Sunday, February 20, 2022

Tales From the Magician's Skull - Blog Round-Up Early Feb 2022


Tales From the Magician's Skull Blog Early Feb 2022 Round-Up

JAN 28 My Favorite Solomon Kane Tale: “Wings in the Night” by Robert E. Howard by Fletcher Vredenburgh

“Wings in the Night” (1932), is one of Solomon Kane’s, Robert E. Howard’s swashbuckling Puritan, African adventures. In the face of darkness, he sees himself as Satan’s implacable foe.  Kane’s a dour man, dedicated wholly to defeating evil and meting out justice. In two separate stories, he spends years hunting for the killers of innocents. A skilled swordsman, he has freebooted in the New World, suffered at the hand of the Inquisition, and fought vampires and cannibals in Africa. In this story, he battles great bat-winged, razor-taloned monsters.

This story is one of REH’s most visceral, and blood is spilled on every other page. Also, it’s one of my favorites. As it opens, Kane is fleeing from a band of cannibals when he discovers a devastated village and within it, a mutilated, yet still living man, tied to a stake. The village appears to have been attacked from above. One body hangs high up in a tree, impaled upon a branch. Continuing to evade his pursuers, he finds himself set upon by a winged creature with a manlike face.

FEB 4 Archiving the King’s Blade Champion: An interview with John C.Hocking by S.E. Lindberg  

John C. Hocking is a nigh-obsessed reader and writer of lurid pulp fictin, the author of Conan and the Emerald Lotus, “Black Starlight” serial, and their time-lost companion, Conan and the Living Plague, as well as an obedient thrall of Tales From the Magician’s Skull. Recently Black Gate reviewed John C. Hocking’s Conan Pastiche; then they cornered him to learn more about his pastiche and weird fiction muses in an interview. That post is a companion with this interview and we hope you’ll brave the Black Gate and check it out. Here we focus on Hocking’s original Archivist and King’s Blade series — now to the interview!

FEB 17 Adventures in Fiction: Andre Norton by Jim Wampler

Famed fantasy and science fiction author Andre Norton was born on February 17, 1912. Join us, as we celebrate her birthday by taking a look at her works and their influences on both adventure gaming and genre fiction. Born as Alice Mary Norton in 1912, Norton started writing while she was still in high school in Cleveland, Ohio. In fact, she completed her first novel while still attending high school, though it was not published until later in 1938. Wishing to pursue writing as a career, in 1934 she had her name legally changed to Andre Alice Norton, and adopted several male-sounding pen names so as to prevent her gender from becoming an obstacle to sales in the first market she wrote for: young boys literature.


FEB 17 Adventures in Fiction: Margaret St. Clair by Michael Curtis

Margaret St. Clair was born on February 17, 1911. Her work appears in Gary Gygax’s Appendix N, and is important for lending a crucial concept to the D&D game: the idea of dungeon levels. Here is Michael Curtis with more information on this important writer…

The titles and authors appearing on the Appendix N list are varied. Some are fantasy, others science fiction, and they range in time period from works contemporary to when Gygax was designing D&D to much earlier stories. While some of the Appendix N authors’ contribution to fantasy role-playing are obvious, not all lend themselves to easy discovery.

FEB 18 Ballantine Adult Fantasy: E.R. Eddison

The success of The Lord of the Rings in paperback lead to a fantasy boom in publishing — and in particular a boom at Ballantine. In the wake of Tolkien’s success they turned to fellow English fantasist E.R. Eddison for more fiction in a similar vein, re-publishing both his landmark 1922 novel The Worm Ouroboros, but also the three books in his 1930s Zimiamvian Trilogy.