Broadswords and Blasters

Maxine Unleashes Doomsday by Nick Kolakowski
You wish your cover popped like this.

Nick Kolakowski (Boise Longpig Hunting Club, Slaughterhouse Blues, Main Bad Guy, et al) dropped this bomb of a book in our laps with a mad cackle before leaping into a stripped down war buggy with a fifty cal mounted on top…

Okay, so that’s not quite true, but this is one hell of a ride of a book packed with gun fights, snow plow thefts, rogue AI, car chases and crime. It’s a twenty minute leap into the future when the world (or at least humanity) is shuffling a bit closer to the edge of extinction, where all the current problems we’re seeing now (rising sea levels, crumbling infrastructure, corporations at the expense of people) is turned up to 11.

Enter Maxine, a born-loser, born into poverty and crime and with no clear way out. Her mother is reliant…

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Editors’ Note: J. Rohr is a Chicago native known for his dark humor, and love of history.  He can be found online at www.honestyisnotcontagious.com dealing with the more corrosive aspects of everyday life, and on Twitter at @JackBlankHSH.

Horror isn’t always about blood, screams, and terror.  Sometimes it’s unsettling truths which conjure crushing revelations.  Blood washes away, screams fade, but knowledge is inescapable.  It’s almost cancerous.  In that regard, The House on the Borderland is certainly carcinogenic. 

As such, the only
hope is that the source of its knowledge is unreliable, perhaps even mad. However, when the only hope is for an insane narrator
there is no hope. Irrevocable
revelations about reality have speared the mind of whoever is lamentable enough
to learn: the dust mites don’t control
the universe. This is an element at the
heart of William Hope Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland. However, like the cosmos, it…

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Broadswords and Blasters

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Netflix title card
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Netflix title card

Last week Matt tackled the 1982 film The Dark Crystal, one of the most impactful movies of my childhood, right up there with Stand by Me, Labyrinth, and the hundreds of action movies I devoured in the 80s and early 90s. I could easily overstate The Dark Crystal‘s importance in my life because as much as I am a fan, I’m not diehard enough to have sought out the various comic book and novelization follow-ons. I do have some Brian Froud art books because I like those, but I never felt like I needed more from The Dark Crystal than was presented to me in the film.

I still felt that way when Age of Resistance was rumored to be in production a couple years ago. I figured it’d be some CGI laden crapfest seeking to “correct”…

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Pulp Consumption: The Dark Crystal

Posted: September 24, 2019 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters

Image result for jen the dark crystal
The hero of the Dark Crystal.

“The Dark Crystal,” for anyone that doesn’t know, was a 1982 film by Jim Henson that follows Jen, the presumed last of the Gelflings, as he tries to fulfill a prophecy. The prophecy in question relates to the titular Dark Crystal, and how a Gelfling would be the one to heal it after it had cracked. The original split of the crystal, which happened one thousand years before the events of the film, caused two races appear on the planet Thra, the evil and scheming Skeksis and the peaceful to the point of doormats Mystics.

As a result of the prophecy, the Skeksis engage in a
genocide against the Gelflings, including Jen’s family. As a result, he is
taken in by the Mystics and raised by them until the day he is told about the
prophecy. Along the way, he encounters another Gelfling orphan…

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Editors’ Note:Julie Rea’s work has appeared in several places, includingThe Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine,Nude Bruce Review,BLYNKT,andHalfway Down the Stairs. She lives in the Philadelphia area, where she teaches and writes about life in a wheelchair and other fascinating subjects. You can follow her on Twitter @phillylitgrl. Her story“Lela and Bat”was published in issue 10 ofBroadswords and Blasters.

In HBO’s Years and Years, the show about the very near future by Russell T. Davies (formerly of Doctor Who and Torchwood), the problem is an acceleration of the forces that are currently tearing apart the real world. The show examines how this destruction impacts a British family, the Lyons: a grandmother, her several adult grandchildren, and their children. The opposition to the inhumanity the series depicts manifests in various characters: Bethany’s transhumanism, Edith’s humanitarianism activism, and the…

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Broadswords and Blasters

Cover image for Tough 2

One of the unexpected side benefits to starting Broadsword and Blasters was discovering the plethora of other short fiction being published, especially by small independent presses. One of those happens to be Tough, headed by Rusty Barnes. Tough is primarily an online journal, but supported periodically with an printed collection, and the second one has recently been released. While some of the names were familiar to me (Thomas Pluck, Alec Cizak, Chris McGinley, William Soldan), I came to the majority of writers fresh. Tough goes for a no-frills approach. No editor’s note. No writer bios. No illustrations to mark the stories. All you get is the text.

Michael Bracken kicks things off with “Itsy Bitsy Spider” with
a private detective, Morris, his tattooist friend, and the trouble a young
woman brings into his life. The way Bracken weaves the detective’s work life in
with…

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Editors’ Note: Anthony Perconti lives and works in the hinterlands of New Jersey with his wife and kids. He enjoys good stories across many different genres and mediums. His articles have appeared inSwords and Sorcery MagazineandDMR Books Blog.

To me, the name Ford Fairlane was always associated with the
1990 Renny Harlin cult film, starring Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay and the actor who
played Nightmare on Elm Street’s
uber-villain, Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund.
That is until now. I had the opportunity to read Rex Weiner’s The (Original) Adventures of Ford Fairlane
and I was in for very a pleasant surprise. This slim volume, published by Rare
Bird Books, collects the two Fairlane shorts that were serialized in The New York Rocker and LA Weekly, respectively. The two tales
fall squarely in the Black Mask
school of crime fiction, in which private investigator, Ford Fairlane works
cases pertaining…

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Pulp Appeal: Penny Dreadful

Posted: August 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters

Penny Dreadful main cast advertising image. From left to right, Josh Hartnett, Billie Piper, Harry Treadaway, Eva Green, Reeve Carney, Timothy Dalton, Danny Sapani

Cover ad for an original penny dreadful from the late 1800s for "Spring Heeled Jack."

Penny dreadfuls of the late 19th Century were the direct ancestors of pulp fiction rags of the early 20th Century. The name is definitely British in origin, and the publications themselves were most popular in Victorian England, though they were sometimes brought in to America by travelers. The closest neighbor native to the US were the dime novels, though as the name suggests they cost a dime rather than a penny and were often full novels in length, whereas the penny dreadfuls were more like comic books in length, each one roughly a chapter of a larger piece, costing one British penny each. Like the dime novels and later pulps, penny dreadfuls were printed on the cheapest of the cheap wood pulp material. Sadly that means they don’t hold up much over time, and the ones that still exist need to be handled relatively carefully.

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives

Penny Dreadful is the Showtime/Sky…

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Pulp Appeal: Storyhack #3

Posted: August 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters

Design wise, Storyhack continues to set a high bar. Full illustrations grace every story, with additional small cartoons interspersed within the stories. The full-sized layout of the magazine is a good choice, as is the double columns, leaving room for the designer to call out specific passages. I’m perfectly willing to admit that I wish the crime-based stories had a bit more edge to them, but then I’ve been spoiled by the likes of SWITCHBLADE and PULP MODERN. There is definitely more than enough here for a reader to sink their teeth into, and yeah, you might get a bit of pulp stuck between your teeth.

Claws of the Puma by Paul R. McNamee – A jungle
adventure where an American journalist is investigating the struggle of local
rubber famers against ruthless loggers in Brazil. The wild card in this case is
the Puma, local wilderness hero. The Puma…

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(Editor’s Note: Anthony Perconti lives and works in the hinterlands of New Jersey with his wife and kids. He enjoys well-crafted and engaging stories across a variety of genres and mediums.  His articles have appeared in several online venues and can be found on Twitter at @AnthonyPerconti.  If you’d like to submit an article, send us a pitch. Payment is one digital copy of your choice of any issue of Broadswords and Blasters. )

Blood Standard is Laird Barron’s first official
foray into the hardboiled crime fiction genre. I first encountered the author’s
works several years ago, when I picked up an e-book copy of his Imago Sequence and Other Stories. Soon
after, I polished off a longer work, The
Croning
, followed up by some of his novellas. Up to this point in his
career, Barron’s preferred medium of expression has been within the confines of
the…

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