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Pulp Consumption: John Wick

A new column debuts this week. Similar to Pulp Appeal, but focused on recently consumed media and its connections to pulp.

Broadswords and Blasters

John_Wick_TeaserPosterThis is the first in a new series of articles to add into our rotation. After six months of weekly Pulp Appeal articles, it felt like a good time to add in a new, shorter article series, one in which we talk about pulp we’ve recently consumed. And serendipitously, I just finished watching John Wick Chapter 2.

John Wick, deftly played by Keanu Reeves, is a modern day action noir antihero. He’s heavy on the action end of things, but the basic conceit of the story is definitely noir. He’s a retired professional assassin who is pretty much James Bond if Bond was for sale to the highest bidder. This sort of antihero is popular in the modern media, what with video games like the Hitman series, movies that star Jason Statham (seriously, almost everything that guy has starred in from The Transporter to Fate of the Furious), and…

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Issue 2 Cover Reveal

Broadswords and Blasters

Displaying Cover2.jpg

We’d be lying if we said we weren’t super excited that Luke Spooner/Carrion House did the cover for issue two of Broadswords and Blasters. The image you see is based on one of the stories, “Feathered Death” by Steve Cook.

We are still working on finalizing Issue 2 but plan to have it available for preorder by the end of the month and available for general order by middle of July.

In the mean time you can check out issue 1 here!

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Pulp Appeal: H. Rider Haggard

Today I talk about H. Rider Haggard and his influence on pulp fiction.

Broadswords and Blasters

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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Pulp Appeal: Jirel of Joiry

In today’s Pulp Appeal, Matt introduces Jirel of Joiry by C.L. Moore, one of the more famous women authors of pulp fiction.

Broadswords and Blasters

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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Pulp Appeal: Erle Stanley Gardner

In today’s Pulp Appeal, I talk briefly about Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of Perry Mason.

Broadswords and Blasters

All_detective_193311You can’t read pulp fiction, particularly gumshoe detective stories, without stumbling across Erle Stanley Gardner. The guy was such a prolific writer that the eighty, yes EIGHTY, novels he wrote featuring his most famous character, Perry Mason, don’t even account for half of his total bibliography. Holy crap.

Perry Mason is one of the most iconic lawyers in American pop culture. Fun fact: Ozzy Osbourne has a heavy metal song about the character. Before the original tv series run in the 1950s–60s, there were no filmed legal dramas. Of course, you say, because it was the 1950s and there were few tv shows. Yes, but nearly every trope of every legal drama that has come since was copied from the show and the novels upon which it was based. Perry Mason wasn’t just an iconic television legal drama; it was THE archetype for everything from Columbo to Law & Order

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Pulp Appeal: Zorro

In today’s Pulp Appeal, I briefly cover Zorro.

Broadswords and Blasters

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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Pulp Appeal: Elric of Melniboné

Today Matt shares his feelings of Elric, a character I have literally never read. I keep meaning to rectify that, but never do.

Broadswords and Blasters

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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Issue 1 Now Available in Print

Broadswords and Blasters

Cover 1 twitterIf you have been waiting for the print version of Broadswords and Blasters, wait no longer! Right now you have two options – Amazon or Createspace. The magazine will also populate to wider distribution networks, but that may take a few weeks.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1545250308/

https://www.createspace.com/7078174

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Pulp Appeal: Randolph Carter

In today’s Pulp Appeal, I discuss Lovecraft’s Randolph Carter.

Broadswords and Blasters

weird_tales_192502Howard Phillips Lovecraft is a polarizing figure.1 His fiction lives on for us mainly because of the anthologizing and reprinting of his stories that was done mostly by August Derleth in the years after Lovecraft’s untimely death at the age of 46. While no contemporary can touch Robert Howard in the realm of prolific, Lovecraft was nearly his equal, publishing not just scores of horror2 stories but also nonfiction, poetry, and even some science, mostly astronomy. Because of his prolific and varying works, we’ve chosen to do as we did with Howard and Burroughs, and focus in on characters and arcs rather than try to nail a whole author in one swoop.

Which brings us to today’s topic: Randolph Carter. Carter is the eponymous main character of an early Lovecraft work titled “The Statement of Randolph Carter” and followed up with “The Unnameable,” The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,

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Pulp Appeal: Conan the Barbarian

In today’s Pulp Appeal Matt explores the lasting appeal of Conan.

Broadswords and Blasters

Image result for conan the barbarianTrying to pin down when I originally was exposed to Conan, the world-travelling barbarian created by Robert E. Howard, is tricky. It might have been watching edited versions of Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer when I was a kid. I clearly remember one summer in a library, devouring the paperback pastiches put out by Lin Carter and L’Sprague DeCamp and, at the time, feeling frustrated by the discontinuity between the stories.

One of the most telling features of Conan is the recurring theme of civilization versus barbarity. Reading the Conan stories, it is clear that Howard truly believed that barbarism, while not necessarily superior to civilization, would always win out in the end. Frequently, Conan is able to better more educated swordsmen through natural talent, strength and speed. Fancy swordsmanship avails his opponents naught. But even when facing against other barbarians, such as the Picts in Beyond the…

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