Thursday, August 31, 2023

Reading Rumble Round 26

From Cyberpunk to Splatterpunk, from neo-noir to novelizations, John Shirley is the one to beat in this contest.

Anvil Rock by John Shirley
Weirdbook 42, 2020,

Dark tale of a man using a time machine to relive the moment of his daughter's death.

The House of Evil by Charles L. Grant
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, December 1968

A light comedy piece about satanic rites and the undead. Grant's first published work.

Dead Skin by Ron Kelly
Grue Magazine, Winter 1991

A writer and doctor visit the abandoned lab where underground genetic experiments took place decades before.

The Three-Faced One by Charles R. Saunders
Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology, 2011

Imaro defends a tribe forced to give crippling tribute to their rivals. As with most of Saunders, the moral lines end up being shifted by the end.

The Case of Herbert Thorp by Henry Kuttner
Weird Tales, November 1937

A hack horror writer's story about interdimensional ghouls comes true.

All authors stay in the ring

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

COBRA 3: The Red Dragon Operation by Joseph Rosenberger

The Red Dragon Operation
by Joseph Rosenberger
1987 Critic's Choice

Jonathan Skul and Deborah Miles return, this time with a new crew - three Chinese operatives and a helicopter pilot renowned for having killed hundreds of sex workers in Vietnam. Their mission - disrupt the cooperation between San Francisco Triads and the KGB by killing everyone.

Usual formula, though instead of failed raid, successful raid, being raided, final raid, we get another raid instead of being raided. One highlight is the use of high explosives and vomiting agents, so we get the crew mowing down gangsters as they projectile vomit and crap themselves.

One of the more psychotic of Rosenberger's. His ballistic prose is on fire, with a full paragraph devoted to the anatomical description of a bullet's path from the taint up through the head. More racist than usual, but mostly just referring to people based on foods they might eat. There's a discussion about the ethics of murdering innocent wait staff that hinged on whether they were US born or not. Rosenberger returns to the well of self-loathing Chinese heroes we saw with the Mace series, and we get two this book.

Rosenberger gave as an ounce of character development between one and two of the series, but things stall here with Skul still being a drunk and Skul and Miles still banging and not sure of their feelings, which gives us a Rosenberger sex scene.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Conan the Champion by John Maddox Roberts

Conan the Champion 
by John Maddox Roberts
1987 Tor

Conan joins the service of a Northern Queen. He rescues her from another dimension in time to defend against attacks by two other nations. Equal parts monster fighting and strategic warfare.

Paperback from Amazon

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Reading Rumble European Title: Conan vs Cobra


It's barbarian vs special agents, as Joseph Rosenberger brings his best against John Maddox Roberts.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Reading Rumble Round 25

Pulpster Henry Kuttner worked in horror, fantasy, and science fiction, both alone and with his wife C.L. Moore

Spawn of Dagon by Henry Kuttner
Weird Tales, July 1938

Atlantean barbarian Elak is hired to kill a sorcerer and runs into the cult of the Spawn of Dagon, an ancient race who seek to reclaim the Earth. 

The Gentle Passing of a Hand by Charles L. Grant
Tales from the Nightside, 1981

A lonely child is inspired by a birthday party magician, but learns the wrong kind of magic.

Priestess of Shame by Arthur J. Burks
Dime Mystery Magazine July 1935

Half formed piece about a native woman getting vengeance on Americans. The second Burk in a row that ends with the hero and his gal simply running away from their torturers. 

The Hatchling by Ron Kelly
Tri-State Fantasist #2, Spring 1989

A farmer and former cockfighting participant hatches a rooster that goes after larger and larger prey.

Amudu's Bargain by Charles R. Saunders
The Mighty Warriors, 2018 Available from Amazon

Imaro seeks out a craftsman who sold his soul, and his daughter's, to be the world's greatest artist.

Burks goes over the ropes

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Reading Rumble Round 24


Author and anthologist Charles R. Grant quietly, oh so quietly, creeps into the ring. 

The Generation Waltz by Charles R. Grant
Fantasy Tales, Winter 1984
Collected here

Grandma offers to give her life for her child murdering grandson.

Papa's Exile by Ron Kelly
Deathrealm, Fall/Winter 1988

A drunk, abusive father is kicked out of the home, but he didn't get far.

Death in Jukun
Heroic Fantasy, 1979

Imaro gets involved with wealthy man's family in fear of a vengeful sorcerer and the beast he controls.

Cathedral of Horror by Arthur J. Burks
Terror Tales, July/August 1938

A hitchhiker leads victims into the clutches of a cult spun off from the Penitentes, a self-flagellation sect.

All authors stay in the ring

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Reading Rumble Round 23


Sword and Soul pioneer Charles Saunders enters the Rumble.

Mai-Kulala by Charles Saunders
Swords of Darkness IV, 1979

Imaro faces a mysterious woman of the forest and fights a dog-bear.

Billie Sue by Joe Lansdale
The Many Faces of Fantasy, 1990

A man bangs his neighbor and is reunited with his true love.

A Bride for Death by Arthur J. Burks
Terror Tales, April 1936

A man runs around aimlessly in a Chinatown office building, getting knocked unconscious every couple pages as he seeks to rescue his love.

The Cistern by Ron Kelly
Cemetery Dance, #4 Spring 1990

What evil was released from a sealed cistern in a small Tennessee town?

Taste by Roald Dahl
New Yorker, 1951

A man bets his daughter on a wine tasting. 

Dahl makes a flying tackle at Lansdale, sending them both spilling to the floor.