Today I talk about the novella The Ballad of Black Tom, a retelling of Lovecraft’s infamous “The Horror at Red Hook.”
Victor 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 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.
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.
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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Today, a brief discussion on The Black Company by Glen Cook, with a sizable aside about grimdark.
I 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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