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

‘Sargasso’ and William Hope Hodgson

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, January 16, 2017 in Fantasy Pulp, Fanzines, Pulps, Weird Fiction
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘Sargasso’ and William Hope Hodgson

'Sargasso: The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies' #1William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918) is an author more people should be aware of. He wrote essays, short fiction, novels, and poetry, most in the genres of horror, fantastic, and science fiction. Much of his short fiction appeared in pulp magazines in the U.K. and U.S.

Because he had ran away to be a Merchant Marine at age 13, an experience he grew to hate, many of his stories were clearly influenced by this, especially his “Sargasso Sea” stories. Most pulp fans are probably aware of him due to his occult detective, Carnacki, or perhaps his various sea stories or mention of his works by H.P. Lovecraft.

For those wanting to delve further into Hodgson, there is a semi-annual journal, Sargasso: The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies. Three issues have appeared so far in 2013, 2014, and 2016. All are available on Amazon. These journals have essays, poetry, artwork, and even short fiction, all focused on Hodgson and his work. They are edited by Sam Gafford, a long-time scholar and editor of Hodgson’s works. I’ve gotten all of them over the years and look forward to each one.

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Pulp comics: ‘Fatale’

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, September 30, 2016 in Comics, H.P. Lovecraft, Pulps, Review, Weird Fiction, Weird Menace Pulps
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Pulp comics: ‘Fatale’

"Fatale" Vol. 1A different pulp-inspired comic from the team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips is Fatale. It followed their interesting Incognito series, which was inspired by pulp heroes.

Fatale is inspired by a mix of crime noir and Lovecraftian horror. And like Incognito, we get a series of essays in several issues from Jess Nevins and others. The series ran 24 issues (originally planned as 12) from 2012-14.

The story concerns a mysterious femme fatale named Joséphine. She seems long lived and never ages, with flashbacks at different parts of her life going back to the ’30s, with the main storyline set in modern times. Jo is being pursued by a dangerous cult that wants to sacrifice her to their Lovecraftian gods. And the leader has very real and sinister powers.

Jo has an effect on men, something she can’t always control, that compels them to help her — as a lover, guardian, or the like. And it usually doesn’t work out well for the men in question.

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‘Skelos’ takes on weird fiction, fantasy

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2016 in Fantasy Pulp, Fanzines, Weird Fiction
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Skelos’ takes on weird fiction, fantasy

'Skelos' #1A new magazine that has come out is Skelos. It’s billed as “the journal of weird fiction and dark fantasy.” Like others, it was launched with Kickstarter, but you can still order issues. I subscribed to the first four and recently received the first issue.

As noted, the focus is on weird fiction. In an editorial, this is given as the fiction that came from Weird Tales and from a variety of authors: Arthur Machen, Ambrose Bierce, Lord Dunsany, and on into H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, C.L. Moore, and the many who followed them. And it also includes artists like Margaret Brundage, Virgil Finley, and the like. So pretty impressive company.

The first issue (Summer 2016) seems to set the stage for future issues. We get a collection of short fiction, a couple of novelettes, and some poetry. But we also get some essays and even an illustrated story. There is also a selection of a half-dozen book reviews.

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