Archive for February, 2017

The Pulp (and Lasting) Appeal of John Carter, Warlord of Mars.

Broadswords and Blasters

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I don’t remember how I got hooked on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter stories, but it was long before the 2012 movie. The basic plot was interesting–a man “dies” on Earth and awakens on Mars, locally called Barsoom, in the distant past when the planet was still populated by various Martian races–but that wasn’t the draw for me. At the time, I wasn’t even the biggest ERB fan, having felt like Tarzan was a bit of a let-down. If I had to pin down why John Carter resonated with me, it’s because I’m a fan of stories that examine the gradual decay of once mighty civilizations, the slow fall back into barbarism. This sort of story beat is common to much of pulp fiction–from detectives in the big city to nameless horrors waiting to awaken and destroy everything–where the interplay between civilization and barbarism frequently occurs.

The John…

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This week’s Chuck Wendig challenge: Take one of ten titles and work a story around it. I went with Wolves of Sorrow, and decided I’d use it as an excuse to bring Hiram Sand and his behemoth back out for a spin. Because giant mechs and killer robots and giant mushroom forests. It is a smidge over the given limit, but you won’t hold that against me, will you?

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It doesn’t get much better than Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser!

Broadswords and Blasters

Originally conceived in collaboration between Fritz Leiber and Harry Otto Fischer (Leiber would long credit Fischer with the original conception of the characters), and born in the middle of the Great Depression, the seven-foot tall barbarian Fafhrd and his diminutive companion, the former wizard’s apprentice Gray Mouser, would come to codify sword-and-sorcery, leaving behind a long and colorful legacy. Unlike Robert E. Howard’s Conan, Fafhrd (despite his barbarian upbringing) and the Gray Mouser were urban characters, happy to be adapted to civilization and prowl its streets and alleys. Leiber would go on to publish six collections and one novel starring the pair.

Leiber’s stories always held a special appeal for me. They are removed from the sweeping epic fantasy of Tolkien, instead zeroing in on a couple of rogues who are (mostly) out for themselves. If they end up saving the city of Lankhmar (their home and the setting for…

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Being the continuation of my fantasy thieves serial.

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

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… and just in time for Valentine’s Day. This week’s challenge was to go with one of ten randomly selected titles. Enjoy!

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The Pulp Appeal of Solomon Kane

Posted: February 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

Awesome post on the lasting appeal of Robert Howard’s Solomon Kane (and I don’t mean the movie).

Broadswords and Blasters

weird_tales_august_1928When modern readers think about pulp fiction, they no doubt tend to imagine sword and sorcery like Conan the Barbarian, lost worlds fiction like The Land That Time Forgot, pulp detectives like Dick Tracy or The Shadow, or horror like the Cthulhu Mythos. They probably don’t envision a dour, glum-faced musket-wielding Puritan roaming Europe and Africa in the late 1500s/early 1600s. And yet, Solomon Kane was quite popular for creator Robert E. Howard, with nearly as many stories as Conan or his sailor hero Steve Costigan.

Like Conan, Solomon Kane is frequently overmatched by the enemies he faces, often pulling off seemingly impossible triumphs through luck and alliances with more powerful forces. He’s not the typical muscle-bound sword swinger or athletic boxer, as he’s often described as being tall and lanky, though strong, and he’s never looked upon by others as an attractive man.

One of the biggest reasons Kane succeeds…

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What, Another Magazine?

Posted: February 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

Brand new pulp magazine is looking for submissions. Oh, and I’m one of the editors!

Broadswords and Blasters

The goal of BROADSWORDS AND BLASTERS is to highlight those genres that the editors enjoy reading and we hope our readers enjoy too. Whether its tales of adventurers stealing gems from ancient temples, Westerns where a six-gun is  a woman’s best friend, or a detective story where a minor theft reveals a mysterious cult at work,those are the stories we’d like to see.

The ethos we’re after is the pulp magazines of the 1920’s to 1940’s. We’re interested in action over navel contemplation, and larger-than-life characters. That doesn’t mean we’re looking for stories that are racist, sexist, or homophobic. In fact, those kinds of stories will get rejected even faster than one’s that aren’t formatted properly or that have a multitude of grammatical mistakes.

Our goal is to put out a great magazine filled with adventure, memorable characters, and intrigue. We encourage writers from underrepresented groups to submit their stories…

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Part eight of my continuing serial. Featuring the soldier Graciano, the physician Viktoria, and the pirate smuggler Ramiro.

Continues on from here.

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