Sensor Sweep: Occultism, Jack London, The Moon of Skulls

Monday , 14, January 2019 1 Comment

Writing (Erindor Press): There’s this thing about new writers. They’re very tentative and they’ve yet to embrace any sense of authority over their writing and choice of career or hobby.

You can tell by the way they interact with other writers, often being deferential in the extreme to those of us who have published something. They eat up advice from everywhere (they’re not necessarily able to decipher between good and bad advice, but that’s a subject for a different article). They’re typically quick to change their opinion about one element of the craft or another based on little more than a tweet from a published author.


RPG (RPG Pundit): I’ve posted previously in this series (on the old blog, but archived here), about some of the misconceptions about how ‘occultism’ is handled in a lot of allegedly-occult RPGs, and how GMs can modify things to more closely model the reality of the occult scene (a reality that is filled with posers, fakers, and lunatics, but also some truly fascinating stuff).  One of the big ones in modern games is about how occult knowledge is somehow rare or very difficult to access (the classic Call of Cthulhu scenario where magical knowledge is only available in the most obscure places), when the fact is that the problem is not access to that knowledge at all, but the ability to differentiate between the useful and the useless.


RPG (Table Top Gaming News): For those that have seen the various Hobbit movies, you know about the epic battle between Thorin Oakenshield and Azog. For those that haven’t seen the various Hobbit movies… here’s a cool dwarf and orc set for you to add to your collection. Orders are being taken now over at Forge World for these two to add to your Middle Earth tabletops.


Writing (Kairos): Many writers labor under a common misconception about what makes a book feel fast-paced. Slamming chapters together with no space in-between doesn’t necessarily give readers a sense of speed. In fact, it can do the opposite by bringing on action fatigue. Pacing has less to do with keeping lots of balls in the air than with with motivation.


Fiction (Jeffro’s Space Gaming): June of 1930 saw Solomon Kane take the cover of Weird Tales with the first installment of a two-part serial. And man, it sure is a doozy!

It’s hard to believe, but within these pages Kane would become even more heroic, more imposing, more inspiring, and more awesome than his preceding tales could indicate. Even better, all the great fantasy elements of the 1920’s are here in vivid detail: pulse pounding jungle action, Atlantis, secret kingdoms in the heart of Africa, and beautiful and feral queens of ancient civilizations.






Writers (DMR Books): Jack London was born on this date in 1876 and we should be damned glad of it. His intense and gritty prose, imbued with the bleak lyricism of a street poet, inspired admiration not only in Robert E. Howard, as the quotes above demonstrate, but also other sword and sorcery authors as well as a few of his fellow “forefathers.”

When it comes to exerting a direct influence on the first generation of sword and sorcery authors, London had by far the greatest effect on REH.


Fiction (Too Much Horror Fiction): 2018 was in a way the biggest year ever for Too Much Horror Fiction: in March, the Grady Hendrix nonfiction book it inspired, 2017’s Paperbacks from Hellreceived the hallowed Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction. And Grady and I will be providing introductions to a series of reprint vintage horror novels to be published by Valancourt Books. I also wrote an intro (and signed copies) for a special hardcover edition of Ken Greenhall’s Hell Houndfrom Centipede Press.



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