For the uninitiated – but then, why are you here? – Blood’n’Thunder is one of the most respected, if not the most respected fanzine dedicated to the world of pulps, serials, radio dramas and related topics.
Edited by Ed Hulse (whose Guide to the Pulps is the definitive resource on the subject), and published by Murania Press, the magazine has always been a sort of Sacred Grail for me here in the back of beyond.
The red-covered trade paperback volume called The Best of Blood’n’Thunder collects articles from the long lost first ten issues of the magazine, and it is a veritable treasure trove of information, analysis and surprises.
We get articles on Red Circle horror pulps, on forgotten characters from the pulps and on the final episodes in the adventures of the greatest heroes; we get interviews and a look at the Lone Ranger, galleries of images, and pieces about movies – including Lon Chaney’s Jr. strange Frankenstein ripoff, and Bogart’s only foray in horror cinema. Plus features on cliffhangers and radio dramas. And a ton more.
As someone that grew up with photocopied fanzines, I know the passion that goes into the ‘zines is sometimes not matched by the quality of the contents.
Not in this case.
The writing is top notch, and the volume features many well-known luminaries of the modern pulp revival.
I’m currently trying to go as slow as possible – I want this to last.
Then, in October, I’ll get me the second, blue-covered volume of reprints, The Best of Blood’n’Thunder:2.
These books are a much needed addition to my pulp shelf.
It was Fritz Leiber, I think, that said that when we love fantasy we should be kind enough to take it seriously – and I’m sure Ike Asimov voiced similar sentiments.
Reading essays on the subject is a way to take seriously a passion – and that’s what I plan to do this winter.