I mentioned in a previous post the "Planet Stories" publications, which are reprints of classic pulp fantasy, horror, and adventure stories. I finished recently one of those publications, Black God's Kiss, the collected stories of C.L. Moore's character Jirel of Joiry. The character of Jirel is especially notable as being the first strong female sword-and-sorcery character written by a woman!
Archive for the 'Fantasy fiction' category
Before I started writing this blog, I hadn't actively hunted down new (and old) horror for some time. Older works were very hard to find and new books were often... lacking, to put it politely. I'll have a rant about the latter point in a few days but as far as for former: there are some excellent publishers out there printing things that have been lost or unpublished for decades, and in some cases the works were clearly a labor of love. Below the fold, I give a brief 'shout-out' to three publishers whose efforts have made recent years a sort of 'golden age' for researching and studying pulp fantasy and horror:
Now that I'm thinking of Solomon Kane, I thought I'd do a brief post about the character, his adventures, and the clear influence Howard's religious beliefs had on both.
Solomon Kane is a 16th century English Puritan, warrior and wanderer. Stereotypically dour and fanatical, he wanders the globe, primarily traveling through Europe and Africa, in search of evil to vanquish and, in later stories, answers to his own theological unease. Like all of Robert E. Howard's fictional heroes, he is larger than life and almost elemental in his pursuits.
While on vacation, I stumbled across one of Brian Lumley's early novels, Khai of Khem, a fantasy adventure story set in pre-historical ancient Egypt. One of the major plot points of the story is the idea that Khai has, in essence, already lived a reincarnated life in the future, and his knowledge helps him fight his foes. That reminded me of a few other horror tales in which reincarnation is a major plot point, and it seemed worth a post to discuss them!
I've been kind of busy the past few days, preparing for the holidays (you hear me, Bill O'Reilly? I said 'holiday'!!!), so I haven't been able to post much. This seemed like a good time to share one of my favorite little passages from Robert E. Howard's Conan book The Hour of the Dragon. It's a nice insight into Robert's views on religious tolerance...
I've been waiting for well over a year for Season 3 of Avatar: The Last Airbender to appear on Nickelodeon. The season premiere date was shrouded in mystery until practically only a week before it actually appeared.
Of course, I missed it -- Nick's web page has been ridiculously out of date and never seems to show proper schedules (until a few days ago, the official Avatar web page didn't even mention season 3, even though it was already playing).
Enter iTunes! For $1.99 per episode, I was able to download the first two episodes of season 3 and watch them on my laptop!
Here's an interesting tidbit for Robert E. Howard fans: an animated film version of the Conan story Red Nails is in production. I stumbled across the web site for it a few weeks ago, and it looks like it is aiming to be a truly faithful adaptation of the original story. To get really excited about it, just look at the cast, and in particular who's been chosen for the voice of Conan. (This actor would probably be a great choice to play Conan in a live-action movie, except that he probably couldn't muster up the full mane of black hair any more.)
The only problem? The film has been in production for quite a long time and it's unclear if production has been halted or not. The movie blog, which was supposed to be updated every two weeks, hasn't been updated since June. Here's hoping it gets released -- it would be nice to see a proper depiction of the barbarian, which doesn't depict him as a steroid-addled buffoon or part of a 'Conan and friends' ensemble.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937) is one of the most influential horror authors people have never heard of. He was a direct inspiration to most of the leading horror voices of this generation, including Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell.
There are a number of classic works of weird fantasy and horror which have been lost from the mainstream but are well worth a look. One of these is William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land.
Hodgson (1877-1918) was a colorful character who turned to weird fiction late in life after, among other things, working as a sailor. He wrote numerous short stories about the sea and its horrors. The story The Voice in the Night, for instance, concerns a couple shipwrecked on an island whose only occupant is a corrupting fungus. This tale was much later adapted into the Japanese horror movie Matango, more commonly known as The Attack of the Mushroom People. I remember seeing this film numerous times on Sunday morning 'Creature Features'.
The Night Land is one of Hodgson's handful of novels, and is worth a mention not just because of its haunting imagery but also because its premise is relevant to an overarching theme of the weird fiction of the early 1900's.