Mom Can I Please Have the Keys to the Flying Saucer?

Posted by Michael Pinto on May 1, 2010 in Pulp Fiction

Your Personal Flying Carpet: From an advertisement for America's Independent Electric Light and Power Companies from a April 1959 issue of Newsweek

This wonderful illustration is from a 1959 ad in Newsweek magazine for America’s Independent Electric Light and Power Companies. The headline for the ad is Your Personal “Flying Carpet” and the copy that follows sounds quite silly until you get to the last line which reminds me a great deal of the internet today: Read more…

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Grahame-Smith Ups the Stakes With Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Apr 13, 2010 in Cinema, Horror, Pulp Fiction

I must admit that I’m not exactly a historical fiction buff, but when I heard about Seth Grahame-Smith’s recently released novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I must admit that the concept piqued my interest. Of course, it wasn’t until I stumbled across this amazing trailer for the novel that I found myself compelled to buy a copy. I’m still in the process of reading it, so I can’t comment too much on the content, aside from my assurance that it isn’t Twilight. Read more…

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Cthulhu Craves Carnivorous Delights

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 24, 2010 in Hobbies and Collections, Pulp Fiction

Nightmares of H.P. Lovecraft Dagon Statue

At over $200 this Nightmares of H.P. Lovecraft Dagon Statue is not for the casual fan looking for a bit of Cthulhu decoration for the library. Although looking at statues like this takes away the joy of H.P. Lovecraft for me — you see I was lucky enough to read a dusty old copy of At the Mountains of Madness and what I love about the style of writing is that it’s so packed with detail that your mind paints its own pictures. So seeing a Cthulhu hanging out in your living room takes away a bit of magic from those mountains of madness.

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The Treachery of 2010 (The Film, Not the Year)

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jan 3, 2010 in Cinema, Pulp Fiction

title 2010

On paper 2010 has all of the ingredients of a great film: A story by Arthur C. Clarke, a cast that includes A+ actors like John Lithgow, Helen Mirren and Roy Scheider — and then add to that you’ve got a visual genius like Syd Mead working on the production design. Even more impressive is the fact that as a genre hard science fiction films represent a blank canvas of possibilities. Yet as a film fanboy (who loves science fiction) I hated every frame of it. Read more…

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This Holiday Season Please Support Your Local Bookshop

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 22, 2009 in Pulp Fiction

The Strand bookstore from back in the day

There’s only a few days left before Christmas, but if you’re still doing your shopping please consider supporting your local independent bookstore or comic book shop. The recession has hit these folks hard and they need your love more now than ever before. Of course if there’s only a big chain bookstore near you, please go there as you’ll be helping the publishing business as a whole as well as giving the gift of reading. Read more…

 

What Was the Hardest Book for Isaac Asimov to Write?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 12, 2009 in Pulp Fiction, Tech

Isaac Asimov

Talking to my old friend Marc Thorner I got an interesting insight on legendary author Isaac Asimov: It seems that as a younger fanboy he was professing his admiration to Asimov for one of his lesser known treasures An Easy Introduction to the Slide Rule which was written in 1965. Asimov then confided to my friend that it was the hardest book that he ever wrote. This is somewhat shocking given the sheer range of subject matter that Asimov tackled — every subject from Lecherous Limericks to a complete guide to the works of Shakespeare! Asimov’s reason for the difficulty? It seems that the book was very graphics intense and required a great deal of input into the illustrations. Here are two covers from this classic: Read more…

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The Forlorn Frazetta Art Heist

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 10, 2009 in Pulp Fiction

A Frazetta painting: Why steal this when you can wear it on a tacky t-shirt?

Sadly it seems that Frazetta’s son was caught trying to steal paintings from a museum honoring his father. Police report that Alfonso Frank Frazetta was caught loading up to 90 swiped paintings while loading them into his vehicle. The son claimed that his father told him to take the paintings, but his father claimed no knowledge of having said that. A source claims that Alfonso may have been motivated by a family feud. I suspect that’s the case given how easily he was caught, and my sad guess (and it’s only a guess) it that it’s a cry for help. My sympathies to the Frazetta family.

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The Road: Can It Escape My Gloom & Doom on Silly Post-Apocalyptic Films?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 8, 2009 in Cinema, Pulp Fiction

This is the second trailer for The Road which is due on November 25th. Normally I’m slightly pessimistic about post-apocalyptic films recently, however any film that’s based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy has a great deal of potential. In fact my understanding was that the film was moved to its current release date because it might be an Oscar contender which is also a good sign. Read more…

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Don Ivan Punchatz: The Realistic Look of Magic

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 29, 2009 in Pulp Fiction, Videogames

Don Ivan Punchatz: Illustrator of the first Doom package

If you came of age reading science fiction in the late 60s, 70s or 80s you may have come across the illustrations of Don Ivan Punchatz who sadly just passed away. Punchatz’s illustrations were best known in the fantasy and science fiction genres and graced quite a few paperbacks, although his work covered other genres and he even did a cover or two for Time magazine (which is as good as you can get). Videogame fanboys however might best know him for his package art for the original Doom game (shown above), although his paperback cover art for the Isaac Asimov Foundation triology was my first encounter with his artwork: Read more…

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And Another Thing: I Really Miss Douglas Adams

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 14, 2009 in Pulp Fiction

And Another Thing...

I missed the announcement last year that there would be an authorized sixth book in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series: However recently I came across a link in the sci fi section of reddit simple titled Fucking Blasphemy… which got my attention. This new book is coming out in october this year and is by Eoin Colfer, and of course pretty much every serious fanboy has already condemned the series. Although I find myself with mixed feelings which are just a bit more complex than condemnation. For starters this book was authorized by Adams’s widow Jane Belson so you get the feeling that his family isn’t against it. Next I don’t think anyone is trying to hide the fact that book isn’t by Douglas Adams; in fact I suspect that the readers will be his hard core fans more so than the general public. Read more…

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Sherlock Holmes: Now Improved with Vampires!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 17, 2009 in Cinema, Pulp Fiction

This is the second trailer for the upcoming Sherlock Holmes flick — normally I’d slag the mere notion of having to improve Holmes through cheap plot mechanisms like vampires (why not go all the way and have zombies too?) but I’ve got to say that the idea of teaming up high quality actors like Robert  Downey  Jr. as Sherlock and  Jude  Law as Watson makes me think that this film might be a bit better than I’d expect. Read more…

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Clergyman, Railway Enthusiast and Children’s Author

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jun 15, 2009 in Pulp Fiction

The Three Railway Engines: The first in the The Railway Series of books in which the character Thomas the Tank Engine originated

Reverend W. Awdry

Reverend W. Awdry

Wilbert Vere Awdry was born on this day in 1911, his fulltime gig for many years was serving as a clergyman (he was known as the Reverend W. Awdry after all). But luckily for us in 1943 when his son Christopher was suffering from the measles he would make up stories about anthropomorphic trains to distract him from his malady. By 1945 these stories would be turned into his first book The Three Railway Engines which was the beginning of 26 books (the last published in 1972) which were known as the The Railway Series. But it wasn’t until the second book in the series that the title Thomas the Tank Engine would be used: Read more…

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The Time Traveler’s Wife: A Romantic Twist on a Time-Tested Plot Device

Posted by John Martone on May 30, 2009 in Pulp Fiction

The Time Traveler's Wife

Editor’s Note: The film adaptation of this 2003 novel will be out this Summer directed by Robert Schwentke.

What makes for good literature? Now, this is only an opinion, but the best stories… the ones that really make you squirm with delight, are never about the guns, the gadgets, or the girls, its about how these objects move our characters. Was the “Final Frontier” about uncharted space, or was it really about how exploring the last unknown effected our heroes? In The Time Traveler’s Wife we see how an all too overused plot device, time travel, is used to stretch a conventional romance to the brink and back.
Read more…

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Vintage Video of Isaac Asimov: The Golden Age of Science Fiction

Posted by John Martone on May 30, 2009 in Pulp Fiction

Isaac Asimov was an engaging speaker. I found myself almost unable to avoid being hypnotized by his soft, yet well modulated tones. Taken from a 1971 interview, Asimov comments on the “Golden Age” of science fiction. This sheds a sharp perspective on this genre during the 1940’s an era before moon landings, color televisions and the internet. Point of incredible interest: In this first excerpt Asimov logically explains why Science Fiction was so “adventure” laden leading up to this time frame. The this second expert focuses on the changes that took place after 1949: Read more…

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Crocheted Cthulhu Cap is Too Cute!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 6, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections, Horror, Pulp Fiction

The Original Cthulhu Toque

No self respecting fangurl can be seen at the Mountains of Madness without the proper millinery and this 100% original crochet toque designed by Lesley A. Karpiuk does just the trick! With handmade tentacles and wings soft worsted weight yarn mere mortals will fear your every move. Frankly zombies are so last year — real fashion forward folks in-the-know know that Cthulhu is set for a huge comeback this season… Read more…

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Philip José Farmer, 1918-2009: A Paperback Gallery Tribute

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 26, 2009 in Pulp Fiction

Philip Jose Farmer, his wife Bette, Isaac Asimov and Randall Garrett in 1954. caption: As Isaac Asimov mentions in both his autobiography and in THE HUGO WINNERS, Phil, Isaac and Randall Garrett were at a convention in Cincinnati in 1954 and were interviewed together by a local newspaper. When asked how they keep up with changes in science, before Isaac could make some comical remark, Phil answered that he subscribed to Scientific American. Isaac started subscribing himself after this and that led him into his long career of writing non-fiction science books.

Flesh by by Philip Jose Farmer, Galaxy-Beacon 277, 1960 first printing, illustration by Gerald McConnell

Flesh by by Philip Jose Farmer, 1960 first printing, illustration by Gerald McConnell

Philip José Farmer was part of that first generation of authors who put science fiction on the map — above is a clipping of a 1954 newspaper that shows him, his wife and Isaac Asimov sporting a bow tie to give you a context of the man and his times. Farmer was unusual in that unlike so many other writers of the genre he managed to weave many sexual themes into his science fiction stories.

The book that would put him on the map was the novel Flesh which was published in 1960. When it first came out the book received a rather lukewarm review, but a revised expanded edition eight years later won him more praise — and today the book is acclaimed as a landmark novel of the genre. Later Farmer would go onto write the Riverworld series of books which would inspire a role-playing game, a television series and a PC computer game. Read more…

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Vincent Price Presents the Agatha Christie Collection

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 23, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections, Pulp Fiction

My guess is that this commercial dates from the very late 70s or early 80s — I tend to associate Vincent Price more with the horror than the mystery genre although there is a bit of an overlap. By the way it should be noted that the Franklin Library wasn’t a serious book publisher but an arm of the Franklin Mint which was more in the business of selling collectables than literature. From my own point of view these ornately bound books lack the charm that one would find in the cover illustration of low brow mystery paperback.

Update: Nick Kent has pointed out to me the missing Vincent Price mystery connection! Price was host of the PBS series Mystery in the 80s: Read more…

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Free Science Fiction & Fantasy: Perfect for a Fanboy on a Budget

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jan 31, 2009 in Pulp Fiction

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

If you’re in the market for open source science fiction and fantasy stories you may want to check out freesfonline.de which has a pretty decent collection of works by various authors. For eons what’s left of the pulp magazines have been struggling, so I wonder if like Linux that this might breath some new life into the market? Shown above is a cover for the book Little Brother by Cory Doctorow which is one of the goodies ready for reading.

found via Allen Tipper.

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Forrest J Ackerman: Fanboy Extraordinaire

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 6, 2008 in Fandom, Hobbies and Collections, Horror, Pulp Fiction

Forrest J. Ackerman, posing with monster masks and science fiction artwork in his Los Angeles, Calif. Home, 1969

It’s with a heavy heart that I learned of the passing of Forrest J Ackerman because so much of what we take for granted today as fanboys we owe to the man and his generation. Forrest was among the members of First Fandom: The first generation of fanboys who during the 30s invented science fiction conventions, fan clubs, fanzines and cosplay. And Mr. Ackerman did all of that by playing a leading role in establishing the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society in 1934, attending the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939 and published on the first fanzines Futuria Fantasia in 1939. Here’s an interview with him talking about the early days of science fiction fandom from 1996: Read more…

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William Gibson: What’s the Future of Science Fiction?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 17, 2008 in Pulp Fiction

William Gibson, Science Fiction author

There’s a wonderful series of articles in the latest New Scientist magazine on the future of the science fiction genre which features quite a few well know authors on the subject including William Gibson: Read more…

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Welcome to the Dynamite Monster Bash!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 31, 2008 in Pulp Fiction

Dynamite Magazine Issue 12 - Count Morbida Cover - Subscription - 1975

Dynamite was one of my favorite childhood mags, for the most part they focused on pop culture but this issue (#12 from 1975) features the slightly evil Count Morbida. The illustrator who brought Morbida to life is Arthur Friedman whose character presented a monthly puzzle page.

Found via Jason (check out his Christmas Catalog Archive Site).

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Dan Lawler Draws Halloween

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 31, 2008 in Pulp Fiction

Cover to Humpty Dumpty's magazine, October 1964. Illustrated by Dan Lawler.

In the early 60s Dan Lawler was the star illustrator of Humpty Dumpty’s Magazine for Little Children. What I like about his style is that he manages to be interesting yet charming in a magical way. In the illustration above from 1964 I love the little touches like the crow in the corner and the feather on the hat. In the spot 1961 illustration below Lawler draws you into the picture with his simple yet theatrical staging:

Spot illustration from Children's Digest magazine, October 1961.Illustrated by Dan Lawler.

Found via Glen Mullaly, check out his blog here and his Flickr account here.

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Ridley Scott to Direct The Forever War

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 14, 2008 in Pulp Fiction

The Forever War

Ridley Scott doing a science fiction film is always interesting news, but Scott tackling this classic novel is very interesting news indeed:

Ridley Scott takes on ‘Forever War’
Fox 2000 film based on Joe Haldeman novel

“Fox 2000 has acquired rights to Joe Haldeman’s 1974 novel “The Forever War,” and Ridley Scott is planning to make it into his first science fiction film since he delivered back-to-back classics with “Blade Runner” and “Alien.” Scott intended to follow those films with “The Forever War,” but rights complications delayed his plans for more than two decades.

The film will be produced by Scott Free. Vince Gerardis and Ralph Vicinanza will exec produce. Their company, Created By, reps Haldeman and spent the last decade trying to get back the rights. “I first pursued ‘Forever War’ 25 years ago, and the book has only grown more timely and relevant since,” Scott told Daily Variety. “It’s a science-fiction epic, a bit of ‘The Odyssey’ by way of ‘Blade Runner,’ built upon a brilliant, disorienting premise.”

Book revolves around a soldier who battles an enemy in deep space for only a few months, only to return home to a planet he doesn’t recognize some 20 years later, Scott said.”

 

Publishers Set to Run Over the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 17, 2008 in Pulp Fiction

the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy & Douglas Adams

Have they no shame? Of course not! Douglas Adams wrote five books in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, but not being happy with the lame movie that was pumped out it seems that publishers have picked an author to slug out a sixth novel in the series. The PR around the book claims that Adams always wanted to write a sixth book, but I think it’s pretty lame stuffing words into his mouth at this point:

And another thing…

“Douglas Adams died in 2001, having written five of the enduringly popular Hitchhiker books – still inaccurately dubbed a trilogy. About 16 million copies of the books have been sold worldwide, but fans were left disappointed when it seemed as though Adams’ early death ended the series with all the main characters seemingly meeting a grizzly end. Children’s author Eoin Colfer has been chosen to write the sixth of the series by Adams’ widow Jane Belson. He writes of his joy at being able to continue the series with the new book And Another Thing.

 

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