Culture Wars (Brain Leakage): Unsurprisingly, the debate concerning gender roles in Sword and Sorcery rages on…Morgan Holmes’ latest article on the subject offers a compelling look at the raw numbers, in addition to some more anecdotes and observations about the shifts that occurred in the publishing industry. If you’ve been following the argument with any interest, I highly recommend it.
Robert Heinlein (Tip the Wink): This is the second of the Heinlein juveniles, a long and successful series of a dozen science fiction novels published by Scribner’s. These were originally envisioned as a series of books called “Young Rocket Engineers” but the idea was initially rejected by the publisher. Thus each of the novels has separate characters, locations, themes and plots. This one features Matt Dodson, who joins the Space Patrol to help preserve peace in the Solar System.
Poul Anderson (DMR Books): The story in question is “The Tale of Hauk.” This novelette is widely considered one of Poul’s best Viking tales. Most of the onstage events occur in Raumsdal, Norway. Hauk is the son of Geirolf. Geirolf is an ageing Viking, nostalgic for the old days and bitter about the present. Hauk, a doughty fighter himself, is making his way more as a wide-ranging merchant than as a pirate. Geirolf disapproves.
Comic Books (Paint the Monk): We’re closing in on the 100th issue of Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian and nearing the end of Roy Thomas’ memorable adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s “Queen of the Black Coast” story. This issue concludes the “Beast King of Abombi” quartet (#94-97), and only two stand-alone yarns remain before the double-sized Conan extravaganza published originally in July 1979.
Marvel Universe (Jon Mollison): The world loves empty spectacle. All the flat characters, meaningless drama, empty action, and bland dialogue in the world won’t bring down a film filled with lots and lots of splodey-splodey. Aquaman was a DC movie with all that implies and even following on the heels weak sisters like Batman vs. Superman and Justice League it nearly cracked the billion dollar mark. Disney’s ‘live action’ remake of The Lion King looks like cold mud on a hot roof, and people still forked over half a billion dollars worth of tickets in the opening weekend.
Horror/Poe (Classic Horror Blog): Arguably the most famous of Poe’s murder tales (and comfortably short for casual readers of literary fiction) “The Tell-Tale Heart” has become a cultural metaphor for the exposure of evil deeds. And yet its nuances are often overlooked. As much as it is a tale of wickedness brought to light, it is also a pocket-sized manifesto on the multifaceted human spirit and an indictment of cheap cultural definitions of insanity. Humanity, Poe proclaims, is not divided into obvious classes of good and evil, but contain within them impulsive elements of each them.
Comic Books (Jon Mollison):)Last year, in an effort to pushback against the ensqualminating of comic book industry, I made it a point to back a number of kickstarters. One such title earned a backing based solely on the involvement of The Legend. The seven bucks for a single issue and spicy marketing would have put me off Ravage: Kill All Men entirely, but come on – Chuck Dixon.
Edgar Rice Burroughs ( Recoverings ): Having just seen the color proofs for the dust-jacket of his new book from A.C. McClurg, Ed took to his typewriter to tell his editor, Joseph Bray, in no uncertain terms, exactly what he thought about it. Among other things, he said this:
“… There is nothing of the atmosphere or coloring of Arizona in the foliage or background; in fact the whole thing is atrocious and if the picture can kill sales, I am confident that this one will.”
Cinema (Tolkiengesellschaft): Just 20 minutes after the release of the Amazon trailer for the creative team of the Lord of the Rings series, we had the opportunity at Tolkien Thing to interview Tom Shippey, our Guest of Honour, about the trailer and the project exclusively. He is one of the 20 names presented in the video and had not yet seen the video himself. Together we went through the trailer piece by piece, which was analyzed by Shippey and us. Tom Shippey laughs loudly at our first question whether some names are still missing and remains silent.
History (Frontier Partisans): Through the fall of 1866, the Lakota/Cheyenne/Arapaho insurgents in the Powder River Country made life miserable for the garrison of Fort Phil Kearny. Young raiders made constant attacks on the horse and mule herd, and ran off a good portion of the fort’s cattle herd. Work parties had to travel for miles to fell and haul logs for saw timber, or to mow hay for the dwindling livestock herds, and they were often harassed.
Fiction (David J. West): So I pushed myself this early summer and finished up and LO, it was a bigger tale than I thought at first, so in addition to writing a novella that was set after the events of the book, I went back and rethought the storyline to #SAVANT and tweaked it a little. I like thinking of it as TRUE GRIT meets THE PRESTIGE.
Paperbacks (Rough Edges): The latest volume in the excellent MEN OF VIOLENCE series is an All Review Special, featuring more than a hundred reviews of men’s adventure novels and series, ranging from classics of the genre to obscure little gems that you’ve probably never heard of. Editor Justin Marriot has assembled a wonderful book to browse and enjoy, and I guarantee you’ll learn a few things, even if you’re an expert on men’s adventure fiction. If you’re a newcomer to the genre, this book is a crash course on it. Not all the reviews are positive, either; some warn potential readers which books to stay away from.
Robert Heinlein (Tip the Wink): Colonists on Mars: ever a popular science fiction storyline. This time it’s a good guys vs. bad guys with the Martians caught in the middle. It represents the first appearance of Heinlein’s idealized Martian elder race, which will reappear in Stranger in a Strange Land.
The novel is set in the future when Mars has been colonized by humans, but is administered by a governor appointed by the Earth government and the colonists have no political power.
Star Trek (Bounding into Comics): Kate Mulgrew, who played the first female Star Trek Captain in Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager claims Star Trek: The Original Series is “extremely misogynist.”
In an interview with the Radio Times while promoting her upcoming documentary series titled The Space Race, Mulgrew responded to a question regarding a numbers of fans discontent with Star Trek: Discovery. The question noted that some people claim the dislike of Discovery has a “misogynist edge to the vitriol.”
RPG (Swords and Stitchery): The other day I was reading through the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition Monster Manual & came upon the gelatinous cube entry. Every single dungeon that I’ve played in has had a gelatinous cube or some variety of that monster within it. Why?!
RPG (Sacnoth’s Scriptorium): So, probably the rarest thing I have in my rpg collection, which has always been more of a working library than a collector’s set, is a copy of THE JADE HARE, an eight-page module by John Nephew. Unfortunately, my copy got mislaid a while back and I’ve been looking for it, unsuccessfully, for the past year or two. Last night I turned it up again, in a somewhat unexpected context.