Pulp Appeal: Highlander

Posted: December 10, 2018 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters

There can be only one!

Well, that might have been true back in 1986, but Highlander, the movie featuring Christopher Lambert as the immortal Scotsman Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) spawned two other feature films, two separate live action television shows, an anime series, and one television movie.

Image result for highlander 1986

So what about this movie made it so popular? Was it the idea of immortals existing throughout time, experiencing different cultures and periods? Was it the implied backstory with the arcane rules (there can be only one, no fighting on holy ground)? Or was it the simple fact that watching a swordfight in the modern day turned out to be strangely compelling?

In case you weren’t aware, HIGHLANDER traces Connor MacLeod’s humble beginning as a clan warrior in the highlands of Scotland through the centuries to modern (okay, 1980s) New York. It is in that time and place where there will be The…

View original post 471 more words


I talk about THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS… which wouldn’t have quite gotten the love it had if it hadn’t been made by the Coen Brothers.

Broadswords and Blasters

THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS is the latest release by the Coen Brothers and just so happens to be part of Netflix’s original catalog. The amount of talent represented is noteworthy. The writing is excellent. But, at the end of the day, the whole piece falls weirdly flat. Fair warning: some spoilers ahead.

The structure is non-traditional as well. Instead of a flowing narrative, the film is divided into six unrelated vignettes and uses the concept of a short stories in an anthology as a framing device. Each story is preceded with an illustration, as well as a small bit of text preceding and ending as if one was reading a story.

The vignettes start with story of a singing cowboy (the eponymous Buster Scruggs) as he makes his way through the Old West. The story is a weird juxtaposition of songs with brutal violence, including one part where Scruggs…

View original post 1,018 more words

Pulp Appeal: Castlevania (Part 2)

Posted: November 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters


Has it been a week already? Okay then, it’s time to continue Castlevania franchise nerd-out. As I said last week, this article ballooned on me. While you could conceivably read this Pulp Appeal cold, it might be best if you went back and read last week’s, either for the first time or as a refresher for today’s article. As with last week, I’m linking you to a soundtrack to listen to while you read, but it will only work if you have Amazon Prime, as the music is proprietary and not under weird video game music laws. Honestly, Trevor Morris has made some great music for filmed properties, and the soundtrack is worth purchasing.

Last week I spent time talking about the inspiration behind Castlevania, the history of the first three games in the series, and a bit about their impact on video games that came after. This week…

View original post 1,400 more words

Pulp Appeal: Castlevania (Part 1)

Posted: November 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters

Alright readers of Broadswords and Blasters, it’s time for a full on nerd-out, and the topic is the Castlevania franchise. This article ballooned on me. In fact, it practically metastasized, so there will be a part 2 in next week. I guess you can say I’m a Castlevania fan. I even forgot until just now that my wallpaper on my iPad is fan art for Castlevania, with nearly every character from the game series history present in the piece. So…yeah. Also, you should listen to this playlist of some really awesome video game music as you read.

I first played Castlevania on the original Nintendo back in 1987. I was probably at my friend Michael’s house, as he was the only kid in the neighborhood I knew who had a Nintendo. I got my first Nintendo three or four years later. I didn’t have the original Castlevania

View original post 1,705 more words

Today, at Broadswords and Blasters, I talk about Cynthia Ward’s “The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum,” her sequel to the pulptastic “The Adventure of the Incognita Countess.”

Broadswords and Blasters

The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum

By Cynthia Ward

The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum is the sequel to Cynthia Ward’s The Adventure of the Incognita Countess, which we previously reviewed here.

Overall, everything is bigger and broader in this follow-up novel. The scope of the adventure is expanded from the confines of a certain doomed ocean liner to the trenches of World War I. The stakes are higher as a famous British politician is taken captive. And the action is ramped up as the focus is less on intrigue and cloak and dagger in favor of more overt action and adventure. In fact, one of my main complaints about the first novel, that some of the action is delivered second hand, is addressed in this novel, as Lucy plays a much more active role than she did even in the first novel.

The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum (Conversation Pieces Book 62) by [Ward, Cynthia]

Ward continues the series with…

View original post 268 more words

The only reason Cameron wrote this and not me is because he was up in the rotation. If you are a cosmic horror fan and haven’t read this, you are doing yourself a disservice.

Broadswords and Blasters

1784919312Victor LaValle’s novella The Ballad of Black Tom reimagines H.P. Lovecraft’s original story “The Horror at Red Hook,” notorious for being one of the most blatantly racist stories by the older author. “Red Hook” was originally published by Weird Tales in 1927, but it’s notably racist even for the time period. Additionally, Lovecraft himself wasn’t much a fan of the story. Some of Lovecraft’s proteges and biographers (Lin Carter the former and ST Joshi the latter) agree with his assessment. I don’t think there’s a need for me to agree with others, but I’ll just add in my personal dislike for the story, its narrative device (used to better effect in “Randolph Carter”), and the unchecked xenophobia, which is more than uncalled for.

Black Tom has won awards and was nominated for many others, primarily because it manages to add story beats that give the characters purpose. If “Red…

View original post 437 more words

Issue 7 Out Today!

Posted: October 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

Issue 7(!) releases today. Plus there’s a sale on all of the other issues.

Broadswords and Blasters

Hey, guess what today is? I mean other than the first day of the rest of your life. Yeah, that’s right, we’ve got a new issue of BROADSWORDS AND BLASTERS for you.

Broadswords and Blasters Issue 7: Pulp Magazine with Modern Sensibilities (Volume 2 Book 3) by [Gomez, Matthew, Codair, Sara, Barlow, Tom, Francis, Rob, Kilgore, Joe, Reynolds, Z., Serna-Grey, Ben, Young, Brad, Rubin, Richard, Uitvlugt, Donald] Maybe we shouldn’t have woken it up? Richard Rubin first graced our pages in Issue 4 with “Commander Saturn and the Deadly Invaders From Rigel,” and now he’s back battling the space pirates of Ganymede. If you like retro sci-fi at all (we’re talking old school Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon), you’re going to want to check out this tale of experimental cloaking devices, double crosses and deception.

Tom Barlow gave us “Jigsaw,” a dysfunctional couple’s descent into horror brought about by a mysterious puzzle.

Ben Serna-Gray penned the twisted surrealistic sci-fi dystopia “Choice Cuts.” When everything (and anyone) is edible, conspicuous consumption takes on a whole new meaning.

Rob Francis is back this issue (last seen way…

View original post 286 more words

1st Ave Coffee Conversation

Posted: October 4, 2018 in Uncategorized

(Written *mumble mumble years ago.) Posted for National Poetry Day.

1st Ave Coffee Conversation

Smoke from my coffee slides across the glass

of a 1st Ave coffee shop as you rattle off

(I keep thinking of sewing machines)

about who you ran into recently

that you wished had faded forgotten

–a bad dream.


Fake smiles plastered on (the only cheap

jewelry you wear) that never touch

corrupt your smirking, cynical cat’s eyes

— Social civility too automatic by now

for you to be any different—

And as you slide on talking I sip

slowly from words and bitter drink

and slip through your stories

easy laughter escaping our lips.


Our friendship is too tested to be

strained – boundaries had already been pushed as far as you dared –

You’re brave in other ways and I

stare at tattoos slipping through

power suits, cellphones, and expensive cigars

on 1st Ave and smile crooked and kind

at coffee shop guy talking

about making money off used ripped jeans

(too bad I tossed mine).


But we’re talking Jim Carroll poety

and the power of a city where I am no longer

–no smoke pressed against coffee shop glass—

and your voice only comes sliding

at the detached speed of light—

but your image is burned on my retina.


I can still hear your voice

in the sound of coffee, poetry, and graveyards

–things we always shared

damn the distance –

and whenever our voices curl around the other

loose strands from before are woven

and our partings are left open-ended

on the off chance we see a reason

to pick up threads of thought

that slide through the air

against the glass of a coffee shop in 1st Ave

where you rattle on and I sit

–with you and the city captured

in a scent of what was.

Pulp Appeal: Switchblade Sixx

Posted: October 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

I cover issue six of the noir/crime mag Switchblade.

Broadswords and Blasters

Switchblade continues its run as an excellent venue for short noir and crime fiction and issue six is no exception. These stories read like a lone saxophone playing in the night, following people with bad luck, who’ve made bad decisions, and who took the easy way much to their regret. My hat’s off to Scotch Rutherford for curating another excellent batch of stories. I know I’ve said it before, but anyone who thinks the short story form is old and tired hasn’t been paying attention to what’s going on out there. There is a tremendous amount of talent that is going unnoticed and unremarked. So do yourself a favor, pick up an issue. Give it a read. See what you’ve been missing.

Switchblade (Issue Sixx) by [Barnes, Rusty , Weiner, Rex , Barlow, Tom , Richardson, Travis, Sweetman, E.F., Carpenter, Scot, Thorn, Aidan , Payne, Mike, Deshane, Evelyn, Soldan, William R.] You wished your covers looked half this good. I also appreciate the artwork that Rutherford peppers the interior with, be it black and white street photos, vintage ads…

View original post 1,100 more words

Broadswords and Blasters

(Editors’ Note: Sara Codair lives in a world of words. Writing is like breathing; they can’t live without it. Sara teaches and tutors writing at a Northern Essex Community College. They live with a cat named Goose who likes to “edit” their work by deleting entire pages and a dog who limits their screen time. Their short stories were published in places like Unnerving Magazine, Broadswords and Blasters, Alternative Truths, and Once Upon a Rainbow II. Their debut novel, Power Surge, will be published by NineStar Press on Oct. 1, 2018. Find Sara online at https://saracodair.com/. Twitter: @shatteredsmoothFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/saracodair1)


It’s time to unlock my word-hoard and take “Pulp Appeal” back to the days of the mead halls and scops.

proxy.duckduckgo.com Editors’ Note: The Heaney translation is editor and poet Cameron Mount’s favorite, but even so it doesn’t hold a candle to the…

View original post 972 more words