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Sensor Sweep: Blood Meridian, Roger Zelazny, Outlander, Modesty Blaise –

Sensor Sweep: Blood Meridian, Roger Zelazny, Outlander, Modesty Blaise

Monday , 15, May 2023 Leave a comment

D&D (Gronardia): In the interests of narrowing the scope of potential candidates for this list, I established a few rules for myself. First and most importantly, I would only select from monsters unique to Dungeons & Dragons. That means, mythological or folkloric monsters, like minotaurs or goblins, were excluded from consideration, even in cases where D&D’s version of them is idiosyncratic (e.g. kobolds). Second, monsters of a singular type, such as named demons or devils, were likewise excluded.

Robert E. Howard (Sprague de Camp Fan): “Men of the Shadows” first appeared in Bran Mak Morn, Dell Books, 1969. It was submitted to Weird Tales and rejected. Editor Farnsworth Wright advised Robert E. Howard that “… I fear I cannot use it in Weird Tales. It is too little of a “story,” despite the vigorous action in the opening pages. It is rather a chronicle of a tribe, a picture of the evolution of a race …”

Fiction (Chimney Sweep Reader): I’ve been a fan of Jeff Guinn’s non-fiction work ever since I read Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, his informative and exceedingly readable account of the Barrow Gang. When I saw he had written a couple of western fiction tales I wanted to try them so now I have. If this first one is a true indicator of the rest of the series, I can emphatically say, I will be reading every book in the series, and any other fiction he decides to produce in the future.

Cinema (Washington Examiner): For now, it is impossible to know what the citizens of the future will mean when they talk about “2020s movies.” The eye cannot see itself, and the present cannot have historical perspective on its own culture. But I have a few guesses about what the moment we’re in will eventually be remembered for. This will be a nadir for music, literature, and a handful of other dying arts, but also a renaissance age for one of the great rituals of American mass catharsis: the ass-kicking action film.

Cinema (John C. Wright): First things first: There are no “Woke” sucker punches in the film. Somehow, it escaped Cultural Revolution vandalism. However, the actresses lack glamor and sex appeal, for they are dressed and adorned most drably. Drawbacks? Very few: There is perhaps some unevenness of tone, vacillating between slapstick and somber, too much shouting and screaming for my taste.

Cinema (Screen Rant): George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise has revolutionized how science-fiction and fantasy films are made. George Lucas is undeniably a pioneer in film-making, particularly skilled at world-building. The first Star Wars movie (later retitled A New Hope) introduced viewers to an entire galaxy’s worth of new ideas, and Lucas built upon this with the rest of the original trilogy and, later, the prequels. The latter were initially heavily criticized for their dependence on CGI and dialogue, but their reputation has improved over the years.

Fiction (Ben Espen): Just in case you didn’t get enough of Rangers battling for control of Sustagul in the last book, Never Shall I Fail chronicles the second battle of Sustagul. But this time, we see things in a different way, insofar as Talker has to learn to see things in a different way.

Review (DMR Books): Return to the war-torn isle of Skye. Queen Slighan has all but won the war. The token resistance is not enough, Brennus will have to look for allies farther afield.

Slighan is the main adversary of the story. This conversation between her and Brennus bears repeating:

Tolkien (Geekzone): Middle-Earth would have to suffer under Morgoth’s reign and tyranny for over 500 years before the Valar finally came to the aid of the Free-People, at their brink of their annihilation. What stopped Manwe and the rest of the Valar from attacking Morgoth earlier? Was it somehow for the sake of the Elves and Men or did they have some other motive in mind?

Crime Fiction (M Porcius): Let’s read three more stories from 2012’s Miss Darkness, a collection of crime stories by Fredric Brown.  Our last batch of three tales from Miss Darkness included two stories from the early 1960s as well as a 1942 piece, but all three of today’s stories first appeared in magazines in 1943.  All three of today’s stories are scheduled to be included in the forthcoming third volume of Haffner Press’s Fredric Brown Mystery Library, Market for Murder.

Comic Books (Dark Worlds Quarterly): The list of artists and writers continues to change in 1979. Of the old school of writers only Budd Lewis and Bill DuBay remain. The new writers, Like Cary Bates, Bob Toomey and Laurie Sutton,  bring a Science Fiction sensibility and even parody. “Quimby the Barbarian” pokes fun at Warren’s rival, Conan. The perfect artist for this is, of course, Pablo Marcos. One writer is a nice surprise and the oldest of the Old School. Archie Goodwin came back for Thane’s final romp. The Spanish School of art is still present but only about half of the strips. Isidro Mones, Moreno Casares, Jose Ortiz and Victor de la Fuente are all here.

Authors (DMR Books): Basically, from Elric to Aragorn, Captain Blood to King Arthur, if there were swords being swung, I was probably reading it, and if there was an RPG I was probably playing it — although I mostly wanted to run the games so I could design cool settings. I always wanted to be a writer, so I pursued a journalism degree as one of my two majors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but I spent more time working in marketing and tech-writing than I did as a journalist.

Cinema (Film Stage): Nearly as large as Blood Meridian‘s literary reputation is the notoriety of many, many failed adaptations that have claimed the likes of Ridley Scott, James Franco (who was hilariously told he didn’t have rights), Tommy Lee Jones, purportedly even Martin Scorsese at one point. Few have come closer than John Hillcoat (of whose The Road adaptation Cormac McCarthy approved), to the point that he once offered to adapt his own novel: unlike seemingly everyone else, they “cracked how to make it into a film.” Which of course never materialized.

Comic Strips (Vintage Pop Fictions): La Machine was the first-ever Modesty Blaise comic strip, and the first-ever Modesty Blaise story. It’s included, along with the next two adventures, in the first of the Titan Books volumes collecting the comic strips in book form.

Conan (Paperback Warrior): The 1968 Lancer paperback collection Conan the Wanderer begins with “Black Tears”, a short story by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. It was also featured in Orbit Books omnibus The Conan Chronicles 2. The story was later adapted by Roy Thomas and Ernie Chan in issue #38 of The Savage Sword of Conan.

T.V. (Frontier Partisans): Well, THIS makes my day. The trailer for Outlander Season 7, which just dropped, looks… Revolutionary. I am greatly looking forward to the June 16 premier of the season that finds the Frasers overtaken by the War of Independence.

Crime Fiction (Glorious Trash): Sgt. Joe Blitz, that tough 1970s New York cop who featured in The Psycho Killers, is back in another sordid tale which sees him up against a Satanic snuff-flick cult.

You can check out the back cover copy and read the first few pages of the book here. And let’s not forget the other books currently available at Tocsin Press…

Authors (Goodman Games): By virtue of his unusual last name, Roger Zelazny is last in Appendix N. This author wonders: “How many readers have never gotten all the way down the list, leaving Zelazny a mystery?” And so, around the anniversary of his birth, let’s take a look at this three-time Nebula Award winner (nominated 14 times), six-time Hugo Award winner (coincidentally, also 14 nominations) and “last-but-by-no–means-least” author, focusing on his best-known work: The Chronicles of Amber.

Weird Tales (Tellers of Weird Tales): There are six nonfiction fillers in the first issue of Weird Tales. All were written anonymously. They are:

  • “Queer Tribes of Savages Found in Africa” (p. 130)
  • “African Brides Must Be Plump” (p. 130)
  • “Ten Pallbearers for This Mammoth Woman” (p. 149)
  • “Woman Starves to Feed Her Cats” (p. 149)
  • “Unearth Vast Wealth in Egyptian Tomb” (p. 155)
  • “‘Evil Demon’ Drives Man to Orgy of Crime” (p. 160)

Popular Culture (Wasteland & Sky): I’m certain anyone over the age of 30 is well aware of how bad the 1990s were for mainstream music. It was a downhill slide into the slop that has never recovered itself. For those unaware, I would indulge in the above video. It is only around 10 minutes long, but it will inform you on just about everything you need to know.

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