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Sensor Sweep: D&D Monsters, John Carpenter, Spy Fiction, Grey Hawk –

Sensor Sweep: D&D Monsters, John Carpenter, Spy Fiction, Grey Hawk

Monday , 12, December 2022 2 Comments

Popular Culture (Isegoria): When Ray Bradbury passed away a decade ago, I remembered reading a borrowed copy of Fahrenheit 451 in one school day in eighth grade. I don’t know whether the teachers failed to notice, or they opted to show some discretion in ignoring my transgression that day.

Cinema (Frontier Partisans): Synchronicity rides the Frontier Partisans trail again. The Regal theater in Bend is hosting a Fathom Events 40th Anniversary screening of John Milius’ Conan The Barbarian on Monday, December 12. As I wrote in a post on the anniversary of the release date last May, the movie premier in 1982 was a moment for my older brother and me. John introduced me to Robert E. Howard, and the impact of that is incalculable.

Firearms (Spec-Ops): The Beretta M9A3 is a modern semi-automatic pistol designed based on the Beretta M9 (Beretta 92) chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum. It is an updated and modernized version of the M9 with some improvements and enhancements of the ergonomics making it more attractive to today’s combat professionals.

Robert E. Howard (Sprague de Camp Fan): “Skulls in the Stars” was first published in Weird Tales, January 1929. It was reprinted in Skull-Face and Others, Arkham House, 1946 and Magazine of Horror #9, June 1965 and then Red Shadows, Donald M. Grant,1968. The first paperback publication was The Moon of Skulls, Centaur Press, 1968.

Fiction (Library Ladder): Adventure stories and tales of political intrigue have been around for hundreds of years. Spies have been around for millennia. But the spy novel is a distinctly 20th century innovation. What took it so long? This video examines the cultural stigmas and propaganda pressures that impeded (and promoted) the development of the spy genre. It’s not an exhaustive overview of the early history of the genre, but it provides a flavor of the literary milestones that led to Ian Fleming’s James Bond and the seismic cultural shift Bond ushered in.

Westerns (Paperback Warrior): High Lonesome, a 1962 stand-alone novel by Louis L’Amour is a “chase the chasers” western. It’s a rarely used formula where a rider, or group of riders, is chasing after a group that is chasing after someone else. In this novel, L’Amour turns the concept on its head by including one more group of chasers. In essence, it’s the posse chasing the chasers who are running down the chasers. I’ll sort this out for you, and by the end you’ll be wanting to read it. Trust me.

Fantasy (Comicsradio): It’s been nearly a year-and-a-half since I reveiwed L.Sprague de Camp’s novel Conan of the Isles. At that time, I promised to PROMPTLY review another novel based on one of Robert E. Howard’s characters. Somehow, this got away from me and… well, I’m only now getting to that review. I realize the delay in delivering on this promise has probably caused wars to break out, economies to crumble, family relationships to be destroyed, and kittens to commit suicide. But I’m trying to make up for that.

D&D (Grey Hawk Musings): Those who wish to campaign where the oerth is awash with swashbuckling swords and international intrigue will be well-suited by placing their game in the isles of the Sea Barons. Danger is everywhere, and no end to the possibility of adventure:

The Barons are caught between the south Province – the United Kingdom of Ahlissa, as it came to be known – and the North – the self-described Great Kingdom of Northern Aerdy – each demanding loyalty; between the Twin Cities and Ratik, each professing good will; and betwixt wars waged upon the Flanaess and the machinations of the Scarlet Brotherhood.

Writing (Silver Key): Here’s something I’ve learned from decades of publishing. When you are a writer (or podcaster, or visual artist) with something to say, you will inevitably attract an audience. And you will inevitably become a target of critics.

Comic Books (CBR): Today, we head back 50 years ago, when Red Sonja made her comic book debut saving the life of Conan the Barbarian. This is “Look Back,” where every four weeks of a month, I will spotlight a single issue of a comic book that came out in the past and talk about that issue (often in terms of a larger scale, like the series overall, etc.). Each spotlight will be a look at a comic book from a different year that came out the same month X amount of years ago. The first spotlight of the month looks at a book that came out this month ten years ago.

Review (DMR Books): Sword and planet is my favorite genre. From Lost on Venus by Burroughs to The Thief of Llarn by Fox to Banners of the Sa’yen by Stateham to the Dray Prescot series by Kenneth Bulmer–I am a big fan. When I heard about this anthology I was very excited. More so when I was able to obtain a review copy for a fair and honest review.

RPG (Modiphius): The roleplaying game line, under licence from Heroic Signatures (Formally Cabinet Entertainment), will end on Dec 31st, no more re-stocks are being ordered, and all stock will be sold by June 30th 2023.

Cinema (Collection Reviewed): We’ve reached the Christmas movie section of our DVD library and it kicks off with a BANG! This is the version I grew up with and still prefer. We tried the Reginald Owen version and found too many of the edges sanded off. The George C. Scott version that I remembered liking was missing something. I think we found his transition was done poorly – but I’m up to rewatch and reevaluate.

Tolkien (Monsters and Manuals): So the same friend who accused me of living under a rock for the past 10 years for not knowing about the Willow sequel has set me a new challenge. (People asking me to blog about things! This is like the heady days of G+.) This time, the task is to cast a film version of a book, and choose somebody to direct. To make it more interesting, you can choose living and dead people, from any stage of their careers. I’m going to be deliberately perverse here and begin with The Lord of the Rings.

Authors (DMR Books): How do you do, ladies and gentlemen. My name is John E. Boyle and I am a retired teacher and network administrator who is now a caregiver for members of my family. I first started writing back in 1980 for Chaosium Inc. and their RuneQuest and Stormbringer role playing games, but my output was sporadic until I was able to take advantage of Amazon’s self-publishing ability. I have since published two novels, Queen’s Heir and Raven’s Blood, both in my Children of Khetar series.

T.V. (Harbinger Games): TV was rather different then and I find it hard to explain to my own children who grew up with cable and on-demand and are now in the age of streaming services. In general unless you had access to an independent station you got what everyone else got – I Love Lucy, Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, Saturday morning cartoons, and so on. I was lucky enough to live within range of Channel 4 out of Indianapolis and had access to their indie shows like Science Fiction Theater, Horror Theater, and (of course) Sammy Terry!

Art (Geeky Nerf Herder): I’ve previously showcased a few of my favourite pop culture and vintage pulp artists, and each weekend I showcase art from more of my favourite artists. The art of Frank McCarthy.

Fiction (Regress Studies): For many guys, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is that third, shared thing, a movie tailor-made for us. For those unfamiliar, it mashes up various episodes from the British naval novels of Patrick O’Brian. It’s a cult classic bromance movie, notable for being the canonical screen version of Napoleonic naval warfare, and for failing the Bechdel Test as completely as it’s possible to do.

RPG (Walker’s Retreat): It is one thing to have a ruleset. It is another to be a Mech Pilot.

To play the role of a musketeer–come, take a look at the new trailer for the new movie adaptation next year–you do not need a very specific robot chassis (Class) or even to piece one together. You need only to say so and make the most of it.

Fiction (Sacnoth’s Scriptorium): When John Craig, a frontier Presbyterian minister from Augusta County, was given charge of an emaciated, homesick Muslim prisoner-of-war who had escaped Mohawk custody at the end of the French and Indian War, he wrote Carter, appealed to the latter’s reputation for ‘beneficence to the poor and afflicted,’ and asked the councillor to help ‘Selim the Algerine’ return to Algiers –a task Carter undertook with such generosity that Selim, upon returning to America several years later, traveled directly to Nomony** to seek Carter’s renewed assistance.

Cinema (Glitter Night): Conspicuously absent from that 1980s eruption was Jungle Jim, the former comic strip character who had been depicted in a film serial, several movies and a television series from the 1930s to 1950s. Obviously, the same attempts to update Allan Quatermain would have to be made in reviving Jungle Jim, but it certainly could have been pulled off.

Knives (Art of Manliness): Your belt knife is your main tool for bushcrafting and as such it really must be multifunctional in nature in and of itself. A knife that is too small will not be good for processing firewood if needed, and a knife that is too big will not be good for fine carving and shaping wood. One would hope to have multiple tools at any given time and, in this case, one can really refine the belt knife to a certain set of criteria, one that is more suited to the finer tasks; an axe and saw will do the heavy work.

Crime Fiction (Rough Edges): Max Allan Collins’ Nathan Heller series began in 1983 with TRUE DETECTIVE. (Almost 40 years ago? How is that possible?) TRUE DETECTIVE is one of the best private detective novels I’ve ever read. Through 18 more novels and story collections since then, Collins has maintained an incredibly lofty standard on this series and kept it alive through several different publishers, a pretty impressive feat in itself.

Fiction (Iron Age Media): The year is 2005. Blood from the Second Battle of Fallujah still dries on the farmlands of the Zaidon. But for Stygian 2-3, a young team of Recon Marines, the war is anything but over. Plaguing their battlespace is an ancient evil. Those who volunteered to ensure “Iraqi Freedom” must fight not only anti-Coalition forces, but powers older than the United States, democracy… the world itself. Anyone who enjoys H. P. Lovecraft knows it, lives with it, suffers for it. Arguably the most influential horror writer of the twentieth century, along with his body of work, these days is pilloried then reduced to scrutiny under the blunt knife of modern sensibilities.

Gaming (Goodman Games): No adventure is complete without dice! Some may covet pouches of jewels and gemstones, but nothing gets a gamer’s heart pumping like a bag full of dice! And not just any dice, but only those glittering polyhedrals, those multi-sided funky dice alive with swirling color that have been the badge and talisman of the RPGers since the days of legend. The dice must flow!

Lovecraft (Tentaclii): A new 90 minute Voluminous: ‘Long and Love-Kraft’. This letter features a long discussion of the fave Lovecraft nibble… cheese! See also 2020’s Voluminous: Cats, Cheese and Hawaiians episode for more nibbles at the topic. From another letter on the topic…

Horror (Fantasy Literature): In several of my earlier musings here on FanLit, I made reference to the list that editor/author Karl Edward Wagner released in the pages of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine back in the summer of ’83; the so-called Wagner 39 List.

Cinema (Fantasy Literature): Born in upstate NY in 1948, John Carpenter would go on to become not only one of the foremost directors of horror films of his generation, but a producer, screenwriter and composer, as well. His first film, the amusing sci-fi thriller Dark Star (’74), had shown how very effective he could be even on a limited budget, while his second, Assault on Precinct 13 (’76), had been a remarkably tense urban-crime wringer that was more than a little in debt to, of all things, the seminal 1968 zombie film Night of the Living Dead.

D&D (Grognardia): Like a great many players of fantasy roleplaying games – probably most, come to think of it – I am a collector of monsters. The AD&D Monster Manual was the very first RPG product I ever bought for myself and, ever since then, new collections of monsters are usually an easy sell for me. Contradictorily, I’m also largely of the opinion that Dungeons & Dragons has too many monsters.

  • John E. Boyle says:

    Thanks for the signal boost! That’s one heck of a set of links. That Louis L’Amour book is well worth the read.

  • deuce says:

    Nice McCarthy gallery!

    Also, that’s an excellent review of MASTER AND COMMANDER.

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