Pulp Appeal: Indiana Jones

Posted: July 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

In case you wondered what we meant by “two-fisted action.”

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The Indiana Jones series is what happens when twopowerhouses of the ‘70s and ‘80s decide to craft a love letter to the adventure serials of the 1930s and ‘40s. Indiana Jones is an adventurer first and an academic second, completing his archaeology in the field with little more than a whip, a revolver, and his hat.

Image result for indiana jonesWhat is striking for me, is the way that you can use the Indiana Jones movies as a template for developing your own stories. There is the MacGuffin (the Ark of the Covenant, the Sankara Stones, the Holy Grail, the Crystal Skull). There are the outright villains (Nazis in the first and third film, evil cultists in the second, and communists in the fourth). There is the requisite love interest. Each follows the same basic formula. Indiana is after the MacGuffin. The bad guys want it too. In some cases (TEMPLE OF DOOM)…

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Issue 2 Run Down!

Posted: July 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

A quick run down on what’s coming in Issue 2!

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Instead of your usual dose of PULP APPEAL, this week we’d thought we’d do something a little different and preview what you’ll find in Issue 2 of Broadswords and Blasters.Cover2

First up is KAUAHOA VS THE MU by Patrick Baker, an action packed Polynesian tale where the outcast warrior Kauahoa battles fiendish sea creatures. Will Kauahoa prevail over the sea devils, or will they prove too much for him and his magic club?

Calvin Demmer takes us to a different kind of tale in A WESTERN PROMISE where Charles “Quick Draw” Payne has made a name for himself as a reluctant sheriff in a frontier town. Not everything is as it seems and even Calvin’s skill with a gun might not be enough to prevail against his latest challenger.

Steve Cook’s FEATHERED DEATH provides the cover image for this issue, and it’s a story we were eager to grab and…

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After talking so much about classic pulp, Cameron decides to take on some more recent anthologies.

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If you’ve been reading closely, you’ll no doubt have noticed that my posts have all been about older characters and writers, most of which are in the public domain. My experience with pulp has mostly been with the original era. However, there have been several anthologies since the beginning of the 21st Century that have caught my eye.

Chabon_1In the early 2000s Michael Chabon, the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, saw a need to collect modern short stories in the pulp tradition. His influences in his earlier novels clearly included pulp authors, and Chabon said as much in interviews. The result of his push to bring about more appreciation for pulp literature was 2003’s McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales. Chabon collected works from pulp-y authors like Stephen King, Michael Moorcock, and more literary elites like Dave Eggers and…

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A great piece on the highly influential H. Rider Haggard.

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06516v Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress – http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ggbain.06516/

H. Rider Haggard was not really a pulp fiction author, having been a “respectable” author of Victorian literature whose first stories were published in literary magazines in the late 1870s. He was a lawyer but paid more attention to his writing, probably for the best as he was an excellent writer. So you may ask yourself why I’m talking about a Victorian author who was published in the slicks, whose work predates the height of pulp fiction as a trend. Like Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Edgar Allan Poe, it’s because his work had an outsized impact not only on pulp fiction, but fiction in general.

His most famous creation, the English explorer Allan Quatermain, was introduced in the 1885 novel King Solomon’s Mines. While there are earlier examples of Lost World fiction, including Journey to the Center of…

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A quick recap on the golden age hero, Jirel of Joiry.

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C.L. Moore, stands out as one of the godparents of sword and sorcery and science-fiction, and nowhere is this more apparent than in her creation, Jirel of Joiry. Jirel stands out for several reasons as a character of the Golden Age of Pulp. She is a female character being written by a female writer, a rarity for the time. (While there were other women writing for the pulps at the time, a large percentage of them were writing hard-boiled detective stories, not fantasy). She is a creature of her passions, frequently overcome with rage that dictate her actions. She is also placed in a historic setting, in this case medieval France[1].

Jirel is a noblewoman, to be sure, but one that is more likely to don armor and meet her foes head-on then to sit behind her castle walls and busy herself with embroidery. In the…

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Matt Spencer guest blogs for us over at Broadswords and Blasters!

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(Editor’s note: Matt Spencer is the author of several novels, including the acclaimed Deschembine trilogy, The Night and the Land, Trail of the Beast, and The Blazing Chief (forthcoming from Caliburn Press), as well as numerous short-stories and novellas. Find him online at https://mattspencerauthor.wordpress.com/, and on Twitter as @MattSpencerFSFH.

HapandLeonard

If there’s a modern author who qualifies for heir-apparent to the Golden Age of Pulp Fiction, keeping the form alive and relevant today, it’s Joe R. Lansdale. Far from a one-trick pony, Lansdale seems at home writing just about anything, from adventure, mystery, horror, sci-fi, Western, to mainstream fiction. The man refuses to pigeon-hole himself, and goes wherever the hell the muse takes him.

He sure makes it hard to pick favorites, that Crazy Uncle Joe, especially from the body-of-work of such a prolific storyteller who’s resonated with me so strongly and had such a profound impact on my…

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Nothing like trying to write romance to remind me how bad I am at writing romance. Anyway, this was supposed to be a sword & sorcery/bodice ripper mashup (original challenge here courtesy of Mr. Chuck Wendig). It leans way more heavily on the former than the latter, and for that I apologize. As it is, it’s around 100 words longer than the 1500 mark, but I’m okay with that. This story does take place in the same ‘verse as the Liam the Black stories, but features all new characters. I’m interested to know what you think, so comment away! Read the rest of this entry »

Pulp Appeal: Egil & Nix

Posted: May 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

A different take on this week’s PULP APPEAL, I talk about one of my favorite recent(!) sword & sorcery series, Egil & Nix by Paul S. Kemp.

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I first came across Paul S. Kemp’s characters of Egil and Nix in the highly recommended Blackguards anthology put out by Ragnarok Press, and I have been sure to pick up their individual novels . Coming across as a couple of rogues of the first order, it is easy to see their pulp pedigree. In point of fact, it would be perhaps too easy to dismiss them as pastiche of Fritz Leiber’s rogues, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

egilandnix Cover to the first book.

Egil is a giant of a man, the sole priest of a god who lasted only a moment. Nix is the more roguish of the two, smaller of build, meaner of disposition, and fascinated by magic. Both are intrinsically flawed, whether it is the depressions Egil falls into as a result of having lost wife and child, or Nix, for being, well, Nix. During the course of…

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Pulp Appeal: Zorro

Posted: May 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

Cameron takes on one of the most endearing and long-lasting pulp heroes ever, Zorro!

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Millionaire playboy whose identity is known to only a few puts on a black costume and mask to parade around at night, ensuring that justice and peace is maintained as well as possible in the face of corruption, political meddling, and law enforcement incompetence.image-w1280

No, not Batman. This is the story of Zorro, the fox, a thorn in the side of the early 19th Century Mexican government of California. But despite the parallels to the caped crusader, the story of Zorro more closely parallels that of the English hero Robin Hood and, more directly, that of Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel, created by Baroness Orczy about 15 years before the first Zorro story was written. Because of the existence of Robin Hood, you can’t really say that Johnston McCulley, creator of Zorro, stole the idea of the masked hero with the noble alibi from Orczy, but the parallels are…

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A few of my thoughts on that iconic fantasy anti-hero, Elric of Melnibone.

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Image result for elric of melnibone art by Robert Gould

I can pinpoint exactly when I first came across Elric, the doomed albino sorcerer-king of Melniboné. I was a freshman in high school, and there, among the rest of the science-fiction and fantasy books in the school library were two collections of Michael Moorcock’s most famous creation. In retrospect, that is probably the best and worst time to be exposed to that particular character.

Elric is brooding and introspective, at the same time sickened by the traditions he stems from while simultaneously a product of them. Unlike other pulp heroes, who conquer and strive for a kingdom of their own, Elric is born into nobility and abdicates that responsibility. He is the product of a decadent race in their twilight years, having gone from a world-spanning kingdom to being reduced to a single island. He spends as much time entreating sorcerous entities as he does battling…

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