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Sensor Sweep: The Acolyte, C. L. Moore, Kobolds, Oz –

Sensor Sweep: The Acolyte, C. L. Moore, Kobolds, Oz

Monday , 17, June 2024 Leave a comment

Star Wars (Fandom Pulse): George Lucas elaborated on his critique, saying, “It’s like, ‘I saw something, let’s do something like that.’ It’s also a way that movies are sold. If you go in and say, ‘I’ve got something that you’ve never seen before and you don’t understand it,’ it’s very hard to get a deal.” His frustration is evident in his assessment of the industry’s reluctance to embrace new ideas.

Cinema (Silver Key): Not all books need be movies I like movies. I really do. Need I say this? I mean, not liking movies is akin to not liking ice cream. It’s un-American. Heck, it’s inhuman.

Horror (Tellers of Weird Tales): “It” by Theodore Sturgeon (1918-1985) was in Unknown in August 1940. Sturgeon’s contemporary, Joseph Payne Brennan (1981-1990), was working for a newspaper in New Haven, Connecticut, at about that time. Brennan had been trying for years to break into print, especially into the pages of his ideal, Weird Tales. Published by Street & Smith, Unknown was in much the same vein as “The Unique Magazine.” I think “It” would have fit right into its pages.

Review (Out of This World): C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire Trilogy is included in the 10 of My Fave SFF Series You May Not Have Heard Of list that I put together and posted on this very blog a few years back. It’s such an underrated series in my opinion and contains not only some of the most exceptional worldbuilding you will ever read but also writing that is both evocative and flawless in its execution.

Thrillers (Commando Bond): On the heels of Only the Dead, the 007th James Reece adventure places Carr’s protagonist in the middle of yet another high octane adventure. The stakes have been raised even further, with the quantum computer/AI “Alice” only answering to Reece, the war-weary hero, eager for a peaceful life is once more thrown into the breech. Will this be the last of his adventures? That’s an answer you must find yourself, on the final page of this incredible thriller.

Science Fantasy (Marzaat): “Shambleau“, the opening story of this series, was Moore’s first sale and made her reputation. With a prelude that established a back story of ancient alien civilizations on Venus and Mars and a second space age of Man, it established a romantic setting for Moore to drop her outlaw hero Smith into.

History (Dept of Veterans Affairs): Tablet at Mobile National Cemetery inscribed with the opening stanza of the 1850 poem “Bivouac of the Dead” by Theodore O’Hara. The plaque bearing O’Hara’s timeless lament to soldiers lost in battle has been installed at national cemeteries throughout the VA system.

Star Wars (The Critical Drinker): Well, they said it was going to be bad, and it was. But I don’t think anyone expected THIS. The Acolyte really does represent Disney Lucasfilm’s ultimate vision for Star Wars, the only problem is nobody seems to share that vision.

Conan (Sprague de Camp Fan): The Road of Kings by Karl Edward Wagner was published by Bantam Books in 1979. This was the fourth book in the Bantam series of Conan books. The first printing featured a foldout cover. This is KEW’s only Conan pastiche. He also wrote a Bran Mak Morn book that will be reviewed in the future.

H. P. Lovecraft (The Pulp Superfan): A recent work in literary criticism I picked up is L’Affaire Barlow: H.P. Lovecraft and the Battle for His Literary Legacy by Lovecraft scholar Marcos Legaria, with a great intro by fellow Lovecraft scholar Ken Faig Jr. I was surprised this came out from Bold Venture Press, as this sort of work I would have expected from Hippocampus Press.

D&D (Grognardia): One of the things I’ve long appreciated about early Dungeons & Dragons is the way that it took vaguely defined folkloric, mythological, and literary monsters and made them distinctive to the game. The pig-faced orcs of the Monster Manual are a good example of what I’m talking about, though there are many others, like kobolds.

H. P. Lovecraft (Tentaclii): Hot on the heels of my recent long blog post on “Lovecraft and Charles Fort” comes a new book. My post could only recommend the book The Fortean Influence on Science Fiction (2020). But the latest Reason magazine (ever alert to the forces of unreason) reviews Think to New Worlds: The Cultural History of Charles Fort and his Followers (University of Chicago Press) and thus alerted me to another one. The new book is set for release on the 3rd of July 2024.

Art (Illustration Art): No artist was better positioned at the starting line than the great Gustave Doré.  A talented, ambitious, prolific visionary, he took full advantage of the new opportunities and became probably the most famous artist in the world during his lifetime.  In the early formative years of modern illustration he changed the nature, the social status, and the economics of illustration for the next century. It would be a huge mistake to forget about him.

Weird Westerns (Marzaat): There’s not a lot of women who capture the heart of Lone Crow, but Sylvia Spelling, Professor of Archaeology at Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts, is one. So, when she asks for his help in mounting an expedition to find one of the fabled Lost Cities of Gold, he agrees.

Star Wars (John C. Wright): Star Wars is dead to me. At one time, it was my favorite franchise, more cherished to me than Star Trek or Babylon Five. Now? I cannot even provoke a sense of contempt for it. It reminds me of going into an art museum, seeing paintings by Dutch Masters or Pre-Raphaelites, and then going into the modern art wing, and seeing a toilet, or a crucifix in a urine jar.

Art (Bristol Board): Barry Smith

Westerns (Rough Edges): Faust wrote three novellas about a gunman/adventurer named Jim Tyler, sometimes known as The Wolf. These were published in the venerable pulp STREET & SMITH’S WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE under the pseudonym Peter Henry Morland in the spring of 1932 and many, many years later collected in a Leisure paperback volume under the Max Brand name called DON DIABLO.

Fantasy (Rip Jagger’s Dojo): The mechanical man Tik-Tok is one of Frank Baum’s more clever notions. This “robot” operates when he is wound up properly like a watch and he is prone to run down at the most inconvenient times. That said, he is a stalwart ally against the most frightening foes. He was introduced in the third novel Ozma of OZ, and makes a few appearances along the way.

History (James LaFond): Tecumseh had two great Shawnee nemesis’: Chief Cornstalk and Black Hoof. Depictions of both of these men survive, sketch portraits in fact, as well as a portrait of Tecumseh from the memory and hand of a Frenchman who new him.

Horror (Por Por Books): ‘The Year’s Best Horror Stories: Series I’ (174 pp.) was published by DAW Books in July, 1975. The cover art is by Hans Arnold. The lineage of these initial volumes in the ‘Year’s Best Horror Stories’ series is complicated. They are derived from the Sphere Books (U.K.) title ‘The Year’s Best Horror Stories, No. 1’ published in 1971. DAW issued a U.S. version of the Sphere title in July 1972, as ‘The Year’s Best Horror Stories: No. 1’, and then, three years later, published this July, 1975 edition.

Old Radio (Comics Radio): Lamont and Margo are on a yacht when the vessel is taken over by modern day pirates. But taking Lamont Cranston as a hostage is something that rarely ends well for the bad guys.

Comic Books (Dark Worlds Quarterly): While Gold Key had their own Sword & Sorcery hero in Dagar the Invincible, the publishers liked to include tales set in distant times in their Horror comics. These historical ghost stories often feel like heroic fantasy. Grimm’s Ghost Stories actually produced the most of this type of blend of swords and ghosts with a selection of Egyptian, Roman, Medieval and sometimes later stories.

Robert E. Howard (Paperback Warrior): Robert E. Howardearned $17 when he sold his story “Sea Curse” to Weird Tales. The magazine published the story in the May 1928 (Vol. 11 Number 5) issue with a Curtis C. Senf cover. This selection falls into the category of Howard’s horror/weird stories and has been featured in dozens of publications over the past 94 years including Marchers of Vahalla (Sphere 1977), The Howard Collector (Ace 1979), and Shadow Kingdoms (Wildside 2004). My reading of the story is from a paperback titled Eons of the Night, published by Baen in 1996 with a Ken Kelly cover.

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