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Sensor Sweep: Silver Warriors, Dinosaurs, Scanners, Barbarian: Ultimate Warrior –

Sensor Sweep: Silver Warriors, Dinosaurs, Scanners, Barbarian: Ultimate Warrior

Monday , 17, April 2023 1 Comment

Conan (Essential Malady): Conan is a hired mercenary working for the rogue prince Xathomidas to overthrow King Strabonus of Koth. These two characters are only mentioned as background to the narrative and Conan is mainly taking orders from General Scythis; usually through his captain Danix, who is charge of the mercenaries. Dixon sets this all up in the first few pages with the stylish brevity of Howard himself. In Conan‘s unsettled chronology, this would be set well after his days as a thief and pirate and when he has had command experience among brigands and in large scale battles such as in The Black Colossus. I’d actually be interested to find out where Dixon has placed this story overall.

Horror (Adventures Fantastic): Karl Edward Wagner published his famous list of 13 Best Supernatural Horror Novels in Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone Magazine in the May-June 1983 issue. There is no indication that he rank ordered these stories. I decided to read all 13 for myself, rank order them, and provide both Wagner’s short review along with my own.

Fictional Dinosaurs (Dark Worlds Quarterly): Dinosaur tales, found in the popular magazines of the 1890 to 1910s, magazines like The Strand, Pearson’s, The Windsor Magazine and The Pall Mall Gazette, are usually tales of today. Some kind of ancient survival comes to threaten the good people of Britain or America. Some times the victims go looking for the last of the dinosaurs and find them! Doyle will use this idea too, with Professor Challenge and his crew going to South America to find the lost world. More often in these stories, the dinosaurs are right here at home.

Dinosaurs (Discover Magazine): The Tyrannosaurus is typically depicted with its fearsome fangs on full display. But a paper published in Science states that the theropod dinosaurs, such as Tyrannosaurus rex, actually had thin, lizard-like lips that hid their sharp, serrated teeth.

Self (The Atlantic): Psychologists have defined nostalgia as a self-conscious, social emotion, bittersweet but predominantly positive. It develops out of happy memories mixed with a yearning for the past and the close relationships we had back then. Often, nostalgia involves sensory stimuli. For example, the smell of autumn leaves might provoke an intense longing for your childhood home. Neuroscientists have found that it is a complex cognitive phenomenon involving many parts of the brain, including some that are implicated in self-reflection, autobiographical memory, emotional regulation, and reward processing.

Spy Fiction (Vintage Pop Fictions): Hammerhead (published in the United States as Shockwave) was the thirteenth of Desmond Cory’s sixteen Johnny Fedora spy thrillers. It was published in 1963. Hammerhead forms parts of a five-novel cycle dealing with Johnny Fedora’s battles with a top Soviet spymaster named Feramontov. Shaun Lloyd McCarthy (1928-2001) was an English academic who was also a successful thriller writer. He was best-known for the Johnny Fedora books.

Fantasy (Paperback Warrior): Michael Moorcockis a highly respected and admired science-fiction and fantasy author. His Elric Saga influenced dozens of genre authors, comic writers, and even rock bands. But, Moorcock also authored a number of other series titles that connect to the Elric Saga’s robust multiverse. You can enjoy these series titles without reading Elric, but at some point you’ll find the connection if you read enough. The Eternal Champion trilogy is one of those connecting titles. The trilogy, often called the Erekose series, began in Science Fantasy #53 in 1962, and then published by Dell in 1970. Its sequel, also published in 1970, is Phoenix in Obsidian. In 1973, the book was published by Dell in paperback as The Silver Warriors, with artwork by Frank Frazetta.

New (DMR Books): Last fall DMR Books announced Die By the Sword, the first of what will hopefully be many volumes of new sword-and-sorcery fiction. The response was tremendous, and we received nearly 200 submissions. Selecting the best of the best was no easy task. Only the 11 most excellent stories made the final cut. Offering anything less than the finest stories available would be cheating you, the reader, and that is something we will never do!

Edgar Rice Burroughs (Pulp Super-Fan): At PulpFest 2023, we’ll not only be celebrating the centennials of Weird Tales and Sport Story Magazine but also the 100th anniversary of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Moon Trilogy.” It’s part of the second ERBFest that we’re planning for our 2023 PulpFest.

In his seminal work, Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure, author Richard A. Lupoff called the “Moon Trilogy,” “Burroughs’ masterpiece of science fiction and a too-often overlooked pioneer work of the modern school of social extrapolation in science fiction.”

RPG (Monsters & Manuals): What is it that makes playing a P&P RPG a revolutionary form of praxis in 2023? It’s because it undercuts three huge tectonic social forces which daily push us inexorably in roughly the same direction. The first of these is the abandonment of reading print, a shift to a post-literary culture in which the great majority of people never really develop the capacity to engage with a long piece of fiction and use it to imagine scenery, people, events and emotions that they have never, and will never, directly see or experience.

RPG (Spriggans Den): When Dungeons & Dragons came out in the 70s, it was considered a huge success within the sphere of an established wargaming hobby. But whatever qualities Gygax may have had as a game designer, he really did very poorly as a technical writer and editor. Both the original D&D game that was more a collection of reference tables for people who had been taught the game in person, and the greatly expanded AD&D game a few years later are among the most difficult games to get into just because of the big hurdle of simply deciphering what the explanations are trying to say.

Fantasy (Wert Zone): HBO are reportedly, strongly considering greenlighting another Game of Thrones spin-off/prequel show. This time around they are looking at the possibility of combining a feature film with a TV show about Aegon the Conqueror, the first Targaryen king who united the Seven Kingdoms and forged the Iron Throne.

Tolkien (Tentaclii): My Tolkien Gleanings issue 3 is now available. A free 48-page ‘zine for Tolkien scholars, collectors, and others.

Art (Benespen): You need to ask yourself: what thing am I being accomdated to by reading this story? What am I offering, and to whom? All art does this, whether consciously or not. The character of the author is if supreme importance in making this judgement.

Science Fiction (Coins & Scrolls): Also known as looking out a window. Pack a camera with a selection of expensive lenses and a pair of binoculars. This sensor is in your living area, which means you can use it as long as you’re alive, and it’s cooled and maintained by the most important systems in the ship at no additional cost. In an emergency you can navigate (badly) with nothing but a grease pencil, a window, a few bright objects, and a notepad. The Mk. 1.0 eyeball is adaptive, which is annoying in some ways. It can’t tell the difference between different stellar classes visually up close. If you’re around a yellow star or a blue star, all light “seems” white.

Heinlein (Tor): After World War II was over, Robert A. Heinlein decided to dip his toe into a new market—that of juvenile fiction, in the form of science fiction novels targeted mainly at young boys. This type of adventure had been around for many decades, but Heinlein decided the stories could benefit from the same kind of rigor and scientific accuracy that he and his fellow authors brought to the pages of Astounding. The first book in this series, Rocket Ship Galileo, was an interesting take on the old familiar “boys help a lone scientist” plot of the older tales, which Heinlein wedded to a more realistic approach to the scientific aspects of the story.

Gaming (Den of Geek): Where would the 80s have been without the writings of Robert E. Howard? The sword-and-sorcery zeitgeist also crept into the video game realm, from the decidedly Conan-esque playable characters in the hits Gauntlet and Golden Axe to the muscle-bound adventurer in Taito’s fantasy-themed coin-op Rastan. But for computer owners in the 1980s, one Howard-inspired game stood out from the pack: Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior, released by Palace Software in 1987.

Authors (DMR Books): I am David A. Riley and I first started writing while I was still at school. In fact, it was at the age of eighteen, one week after finishing school, that I received my first professional acceptance, for a story called “The Lurkers in the Abyss,” which appeared in the 11th Pan Book of Horror Stories the following year.

Pulp (Pulp Flakes): Launching a new pulp in 1953, as the last flakes of the once mighty pulp empires fluttered around the publisher’s offices, was a bold decision. What were they thinking? Here is an excerpt from the editorial in the first issue of Texas Western: Here it is, readers, the magazine you’ve been demanding! TEXAS WESTERN is the latest addition to the THRILLING group of magazines. And it’s a mighty big, mighty exciting book about a mighty big, mighty exciting place—TEXAS!

Pulp (Pulp Super-Fan): At the 2022 PulpFest, I came across one of Black Dog Books’ earlier chapbooks: Slaves of the Silver Serpent (2002) by Lemuel de Bra. The title and cover artwork really didn’t grab me. In fact, my first thought is that it was another reprint of spicy pulp stories, which I don’t care for. But I picked it up anyway and flipped through it. The titles of the stories didn’t do much for me either. Then I noticed that they all came from Blue Book in 1922. As a top-tier pulp, these were clearly not spicy stories. They were instead stories of Oriental intrigue by an author I had never heard of.

Gaming (Swords & Stitchery): Wretched Verses Issue 3: Blood in the Arena – Released. This issue includes a Wretched scenario where the players take on the roles of gladiators in the Rutilus Ludus, a training school in the Vitualyan city of Nervea.
Wretched Verses Issue 3: Blood in the Arena By The Red Room is a forty eight page gladiatorial mini campaign. 

Fiction (Ken Lizzi): It didn’t, in fact, come as a surprise, except as a pleasant one. Watching El Dorado, it is clear that Brackett has an intuitive grasp of (once and, I hope, future) American masculinity. She gets the archetypes. Her dialogue is snappy, moves the plot along, and builds nice little character portraits. It might seem strange that the same fingers typed scenes for John Wayne’s Cole Thornton as for Matt Carse in The Sword of Rhiannon. But after all, is there much difference between Cole Thornton stalking the darkened streets of El Dorado, tracking his quarry to a saloon and Carse being tracked through the Martian streets of Jekkara.

Cinema (Neo Text Corp): One of the most important and influential films of the sixties, Jean-Pierre Melville’s brilliantly atmospheric neo-noir crime film Le Samouraï still stands in high regard as a masterful exhibition of a filmmaker’s style, vision and execution. The story follows an efficient hitman played by Alain Delon, a pedantic professional completely dedicated to his work whose carefully constructed ascetic way of life is broken into pieces when a slight mistake makes him the target of both the police and his former employers. A game of cat(s) and mouse ensues on the streets of Paris, as “the samurai” puts his years of experience into dodging death while singlehandedly trying to get to the bottom of his grave situation.

Cinema (Collection Reviewed): Carpenter’s second movie is a trashy homage to one of the greatest Westerns, Rio Bravo (1959, dir Howard Hawks). A curiously multi-ethnic gang in LA is put out when some of the members are gunned down by the police. Retaliating, they go on a murder spree that culminates in the siege and titular assault on an isolated police station that’s closing down and is only protected by a skeleton crew.

One Comment
  • *Sigh*. Nothing like someone else linking you to find a typo.

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