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Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men… June 25, 2017

Posted by bobv451 in alt history, e-books, fantasy, nostalgia, sense of wonder, serial fiction, Tom Swift, Uncategorized, writing.
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…The Shadow does, of course. I enjoy the old timey pulp fiction for the sheer bravado of the pieces. Logic takes second place to daring fights and even more thrilling escapes. What better combination could there be in a mashup than The Shadow and Doc Savage?

That’s what Will Murray delivered in The Sinister Shadow. An epic battle of titans here, Doc and his “don’t shoot to kill” philosophy and The Shadow blazing away with his twin .45s, killing bad guys left, right and center. The plot deals more with The Shadow than Doc, with some of the alter egos being threatened by the vile Funeral Director. (OK, not as scary as it might be for a villain’s name, but it is descriptive). Lamont Cranston’s niece is kidnapped and threatened and so are several of The Shadow’s henchmen. And along the way Ham Brooks is nabbed, too, but that hardly seemed a bump in the rocky road of bitter fruit of crime.

Murray is undoubtedly knowledgeable as all get out about the pulp characters, but this one seemed strained to me. The good guys have to be at odds with one another (another case in point is Time Bomb, a Hardy Boys/Tom Swift mashup in Ultra Thriller #1.  That there was only a #2 and no more shows how poorly it was received). In the case of Doc and The Shadow, it is more antagonistic and pits lawful vs vigilante. It doesn’t work, not exactly. Fun going along but this is less a Doc Savage book than a Shadow adventure. The Pat Savage book struck me the same way–give me Doc and the fearless 5. The others are minor characters.

Enjoy this one for what it is: A retro plot written in 2015. But the originals are better. (And Murray’s other Doc Savages I’ve read are better, too. His Doc Savage: Skull Island is great, a mashup of Doc and King Kong. But I understand the temptation of having two of the most iconic crime fighters in all pulpdom dancing from your keyboard…)

Twas the Day Before Christmas December 24, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in food, iPad, nostalgia, Tom Swift.
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And not even the cats are stirring. I should emulate them. But no, am going to a Christmas eve dinner prior to dinner tomorrow afternoon out of town. Such food! Such friends! Best of all, my son’s back in town until tomorrow evening.

My memories of Christmas are strange since my dad worked the midwatch as an air controller and wouldn’t get off until 8am on Christmas day. So we usually had present opening and the like on Christmas eve. Amazing how Santa knew that. We’d go out to dinner and come back, and sure enough, Santa had started his rounds early, too. I can’t say what presents impressed me the most over the years. I got a miniature printing press (with movable rubber type) one year. A robot that ran and steered with a crank handle fastened to a flexible metal cable. Always Tom Swift books and other titles. I was not impressed with the obligatory chemistry set (which might be why chemistry never appealed to me–nothing ever worked, and this was back in the day when chemistry sets had real chemicals). My #1 present was probably the Erector set. It was a hand-me-down from a distant cousin, lacked a lot of important parts and I spent hours putting together weird projects. Nothing in the instruction book looked cool. I built spaceports and rocket ships and a roller coaster and all manner of things that ran off an electric motor with exposed gears. Just getting within 10 ft of that motor today is probably a felony.

Somehow, though the years, it has never seemed like Christmas to me until I hear Silver Bells. Patty’s favorite was Carol of the Bells, but that wasn’t ever quite enough for me. This year I’m listening to Pandora but didn’t go the route of setting up a Christmas carol channel. And the radio is no help so I turned to YouTube. I considered posting the Twisted Sister version, but that’s not right. Johnny Mathias comes closer. Andy Williams? This isn’t the most inspired video but Anne Murray has the best voice.

Enjoy. Seasons greetings, merry Christmas, bah humbug. Whatever oils your sprockets.

Along the 101 July 17, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in contest, conventions, ghost towns, history, ideas, Tom Swift, Wild West, writing.

Not the California highway or even the 405 Carmageddon, but the 101st anniversary of the publication of the first Tom Swift book. One year ago today I was in San Diego at the TS100 convention and having a fine time. The day before I had flown in a Zeppelin and once at the convention saw amazing amounts of TS memorabilia, including set pieces from a TS movie never filmed.

And today is the final day of Mythcon 42. These people are academics and actually get gold stars on their chart for presenting papers, but the situation is truly weird. Jane Lindskold was asked to be on a couple panels. Her husband Jim Moore is a top archeologist for the state and currently working the site around Spaceport America. He gets weekends off so is also at the conference. He offered to do a presentation on ancient shrines. I would have been in the front row (ok, I was in the back row when he gave the talk about flint chipping a couple years ago at the public library but he was giving a demonstration of the actual process and I wanted to avoid shrapnel). He could attend the conference for free if he did nothing but would have to pay if he gave a presentation. I can’t figure it out. So no presentation on ancient shrines in NM.

But a standout presentation was given by David Bratman on Roger Zelazny and his affinity for NM in his work. Funny, insightful, the hour flew by. I don’t agree on favorites but then this is an art, not a science. (“A Rose for Ecclesiastes” is about my favorite short story, who cares if the science is outdated now?)

There was a full page ad in the paper today on the http://www.catchthekid.com state tourism promotion. Good for them. I hope this proves successful since it is a way to get tourists to out of the way spots. Won’t save the dying towns and near ghost towns, but perhaps something similar might (I still like the idea of getting Chinese tourists in to see the Old West. Let them sneer, let them make disparaging remarks, let them leave their remnimbis)

Back to Mythcon. Book sales are not what I’d call febrile, but there are some.