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Sensor Sweep: Godzilla, Poul Anderson, Keith Taylor, Solomon Kane –

Sensor Sweep: Godzilla, Poul Anderson, Keith Taylor, Solomon Kane

Monday , 4, December 2023 1 Comment

Publishing (Free Press): It’s about a parallel publishing space that has risen up while the legacy publishing houses in New York have been declining thanks to a combination of threats that are both external (the internet; the upending of print) and internal (new progressive staffers; sensitivity readers; etc.).

Cinema (Stephen Mark Rainey): As a diehard daikaiju fanatic since early childhood, I take my Godzilla movies seriously, no matter how serious — or not — the movies themselves might be. The original 1954 Godzilla is not just my favorite monster film, it’s my favorite film of all time. Many monster movie fans have opined that Godzilla Minus One, Toho’s newest entry into the venerable franchise, rivals or even surpasses the power and quality of the original.

Ghost Stories (Vintage Pop Fictions): The Turn of the Screw, an 1898 novella by Henry James, is one of the most famous of all ghost stories. And a very complex ghost story it is. A young woman, whose name we never learn, is offered a position as governess to two orphan children.

Pulp (Paperback Warrior): Frederick Nebel (1903-1967) was second only to Erle Stanley Gardner in total number of stories published in Black Mask. The New York native sold his first story to the magazine in 1926, launching a prolific career that included stories for Danger Trail, Dime Detective, Air Stories, Northwest Stories, and Detective Fiction Weekly among others. The novella begins by introducing readers to action-man Jack Ridlon. It is explained that Ridlon was a one-time sailing master in the island trading and shipping business.

D&D (Grognardia): In looking at the early history of Dungeons & Dragons, there’s a lot of talk about its faddishness in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Certainly, news stories about the so-called “steam tunnels incident” of August 1979 catapulted D&D – and roleplaying more generally – to greater public consciousness in the English-speaking world (and perhaps beyond).

Pastiche (Sprague de Camp Fan): A new Solomon Kane adventure! We haven’t seen too many of these. Unlike the plethora of Conan adventures, Kane has not been overused at this point. This is the second “online” story about Kane. The other one being “The Death’s Head Tavern” by Nancy Collins. This is the first “authorized” adventure though. And it’s a good one.

Genre (The Library Ladder): Has steampunk lost its edge? What began as a kind of protest against the constraints and conventions of Victorian and Golden Age science fiction has evolved into a wide-ranging category that’s difficult to define. Is it a discrete literary genre? Is it an ideology? Is it a counterculture movement? Or is it simply an aesthetic or style?

Art (Jules Burt): In today’s video we take the first of three looks at the amazing original photographs and the corresponding finished book jackets as painted by legendary artist Sam ‘Peff’ Peffer.

Pulp (Comics Radio): The third Dan Fowler novel–Hot Money–ran in the December 1935 issue of G-Men. George Eliot Fielding, writing under the house name C.K.M. Scanlon, continues as the writer.

This one builds on an interesting premise. 100 grand in cash was paid as a ransom in a kidnapping. The kidnapped lady was released, but the crooks got away with the money. That money, though, is hot.

New Pulp (Pulp Net): I was shocked when New Pulp author Derrick Ferguson had passed away in 2021. I don’t know what happened, but was surprised as I didn’t know he was unwell. I had read several of his works, in particular his Dillon works, and was looking forward to his next one. Now, I have no idea what will happen as he was still working on the next one and some other works as well.

Fiction (Dark Crusade): Wagner on Central Weekend The vampire books of Montague Summers
The Vampire: His Kith and Kin The Vampire in Europe

Fiction (Black Gate): Keith Taylor, who turns 77 next month, has been coping with a long illness, but recently has returned to writing. Plenty of folks have written about his most recent fiction efforts. But for the most informative summary, let’s return to Brian’s Murphy’s September 2022 piece at Goodman Games.

Fiction (Dark Worlds Quarterly): Manor Books was the bottom of the barrel in the late 1970s. Ballantine, ACE, later DAW were the prime markets for Sword & Sorcery in the tradition of Robert E. Howard & J.R R. Tolkien, with Lancer, Zebra and Belmont/Tower being less so. Then there was Manor. The company began as a reprinter of material purchased from the MacFadden Corporation that left paperback publishing in the 1970s. A. E. van Vogt and Philip K. Dick got new editions while the majority of the new books were men’s adventure.

Science Fiction (Sorcerers Skull): I think there is a lineage of science fiction name coining that whose progenitor is Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars stories but that passes through early to mid-20th Century pulpier sci-fi like the works of Edmond Hamilton and Jack Vance to the galaxy far, far away of the Star Wars Universe.

Tolkien/Edgar Rice Burrough (John Carter Files): Several years ago, an online conversation between myself and another fan of imaginative storytelling turned to the comparison of Edgar Rice Burroughs (a.k.a. ERB, author of Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of Mars) and J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion). We explored the question of whether ERB and Tolkien are brothers in the realm of fiction, or is it simply ludicrous to mention them in the same sentence? Is the comparison necessary, or even useful?

History (Frontier Partisans): I thought of that conversation as I took in some of the commentary on Beowulf. The Saxons from among whom the poem emerged had colonized the island that would become England — after the Romans (who had created a Romano-British civilization there over a period of 400 years) departed.

Cinema (WDW Pro): One of the most important effects studios in the history of cinema is saying goodbye. After decades of practical effects that you know from your favorite movies of all time, the studio that helped make Star Wars become a reality is no more. Today we’re talking about it, as well as the impact it will have on an industry that is more and more beholden to computer graphics… even when the opposite would still be better.

Fiction (Jim Kjelgaard): Jim Kjelgaard’s second novel, Rebel Siege, appeared in September 1943 from Holiday House, a full two years after his first novel, Forest Patrol, was published. It was the first of two Kjelgaard novels illustrated by Charles Banks Wilson. The other, The Story of Geronimo, was published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1958. Wilson is most famous for his portraits of Will Rogers, Jim Thorpe, and U.S. House Speaker Carl Albert, which is hanging in Washington D.C.’s National Portrait Gallery.

Classics (Liberty Fund): In “The Iliad,” the gods of ancient Greece held dominion over justice and politics, not wholly unlike today’s political leaders. Yet, Homer masterfully portrayed the limitations and imperfections of these gods, revealing that even the mightiest beings are not immune to human-like foibles.

Robert E. Howard (DMR Books): “Thanksgiving! Baked turkey, with dressing made of biscuit and cornbread crumbs, sage, onions, eggs, celery salt and what not; hot biscuits and fresh butter yellow as gold; rich gravy; fruit cakes containing citron, candied pineapple and cherries, currants, raisins, dates, spices, pecans, almonds, walnuts; pea salad; pumpkin pie, apple pie, mince pie with pecans; rich creamy milk, chocolate, or tea — my Southern ancestors were quite correct in adopting the old New England holiday.”

Horror (Too Much Horror Fiction): Long on my to-read list after the author’s 1974 eco-horror Gwen, in Green become a personal favorite, Hugh Zachary‘s umpteenth novel The Revenant (Onyx, Aug 1988) is a respectable addition to the haunted house pantheon. The esteemed illustrator Richard Newton provides the stunning skull cover art, which perfectly illustrates the terrors within (while he is not credited on the copyright page, you can spy part of his signature just under “Zachary” on the dead soldier’s collar).

History (Real Crusades History): The First Crusade – one of the most unlikely success stories in history. A motley army of warrior pilgrims traveled thousands of miles from western Europe to the Holy Land, where they battled some of the most formidable eastern powers of the period. The crusaders won, but then, most of the crusaders went home. Left behind were the few knights, adventurers, priests and pilgrims intent on fighting for survival in these distant lands.

Warfare (Isegoria): The War in Ukraine, Edward Luttwak notes, is a war that must be fought by sheer, grinding, attrition, just like the First World War on the Western Front, with almost none of the maneuver warfare exploits that made celebrities of Guderian, Rommel, Patton, and Rokossovsky in the Second World War, and Arik Sharon in 1967 and 1973:

Authors (Goodman Games): Poul Anderson was a prolific author who penned almost two hundred short stories and novels that ran the gamut from science fiction to fantasy to historical fiction to non-fiction during his lifetime. The seven-time Hugo Award winner was renowned for his exploration of politics and social issues in his stories, and for his larger-than-life heroes who seemed to fail as often as they succeeded. However, among gamers, Anderson is more wildly known for inspiring some of the foundations of Dungeons & Dragons.

One Comment
  • deuce says:

    That BERBORA cover was swiped from something else. It’s driving me nuts trying to figure out exactly WHERE, though.

    The Kjelgaard link is dead.

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