Archive for March, 2019

Broadswords and Blasters

In 1993, editor Karen Berger at DC Comics forged a new imprint that focused on stories geared at a more mature audience and creator owned works as well. The end result was the creation of Vertigo Comics. Such early titles included, naturally enough, a transfer of already established titles such as Shade the Changing Man, The Sandman,[1] Swamp Thing, Hellblazer,[2] Animal Man and Doom Patrol. Soon after, new titles, both ongoing and limited premiered under this imprint including Neil Gaiman’s Death: the High Cost of Living, the Matt Wagner-helmed Sandman: Mystery Theatre and Peter Milligan’s Enigma. The summer of 1993 re-introduced readers to a preexisting DC character, who was inactive for a considerable amount of time; this figure received a Vertigo Comics makeover of sorts, with a five issue limited series. Written by veteran crime and horror writer, Joe R. Lansdale, and illustrated by the…

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Broadswords and Blasters

A Parallel Life” and “The Intersection” are two short novels by Edmund Lester. Both share similar themes and even characters, almost as if they are slices of alternate universes where the action takes place.

A Parallel Life: Ben Williamson by [Lester, Edmund]
Cover for “A Parallel Life”

“A Parallel Life” follows Ben Williamson, accountant, who chances upon the fact that a man sharing his name has been recently killed. The dead man happened to be a musician in a glam rock band, and Ben-the-accountant slowly starts to take on the aspect of his dead doppelgangers life. It starts small at first- finding YouTube videos online of performances, tracking down memorabilia, picking up the guitar and playing again. It snowballs quickly, however, with Ben deciding to attend the estate auction and blowing through what reserve funds he has, much more than he was originally planning to spend. His obsession with adapting to his new life…

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Today Cameron talks about A.B Patterson’s novel HARRY’S QUEST.

Broadswords and Blasters

Pulp novelist AB Patterson recently released his second novel about private investigator Harry Kenmare, Harry’s Quest. The appropriately titled novel explores Harry’s quest to exact vengeance upon the pedophile murderers who tortured, raped, and killed Harry’s daughter, Orla, several years prior to the events of the novel. As you could imagine, having survived the tragedy has changed Harry. He’s a hard-drinking, debaucherous, middle-aged man with a distinct sense of justice that includes returning some depraved physical violence against the types of men and women who engage in pedophilia. I think most of us can sympathize with Harry’s innermost hatred of those kinds of perverts, and as such can root for Harry to succeed in his revenge.

Like most PIs in the literary world, Harry started as a cop, but eventually left. In most hard-boiled fiction it’s because of corruption and cover-ups that don’t jibe with the protagonist’s sense of morality…

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Broadswords and Blasters

Editors’ Note: Matt Spencer is the author of numerous novellas and short-stories, as well as the novelsThe Night and the Land,The Trail of the Beast,andSummer Reaping on the Fields of Nowhere. His latest book is the short-fiction collectionStory Time With Crazy Uncle Matt. He’sbeen a journalist, New Orleans restaurant cook, factory worker, radio DJ, and a no-good ramblin’ bum. He’s also a song lyricist, playwright, actor, and martial artist. As of this writing, he lives in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Among the genre-defining noir writers of the 40s and 50s, Jim Thompson stands out for his brutal subversiveness. Rather than following a hard-nosed detective through a criminal underworld (where our protagonist may be morally ambiguous, but remains, in essence, a clear-cut good guy up against clear-cut bad guys), Thompson was among the first major writers to explore stories from the point of view of…

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