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Sensor Sweep: C. L. Moore, Terry Pratchett, Starblazer –

Sensor Sweep: C. L. Moore, Terry Pratchett, Starblazer

Monday , 30, January 2023 8 Comments

Robert E. Howard (Adventures Fantastic): Most readers of weird fiction probably know about the story “The House in the Oaks” by August Derleth, which first appeared in the anthology Dark Things in 1971, the year Derleth died. It was one of the many “posthumous collaborations” of tales left unfinished on the death of Robert E. Howard on June 11, 1936. I also recently speculated about Derleth’s “The Man from Dark Valley” being an ode to Howard after his death (though the consensus is that it was probably already submitted by then).

Authors (Adventures Fantastic): C.L. Moore (Catherine Lucille Moore, January 24, 1911—April 4, 1987) was a fan of Robert E. Howard’s writing. As she once explained to R. H. Barlow in an April 1934 letter, “I’d like to read everything Robert E. Howard has ever written. The first story of his I read was WORMS OF THE EARTH, and I’ve been a fanatic ever since.” Moore had a brief correspondence with Howard toward the end of his life and one of the early extant letters is dated January 29, 1935. She addresses a wide array of topics, praises Howard’s writing, and then signs-off. However, she added an interesting postscript that read:

Disney (Catholic League): Walt’s Disenchated Kingdom.

Review (DMR Books): Blood of the Serpent is the semi-anticipated latest entry in the prose adventures of Conan of Cimmeria. We’ve had recent video games, RPGs, comics, etc., featuring the barbarian, but the last original standalone authorized prose work of Robert E. Howard’s greatest creation was, as I understand it, Harry Turtledove’s Conan of Venarium (Tor, 2003).

Robert E. Howard (Pulp Super-Fan): A minor character of Robert E. Howard‘s (1906-36) that I have wanted to read has been Steve Harrison, his hard-boiled detective who was involved in horror and weird-mystery stories. The REH Foundation Press had published a first edition several years back, which went out of print as it was a limited edition. A new edition in their “Ultimate” series of 22 volumes is available, and these aren’t limited. Steve Harrison’s Casebook is REH Library Book #5 in the series.

RPG (Plaguelands Media): A short review of a fantastic roleplaying game set in the world of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian.

Tolkien (Sacnoth’s Scriptorium):  So, we’ve long know that in his youth Terry Pratchett, who wd become the first person knighted for writing fantasy, wrote a fan letter to J. R. R. Tolkien, the man who more than any other invented the genre. It was a pleasure, therefore, to find the whole letter (Pratchett to Tolkien, November 22nd 1967) printed in full in the new Pratchett biography.

Appendix N (Goodman Games): John Anthony Bellairs was born on January 17th, 1938 in Marshall, Michigan, which he described as “full of strange and enormous old houses, and the place must have worked on [his] imagination.” A shy and overweight child, he “would walk back and forth between [his] home and Catholic school and have medieval fantasies featuring [himself] as the hero.” He found refuge in books, excelling in college as an English major and even appearing on an episode of the TV quiz show G.E. College Bowl in 1959, where he recited the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales in fluent Middle English.

Robert E. Howard (Sprague de Camp Fan): Robert E. Howard and Weird Tales, Old Tiger Press, 2021 is a very attractive, heavily illustrated, and informative book from the prolific and cantankerous Dennis McHaney. Mr. McHaney is a longtime REH fan and one of the primary fan publishers of the 1970s. (Most likely, Dennis will find fault with that description.) Ordering information appears at the end of this article. It is available through and retails for $45.

Fiction (Murray Ewing): A party of modern teenage girls and boys find themselves magically transported into the Celtic world of the sixth century — that’s how I was sold on this 1973 book from Winifred Finlay. But the actual story is slightly different. I’d imagined those modern teens viewing the Celtic past through (1970s) modern eyes, but that’s not what happens.

Literary Criticism (Litreactor): Deconstruction is the hottest trend in literary criticism since, well, forever, and even if you don’t know what it is, you’re probably doing it. And I come to you today with a simple request: Stop. What Is Literary Deconstruction? The first problem here is talking about what deconstruction is, in terms of books.

Science Fiction (DMR Books): The term ‘space opera’ has been used and abused a great deal since it was first coined eighty years ago. One can find a reasonably good account of its early history here and a look at the subgenre’s definition here.

For those who dislike hyperlinks, Space Opera is sci-fi high adventure on an interplanetary—or preferably, interstellar—scale. Exploding planets, mile-long spaceships and energy weapons are fairly standard, but not required.

RPG (Forrest for the Trees):  Take one part Flash Gordon and one part Space Riders, mix liberally with system-agnostic role-playing game accoutrements and package in a digest-sized comic book. This is Rayguns & Robuts by Planet X Games.

Conan (Pulpfest): Ninety years after the first publication of “The Phoenix on the Sword,” Robert E. Howard’s sword-and-sorcery stories continue to resonate through popular culture. They have inspired motion pictures, comic books, television and animated series, action figures, role-playing and video games, and even heavy metal music and a live-action show at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Comic Books (Tentaclii): The Starblazer Special Edition published in 2019, became newly available as a Kindle download on Amazon from 28th December 2022. It reprinted two classics from the early 1980s, to test the waters for interest in a Starblazer title re-start alongside the long-running Commando title. You’ll recall that Starblazer was the 1980s science-fiction sister title of the successful and enjoyable British Commando war-stories comic.

Pulp (Pulp Super-Fan): After getting the chapbook The Death-Head’s March and Others from Black Dog Books, I got another The Stinging ‘Nting and Other Stories, which collects four adventure stories set in the Far East by Hugh B. Cave (1910-2004). These originally appeared in a pair of short-lived adventure pulps: Far East Adventures and Man Stories. The cover artwork is by H.J. Ward, but I don’t know the source.

T.V. Horror (JoBlo Horror Originals): The Night Stalker would air 50 years ago this year and would break the record for the most-watched TV movie ever at that time. The film would inspire many fans of horror and science fiction and would actually go on to inspire one of the most popular science fiction TV series of all-time 21 years after it aired. On this 50th anniversary, I think it is only right we return to the dark side of Las Vegas and roam the strip alongside Carl Kolchak as he searches the night for the truth in The Night Stalker.

Fiction (TCK Publishing): Revenge stories mostly appear in mystery and thriller fiction. The anxious atmosphere, blurred morals, and complex characters lend well to the concept’s sense of tragedy and fury. If you’re someone who enjoys such thorny narratives, check out this list of the best revenge books to add to your reading list.

Cinema (Neo Text Corp): Sometimes Rotten Tomatoes can be dead wrong. Family Enforcer aka The Death Collector, a gem from one-and-done writer/director Ralph De Vito, has every right to be talked about in the same breath as Mean Streets when discussing the birth of the modern American gangster film. Starring the perennial mobster you-know-you’ve-seen-but-can’t remember where, Joe Cortese, as a street hustler with balls of steel, the film is blend of filmmaking 101 and inspired New York/New Jersey Italian-American casting, that set the stage for every east cost mob movie that followed.

History (Ars Technica): The famous Pantheon in Rome boasts the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome—an architectural marvel that has endured for millennia, thanks to the incredible durability of ancient Roman concrete. For decades, scientists have been trying to determine precisely what makes the material so durable. A new analysis of samples taken from the concrete walls of the Privernum archaeological site near Rome has yielded insights into those elusive manufacturing secrets.

C. S. Lewis (Men of the West): Lewis wrote this in 1956, Mandelbrot consolidated hundreds of years of somewhat esoteric mathematical thinking and theory into the word ‘fractal’ in 1975, and he didn’t discover his famous Mandelbrot set until 1980.

Cinema (John C. Wright): I am not a fan of SHREK nor any of its sequels. I am unamused by the potty humor, political correctness, and crass ugliness which characterizes Shrek’s world; and I am frankly repulsed by the whole sulfurous postmodern project of scrawling graffiti on beloved childhood classics of fable and fairy tale. Such vandalism is blasphemous; the cynicism is trite; the nihilism is sad.

  • Terry says:

    One of your best sweeps. Multiple interesting links.

  • Patrick the Patriot says:

    This is like 80% about REH a white supremacy problem here on this site

  • Gridhunter says:

    Go back to your hole, troll. Robert E. Howard earned his place as a great.

  • ralph grasso says:

    please leave , go back to your moms basement

  • Tim Janson says:

    Patrick the unpatriotic…He was a SUPREMELY talented writer who happened to be white. Go back to your safe spae.

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