East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Other People’s Pulps: The man who invented the Batarang

51Wtnb+Q4kLLast week I received a gift certificate for Amazon, and – after buying a gift for my brother’s birthday – I went on a rampage through my wish list.
Among the dozen or so ebooks that I bought – and some of which you’ll see reviewed here in the future – I invested about two bucks in the two Wildside Press Megapacks dedicated to Kothar the Barbarian.

A Conan clone that hit the stalls in 1969 to ride the wave of the Cimmerian’s success, Kothar appeared in five novels: Kothar: Barbarian Swordsman, Kothar of the Magic Sword, Kothar and the Demon Queen, Kothar and the Conjurer’s Curse and  Kothar and the Wizard Slayer.
All of these were the work of Gardner R. Fox – an author I did not know, and that is certainly a fascinating discovery for me. Continue reading



hkuttnerEdward J. Bellin, Paul Edmonds, Noel Gardner, Will Garth, James Hall, Keith Hammond, Hudson Hastings, Peter Horn, Kelvin Kent, Robert O. Kenyon, C. H. Liddell, Hugh Maepenn, Scott Morgan, Lawrence O’Donnell, Lewis Padgett, Woodrow Wilson Smith, Charles Stoddard

They were all Henry Kuttner, alone or together with his wife, C.L. Moore.
I always liked Kuttner’s work. And C.L. Moore’s.
Discovering their arm-long list of aliases was for me the start of a great treasure hunt.

Continue reading

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Discovering Blood’n’Thunder

81UCu+SCoYLI’m having a lot of fun – and I’m learning a lot – with the first of the two reprint volumes of Blood’n’Thunder.

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. Continue reading


Other People Pulps – Not a Country for Pulps

pulp_coverAs I probably mentioned already, I’ve been a roleplayer for the last 25+ years – having started to play seriously with Call of Cthulhu in the mid-80s.
It will come as no surprise that I like very much pulp-themed RPGs – home-brew stuff run on Savage Worlds, mostly, but also games such as Adventure!, or Hollow Earth Expeditions.
I like the genre, and I can slip quite easily into pulp-adventure-mode.
It’s fun.
My players often have a lot less fun.
Fact is – being Italian, they lack the pulp background.
They are pulp-illiterate.
And lacking the pulp culture, they have a hard time coping with the stories I pitch at them – with the characters, the situations, the mood.
The problem is similar to what would happen should I pitch one of my stories to most Italian publishers.
This is not a country for pulps. Continue reading