Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Shadowcast Knows

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

Pulp enthusiasts of all descriptions will recognized the introductory catchphrase of The Shadow, dark vigilante and superhero precursor. Indeed, although it's been ninety years since the first appearance of the character, he still has a loyal following. One example of this is the excellent, if irregular, Shadowcast, whose fifth episode earlier today was a welcome surprise:

Ostensibly covering the first appearance in The Shadow (and indeed anywhere) of a supervillan, host RazorFist covers a wide spectrum of Shadow lore. I was particularly interested in his discussion of how The Shadow's primary author, Walter B. Gibson, apparently had an elaborate filing system that he used to control continuity, thus enabling the Shadows intricate cast of recurring characters. Also of note was the description of the way Gibson used his background as a stage magician to inform his writing, particularly in the climax of the story under discussion, The Voodoo Master.

For those who are less familiar with The Shadow in general, or have hitherto been unaware of this podcast, I encourage you to start at the beginning and enjoy a celebration of an iconic hero by a knowledgeable and entertaining critic - even without his customary use of, shall we say, "colorful metaphors".

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Free Books For Your Quarantine Downtime

Whether from voluntary social distancing or official shelter-in-place orders, many of us are currently finding ourselves with more time on our hands than we're used to (others, of course, are in the medical field or grocery industry and working overtime to meet the current crisis, and I for one offer my sincerest thanks). Some of us, no doubt, are taking the opportunity to attack our tsundoku, but just in case anyone is in danger of running out of things to read, many authors are stepping up to fill the gap - at no charge.

The most prominent, at least in my Internet circles, is Corona-Chan: Spreading the Love, an anthology assembled in just a few days by David V. Stewart and many, many authors of the Pulp Revolution. I've talked about some of them on this blog before - Jon Mollison, for example, has donated his entire novel Adventure Constant, which I reviewed a few years ago and still recommend wholeheartedly. Other contributors include Justified's Jon Del Arroz and former and current Geek Gab hosts Brian Niemeier and Daddy Warpig. They are joined by a host of other independent authors, many of which have appeared in various issues of Cirsova magazine. And speaking of Geek Gab, their most recent episode has as guests contributors John Daker and Yakov Merkin:

If you prefer something a little more mainstream, gonzo techno-thriller writer Jeremy Robinson is offering a five-book package on his website, with a sixth offered for joining his mailing list. Now, I haven't read a great deal of Robinson, but what I have has kept me interested. Of the books in his bundle, I'm particularly interested in Flux, which sounds like it shares some premises with Eric Flint's Time Spike or 1632. The latter of these also happens to be free, from Amazon or Baen Books directly, although it's been so since long before the Wuhan Flu made its presence known. Come to think of it, the Baen Free Library is another great source in general for free things to read, including one of my perennial favorites - Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International.

To conclude, I'd like to thank all the authors mentioned above for their generosity in making their work available to the reading public during this crisis. Now let's do our part by keeping our hands clean and giving the coronavirus no chance to spread.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Sabaton History Covers the Siege of Vienna



Storm clouds, fire and steel,
Death from above,
Make our enemies kneel,
Shining armor and wings,
Death from above,
It's an army of kings.


Art by Tomasz Jedruszek