Cameron might have gotten a little footnote happy with his article on “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” What do you think?

Broadswords and Blasters

clint-eastwood-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-spiros-soutsosA few weeks back Matt discussed one version of a character known in the west as “The Man with No Name.” Akira Kurosawa wrote and directed Yojimbo, starring B&B favorite Toshiro Mifune, about a nameless ronin who moves from town to town solving problems–or creating them, depending on your interpretation–wherever he goes. This character shows up in many other movies including the original Django spaghetti western and its many sequels, the Sergio Leone film Dollars trilogy starring Clint Eastwood[1], and the Walter Hill film Last Man Standing starring Bruce Willis. Although Kurosawa didn’t explicitly state it, film buffs and noir fans believe he got the original idea for the character and plot of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, a novel of his nameless character The Continental Op, about whom I’ve already written.

The Man with No Name, like his inspiration[2], had a…

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Pulp Consumption: El Borak

Posted: October 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

This week’s Pulp Consumption… I talk about El Borak, a lesser known Robert Howard character, but definitely one that deserves more attention.

Broadswords and Blasters

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Another one of Robert E. Howard’s creations, Francis Xavier Gordon, better known as El Borak (Arabic for “The Swift”), is a Texan gunfighter and adventurer… only instead of his adventures taking place in the Old West, our hero finds himself in Afghanistan.

For the most part, the El Borak tales are strict action-adventure[1]. El Borak relies on his quick wits (and his quick hand with a gun or a blade) to get him out of the scrapes he finds himself in, typically against hostile tribesmen but also scheming politicians and rival adventurers. Gordon straddles a line between the barbarian and the civilized man, is not one to shy away from violence, but also with a keen understanding of how the Western world works… and why the West will always struggle in the hills of Afghanistan[2]. However, unlike some of Howard’s other characters, Gordon is a man…

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Part one is here. Part two is here. Part three is here. Part four is here. Part five is here. Comments are always welcome! (And yes, it’s been eight months since this last updated. Oof.)

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Pulp Appeal: Philip José Farmer

Posted: October 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters

philip_jose_farmer_1359741c Farmer died in 2009 at the age of 91. This image is from the Telegraph obituary.

As with Matt’s article about the Chronicles of Amber last week, no one could rightfully call Philip José Farmer a pulp writer. He definitely belongs in the movement known as New Wave, and was even published in Dangerous Visions, the defining compilation of New Wave short stories. The book was edited by Harlan Ellison, one of the most iconic members of the movement. That said, as with many of Farmer’s contemporaries, including Ellison, Michael Moorcock, Norman Spinrad, and Philip K. Dick, Farmer was deeply inspired by the pulps. In fact he was so enamored of the earlier fiction movement that he wrote some of the most well-known pulp pastiches, works like The Adventures of the Peerless Peer, The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, Tarzan Alive, and Doc Savage:…

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The CHRONICLES OF AMBER is one of those series that grabbed me and has never really let go.

Broadswords and Blasters

Let’s get something out of the way, The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazy isn’t pulp per se. For starters, the first novel in the series, “NINE PRINCES IN AMBER” wasn’t published until 1970, putting it more in line with the New Wave movement coming out of the sixties. That said, critics have drawn comparisons to the 1946 novella written by Henry Kutter (with perhaps some help from his wife, C.L. Moore) called the THE DARK WORLD, giving it at the very least a line back to the pulps.

Image result for chronicles of amber The cover for the original collected stories.

“… the Kuttner story which most impressed me in those most impressionable days was his short novel The Dark World. I returned to it time and time, reading it over and over again, drawn by its colorful, semi-mythic characters and strong action … looking back, Kuttner and Moore—and, specifically, The Dark World—were…

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Pulp Appeal: Rafael Sabatini

Posted: September 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

Cameron talks Rafael Sabatini…. an author who I sadly have not read.

Broadswords and Blasters

Scaramouche_1952_filmSwashbuckling adventures have been popular with the general public for hundreds of years. Tales of heroic sword fighters in pitched battle against unbeatable odds go back quite literally to some of the earliest works of written literature, surviving in the tales of Gilgamesh, books from the Bible, and the earliest works about Robin Hood. These works really hit popular stride in the 1800s, particularly after the success of Alexandre Dumas (pere) and his d’Artagnan romances. But as much as Dumas placed a stamp on contemporary versions of the swashbuckler, it is a later writer, famous at the time but often overlooked now, whose works refined the iconic profile of the swashbuckler–Rafael Sabatini.

seahawkSabatini was a native Italian who spent much of his youth traveling and attending school in Europe. He was a polyglot, attaining fluency in several languages, but most importantly English, because it is the language in which he…

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Pulp Consumption : Brick

Posted: September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters

BRICK is a 2005 neo-noir film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Brendan, a high school loner who ends up investigating the untimely murder of his ex-girlfriend, Emily. The action gets kicked off quickly enough. A phone call. A cry for help. The discovery of a body.

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What follows is an intricate web of deception, revenge, drugs, and rivalry all set against the backdrop of maneuvering through high school. None of the characters, not even Brendan, can be classified as completely innocent. Brendan holds to his own code of honor, not truly a criminal, but willing to act outside of the traditional bounds of morality to accomplish his goals. He’s also smart enough to know that it is isn’t the person who pulls the trigger that’s the real villain, but the person who makes sure that the victim is in front of the gun.

Some of what makes BRICK stand out is…

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Haven’t done one of these challenges in a while, but decided to try and knock some of the rust off. So, yes, a story featuring Good and Evil. Or, Good versus Evil. Though this may be more Evil vs. Evil. Ahh well. Enjoy. Original challenge can be found here! Read the rest of this entry »

Pulp Appeal: Pulp Fiction

Posted: September 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

Cameron (finally) tackled PULP FICTION (the movie)!

Broadswords and Blasters

Pulp_Fiction_(1994)_posterTime to address the elephant in the room. It’s been quietly sitting in the corner for the last seven months, but today it is begging me for attention.

Say the words “Pulp Fiction” to most adults in America and they won’t think about Robert Howard, Tarzan, the Cthulhu Mythos, or The Maltese Falcon. For a large portion of the American consumer public “Pulp Fiction” means one thing – the 1994 film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Hell, when you Google the phrase, the first three pages of results are about the film. It’s not until about halfway down the fourth page that something else[1] pops into the mix.

Pulp Fiction is not Tarantino’s entry into film, but it is the work that pushed him out into the public eye. The title begs the question: Is Pulp Fiction pulp fiction? Yes, most definitely. And why not? It’s an…

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Issue 3 Cover Reveal

Posted: September 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

Issue 3 cover reveal!

Broadswords and Blasters

Luke Spooner/Carrion House knocked it out of the park again! This cover illustrates the creepy pirate tale “Moss” by Will Bernardara, Jr.

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Need to catch up? Have no fear! Issue 1 and Issue 2 are still available to purchase.

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