Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan

‘The Greystoke Legacy Under Siege’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, October 11, 2017 in Edgar Rice Burroughs, New Pulp, Review, Tarzan
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

‘The Greystoke Legacy Under Siege’

'The Greystoke Legacy Under Siege'I have previously posted about the pulp works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. His most well-known work is Tarzan, who has spawned a wide range of works, though a character whom I never got into, at least in prose.

Burroughs established ERB Inc. to maintain ownership of his works. And it’s strange or sad that while they have allowed new stories of his characters to appear in movies, TV, radio, comics, and comic strips, new prose works have been few and far between. And in a few cases, permission has been withdrawn for works in progress.

Tarzan has had but a few authorized novels since Burroughs passed away. That seemed to change recently when Will Murray was allowed to write a new Tarzan novel, Return to Pal-ul-don, under the heading of “The Wild Adventures of Tarzan.” I thought this would lead to further new Tarzan novels from Altus Press (and Murray). So was confused when I did see a listing of further new novels, not from Altus Press, but though ERB Inc. These would be under the new heading of “The Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs” and looks to include more than just Tarzan.

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R.J. MacCready, a new science-thriller hero

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017 in Pulps, Review, Thriller
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

R.J. MacCready, a new science-thriller hero

'Hell's Gate'As a fan of techno-thrillers, I am always on the lookout for new and interesting characters in this genre. I happened to stumble upon a new character that has two books out already. The second book first appeared in hardcover, so I guess the first one was successful enough to go quickly to hardback. Most new authors have to have several books out before going to hardback originals.

This new character is R.J. MacCready, created by Bill Schutt and J.R. Finch.

MacCready, a captain in the U.S. Army in the first book (not certain if so in the second), is a zoologist. And the books are set toward the end of World War II and just after. While technology isn’t the main thrust of this series, science (and some speculative science) is, similar to the works of Rollins, Gibbons, and a few others.

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Francis Stevens and ‘The Citadel of Fear’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, October 2, 2017 in Fantasy Pulp, Reprints, Review, Science Fiction Pulps
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Francis Stevens and ‘The Citadel of Fear’

'The Argosy' (Sept. 14, 1918)An interesting book I picked up recently was Francis Stevens’ The Citadel of Fear. Reprinted by Armchair Fiction as part of their Lost World-Lost Race series, this novel was originally serialized in The Argosy in 1918.

This particular edition had a short select of artwork from her other works (covers of their appearances in pulp magazines), as well as the wrap-around artwork for the Paperback Library reprint of Citadel. It also had a short bio of Stevens and it was interesting.

Francis Stevens was really Gertrude Barrows Bennett (1884–1948), an early author of fantasy and science fiction that some call the “woman who invented dark fantasy.” She actually dropped out of school after the eighth grade and later became a stenographer. Her first published work of fiction was a short story “The Curious Experience of Thomas Dunbar,” published in The Argosy in 1904. She later married and had a daughter, but her explorer husband died on an expedition. During World War I, her father died, and Gertrude had to help support her invalid mother.

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Meet Flash Gordon

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, September 29, 2017 in Comics, Movies, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Meet Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon battles Ming the Merciless.A character that is often times trotted out as a pulp character is Flash Gordon. But he’s really not, as he originated in the comic strips. Created to compete against Buck Rogers, he has outshined Buck, and would later appear in comic books, movies and serials, TV, books, radio, and even a pulp magazine. I debated doing an article on him, but feel I must, because there are pulp-like elements.

Most people recall the basic parts of the storyline, which is your “planetary romance” mixed with space opera adventure. Earth is menaced by the rogue planet Mongo. Flash and Dale Arden crash near the lab of Dr. Hans Zarkov, and the three launch into space in Zarkov’s spaceship to put a stop to it. Crashing on Mongo, they find a bizarre world of people and races, ruled over by the despotic Ming the Merciless. Flash and company team up with others, including Prince Barin and Vultan of the Hawkmen, and lead a rebellion against Ming and overthrow him. This leads to further adventures by Flash, Dale, and Zarkov on Mongo (sometimes dealing with another attempt by Ming or someone else to take over), on Earth, and on other worlds.

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‘Napoleon’s Vampire Hunters’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, September 27, 2017 in French pulp, New Pulp, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘Napoleon’s Vampire Hunters’

'Napoleon's Vampire Hunters'Frank Schildiner is one of several New Pulp authors who have worked with a variety of characters. I have reviewed some of his past works (a new Thunder Jim Wade novella) and his several short stories in Tales of the Shadowmen, most dealing with Jean Kariven (an archaeologist who has gotten involved with an intergalactic war between two races).

For Black Coat Press he has done two novels using Gouroull, an evil version of Frankenstein’s monster. Napolean’s Vampire Hunters is his third, and works with a new set of characters: the vampires created by Paul Feval.

Paul Feval may be best known for creating the crime novel series dealing with the Black Coats, most of which are available from Black Coat Press and which others have made use of in new stories. Maybe lesser known are his trio of novels dealing with vampires, which are also available from Black Coat Press. Written before Dracula, they were probably written in response to a play by Dumas also written in response to Polidori‘s The Vampyre.

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‘The Savage Dyaries’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, September 20, 2017 in Doc Savage, Fanzines, Non-fiction, Reprints, Review
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

‘The Savage Dyaries’

'The Savage Dyaries'The Savage Dyaries is a new collection of articles saved from pulp fanzines. In this case, Doc Savage articles written by Dafydd Neal Dyar that ran from 1979 to 1984.

Many of these fanzines are now hard to find, and so it’s great they are brought together for a new generation to enjoy.  Dyar has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Doc, and can be counted on to provide such info in on-line discussions on Facebook.

All the articles here have been extensively footnoted (in a few cases the footnotes are longer then the articles themselves). As this is marked “Volume 1,” so hopefully at some point we’ll see a volume 2, maybe a volume of his non-Doc articles or later Doc articles?

So what does DND have for us?

• A couple of articles on John Sunlight that speculate on his parentage.

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‘The Red Road to Shamballah’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, September 18, 2017 in Adventure Pulps, Reprints, Review, Thrilling
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘The Red Road to Shamballah’

'The Red Road to Shamballah'An interesting serialized novel I obtained is The Red Road to Shamballah by Perley Poore Sheehan (1875-1943) and published by Black Dog Books.

Serialized in Thrilling Adventures over 1932-33, this reads as what I would imagine a Talbot Mundy-style novel would be (never having read Mundy).

American Pelham Rutledge Shattuck has lived in Asia most of his life. He knows many languages and is able to move more or less freely. But politics of the times causes problems. The Russians are expanded their influence, as are the British. He sometimes finds himself unwelcome in some areas as different sides think he’s on the other.

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