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

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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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Cameron talks LOVECRAFT COUNTRY.

Broadswords and Blasters

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In theory, Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff should be everything I want to read in modern horror – inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, but rejecting his outright racism. Maybe it would have, if I’d stopped reading after the first section. Instead, taken as a whole, the novel was merely okay.

Lovecraft Country, published in 2016, is the story of two black families living during the Jim Crow era, when the racist attitudes of much of America supported such awful ideas as sundown towns and anti-miscegenation laws. The main character of the first section of the novel is Atticus Turner. As the story opens, Turner’s father, Montrose, has called Atticus home from Florida, where Turner settled after ending his active duty service for the Army in Korea. When Turner gets home, after being accosted time and again by the white establishment, including being shot at by a police officer for violating…

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Pulp Consumption: Hard Boiled

Posted: December 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

In today’s Pulp Consumption, I talk about John Woo’s Hong King swan song, HARD BOILED.

Broadswords and Blasters

Okay, so HARD BOILED wasn’t my first exposure to John Woo’s style of film making[1], but if I have to name the one film of his I could not do without it is this, his swan song before he left Hong Kong to make movies in the USA.

hardboiled1 Give a guy a gun, he thinks he’s Superman. Give him two and he thinks he’s God.

A quick synopsis of the plot- Tequila Yuen (Yun-Fat Chow) is the hard boiled cop of the title. He’s not great at relationships and he’s terrible at following orders, but put a gun in his hand (or even better, two) and he’s a God among men. Alan (played by Tony Leung) is an undercover officer trying to dismantle a ruthless organized crime gang from the inside. At first thinking that they are on opposite sides, the two learn to…

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Oh look, I’m talking about FURY ROAD. (Yes, again.)

Broadswords and Blasters

mad+max+fury+road+trailer Max and what’s left of his “Pursuit Special” 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT

In case you’ve been under a rock somewhere, Mad Max: Fury Road is the latest (as of 2015) installment in George Miller’s Mad Max series of films.

Yes, I know it’s another movie. Yes, I know it’s post-apocalyptic. Yes, I know it doesn’t fit into the “pulp mold”, whatever that might be.

Here’s why you want to watch it from a storytelling perspective.

The stakes are clear. If Max doesn’t escape Immortan Joe and his War Boys, he’s going to be bled dry as a source of clean blood. If Furiosa and Immortan’s brides don’t escape, Furiosa will be killed (most likely), and the brides will be subjected to sex slave status until Joe dispenses with them at which point the best they can probably hope for is being used as a milk source. If Immortan doesn’t…

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Pulp Consumption: Mad Max

Posted: November 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

Cameron talks about the first Mad Max film, the one that started it all.

Broadswords and Blasters

madmax Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray cover

In 1979 something incredible happened: I was born. But seriously, that’s also the year of some amazing cinema, including Alien, The Amityville Horror, Apocalypse Now, and The Warriors, but the one I’m most enamored of is Mel Gibson’s second major film, and the one that rocketed him to stardom, Mad Max.

mad_max_2_h2-490x388 Max during Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, arguably more influential and important to the look of Fury Road than anything in the original.

The Mad Max series rocketed back into cultural consciousness two years ago with Fury Road, but before Furiosa and Immortan Joe, before Tina Turner singing “We don’t need another hero,” before the ever-expanding desert and the gyrocopter and the weird kids-only cargo cult, we had Max Rockatansky, an Australian highway patrolman operating a pursuit vehicle at the ass-end of civilization as society breaks down around…

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Broadswords and Blasters

Earlier this year, we were given the unique opportunity to view “The Recursion Theorem,” an indie black and white film that would feel right at home in the Twilight Zone. It also claims inspiration from Asteroids (the classic video game), and Greek mythology. Yes, when I read that description I scratched my head as well. But bear with it, because it comes together well.

The story is simple enough. A man, Dan Everett, wakes up in a room, with no memory as to how he arrived there. In his exploration of his space, he discovers that he cannot escape the room, as no matter what point he exits, he reenters the room at the opposite point. With his physical movement so confined, what follows is his exploration of how he might have arrived there and what it will mean at the end.

While the special effects are impressive…

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Part Seven! And less than a month from the last one! I know, I am as shocked as you are!

Anyway, here is the latest installment of the trouble three thieves get into when their old boss thinks they are more of a liability than an asset. And we finally find out who Simeon is and why’s he’s trouble for the the thieves of Milieux.

Part one is here. Part two is here. Part three is here. Part four is here. Part five is here. Part six is here. Comments are always welcome!

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Pulp Consumption: The Witcher

Posted: October 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

This week I talk about one of the more recent additions to sword and sorcery… Geralt of Rivia and the Witcher series.

Broadswords and Blasters

witcher

Geralt of Rivia (perhaps best known from the Witcher series of video games) first premiered in a series of short stories penned by Andrzej Sapkowski back in the early ‘90s. Sapkowski would go ahead and pen a series of connected novels from 1994 to 1999[1].  They have only recently been published in English, with the final book in the saga being released in English this year.

Geralt is a witcher, a professional that deals with monsters. And he was engineered to do it. In the world of the witcher, where monsters are all too prevalent, your common person isn’t going to stand much of a chance against something that can move faster, regenerate from wounds, and decorate the nearby trees with what was inside of you. Enter witchers. They take boys, subject them to a horrible process that makes them faster, stronger, and able to withstand injecting…

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