In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.


Pulp Consumption: Sharp Ends

This week we have a guest post by Steve DuBois, the author of the excellent “Monsters in Heaven,” which we published in Issue 4.

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[Steve DuBois was kind enough to pull this article together for our on-going PULP CONSUMPTION series of articles. Have an idea for an article? Drop us a line through our contact us box. Payment is a digital copy of the issue of your choice.]

There are people who will argue that Joe Abercrombie’s work is the diametric opposite of pulp.  Abercrombie is broadly categorized as a “Grimdark” author, and his novels—especially those of his First Law universe—do not show heroic virtue being rewarded.  To the extent that there’s a governing intelligence at work, it seems to operate according to the principle of master-manipulator Bayaz: “God smiles upon results.”  Make no mistake, Abercrombie’s work is in no sense “superversive”[1].

Abercrombie ain’t for everybody.  He’s sure as hell for me, though.  Pulp or no, the First Law novels are full of what makes pulp fun.  His plots…

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Pulp Appeal: Firefly (and Serenity)

Today I discuss the pulp appeal of Firefly/Serenity.

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There aren’t many self-respecting fans of science fiction who haven’t at least heard about the masterpiece Fox television show Firefly, sadly cut down in its prime by network executives without a clue. At the time of its release, I was simply too pissed off at Fox for canceling my weekly date with Jessica Alba[1] , and could read the writing on the wall. In the early 2000s, Fox had a nasty habit of airing promising sci-fi shows in the Friday night death slots. Firefly is no exception. And then Fox went and made it even worse by airing the episodes out of sequence and taking seven months between the first 11 and last 3 episodes. Fan outcry wasn’t enough to save the show—it rarely is—but creator Joss Whedon did manage to spin out a feature film, Serenity,to wrap up most of the story. Sadly, Serenity didn’t…

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Pulp Appeal: Disney/Pixar’s Up

In today’s article, I explain why Disney/Pixar’s Up is pure pulp fiction.

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MV5BMTk3NDE2NzI4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzE1MzEyMTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,664,1000_AL_Disney’s Up is 100% pulp fiction. If this story had been written and published in Amazing Stories or Weird Tales, it could not have been any more pulp-y than it already is.

The main character takes an unusual mode of transportation and finds himself in a paradise. Here he comes across a friendly animal that leads him to the animal’s master. This master is a megalomaniacal explorer who appears to have slipped over the edge of sanity, using his mania as a means to ensure his solitude and terrorize the locals. After a brief struggle, the main character saves the friendly animal, thwarts the megalomaniacal explorer who falls to his death, and then the main character returns home via a similarly unusual mode of transportation with a new lease on life and a story few people would ever believe.

When you strip out the specifics, the names, and the fact…

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Pulp Consumption: Get Out

Have you seen Jordan Peele’s GET OUT? You should.

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By now I have to imagine anyone who loves horror movies has seen Get Out, so it’s probably preaching to the choir at this point, but if for some reason you’ve skipped over this film you are doing yourself a serious disservice. Seriously, stop reading now and just go watch the movie.

Are you still here? If so, I’m going to assume you’ve watched the film, so beware spoilers below.

Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington

It would be stupid not to discuss the popularity of Jordan Peele as a comedy writer and sketch actor, especially where it comes to his frequent collaborator Keegan Michael Key (if you watched the Super Bowl, you saw Key in at least two commercial breaks, and I’m sure you recognize him from character actor roles all over the place).  If you’ve ever watched any of the Key and Peele sketch show, you have no…

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Pulp Appeal: Ursula K. Le Guin

RIP Ursula K. Le Guin

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8357065748_b1efcfaf20_oUrsula Le Guin in 2013.
Image CC-BY K. Kendall.

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 Is Officially Released

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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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Pulp Consumption: Swords Against Darkness

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.

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I originally became aware of the most recent SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS anthology from browsing Black Gate[1]. 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[2], but instead acts as a crash course in speculative fiction over the decades.

Image result for swords against darkness

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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Pulp Consumption: Psych

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PsychOne 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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Pulp Consumption: Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country started out awesome, lost a little steam in the middle, fizzled at the end. Still, it’s worthwhile reading.

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In theory, Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff should be everything I want to read in modern horror – inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, but rejecting his outright racism. Maybe it would have, if I’d stopped reading after the first section. Instead, taken as a whole, the novel was merely okay.

Lovecraft Country, published in 2016, is the story of two black families living during the Jim Crow era, when the racist attitudes of much of America supported such awful ideas as sundown towns and anti-miscegenation laws. The main character of the first section of the novel is Atticus Turner. As the story opens, Turner’s father, Montrose, has called Atticus home from Florida, where Turner settled after ending his active duty service for the Army in Korea. When Turner gets home, after being accosted time and again by the white establishment, including being shot at by a police officer for violating…

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Pulp Appeal: Tales from the Crypt

Ah, Tales from the Crypt, my favorite HBO show that is nowhere to be found (legally) to stream on the internet.

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Tales-from-the-Crypt_1 Eeee hee hee hee hee hee hee heeeeeeee!

A couple years ago there was a rumor (which turned out to be correct) M. Night Shyamalan was resurrecting one of my favorite television series of all time: Tales from the Crypt. I was simultaneously ecstatic and revolted, as anyone who has followed Shyamalan’s career[1] has a right to be. I have a reputation among my friends and family of poo-pooing remakes and unnecessary sequels, but this is a series I would love to see revived, provided it is done correctly.

Before the era of the Comics Code Authority, comic books went through a growth period in which they embraced violence, blood, and horror, but no publisher pushed the boundaries of acceptability in four-colors further than William Gaines of EC Comics. After his father died, Bill took over and turned it from a fairly standard publishing house, Entertaining Comics, into…

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