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Sensor Sweep: Clark Ashton Smith, Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, Asimov –

Sensor Sweep: Clark Ashton Smith, Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, Asimov

Monday , 3, January 2022 Leave a comment

Review (With Both Hands): The Book of Joe , the fifth entry in the Forgotten Ruin series, offers us a trip through a mythic underworld, some serious Rangering how-to, and giggling legionnaires. You’ve got to check this out.   When we left off in Lay the Hate, Talker had jumped into the swirling maelstrom of water known as the Mouth of Madness to save Sergeant Joe.

Cinema (Cathy Boyd): The very nature of the Western sub-genre has had a significant influence in attracting certain types of actors to it. Westerns traditionally expressed the purest form of “good vs. evil.” Even in the more conflicted, morally blurred years of the later 1960s and 1970s, the few Westerns that were made seemed to never lose sight of that essential conflict.

Writing (Rough Edges): But I did keep busy: I wrote somewhere around 1.1 million words, the most in several years. I read 202 books, the most I’ve ever read since I started keeping records 41 years ago. (My previous record was 186.) I not only kept my own writing going, but I also sold my publishing imprint, Rough Edges Press, to Wolfpack Publishing and stayed on as the editor, guiding the development of a line that I think can compete with anybody.

Interview (Alexander Hellene): The first part of this interview with Jon Mollison, aka Mr. Wargaming, was conducted in January of 2021 and published on my old, now defunct, blog. As Jon is both a good writer and an interesting man, the interview was very well-received. In mid-2021, Jon moved on from writing to wargaming, focusing on building his popular YouTube channel, The Joy of Wargaming, which he launched in May of 2020.


Fiction (Arkhaven Comics): It’s ironic that Batman’s boyhood hero was Zorro.

The Mark of Zorro was the movie that little Bruce Wayne had talked his parents into taking him to the night of their murder.  The irony is that Zorro is an Outlaw hero whereas Batman is every inch a Detective hero. The Detective hero is an American invention.  During his time editing various magazines, Edgar Allan Poe would publish logic puzzles that were extremely popular with his readers.

James Bond (Crime Reads): Since the publication of Ian Fleming’s “Casino Royale” in 1953, James Bond has been synonymous with a particular brand of escapism. A naval intelligence officer during World War II, Fleming leveraged his experience to create an idealized version of a spy, one who wore great suits and drove fast cars while he rendered the West safe for freedom and commerce.

Robert E. Howard (James LaFond): Recommended Reading Order for the Robert E. Howard Curious: -1. The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane is the easiest to get into as it is set in a historical time essentially between the Age of Piracy

  1. The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian

Fiction (DMR Books): Most fans of Keith have come to his work either through the ‘Bard’ novels or the two Cormac Mac Art pastiches he co-authored with Andy Offutt. The CMA books got several printings, as did most of the Felimid mac Fal novels. Even the rarest, Bard V: Felimid’s Homecoming, was recently reprinted as an e-book.

Science Fiction (Isegoria): Asimov gives its own treatment as the dominant theme of a separate Foundation story. But Asimov was not writing amid an embarrassing American military defeat. He was writing instead as a Jewish immigrant enthusiastic about America’s belated entrance into the fight against fascism. Asimov’s Foundation stories are battles between good and evil, but the Galactic Empire is largely absent from them.

Science Fiction (M Porcius): Through the magic of the internet archive, let’s take some time to investigate the September 1935 issue of Astounding, then edited by F. Orlin Tremaine, and read stories by three people who are perhaps more famous for their relationships with Weird Tales than Astounding, Donald Wandrei, C. L. Moore, and Frank Belknap Long.

Tolkien (Ricochet Reviewer): After the breaking of the fellowship, Frodo and Sam bear the Ring into the evil land of Mordor while Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas pursue the Orcs who have taken Merry and Pippin.

RPG (Spriggans Den): Looking back, the prime days of OSR lie now a decade behind us, and while a number of people are still around, occasionally sharing some new thought or insight every couple of months, very little of any meaningful significance is added to the discourse of B/X and AD&D that hasn’t been thoroughly examined years ago.

Weird Tales/D&D (Goodman Games): Gamers often point to Appendix N and decry the absence of a particular author (or three, or seven, or…), declaring Gygax’s omission of them to be a literary crime of some sort.   Clark Ashton Smith is a name that has only recently begun to creep back into the consciousness of the fans of genre fiction. Despite his amazing productivity in such a short period.

Comic Books (DMR Books): Arak #1 debuted from DC Comics in September of 1981. Created and written by Roy Thomas, it introduced a sword-and-sorcery protagonist who would out-perform every other S&S comics title in the 1980s with the exceptions of Conan the Barbarian and Mike Grell’s The Warlord.

Review (Marzaat): Samuels’s favorite tropes include dreams, derelict or labyrinthine buildings, run-down European cities, subtle infection and contamination, mandalas, the dead alive, a pervasive sense of alienation, and the quiet desperation of the corporate world.

? (World Building and Wool Gathering): There are points in the world where magic is concentrated in its effects. There is a greater flow of background power, an easier flow of energies. The shortest path between two points, as the Geometricians have demonstrated, is a straight line. Thus, there are places where one is on one of these shortest paths, and therefore, closest to two wells of energy.

Art (Muddy Colors): Here is 2 card illustrations I did for Crimson Vow, Magic the Gathering. Its a 2 faced card, which means it has illustrations on both sides. That make sit possible to show a short story or a sequence of events. This one Shows a bunch of zombies that has crawled into the loading tray or cup or whatever its called, on a catapult and are waiting to be launched. The other side of the card shows the zombie-captain yelling “Fire” while shooting off the catapult.

Fiction (M Porcius): I became interested enough in the writing and art of Howard Wandrei to purchase a copy of The Eerie Mr. Murphy, a hardcover collection of Wandrei’s work printed in 2003 by the good people at Fedogan & Bremer.  Today let’s read three stories from this baby that first appeared in Spicy Mystery Stories under the pen name Robert A. Garron.

Firearms (Future War Stories): In 1978, the Austrian army began fielding one of the most futuristic looking military assault rifles ever developed at that point in military history in the Steyr StG-77 “Armee-Universal-Gewehr: or AUG. Designed around a bullpup layout and firing 5.56mm from a plastic see-through magazine, the AUG soon became a raising star in both the realm of military small arms and entertainment. By the 1980’s, the AUG was being used as a futuristic rifle in films like RoboCop, the Running Man, LifeForce, and Predator 2.

History (Last Stand on Zombie Island): Luzon, Philippine Islands, December 26, 1941 — While the main attention of the beleaguered U.S. forces in the Philippines was focused on Japanese columns streaming inland from the Lingayen Gulf in the west, another enemy force came ashore on the east coast of Luzon at Lamon Bay. Company C 194th Tank Battalion from Salinas, California, was attached to a Filipino Army regiment near the town of Lucban.

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