Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Tie-Ins: Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon began life as comic strip, a cash in of Buck Rogers, they couldn't get the rights for John Carter so they made their own.  Flash is best known today for the incredible 1980 film.  The property was last used in a 2007 TV series - from memory it had people running around a forest in street clothes, and a quick peek on youtube largely confirms this.

The classic era produced two pieces of prose in 1936:
Flash Gordon in the Caverns of Mongo by Alex Raymond (likely ghost written)
Flash Gordon Strange Adventure Magazine - the sole issue had the story The Master of Mars by James Edison Northford

Avon started a series in 1974, all under the Alex Raymond name but written by Ron Goulart and Bruce Cassiday:
The Lion Men of Mongo (Ron Goulart)
The Plague of Sound (Ron Goulart)
The Space Circus (Ron Goulart)
The Time Trap of Ming XIII (Bruce Cassiday)
The Witch Queen of Mongo (Bruce Cassiday)

1975: The War of the Cybernauts (Bruce Cassiday)

1980 saw the novelization of the film by Arthur Byron Cover

1980 also had a book series by David Hagberg that seemed unrelated the comics, movie, or Flash Gordon itself.  Probably still better than the TV show.
Massacre in the 22nd Century
War of the Citadels
Crisis on Citadel II

Forces from the Federation
Citadels under Attack
Citadels on Earth

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Byron Preiss' The Secret

Byron Preiss is best known, to me at least, for editing the Weird Heroes and Ultimate monster anthologies.  In 1982 he published The Secret, a book of art and poetry which were to be clues to unearthing a dozen boxes hidden in public parks.  The boxes contained a key which could be exchanged for a $1000 jewel.  Only two of these have been located, in 1984 and 2005.

Like everything else, there's a podcast about it.

Criminally overpriced kindle ebook from Amazon

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Tie-Ins: Buck Rogers

Barely known today, and mostly for the annoying "beedie beedie beedie" robot, Buck Rogers began life as the novella Armageddon 2419 A.D.  in Amazing Stories, August 1928, followed by The Airlords of Han in the March 1929 issue.  Written by Philip Francis Nowlan, the original novellas were strictly earthbound, with Rogers waking to a world of future gang warfare after 492 years of suspended animation.

Buck Rogers mostly took off in comic strips in 1929, where the name became synonymous with science fiction.  He also appeared in comic books, movie serials, two television series, and RPGs.  The character has been slipping ever deeper into obscurity, with multiple failed revival attempts over the last couple decades.

1933: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century by Philip Nowlan - a retelling of Buck's origin story, issued as a breakfast cereal premium.

Two novelizations based on the of the TV series by Addison E. Steele (Richard A. Lupoff)
1978: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century - novelization of the pilot theatrical film
1979: That Man on Beta - based on an unproduced script for a sequel to the film

There were a series of authorized sequels based on an outline by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle:

Mordred by John Eric Holmes
Warrior's Blood by Richard S. McEnroe
Warrior's World by Richard S. McEnroe

1982: Rogers' Rangers by John Silbersack

TSR released a board game in 1988 and an role-playing game in 1990, with a series of books covering both:

Arrival (anthology)
Rebellion 2456 by M.S. Murdock
Hammer of Mars by M.S. Murdock
Armageddon off Vesta by M.S. Murdock

First Power Play by John Miller
Prime Squared by M.S. Murdock

1991: Matrix Cubed by Britton Bloom

The Genesis Web by Ellen C. & Theodore M. Brennan
Nomads of the Sky by William H. Keith, Jr.

1993: Warlords of Jupiter by William H. Keith, Jr. (TSR, Feb 1993, ISBN 1-56076-576-3)

1995: Buck Rogers: A Life in the Future by Martin Caidin - produced by TSR, but may have a different back story than the above.  A reboot of sorts by the creator of the Six Million Dollar Man, with Buck being placed into suspended animation by Cyberdine Systems.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Where the Chill Awaits by T. Chris Martindale

Where the Chill Awaits
by T. Chris Martindale
1991 Warner Books


A corporate hunting trip goes horribly wrong.  The first half does well building tension and atmosphere as the boss goes slowly insane, haunted by memories of childhood abuse, and threatens to completely flip out like Leslie Neilsen in Day of the Animals

Instead, he becomes a flesh eating Wendigo.  A couple members of the trip survive, only to start becoming Wendigos themselves, growing taller with stretched out faces.  In my head I pictured them like Ents with the faces of Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness and couldn't shake the image afterwards.

Image result for army of darkness stretched face gif

The end gets bogged down in details about what kind of Indian magic will reverse the process and a bunch of explosions.

I'm looking forward to reading Martindale's Nightblood - uzi-toting 'Nam vet against a town of vampires!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

TV Obscura: Homes & Yo-Yo

Another robot buddy cop show, one that not even Harlan Ellison bothered to try suing.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Sleep Tight by Matthew J. Costello

Sleep Tight
by Matthew J. Costello
1987, Zebra Books

Someone's snatching up small town residents and keeping them captive in their basement.  The bookstore owning mayor and a big city detective don't accomplish much until a Holocaust survivor anthropologist clues them in.

Costello does well with his characters and creating a sense of dread, but it was clear at one point that he was making it up as he went and had no idea himself what the menace was and had to rush things at the end.  And when in doubt, Cthulu.

This may be the most 80s horror novel I've read - it reads like a modern period piece that was trying way too hard to establish the setting, mentioning pop music, MTV, Mr. T, etc.

Good writing, though the horror parts were sparse and rushed.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

TV Obscura: Dean Jones vs Ken Berry

I don't know why I've always mixed up Dean Jones and Ken Berry.  I guess because one was in That Darn Cat and the other in The Cat From Outer Space.  But they both had horrible musical comedy variety shows trying to chase that Laugh In dragon.

Here's Dean Jones in What's It All About World?

And Ken Berry on the Ken Berry Wow Show

They're not very good.

Monday, June 3, 2019