show, because anyone who tries to find it is in for a lot of frustration. It’s unbelievably obscure. I saw it on a Chicago television station when I was a kid. I spent years searching for it, and came up with nothing but a few tantalizing hints. I don’t remember […]

Morgan reviewed the first volume of Swords of Steel back in February of this year.  The second volume was released in 2016, and it provides an excellent chance to analyze each of the twelve stories as part of Castalia House’s on-going effort to review the wealth of short fiction being produced by small and independent […]