Jan
31

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Trek Record

Here’s a weird little blast from the past. When I was a kid, I ended up with a Star Trek record produced by the Peter Pan company that contained four stories, and I recall listening to them multiple times, especially my favorite, which I’ve linked to here.

Apparently comic books were sometimes included with these old Peter Pan records, and even though these were created in the ’70s, the artists and the company that hired them didn’t have enough provided information to know that Uhura wasn’t a blonde white woman and Sulu wasn’t a black man. Yet they must have had stills of the bridge and Kirk and Spock and McCoy, because the artist does a fair job with them.

The Peter Pan record company didn’t hire the original actors to play any of the parts in these recordings, although I think the gentlemen playing the parts of Spock and McCoy did a fair job and sound as though they at least were familiar with the parts they were playing.

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Jan
29

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Basement Duty

As my wife makes a final editorial pass of all my recent changes, I’m sort of on hold, story wise, so I’m working on house stuff. The long-planned for basement renovation is slotted for this year, so I’m doing my best to organize it.

Writing wise I’m going to revise that new Dabir and Asim story I wrote in December here pretty soon, and maybe take a crack at writing another one, and then it ought to be time to review any editorial suggestions and turn book 1 back over to agent and editor and get to revising book 2.

At the end of last week I finished another Marvin Albert book. I’ve read his series westerns, I’ve read three of his hardboiled detective novels, two of his four mercenary adventure novels, and one standalone western and I have YET to read one that wasn’t good. Maybe none are outright masterpieces, but he is so dependably good I have developed a profound respect for the man. I have one of his later novels, one of a series about a detective in France, and I’ll get to it soon. And I bet it’s good, too, because it has a reputation for excellence.

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Jan
25

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Lock ‘n Load Tactical

Sunday I spent an hour and a half with Lock ‘n Load Tactical: Heroes of Normandy. When I’m away from the game I worry that the play might grow stale, but all my fears are allayed the moment I start on a scenario. Now that I know the rules it plays so very fast, and I have a blast every single time. I’ve been saying it’s ONE of my favorite wargames, but I may just have to break down and declare the Lock ‘n Load Tactical system my absolute favorite.

Every scenario can be played multiple times, because every scenario is a little different, and multiple decisions and die rolls vary the outcome. Keep in mind that every game box comes with a ton of scenarios (I think that there are more than 30 in Heroes of Normandy) and then there are additional scenarios in the Compendiums, so you’re really getting your money’s worth when you buy into the system. Add in the solitaire cards and the results are even more surprising, and re-playable. Each box is a game full of multiple games.
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Jan
22

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Celebration

Robert E. Howard

I’ve written of the power of Robert E. Howard’s prose any number of times, and I’m sure that there’s more that could be said, and that will be said. Today on his birthday, though, I’ll merely reflect again on what I’ve written in the past, and this evening hoist a drink to one of my favorite writers while reading one of my favorite stories by him.

Over the weekend I finished the last of the Marvel collections that assembled all of the Roy Thomas Conan run. I’m not sure I’d recommend running out and buying that particular collection, unless you’re a completist. On the whole, the earlier phase of Thomas on Conan was better. Let me provide another shout out for the Thomas 12 issue arc for Dark Horse, collected in two graphic novels. (Those are volumes 11 and 12, The Road of Kings and Throne of Aquilonia, and they are two of only three volumes from the Dark Horse run that I’ve bothered to keep hold of.)

I’ve been told that story arc really isn’t very popular and I can’t for the life of me figure out why that is. The storytelling was top notch and Conan sounded and behaved like Conan… and the world felt right, too, which is something that doesn’t seem to be appreciated enough by some readers, who only care about whether or not Conan’s muscles are the size they think appropriate. In issues written by other hands there’s too much of the supernatural, so that it almost feels common place, or the plotting is off, or, worst of all, Conan isn’t right.

Roy Thomas gets Conan and what his world is like more than nearly any other pastiche writer, and consistently got him better than any other comic pastiche writer, period. That’s not to say that there weren’t some great issues and arcs written by others, but Thomas usually got it right. Even in a lesser story, Conan still acted like himself. And that’s a lot more complicated that it seems, or there’d be a lot more good pastiche out there.

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Jan
16

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Hammerhead

I exchanged gifts with my old friends Brad and Bruce this weekend, and one of the goodies I came home with was Hammerhead, a James Bond graphic novel from Dynamite.

I’d never heard of the publisher Dynamite before the two James Bond collections I’ve read, but I’m really impressed. The issues of the comic collected in this book were written by Andrew Diggle and illustrated by Luca Casalanguida, and they sure delivered the goods. Casalanguida has a striking, cinematic style that really helps evoke the sense you’re watching a film. And Diggle’s script was aces: Bond was clever, ruthless, and observant. Much like the first James Bond graphic novel I read last year, Vargr, I actually enjoyed the comic better than I have any number of Bond movies. So far the scripts are simply smarter.

Highly recommended. I look forward to reading more. As an added bonus, unlike a lot of the stuff I write about, this one’s in print!

Writing

Point of View Arcs

Friday, July 22, 2016

After my first three published novels I’ve begun to play more and more with multiple point of view. I still miss writing from the restricted first person narrative…

Book News

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

With the first novel of my new series now in my editor’s hands, I started to work revising my rough draft of book 2 — only to get…

Dabir and Asim Return

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

For the first time this year I’ve sold a short story. I’m delighted to relay that the upcoming Skelos magazine will be carrying a never-before-published Dabir and Asim…

Chandlering Around

Friday, June 3, 2016

Between a whole lot of revising, thinking about revising, and a mess of home repairs and organizational stuff, spending much time updating the site has felt like a…

Writing Flurries

Friday, May 27, 2016

I finished the rough draft of a new novel, the second in the sequence of three I’m developing. I used the same process I used to write the…