Comic Books (Crom the Barbarian): Who is Crom the Barbarian? Crom the Barbarian was created in 1950 by Gardner F Fox and John Giunta. The Barbarian, Crom, is a small speed bump in comic book history. Gardner F. Fox and John Giunta take direct inspiration from the Robert E. Howard, Conan pulps. They pen out their version of Conan and call him, Crom!
Fiction (DMR Books): The third of Talbot Mundy’s Roman novels, Purple Pirate was serialized in Adventure magazine from May to October of 1935 and then published in book form by Appleton-Century at the end of that year. Set in the time of the founding of the Second Triumvirate in 43 BC, this story continues the adventures of Tros of Samothrace amid the war-torn chaos of a period where half a dozen factions fought for the control of Rome and the seas were stalked by pirate kings who harassed the Wolves of the Tiber when they could and plundered the rest of the world when they willed.
Fiction (Adventures Fantastic): Tanith Lee was born on this date, September 19, in 1947. She passed away in 2015. Lee wrote in a variety of genres, including fantasy, horror, and science fiction. She was highly prolific, and many of her short stories haven’t never been collected.
Until now. Immanion Press is collecting all of her work that hasn’t appeared in any of her collections. In observance of her birthday, I read two stories from the collection Strindberg’s Ghost Sonata and Other Uncollected Tales.
D&D (Skulls in the Stars): Time for another edition of Old School Dungeons & Dragons! I did soooooo many of these threads on twitter, I’m kinda amazed and appalled. Still have many to catch up on here…
DDA1: Arena of Thyatis (1990), by John Nephew. This more obscure module is one I’ve had in my collection for a long time, but only finally got around to reading once I started these threads!
Ian Fleming (M Porcius): 007 is back, here at MPorcius Fiction Log. You may recall that I thought that Moonraker, the third of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, was recycling some of the memorable parts of Casino Royale, the first–Bond gambling against a Soviet operative who claimed to have forgotten his past due to war-induced amnesia, and then unsuccessfully chasing this villain in a car after he had kidnapped a female British agent. Let’s hope that the fourth 007 adventure, Diamonds Are Forever, first printed in 1956, has some new ideas.
Comic Books (Bleeding Cool): Earlier this year, Marvel Comics picked up the Conan license and began publishing Conan and Conan-related comic books, based on the character created by Robert E Howard, just like they used to. And started putting Conan in The Avengers, which was new. But they aren’t stopping there, they are also creating new runs of comic books based on Howard’s characters Dark Agnes, Solomon Kane, and more. Again, just like they used to.
Science Fiction (Brian Niemier): Talk about a signal grace. No sooner do I publish a post on the need for a confident, masculine Christianity willing to engage the culture than a new science fiction genre rises to the challenge.
Not one, but two vocally Christian authors have stepped up to deliver something not seen since the heady days of the pulps: men’s adventure novels specifically informed by a Christian worldview.
Robert E. Howard (Howard History): While scanning through “The Eyrie,” the letters-to-the-editor pages in Weird Tales, I stumbled upon the following forgotten Howard letter. It doesn’t appear in any of the bibliographies, to the best of my knowledge, and has never been reprinted. How it has been missed for so long is anyone’s guess. The letter appears in the May 1926 issue, which hit the newsstands on April 1st, so Howard probably wrote it earlier in March.
Cinema (Black Gate): I had an open spot to take in a film I’d never seen before: a 35mm screening of the 1992 classic by Ringo Lam (Lam Ling-tung) Full Contact. Lam passed away late last year at only 63, and so Fantasia honoured him with a presentation of one of his greatest works. Written by Yin Nam, the movie’s about Jeff (Gou Fei in some translations, Ko Fei in others, played in any case by Chow Yun-Fat), a tough bouncer in Bangkok whose friend Sam Sei (Anthony Wong) went into debt to a loan shark to pay for Jeff’s mother’s burial.
Horror Fiction (Paul McNamee): Dover have reissued two hard-to-find horror collections by Joseph Payne Brennan. I’d been waiting to get a hold of THE SHAPES OF MIDNIGHT for a long time. Happy that NINE HORRORS AND A DREAM showed up, too.
These collections are a master class in writing short fiction. The stories contained in NINE HORRORS AND A DREAM are not flash fiction but with a few exceptions, they are short shorts. Brennan gets in, gets to the core of the tale, and gets out. The stories are lean and trim. The stories in THE SHAPES OF MIDNIGHT are slightly longer but still short overall.
Steampunk (Adventures Fantastic): David J. West (no relation) is a prolific writer of fantasy in a variety of subgenres. His work ranges from horror to sword and sorcery to weird western and everything in between. He publishes multiple books each year. The man is making the rest of us look bad setting an example to the rest of us by showing us what pulp speed looks like. Speaking of speed, In My time of Dying is a fast-paced weird western with steampunk elements that rushes along at a breakneck pace.
Science Fiction (John C. Wright): Over the last month, there’s been a concerted effort by identity-politics zealots in science fiction publishing to erase science fiction history in regards to the contribution of one of the most well-known editors of all time, John W. Campbell, whose work with Astounding Magazine shaped the field of science fiction as we know it today. Campbellian-style fiction became the standard with greats like Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov, and the legacy continues to this day.
Fantasy (Swords and Stichery): Throughout Hyperborea there are pockets & fully integrated populations of Deep Ones. They walk among mankind unnoticed and unchallenged. But there are rumors of older races of fish like men and aquatic peoples with gills who do not have the taint of the Deep Ones running through their veins nor hear the song of Tulu. Atlantis faced destruction & its colonies on ‘Old Venus’ & ‘Old Mars’ were their only hope of survival. Clark Aston Smith wrote about this in the Poseidonis cycle of stories.
Westerns (Western Fictioneers): Did you know that our own Western Fictioneers blog is #1 in the Top 20 Western Fiction Blogs, Websites and Newsletters to Follow in 2019? was surfing the net, as a writer will do, looking for new and interesting information on our favorite topic, and I came across this article. This gave me an idea for a useful blog post of my own, so I present my … Top 10 Old West Blogs, Websites and Newsletters (in no particular order):
Greyhawk (Boggswood): What can we say about this world? I imagine a place of ruin and desolation, where once prosperous towns are mere ruined piles or half flooded husks where a few poor fishermen eek out a living in the shadow of the ominous Coot.
The elves and dwarves have fled (or have they?), but the great elven forest remains, and has spread eastward, engulfing the abandoned ruins of Jackport.
Gaming (Ars Ludi): What do I mean by great player? Knowing the rules? Yeah that’s important if you’re teaching a game, but “rules mastery” is definitely not what I’m talking about. Someone who makes up cool stuff? Someone who talks in funny voices or has their character do amazing things? Naw, none of that. I mean, that stuff’s fine, but that ain’t it. When I cast my baleful gaze on someone and think “that’s a great player”, it’s because I can see that, deep down, they pay attention to the balance at the table.