Podcast #14: Devolution

Devolution meme

In this week’s podcast I’m talking about the idea that humans were once greater or perhaps stranger beings than we are today and have since devolved. I present three pulp-era stories on this topic: Devolution by Edmond Hamilton first appeared in Amazing Stories, in the December, 1936 issue. False Dawn by Henry Kuttner first appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories in the June 1942 issue. The Code by Catherine Lucille Moore (as by Lawrence O’Donnell) first appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in the July 1945 issue. Join me for the podcast…

A new painting and this week’s Rocketeer

Hollywood Glamour meme

I’ve been working on my oil pastels again, continuing my study of Hollywood glamour portraits from the 1920’s and 1930’s. These are the sorts of illustrations you’d see on the covers of the A-list fan magazines such as Photoplay. In this week’s ROCKETEER I’m showing off my newest pastel painting and talking about why Hollywood glamour portraits can make a useful study. Read it here.

Two Rocketeers posts-oops, missed one!

Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day! I’m so excited, my sister is visiting for the first time since Covid. To that end this week’s POCKETEER is short, merely a preview of next week’s post when I’ll take a look at C. L. Moore’s last novel, “Doomsday Morning.” It’s a super timely book, all things considered. You can read my Thanksgiving post here. Going back one week, I neglected to post about last week’s ROCKETEER. In “Truth May be Hidden in Strange Places: The Metal Spy From Space” I look at a rare comic…

Keyhole Kerry, Newshawk of the Kilocycles

Keyhole Kerry meme 2b_this one sm

I love puzzles, especially when they involve vintage stories. What was the writer thinking about when they wrote it? Were they influenced by something in their environment? Of course, without telepathy we can’t really know but thinking about it and looking for clues is a fun pursuit. Sometimes I discover a story (or series) that assumes knowledge of something contemporarily “pop culture.” I don’t usually know that at first, but often a lucky instinct or synchronicity will point the way. Previously, my favorite connection of this sort had been between…

#Inktober 2023 Wrap-up

Inktober wrap up meme

I am so late posting about this!! Why it’s already the 3rd, shame on me! In this week’s ROCKETEER I show off the complete collection of my #Inktober 2023 drawings. They take the shape of illustrations from a pulp detective story. In my post, I even suggest a story to go with them. I am enjoying the contemplation of 1930’s detective stories very much. The art style tends to be almost generic, but it still has a certain something. I’m adding my own spin to it, of course. I tend…

A Subway Named Mobius: A Train Journey Into The Twilight Zone

A Subway Named Mobius

Disappearing subway trains in Boston? An overly-complex track system turning into a mobius strip? Pulp stories weren’t always simple adventures with ray guns! This week’s ROCKETEER looks at an unusual, Retro Hugo-nominated story from 1950 called, “A Subway Named Mobius.” Read the ROCKETEER over on Substack and remember…trains are perfectly safe, most of the time!

Inktober and Guy Gifford

I always enjoy #inktober. Pen & ink is one of my favorite illustration techniques and probably the one I use most often. I always find it fun to do a few extra drawings in October for #inktober. Here are the two drawings I’ve done so far in 2023. As you can see, my 1930’s theme remains. Each of these drawing uses a different approach. The girl has quite a bit of stippling but the hoodlum has none, using instead parallel ink marks with some cross-hatching. I’m getting used to my…

Ode To A Bedsheet: What’s a Pulp Magazine?

Ode to a Bedsheet meme

Last weekend was my birthday and I was working hard to finish the first draft of the second version of my new “Moon Man” novelette. Funny thing, I mentioned this to someone yesterday at a meeting and they assumed I was finishing READING a novelette. “No,” I clarified. “Not reading, writing.” It made me laugh, she doesn’t know me very well. Anyway, the second attempt is much better. I liked the first plot and may still use it for another story, but it wasn’t hitting the correct marks for a…

Bryce Walton and the Many Faces of Dystopia

Bryce Walton meme

This week’s ROCKETEER is my first post about Bryce Walton, a mid-20th century sci-fi and fiction writer. He mainly wrote short works and for that reason is not well remembered today. I think he’s an overlooked writer, especially his dystopian works which are the subject of this week’s posts. Dystopian stories, if done well, can be very instructive for various reasons. Sometimes they are used by “powers-that-be” as predictive modeling for societal change. (We see all the time in “The Simpsons.”) Walton’s dystopias are wide-ranging, interesting, and sometimes prophetic. They’re…