RIP Ursula K. Le Guin
This article has been harder to write than I anticipated. That’s not just because Ursula K. Le Guin was an important writer, but because I realize that I have been remiss in my reading of her work.
First, she’s not a pulp writer. Her fiction is very definitely in the realm of socially and politically aware, deliberately composed to advance social agendas alongside the entertainment factor. I was not and am not always amenable to that. I tend to find much of that sort of writing to be polemical and I’m usually not interested in too much polemics when I’m reading for fun. That said, her work is important in the grand scheme of science fiction and fantasy, and for that she deserves accolades.
Le Guin’s work is unquestionably feminist. The modern intersectional feminist movement may not always agree because Le…
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Issue 4 came out in print last week, but the Kindle release goes live today, which means we’re officially live. We love these stories (as we loved all the stories in the first three issues), but this issue is momentous in that it marks the completion of one year of delivering a quality quarterly magazine that we are proud to produce. But if you need some more enticing, maybe the synopses below will wet your whistle.
“Commander Saturn and the Deadly Invaders from Rigel” by Richard Rubin. This yarn is a fun, retro look at space opera, in the vein of Buck Rogers. It comes with a wink and a nod to the genre and has a lot of fun while doing it. Two-fisted space action.
“Demons Within” by Karen Thrower. Bounty-hunting is a tried and true pulp storyline. In this tale, a demon is charged by Hell to track…
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Matt discusses the latest iteration of the Swords Against Darkness anthologies, which collects stories from luminary writers of the swords and sorcery genre both past and present.
Also, Issue 4 of Broadswords and Blasters is available for purchase in print and pre-order in Kindle.
I originally became aware of the most recent SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS anthology from browsing Black Gate. Unlike the same-named anthologies put out in the late seventies edited by Andrew Offutt, this anthology isn’t concerned exclusively with what’s current in sword and sorcery, but instead acts as a crash course in speculative fiction over the decades.
The anthology starts with a classic Conan tale “The Tower of the Elephant,” and moves through the decades of sword and sorcery. The editor, Paula Guran, does not stick with a strict publication, or even composition chronology when ordering the stories, but does divide the pieces into broad categories: Forging and Shaping, Normalizing and Annealing, and finally Tempering and Sharpening.
To be sure, if you are already well-versed in classic sword-and-sorcery, some of the material will be quite familiar. In addition to Howard, the Forging and Shaping section includes work…
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!
One aspect of pulp both Matt and I haven’t really touched upon is humor. Pulp is often thought of as being a serious genre, and since so much of it is focused on grit, violence, and noir that makes a certain amount of sense. But even the noirest stories often included humor, and some stories published in magazines like Amazing Stories were definitely funny. It’s in this spirit I’d like to discuss the USA Network TV show Psych.
The show centers around main character Shawn Spencer (played by James Roday), who uses his keen sense of observation, eidetic memory recall, and pure intelligence to solve cases as a consulting detective, sort of like Sherlock Holmes. He was raised by his father, Santa Barbara police detective Henry (Corbin Bernsen), to exercise these elements of his mental capacity in the hopes he’d become a police officer as well…
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