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Sensor Sweep: El Borak, Raymond Chandler, D&D Stamps –

Sensor Sweep: El Borak, Raymond Chandler, D&D Stamps

Monday , 11, December 2023 Leave a comment

Robert E. Howard (Essential Malady): El Borak has the distinction of being the first character created by Robert E. Howard though the stories he appeared in had a long gestation and weren’t published until Howard had already seen a number of his much better known characters in print. The historical background to these stories is in the later years of “The Great Game” between Russia and Britain.

Fiction (Wormwoodiana): In a letter written on 19 June 1956, Chandler wrote: I love fantastic stories and have sketches of perhaps a dozen that I should love to see in print. They are not science fiction. My idea of the fantastic story–possibly a little out of date–is that everything is completely realistic except for the basic impossible premise. Both of those I have mentioned are concerned with vanishing or invisibility.

Robert E. Howard (Sprague de Camp Fan): REH was born in Peaster, Texas (just north of Weatherford). REH lived in various other places before his family settled in Cross Plains, but since Cross Plains is where he started his professional literary career, Cross Plains is all we’ll discuss at the moment. Cross Plains was once known as Turkey Creek. (Turkey Creek is a small stream that crosses the current Treadway Park.)

Art (DMR Books): I was checking out the Cap’n’s Comics website the other day and happened to click on the image above, which is titled by Barry Windsor-Smith as “The Enchantment”. I’d seen it before, but had never really looked at it seriously at that large size. There are several elements that make it stand out as one of BWS’ more mysterious works. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Blogging (Por Por Books): When I started this blog fifteen years ago I wasn’t anticipating it would be so much fun that I’d do it for fifteen years, but somehow that has turned out to be the case. Back when I started things were a little different when it came to acquiring media with nostalgia value.

Fiction (Comics Radio): Johsnon McCulley’s short story “Zorro’s Double Danger” (West Magazine, February 1946) presents the swashbuckling hero with an interesting problem. He’s scheduled to fight a duel in his identity as Don Diego Vega. But Don Diego is supposed to be a foppish weakling. Diego can’t throw the fight, because that means getting killed or maimed. But he can’t win without making people wonder how the young man suddenly became a skilled swordsman.

Robert E. Howard (Black Gate): Francis Xavier Gordon, known from Stamboul to the China Sea as “El Borak”-the Swift-is perhaps the first of Robert E. Howard’s characters, and the last. El Borak is one of those distinctive characters that could only come from the fertile imagination of REH. He is a Texas gunslinger from El Paso, an adventurer, who has cast his lot in the deserts and mountains of Arabia and Afghanistan. There’s a little bit of John Wesley Hardin in his makeup, a bit of Lawrence of Arabia, and just a touch of Genghis Khan.

Fantasy (Paperback Warrior): In 1970, Knoxville, TN native Karl Edward Wagner authored a short novel titled Darkness Weaves with Many Shades. It was published by Powell as a “gothic fantasy” with cover art by Bill Hughes. By 1978, Wagner had revised the book as Darkness Weaves. It was published by Coronet in Europe with a cover by Chris Achilleos. It was also published in a more popular edition the same year by Warner Books with an equally great cover by Frank Frazetta.

D&D (DM David): Through the 1980s, Satan made regular headlines. Folks kept blaming the devil for luring kids to murder, suicide, and ritual sacrifice. Police dutifully investigated. The falsely accused sometimes went to prison only to be cleared years later. And the media trumpeted every lurid moment. Concerned parents found the devil’s work in heavy metal music, Dungeons & Dragons, and especially day care centers. The fervor became known as the Satanic Panic. The panic started in 1980, but its power came from the culture of the seventies.

D&D (Grogardia): Yesterday, several of you sent me a link to an announcement by the United States Postal Service that, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons next year, ten new stamps featuring D&D artwork will be released.

Gaming (Rageaholic): RazörFist’s helpful guide for how to enjoy stompy robots… without supporting their douchebag ownership! Battletech ‘Gatekeep the Gatekeepers’ Rant:

Cinema (Fandom Pulse): A unexpected yet thoroughly enjoyable experience has come to Apple TV with Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. Not least of its attractions are the gravitas and acting chops of father-son acting duo Kurt Russel and Wyatt Russel, playing older and younger versions of reluctant monster-wrangler Col. Lee Shaw.

Tolkien (Sacnoth’s Scriptorium): So, sometimes admirers of Tolkien find themselves amid surprising company. I was recently reminded of how reception to his work can differ strongly from country to country. For example, while in the U.S. Tolkien’s work by and large was embraced by liberals of a hippy/ counterculture cast, in Italy Tolkien was much admired by conservatives (including arch-conservatives).

Science Fiction (Poul Anderson Contributor Articles): I recall seeing speculation by fans of Poul Anderson who wondered how much “territory” was covered by a sector governor’s “province” in Anderson’s Terran Empire tales. And while recently rereading THE REBEL WORLDS I came across a few texts which gives us some information on that point. Poul Anderson likes to give readers some idea of the over all size of the Terran Empire in many of his stories.

Warhammer (IGN): After a significant delay to the second half of 2024, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 finally has a firm release date: September 9, 2024. Space Marine 2 is the explosive third-person shooter / melee hybrid set within Games Workshop’s famous grimdark Warhammer 40,000 universe. It’s in development at Saber Interactive, maker of the World War Z video game.

Cinema (Wolfcrow): In this video, we’re going to discuss why Blade Runner still looks a billion bucks, even after all these years. Blade Runner has been around for over 40 years and it’s still one of the most iconic and visually stunning films ever made. The visual effects still look incredible and the story is still gripping. In this video, we’ll discuss the reasons why Blade Runner is still so popular and why it continues to hold our attention even after all these years.

Tolkien (Tolkien and Fantasy): The Puffin Twentieth-Century Collection of Stories (1999), edited by Judith Elkin, is a collections of extracts from 23 children’s books, each extract illustrated by a different artist, in varying modes. The Tolkien extract is from the Troll chapter of The Hobbit, and its illustrations are by Chris Riddell. The full-page illustration is towards the end of the extract, and depicts Gandalf.

Lovecraft (Tentaclii): We’re making a cRPG set in late-18th century Antarctica with heavy Lovecraftian elements [and] we’re looking for someone to help out in terms of aesthetics & visuals

Probably must be familiar with the look that’s possible in videogames with only a three-man team. No modding of a retail game is talked of, so I assume they’re building from scratch with the aid of the rich ecosystem of add-ons and Blender’s new off-the-shelf modules.

Fiction (Goodman Games): The sad truth is that Appendix N is overwhelmingly a boys’ club. Much of the blame can be assigned to the fact that science-fiction and fantasy writers prior to 1960s were by and large white men. It was a tough club for a woman to break into.

RPG (Grumpy Wizard): One of the biggest challenges for a sandbox campaign is getting players to engage with adventure locations. I don’t want to spend hours creating a dungeon or wizard’s tower that doesn’t get played.

Archaeology (Patabook): The items, which were found between 2020 and 2022, include a hoard of bronze artifacts such as axes, spearheads, rings and a sword scabbard. The items were discovered by Dr. Peter Anning and Alex Evans in Feb. 2021 in an empty field in Wales where drainage work had been done. The items were dated between 1000 and 800 B.C., and it’s likely that they were deliberately buried in the ground by a local community in a ritual ceremony, Wales’ Amgueddfa Cymru museum said in a news release.

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