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Sensor Sweep: Forest Oracle, Things Better Left Alone, Indiana Jones 5 –

Sensor Sweep: Forest Oracle, Things Better Left Alone, Indiana Jones 5

Monday , 26, June 2023 Leave a comment

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 cents, a nickel more than Dime Detective or Munsey’s Detective Fiction. It’s still being printed at the Cuneo Press, Chicago.

Fantasy (Sprague de Camp Fan): I have been trying to think of a project to contribute more to our Fellowship when I decided to re-read The Compleat Enchanter. This 341-page SF Book Club edition came out in 1975. I first read it when I was 20 years old. I am now 67 years old, so I was a little worried. Would the magic still be there? Would I still enjoy the stories, or have I changed too much?

The magic was still there! I enjoyed the stories as if it was just yesterday when I received them in the mail. Here goes:

Firearms (Special Ops): This article compares steel and brass ammunition, discussing their differences in cost, reliability, and performance, emphasizing the advantages of brass ammo in terms of superior sealing, reloadability, and corrosion resistance, while acknowledging the affordability and potential drawbacks of steel ammo.

Westerns (Comics Radio): Jim Kipp (Randolph Scott) is a ruthless bounty hunter and the titular character in 1954’s The Bounty Hunter. One person he meets says his reputation is that he’d bring his own grandmother in for the reward. Kipp doesn’t deny this, but what makes him an interesting protagonist are the hints that he’s not completely ruthless. At one point during the movie, he’s shot at by a young man who incorrectly thinks Kipp is after him. Kipp disarms the man, then lets him go.

RPG (Grognardia): According to the scheme I laid down long ago in Ages of D&D, the year 1984 is the start of the game’s Silver Age. The hallmarks of this age are a concern for “dramatic coherence” and “believable” worlds, as well as an esthetic of “fantastic realism.” Despite this, Carl Smith’s AD&D module, The Forest Oracle, released during the first year of this new era, possesses none of these hallmarks, being instead, by turns, mundane, nonsensical, and – worst of all – dull.

RPG ( Zenopus Archives): Things Better Left Alone is an adventure written by Bill Barsh and published by his company, Pacesetter Games, based on four original dungeon maps drawn by J. Eric Holmes, as well as the associated keys, which are mostly written directly on the maps but also include one additional page of notes.

Swords (Guardian): A bronze sword more than 3,000 years old , which is so well-preserved that it “almost still shines”, has been unearthed in southern Germany, officials say. The Bavarian state office for the preservation of historical monuments (BLfD) said the sword, which is believed to date back to the end of the 14th century BC — the middle of the bronze age — was found during excavations last week in Nördlingen, between Nuremberg and Stuttgart.

Cinema (The Book Bond): This summer sees two important James Bond 40th anniversaries. The first is the anniversary of the Roger Moore Bond film Octopussy, released in June 1983. I loved Octopussy when I saw it that summer and I still love it today. It will always be one of my favorite James Bond films. Remember when Bond movies provided fun and fantasy? Long live Octopussy!

Comic Books (Marvel Entertainment): In one week, Stan Lee, an Original documentary, begins streaming June 16 on Disney+

Books (Black Gate): I almost skipped this estate sale, which was held on September 22, 2022. The meat of the description posted online was model railroad items, with a side dish of old radios and parts. The few pictures that showed books were not particularly encouraging. Typical of estate sale companies, there was not enough detail in the pictures to read the title or author on the spines or covers of the few books shown.

Fiction (Comics Radio): In the 1960s and ’70s, novelizations of TV shows or tie-in novels (featuring original stories based on shows) were very popular. In a time before recording, streaming and DVD sets, this was the only way (outside of reruns) to visit with characters you liked after the episodes had aired.

Fiction (Silver Key): Keith Taylor was one of the most talented authors to come out of the “second wave” of sword-and-sorcery in the mid-late 70s. Upon a re-read of his wonderful novel Bard I was inspired to get a hold of Keith for a two-part Q&A for DMR Books.

Cinema (Nerdrotic): Indiana Jones 5 is D.O.A. Disney, Lucasfilm, and their pals in the Legacy Media Complex are killing Fandom.

Fiction (Wendigoon): The Greatest, Terrible Book Ever Made – The Story too Disturbing to be a Movie: Blood Meridian

Firearms (Monster Hunter Nation): My regular readers know I’m a bit of a gun nut (understatement of all time right there) and that I like to take at least two or three different classes every year to keep learning and improving. Over the last few years I’ve had multiple instructors and shooters I respect make the same recommendation to take Gabe White’s class.

RPG (Wert Zone): Set in the same world as Pillars of Eternity (2015) and Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (2018), Avowed is a first-person game set in the Living Lands, an island located far to the north of the Eastern Reach and Deadfire Archipelago. The game will allow players to tailor their protagonist’s specialisation, with them able to use swords, pistols, magic or some combinationthereof. The game will also have companion characters, and the game’s first trailer introduces one of them, Kai, a Coastal Aumaua and former soldier turned adventurer.

C. S. Lewis (A Pilgrim in Narnia): Hello friends! I want to share what I have been up to in the last few weeks. Some folks will know that I have been working for about nine years on C.S. Lewis’ unfinished teenage Arthurian novel, “The Quest of Bleheris.” Each week in the Spring and Summer of 1916, a seventeen-year-old C.S. Lewis wrote a weekly letter to his best friend, Arthur Greeves. In these weekly epistles, Lewis included a chapter of an Arthurian romance he was working on. This 19,000-word unpublished manuscript was left incomplete after seventeen chapters, but is an evocative piece.

Fiction (Kairos): The Realm of Riachtan has long been at relative peace. There haven’t been any major wars or galactic-wide threats to shake up the norm for quite some time. That is all about to change, however, as whispers of Ragnarök are on the horizon! The veil that protects the multi-realms from the influence of Chaos is waning. Rumors speak of a disease striking at the heart of Yggdrasil, the Mother Tree, weakening the protection she gives the universe.

Art (DMR Books): Having achieved his threescore and ten, Don Maitz stands tall as one of the true Grand Old Men of SFF/weird art. A substantial list of his professional work can be found here. An in-depth biography can be found at Don’s website here. For those who don’t like hyperlinks, here’s a brief bio from the Illustration History website:

Tolkien (The Red Book): As the Elves were sundered following their awakening, so too were the race of Men. This video explores one branch of the race of Men; the Edain. What distinguishes them from other groups? Who exactly are the Folk of Bëor, Haleth, and Hador? What role did the Edain play in the First Age of Middle-earth and beyond?

Tolkien (The Cimmerian): The tale of Húrin’s wanderings has come down to us, primarily, in one volume, The War of the Jewels: The Later Silmarillion, edited by Christopher Tolkien. Christopher Tolkien traces the evolution of the saga from the “lost continuation” of “The Grey Annals” (an account of the First Age written by JRRT in the early 1950s) to a “substantial complex of writing” which seems to have been composed in the latter half of that decade.

Cinema (Swords and Schlock): Wow, I wonder what this is a rip-off of. Who cares, though – it’s got Sybil Danning and Lou Ferrigno. Interestingly, Danning was in another Seven Samurai rip-off three years earlier in Roger Corman’s Battle Beyond the Stars which is awesome and you should go watch it. This was one of the Italian sword & sandals movies that came out following the success of Conan the Barbarian which are usually pretty bad. We’ll see how this one holds up.

Art (DMR Books): The legendary artist, Sanjulian—known to his friends as Manuel Pérez Clemente—celebrated his eighty-second birthday today. That would be well worth applauding by itself, but Sanjulian is still painting great covers for the likes of Tales from the Magician’s Skull and Creeps. His, it seems, is a well-nigh immortal talent.

Cinema (Wert Zone): The film will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray, 4K and on-demand streaming on 15 August this year. Set more than a year after the end of the original Babylon 5 TV series, the movie sees John Sheridan, former commander of Babylon 5 and the newly-inaugurated President of the Interstellar Alliance, arrive on Minbar to take up his new role.

Science Fiction (Frank Ormond): This is another story picked by Leigh Brackett as one of the best in Planet Stories. “Duel on Syrtis” by Poul Anderson was published in 1951 and helped establish Anderson as a force in sci-fi and fantasy. Anderson is an author I’ve grown to love.

Science Fiction (M Porcius): Let’s crack open the February 1957 issue of F&SF to finish up Arthur C. Clarke’s 1956 collection of anecdotes about the human race’s first trip to the Moon, as related by the captain of the British component of the joint US-UK-USSR expedition, “Venture to the Moon.”

H. P. Lovecraft (Tentaclii): The Worlds of Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Artifacts and Legendary Lands (2022). 120 pages. Described as… “a bold attempt by Russian-speaking researchers to systematise and present to the public a digest of information about the unimaginable creations of” H.P. Lovecraft. And apparently the first in native translation, being said to be… “the first attempt” at such a book.

T.V. (Kairos): In the paranormal thriller genre, few franchises have captured the imagination of audiences like The X-Files. Its gripping tales of relentless investigations into high strangeness for the pursuit of truth have become iconic.

Crime Fiction (Rough Edges): As I’ve mentioned many times before, Lawrence Block is one of my favorite authors, and I’m glad that so much of the work from early in his career is available again. The latest Block collection, THE NAKED AND THE DEADLY, comes from Robert Deis and Wyatt Doyle at the Men’s Adventure Library, and it showcases some of Block’s earliest published work as well as some later yarns, too.

Horror (Horror Delve): In many ways, horror is the classic movie genre. 2022 marks a century since the release of F.W. Murnau directing Max Schreck in Nosferatu, which still has the power to send chills down the spine 100 years on. Some horrors draw from classic literature – think of how Washington Irving’s Sleepy Hollow and its Headless Horseman have been kept alive in the Halloween folklore of American popular culture by everyone from Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, to the 2013 Fox TV series, to The Simpsons having a headless Krusty in Treehouse Of Horror VI.

James Bond (Library Ladder): The James Bond films have had an enormous cultural impact over the past 60 years, but what about the books that inspired them? In their own way, Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels were similarly groundbreaking, giving the emerging spy fiction genre a sense of style and panache while also bringing its brutality out of the shadows.

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