Podcast #20: Christmas in May

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In this week’s podcast I’m talking about all the wonderful magazines I recently ordered from the Library of Congress through interlibrary loan. Honestly, interlibrary loan is a fantastic resource. And getting things from the Library of Congress is particularly fun. I mean, they’re supposed to have EVERYTHING! I know that they don’t, actually, but they do have incredible collections. This time, I was after complete serials from Love Story Magazine from the late 1930’s and several single stories from The Blue Book Magazine in a range from 1930-1947. It took…

Podcast # 18: A Room Too Small: The Great Illusion

This week’s Rocketeer podcast is about a story called, “The Great Illusion” which came out in 1938. Don’t be fooled y’all. This is not the story called, “The Great Illusion” (in part by Edmond Hamilton) which came out in 1936. No, no! In the podcast I explain what that is all about. And here’s a bit I left out for the sake of space. Did you know that Edmond Hamilton is one of the two fathers of Space Opera? Yep. Hamilton and E. E. Doc Smith are the two wonderful…

Podcast #14: Devolution

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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…

Podcasting is happening!

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The Rocketeer Podcast #2 is now live. Honestly, I don’t know how I am as a podcaster but I’m giving it a try. Certainly it’s easier to write articles (at least for me.) That said, I like speaking on the radio and have done so many times. My mother was a radio personality and I’ve been in and out of radio stations since I was 4. I know I have a good voice for radio like my Mom did, so I’ve set myself a goal of continuing the podcasts through…

Keyhole Kerry, Newshawk of the Kilocycles

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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…

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!

Lybblas in the Spotlight: “The World is Mine”

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In my second post about pulp-era aliens we take a gander at one of Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore’s Gallegher tales, “The World is Mine.” The five Gallegher stories are about a brilliant inventor who’s only brilliant when he’s drunk as a skunk. He invents “by ear,” solely from the subconscious. In this story he invents a time machine and shuttles in some Martians. These Lybblas are very cute and not at all as we usually think about Martians, then or now. The lexicon of aliens was much greater back…

The Road to Neotopia

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Many science fiction writers are interested in “future histories.” Perhaps it’s a desire to control future events. Or a wish to explore another sort of time travel. Possibly, it’s nothing more than a desire to control something during uncertain times. For me, it’s about Neotopia. I have written about this before. It is my belief that we can make a good future based on human-centered values rather than idealized, elite, or globalized agendas. It seems a common opinion that the world has fallen (or is falling) into dystopian times. Naturally,…

New Article – “The Harp and The Blade: A Bard’s Adventures in Old France”

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I’ve a new article in the online magazine, Black Gate: Adventures in Fantasy Literature. Ironically, the book I’m reviewing is not a fantasy story, even though it was marketed as one for several decades. In fact, it’s an adventure story, originally serialized in Argosy magazine in 1940. The review is meaty, more in depth than I usually go. This time I felt it was well worth my time to dig deeply as it’s an interesting tale and highly enjoyable. You can still find The Harp and the Blade in print…