Authors (Rich Horton): Roger Zelazny would have been 82 today, but, dammit, he died way too young in 1995. I loved his short fiction but I haven’t written a lot about it, so instead I’ve taken four rather short bits, capsules, really, that I did of four of his novels, for my SFF Net newsgroup a while ago, and in once case for Black Gate retro-review of an issue of Galaxy.
Tolkien (Eldritch Paths): I have a confession to make. Up until last year, I hadn’t actually read The Lord of the Rings. I know, I know. I say I read fantasy and I haven’t read what’s considered one of the greatest pieces of fantasy ever written. To be quite honest, I was a bit reluctant to read the trilogy. The complaints I’ve heard about Tolkien being “boring”, middle-earth as a setting being cliche, and that the novels having way too much description put me off. Eventually, I hunkered down and bit the bullet. To my surprise, I was blown away.
Science Fiction (Tellers of Weird Tales): A long time ago, I wrote about Fritz Leiber, Jr., and the problem of the weird tale. The problem was and is this: How do we write convincingly about the supernatural, the rural, and the irrational in a thoroughly materialist, urbanized, and (supposedly) rational age?
Fiction (DMR Books): Talbot Mundy described the adventures of Tros in three books: Tros of Samothrace, Queen Cleopatra and Purple Pirate. We will look at each of these books in turn and you can find them in paperback, hardcover, ebooks or here, at the invaluable library of Roy Glashan. Although Tros of Samothrace was originally serialized in the pages of Adventure magazine in 1925 and 1926, it was not published in book form until 1934.
Pulp Writers (My Drops of Ink): The beginning of adventure novels for men—1901-1920 period. A few months ago, I wrote an article for Paperback Parade about Steward Edward White, an early 20th century writer of popular adventure, Westerns, and nonfiction about birds and nature. He was a conservationist, naturalist, and big game hunter, and his love for nature, conservation, and adventure were to become very much a part of his literary works over his long career. He enjoyed writing about pioneers, the West, logging, gold mining, and nature.
Dime Novel Westerns (Crime Reads): Two detectives came out to Wyoming in early February 1885, seeking a boy from New York City and the ten thousand dollar reward posted by his father. The boy, an eleven-year-old banker’s son named Fred Shephard, had disappeared the month before, but had not been abducted. An obsessive reader of Western dime novels, the young man broke open his tin bank one January night and climbed down the rain spout from his room to the street. His latest book was left at school, his heroic intentions scrawled across the bottom of its open page, “Ime goin West to be a cowboy detective.”
Fiction (Goodman Games): Science fiction and fantasy author Fred Saberhagen was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 18, 1930. Beginning his professional writing career at age 30 with a short story published in a 1961 issue of Galaxy Magazine, Saberhagen went on to become best known for his works featuring the characters Dracula and Sherlock Holmes. Fantasy role playing enthusiasts of a certain age are probably much more familiar with Saberhagen’s second-most popular work, The Swords Trilogy, which began being published in 1983, just as the Dungeons & Dragons craze was hitting its peak. Saberhagen followed that up with a subsequent sequel series, The Book of Lost Swords, which totaled eight additional books in all.
Fiction (Paul Bishop): Somewhere, jockeying for position in my top five favorite tough guy private eyes, you will find the six book Rafferty series by Shamus Award winning author W. Glenn Duncan. Like author John Whitlatch, who I previously posted about, W. Glenn Duncan has been an enigma to his fans for many years. A former journalist and pilot, Duncan lived in Iowa, Ohio, Florida, Texas, and California, before disappearing into the proverbial wilds of Australia with his wife and three children.
H. P. Lovecraft (Jeffro Johnson): Did this show with Zaklog the Great last Friday. Enjoyed talking Lovecraft and Lord of the Rings and… these obnoxious people that poison your mind until you’d begin to think that your “beloved past had never been.”
Lovecraft writes three times that “there was no hand to hold me back that night I found the ancient track.” After mulling this whole scene over in light of the Boomerclypse we’re in the process of rolling back, I’ve concluded that there was in fact a hand there. The hand of wisdom!
Westerns (Frontier Partisans): During the summer between junior high school and high school, a movie came to our little local theater that I simply had to see. It was titled The Long Riders and it had this cool gimmick — four sets of brothers played four sets of brothers — the James Boys, the Youngers, the Millers, and the Fords, played by James and Stacy Keach; the Carradine brothers; the Quaids; and the Guests. My parents thought it was too violent and they didn’t like the idea of “glorifying outlaws.”
RPG (The Mixed GM): Today, let’s take a look at AX5: Eyrie of the Dread Eye. I purchased the pdf and physical copy, but this review will focus on the pdf, due to the fact that the physical copy is still on its way. There is a 5E version of this, but I am only interested in the Adventure, Conqueror, King System (ACKS) version of it!
Sidebar: Really appreciate Autarch making the pdf + physical copy combo the same price as just purchasing the physical book.
Cartoons (Kestifer): Mobile Suit Gundam aired on Japanese television in 1979 and birthed a brand new sub-genre of giant robot fiction: the “Real Robot.” Where the 60s and 70s had a thriving “Super Robot” field populated with classics like Tetsujin-28 Go,Mazinger Z, and Getter Robo (worthy in their own ways), Yoshiyuki Tomino’s Gundam treated giant robots less as giant superheroes calling out their attacks, and instead as advanced weapons of war against a backdrop of space opera and large scale warfare.
Fiction (Easily Distracted): I first gave up on the paperback edition of Fires of Eden in August 1995. But powerful images and scenes from Fires of Eden stuck with me, particularly a legion of night-marching spirits filing through the wilds of Hawaii. Similar to the staying power of scenes of devouring lampreys in Simmons’ Summer of Night or the vampiric stomach siphons of Romanian orphans in Children of the Night.
Cryptozoology (Kairos): Cryptozoology has been a sporadic hobby of mine since childhood. I’ve studied the research of investigators like Loren Coleman, Jeff Meldrum, and John Keel for years. I can’t tell you what our guest blogger encountered. I can tell you that his account perfectly aligns with multiple data points consistently found in the most credible Bigfoot reports.
Gaming (Walker’s Retreat): WOWhead has more information as there are some significant difference between how it was and how Classic will go, mostly of a technical nature due to technology changes between 2004 and now, but if you weren’t there then you might want to read up on what you’re getting into.
Get ready for How Things Used To Be, folks, including everybody and their uncle rolling a Forsaken Rogue.
Fiction (Pulpfest): A prolific writer of both fiction and nonfiction, Charles Beaumont was born on January 2, 1929. According to award-winning writer and editor Roger Anker, “In a career which spanned a brief thirteen years,” Beaumont wrote and sold “ten books, seventy-four short stories, thirteen screenplays (nine of which were produced), two dozen articles and profiles, forty comic stories, fourteen columns, and over seventy teleplays.”