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Pulp Appeal: Highlander

This week Matt covers Highlander. Next week I will likely also cover Highlander, but where Matt tackled the first movie, I’ll take the tv series.

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There can be only one!

Well, that might have been true back in 1986, but Highlander, the movie featuring Christopher Lambert as the immortal Scotsman Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) spawned two other feature films, two separate live action television shows, an anime series, and one television movie.

Image result for highlander 1986

So what about this movie made it so popular? Was it the idea of immortals existing throughout time, experiencing different cultures and periods? Was it the implied backstory with the arcane rules (there can be only one, no fighting on holy ground)? Or was it the simple fact that watching a swordfight in the modern day turned out to be strangely compelling?

In case you weren’t aware, HIGHLANDER traces Connor MacLeod’s humble beginning as a clan warrior in the highlands of Scotland through the centuries to modern (okay, 1980s) New York. It is in that time and place where there will be The…

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Pulp Appeal: Castlevania (Part 2)

Castlevania, continued. This week I talk about the Netflix original tv series.

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Has it been a week already? Okay then, it’s time to continue Castlevania franchise nerd-out. As I said last week, this article ballooned on me. While you could conceivably read this Pulp Appeal cold, it might be best if you went back and read last week’s, either for the first time or as a refresher for today’s article. As with last week, I’m linking you to a soundtrack to listen to while you read, but it will only work if you have Amazon Prime, as the music is proprietary and not under weird video game music laws. Honestly, Trevor Morris has made some great music for filmed properties, and the soundtrack is worth purchasing.

Last week I spent time talking about the inspiration behind Castlevania, the history of the first three games in the series, and a bit about their impact on video games that came after. This week…

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Pulp Appeal: Castlevania (Part 1)

Today I talk about Castlevania, so if that’s your jam, be sure to read this and check back in a week when I’ll talk even more about Castlevania.

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Alright readers of Broadswords and Blasters, it’s time for a full on nerd-out, and the topic is the Castlevania franchise. This article ballooned on me. In fact, it practically metastasized, so there will be a part 2 in next week. I guess you can say I’m a Castlevania fan. I even forgot until just now that my wallpaper on my iPad is fan art for Castlevania, with nearly every character from the game series history present in the piece. So…yeah. Also, you should listen to this playlist of some really awesome video game music as you read.

I first played Castlevania on the original Nintendo back in 1987. I was probably at my friend Michael’s house, as he was the only kid in the neighborhood I knew who had a Nintendo. I got my first Nintendo three or four years later. I didn’t have the original Castlevania

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Pulp Consumption: The Shadow of the Torturer

Years after my first attempt to read Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer, the first book of his Book of the New Sun tetralogy, I recently tried again.

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images This is the copy I have in paperback.

First, Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun series of books may not be seen as pulp by many modern readers in the new pulp scene, but Dying Earth stories certainly trace their history directly through the pulp greats. There’s a direct line back from Wolfe to Jack Vance through CJ Cherryh, Lin Carter, and Poul Anderson, among others. And Vance absolutely traces back to Clark Ashton Smith’s Zothique series, so while Wolfe’s writings in the early 1980s might not hit the bullseye where pulp resides, it’s definitely close to it in the overlapping Venn diagram of genre fiction.

Before I go much further, I have to come clean and say this is my second crack at Wolfe’s novel. The first time I tried to get through it was about 15 years ago when I was looking at books that inspired…

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Pulp Consumption: The Ballad of Black Tom

Today I talk about the novella The Ballad of Black Tom, a retelling of Lovecraft’s infamous “The Horror at Red Hook.”

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1784919312Victor LaValle’s novella The Ballad of Black Tom reimagines H.P. Lovecraft’s original story “The Horror at Red Hook,” notorious for being one of the most blatantly racist stories by the older author. “Red Hook” was originally published by Weird Tales in 1927, but it’s notably racist even for the time period. Additionally, Lovecraft himself wasn’t much a fan of the story. Some of Lovecraft’s proteges and biographers (Lin Carter the former and ST Joshi the latter) agree with his assessment. I don’t think there’s a need for me to agree with others, but I’ll just add in my personal dislike for the story, its narrative device (used to better effect in “Randolph Carter”), and the unchecked xenophobia, which is more than uncalled for.

Black Tom has won awards and was nominated for many others, primarily because it manages to add story beats that give the characters purpose. If “Red…

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Issue 7 Out Today!

Issue 7 drops today! Next month we re-open for submissions. And now I have to put issue 8 together to get that done before getting bogged down in school assignments.

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Hey, guess what today is? I mean other than the first day of the rest of your life. Yeah, that’s right, we’ve got a new issue of BROADSWORDS AND BLASTERS for you.

Broadswords and Blasters Issue 7: Pulp Magazine with Modern Sensibilities (Volume 2 Book 3) by [Gomez, Matthew, Codair, Sara, Barlow, Tom, Francis, Rob, Kilgore, Joe, Reynolds, Z., Serna-Grey, Ben, Young, Brad, Rubin, Richard, Uitvlugt, Donald] Maybe we shouldn’t have woken it up? Richard Rubin first graced our pages in Issue 4 with “Commander Saturn and the Deadly Invaders From Rigel,” and now he’s back battling the space pirates of Ganymede. If you like retro sci-fi at all (we’re talking old school Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon), you’re going to want to check out this tale of experimental cloaking devices, double crosses and deception.

Tom Barlow gave us “Jigsaw,” a dysfunctional couple’s descent into horror brought about by a mysterious puzzle.

Ben Serna-Gray penned the twisted surrealistic sci-fi dystopia “Choice Cuts.” When everything (and anyone) is edible, conspicuous consumption takes on a whole new meaning.

Rob Francis is back this issue (last seen way…

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Pulp Consumption: The Black Company

Today, a brief discussion on The Black Company by Glen Cook, with a sizable aside about grimdark.

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220px-The_Black_CompanyI first read Glen Cook’s The Black Company and its sequels about 15 years ago, but the first book was recently on sale as a Kindle book, so I picked it up to read again as my paperbacks are stored away in a tote somewhere and I didn’t want to dig around to find them.

As the name implies, the Black Company is a mercenary company made up of villains and black magicians who were simply looking for a place to put their skills to better use. Some of them joined up out of debts, some for brotherhood, and a few, of which the main character, Croaker, may be part, for atonement for past sins. The Company has sold its services to the side of dark overlords for a long time, partly because in this universe it’s the bad guys who won a war hundreds of years ago and established…

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Pulp Appeal : Clash of the Titans (1981)

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(Editors’ Note: R.A. Goli is an Australian writer of horror, fantasy, erotic, and speculative short stories. In addition to writing, her interests include reading, gaming, the occasional walk, and annoying her dog, two cats, and husband. Her short story collection Unfettered is currently available at Lulu. Her fantasy novella, The Eighth Dwarf is available at Amazon and Fantasia Divinity MagazineCheck out her numerous short story publications at her  website https://ragoliauthor.wordpress.com/ or stalk her on Facebook)

Clash of the Titans is an epic tale of Olympian gods, mythological monsters and heroic mortals. Released in 1981, it stars Laurence Olivier as Zeus (Spartacus, 1960), Harry Hamlin as Perseus, (who later goes on to star in LA LAW), Maggie Smith as Thetis (Downton Abbey), and Ursula Andress as Aphrodite (who only has one line).

The movie opens with Acrisius, King of Argos, condemning his daughter, Danae and her infant son…

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Pulp Consumption: Strange Economics

Today I talk about a new anthology of speculative fiction, Strange Economics.

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41XhWcD-mDLAbout a year ago, before we published David F. Shultz’s story “Jerold’s Stand” in Issue 5, Shultz ran a Kickstarter for a collection of science fiction and fantasy called Strange Economics. The concept of the collection was to marry the sf/f genres to explicit examinations of economic principles, and then to couple those stories with examinations by real world economists and discussion questions that readers could use as jumping off points to talk about economics with others. The collection was successfully funded and the fruits of that Kickstarter finally hit the presses after a small delay.[1]

The collection contains 23 stories of varying genres that have economic principles as major plot points, an afterword that examines economics in science fiction, and a selection of probing, open-ended questions about the included stories.

Each story is its own self-contained world, exploring one quirk or another about the current economic systems…

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Pulp Consumption: The Dark Crystal

This week I touch upon The Dark Crystal, a movie I love.

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3730957_sa.jpg This is the DVD cover for the version I own.

A race of godlike beings is shattered into two separate, disparate species when a crystal is broken. As each of the creatures ages and dies, its counterpart in the other species also ages and dies, leaving a power vacuum. The gentler Mystics pass over power by singing their lamentations. The more malevolent Skeskis engage in ritual combat to establish control. In an effort to keep themselves from aging, the Skeksis also capture creatures and drain their life essences, including the clan of the main character, a male Gelfling named Jen. Jen is an orphan being raised by the Mystics, and as his Master dies, he is told he must find the broken piece of the crystal and reunite it before a cosmic congregation or else the two races will continue to degrade, leaving the Skeksis in control of the world.

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