Celebrity Terrorist Sex Bomb
by Bob Freville
Journalstone

All right, so this is a bit of a first for me, seeing as how out of the blue, Bob Freville drops me a message asking me if I’d like to review his latest novella, CELEBRITY TERRORIST SEX BOMB. Now, just reading that title, has probably got you put on at least half a dozen government watch lists, so just imagine how many I’m on given that I’ve googled that phrase more than I would care to admit. 

You aren’t here to read about my trials and tribulations though, are you? Nah, you want to know if this quick hand grenade of a novella is worth your time. I’m not going to spoil you with a plot, but here’s the thing: with a work like this, it isn’t about the plot. It isn’t even about the characters, as much fun as a foul-mouthed Indian-American not-quite white dwarf starlet is, or her John Stamos-esque suicide bomber enabler. This is a rapid fire indictment that’s bound to offend at least everyone once.

Freville takes a machinegun approach to his blasting of culture, media obsession, how we treat celebrities (especially pretty young women), American militarism, extremism-in-the-name-of-Islam, sex, drugs, and pop music. Through his main character, Priya, he takes the brakes off a full scale indictment of the world as it is, while offering the occasional glimmer of how much better we all could be. It is foul-mouthed, irreverent, and you’ll never think of kegel exercises the same way again.

To be honest, some of the writing jumps around more than a tick on a hot cast iron stove, and you might find yourself wondering just why you decided to tap into what reads like a speedfreak mainlining CNN, MTV, and Lifetime all at once. But if you are reading something CELEBRITY TERRORIST SEX BOMB for the plot, well, I think we all know you made a misstep somewhere, don’t we?

Celebrity Terrorist Sex Bomb is currently available at Amazon… and other places too, if you think your search history can handle it.

Got a novel, novella, or magazine (hey, I don’t judge), you want me to check out? Hit me up on twitter or facebook (left side of your screen). My preference is for indie and small press, especially fantasy, science-fiction, horror, and bizarro lit.

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Pulp Appeal: CIRSOVA #5

Posted: April 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

Today at Broadswords and Blasters, I talk about Cirsova, a contemporary magazine that focuses on heroic adventures. In particular, I cover their fifth issue, which was a concept edition highlighting the Eldritch Earth setting- a blend of Lovecraftian mythos and sword-and-planet adventure.

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CIRSOVA: Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine recently released their seventh issue and in celebration they made issue five free on Amazon. I’d been meaning to pick up an issue anyway, and this acted as the perfect excuse to do so.

What’s interesting about this issue is that it acts as a formal introduction to a new shared world, Eldritch Earth. The concept is that during the Triassic period the Earth was colonized by the Great Ones. They were responsible for engineering various sub-species of humans to serve as slaves, but also imported other entities not native to Earth. There also the amphibious Yrrowaine who raid humans for mates, and the insectoid Slagborn and reptilian Dryth to contend with[1]. The idea is to have a setting where Lovecraft elements can be used in sword-and-planet and heroic fantasy stories. This isn’t exactly a new concept, and when reading through…

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Cameron talks BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, and how high stakes need to be personal.

Broadswords and Blasters

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure Poster

“Fourscore and…seven minutes ago… we, your forefathers, were brought forth upon a most excellent adventure conceived by our new friends, Bill… and Ted.”

Two high school losers, Bill Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted Logan (Keanu Reeves), are on the verge of failing their high school history class when they are met by Rufus (George Carlin[1]), a mysterious man in a trenchcoat, who tells them the future is in jeopardy unless they pass their final report.

After talking with future versions of themselves, the two set off in a time machine disguised as a phone booth. They meet and convince/kidnap historical figures from different eras to bring back to San Dimas, California so they can do their final report and pass the class. Chaos and hilarity ensue as the historical figures cause chaos in 1980s southern California.

Along the way they become friends with Billy the Kid, Sigmund Freud…

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This picks up from here.

A few days later, sitting in an open air café, the trio gather. Ramiro tosses two pouches onto the table in front of Viktoria and Graciano, accompanied by his lop-sided smile as he slumps into his chair and calls for a mug of fortified wine.

“Think they’ll try to find us?” Graciano asks.

Ramiro shrugs. “Maybe? I don’t intend to stick around long enough to find out. That little sloop we liberated is a fine ship, and well suited to my purposes. My share is enough seed to start a new venture, though I’ll probably stick to small, easily transported goods from now on. What about you?”

Viktoria shakes her head and sips from a small porcelain cup. Graciano gets a whiff of the bitter chocolate drink, a new libation starting to become popular. Still, it was normally prohibitively expensive. “I will go back to my practice, I think.” She smiles, the corners of her eyes crinkling to show it was genuine emotion she was displaying. “I still have patients, and well, I’m sure the two of you will have need of my services in the future.”

“What, you think I can’t forgo getting stabbed?” Graciano asks.

She rolls her eyes, but hides her lips by taking another sip of her drink.

“What about you, Graciano?” Ramiro asks.

The soldier rolls his shoulder and winces. It is still sore where he took the blow, though Viktoria told him it should heal fine. “I, ah, got myself a commission.” He hefts the pouch of coin, weighing it carefully. “I figure most of this will be spent on harness and provisions, but I should be able to buy a few bottles of the good stuff.”

Ramiro whistles low through his teeth and Viktoria’s eyes widen.

“Horse or foot?” she asks.

“Foot,” he responds, and Viktoria’s frown deepens. Ramiro tries to look anywhere but at the two of them.

“So you are going to get stabbed. Again.” She drains the last of her drink, stands up to leave. “In that case, I expect I’ll be seeing you again, but in a purely professional way.”

Graciano opened his mouth to retort, but she’d already swept out of the café with a rustle of her skirts.

“What did I do?” the grizzled soldier asks. He tugs on his moustache, a sure sign of his frustration.

“Did you talk to her before taking the commission?” the smuggler asks, a merry glint in his eye.

“No. Why should I?”

Ramiro sighs and places a hand on Graciano’s soldier. “You are a gifted fighter and a fine soldier, my friend. But let me tell you, you are awful with women. Well, maybe not all women. But most assuredly with that one.” He points in the direction Viktoria had disappeared.

Graciano snorts. “Like you are better?”

Ramiro leans back in his chair, his teeth gleaming as he smiles. “Benefit to my line of work? If I sink a relationship in one port, there is always another.” He leans closer. “But I offer you this free bit of advice, friend: don’t let a woman like that slip away from her.

“When do you report?”

Graciano laughs and shrugs, and calls for another bottle. “Tomorrow.”

Ramiro shakes his head and grins. “Best we celebrate tonight then, for who knows what tomorrow will bring?”

FIN

That’s it folks. Less than 10k words than what I might have originally envisioned, but that’s what I get for not having a roadmap. One of the longer pieces of fiction I’ve written and completed. Not sure yet what I’ll do with it, but think I might make a summer project of going through the collected piece and editing it. I hope you enjoyed it for what it was, and I might even come back to these characters one day, even if it was poorly disguised 7th Sea fanfic. It also means I might finally get off my ass and work more on “No Honor Among Thieves” seeing as that’s been wallowing way too long for comfort.

Pulp Appeal: WILLOW

Posted: March 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

Today at Broadswords and Blasters, I talk about one of those movies I can point to and say “Yep, this was a touchstone of my youth.”

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Dark Magic. Sword fights. Magical transformations. Prophecy. An evil queen and a good sorceress. A small magician whose one good trick is making a pig disappear. And brownies! (No, not those kind… but given how they act in the film…)

Of course, I am talking about the 1988 film WILLOW starring Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Patricia Hayes, and the scenery chewing skills of Jean Marsh as the evil queen Bavmorda. WILLOW’s story was written by George Lucas (but notably not the screen play) and directed by Ron Howard.

sorsha willow Badass redhead warrior woman? Don’t mind if I do.

The action kicks off (as so many fantasy films do), with a prophecy. A child will be born that will lead to Bavmorda’s downfall. How will people know that it is the right child? Well, they’ll be a birthmark noting it as such. Bavmorda though has fully read up on her…

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Demonslayer (Book 2 of The Psychonaut Trilogy)
by Tom G. H. Adams
Writing in Starlight Publications

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hadn’t been waiting for this book for a while. I originally reviewed the first book in the trilogy, The Psychonaut, back in 2016, and to say that this is a strong follow-up is an understatement. I’ll also come out and say that yes, you really do need to read the first book in the series to make heads or tales of what is going on in this book.Demonslayer: Book 2 in The Psychonaut Trilogy by [Adams, Tom G.H.]

It picks up where the last book left off. Merrick Whyte, former corporate negotiator, has come into his own power as a Psychonaut, one that can traverse different realms and can use the power of his mind to well… kill people. A new threat is on the horizon, however, as a demon threatens to Uncreate everything. Meanwhile, there is an anti-occult group with designs on Merrick and his friends, and there is a police officer who has decided that Merrick must die, damn the collateral damage.

What follows is an intricate story that weaves between the colliding plots and subplots. Demigods, fanatics, and the end of the world (isn’t it always?) combine to make a truly thrilling tale that will keep readers on edge. And yes, having some knowledge of Thelema and Aleister Crowley does help with a deeper appreciation of the story.

The biggest downside for me is I really wished Adams had developed some of the secondary characters a bit more. Also, there are some momentous events that occur that get little more than a summation by the characters. Obviously, there are always choices to be made in writing, but I for one hope to see more of Adams’ cast of characters rounded out.

As always, Adams does not shy away from the grotesque, but DEMONSLAYER wasn’t nearly as graphic as THE PSYCHONAUT, but his villains still manage to feel threatening.

Highly recommended if you enjoy thrillers and urban fantasy that weighs heavy on the occult.

DEMONSLAYER is available on amazon.

Death Pacts and Left-Hand Paths
by John Wayne Comunale
Grindhouse Press

You know, I didn’t make any New Years’ resolutions this year, in the main because they have a way of petering out around the middle of February. But one goal I am setting for myself is to read more indie press work. And hey, you know what an advantage is to running your own indie mag? Getting exposed to a bunch of new writers that would otherwise fly under the radar.

One such writer is John Wayne Comunale[1], a Texas based three-way threat who performs with the horrorpunk outfit johnwayneisdead. I decided to see if his long form fic could hold up to the promise of his short fic, and he didn’t fail to deliver.

DEATH PACTS AND LEFT-HAND PATHS follows the travails of a small-time loser, stuck in a dead end job and lusting fruitlessly after a co-worker. His solution? Rather than looking to better himself, he decides to take the short cut of summoning an otherworldly entity, a foulmouthed, chain smoking perverse imp. And yeah, the imp can help… but there’s always a catch. And someone’s going to have to pay it.

What follows is ramping up of death and disaster as our helpless anti-hero ends up more and more beholden in his pact. But the imp isn’t the only otherworldly creature out there, and our protag’s imp has to answer to a master of his own. The only question then is when you fall is how far down is it going to take you?

Comunale doesn’t shy away from the gore, and there’s no way I’d recommend eating this before, after, or even thinking about lunch. There’s not much redeemable about our hero other than to see a reflection of how your own mistakes can snowball into tragedy. You also might look askance at taking public transit… or at least you might end up looking over your shoulder more often.

Do I recommend this book?

Whole heartedly. So, show Comunale some love and pick up this novel, and while you are at it, check out what else he’s got cooking. You can also follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/johnwayneisdead.

 

[1] His short story “Compartments” appeared in issue 3 of Broadswords and Blasters.

Pulp Consumption: Sharp Ends

Posted: March 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

A special guest post from Steve Dubois regarding Joe Abercrombie’s collection of short fiction: SHARP ENDS,

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[Steve DuBois was kind enough to pull this article together for our on-going PULP CONSUMPTION series of articles. Have an idea for an article? Drop us a line through our contact us box. Payment is a digital copy of the issue of your choice.]

There are people who will argue that Joe Abercrombie’s work is the diametric opposite of pulp.  Abercrombie is broadly categorized as a “Grimdark” author, and his novels—especially those of his First Law universe—do not show heroic virtue being rewarded.  To the extent that there’s a governing intelligence at work, it seems to operate according to the principle of master-manipulator Bayaz: “God smiles upon results.”  Make no mistake, Abercrombie’s work is in no sense “superversive”[1].

Abercrombie ain’t for everybody.  He’s sure as hell for me, though.  Pulp or no, the First Law novels are full of what makes pulp fun.  His plots…

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Cameron talks about the sheer joy that is FIREFLY.

Broadswords and Blasters

There aren’t many self-respecting fans of science fiction who haven’t at least heard about the masterpiece Fox television show Firefly, sadly cut down in its prime by network executives without a clue. At the time of its release, I was simply too pissed off at Fox for canceling my weekly date with Jessica Alba[1] , and could read the writing on the wall. In the early 2000s, Fox had a nasty habit of airing promising sci-fi shows in the Friday night death slots. Firefly is no exception. And then Fox went and made it even worse by airing the episodes out of sequence and taking seven months between the first 11 and last 3 episodes. Fan outcry wasn’t enough to save the show—it rarely is—but creator Joss Whedon did manage to spin out a feature film, Serenity,to wrap up most of the story. Sadly, Serenity didn’t…

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Pulp Appeal: Disney/Pixar’s Up

Posted: February 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

In case you think Up! isn’t pulp, Cameron sets you straight.

Broadswords and Blasters

MV5BMTk3NDE2NzI4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzE1MzEyMTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,664,1000_AL_Disney’s Up is 100% pulp fiction. If this story had been written and published in Amazing Stories or Weird Tales, it could not have been any more pulp-y than it already is.

The main character takes an unusual mode of transportation and finds himself in a paradise. Here he comes across a friendly animal that leads him to the animal’s master. This master is a megalomaniacal explorer who appears to have slipped over the edge of sanity, using his mania as a means to ensure his solitude and terrorize the locals. After a brief struggle, the main character saves the friendly animal, thwarts the megalomaniacal explorer who falls to his death, and then the main character returns home via a similarly unusual mode of transportation with a new lease on life and a story few people would ever believe.

When you strip out the specifics, the names, and the fact…

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