Want some Weird West? Look no further than High Plains Drifter.

Broadswords and Blasters

If I had to pick one movie that captures the concept of Weird Western, that movie is the 1973 Clint Eastwood vehicle HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER[1]. The plot is enigmatic enough, a stranger without a name rides into the town of Lago. He kills, he rapes, he turns the town on its head… and all seemingly without any motive.

high plains drifter.jpg

Except the town folk were complicit in the murder of a federal marshal, having hired outlaws to beat him to death when he threatened to shut down the town’s primary source of income, a mine on federal land. The town folk than turned on the outlaws that murdered the marshal, and are now in fear of what will happen now that the outlaws are out of jail. And the three gunmen the stranger kills when he enters the town? Yeah, they were there to protect against the outlaws.

This movie…

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Pulp Appeal: Drunken Angel

Posted: August 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

Cameron talks Drunk Angel, an early Akira Kurosawa film.

Broadswords and Blasters

800px-Yoidore_tenshi_posterDrunken Angel is one of[1] my favorite films by acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, who is mainly known in the west for his samurai films, particularly Seven Samurai and Yojimbo. Drunken Angel is an earlier film, the first collaboration between Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune, probably one of the most widely known Japanese actors outside his home country. He went on to star in 15 other Kurosawa films, including both the classic Seven Samurai and Rashomon, the latter frequently cited as one of the greatest films ever made.[2]

drunken_angel_04Drunken Angel is the story of the broken-down, curmudgeonly Doctor Sanada, played by perennial Kurosawa compatriot Takashi Shimura,[3] and his ministrations to the poor in the slums of post-WWII Tokyo. The film’s plot begins with Toshiro Mifune, a low-ranking yakuza gangster named Matsunaga, seeking out the doctor to treat a gunshot wound. In the process, Sanada diagnoses Matsunaga…

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Today’s Pulp Consumption: LA Confidential.

Broadswords and Blasters

Image result for la confidentialL.A. Confidential is a 1997 film based on a novel by James Ellroy, set in the 1950s but filmed in a very ’90s style. It is a master class in adaptation, taking what many people thought was an unfilmable book and boil it down to its essential elements. In many ways it also acts as a spiritual successor to that other great Los Angles noir film, Chinatown.

At first blush, the story is that of two competing story lines. Gangsters are being killed or run out of town in the wake of Mickey Cohen’s imprisonment, as evidently someone is consolidating power in his absence. There’s also been a massacre at a local diner, evidently an armed robbery gone wrong. Three very different types of policeman get wrapped up in the investigations, eventually learning that they are more interconnected than you would think. There’s Bud White, played by Russel Crowe…

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Cameron talks TRUE DETECTIVE in this week’s edition of PULP CONSUMPTION.

Broadswords and Blasters

true-detectiveTrue Detective was[1] a short-lived HBO anthology series, with each season covering a different plot, sort of like American Horror Story on FX. That’s where the comparisons with the longer-lived show end. True Detective combines multiple sub-genres within pulp, including noir, saucy sex, and supernatural horror, and uses a framing device of police interviews to weave together a complex non-linear narrative into a coherent whole, in much the same way that Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan have done with Pulp Fiction and Memento, respectively. This sort of device shows up frequently in literature and film, including pulp, though it becomes far more widespread after Citizen Kane and Rashomon.

TrueDetectiveDVDCoverThe two main characters are Louisiana detectives investigating the possible resurgence of a dormant serial killer. The show is set against the backdrop of a dilapidated and decaying urban infrastructure filled with corruption, decadence, and possible devil worship, all…

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Pulp Appeal: Indiana Jones

Posted: July 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

In case you wondered what we meant by “two-fisted action.”

Broadswords and Blasters

The Indiana Jones series is what happens when twopowerhouses of the ‘70s and ‘80s decide to craft a love letter to the adventure serials of the 1930s and ‘40s. Indiana Jones is an adventurer first and an academic second, completing his archaeology in the field with little more than a whip, a revolver, and his hat.

Image result for indiana jonesWhat is striking for me, is the way that you can use the Indiana Jones movies as a template for developing your own stories. There is the MacGuffin (the Ark of the Covenant, the Sankara Stones, the Holy Grail, the Crystal Skull). There are the outright villains (Nazis in the first and third film, evil cultists in the second, and communists in the fourth). There is the requisite love interest. Each follows the same basic formula. Indiana is after the MacGuffin. The bad guys want it too. In some cases (TEMPLE OF DOOM)…

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Issue 2 Run Down!

Posted: July 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

A quick run down on what’s coming in Issue 2!

Broadswords and Blasters

Instead of your usual dose of PULP APPEAL, this week we’d thought we’d do something a little different and preview what you’ll find in Issue 2 of Broadswords and Blasters.Cover2

First up is KAUAHOA VS THE MU by Patrick Baker, an action packed Polynesian tale where the outcast warrior Kauahoa battles fiendish sea creatures. Will Kauahoa prevail over the sea devils, or will they prove too much for him and his magic club?

Calvin Demmer takes us to a different kind of tale in A WESTERN PROMISE where Charles “Quick Draw” Payne has made a name for himself as a reluctant sheriff in a frontier town. Not everything is as it seems and even Calvin’s skill with a gun might not be enough to prevail against his latest challenger.

Steve Cook’s FEATHERED DEATH provides the cover image for this issue, and it’s a story we were eager to grab and…

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After talking so much about classic pulp, Cameron decides to take on some more recent anthologies.

Broadswords and Blasters

If you’ve been reading closely, you’ll no doubt have noticed that my posts have all been about older characters and writers, most of which are in the public domain. My experience with pulp has mostly been with the original era. However, there have been several anthologies since the beginning of the 21st Century that have caught my eye.

Chabon_1In the early 2000s Michael Chabon, the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, saw a need to collect modern short stories in the pulp tradition. His influences in his earlier novels clearly included pulp authors, and Chabon said as much in interviews. The result of his push to bring about more appreciation for pulp literature was 2003’s McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales. Chabon collected works from pulp-y authors like Stephen King, Michael Moorcock, and more literary elites like Dave Eggers and…

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A great piece on the highly influential H. Rider Haggard.

Broadswords and Blasters

06516v Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress – http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ggbain.06516/

H. Rider Haggard was not really a pulp fiction author, having been a “respectable” author of Victorian literature whose first stories were published in literary magazines in the late 1870s. He was a lawyer but paid more attention to his writing, probably for the best as he was an excellent writer. So you may ask yourself why I’m talking about a Victorian author who was published in the slicks, whose work predates the height of pulp fiction as a trend. Like Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Edgar Allan Poe, it’s because his work had an outsized impact not only on pulp fiction, but fiction in general.

His most famous creation, the English explorer Allan Quatermain, was introduced in the 1885 novel King Solomon’s Mines. While there are earlier examples of Lost World fiction, including Journey to the Center of…

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A quick recap on the golden age hero, Jirel of Joiry.

Broadswords and Blasters

C.L. Moore, stands out as one of the godparents of sword and sorcery and science-fiction, and nowhere is this more apparent than in her creation, Jirel of Joiry. Jirel stands out for several reasons as a character of the Golden Age of Pulp. She is a female character being written by a female writer, a rarity for the time. (While there were other women writing for the pulps at the time, a large percentage of them were writing hard-boiled detective stories, not fantasy). She is a creature of her passions, frequently overcome with rage that dictate her actions. She is also placed in a historic setting, in this case medieval France[1].

Jirel is a noblewoman, to be sure, but one that is more likely to don armor and meet her foes head-on then to sit behind her castle walls and busy herself with embroidery. In the…

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Matt Spencer guest blogs for us over at Broadswords and Blasters!

Broadswords and Blasters

(Editor’s note: Matt Spencer is the author of several novels, including the acclaimed Deschembine trilogy, The Night and the Land, Trail of the Beast, and The Blazing Chief (forthcoming from Caliburn Press), as well as numerous short-stories and novellas. Find him online at https://mattspencerauthor.wordpress.com/, and on Twitter as @MattSpencerFSFH.

HapandLeonard

If there’s a modern author who qualifies for heir-apparent to the Golden Age of Pulp Fiction, keeping the form alive and relevant today, it’s Joe R. Lansdale. Far from a one-trick pony, Lansdale seems at home writing just about anything, from adventure, mystery, horror, sci-fi, Western, to mainstream fiction. The man refuses to pigeon-hole himself, and goes wherever the hell the muse takes him.

He sure makes it hard to pick favorites, that Crazy Uncle Joe, especially from the body-of-work of such a prolific storyteller who’s resonated with me so strongly and had such a profound impact on my…

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