Sensor Sweep: Horrors of the Hyborian Age, Tarzan, Keith Taylor, Atomic Tunnels!

Monday , 7, January 2019 4 Comments

RPG (Modiphius): Horrors of the Hyborian Age is the definitive guide to the monstrous creatures inhabiting the dark tombs, ruined cities, forgotten grottos, dense jungles, and sinister forests of Conan’s world. This collection of beasts, monsters, undead, weird races, and mutants are ready to pit their savagery against the swords and bravery of the heroes of the Hyborian Age.

Drawn from the pages of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, this roster also includes creatures and alien horrors from H.P. Lovecraft ’s Cthulhu Mythos, to which Howard inextricably bound his Hyborian Age. Other entries are original, chosen carefully to refl ect the tone and dangers of Conan’s world.


Fiction (Mercatornet): This well-known Lord of the Jungle has many characteristics that any reader would be glad to check off from their favourite hero’s must-have list: strength; courage; resourcefulness; dignity, and nobility. And he uses them all in abundance as he wins his way to the top of the food chain. As well as winning over all who get to know him, he captivates the imagination when he kills lions, out-wits savage cannibals, avoids becoming a human sacrifice, foils the treachery of rogue Russian spies, and, not the least, successfully navigates the complicated reefs of the human heart in search of love.


Writers (DMR Books): Keith Taylor’s birthday has rolled around once again. Keith informed me today that he’s enjoying the anniversary of his nativity in his sunny hometown of Melbourne, Down Under. Rather than reviewing one of Keith’s books–as I did last year--this year I thought I’d apprise the Gentle Readers of the DMR Blog of what Mr. Taylor is working on now and what his fans can look forward to in 2019.


Book Review (DMR Books): When the gods of Blood and Thunder drop a book on you from a great height, there’s an implicit demand that one ignores at one’s peril.

A couple of months ago I was heading out on a business trip and was casting about for an engaging, immersive — and most importantly fun — read; one that strummed the right chords but wasn’t related to a project or anything that feels like work. That can be a problem for me. I kept running across an author named Jonathan French and a book titled The Grey Bastards.

Sons of Anarchy in Middle Earth!” or “Mad Max in Tolkien’s Middle Earth!”


Science (Yahoo): In the 1970s, Los Alamos National Laboratory explored a science-fiction approach to tunneling: using nuclear power to literally melt holes through rock and turn the melted rock into tunnel lining.

America’s Mad Scientists Wanted to Use Nuclear Power to Create Tunnels in a Shocking Way

Digging out deep underground complexes or undersea bases could be expedited the Atomic way, in an alternate universe where the wildest ideas of the 1950s, 60s and 70s came to pass. Although our own timeline relies on mega-engineering for transportation, energy and architectural infrastructure, for the past half-century we’ve mostly relied on conventional power sources and design principles.


Lovecraft (Murray Ewing): Earlier this year I read Bessel van der Kolk’s book on the effects and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, The Body Keeps the Score (2014). Its description of what happens to the brain under traumatic stress and afterwards, when the trauma is re-triggered, was fascinating, as were the various methods that could be used to treat PTSD. One that really got me thinking was van der Kolk’s description of how taking part in reenactments of Ancient Greek tragedies helped traumatised combat veterans.


Culture War (Paul Lucas): I’ve never subscribed to any of the big SFF magazines because whenever I’ve picked up a copy, a load of the stories have been rather smug and unengaging – a polite way of saying ‘dull’. Yes, some of the stories are exciting and interesting, but not enough. The characters have always been too passive, and we’ve all heard about stories which have been ‘workshopped to death’.

As Rawle Nyanzi said, the stories are ‘written for other writers, not an actual reading audience’. Look at the big awards in science fiction like the Hugos and the Nebulas. The Nebulas are voted on by other writers – peers, not punters. The Hugos today are voted on by people who want to be writers – wannabes, not doers. These people without skin in the game get control of an industry, and run it according to their view of the world, and not according to reality.


Fiction (Scott Nicolay): Campbell’s novella “Who Goes There” in particular—his most successful story and probably the most obvious selection we’ve tackled—has left an enormous footprint on science fiction, horror and The Weird. This time around we explore “The Black Destroyer” and “Discord in Scarlet,” a pair of closely related stories by A.E. Van Vogtwhose combined impact may just be to “Who Goes There” what King Ghidorah is to Barney. The shadow of these two tales falls heavily over some of the most famous films and franchises in the speculative fiction universe. From tiny eggs, my friends…


Tolkien (Middle Earth Q: Was J.R.R. Tolkien a Racist?

ANSWER: No, J.R.R. Tolkien was not a racist. In fact, he would have struck many people as a very enlightened man for his generation. Nonetheless, many people falsely allege that J.R.R. Tolkien was a racist because they believe that The Lord of the Rings was written as a “white people against all other skin-colored peoples” story, which is simply not true.

There are many white-skinned characters in The Lord of the Rings who are engaged in the most egregious evil, including Saruman and Wormtongue.


Gaming (Walker’s Retreat): I welcome the coming collapse of the current pop-culture machine.

Marvel’s zeitgeist ends this year with the fourth Avengers film, which will open the door to all of the SJW bullshit that’s killed Marvel Comics. The tell is Captain Marvel, which is all about that poz, and if that film fails to meet expectations I will be pleased. Depending on what is done to undo The Snap, we’ll see if the SJW meme-disease comes quick or if they’re going to be sly about it.

Mouse Wars whimpers its last this year. Be grateful.


Culture War (Niche Gamer): Jack Thompson has returned for an op-ed on Tallahassee Democrat blaming the Parkland school massacre on violent video games.

The former lawyer pointed to Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz playing “hyperviolent” video games “up to 15 hours a day,” and that a “neurobiological age-based differential” between teens and adults is what led him to go crazy and shoot up a school.


Gaming (Gaming While Conservative): Remember kids: Girl D&D is Fake D&D.  It’s a perversion of the wargame cake with RP frosting added in post-production.  It’s all frosting with a few crumbs to maintain the semblance of respectability.  That metaphor is so perfect that whenever the YerTerbs algorithm crams another LiveD&D Let’s Play Cast into my pristine SDL and Bear-Fest heavy feed I think of this scene from Death Becomes Her.






  • deuce says:

    THE GREY BASTARDS sounds badass. I like the “HPL & PTSD” post as well.

  • Emmett Fitz-Hume says:

    The grey Bastards sounds fantastic.

  • Paul says:

    Thanks for the shout out for my Culture War posting.

  • deuce says:

    That “atomic tunnels” post is gonzo. Pellucidar, Star Trek and nuclear drills!

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