D&D (DM David): While the Dungeons & Dragons team developed the game‘s fourth edition for a 2008 release, they faced problems from several directions. Corporate owners Hasbro brought a big corporate cost structure and return on investment expectations set by Magic the Gathering and Pokémon.
Conan (Sprague de Camp Fan): This “Homage to Robert E. Howard’s Conan” was published in 2017 and dedicated to “the memory of my esteemed friends L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter.” Robert M. Price sent Sprague de Camp a synopsis of this story back when TOR Books was publishing new Conan novels.
Pulp (Comics Radio): I’ve been reading through a PDF copy of the October 1940 issue of Foreign Legion Adventures, the second and also the last issue of this title, which depended largely on reprints. I’ve already covered a couple of the stories HERE and HERE.
Pulp (Dark Worlds Quarterly): It surprises me greatly that more writers haven’t pastiched the Doc Savage canon. Of those that have tried, success has varied in degrees. It is difficult to create a convincing superman, even in Lester Dent’s day.
Conan (Paperback Warrior): As a fan of Conan, I stumbled upon the lone Golden Book dedicated to the barbarian hero, The Thing in the Cave. It was originally published in 1986 as part of the Golden Super Adventure line. The book’s cover was painted by the great Gino D’Achille (Fu Manchu, Barsoom, Flashman) while the interior pages were illustrated by the equally great Dan Adkins (Doctor Strange, Eerie, Creepy).
Ghost Stories (First Things): Russell Kirk was haunted by the past. Ghosts prowled his house, peering through windows, moving furniture, startling guests. Far from resenting these presences, Kirk welcomed them. For he regarded society as “a spiritual union of the dead, the living, and those yet unborn.”
Star Trek (Grognardia): Being a Star Trek fan, I was aware of the fact that, sometime during the early stages of the production of 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the original 33-inch model of the U.S.S. Enterprise (used in the title sequence of the television show) had become lost. Gene Roddenberry had a sentimental attachment to the model and was keen to get it back, but, despite his best efforts, he was never able to do so. Its disappearance was thus one of big mysteries of Star Trek lore – that is, until the end of last month.
Weapons (Frontier Partisans): While we’re talkin’ tomahawk…Ball and Buck — purveyor of (very) high-end fieldwear and accessories — announced the drop of a collaboration with the legendary Daniel Winkler on a matched camp axe and knife set. The pair will run you $1,100 which is way too many plews for this Frontier Partisan, but some well-heeled booshways might want to outfit themselves thus…
Comic Books (Super Hero Hype): Amid a legion of damsels in distress, Belit stood out as something special. Belit owned her sexuality and was as dangerous as Conan the Barbarian in a fight. Such was her will that she defied death itself to save the man she loved from her fate.
Fantasy (MSN): The world of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is complex and certainly involves a lot more happening than a lost godly daughter being chased by weird otherworldly elves. Amid all the terrible happenings within Geralt’s circle of friends and family, a huge continental war is actually raging, making things a lot more difficult for the witcher. With that in mind, it’s important for the players to understand what the political situation is in Geralt’s world.
Tolkien (The One Ring): The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, first edited by Humphrey Carpenter with assistance from Christopher Tolkien, is the definitive source of Tolkien’s personal writings. If you have ever seen a quotation cited from “Letter 131” it’s a reference to the numbering of this book. Some call it a biblical bibliography of Tolkien. In this new edition the numbering remains the same, with additional content added in context via a “203a… 203b…” system. Several letters have expanded, with the 8+ page Letter 131 now 40% longer from its originally edited form.
Arthurian (Aureus): One of the most unique qualities of the Faustian West is the hotbed of debate on its true mythology. Few contest the Homeric foundation of Hellenic culture or Atum’s role as the progenitor of the Egyptian soul. The West, however, has from the onset worn a variety of masks that have all been heralded as its true face. The primary dualism at play is “Christian vs pagan,” with both sides having equal claims to validity, at least on the surface.
D&D (Grumpy Wizard): Early editions of Dungeons & Dragons demand teamwork. Most character classes have strengths and abilities that other classes do not possess. The ranger scouts ahead so the party isn’t surprised, the thief checks the door for traps, the fighters absorb and inflict damage, the cleric casts spells that protect and heal, and the wizard shifts the momentum of the battle with a well timed application of magic.
Tolkien (Notion Club Papers): This could be participation with divine creation (this is what I understand to happen in Heaven); or participation with another person’s created work – perhaps someone from the past. This can serve as an illustration – taking the example of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (LotR). Two widely known categories of engagement with life, with works; could be termed ‘projection’ and ‘channeling’ – and I will contrast these with Final Participation.
RPG (Pelgrane Press): Sometimes you want to run an entirely casual tabletop session that requires next to no prep on your part, and zero learning curve for the players. For example, you might want to run a game around a dinner party, maybe with a break in the middle for food. Or the trad game you hoped to run has been scuttled by a last-minute absence, let’s say of the player of a character crucial to last week’s cliffhanger.
Art (DMR Books): If there’s one man who “can do anything”–at least in the creative fields of graphic art, writing and music–it is Jim Steranko, who turned eighty-five yesterday. Dos Equis truly dropped the ball when they passed on Steranko for their “World’s Most Interesting Man” ad campaign.
Cinema (Stuff Ian Likes): Galaxy Quest (1999) was written by David Howard and Robert Gordon and directed by Dean Parisot. It features Tim Allen as Nesmith, with Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman as two of his disgruntled colleagues, Gwen DeMarco and Alexander Dane. Other cast include Tony Shalhoub, Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni with Justin Long and Sam Rockwell in breakout roles (and look carefully for Rainn Wilson in his first film credit as well).
D&D (Monsters & Manuals): In my last post, I linked to a Wired article which purports to be about a Ghibli-inspired D&D 5th edition setting, but which is really about the bigger issue of ‘wholesomeness’ and the need which young people nowadays seem to feel for media that is, for want of a better word, ‘nicer’ than what they are used to. There was a time when I would have dismissed this is the whining of softies, and accused youngsters of wanting to be special snowflakes.
Detective Fiction (Moonlight Detective): The Hit List: Top 10 Fascinating World War II Detective Novels. I decided on a World War II theme, which may sound as basic as any other top 10 list, but wanted to put together a list with titles with some historical weight behind them. Not merely titles that take place during the war or use WWII aesthetics as a frame for the period of the story.
Weapons (Shadversity): Leaf blade swords have a rich history, especially during the bronze age, yet they mysteriously disappeared during the medieval era. Follow along as I explore intriguing theories behind their disappearance.
Fiction (Por Por Books): I was in the mood to read something vapid. Thus it was, that recently I reached for ‘Fighting Save of Gor’ (384 pp.), published as DAW Book No. 376 in March, 1980. The cover art is by Richard Hescox. ‘Fighting Slave’ is the fourteenth Gor novel, of a total of 36 (issued as of 2021). This easily is one of the worst ‘Gor’ novels I’ve ever read………..
Weird Tales (Tellers of Weird Tales): Weird Tales began reprinting classic tales of weird fiction in the May issue of 1923. The series is called “Masterpieces of Weird Fiction,” and although the last entry is numbered six, there are actually seven entries. (The miscounting began with entry number five.) Five of the seven are by Edgar Allan Poe. We should remember that the co-founder of the magazine, Jacob C. Henneberger, was a great fan of Poe. Ambrose Bierce and Edward Bulwer-Lytton had one entry each in the series.