Sensor Sweep: Heir to the Empire, Fletcher Pratt, Ki Khanga, Jack Williamson, 1990s Comic Books

Monday , 6, May 2019 7 Comments

Cinema (Kairos): An anonymous commenter on yesterday’s post asks who should have been cast in a hypothetical 1993 film adaptation of Heir to the Empire.

The hour when such a film could have been made has long since passed, but wistful speculation on what might have been is all Star Wars fans have left.

Without further ado, here is my proposed cast for a production of Star Wars: Episode VII – Heir to the Empire circa May 1993.


Fiction (DMR Books): In 1983, Fritz Leiber wrote an appreciation of Tros for Donald M. Grant’s Talbot Mundy: Messenger of Destiny.  The following excerpts are taken from that book; although Leiber’s essay is only three pages long, he manages to pack a great deal of information into that short space.





Authors (Goodman Games): The Appendix N is a list of prolific authors of science fiction and fantasy. But Fletcher Pratt is not one of them, at least not in comparison to most of the authors on the list. He primarily wrote historical nonfiction about the Civil War, Napoleon, naval history, rockets, and World War II. So why is Fletcher Pratt listed in the Appendix N and why does he have the coveted “et al” listed after The Blue Star?


Actors (Walker’s Retreat): Peter Mayhew has died. The Wookie roars no more.

I saw him at CONvergence some years ago, when he was a Guest of Honor, before the convention got eaten by SJWs. As with another Original Trilogy cast member–the man behind Admiral Ozzel, Michael Sheard–he was a beloved guest and both the convention and the membership ensured that he had a good time. In person he was classy, witty, and goofy in that uniquely English manner that is so endearing. What you see in extra features on home video isn’t an act; he really was like that in person, out from under any Lucasfilm oversight.


Lovecraft (Men of the West): Few students of mankind, if truly impartial, can fail to select as the greatest of human institutions that mighty and enduring civilisation which, first appearing on the banks of the Tiber, spread throughout the known world and became the direct parent of our own. If to Greece is due the existence of all modern thought, so to Rome is due its survival and our possession of it; for it was the majesty of the Eternal City which, reducing all Western Europe to a single government, made possible the wide and uniform diffusion of the high culture borrowed from Greece, and thereby laid the foundation of European enlightenment.


Art (DMR Books): Stephen Fabian. Sword & Planet. Two great tastes that taste great together. Unfortunately, Mr. Fabian, a life-long fan of SF adventure fiction, didn’t do all that much S&P art. What there is, though, is bad-ass.


Tolkien (World Magazine): The Bodleian Library in Oxford loaned a trove of J.R.R. Tolkien’s sketches, doodles, and illustrations to New York’s Morgan Library & Museum, which calls it “the most extensive public display of original Tolkien material for several generations.” The exhibit closes May 12, and it has been packed in its final weeks, for good reason.




Authors (Adventures Fantastic): Legendary science fiction and fantasy author Jack Williamson was born 111 years ago today.  That would be April 29, 1908.  He passed away in 2006.

Williamson got his start in the pulps in the late 1920s with his first story, “The Metal Man”, being published in Amazing Stories.  His final novel, The Stonehenge Gate, was published in 2005.




RPG (Skulls in the Stars): Part of this feeling on my part is certainly nostalgia, but there really isn’t anything quite like the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and its associated published adventure modules. Recently on twitter, I’ve been reminiscing about “Old School Dungeons & Dragons” and discussing some of the classics of D&D and AD&D.


Fiction (Wasteland and Sky):  I promised these reviews a while back but fell behind in producing them. So here they are! This post is meant to bring me up to date as best as possible and to hopefully spread the word about some good books. So everyone wins. The books I will talk about today are Reptilian Wanderer, A Traitor to Dreams, Going Native & Other Stories, and The Ophian Rising. That is quite the selection.


RPG (Chronicles of Harriet): This rulebook is the essential centerpiece of Ki Khanga: The Sword and Soul Role Playing Game, with rules for character creation, magic, arms, armor, divination and much more – everything you need to play Ki Khanga as either a player or Griot!

The next great adventure in fantasy roleplaying takes off here, and Ki Khanga: The Sword and Soul Role Playing Game is your ticket to a lifetime of adventure!


History (Takimag): Frye retells the history of the world up through 1453 as a conflict between the barbaric warriors of the wasteland and the civilized wall-builders:

How important have walls been in the history of civilization? Few civilized peoples have ever lived outside them.

In Walls, history doesn’t exactly repeat but often rhymes in fun-house-mirror ways. For example, the book begins with a 220-kilometer wall built at least 4,000 years ago on the edge of the Syrian desert to guard the civilized farmers from the predatory nomads.


Comic Books (Porpor Books Blog): In the early 1990s, I remember going into Steve Geppi’s Comic World in the Woodlawn neighborhood of West Baltimore on a monthly basis. While Comic World was by no means a small store, it was literally overflowing with inventory: racks stuffed full of comic books, sliding piles of comic books stacked up on display tables, cardboard shipping boxes, stuffed with yet more comic books, lying on the floor. At the sales counter, there would be copies of the latest issue of Wizard vying for space with boxes of superhero trading cards.


Poetry ( It was because of the pervasive violence and constant insurgent attacks that they called a portion of Iraq’s Al Anbar Province “The Triangle of Death.” And it was there that Marine Sgt. David Rose experienced the best and worst of humanity while fighting alongside his fellow Marines with Camp Lejeune‘s 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion.

He turned to writing poetry and narrative as a natural catharsis.



RPG ( Delta Green: The Complex offers 21 new dossiers for federal agencies and important contractors to enhance your Delta Green campaign. Each dossier describes the entity’s budget, operatives, organizational structure and history, mandate, areas of friction with other agencies, suggested professions for Delta Green agents, and what it’s like to work there.



  • Glad you liked the HttE casting call!

    • Emmett Fitz-Hume says:

      It was nice to be reminded of that series, even if we will likely never see it on the screen.

      I think you’re probably right that Lucas might be the best Idea Man in the industry. It obvious though that he needs someone else’s oversight to prevent him from stepping on his dick.

      • I’ve always said that Lucas should be locked in a room with unlimited college ruled yellow notebooks and pencils and a slot in the door to bring meals in and take scripts out.

        There’s a team of script doctors and editors in the next room who work round the clock fixing plot structure and dialogue.

        Dan Aykroyd needs the same treatment.

  • Albert says:

    I didn’t buy Ki Khanga, but I noted at Amazon that it was ‘powered by OpenQuest’, and DriveThruRPG offers a free version of the basic rules of _that_, so I could get a sneak peak at this ‘d100 made easy’ system.

    It’s friggin’ RuneQuest, complete with hour-long character generation, bounded difficulty, whiffy skills, and fixed combat endurance.

    Unless Ki Khanga fixes at least three of those, I can’t recommend spending money on it.

  • deuce says:

    That WALLS book by Frye sounds like a good one.

    I’ll never be a fanboy of Rome to the degree that HPL was, but he makes a good case.

    SkySkull’s review of TOMB OF HORROR is excellent.

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