Saturday, May 31, 2014

Doctor Orient

Doctor Orient
Doctor Orient 1
by Frank Lauria
Bantam Books 1974

Occult detectives have been around since the 1850s, and have continued into the modern era with the likes of Kolchak the Night Stalker and the X-Files.  Doctor Orient is in the subcategory that a lot of early Doctor Strange comics are in - the occult detective that doesn't leave the house.

Occult has a posse, mostly students developing psychic abilities.  There's Claude Levi, dentist and hypnotist; Argyle Simpson, actor and adventurer; Hap Prentice, baseball player and mindreader; the open minded Catholic Bishop Redson, and sassy secretary Sordi.

They're up against Susej, a pseudo-Satanic cult leader and former priest who serves the Clear One.  Susej increases his power through human sacrifice and the devotion of talk show viewers that witness his miraculous healing powers.

Most of the action takes place in some incorporeal form.  Dreams, visions, the astral plane, or some other metaphoric space.  Simpson has the decency to leave the house and get captured, the most anyone does in the whole book.  The rest is all fasting, meditation, and watching TV.  Lots of TV.

Everything is tossed into the mix here.  Psychic powers, astral travel, I Ching, exorcism, voodoo, reincarnation, even poltergeists.  It all has a very 70s charm to it all, I just wish they'd leave the house more.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Coney Island USA

Good old fashioned nightmare fuel

Seriously, it's nothing but mocking clown atrocities.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Real Evil - Boone Helm the Kentucky Cannibal

Born in 1828, Boone Helm headed for California in 1850 as part of the gold rush, killing his cousin before leaving.  Helm was briefly institutionalized in an asylum before escaping.  He moved around the country, robbing and killing people, occasionally teaming up with other fugitives on the run and eating them when rations were low.  Once he ate a dead companion's leg, then wrapped up and took the other one for the road.

Helm was caught and executed by vigilantes in Montana in 1864, proclaiming: "Every man for his principles! Hurrah for Jeff Davis! Let 'er rip!"

More at Legends of America and Wikipedia.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Getting Meta - Layered Narrative in Walt Disney World Attractions

Getting Meta - Layered Narrative in Walt Disney World Attractions

Having a story within a story is nothing new, and can sometimes provide a good narrative structure to transition between tales. Sometimes it goes too far, and sometimes the narrative conceits draw the audience out of the story, reminding them that it's just a story and they're just an onlooker. Take for example the timeless classic Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny.

Santa Claus tells a group of children about a girl visiting Pirates World.  She visits a diorama display of the story of Thumbelina, which is narrated by a tinny PA, and we begin story number three, occasionally cutting back to the girl listening. In this case, the narrative structure is for padding the running time and maybe patching up some gaps between scenes.

There was a similar structure for The Princess Bride, except there the interruptions were more for comedy (and as a strange sideways apology for having an otherwise unapologetic fairy tale fantasy movie in 1987).  It worked better there, but it still reminded the audience "None of this really happened, or even pretended to happen, it's a story a pretend grandfather told".

And if anybody does storytelling, and does things too far, it's Disney parks.  While Walt himself was big on everything having a story, things got silly by the 90s or so.  Every resort restaurant or bus terminal got its own elaborate backstory.

A lot of this was obsessive, but innocuous.  99.9% of guests aren't going to know the in-jokes behind the window displays in Main Street, or that a trolley car's license plate number is an imagineers' wife's birthday backwards.  Most don't know, fewer care, but not knowing doesn't diminish the experience.  Usually.

The problem of an attraction being too wrapped up in its narrative structure (or guests being too stupid, if you're less charitable) began day one at Disneyland with Snow White and Her Adventures.  Guests complained that the ride didn't have Snow White, not realizing that the concept was that they were Snow White.  Snow White was later added in (1983 for Disneyland, 1994 for Disney World), and somehow I doubt that guests panicked as they were suddenly able to bilocate.  "I thought I was Snow White!  Why am I over there?!"

Over the next few weeks we'll look at other times that the narrative structure of an attraction got too complex for its own good.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Saturday, May 24, 2014


  • Shelley Long?
  • Dennis Quaid?!
  • Richard Moll as the Abominable Snowman
  • Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach met on this film and are still married
  • The song sound a lot like the original Ewok song
  • A lot of rape jokes for a kids' movie
  • The only English is spoken by an Asian guy, which is supposed to be ironic and funny and not at all racist
  • There's no way that Ringo Starr's character isn't the villain here

Friday, May 23, 2014

Earworm - Humpty Dance

I despair that an entire generation missed its chance to do the hump.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Satan's Sin House by Wayne Rogers

Satan's Sin House
by Wayne Rogers (Archibald Bittner)
Ramblehouse 2011

A collection of Weird Menace tales from Dime Mystery, Terror Tales, and Thrilling Mystery, written by Archibald Bittner under the names Wayne Rogers and HM Appel.

Satan's Sin House - Women who occupy a cursed house become wanton seductresses, while cows and people are impaled on broken saplings.

The Little Gods of Doom - Oriental andirons with strange metallurgic properties.

I Am A Frankenstein - A doctor is drugged and hypnotized, forced to do experiments to raise the dead and create a new rice a people

Maniac's Masterpiece - Is a starlet's kidnapping a publicity stunt, and how is it connected to a  mannequin factory?

Substitute corpses - A town's dead come back to life and are delivered bottles of blood to their door like milk.

The Man who painted pain - A sadistic artist tortures models.

Hell's Brew - Decapitated heads and a Loup Garout.  Does that have anything to do with a private clubhouse built over an oil deposit?

Fresh Blood for Satan - Missing girls from a campgrounds, a creepy hillbilly, and a tourist attraction crystal cave made over to look like hell,

Temple of Torment - A hasheesh crazed Hindu thrill kill cult connected to dead playboys and a Coney Island dark ride

Harvest of Hate - A farmland feud, blood sacrifice, severed heads, and hate letters mowed into crops.

A few of these stories match the brutality promised by the covers, with The Man Who Painted Pain being just straight out torture porn with almost no plot.  The Scooby Doo endings are particularly absurd here, involving actors, drugs, and hypnosis.

Great stuff, and with a wider variety of subjects than other Weird Menace collections, although I still recommend spacing out reading the stories to avoid monotony.

Available in ebook format from Ramblehouse, or in paperback below.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Weird Menace

During the thirties and early forties, peaking from 1934-7, there was a glorious period in the pulps where the promises of the lurid pulp covers came true in the content of the stories.  Weird Menace, also called the Shudder Pulps, evolved out of the detective pulps and influenced by Grand Guignol theater.  The stories were formulaic in the extreme, and reading these tales in collections by author can get very repetitive.

They're told almost exclusively in first person by an average Joe.  He, usually accompanied by his fiance, visit some small town to cash in on an inheritance or such.  Some kind of supernatural menace threatens them, with a variation having the hero thinking he is responsible.  The hero is captured or knocked out, his girl is disrobed and faces a grisly end, before the villain is revealed to be mortal and after land/inheritance/the girl, in what is now known as the Scooby Doo ending.

There is a surprising amount of gore and violence for the time in these titles, which is what led to their inevitable downfall.  Some elements seeped into pulp hero titles like G-4 and the Spider.

The biggest Weird Menace titles were Dime Mystery, Terror Tales, Horror Tales, and Thrilling Mystery.  Other smaller titles include Strange Tales, Uncanny Tales, Mystery Novels, and Marvel Tales.  There was a brief revival in the 1960s with Web Terror Stories and Shock Mystery.

As with other pulps, the Weird Menace writers wrote in several genres under several different names.  For some reason, my favorite tales were written by writers better known for science fiction.  Authors include: Henry Kuttner, John H. Knox, Arthur Leo Zagat, Hugh Cave, Nat Schachner, Arthur J. Burks, Wyatt Blassingame, Novell Page, Emile Tepperman, Russell Gray, HM Appel and Robert E Howard

Author collections are available at Ramblehouse.  These are excellent collections, though it requires ordering via paypal. also has several ebook collections, including single titles, available on their website and  There are a few at Altus Press.

Other places to look include Pulpgen, Munseys, Mobileread, Gutenberg Australia, and

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mummies in Wrestling - Prince Kharis

From Smoky Mountain Wrestling.  What makes this weirder is that it was inserted on demand of financial backer and beardy producer Rick Rubin.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Earworm - Real Life - Catch Me I'm Falling

Real Evil - The Wreck of the Batavia

The Wreck of the Batavia

In 1628, disgraced pharmacist and possible libertine heretic Jeronimus Cornelisz plotted a mutiny with skipper Ariaen Jacobsz while on a long voyage aboard the Batavia, commissioned by the Dutch East India Company on a trip to the Dutch East Indies.  The plot involved having the crew molest a high ranking female passenger, knowing that the Captain would overreact in disciplining the crew

Before their plans could be realized, the ship struck a reef off the coast of Western Australia.  The Captain Francisco Pelsaert took a small crew in the ships only boat on a perilous 33 day trip for help.

Cornelisz was placed in charge of the rest of the survivors, and soon found there was not enough food or water to sustain the over 200 survivors.  Cornelisz sorted out who he believed would support him, and who would oppose his plans.  The opposition was sent to other islands, ostensibly to look for fresh water, but in reality they were sent to their deaths.  Meanwhile, it was believed that Cornelisz intended to create his own kingdom on the islands with himself as ultimate ruler.

Cornelisz set about murdering the survivors to reduce the strain on resources.  At first they were quietly drowned, but as time went on they were killed in more blatant and brutal fashion.  Cornelisz' henchmen received better rations and privileges as a reward for the murders, and soon they racking up a huge body count.  Children were particular targets, as were pregnant women.  The rest of the females subjected to sexual slavery.  Under orders, a father strangled his own six year old child.  A priest's children were killed in front of him.

Meanwhile, the survivors that were sent to die on other islands, led by common soldier Weibbe Hays, found a supply of fresh water and lived in relative comfort and security.  The two groups eventually went to war with improvised weapons, with Cornelisz' faction ultimately losing and Cornelisz being held captive in a lime pit.

When the survivors were finally rescued, Cornelisz and his closest henchmen were tried and executed on the island.  They were hung after their hands were amputated with a hammer and chisel.

Shipwreck survivors being sorted into groups, Utopian madmen, it all reminds me of a TV series before it ran aground in its last season.  But enough about Heroes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Nick Carter 010 - Istanbul

Nick Carter 010
by Nick Carter (Manning Lee Stokes)
1965 Award Books

Despite the back cover synopsis it is just about drug smuggling.  And spoiler alert, by the way, though one should expect the ex-addict informant bedmate of a spy to not live through these things.

AXE agent Nick Carter is assigned to assassinate four people connected to the drug trade in Turkey.  His adventures bring him from an adult theater to a high rise building to the desolate Syrian border.

The writing style varies wildly, making me wonder if it was punched up by some incompetent editor.  The scenes dealing with action and plot are well written, but the transitional scenes have weird, poorly written asides.  With lots of exclamation points!

Then there are the sex scenes.  The wordage used is weirdly explicit and unerotic, like they aimed for a double entendre and missed.  Hitting the red target, plunging into the red cave, etc.  There's a lot of pleasure/pain, love/hate, sex/combat dichotomy going on.  Presumably they thought James Bond was too much a gentleman so they had to rough it up a bit.

A decent little action novel.  The best parts are the combat in the desert when Carter is strapped to a camel and run with a herd of goats over a minefield, and the aftermath every time Carter uses Tiny Tim, his stock of atomic grenades.

It's a really dumb idea to tattoo all of your spies with the agency logo.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Bounty Hunter 2 - A Killing Trade

The Bounty Hunter 2
A Killing Trade
by Tiny Boyles and Hank Nuwer
1981 Playboy Paperbacks

We open with Tiny and Hammer after a fugitive that killed his own daughter.  Tiny tries to rescue a teenager that's being forced into prostitution, like he didn't do in real life when he had the chance.  Meanwhile, Tiny's journalist buddy Foster Foster is dating Tiny's underage niece, who is kidnapped by a Jaguar owning pimp.  Jerry Jeffers joins up and the foursome track down Tiny's niece to a voodoo sex cult in New Orleans.

This is a nasty one, with several uncomfortable scenes of rape and humiliation mixed in with the good natured banter.  The action was an improvement from the last installment, but Nuwer's still rushing through it.

One interesting element - Tiny has a car phone in his mobile home, and at least in the story, the FCC monitors all mobile calls and an operator warns him about using foul language. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

EPCOT VIP Lounges - World of Motion

Pavillion: World of Motion
Sponsor: General Motors 1982-96
Features: View of the park
Entrance: ?
As seen from outside: The row of windows above the entrance

There's also some footage in a Jeff Lange DVD I'm too cheap to get.

For more information about the extinct World of Motion -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Bangkok Knockout

Give a Thai stunt team an empty warehouse, some cameras, and just enough of a story that it's not just an exhibition, and you've got Bangkok Knockout.  The challenge with having a movie that is just a series of fights is one of pacing.  You either need a break between them, or gradually ramp up the intensity, otherwise you burn out your audience.  Bangkok Knockout tried the latter approach, and it almost worked, but by the end there was just too much.  This kind of movie probably works better in small pieces.  Here's the best cage fight you'll ever see

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Things I Didn't Finish - I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
by Amy Sedaris
2006 Grand Central Publishing

Amy Sedaris is one of the most underemployed comedians of our age, and has done little worth her talent since Strangers With Candy ended in 2000.  Wigfield was funny, one of the few funny books I've read.  She should write more humor.  Instead, she wrote a hospitality book.  Not a book making fun of old Good Housekeeping books from the 50s and 60s, not a humorous hospitality book, an actual, mostly serious book about how to hold parties.  There's just a little bit of quirk thrown in to make it unsettling to anyone who actually wants to read about holding one of these parties, but not enough humor to bother going through the condescending hosting advice.  There are pages on why it's rude to bring uninvited guests with you and why it's important to have enough ice - I keep thinking it's a set up for a joke, but nope, it's 99% party planning and 1% inappropriate drop-ins about abortion and douching.  Now I'm afraid that Stephen Colbert was carrying her all these years.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Bounty Hunter Series

The Bounty Hunter by Tiny Boyles and Hank Nuwer

The Bounty Hunter series grew out of a 1979 article in soft porn mag Oui magazine about Tiny Boyles, a fat, hairy, tough guy bounty hunter who evidently has a habit of embellishment.

Playboy Paperbacks got non-fiction writer and journalist Hank Nuwer to ride along with Tiny and write a series of action novels very, very loosely based on his exploits.

The hero of the series is Tiny Ryder, the fat hairy ex-biker bounty hunter.  He's assisted by the near mute Hammer and two of his friends from the orphanage: country western musician Jerry Jeffers and journalist Foster Foster.  Tiny works for Hollywood bondsman and Mormon Joey Hudson, although he spends little time actually tracking fugitives.

Most of the wordage is spent on banter and anecdotes amongst the gang, which is very well done, making me wish that Nuwer did more fiction - he specializes in non-fiction about sports and hazing.  There's a decent amount of action, but Nuwer tends to rush through it, ending action sequences within a page or two.  Also, lots of sex, probably at the demand of Playboy Paperbacks.

This is the most unsettling part, as it shift in tone from friendly good-ol'-boy rutting to brutal underage rape within a few pages, making this possibly the sleaziest Men's Adventure series.

1 The Deadliest Profession 1981
2 A Killing Trade 1981
3 Wild Ride 1982
4 Blood Mountain 1982

Here's Mr. Nuwer's recollections on his website.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What is Pulp?

Between confusing Amazon descriptions and the Literati slumming it in the world of popular fiction, the umbrella term "pulp" and its various permutations have been stuck in my craw lately.  We've got pulp, new pulp, post pulp, post modern pulp, neopulp, modern pulp, pulp revival, etc.

Originally the term pulp, referring to the poor quality of the paper, was used to distinguish it from the "slicks", or more up-market periodicals.  Pulp was not a genre in itself, but pulp magazines were of various genres: adventure, science fiction, western, boxing, jungles, romance, etc.  They paid less and had less esteem than the slicks, and were intended to be disposable reads for working and middle class folks.  This is simplifying it a bit much, but the pulps evolved from dime novels and were in turn replaced by paperback originals after World War II.

The paperback originals, which were largely in the noir or hardboiled genre (think Jim Thompson, Mickey Spillane, Elmore Leonard), themselves are now referred to as pulp.  It probably isn't Quentin Tarantino's fault, though he gets pulp fiction about as right as he gets grindhouse.

In the 60s and 70s there was a bit of a pulp hero revival which manifested itself in the form of reprints and comic adaptations.  The Doc Savage reprints were especially successful.  On the heels of this we have the Men's Adventure genre, starting at the Executioner and later evolving into techno thrillers and the like.  These have been called postmodern pulp among a lot of other names (aggressors, serial vigilantes, etc), and I think it's accurate to say they've carried on the pulp tradition, though the range of genres has narrowed.

There's not a governing body for genre qualifications, but genre still has its practical use: dividing up books by shelf or webpage so that fans of that genre can find stuff they might like.  To that end, here's how I interpret how publishers and reviewers use the pulp categories.

New pulp usually refers to works written today that have the genre and setting of the classic pulp era.  Many of these have licensed characters (Doc Savage, the Spider, the Shadow, etc), while others are new characters (Silver Manticore, the Rook, the Pulptress, etc).  New pulp tends to have the same setting (i.e. the 1920s-50s), though some similar characters with a modern setting may use this description.  Publishers of new pulp include Moonstone, Airship27, and Pro Se Press.

Postmodern Pulp has been used to described 70s and 80s Men's Adventure books, but it's also been used in a more literal sense.  Giving it more attention than it deserves, postmodernism as it applies to popular culture is a movement that basically gave up on the idea of having new ideas, and mashes up stolen characters and scenarios, only it's called homage and pastiche, not plagiaristic hackwork.  See also Quentin Tarantino.

Not that I'm against literary theft.  You can take every piece of popular fiction and find where the author stole the idea from back to at least Beowulf.  But authors who are self-consciously postmodern do it with a wink and a nod, and very often with a disdain for their source material.  This is very rarely done well.  Alan Moore sometimes gets away with it.

Some of these are more high brow literary writers who are basically slumming.  More often, as of late, it's horrible hipster mash-up nonsense.  Neopulp may fit in best here, and it bleeds into Bizarro fiction, another genre that gives me a rash with just the story titles.  I'll likely never read any of it, but it strikes me as the literary equivalent of Robot Chicken, forgetting that Robot Chicken only works because it's eleven minutes long, and most of the gags are about 5 seconds, not 300 pages.

In the broader world of fiction, pulp gets thrown around to sometimes mean any popular or genre fiction, almost as an apology or excuse for reading or writing a book for entertainment instead of for feeling clever.  A good argument can be made that Dan Brown and other giant doorstop producers have inherited the pulp title, but for me pulp should be short and tight.

But never mind all that.  Nobody does Pulp as well as Chris Morris.

Monday, May 5, 2014

EPCOT VIP Lounges - GE Executive Club at Horizons

GE Executive Club
Pavillion: Horizons
Sponsor: General Electric 1983-93, Sponsorless 1993-9
Features: A Twelve Foot TV and remote control cameras that gave a view of the park.
Entrance: To the right of the main entrance
As seen from outside: n/a?
"Back when I had a contract with GEISCO, it was enough pull to get me into the VIP lounge for Horizons. Other than the mandatory conference rooms and express passageway to the front of the Horizons line, there was also a big open area set up in living-room fashion, with some couches around a small console, and a large-screen TV. The console controlled a remote camera on the roof of Horizons, which could be used to view the rest of Epcot. This was circa 1988." 

"In the GE Sponsor Lounge/offices, one wall housed a large projection screen, connected to a high-quality camera on the roof. The "window" was remote controlled from inside, and gave some of the most spectacular views of the park...and broke quite often." 

The Epcot Discovery Center was evidently located there for a brief period in 1994 before moving to Innoventions.

"When I was 8 or 10 I went into the Horizons lounge (my dad works for GE) and I've recently visited it since the attraction has closed. They're now using it as a conference room and design studio for future plans for the building. The lounges also double as heat exaustion/small emergency rescue stations when guests HAVE to have immediate care. This is quite convenient, because the other parks actually have to take guest backstage in that event."
More on the camera at Mesa Verda Times.

For more about Horizons, check out Martin Smith's excellent tribute:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chikara is back

For as silly and jokey as Chikara is, it takes its storytelling very seriously, and probably has the best booking of any wrestling company since ECW.  It also rewarded its fans appropriately for their level of involvement.  If you want to watch a single show or match you can enjoy the humor and athleticism.  If you watch all the shows and keep up with the promos, you can enjoy all the individual storylines and feuds that bring emotion to the matches.  After this, things get a little tricky.

Beyond this level, there is an overarching story for each season, having to do with mysterious cults, magical artifacts, evil corporations, etc.  Almost none of this comes out in the DVDs or the YouTube promos, so it takes another level of involvement I'm not willing to invest - keeping track of blogs, twitter feeds, etc.  Part of the problem is that the DVD releases are scheduled around a month after the actual event, so if you want a spoiler free viewing of the show you need to be able to ration what you watch or read and wait until after the next DVD to catch up.

I was happy to stay at that level of involvement after finally figuring out when to stop watching the YouTube channels at what points.  Then, last June, it all went away.

As part of an angle, the last IPPV got shut down by corporate security forces, the website and YouTube channel stopped being updated, and all of the shows that year were cancelled.  I figured it was an elaborate angle, possibly to cover up financial difficulties, and accordingly avoided Chikara news to avoid spoilers, checking back with the website every couple months for updates.  Some of the wrestlers were in the "Wrestling Is ..." series of events, but those didn't look "in continuity" to me, so I didn't bother.

A little later, I see that there is a YouTube series "Ashes":

Yep, dramatized, non-verite vignettes, the bane of any true wrestling fan.  I didn't bother and waited.

And waited.

Well, whatever, it was a giant, year long angle that was evidently spread out over the Wrestling Is shows, various websites, badly filmed vignettes, and some kind of complex virtual reality game.  And I'm sure it was riveting for the twenty or so Chikara superfans that stuck around through it all.

I don't have a problem with Quackenbush trying something new or daring, but to the casual or even moderately dedicated fan, the story was: "Chikara is gone for a year.  Oh, wait, now it's back."  So May 25th I can finally watch ice cream cones fake fight with ants again.

Catch up on the Chikara site.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Things I Didn't Finish - The Missing 411

I'm lying - I'm not even going to start this one.

I was interested in the Missing 411 book series by David Paulides because it's a brand new paranormal and/or conspiracy theory, but on further examination I'm not sure it's much of anything.  I'm making some assumptions seeing as the promotion has been on Coast to Coast and similar venues, so I don't think this is just a critique of search and rescue techniques.

Here's what I know from interviews and promotional materials without shelling out $25.  I'll stop when I get to something inexplicable.

People go missing in our national parks.
People that get lost in the woods sometimes act funny while they die of exposure.
Research is hard.

Nope, nothing going on here.  Let's break this down a little more.  Yes, people get lost in National Parks.  It's very easy to get lost and not very easy to get found.

The smoke where there is a conspiratorial fire is that Paulides claims that the government does not keep records of missing people in the national parks.  Really? What I think he really means with pat statements like that is there is not a current list of all persons still considered missing, like the big "Solved/Unsolved/Cold" blackboards in a Homicide Division of a TV cop show.  Of course records are kept, but if you want all the records for every missing persons case in the national parks over like 200 years, yes, it will get expensive.

This bit gets represented differently in almost every account I've seen.  In some places he says they don't keep any records whatsoever, which is clearly not true.  In one account he said they refused an FOIA request saying no records exist, in another he said the request would have been ungodly expensive because of the massive amounts of records.

Criticizing a government agency for sucking at their job and having research unfriendly record keeping techniques is a fair and American thing to do.  However, it makes for a lousy foundation of a conspiracy theory.  From the interviews I heard I didn't get the sense that the Parks Department was stonewalling anyone - it seemed more the case that they weren't going to research and compile his book for him on the cheap.

I wouldn't harp on this so much except that it not only seems to be the cornerstone of an implied conspiracy, but it's mentioned in every ordering page and piece of promotion that the project took over three years and 7000 hours of investigation.  Brag about those numbers to a published academic and see how impressed they are.

On to the mysterious disappearances.  He must have been saving the "mysterious" part for the paying audience, because he doesn't give good examples in the promotions.  People are found further away than expected, or they're found uphill from where they were.  Sometimes dogs don't find the scent.  Sometimes people are found dead close to roads or where searchers already looked.  None of the examples he gives seem that particularly unusual, much less unexplainable.  It's very easy to get lost, people panic and do weird things, and finding a dead body in the woods is near impossible.

The strangest phenomena is also the one easiest explained.  People who die of exposure are often found fully or partially naked.  I don't know if the book implies this, but many of the readers have been drawing the conclusion that there is some kind of weird sexual abduction thing going on.

People get weird when they are afraid, and being lost in the woods is one of the most terrifying things I can think of.  Add to the mix exhaustion and hypothermia, and the victim can get become disoriented, get amnesia, or become combative.  In the final stages of hypothermia, they also remove clothing and try burrowing into a hole or crevice.  These are called paradoxical undressing and terminal burrowing.  Things so common and well known they have fancy scientific names and everything.

We aren't exactly sure what causes paradoxical undressing, as it seems to occur in the final, terminal stages of hypothermia, but it's believed that the brain or nerve endings get damaged or confused, causing the victim to feel heat.  This happens in 20-50% of hypothermia deaths, so it's not exactly rare.

Not letting science spoil another good mystery, Paulides refutes the existence of paradoxical undressing, because he talked to a mountain climber that never heard of it.  Well, that settles that.

There's also the matter of clusters, that disappearance tend to happen in proximity in location and time.  The biggest such cluster of parks disappearances is in Yellowstone, as oppose to say, downtown Chicago.  Research is hard, but statistical modeling is, like, really hard.  Maybe he has models that compare rates of total park visitors to the missing, has accounted for variations in the data collecting methods, and has calculated a margin of error for but I'm guessing not so much.

My understanding is that there is not a hypothesis of the cause of the phenomena in the book itself.  One thing that is evidently not the cause, if Paulides' ubiquitous online defensive comments mean anything, is Bigfoot.  Some reviewers even lazier than me jumped to some unfair conclusions, but where did they get that idea?  Well, let's go over to the order page at the North American Bigfoot Search website.  The order links are at the bottom, leading to the page titled Bigfoot Store.  Hey, who's that hairy guy at the top?

Maybe there's some fortean high weirdness in the book, but this just sounds like when you lose your keys and then find them later in the freezer.  You can't explain how they got there, but it's not exactly the Unexplained.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Issue 3 of Victim City Stories

In this third bone grinding issue of Victim City Stories you’ll uncover -

Child predator and prey alike fear rumors of boogeymen in Victim City.  When the Bleeding Skull fights to bust up an online child solicitation ring he uncovers more than he was prepared to face.  When myths prove to be horrible reality - Suffer the Children Unto the Bleeding Skull.

Victim City Streets: Gnarled Alleys - The year is 198-.  The place, Victors Crossing.  A new gang and a new drug have hit the streets.  Detectives Menchaca and Foley serve their own brand of justice, but who will protect the children of Victim City when a bad cop gets worse?

Outsider Invasion: Abnormal Magic – Foreign cartels bring a new kind of evil to Victim City.  Will the Murder Man put a stop to the brutality or match it with his own?

46,000 eye-gouging words of brutal crime action.

Cartels, cannibalism, and necromancy.  Gangs, junkies, ninjas, and vigilantes.

You'll find it here in Victim City, the town that fear calls home.

Available for kindle, $2.99

Doc Savage 005 - Pirate of the Pacific

Pirate of the Pacific
Doc Savage 005
by Kenneth Robeson (Lester Dent)
Doc Savage Magazine July 1933
Coming directly off the heels of The Polar Treasure, the gang returns by submarine to New York only to be attacked by Asian pirates.  The chase/capture/escape cycles go from the skyscrapers of New York to a cruise ship from San Francisco to a stand in for the Philippines.  Big action in this one, as Savage gets in more fisticuffs than I've seen in the previous books combined and his five compatriots tear through crates of ammo for their machine pistols.  Remmy gets the spotlight this time, and Monk and Ham get separated early on so there's less of their squabbling.

Not much in the way of plot.  After the failed assassination attempt, Savage tracks down and chases the culprits, led by the elusive pirate Tom-Too, who seems more like a pan-Asian revolutionary than a bandit.

I was worried about this one because it opened with an almost surreal barrage of racial invective.  Most of the time this stuff is just either outdated terms or casual bigotry, but Dent really unloads.  This makes for uncomfortable reading for the modern reader, but it was also just bad writing.  You really can't use "inscrutable" more than once in a paragraph.  Luckily it seems that he was just getting it out of his system and he lets off a bit later in the book, though he stirr lesolts to that annoying R and L swap in the diarect.  Also, Remmy is in black-face.