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…

Lab Rats No More: Basil Well’s “Rebirth of Man”

Rebirth of Man meme

What if—at humanity’s dawn we were experimented upon (GMO’d) by aliens. It’s was so long ago that there is no proof, only a deep-seated and lingering terror of alien experimentation. And what if we all had this scar, regardless of where we’re from or who we were born from? I believe that we can all access a collective field of shared consciousness. Most people don’t do it very well, if at all. Some people can tap into this field consciously—psychics, mystics, shamans, etc.. Also, creatives who often receive their ideas…

Beware of Fake News: “The Silly Season”

Silly Season meme

Continuing the alien theme (which is getting more timely by the moment it seems), this week’s ROCKETEER features one of Cyril Kornbluth’s little numbers, “The Silly Season” (1950). The story is a retelling of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” fable, but with aliens! Check it out on Substack:

Recreating Pulp Art (in color): A Journey

Recreating Pulp Art meme

In last week’s ROCKETEER, I premiered a new pulp copy–“The Shadow” magazine cover featuring “Hidden Death” (September, 1932 issue.) I also talk about my journey as a pulp artist and historian, trying to better understand how the original art was created so that I can create new pieces that have the colorful and melodramatic pulp-art feel. In the article I show you some of my original fine art pulp pieces. You can see the new copy and read all about it here.

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…

Two new articles, a story in progress, and a drawing for practice

Rocketeer alien series meme

There seems to be a lot going on at the moment. For the next few weeks the ROCKETEER is going to highlight aliens in honor of the Chehalis Flying Saucer Party—a local event celebrating everything UFO. (It’s like McMenamins UFO Festival only smaller.) I’ll be discussing pulp-era and slightly later stories with the themes of invasion, alien manipulation, control, and humanity fighting back in stories ranging from the absurd to the deadly. The first in that series came out this week: “Tactical Error: This Star Shall Be Free.”  The story…

My Favorite Space Ship: Moura-weit’s “Yodverl”

Favorite Space Ship meme

This week’s ROCKETEER features an excerpt from a favorite early pulp story from 1931. The story is called “Across the Void” and it’s by Leslie F. Stone, a lady pulp writer who was only active during the 1930’s. Unfortunately, her science fiction publishing career ended in 1940. She could not successfully make the leap to the “John W. Campbell” era. Her last published story, “Gravity Off” (1940), feels quite forced and is the weakest of all her tales, in my opinion. I like Stone’s writing. Hugo Gernsback started her out…

An Extraordinary Line: From W.H. Robinson to Peter Max

An Extraordinary Line

As a pen & ink artist I usually prefer a highly-textured style, using many different ink marks for varied effects. But there is another, simpler, style of inking which was extremely popular during the 1960’s and 1970’s. In this week’s ROCKETEER  I take a look at this minimalistic style of inking in a range of artwork from classic children’s book illustrations to the pop art of Peter Max. Read it here:

Pulp Palaver: Co-Starring Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective

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This week’s ROCKETEER is a special one. I’ve been studying the language and structure of pulp stories for quite some time. Although I am a professional writer, I am also a professional artist and I think like an artist, in the main. I construct stories as if they were paintings. When I construct a painting I design it, figure out a palette, get the relationships right in terms of overall balance and value. Then work it through, constantly seeking balance between the parts until the work is completed. Generally, I’m…

Shrinking (And I don’t mean violets!)

Land of the Giants still

This week’s ROCKETEER looks at stories about shrinking people down to miniscule sizes. This theme has been popular for more than 300 years and is seen in books, movies and on TV. Certainly, we see wonderful examples during the pulp era. These sorts of stories are made for the pulps as the drama level in them is always high. You can read “Shrinking” here and all my other issues of the ROCKETEER on Substack.