Clark Ashton Smith: The Necromantic Poet of Weird Tales
Apr30

Clark Ashton Smith: The Necromantic Poet of Weird Tales

Clark Ashton Smith: The Necromantic Poet of Weird Tales by Ryan Harvey During the halcyon days of Weird Tales in the 1920s and ‘30s, three writers became so closely linked with the magazine, and so closely linked to each other through their exchange of letters and ideas, that they’re known today as the “Weird Tales Triumvirate”: H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. Lovecraft and Howard have achieved posthumous...

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Appendix N Archaeology: The Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series
Apr18

Appendix N Archaeology: The Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series

Our Appendix N Archaeology and Adventures in Fiction series are meant to take a look at the writers and creators behind the genre(s) that helped to forge not only our favorite hobby but our lives. We invite you to explore the entirety of the series on our Adventures In Fiction home page. Appendix N Archaeology: The Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series by Michael Curtis More than a decade before Gary Gygax assembled his list of influential...

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Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade
Mar26

Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade

Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade by Bill Ward “At the moment, all was triumph. Red-splashed, panting, in scorched and dinted armor, Sir Roger de Tourneville rode a weary horse back to the main fortress. After him came the lancers, archers, yeomen — ragged, battered, shoulders slumped with exhaustion. But the Te Deum was on their lips, rising beneath the strange constellations that twinkled forth, and their banners flew...

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Edgar Rice Burroughs and The Pulps: The Expansion of Genre Fiction
Mar21

Edgar Rice Burroughs and The Pulps: The Expansion of Genre Fiction

Edgar Rice Burroughs and The Pulps: The Expansion of Genre Fiction by Ryan Harvey The first pulp magazine was Argosy, which changed to an all-fiction format in 1896. Each issue delivered a thick stack of stories printed on low-cost paper. More pulp magazines followed, and by the 1920s, they had changed the way people across the country consumed fiction. They made reading stories of wild adventures, Western action, granite-jawed...

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A Profile of Fletcher Hanks
Mar16

A Profile of Fletcher Hanks

A Profile of Fletcher Hanks by Joshua LH Burnett The 1940s were a unique time for comics. Superman was only a few years old, while Fredric Wertham and the subsequent Comics Code Authority were still a decade away. In this Golden Age, the very concept of what a superhero was and what superhero stories were about was still forming, nebulous and unpredictable, from chaotic clay. America’s youth had a nigh-insatiable hunger for comics,...

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Leigh Brackett, The Planetary Romantic
Mar05

Leigh Brackett, The Planetary Romantic

Leigh Brackett, The Planetary Romantic by Ryan Harvey If you were a science-fiction reader in the 1940s, you knew there was one place to turn for a high quality, intelligent stories: Astounding Science Fiction. Under the editorship of John W. Campbell, Astounding was the spot for brainy speculative fiction. You didn’t look for that type of smarts over at Planet Stories, which was only interested in laser guns and trashy adventure...

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Sword and Planet as Blood and Thunder: Robert E. Howard’s Almuric
Feb19

Sword and Planet as Blood and Thunder: Robert E. Howard’s Almuric

Sword and Planet as Blood and Thunder: Robert E. Howard’s Almuric by Bill Ward “’Lead us to Yugga, Esau Ironhand!’ cried Than Swordswinger. ‘Lead us to Yagg, or lead us to Hell! We will stain the waters of Yogh with blood, and the Yagas will speak of us with shudders for ten thousand times a thousand years!’” —Almuric, Robert E. Howard Robert E. Howard is a member of that select group of authors...

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Hyborian Age World Building
Jan15

Hyborian Age World Building

Hyborian Age World Building by Bill Ward Robert E. Howard, pioneer of sword & sorcery fiction, creator of Conan and Solomon Kane, author of scores of stories across half a dozen genres or more, is rightly praised as a master of pacing, a crafter of visceral action, and a writer of vivid and poetic prose. What often goes unremarked, even among his ardent fans, is Howard’s impressive achievement as a world-builder, namely in the...

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Where to Start With Robert E. Howard
Jan01

Where to Start With Robert E. Howard

Where to Start With Robert E. Howard by Bill Ward Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) was a giant and a father to giants, his literary creations so potent that they have informed popular culture and permeated mass consciousness down to the present day. But their very ubiquity can obscure and deceive – if two people strike up a conversation about Conan, are they actually talking about the same Conan? What’s going on with all of these...

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Appendix N Archaeology: Clark Ashton Smith
Dec28

Appendix N Archaeology: Clark Ashton Smith

Our Appendix N Archeology and Adventures in Fiction series are meant to take a look at the writers and creators behind the genre(s) that helped to forge not only our favorite hobby but our lives. We invite you to explore the entirety of the series on our Adventures In Fiction home page. Appendix N Archaeology: Clark Ashton Smith by Michael Curtis Gamers often point to Appendix N and decry the absence of a...

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Short Sorcery: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Last Incantation”
Dec18

Short Sorcery: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Last Incantation”

Short Sorcery: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Last Incantation” by Bill Ward Clark Ashton Smith’s first great literary love, his calling even, was poetry. His artistic inclinations, the themes and images that fired his blood, were for the fantastical, the mythic, and the wildly imaginative.   But fever dreams of baroque lands and sinister sorcery were fast becoming passe among the literary mainstream of his time, and so...

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Where to Start with the Fantasy Fiction of Poul Anderson
Nov29

Where to Start with the Fantasy Fiction of Poul Anderson

Where to Start with the Fantasy Fiction of Poul Anderson by Bill Ward Poul Anderson (1926-2001) is one of those authors whose prolific output – over one hundred novels and at least as many short stories – is as impressive as it is potentially intimidating. A great many of our contemporary authors tend to stick with one kind of story or book for branding purposes, often adopting new pseudonyms if they dare deviate from the brand, but...

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