Monthly Archives: February 2016

Strange Spam

No, this post isn’t about mutated meat by-products I found in the back of the pantry.  I started getting comments on some of the posts last night.  The first was obviously spam.  The second seemed to somewhat fit the post it was associated with, although there were one or two odd things about it.  It was definitely about books, though, and not some random gibberish or the odd flattery that sometimes shows up.  I typed a brief reply and went to bed.  Both the comment and my reply have since been deleted.

When I got up this morning, there were more.  Five more have shown up today, for a total of seven.  Some appear to be in a foreign language.  The others seem to be lifted from someone else’s blog.  One of them was an author’s reply to a fan about a particular book he had written.  There was enough detail for me to identify the author and the book with just a few keystrokes.

All of the bogus comments link back to Facebook accounts which may or may not be real and all of which block my seeing any posts on their pages.

Anyway, I’ve marked the lot as spam and hope that I’ve seen the end of it.  First time commenters are sent to moderation.  Returning commenters are automatically approved.  There have been some new commenters this week that I’ve aproved.  On the off chance that someone who is a first-time commenter doesn’t see their comment within 24 hours, please drop me an email at the email address on the sidebar.  This email address doesn’t go to my phone, so if I’m out of pocket, it might be a day or two before I see it.

And Now I’d Like to Endorse…

You only thought you were safe from politics here.  I’m going to make an endorsement.  Why not?  Everyone else is doing it.

So I’d like to endorse…Pulp!

Wait, what, you thought I was talking governmental politics?  When our choices are most likely going to boil down to a nut with two boobs or a boob with two nuts?  Not on your life.  I’ll be glad when all of that is over.  (But then it’s never really over, is it?  It just reboots.)

I’m talking about literary politics.  I don’t want to be told what to read.  I don’t want to read something because it’s good for me, will broaden my horizons, or expand my social consciousness.  I want entertainment when I read, not socially relevant message fiction.  I want plot, action, characterization, dialogue.  Most of all I want fun.

I’m going to vote for pulp with my dollars.  I urge you to do the same.

I’m Keith, and I approved this message.

I Wanna Be a Paperback Writer

Think of this post as what’s been falling out of the holes in my head lately.  I’m working on a story with a deadline.  Late last week I figured out why it had stalled and how to fix it; I’ve gotten a few thousand words done over the last couple of days.  I figure I’m about half done unless the thing goes in an unexpected direction (again).

But that means I’m not getting as much reading done as I usually do.  Lately my habit has been to read one novel in print form (usually a review copy) while reading something else on the phone’s ereader app (usually when I have time on my hands and am not at home), plus assorted nonfiction as I can fit it in.  I’m not making much progress on the current paper novel.

renegade or kregenI’m enjoying it quite a bit, but it’s rather thick.  So I’ve been thinking a lot lately, in odd moments here and there, about how things have changed since I was a kid.  (It’s a requirement for me to earn my Geezer Merit Badge.)  As a teenager, there were paperback books all over the place, for sale in a variety of venues.  Most of them were around 200 pages in length, if not slightly less.  I could finish one of them in a day or two.  They had bright, eye-catching covers and (although I hadn’t yet encountered the term) were full of all kinds of pulpy goodness.  (I’m looking at you, DAW books.)  Swords, monsters, NSGs.

And it wasn’t just science fiction  and fantasy, either.  There were plenty of mystery and thriller titles around (Fawcett Gold Key, anyone?), although I really didn’t get into those until I was an adult fully grown. Continue reading

Richard Matheson Turns 90

Richard MathesonRichard Matheson, one of the greatest fantasists of the 20th Century, entered the world 90 years ago (February 20, 1926) in Allendale, New Jersey. When we lost him (June 23, 2013), I paid tribute to him, as did many others.

Matheson is best known for scripting some of the best Twilight Zone episodes, horror movies for Roger Coran, and his novels The Shrinking Man and most especially I Am Legend.  I read that book about 35 years ago, give or take a year.  I really need to revisit it.

But it was Matheson’s short stories that really caught my attention.  He was a master of the short form, and it broke my heart that he quite writing them later in his life.  He could take an idea, usually a one with a dark twist, and punch you in the gut with it.  And you would enjoy it and want another.

There’s a tendency, which seems especially prevalent these days, for writers to drop out of print shortly after their deaths.  This is true even of writers who were considered giants in their fields while they were alive.  A number of writers come to mind:  Asimov, Heinlein, MacDonald (John D. and Ross).  These guys all have some titles in print, but good luck finding the bulk of their work in new additions.

I sincerely hope that Matheson (who is still in print) doesn’t suffer such a fate.

A Look at The Last King’s Amulet

last kings amuletThe Last King’s Amulet
Chris Northern
Paperback $1-.49
ebook $2.99

I’ve got a number of indie-published fantasy novels on my Nook or my Kindle app on the phone, and I’m going to try to read some of them over the spring.

The first of these is one I bought a while back but for some reason didn’t read immediately.  Probably too many other things to read distracted me.

But I have finally read The Last King’s Amulet. It’s the first volume in The Price of Freedom, of which there are at least four books.  I’ve already downloaded the second, The Key to the Grave.  This is military fantasy with a philosophical edge, and I found it quite readable. Continue reading