Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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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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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Cameron might have gotten a little footnote happy with his article on “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” What do you think?

Broadswords and Blasters

clint-eastwood-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-spiros-soutsosA few weeks back Matt discussed one version of a character known in the west as “The Man with No Name.” Akira Kurosawa wrote and directed Yojimbo, starring B&B favorite Toshiro Mifune, about a nameless ronin who moves from town to town solving problems–or creating them, depending on your interpretation–wherever he goes. This character shows up in many other movies including the original Django spaghetti western and its many sequels, the Sergio Leone film Dollars trilogy starring Clint Eastwood[1], and the Walter Hill film Last Man Standing starring Bruce Willis. Although Kurosawa didn’t explicitly state it, film buffs and noir fans believe he got the original idea for the character and plot of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, a novel of his nameless character The Continental Op, about whom I’ve already written.

The Man with No Name, like his inspiration[2], had a…

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Pulp Consumption: El Borak

Posted: October 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

This week’s Pulp Consumption… I talk about El Borak, a lesser known Robert Howard character, but definitely one that deserves more attention.

Broadswords and Blasters

Image result

Another one of Robert E. Howard’s creations, Francis Xavier Gordon, better known as El Borak (Arabic for “The Swift”), is a Texan gunfighter and adventurer… only instead of his adventures taking place in the Old West, our hero finds himself in Afghanistan.

For the most part, the El Borak tales are strict action-adventure[1]. El Borak relies on his quick wits (and his quick hand with a gun or a blade) to get him out of the scrapes he finds himself in, typically against hostile tribesmen but also scheming politicians and rival adventurers. Gordon straddles a line between the barbarian and the civilized man, is not one to shy away from violence, but also with a keen understanding of how the Western world works… and why the West will always struggle in the hills of Afghanistan[2]. However, unlike some of Howard’s other characters, Gordon is a man…

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Pulp Appeal: Philip José Farmer

Posted: October 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters

philip_jose_farmer_1359741c Farmer died in 2009 at the age of 91. This image is from the Telegraph obituary.

As with Matt’s article about the Chronicles of Amber last week, no one could rightfully call Philip José Farmer a pulp writer. He definitely belongs in the movement known as New Wave, and was even published in Dangerous Visions, the defining compilation of New Wave short stories. The book was edited by Harlan Ellison, one of the most iconic members of the movement. That said, as with many of Farmer’s contemporaries, including Ellison, Michael Moorcock, Norman Spinrad, and Philip K. Dick, Farmer was deeply inspired by the pulps. In fact he was so enamored of the earlier fiction movement that he wrote some of the most well-known pulp pastiches, works like The Adventures of the Peerless Peer, The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, Tarzan Alive, and Doc Savage:…

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The CHRONICLES OF AMBER is one of those series that grabbed me and has never really let go.

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Let’s get something out of the way, The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazy isn’t pulp per se. For starters, the first novel in the series, “NINE PRINCES IN AMBER” wasn’t published until 1970, putting it more in line with the New Wave movement coming out of the sixties. That said, critics have drawn comparisons to the 1946 novella written by Henry Kutter (with perhaps some help from his wife, C.L. Moore) called the THE DARK WORLD, giving it at the very least a line back to the pulps.

Image result for chronicles of amber The cover for the original collected stories.

“… the Kuttner story which most impressed me in those most impressionable days was his short novel The Dark World. I returned to it time and time, reading it over and over again, drawn by its colorful, semi-mythic characters and strong action … looking back, Kuttner and Moore—and, specifically, The Dark World—were…

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Pulp Appeal: Rafael Sabatini

Posted: September 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

Cameron talks Rafael Sabatini…. an author who I sadly have not read.

Broadswords and Blasters

Scaramouche_1952_filmSwashbuckling adventures have been popular with the general public for hundreds of years. Tales of heroic sword fighters in pitched battle against unbeatable odds go back quite literally to some of the earliest works of written literature, surviving in the tales of Gilgamesh, books from the Bible, and the earliest works about Robin Hood. These works really hit popular stride in the 1800s, particularly after the success of Alexandre Dumas (pere) and his d’Artagnan romances. But as much as Dumas placed a stamp on contemporary versions of the swashbuckler, it is a later writer, famous at the time but often overlooked now, whose works refined the iconic profile of the swashbuckler–Rafael Sabatini.

seahawkSabatini was a native Italian who spent much of his youth traveling and attending school in Europe. He was a polyglot, attaining fluency in several languages, but most importantly English, because it is the language in which he…

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Pulp Consumption : Brick

Posted: September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

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BRICK is a 2005 neo-noir film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Brendan, a high school loner who ends up investigating the untimely murder of his ex-girlfriend, Emily. The action gets kicked off quickly enough. A phone call. A cry for help. The discovery of a body.

BRICK

What follows is an intricate web of deception, revenge, drugs, and rivalry all set against the backdrop of maneuvering through high school. None of the characters, not even Brendan, can be classified as completely innocent. Brendan holds to his own code of honor, not truly a criminal, but willing to act outside of the traditional bounds of morality to accomplish his goals. He’s also smart enough to know that it is isn’t the person who pulls the trigger that’s the real villain, but the person who makes sure that the victim is in front of the gun.

Some of what makes BRICK stand out is…

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Pulp Appeal: Pulp Fiction

Posted: September 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

Cameron (finally) tackled PULP FICTION (the movie)!

Broadswords and Blasters

Pulp_Fiction_(1994)_posterTime to address the elephant in the room. It’s been quietly sitting in the corner for the last seven months, but today it is begging me for attention.

Say the words “Pulp Fiction” to most adults in America and they won’t think about Robert Howard, Tarzan, the Cthulhu Mythos, or The Maltese Falcon. For a large portion of the American consumer public “Pulp Fiction” means one thing – the 1994 film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Hell, when you Google the phrase, the first three pages of results are about the film. It’s not until about halfway down the fourth page that something else[1] pops into the mix.

Pulp Fiction is not Tarantino’s entry into film, but it is the work that pushed him out into the public eye. The title begs the question: Is Pulp Fiction pulp fiction? Yes, most definitely. And why not? It’s an…

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