One of the unexpected side benefits to starting Broadsword and Blasters was discovering the plethora of other short fiction being published, especially by small independent presses. One of those happens to be Tough, headed by Rusty Barnes. Tough is primarily an online journal, but supported periodically with an printed collection, and the second one has recently been released. While some of the names were familiar to me (Thomas Pluck, Alec Cizak, Chris McGinley, William Soldan), I came to the majority of writers fresh. Tough goes for a no-frills approach. No editor’s note. No writer bios. No illustrations to mark the stories. All you get is the text.
Michael Bracken kicks things off with “Itsy Bitsy Spider” with
a private detective, Morris, his tattooist friend, and the trouble a young
woman brings into his life. The way Bracken weaves the detective’s work life in
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Editors’ Note: Anthony Perconti lives and works in the hinterlands of New Jersey with his wife and kids. He enjoys well-crafted and engaging stories across a variety of genres and mediums. His articles have appeared in several online venues and can be found on Twitter at@AnthonyPerconti.
As in many things in relation to pop culture, I am a late arrival to the party in viewing S. Craig Zahler 2015 film, Bone Tomahawk. [Editor’s Note: I’d never even heard of it until this review. You better believe I went right out and watched it!] Zahler is credited as the movie’s screenwriter along with directing the film (his directorial debut in fact). This feature has garnered lots of positive praise from critics and moviegoers alike. Billed as a Western Horror mash-up, the film’s plot revolves around a small band of men on a rescue mission to save…
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Editors’ Note: Anthony Perconti lives and works in the hinterlands of New Jersey with his wife and kids. He enjoys good stories across many different genres and mediums. His articles have appeared inSwords and Sorcery MagazineandDMR Books Blog.
To me, the name Ford Fairlane was always associated with the
1990 Renny Harlin cult film, starring Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay and the actor who
played Nightmare on Elm Street’s
uber-villain, Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund.
That is until now. I had the opportunity to read Rex Weiner’s The (Original) Adventures of Ford Fairlane
and I was in for very a pleasant surprise. This slim volume, published by Rare
Bird Books, collects the two Fairlane shorts that were serialized in The New York Rocker and LA Weekly, respectively. The two tales
fall squarely in the Black Mask
school of crime fiction, in which private investigator, Ford Fairlane works
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Penny dreadfuls of the late 19th Century were the direct ancestors of pulp fiction rags of the early 20th Century. The name is definitely British in origin, and the publications themselves were most popular in Victorian England, though they were sometimes brought in to America by travelers. The closest neighbor native to the US were the dime novels, though as the name suggests they cost a dime rather than a penny and were often full novels in length, whereas the penny dreadfuls were more like comic books in length, each one roughly a chapter of a larger piece, costing one British penny each. Like the dime novels and later pulps, penny dreadfuls were printed on the cheapest of the cheap wood pulp material. Sadly that means they don’t hold up much over time, and the ones that still exist need to be handled relatively carefully.
Penny Dreadful is the Showtime/Sky…
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Editors’ Note: Julie Rea’s work has appeared in several places, including The Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Nude Bruce Review, BLYNKT, and Halfway Down the Stairs. She lives in the Philadelphia area, where she teaches and writes about life in a wheelchair and other fascinating subjects. You can follow her on Twitter @phillylitgrl. Her story “Lela and Bat” will be appearing in issue 10 of Broadswords and Blasters. If you’d like to submit an article, send us a pitch. Payment is one digital copy of your choice of any issue of Broadswords and Blasters.
He, She, and It by the amazingly prolific Marge Piercy (a poet and memoirist in addition to being a novelist), is a cyberpunk novel set in the near-future. It was originally published in 1991 and won the 1993 Arthur C. Clarke prize for the Best Science Fiction novel.
The book explores ethical issues…
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I’m not just covering Pulp Modern’s latest issue because Matt has a story in it. Honest. In fact, although Matt and I have been friends long enough that we started this publication together, he’s not even the reason I picked up this issue. Nope, I picked it up because I wanted to read more Adam S. Furman, Rex Weiner, and C.W. Blackwell, all of whom have graced our own pages. I’m a touch jealous, but damn if these stories don’t deserve to be read. And not just those three, but all of them.
The issue starts off with editor Alec Cizak’s foreword. Other reviews have highlighted his discussion on imagination and done so better than I would, so I’ll just leave it to them. I did want to highlight his discussion on world psychology and how we in 2019 are entering the same headspace as people a hundred years ago…
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Matt got to see John Wick Chapter 3, and I’m envious.
So we’ve talked about John
Wick before, but with Chapter 3: Parabellum having just been released, we
figured it would be a good idea to revisit the franchise. Some spoilers will
For anyone that doesn’t know- John Wick, prior to the events of the first movie, was a retired assassin, the one you sent to kill other assassins in fact. Over the course of the films, he is brought back into the underworld of crime, only to find himself on the wrong side of well, just about everyone. The third movie picks up exactly with where the second one left off, with John tired and wounded, with an hour to go before an open bounty of fourteen million dollars is called. What with being in New York, people are coming out of the woodwork to collect.
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The Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001) is a French language ahistorical fantastic retelling of the legend of the Beast of Gévaudan. It is what happens when French moviemakers (director/co-writer Christophe Gans and story creator/co-writer Stéphane Cabel) emulate Chinese wuxia, Gothic Horror, and a touch of the American West as seen through the eyes of Sergio Leone. It’d be reductive to merely call it French wuxia, as I’ve seen it described online, since such description misses the presence of both the spaghetti-Western ironic aesthetic and also the distinctive flair of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto or Matthew Lewis’ The Monk. The convoluted overlapping plot threads of those stalwart Gothic novels is absolutely in play in Brotherhood, as are the shifting allegiances and dramatic irony of Leone’s The Man with No Name trilogy. Also, while there is definitely wire-work involved in the fight sequences, it’s not quite as over-the-top as
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Pulp Appeal: Kung-Fu Hustle
KUNG FU HUSTLE, directed, produced, written and starring Stephen Chow, is perhaps the most over-the-top, troperific, batshit insane kung fu movie to not strictly be a parody. It features dancing criminal gangs, old kung fu masters hiding out in slums, evil kung fu masters hanging out in insane asylums, musical assassins, over the top action, and even a sequence straight out of a Looney Tunes short.
Set in 1940s Shanghai, the city is controlled by gangs, none more feared than the notorious Axe Gang. Sing is a low-level crook trying to get in good with the gang, and through his attempts to get in good with the criminals, he ends up creating an escalating conflict between the Axe Gang and the impoverished residents of Pig Sty Alley… which just so happens to be the home of a number of powerful martial artists, not the least…
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“From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend. The legend of Voltron, Defender of the Universe.”
As a kid growing up in the 1980s I was naturally attached to cartoons. That’s one of the defining characteristics of late Gen-Xers/early millenials (I’ve seen us referred to as a crossover generation, but isn’t everyone really?). For me, those cartoons were GI Joe, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and Voltron. I’m sure I’ll tackle the first two at some point in the future, but Voltron is at the forefront of my mind today because one of my best friends sent me a special birthday gift for my 40th birthday (May 4th): LEGO Voltron. (Thanks Kyle!)
Voltron is a mecha series of the…
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