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Sensor Sweep: Ms. Marvel, Amazon Tolkien, White Dwarf –

Sensor Sweep: Ms. Marvel, Amazon Tolkien, White Dwarf

Monday , 18, July 2022 Leave a comment

New (Wasteland & Sky): This has been a long time coming, and it is thanks to you, dear reader, that it has happened. Today is the official release of my new book, The Last Fanatics: How the Genre Wars Killed Wonder. This is a collection of essays, edited by myself, of my series on Fandom that I have been writing for the last couple of years on Wasteland & Sky. It’s been some time editing it, but the final release is here at last! My readers demanded this one, so here it is!

T.V. (Arkhaven Comics): Ms. Marvel has just finished its first and likely only season.  I’ve stated before that it was kind of a hard show to review due to the fact that I had no interest in it, and that hasn’t changed. But since the episodes were only a half-hour long, I was able to power my way through it. I can give it this much.  I didn’t hate it. The Ms. Marvel character is a derivative, of a derivative, of a ripoff.

Magazines (Grognardia): My memory of White Dwarf is of a magazine whose articles were largely devoted to Dungeons & Dragons, Traveller, and RuneQuest (and, later, Call of Cthulhu), hence my great enjoyment of it. This estimation is especially true of issue #41 (May 1983), which includes material for all three of those RPGs (CoC material is in the near future, however).

Fiction (Mostly Old Books): Along with The Score, when Parker robs an entire town, this 10th in the series is one of my favorites. Parker plans out the seemingly ridiculous heist of the payroll at an Air Force base. (This is 1967 and the bi-weekly payroll was paid in cash.) Early focus is the casing of the base with the help of the inside guy who works in the finance office. The major complication is that the girlfriend of the finance guy is also the ex-wife of another member of the crew.

Reading (Goodman Games): Quite often an author’s reputation is enough to get potential readers interested, but said author’s back catalog is so overwhelming, or even obscure, that it intimidates newcomers. The following author-specific Where to Start articles offer many ideas about the best places to embark when exploring these classic writers.

Poul Anderson Robert E. Howard Harold Lamb Clark Ashton Smith Jack Vance

Tolkien (Wert Zone): A new Middle-earth book is on its way. The Fall of Númenor will be published on 10 November 2022 and will recount the events of the Second Age of Middle-earth, accompanied by new artwork by popular Tolkien artist Alan Lee.

Popular Culture (Razorfist): Don’t Cry About The Culture. BECOME The Culture.

Amazon Train Wreck (Bounding Into Comics): Red Queen novelist Victoria Aveyard got obliterated on social media after she attempted to run interference for Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Robert E. Howard (Adventures Fantastic): In Part 1, we presented the arguments on whether the photograph known as “Dude on a Rock” was Robert E. Howard or not. In this second part, we will present the arguments on whether the person in the photograph known as “The Three Swordsmen” is Howard. Numbers in front of the photos’ identifications correspond to the photos’ numbers in the upcoming photobook of Robert E. Howard, “This Isn’t To Flaunt My Homely Countenance”: The Robert E. Howard Photo Album, from the Robert E. Howard Foundation Press.

D&D (Pits Perilous): Tabletop roleplaying’s traditional form involves a sharp division of labor. Conan, for all his might, had little control over the enemies he fought, only his own choices and those things he could change through personal effort. But there’s another tradition: storygaming, perhaps without a formal gamemaster, where everyone collaborates on all elements of an adventure – and all without the classic authoritarian bent. Not my cup of tea: but I’m a live-and-let live person who gets how our hobby’s origin might also have been collaborative.

Artists (DMR Books): Yesterday, Mike Ploog turned eighty years old. Thanks to a combination of hecticity and hellish heat here at the Homestead, Mr. Ploog’s nativity is belatedly being honored this evening. Honors are something he richly deserves, not least for his contributions to horror and sword-and-sorcery/heroic fantasy comics. In addition, Mike has worked on numerous cinematic projects of note. His detailed biography can be found here.

Video Games (Sword Sorcery Games): Age of Barbarian – created by Italian studio Crian Soft, headed by Christian Fanucci and Catherine Thalman – is about as pure a representation of sword and sorcery in games as can be found. It pays homage to the entire genre, both the best (Robert E. Howard) and the more questionable parts (80s B-movies like Deathstalker). It apologizes for nothing.

Robert E. Howard (Mean Streets): John D. Haefele’s expertise on the subject of writer August Derleth, and his circle, just got called into action by a find made by Will Oliver, who writes a fanzine for REHupa titled Some Line-Faced Scrivener.  You may recall that Oliver once before surfaced on Mean Streets under his Internet avatar Linedfacedscrivener, when he dug up Brian Leno’s legendary ten-part survey on the boxer Kid Dula.

Cosmic Philosphy (John C. Wright): Time confounds man. The central paradox of man is fourfold: First, reason sees eternal truths; conscience whispers of eternal law; love bespeaks eternal beauty. These airy things are above our grasp, yet no stoic has the self-command nor quietist the resignation as never to yearn for them. Second, foresight foretells mortality, which condemns all victories to vain oblivion. We make provision for our posterity, even as our forbears did for us. Each generation forges a link in the golden chain between parent and progeny, between tradition and growth.

Comic Books (Broken Frontier): Tapping into a Tolkien-esque mindset (and presumably an accompanying market for such fare), Weirdworld was a sporadically published Marvel Comics feature that never had its own series per se but would pop up in a number of titles with rotating features in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Science Fiction (Dark Worlds Quarterly): Frank J. Brueckel, Jr. (1910-1976) was a Hugo Gernsback writer in the early days of Pulp Science Fiction. When Hugo lost Amazing Stories, Brueckel went with him to his new line of magazine. (Many writers simply wrote for T. O’Connor Sloane, Hugo’s old assistant, who became Amazing‘s new editor.) He used the pseudonym Frank Bridge for half of his work. Little is known about his life other than he was originally from Milwaukee and moved to Los Angeles California. Brueckel only wrote for about three years.

Science Fiction (Future War Stories): For most people, the hero starfighters of the Star Wars universe are the X-Wing and the TIE Fighter…but there is the TIE Bomber and the Y-Wing that live in the show of them. In this first installment of the new Star Fighters serial, we will exploring and explaining the fighter classification that lives in the shadow of the fighter interceptor and the air superiority fighter: the Fighter-Bomber!

Cinema (Neo Text Corp): Casino in some respects is director Martin Scorsese dialing Goodfellas up to 11. Oh, you want the mob life? Well here it is in Chairman of the board brashness and lurid VEGAS BABY! sindulgence, where gambling king and long-term gaming licensee in waiting Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro) funnels money out the back door of the fictional Tangiers hotel he all but runs for the mob elders back East. To him, it’s a “morality carwash.”

Games (Jon Mollison): All in all, “Wargaming Campaigns” is a fun and engaging read…but! There is always a ‘but’, isn’t there? This book is very broad and not terribly deep. It introduces a lot of concepts, everything from map-making to fog of war to ladder campaigns, and provides a starting point that will leave the reader with a basic understanding of the concept, without adding much innovation or detail.  As an introduction and reference work, it shines.  As a next step in campaign development… not so much.

Pulp (Chimney Sweep Reader): This is a five-part serial, originally published in the pages of “People’s” magazine way back in 1916.  J. Allan Dunn, the author, had broken into the pulps just two years prior, but was already in high demand as a writer.  I was drawn to this book because I had read and enjoyed a collection of his “Crime Master” stories which weren’t written until the late 1920’s and 30’s.

Pulp (Spectre Library): Fight Stories debuted in June 1928 as part of the Fiction House line of pulps and ran for 47 issues until its untimely demise May 1932. It would be resuscitated Spring 1936 and run for 59 additional issues until Spring 1952. Featured here is the 3rd issue, dated August 1928, sporting cover art by Abell Sturges. Story head illustrations credited to Frank McAleer and Allan Thomas per the contents page. I will be including below all of those illustrated story heads.

History (Frontier Partisans): That distinction properly belongs to the long contest for global dominance between France and Great Britain, which culminated in the French & Indian War (Seven Years War). And its bloodiest battle, the attempt to take the French Fort Carillon on this date in history, June 8, 1758, was a slaughter that soldiers who went over the top at The Somme would have recognized — not in its scale, of course, but in its sheer, bloody futility.

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