Demonslayer (Book 2 of The Psychonaut Trilogy)
by Tom G. H. Adams
Writing in Starlight Publications

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hadn’t been waiting for this book for a while. I originally reviewed the first book in the trilogy, The Psychonaut, back in 2016, and to say that this is a strong follow-up is an understatement. I’ll also come out and say that yes, you really do need to read the first book in the series to make heads or tales of what is going on in this book.Demonslayer: Book 2 in The Psychonaut Trilogy by [Adams, Tom G.H.]

It picks up where the last book left off. Merrick Whyte, former corporate negotiator, has come into his own power as a Psychonaut, one that can traverse different realms and can use the power of his mind to well… kill people. A new threat is on the horizon, however, as a demon threatens to Uncreate everything. Meanwhile, there is an anti-occult group with designs on Merrick and his friends, and there is a police officer who has decided that Merrick must die, damn the collateral damage.

What follows is an intricate story that weaves between the colliding plots and subplots. Demigods, fanatics, and the end of the world (isn’t it always?) combine to make a truly thrilling tale that will keep readers on edge. And yes, having some knowledge of Thelema and Aleister Crowley does help with a deeper appreciation of the story.

The biggest downside for me is I really wished Adams had developed some of the secondary characters a bit more. Also, there are some momentous events that occur that get little more than a summation by the characters. Obviously, there are always choices to be made in writing, but I for one hope to see more of Adams’ cast of characters rounded out.

As always, Adams does not shy away from the grotesque, but DEMONSLAYER wasn’t nearly as graphic as THE PSYCHONAUT, but his villains still manage to feel threatening.

Highly recommended if you enjoy thrillers and urban fantasy that weighs heavy on the occult.

DEMONSLAYER is available on amazon.


Death Pacts and Left-Hand Paths
by John Wayne Comunale
Grindhouse Press

You know, I didn’t make any New Years’ resolutions this year, in the main because they have a way of petering out around the middle of February. But one goal I am setting for myself is to read more indie press work. And hey, you know what an advantage is to running your own indie mag? Getting exposed to a bunch of new writers that would otherwise fly under the radar.

One such writer is John Wayne Comunale[1], a Texas based three-way threat who performs with the horrorpunk outfit johnwayneisdead. I decided to see if his long form fic could hold up to the promise of his short fic, and he didn’t fail to deliver.

DEATH PACTS AND LEFT-HAND PATHS follows the travails of a small-time loser, stuck in a dead end job and lusting fruitlessly after a co-worker. His solution? Rather than looking to better himself, he decides to take the short cut of summoning an otherworldly entity, a foulmouthed, chain smoking perverse imp. And yeah, the imp can help… but there’s always a catch. And someone’s going to have to pay it.

What follows is ramping up of death and disaster as our helpless anti-hero ends up more and more beholden in his pact. But the imp isn’t the only otherworldly creature out there, and our protag’s imp has to answer to a master of his own. The only question then is when you fall is how far down is it going to take you?

Comunale doesn’t shy away from the gore, and there’s no way I’d recommend eating this before, after, or even thinking about lunch. There’s not much redeemable about our hero other than to see a reflection of how your own mistakes can snowball into tragedy. You also might look askance at taking public transit… or at least you might end up looking over your shoulder more often.

Do I recommend this book?

Whole heartedly. So, show Comunale some love and pick up this novel, and while you are at it, check out what else he’s got cooking. You can also follow him on twitter at


[1] His short story “Compartments” appeared in issue 3 of Broadswords and Blasters.

Pulp Consumption: Sharp Ends

Posted: March 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

A special guest post from Steve Dubois regarding Joe Abercrombie’s collection of short fiction: SHARP ENDS,

Broadswords and Blasters

[Steve DuBois was kind enough to pull this article together for our on-going PULP CONSUMPTION series of articles. Have an idea for an article? Drop us a line through our contact us box. Payment is a digital copy of the issue of your choice.]

There are people who will argue that Joe Abercrombie’s work is the diametric opposite of pulp.  Abercrombie is broadly categorized as a “Grimdark” author, and his novels—especially those of his First Law universe—do not show heroic virtue being rewarded.  To the extent that there’s a governing intelligence at work, it seems to operate according to the principle of master-manipulator Bayaz: “God smiles upon results.”  Make no mistake, Abercrombie’s work is in no sense “superversive”[1].

Abercrombie ain’t for everybody.  He’s sure as hell for me, though.  Pulp or no, the First Law novels are full of what makes pulp fun.  His plots…

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Cameron talks about the sheer joy that is FIREFLY.

Broadswords and Blasters

There aren’t many self-respecting fans of science fiction who haven’t at least heard about the masterpiece Fox television show Firefly, sadly cut down in its prime by network executives without a clue. At the time of its release, I was simply too pissed off at Fox for canceling my weekly date with Jessica Alba[1] , and could read the writing on the wall. In the early 2000s, Fox had a nasty habit of airing promising sci-fi shows in the Friday night death slots. Firefly is no exception. And then Fox went and made it even worse by airing the episodes out of sequence and taking seven months between the first 11 and last 3 episodes. Fan outcry wasn’t enough to save the show—it rarely is—but creator Joss Whedon did manage to spin out a feature film, Serenity,to wrap up most of the story. Sadly, Serenity didn’t…

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Pulp Appeal: Disney/Pixar’s Up

Posted: February 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

In case you think Up! isn’t pulp, Cameron sets you straight.

Broadswords and Blasters

MV5BMTk3NDE2NzI4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzE1MzEyMTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,664,1000_AL_Disney’s Up is 100% pulp fiction. If this story had been written and published in Amazing Stories or Weird Tales, it could not have been any more pulp-y than it already is.

The main character takes an unusual mode of transportation and finds himself in a paradise. Here he comes across a friendly animal that leads him to the animal’s master. This master is a megalomaniacal explorer who appears to have slipped over the edge of sanity, using his mania as a means to ensure his solitude and terrorize the locals. After a brief struggle, the main character saves the friendly animal, thwarts the megalomaniacal explorer who falls to his death, and then the main character returns home via a similarly unusual mode of transportation with a new lease on life and a story few people would ever believe.

When you strip out the specifics, the names, and the fact…

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Pulp Consumption: Get Out

Posted: February 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

Cameron talks GET OUT and how it fits into what we think about pulp and pop culture.

Broadswords and Blasters


By now I have to imagine anyone who loves horror movies has seen Get Out, so it’s probably preaching to the choir at this point, but if for some reason you’ve skipped over this film you are doing yourself a serious disservice. Seriously, stop reading now and just go watch the movie.

Are you still here? If so, I’m going to assume you’ve watched the film, so beware spoilers below.

Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington

It would be stupid not to discuss the popularity of Jordan Peele as a comedy writer and sketch actor, especially where it comes to his frequent collaborator Keegan Michael Key (if you watched the Super Bowl, you saw Key in at least two commercial breaks, and I’m sure you recognize him from character actor roles all over the place).  If you’ve ever watched any of the Key and Peele sketch show, you have no…

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Pulp Appeal: Ursula K. Le Guin

Posted: January 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

Cameron talks the lasting legacy of Ursula K. Le Guin.

Broadswords and Blasters

8357065748_b1efcfaf20_oUrsula Le Guin in 2013.
Image CC-BY K. Kendall.

This article has been harder to write than I anticipated. That’s not just because Ursula K. Le Guin was an important writer, but because I realize that I have been remiss in my reading of her work.

First, she’s not a pulp writer. Her fiction is very definitely in the realm of socially and politically aware, deliberately composed to advance social agendas alongside the entertainment factor. I was not and am not always amenable to that. I tend to find much of that sort of writing to be polemical and I’m usually not interested in too much polemics when I’m reading for fun. That said, her work is important in the grand scheme of science fiction and fantasy, and for that she deserves accolades.

Le Guin’s work is unquestionably feminist. The modern intersectional feminist movement may not always agree because Le…

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Issue 4 Is Officially Released

Posted: January 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

Issue 4 of Broadswords and Blasters is live!

Broadswords and Blasters

Issue 4 came out in print last week, but the Kindle release goes live today, which means we’re officially live. We love these stories (as we loved all the stories in the first three issues), but this issue is momentous in that it marks the completion of one year of delivering a quality quarterly magazine that we are proud to produce. But if you need some more enticing, maybe the synopses below will wet your whistle.

“Commander Saturn and the Deadly Invaders from Rigel” by Richard Rubin. This yarn is a fun, retro look at space opera, in the vein of Buck Rogers. It comes with a wink and a nod to the genre and has a lot of fun while doing it. Two-fisted space action.

“Demons Within” by Karen Thrower. Bounty-hunting is a tried and true pulp storyline. In this tale, a demon is charged by Hell to track…

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Looking to get into sword and sorcery? You can do a lot worse and not much better than this anthology.

Broadswords and Blasters

I originally became aware of the most recent SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS anthology from browsing Black Gate[1]. Unlike the same-named anthologies put out in the late seventies edited by Andrew Offutt, this anthology isn’t concerned exclusively with what’s current in sword and sorcery[2], but instead acts as a crash course in speculative fiction over the decades.

Image result for swords against darkness

The anthology starts with a classic Conan tale “The Tower of the Elephant,” and moves through the decades of sword and sorcery. The editor, Paula Guran, does not stick with a strict publication, or even composition chronology when ordering the stories, but does divide the pieces into broad categories: Forging and Shaping, Normalizing and Annealing, and finally Tempering and Sharpening.

To be sure, if you are already well-versed in classic sword-and-sorcery, some of the material will be quite familiar. In addition to Howard, the Forging and Shaping section includes work…

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Pulp Consumption: Psych

Posted: January 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters


PsychOne aspect of pulp both Matt and I haven’t really touched upon is humor. Pulp is often thought of as being a serious genre, and since so much of it is focused on grit, violence, and noir that makes a certain amount of sense. But even the noirest stories often included humor, and some stories published in magazines like Amazing Stories were definitely funny. It’s in this spirit I’d like to discuss the USA Network TV show Psych.

The show centers around main character Shawn Spencer (played by James Roday), who uses his keen sense of observation, eidetic memory recall, and pure intelligence to solve cases as a consulting detective, sort of like Sherlock Holmes. He was raised by his father, Santa Barbara police detective Henry (Corbin Bernsen), to exercise these elements of his mental capacity in the hopes he’d become a police officer as well…

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