Thursday, April 29, 2021

Slaves of the Empire 2: Haesel the Slave by Dael Forest

Slaves of the Empire 2
Haesel the Slave
by Dael Forest
1975 New English Library / 1978 Ballantine

Pretty sweet Boris Vallejo cover, right? Well, that's as sexy as it gets.  Glorious Trash theorizes that this series is one epic split up into parts. I'd agree, given that there's no real finite story here, but I suspect nothing happens through the entire series. A freed slave becomes an actor, people but plots of land, discuss the price of papyrus, a man loses his leg in a chariot race, etc. The highlight is a circus in the middle, with gladiator battles and donkey rape.

There is some sleaze, but it's so deeply between the lines you'd have to imagine a parallel book to get anything out of it.  If you've Spartacus: Blood and Sand, you'll remember the banalities discussed by the nobles while being sexually serviced by slaves. Now picture the G rated cut of that, where the sex and violence is casually mentioned as existing but not described.

"The sex show is about to start, anyway I'm looking to buy real estate. Oh, the show is over, by the way they were all siblings. Say, the price of papyrus is through the roof."

As with everything else I read these days, Kenneth Bulmer is sometimes listed as the author, but the blame goes to Stephen D. Frances, the author behind the Hank Jansen novels and the amazing Scream and Scream Again.

Paperback from AbeBooks

Friday, April 23, 2021

The Stripper - Man of Steel

 I read that Richard O'Brien wrote a musical based on the detective stories of Carter Brown in 1982. I worried that this was one of those things that I would never experience in life. Until I listened to a couple songs.  I think I'll be ok.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Berjaya Times Square Theme Park, Malaysia

Vikings 1: Blood Sacrifice by Neil Langholm

Vikings 1
Blood Sacrifice
by Neil Langholm (Laurence James)

Erik Ragnarsson, the son of the chief, leads a raiding expedition to Iceland with his violent rival, Jorund Thordarson. They flee after a couple of failed raids, get lost in the Artic north, and become stranded in the strangest of strange lands...Canada!

This installment is strangely bereft of action, the only direct action being a couple of aborted duels between the two rivals. Despite this, the book achieves a gory sense of violent brutality from the aftermath of unwritten battles and tortures. Usually I feel cheated by this approach, but here it was done effectively.

Well researched, or at least fakes it well. The book has it's own morality, with Erik advocating the normal amount of raping and pillaging and Jorund taking things a couple steps further. The rest of the vikings are a fun bunch, too. A favorite scene of mine has a berserker strip naked and leap off the ship to attack an iceberg, left to hack at the ice with a battleax as the ship sails away.

Note that some sources list Kenneth Bulmer as the author of all four installments, but sources that seem more careful have him sharing duties with James.

Paperback from AbeBooks

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Series Showdown: Fargo vs Spur

 Fargo is a well regarded series, but Spur had the more engaging story this time around. Spur gets back in the saddle for the next round.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Spur 2: Cathouse Kittens by Dirk Fletcher

Spur 2: Cathouse Kittens
by Dirk Fletcher (Chet Cunningham)
1984 Leisure

This is the second #2 of the Spur series - Leisure came out with the first three and then began the numbering again with different branding.

Spur McCoy is a Secret Service agent assigned to find a gang who hijack cattle trains on their final days, killing the cowboys and selling the herd.  He uncovers a real estate plot by prominent citizens, but mostly he has sex a lot.

The sex isn't good - one woman exclaims banalities like "marvelous" and "wonderful" which would kill any mood. Plenty of sleazy aspects, such as the sex trafficked 13 year old, and even Spur himself gets sexually assaulted by a gross old bandit while her teen foster son faps off.

Nothing special, but Chet Cunningham keeps things moving professionally enough.

Paperback from Amazon

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Heavies: Peter Wyngarde

Peter Wyngarde, the style icon who inspired Austin Powers and the Hellfire Club's Mastermind, appearing moustacheless on The Champions.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Viking Book Series

The below list are Viking book series from the 70s and 80s, those more in the Men's Adventure or Heroic Fantasy vein. There are others not included outside of that scope, from historical epics on one side to full blown Odin and Thor on the other.

Berskerer by Chris Carlsen (Robert Holdstock)

  • Shadow of the Wolf (1977)
  • The Bull Chief (1977)
  • The Horned Warrior (1979)
Dream Quest by St. Alcorn Lloyd
  • Halberd : Dream Warrior (1987)
  • On the Shoulders of Giants (1988)
  • The Serpent Mound (1989)

Haakon by Eric Neilson

  • The Golden Ax (1984)
  • The Viking's Revenge (1984)
  • Haakon's Iron Hand (1984)
  • The War God (1984)

Starkadder by Bernard King

  • Starkadder (1986)
  • Vargr-Moon (1986)
  • Death-Blinder (1988)

Vidar Saga by Michael Jan Friedman

  • The Hammer And The Horn (1985)
  • Seekers And The Sword (1985)
  • Fortress and the Fire (1988)

Vikings by Neil Langholm

  • Blood Sacrifice (1975)
  • The Dark Return (1975)
  • Blood on the Sun aka Sun in the Night (1975)
  • Trail of Blood (1976)

Wolf-Dreams by Michael Weaver

  • Wolf-Dreams (1987)
  • Nightreaver (1988)
  • Bloodfang (1989)

Wolfshead by Arthur Frazier

  • Oath of Blood (1973)
  • The King's Death (1973)
  • A Light in the West (1974)
  • Viking Slaughter (1974)
  • A Flame in the Fens (1974)
  • An Axe in Miklagard (1975)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Series Showdown: Blair Witch vs The Crow

I had high expectations from the Blair Witch tie ins, so I'm a bit depressed that a standard serial killer tale with the Crow half-assed shoehorned in wins this round. Luckily the Crow series has some variety, though that could go either way.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Heavies: Ron Palillo

 Not exactly a heavy, here's Ron Palillo, best know as Sgt. Squealy on the Laverne & Shirley cartoon, on the A-Team.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Fargo by John Benteen

by John Benteen (Ben Haas)
1969 Belmont

Set in the first decades of the twentieth century, Fargo is sometime marketed as an adventure series, sometimes as a late period western. This first installment is pure western, though more Sergio Leone than John Ford.

Fargo is hired to help transport silver from a mine in Mexico. The short volume was filled primarily with double-crosses and changing loyalties. One of Fargo's appeals is his code of honor tempered by harsh pragmatism. The kind that sets up a teen to be raped a little bit in order to keep her from being raped a lot.

Fargo is also known for his personalized weapons - the Batangas knife he got from the Phillipines and a sawed-off shotgun given to him by Teddy Roosevelt. The shotgun is basically an artillery piece, with a spread of several yards and capable of downing dozens at a time, which is not how sawed-off shotguns work.

Future installments may have more novel settings, but this was a pretty standard western, a bit darker, certainly tamer than the Piccadilly Cowboys.

Available in Kindle ebook from Amazon