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Sensor Sweep: H. P. Lovecraft, Forbidden Tomes, Ice Planets, Continental Op –

Sensor Sweep: H. P. Lovecraft, Forbidden Tomes, Ice Planets, Continental Op

Monday , 21, August 2023 5 Comments

H. P. Lovecraft (Sprague de Camp Fan): Lovecraft: A Biography (Doubleday, 1975) was one of de Camp’s most ambitious works of nonfiction, and, at 175,000 words, one of his longest. It was originally even longer. De Camp notes in his autobiography that the manuscript was 200,000 words, which Doubleday considered too long, and was shortened at the publisher’s request. For the Ballantine paperback version he had to shorten it even more.

Radio (Comics Radio): Dillon and Chester arrive in Abeline by train and soon arrest a man wanted for murder in Dodge City. But it’s four hours until the train back to Dodge leaves and the prisoner’s two brothers are in town…

Horror (Dark Worlds Quarterly): Tomes of evil do not begin or end with H. P. Lovecraft’s most famous volume, The Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred. His friends like Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, August Derleth and others created their own evil books, giving us a library full of terrors. Reading a copy of The Pnakotic Manuscripts, Cultes de Ghoules or Nameless Cults won’t blast you or drive you immediately insane.

Science Fiction (Dark Worlds Quarterly): Ice Planets are part of the Space Opera landscape. Whether your first one was Star Trek‘s Sarpeidon (1969), Star WarsIce Planet Hoth (1980) or the later Star Trek movies’ Rura Penthe (1991) or Delta Vega, they all have one thing in common. Cold. Well, and Ice. …And Snow. …And monsters. So, four things, really. The monsters are usually large, shaggy and white.

Crime Fiction (Paperback Warrior): Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels are the perfect remedy for a summer reading slump. The earlier installments of the series stand alone quite nicely, and these urban police procedurals are always short and exciting. I randomly chose 1959’s Killer’s Wedge, the seventh installment, for this excursion.

Pulp Art (Streyflexin): The classic cover craze continues to take over the Golden Age market with record breaking prices for both super-hero and non super-hero books. Let’s take a look at some of the inspirations that helped shape the wonderful Golden Age art and stories that we all know and love. From the beginning, cover swipes were commonplace, decades before any Amazing Spider-Man 300 or Incredible Hulk 340 cover swipes occurred.

Fantasy (Wealth of Geeks):  Thanks to the popularity of Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire)and Lord of the Rings, fantasy novels have enjoyed mainstream success over the past few decades. 

Sometimes, it’s hard to find what else is out there. This list reviews 16 overlook fantasy novels that will captivate your imagination. 

Pulp (Black Gate): “You’re the second guy I’ve met within hours who seems to think a gat in the hand means a world by the tail.” – Phillip Marlowe in Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep

(Gat — Prohibition Era term for a gun. Shortened version of Gatling Gun)

Monsters (Dark Worlds Quarterly): Conan fought several flying monsters in his career, though we have only looked at the Winged Ape previously here. The majority of his opponents are of the hulking variety. Flying opponents offer their own challenges, the most obvious being they can surprise you from above. That was why Edgar Rice Burroughs had Tarzan attacked by a pterodon in Pellucidar (a classic flying monster fight Howard may have read in 1929.)

West (Paramount): Lawmen: Bass Reeves comes from Executive Producer Taylor Sheridan and stars award-winning actor David Oyelowo. The series brings the story of the legendary lawman and outlaws of the Wild West to life. Reeves, known as the greatest frontier hero in American history, worked in the Post-Reconstruction era as a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory, capturing over 3,000 of the most dangerous criminals without ever being wounded.

Science Fiction (Dark Worlds Quarterly): I am currently reading Lin Carter’s The Man Who Loved Mars (1973). It features Ilionis, “…the long-lost and extremely legended Treasure City of Old Mars”. The novel is the first of four Carter wrote in the Leigh Brackett style. (With Lin you have to ask yourself who is he pastiching?) The theme he uses in this book and its later sequels is as old as Pulp. Borrowed from adventure fiction as old as Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1885), the lost city is transplanted to a distant planet.

Weird Tales (Tellers of Weird Tales): “The Moon Terror” by A.G. Birch was the first story in the May 1923 issue of Weird Tales. “The Closed Cabinet” by _____ _____ was the last. _____ _____ was an anonymous author in the pages of “The Unique Magazine” and in the original. The original was Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (Vol. CLVII, No. DCCCLI), published in January 1895.

RPG (Walker’s Retreat): Assassins, Druids, and Monks are classes with implicit hierachies and organizations. Their progress through the levels reflects this. But what about the other classes in the Player’s Handbook? Illusionists don’t have any such organization, and neither do Paladins; those classes reflect different fantastic archetypes.

H.P. Lovecraft (Grognardia): Though I’d read some of his earlier, less overtly cosmic stories beforehand, it was the release of Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game in 1981 that ultimately cemented my lifelong affection for H.P. Lovecraft and his works. I doubt this is a unique situation. Indeed, I have long suspected that Call of Cthulhu has probably served as the gateway to Lovecraft for more people since its publication four decades ago than almost anything else.

Pop Culture (Wasteland & Sky): As I said, the mid-90s almost comes off as a time of reflection and calm before the storm than it resembles the material high of the 1980s or the more biting cynicism and the early 90s were known for. It also doesn’t help that Cultural Ground Zero started to take over here, before feeling its full flowering in the next few years. As a result, 1996 is usually the last year that garners any wide cultural nostalgia to this day.

New (Cirsova): Misha Burnett’s Small Worlds is now available on Amazon in both paperback and eBook! Cirsova Publishing is proud to present Small Worlds, a brand new anthology from short fiction master Misha Burnett.

Review (DMR Books): The Viking Gael Saga opens with a duel. A debt is owed and must be paid. The debt is challenged, and the duel will settle the matter once and for all. Tragically Asgeir ends up serving as an oarsman in Ulf the Old’s crew. Adding salt to the wound, a stranger now wields his father’s blade. It is easy to see why thoughts of revenge burn through young Asgeir’s mind.

H. P. Lovecraft (The Obelisk): On this day, August 20, 1890, Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born in his beloved Providence, Rhode Island. His parents, Winfield Scott Lovecraft and Sarah Susan Phillips, imparted to him a hereditary taint. Winfield was committed to the Butler Hospital following a psychotic break in a Chicago hotel room. Winfield would die in the mental ward in 1898, the likely victim of late-stage syphilis.

Pulp (Rough Edges): This is a modern-day reprint published by Wildside Press of a collection originally edited and published by Robert Weinberg in 1979 that reprinted four Weird Menace pulp stories from the Thirties. The Weinberg edition has a very nice cover by Stephen Fabian that the Wildside Press reprint also uses. This collection features four authors who were million-words-a-year guys, or close to it, anyway.

Horror (Lawrence Person): Another Borderlands Little Book. Connell, Richard (Ted Connair, editor). A Little Gray Book of Grisly Tales. Borderlands Press, 2023. First edition hardback, #462 of 500 copies signed by Connair, a Fine copy, sans dust jacket, as issued. Connell is most famous for having penned “The Most Dangerous Game” (one of the stories here), which has been adapted so many times it has a Wikipedia entry just for the adaptations. Contains eight stories total. Bought from the publisher at the usual discount. Now out of print from the publisher.

Fiction (Book Graveyard): Hey hey our man Gardner F Fox, author of the Kyrik Fights the Demon World book we reviewed awhile back is once again haunting the Book Graveyard with his fun and schlocky pulp writing. For those unaware of the Cherry Delight series, she is an agent for N.Y.M.P.H.O- New York Mafia Prosecution and Harassment Organization. Ha! And if you haven’t gathered that there is plenty of sex scenes in this book just from that, I’m sorry to say you might be too dumb for a Cherry Delight book, and that’s saying something.

Fiction (Sweet Freedom): The Woolrich novel which Lee Wright [who edited crime fiction for Random House and Simon & Schuster, as well as editing various anthologies before taking on her long-term publisher’s editor gigs–TM] told me had been everywhere and rejected similarly was complete with a missing final chapter. I read the manuscript; it was okay with that gap…the missing chapter I suspect was actually written and dumped _or_ Woolrich thought better of it. Turned on an incestuous relationship with the dark lady revealed.

Fiction (Vintage Pop Fictions): C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne’s The Lost Continent: The Story of Atlantis was published in 1899 and it qualifies as a lost world story although not quite a conventional one. There are also a few science fictional tinges. Two archaeologists make an extraordinary discovery in the Canary Islands. It’s a narrative written on wax tablets, although the tablets differ in composition from any previously known. It is an astoundingly old narrative which when deciphered proves to be the story of the fate of Atlantis. The author, Deucalion, played a pivotal rôle in these events.

Fiction (Bloody Spicy Books): I was still in the mood for Lansdale, so I decided to trek back to the earlier and pseudonym years. Back in the day the always readable Stephen Mertz had a series he created called M.I.A. Hunter where Mark Stone went back over to ‘Nam and had some action and adventure. 

  • JohnnyMac says:

    Your link for the first item (L. Sprague DeCamp Fan) is not working.

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