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Sensor Sweep: April 4, 2022 –

Sensor Sweep: April 4, 2022

Monday , 4, April 2022 Leave a comment

D&D (Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog): For two years, countless people told me I was mad. They told me I was reading things into the rules that were just not there. They told me that NOBODY, not even Gygax himself played the game like what I claimed would happen if you just played a few rules that nobody has ever really paid much attention to.



Paleontology ( Prehistoric mammals bulked up, rather than develop bigger brains, to boost their survival chances once dinosaurs had become extinct, research suggests. For the first 10 million years after dinosaurs died out, mammals prioritized boosting their body size to adapt to radical shifts in the make-up of Earth’s animal kingdom, researchers say.

Hugos (John C. Wright): Unfortunately, the Hugo nomination and voting information is not always consistent– in a handful of cases, the total number of ballots in either the nominations or final vote are not explicitly stated, and therefore the total information is incomplete.  Nevertheless, the released data provides a useful look at just how many people have been voting for what since the year 2000.

Weird Tales (Wasteland & Sky): I wanted to cover Weird Tales because despite the history of the pulps, the revisionism they’ve been soaking in for nearly a century, the Fandom cult constructing a parallel mythology around their preferred reality, and the general malaise oozing from the industry, Weird Tales is a magazine that was an anomaly in a lot of ways, even for a market as strange as the pulps. We are going to discover just how true that is today.

Conan (Sprague de Camp Fan): “Jewels of Gwahlur” was first published in Weird Tales, March 1935. It was reprinted in King Conan, Gnome Press, 1953. It is the second story in Conan the Warrior, Lancer Books, 1967. Howard’s original title for the story was “The Servants of Bit-Yakin.”

Weapons (Iron Mammoth): When I was offered this book for review I was really unsure whether I would be that interested in the subject. However, on reflection, it occurred to me that when I was a young model builder I got real satisfaction from completing kits of landing craft, especially when incorporating them into a diorama.

Artist (DMR Books): We lost Bernie Wrightson five years ago yesterday. What a talent. What a titan. Within the field of horror art, he simply had no equal. While he was talented enough to do great renditions of Conan and Batman, Bernie’s firstest and truest love was horror.

Science Fiction (M Porcius): The December 1935 issue of Astounding includes three stories by Raymond Z. Gallun, two appearing under pseudonyms.  It’s like a sub rosa special Gallun issue!  Let’s see what these three tales are all about.  Plus, as a special bonus, let’s read the included story by Murray Leinster, even though editor Orlin F. Tremaine warns us it is a “delightful satire.”

James Bond (Vintage Pop Fictions): On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was the tenth of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and was published in 1963. By this time Fleming’s health was definitely failing. He would complete just one more Bond novel, You Only Live Twice, in 1964. Fleming had completed only the first draft of The Man with the Golden Gun when he died in 1964.

Heroes (Bounding Into Comics): The legend and mask of Zorro conjure up a distinct image of a lionhearted swordsman on horseback and dressed all in black, who underneath is Spanish nobleman and adventurer Don Diego de la Vega. Zorro is an Hispanic hero, one of the first, and that has stood true for a century. Meet William Lamport, a seventeenth-century red-haired Irishman of noble birth and expatriate with chronicles of espionage, standing up for truth, justice, and the underprivileged – and with a fair bit of swashbuckling to go along – were largely lost to history for a long time.

Robert E. Howard (Herald Democrat): Robert E. Howard, had a significant cultural impact in a short career and certainly put in a lot of work.  His publishing career lasted only 12 years, but he produced hundreds of stories.  Guided by his imagination and love for storytelling, Howard became a popular writer, whose influence was felt far beyond his short life.

Writing (Alexander Hellene): Are you a struggling writer? Do you want to break into the biz? Whether it be novels, screenplays, comic books or video games, I’ve got the know-how to help you become a professional word-slinger. And it’s simple. You don’t even need to understand the actual craft of writing as long as you stick to these ten tried-and-true points. Naturally, this will cost you $599.00 on Gumroad, but enter promo code JEMISIN and you’ll get 20 percent off (unless you’re whiten and/or male; then you pay 20 percent extra). But to whet your appetite, here’s a teaser of what I have to offer.

Gaming/Writing (Goodman Games): After taking a bit of a controversial stance last week with my piece on the possible detrimental effects of gaming on sword-and-sorcery, I will now take the opportunity to rebut … myself, and offer the opposing side a chance. And discuss the net positives that role-playing and, in particular, Dungeons and Dragons has had on fantasy fiction.

Gaming (Working the Night Shift): The Codex Celtarum is written by Brian Young.  He is a gamer and an academic in Celtic history and languages and an all-around nice guy.  Honestly, he is the kind of person I want writing this sort of thing.  You talk to him and get the feeling that he could immediately tell you a story from the Mabinogion and it would roll off his tongue like the bards of old.  This is the guy you want working on your Celtic game.

RPG (Walker’s Retreat): Following up on yesterday’s post, there’s one game on my shelf that–at first glance, or even a casual inspection–you may not think would conform to the True Campaign model. I had discussed this a few years ago at this post, so long time readers will see that I am not coming at this out of nowhere. TORG is a wargame. That means you can run it exactly like we see with Trollopoulos and other campaigns, and the rules as well as the setting support this.

Review (Murray Ewing): The premise behind Kim Newman’s latest novel is that Raymond Chandler (RT to his friends) and William Pratt (better known as Boris Karloff, but Billy to his friends) not only knew one another — both came from English public schools, and lived near to one another for a while in Dulwich — but teamed up to fight often macabre, even supernatural, crime. And it’s narrated by Chandler, so it’s all done in that classic hardboiled style:

Book Art (Goodman Games): It might be fair to say that the Dragonlance series — initially a trilogy of novels written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman in tandem with a group of D&D modules from TSR — is The Lord of the Rings of media tie in fiction: massively best-selling, appealing to a broader fanbase than conventional wisdom dictated, and prompting an entire industry of imitators. In Dragonlance one can see the beginnings of not only an explosion in shared worlds based on popular media, but also the genesis of Young Adult fiction as a force punching well above its weight class in publishing.

Science Fiction (M Porcius): Avram Davidson in “King’s Evil” endeavoured to depict the Europe of the late 18th century, and here in “The Man Who Came Early” Poul Anderson takes a stab at the Europe of the early Middle Ages.  The text of Anderson’s tale consists of one side of a conversation between a Viking chief who has retired to his farm and a Christian missionary; apparently the Christian tells the Icelander that the End Times are nigh, because the Viking assures the priest that this ol’ world will be spinning for centuries to come.

Pulp (Chimney Sweeper Reader): Richard Wentworth has been on the trail of a master criminal, an expert is disguise, for two years now, chasing him from one city to the next, from the US to France and back again, and now he’s finally getting close. But first he will have to go through a number of adventurous encounters including kidnappings, disguises, police suspicion, and plenty of gunplay before the final confrontation.

Pulp (Pulp Net): The prolific H. Bedford-Jones (1887-1949) is rightly called the “King of Pulps,” having written nearly 200 novels, 400 novelettes, and 800 short stories, and who knows how many non-fiction pieces. In recent years, several of his works have been reprinted, and I have reviewed several of them here, with more coming. He wrote in several genres, and not all do I have an interest in. I more enjoy his adventure and lost-world tales. I doubt I will bother with his westerns and some of his historical works.

Firearms (Frontier Partisans): Frontier Partisans of  the 1840s and ’50s prized the U.S. Percussion Rifle, Model 1841 — better known as the Mississippi Rifle. This military arm fired a .54 caliber patched round ball, and shot plumb center. It was a rugged rifle, well suited to hard use in the forests, deserts, and mountains of the Far West. It was every bit the match of more famous civilian rifles of the day, like the Hawken.

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