Sensor Sweep: Fake Movie Wisdom, Dashiell Hammett, Louis L’amour, Dragoncon

Monday , 17, September 2018 2 Comments

Pulps (Pulp Flakes): When Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic in 1927 the publishers rushed into print with tales of flying adventures. Jack Kelly, publisher of Fiction House which included such pulps as Lariat, Action Stories and Northwest Stories, launched Air Stories and Wings in such a hurry that he wired me to write a novelet over the weekend and wire him the title so he could make cover plates. He had been featuring my Western stories, but a true pulpeteer can write about anything. All he needs is a glance into a reference book or a copy of National Geographic for local color.

Popular Culture (Black Gate): Many people collect something, whether it’s rocks, stamps, coins, glass animals (especially favored by emotionally fragile Southern girls who find themselves trapped in Tennessee Williams plays), or in this social media era, grievances. A lot of us here at Black Gate collect books. For almost all of my life, this has been my own particular preoccupation, but much as I love my books, I must admit that collecting them has its drawbacks, a fact I’m reminded of every time someone new comes to my house and I again have to answer the question, “How many of these have you read?”

Fiction (Adventures Fantastic): I’d like to thank Seventh Street Books for sending me the review copy of this novel.

About this time last year, Steve Goble’s first novel, The Bloody Black Flag, hit shelves.  I loved it.  Spider John is back, and if anything, The Devil’s Wind is better than The Bloody Black Flag.

Popular Culture (Adventures Fantastic): The author, one Matt Mikalatos, laments that rereading a childhood favorite (The Once and Future King by T. H. White) didn’t live up to his expectations, specifically there were some things said that he found to be racially insensitive.  I’ve never read the book, so I can’t say for sure.  He’s specific enough that I’m willing to give him the benefit of doubt.

This is not an unusual occurrence.  Beloved books and stories from childhood and the teen years often don’t measure up when reread later in life.  In middle age we aren’t the people we were in our youth.  At least I hope not.  There are lots of things that can go over one’s head in the books we read as kids or teenagers.  Especially if those works were written in an earlier age and have attained the status of classic or near classic.

Fiction (Don Herron): Awhile back I did a link to a review of The Big Book of the Continental Op by Jesse Sublett. I’m sure there are numerous reviews of Big Book of the Op I haven’t linked to yet, and never will, but Jesse got the nod because he was part of Posse McMillan, and it gave me an excuse to summon up once more the dope on the copies of Measures of Poison signed by eleven contributors during the Bouchercon in Austin in 2002.

Just yesterday a guy happened to ask me if I had any idea who did some of the signatures that day, and I told him, Yes, I do — and I pointed him to my definitive explanation. You’ll never find a clearer guide to that set of John Hancocks.

Fiction (The Ringer Files): The Mountain Valley War by Louis L’Amour is the 2nd of 5 novels to feature Kilkenny. It was first published in 1978. I had no idea this book is part of a series and it really doesn’t matter. It can be read as a standalone without having read the first Kilkenny book, The Rider of Lost Creek.

Fiction (Glorious Trash): As mentioned in my review of Topless Dancer Hangup, this is actually the sixth volume of Operation Hang Ten, whereas it’s often mistakenly listed as the seventh. The “other books in the series” list in the front makes this clear, and as stated in my previous review, Topless Dancer Hangup features a recap of hero Bill Carwright’s previous six adventures. But, as with most of these “produced by Lyle Kenyon Engel” joints, there isn’t much continuity to worry about anyway, so perhaps the point is as they say moot.

Art (Walker’s Retreat): One of the best parts of anime fandom comes from the fan art creations. The music video subset in particular has put out some fantastic stuff over the years, and the Macross fandom has some of the best ever made. This is one of those classic Anime Music Videos, remastered in High Definition, for Macross Plus.

Cons (Superversife SF): The Superversive Crew talks about their Dragoncon experiences.

Gaming (RPG Pundit): Recently, a certain G+ RPG group (I’m not going to say which, but suffice it to say one of the big ones) sent me a message letting me know that they’d erased my post there of my review of Venger Satanis’ “Girls Gone Rogue”.

The lead moderator there, who is a storygamer celebrity with a history of having reason to dislike me, informed me that the act of censorship was not, in fact, because of anything to do with Venger’s work. But rather, with the text of my review blurb, where I said: “I could also really understand how even women on this side of the insanity spectrum from Tracey Hurley would still find some of this material offensive.”

Fiction (RMWC Reviews): A Princess of Mars put Edgar Rice Burroughs on the map, but it was the second story he published in 1912, Tarzan of the Apes, that solidified him has an adventure story writer. Tarzan was also serialized in the All-Story, then later published as a novel in 1914. It was a smash, and Burroughs would go on to write over twenty novels in the series. 1918 would see the first two silent movie adaptations of the character, and Tarzan movies would appear in every single decade since up to now. (It makes sense. For Tarzan all you need is a muscular guy on a jungle set instead of the special effects bonanza that is Barsoom)

Gaming (Table Top Gaming News): I hope everyone out there being affected by the hurricane is staying safe. A good way to do that is to stay inside and play some board games. And while it’s a bit late to pick up a new one for the current storm, having some around for when the next shows up is a good idea. But what games should you get? Reviews can help sort that out.

Today we have articles on: Guild Master, Zero Gravity, Z War One: Exodus, Bad Maps, Draconis Invasion: Wrath, Prowler’s Passage, GoTown, Blue Lagoon, Dragon Castle, and Spirits of the Wild.

Comics (Brian Niemiemeier): A boy’s elders telling him he’d grow out of comic books used to be a common American cliche. That was back when America was still a country, we didn’t hate our kids, and the comics industry wasn’t just an IP farm for rootless megacorps. If you want a picture of the comics business today, imagine a caped superhero lying brain dead in a guarded hospital room like Pete Postlethwaite’s from Inception, kept alive only to harvest his blood and organs.

Magazines (Jon Mollison): It’s high time I got back to doing some short reviews and got caught up with my hard copy reviews, all too many of which languish in my to-read pile.

In issue number eight of this fine magazine, the editor’s thoughtfully present us with a space pirate tale that doesn’t quite reach anthropomorphic animal levels.  J. D. Brink’s Littermates uses the first person narration of the Captain of the space faring pirate vessel Lion’s Pride to deliver a straightforward skirmish between rival pirate crews in a nominally neutral space station.

  • deuce says:

    That review of TARZAN OF THE APES by Kalvaitis is excellent. Thanks!

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