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

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 10’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, October 8, 2014 in Arsene Lupin, Doctor Omega, French pulp, Nyctalope, Pulps, Review, Rocambole, Roulatabille, Sar Dubnotal, Sherlock Holmes, The Black Coats, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 10’

'Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 10'“Tales of the Shadowmen: Espirit de Corps” (2013) is the 10th and latest volume of this eclectic anthology series from Black Coat Press.

Because it’s the 10th volume, it’s also the largest volume yet, clocking in at almost 450 pages! This collection fits into Philip José Farmer‘s “Wold Newton” concept.

The stories in this collection are:

• Jean-Marc Lofficier: “My Life as a Shadowman,” an introduction and followup to his prior intro in vol. 3.

• Matthew Baugh: “Quest of the Vourdalaki” is an interesting story with Cossacks and vampires, including characters from “The Vampire Captain” (from Black Coat Press) and Jean Rey‘s “Malpurtuis.”

• Nicholas Boving: “The Green Eye” returns with Rupert of Hentzau (“Prisoner of Zenda”), now in India, where he gets help from Phileas Fogg, and has a run in with English gentleman-thief A.J. Raffles and some of Rudyard Kipling‘s characters.

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Review: ‘Rocambole, Vol. 3: The Crusade’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, August 18, 2014 in French pulp, Review, Rocambole
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Rocambole, Vol. 3: The CrusadeRocambole is an early French character who is a forerunner of many similar characters of heroic fiction that followed him. These stories were written in the 1850s and 1860s. But until now, there has not been an English translation of the series.

I have posted previously about Rocambole, looking at the first two of three volumes of English translations by Basil Balian. Now we will look at the third and final volume, “Rocambole, Vol. 3: The Crusade.”

But for those who haven’t read the previous posts, some background: The reason these stories haven’t been translated before is the difficulty of doing so. The original stories were serialized in newspapers, under the overall title of “The Dramas of Paris.” Think in terms of a soap opera in literary form.

Rocambole as a character appeared later on, and eventually took over the series.

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Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 4’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 19, 2014 in Captain Future, Doctor Omega, French pulp, Harry Dickson, Madame Atomos, Pulps, Review, Rocambole, Sar Dubnotal, The Black Coats, The Shadow, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 4“Tales of the Shadowmen: Lords of Terror” (2008) is the fourth volume of this eclectic anthology series from Black Coat Press.

It makes use of a concept of Philip José Farmer that has various fictional characters set in the same “universe,” thus able to met and interact. Don’t make the assumption that all the stories are linked. They often are not. Most are standalone, and can usually be read in any order.

What can be daunting is that this series uses characters of popular literary culture (mainly written, but sometimes film and TV), and not “high brow” characters. And the characters are taken from American, British, French, and other countries, so often if you’re not familiar with those characters, it can be confusing. Or, it could lead you to start reading the original stories of these characters, which BCP does (such as Fantomas, Nyctalope, the Black Coats, Belphegor, Judex, and many more).

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Review: ‘Rocambole, Vol. 2: Redemption’

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, November 29, 2013 in French pulp, Pulps, Review, Rocambole
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Rocambole, Vol. 2: RedemptionRocambole is an early French character who is a forerunner of many similar characters of heroic fiction that followed him. These stories were written in the 1850s and 1860s. But until now, there has not been an English translation of the series.

I have posted previously about Rocambole, looking at the first of three volumes of English translations by Basil Balian. Now we will look at the second volume, “Rocambole, Vol. 2: Redemption.”

But for those who haven’t read the first post, some background. The reason these stories haven’t been translated before is the difficulty of doing so. The original stories were serialized in newspapers, under the overall title of “The Dramas of Paris.” Think in terms of a soap opera in literary form.

Rocambole as a character appeared later on, and eventually took over the series.

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Meet Rocambole

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, August 9, 2013 in French pulp, Pulps, Review, Rocambole
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Rocambole

Rocambole

An interesting proto-pulp character is the French adventurer Rocambole.

While being well known around the world, the character is sadly less known in the English speaking world. He was created by Pierre Alexis Ponson du Terrail in a ongoing newspaper serial called “The Dramas of Paris,” which were later reprinted in a series of nine novels published between 1857 and 1870. If the title of the series seem unusual, this was because there were several others with similar titles such as “The Mysteries of Paris” (by Eugene Sue), “The Mysteries of London,” and the like by others.

Rocambole was an adventurer who began on the wrong side of the law, but ended up doing good. Also like others, he gathered a group of dedicated assistants, selected from various levels of society, ready to drop everything to help their “Master.”

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