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Kharis2000

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About Kharis2000

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    Disbelieving Author
  1. Kharis2000

    What "Pulp" have you read lately ?

    Pulp reading list through the end of July 2018: Flowers For The Judge, Sweet Danger, Death of a Ghost, The Case of the Late Pig, Police at the Funeral, and The Allingham Casebook - The next books in the Campion series by Margery Allingham and a collection of short stories by the author that frequently have Campion in them. All enjoyable, but you have to enjoy this style of mystery/adventure writing to get the most from it. The Complete Cases of Vee Brown, Vol. 1 - John Carroll Daly wrote these back in the day. Vivian "Vee" Brown leads two lives. Delicate-looking and small in stature, he lacks physical strength and endurance. But that doesn't prevent him from being an effective special operative to the Manhattan District Attorney. In this capacity he often ignores the legal niceties of due process, shooting first and asking questions later. Many citizens view him as a hair-trigger gunman whose promiscuous killings make him little better than the vicious criminals he hunts. In his other life, Brown lives in a luxurious Park Avenue penthouse, paid for not with his modest civil-servant salary, but with the royalties he earns as a phenomenally successful composer of sentimental songs-a sideline he keeps secret. Both the police and the underworld refer to him as a "Killer of Men." But the denizens of Tin Pan Alley know him as "Master of Melodies," the prince of pop music. It's an interesting dichotomy, but Daly doesn't always live up to the premise's possibilities. The Complete Cases of Inspector Allhoff, Vol. 1 - These are part of the 'defective detective' subgenre. They're also some of the most painful reading I've done from the period. Not due to quality, or racist screed, but because Allhoff is a sadist and quite likely insane, and his treatment of the secondary characters was so abusive as to be criminal in and of itself. Deputy Inspector Allhoff was the NYPD’s ace detective until bullets from a mobster’s machine gun robbed him of his legs, his career, and—in the opinion of an associate—his sanity. Yet Allhoff was too good a man to be put out to pasture, so New York’s police commissioner found a way to keep him employed and refer to him such cases as the department couldn’t or wouldn’t handle. Confined to a wheelchair and operating from a seedy tenement flat, Allhoff is assisted by two cops: Battersly, the rookie patrolman whose brief moment of cowardice cost the inspector his legs, and Simmons, the bitter career cop who detests Allhoff but sticks with the embittered cripple to protect his own pension. Created by D.L. Champion, Inspector Allhoff denied most conventions of detective-pulp fiction. He could never be confused for one of Raymond Chandler’s knights errant, trudging down those mean streets. Allhoff was no Rover Boy in trench coat and fedora. With 30 entries published between 1938 and 1946, the Allhoff series was among the most popular and long-lived (for the life of me I do not understand why) to appear in Dime Detective, the prestigious crime pulp second only to the legendary Black Mask in its impact on the genre. I'm on he fence about reading more of these. Ki-Gor, The Complete Series Vol. 1 - A jungle adventure series/Tarzan homage, Ki-got is unusual in that at least the stories in this collection are sequential storytelling, with recurring characters and repeat villains. Not the equal of ERB's writing, John Peter Drummond still turned out a pretty good set of stories. The Complete Cabalistic Cases of Semi-Dual, the Occult Detector Vol. 1 (1912) - Despite the name, there's not much - if any - occult action going on in this series. Semi-Dual is an astrologer-detective, not a magician, and really the author uses he astrology angle for color and to have Semi whip out knowledge that couldn't be gained through detective legwork and study. Not unenjoyable, but fair warning that the mysticism is low in this volume. Worth a read just for the plots alone. Super-Detective Jim Anthony, The Complete Series Vol. 3 - I'm still enjoying these; all of them are a big step up from many of the Doc Savage homage characters out there. Anthony needs to do some serious thinking about his secret HQ's though, because pretty much anyone that wants to seems able to find them with little effort. The Complete Adventures of the Griffon, Vol. 2 - More air war goodness from Arch Whitehouse. In this set of stories, the Griffon actually starts taking steps to seriously obfuscate his identity, loses his signature plane, commissions another plane - unknowingly from a villain - and has dogfights with zeppelins, enemy planes, and criminals. Seekers of the Glittering Fetish: The Complete Adventures of Armless O'Neill, Vol. 1 - Another 'defective hero,' this time with a hook for a hand (no explanation so far as to how this happened). Not bad stories, but his sidekick, Tommy, needs to catch a bullet and exit the series. All set in Africa, but revolving more around native issues, plantations, and such than the typical big game hunting. The Complete Cases of Cass Blue, Vol. 1 - New York-based private investigator Cass Blue is a morally flexible tough guy who backs up his hard-boiled rhetoric with frequent applications of the blackjack he carries in a hip pocket. No case is too seedy or sordid for him to take, and he’s capable of taking as much as he dishes out when it’s necessary. The cops don’t trust him much more than they do the criminals, but that doesn’t keep him from giving clients full value for their retainers. With the dubious assistance of speakeasy owner Al Lascoine, Cass sasses and slugs his way through a succession of Depression-era adventures. Written by John Lawrence. Not great, but solid entertaining reads.
  2. Kharis2000

    What "Pulp" have you read lately ?

    Pulp reading list through the end of June 2018: The Crime Master & The Day of Doom & In the Grip of the Griffin: The Complete battles of Gordon Manning and the Griffin - three volume set. Pretty pulpy, with a madman scientist going head-to-head with a hero who can't *quite* stop the bad guy time after time. Surprising for that, if nothing else, since the hero loses more than he wins until the end of the series. Notable bad guy plans, a succession of villain henchmen that last three or four stories before Manning does them in, and a few interesting twists along the way. The Devil's Rosary & The Dark Angel: Volumes 2 and 3 of the complete tales of Jules de Grandin by Seabury Quinn. Some stories are better than others, but this series was like a blueprint on how to run a 'pulp adventurers vs. the occult' campaign. Worth the read just for the endless mine of ideas to lift for games, but many of these stories are pretty darned good on their own. Karl Edward Wagner's Kane series: written in more modern mes, these are dark fantasy with an antihero protagonist, prehuman civilizations, sorcery, alien intelligences that might be close to gods, ancient technology approaching magic, and more just dripping off the pages. If Wagner had been born years earlier, he might well have given Robert Howear a run for his money. The Green Llama: The Complete Pulp Adventures - Vols 3 & 4. As I said earlier, these have a more modern writing stu;e than any pulps, and unlike most of the serialized pulps, things change. Character die, marry, break up, villains who were henchmen in earlier stories return as henchmen in later ones. A good solid read. The Complete Casebook of Max Latin - Latin is a former soldier who was discovered to be color-blind and, hence, removed from service. He performs "enquiries"; he does not identify himself as a private investigator. He works out of a restaurant putatively owned by a hard case (but great chef) named Guiterrez, who serves Latin brandy in his favorite booth (one with a secret microphone). Latin himself actually owns the restaurant which he uses as an office. No fantastical villains here, but some interesting stories. Zarkon, Lord of the Unknown: The Invisible Death & The Volcano Ogre - More of Lin Carter's pastiche/homage to Doc Savage. Interesting for the update to the 1970's and the way it changes the kinds of stories youcan tell.Actually some of Carter's better work for my money. Lance Star, Sky Ranger, Vol. 1 - Modern written stories using a public domain character from the old aviation pulps. A bit of a mixed bag, with some authors 'getting it' and one who notably didn't. Black Drums Talking & Blood and Steel : Volumes 3 & 4 of the Complete Adventures of Kingi Bwana - Still interesting reads, with no actual supernatural elements (plenty of references to supposedly actual powers here and there, though). The author treats the natives with a better touch than most in the era, and 'Kingi' is an interesting character to follow. Dr. Death vs. The secret 12, Vol. 1 - Brilliant scientist goes mad, turns to mysticism, and decides to destroy all technology and return man to his blessed 'primal state.' Obviously, people object. Conflict ensues. This one's a bit of a slog for me due to the pacing and writing style. There are good ideas, but you have to do some wading to get to them. The New Adventures of the Griffon - Modern stories about another air war pulp character fallen into public domain. Private adventurer becomes the Griffin to battle aerial-based villains while thought to be one himself. Most of these are pretty good, although there's a lack of a broad villain base that becomes apparent after a while. The Complete Cases of Captain Satan, Vols. 1 & 2 - Takes a twist to the usual gentleman adventurer premise: Satan and is ever-changing crew are private citizens that wipe out criminal mobs, return the identifiable portions of their loot and resources, and split the rest up among themselves as profit for their public service. Some of the stories are very good, and all have ideas worth stealing. The Spider Strikes: The Spider #1 - You know that guy, right? Fright wig, 'The Master of Men,' blazing .45s, cape, "Die, die! The Spider bids you die!'? This isn't him. At least not yet. The first two novels were written by Reginald Thomas Maitland Scott, but they were slow-paced (ver, ver slow-paced), so another author - the wildly imaginative and florid Novell Page - was brought in. I'd never read a Spider novel that wasn' after Pge's renovation of the character, and having now done s, I know why Scott ws shown the door. The Savage Diaries: The collected Doc Savage essays of Dafydd Neal Dyar, Vol. 1 - Interesting amateur scholarship and speculation on Doc Savage and topic related to him. Wortha read, and plenty of ideas to mine. The New Adventures of Richard Knight - Another set of modern stories about a public domain air war pulp character. Ostensibly working for the government as an agent, Knight and his sidekick act more like classic vigilantes, just targeting enemies of the government as opposed to common criminals. Again, some good, some not so good. Plenty of air-themed ideas, though. The Millenium Bug, Doc Brazen #1 - Author Jeff Deischer' pastiche of Doc Savage, updated to the modern day. Brazen isn't as fast or strong as he used to be, but thanks to gene therapy, he's still in better shape than most men a third of his actual age. An old enemy is making a comeback in the modern day, and Brazen has to come out of retirement to deal with hm, assembling a group of new cohorts on the way. Worth a read for ideas on updating the concept to the modern day. I'll buy the sequel. The Complete Cases of the Marquis of Broadway, Vol. 1 - I liked this one. The 'Marquis' is a cop, and he keeps a lid on the NYC entertainment district by being tougher than the guys that try o commit crimes there. Not a clean cop by any means, he's a bit more complex than the average pulp detective, and it's refreshing to see him set bad guys up to take a fall - or catch a bullet - in the name of justice and keeping Broadway quiet and safe for the masses. The Green Ghost Declassified - Win Scott Eckert and a group of other writers produce new tales about a minor pulp figure - the Green Ghost - who fought crime with a phosphorescent green skull mask on. Some interesting ideas, and stories, but could have used a bit more of an overhaul to make him more unique. Dare Devlin: Supreme Adventurer: Brain Wreck - Dafydd Neal Dyar's homage to Doc Savage. Set in the Pulp Era, it's an interesting look at teh 'central hero and sidekicks' theme, with a lot of good ideas. Neal tries a little too hard in places to get things into the narrative, but all in all a good read. I'll by the next one. The New Adventures of Foster Fade, the Crime Specacularist - Lester Dent is well known for being the creator and main writer of Doc Savage. But he also wrote various “gadget heroes” like Fade, who solves grimes with gadgets he invents as part of a deal with a major metropolitan newspaper. Like all modern-author collections, some stories are good and some not so good, but there's plenty to like (and steal) for a pulp game in here. The Complete Adventures of Thibault Corday of the Foreign Legion, Vol. 1: Better Than Bullets - The Foreign Legion story was a hot seller for the pulps and Theodore Roscoe got some mileage out of Thibault. Interesting ideas, some clues on how to run a campaign where the PCs are in the military, and a pretty good read. The Complete Tales of Koropok, Vols. 1 & 2 - Welsh-ancestry American in behind the lines action in Japan during WW2, made interesting by his continuing impersonation of an Ainu. The treatment of the Japanese is less awful than I expected (which why I read both volumes), and approaches some degree of reasonability at times. Good variety of story ideas, although the threat of discovery theme does get a bit thin towards the end. Notable that the last few sories take place after the war and deal with the Occupation and the Nationalist War in China. The Crime at Black Dudley, Mystery Mile, and Look to the Lady - The first three volumes of Margery Allingham's 20-novel Campion series. I got onto these after watching the BBC Campion series on Amazon (the wife loves her some British crime shows, so we have Acorn and BritBox). Black Dudley is almost a different series, since Campion id a secondary character in it, but he comes to his own in Mystery Mile, going up against crime syndicates, criminal masterminds, homicidal horses, London gangsters, and small-town British folk. I recommend watching the series first, and if it works for you (it's taken close to scene-for-scene from the books) hen go back and read the books.
  3. Kharis2000

    What "Pulp" have you read lately ?

    Is one of Rohmer's Gaston Max stories in there? I had to buy the collection off Amazon to read those,
  4. Kharis2000

    What "Pulp" have you read lately ?

    The just finished list for November through January: The Complete Tales of Kingi Bwana Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 - These were an experiment for me, since I've read very little 'jungle pulp' that wasn't Ki Gor, or Tarzan, or one of their ilk. King (Kingi' to the natives) is a great white hunter, explorer, and adventurer ranging across Africa. Some shorter stories mixed in with much longer ones. All pretty well grounded in the real world (with one exception dealing with genetics), and written with a surprisingly open-minded for the times attitude towards the natives and relations with them. Beyond the Black Enigma - Gardner F. Fox wrote a lot of pulp, and this one is sci-fi pulp in the classic mold. A Space Patrol troubleshooter is sent into a black nebula that's swallowed up thousands of patrolmen trying to explore it. If this is your cup of tea, drink up. Doc Savage Archives, Vol. 1: The Curtis Magazine Era - In the 70's Marvel Comics published 8 issues of a B&W magazine format Doc Savage. They were all original stories - some cracking good, some average, one too sci-fi for me - but all worth a look. Zarkon, Lord of the Unknown - Lin Carter was, possibly, the hardest working pulp pastiche artist not writing in the original pulps. You name it, he pasticed it up: John Carter, Doc Savage, Conan, Pellucidar, he did it all. This is his 0's era pastiche of Doc Savage. It's funky, well-written in Carter's trademark copied style, and has some interesting nods to more modern eyes. The Creeping Siamese and Other Stories - Continental Op material from Dashiell Hammet; it rarely gets better. The Spider #1: The Spider Strikes - This one was really odd. The Spider is possibly the most fever-dream of the pulp characters, but this introduction to the character is... well it's taken a lot of aspirin. R.T.M. Scott, the original author, is no Norville Page. For completist's only. All others skip to Page's first novel and start there. The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Omnibus Edition - I was curious about this one. It's 'new pulp' written in the style of the older pulps, with original characters. My verdict: if you're looking for ideas and characters to mine for a pulp game, there's plenty to find here. If you're looking for fantastic writing - pulp or otherwise - not s much. Barry Reese has great ideas, but his writing skill isn't quite up to the task f bringing it to life for me. It feels kind of flatly narrated to me; I'm told things I should be shown. Doc Savage: Skull Island - Will Murray's crossover novel is in interesting read. Doc isn't Doc - at least, not the Doc of the pulps, not yet. Set right at the end of WW1, the only Doc Novel that would precede this would be Phil Farmer's WW1 novel, 'Escape from Loki.' There are no Fab 5, no superfirers, none of that. What we do get is a young Doc still deciding how he's going o do what he's going to do. And we get Savage Sr, and some interesting bits of speculative history. And we get Savage St, Sr - doc's grandfather. And we get Kong, on Skull Island (more the glassic 30's era Kong and Skull Island than either of the more modern versions.
  5. Kharis2000

    RIP: The Question Man-Eddie Blake

    Thanks for all the hard work and love you poured into our hobby, Eddie. We're poorer without you.
  6. Kharis2000

    What "Pulp" have you read lately ?

    The just finished list for October: Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood. The first book in the Phryne Fisher series of modern mysteries set in 1920's Australia. Not technically 'pulp,' but set in the period. I'd previously seen many of the television series episodes with my wife and decided to try the books. An interesting read, with a heroine hat certainly has the skills to have been a pulp adventurer. G-8 and is Battle Aces #1: The Bat Staffel & #2: Purple Aces by Robert Hogan - Wow. Ummm. Just wow. If Bob Hogan wasn't smoking something when he started writing these, he must have started before too long to keep the ideas flowing. Planes shaped like giant vampire bats, tunnels capable of allowing 100,000 German troops to appear in the middle of France from, brainwashed/hypnotized pilots, cloaked madmen, evil science dwarves (yes, that is a real thing), and more. Well worth reading, even if you're not a fan of WW1 aerial combat. Writings in Bronze, by Will Murray - A collection of the pulp historian and writer's essays and articles on Doc Savage. Fascinating reading, with some really interesting looks at the real 'history' of Doc Savage. Lots of cool ideas in here for you to lit and adapt. The Revised Complete Chronology of Bronze by Rick Lai - An updated and revised chronology, putting all of Doc Savage's adventures in chronological order by date, with a collection of bonus essays at the end discussing his parentage, familial relations, and how other famous (and infamous) pulp figures tie into his story. A real campaign booster, and highly recommended. The Chronology of Shadows by Rick Lai - Does for The Shadow, what Rick did for Doc Savage in his 'Chronology of Bronze.' Equally recommended. Diamondstone, the Magician Detective by G.T. Fleming-Roberts - A magician-turned-detective after someone revealed the secrets of his illusions, Diamondstone is a big, blond man with a love for magic tricks, a good right, and an eye for the ladies. Interesting and worth a read. The Horror on the Links by Seabury Quinn - The first of a multi-part chronological collection of the Jules de Grandin stories. Occult-themed short detective stories, these are the first of the series and, one assumes, a bit more rough around the edges than the later stories) as the somewhat (to modern eyes) effeminate de Grandin and his American physician companion confront werewolves, ghostly cultists, vampires, and more. I really can't recommend these enough if you're looking for nontraditional occult stories to draw scenario inspiration from. Rick Lai's Secret Histories: Criminal Masterminds & Rick Lai's Secret Histories: Daring Adventurers - A pair of companion volumes publishing Rick Lai's essays on assorted pulp era heroes and villains, dealing with familial relations (for example, how is Jack London's Wolf Larson related to Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu), battles between them (both villains and heroes) and more. Fascinating Wold Newton Universe stuff.
  7. Kharis2000

    Golden Age Champions Discussion Thread

    I'm really looking forward to seeing it, too! =)
  8. Kharis2000

    What "Pulp" have you read lately ?

    I bought my copy of Hatchet Men on Kindle, which kept the cost under $5.00 and it was worth every peny. I'm off to see if you NY-centric book is available.
  9. Kharis2000

    What "Pulp" have you read lately ?

    Still struggling through Craig Kennedy. Nothing as egregious as the 'ape/gorilla blood' thing, but I cringe every time I start a short story in anticipation. The Cobra 'King of Detectives' (Richard Sale) - Kind of an odd mix. The first few stories are all starring the Cobra, whose sthick is a cigarette holder blowgun that he shoots folks with concentrated cobra venom darts with. Some interesting story ideas, but I started laughing when he engaged in a fistfight with the blowgun in his mouth and didn't break/lose. swallow the thing (or the dart). The rest of the stories all do not involve the Cobra but do hinge on snakes in some form or another - apparently the writer was an amateur herpetologist. Genius Jones (Lester Dent) - Much more light-hearted than expected. A shipwreck survivor grows to well-muscled adulthood in the arctic, memorizing an encyclopedia to learn about the world. ONce rescued, he winds up trying to give away a huge some of money to people that need it so that he can inherit the responsibility of managing a larger charity estate. Gangsters, femme fatales, millionaire's daughters, and more run amok. In many ways, this reads like an attempt to write a story that Hollywood would buy to make into a film. Hatchet Men: The Story of the Tong Wars i San Francisco's Chinatown (Richard Dillon) - On the dry side, but a lot of pretty detailed information on how the infamous Tong wars started, were carried out, and ended. Recommended for history buffs and those setting campaigns in San Francisco in/around 1905-1920.
  10. Kharis2000

    Cool Guns for your Games

    It had rockets, a laser beam, and 'machineguns' (although there really wasn't room on the bike to mount even a Predator-style mini-minigun' - more likely they were supposed to be smgs or assault rifles stripped down and mounted.)
  11. Kharis2000

    Cool Guns for your Games

    And rockets (looking suspiciously like 'D' engine Estes models IIRC).
  12. Kharis2000

    John Wick / Keanu Reeves for 6e

    I'd avoid the damage classes to prevent inflating his damage to levels that we don't see in the films, and consider looking at simply buying targeted levels to eliminate the penalties and some extra strength with the limitation that it only adds to John's STR for purposes of gaining the +20 effect. Not as clean as buying the DCs, but it does prevent John from throwing more damage than we appear to see, and also prevents his needing actual superhuman opponents to find someone that can grapple with him effectively.
  13. Kharis2000

    What "Pulp" have you read lately ?

    Still stalled trying to finish Craig Kennedy. I'll get there, but man, it is tough going. In the meantime, I have finished the following: The Adventures of the Green Lama, Vol. 1 - He's a Buddhist pulp hero that doesn't use weapons except for a prayer scarf and some Tibetian martial arts, backed by a potion of 'radioactive salts' he imbibes before setting out to do good deeds. Also serialized and consecutive. These read more 'modern' than many pulps. Doc Savage: The Infernal Buddha - Part of the 'Wild Adventures of Doc Savage' series that Will Murray is writing. This one feels more like an early Doc than some. The Moon Man Archives, Vol. 2 - Continuing my way through these. Interesting in that the series is actually serial in nature, with events in earlier stories carrying over into later ones. E. Hoffman Price's Pierre d'Artois: Occult Detective - Interesting collection of stories that are linked first by d'Artois, and then by his sidekick. The latter stories are more 'spicy pulp' than 'occult detective' but they're all by Price. The Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes - Jess Nevin's listing of every pulp hero he can document. It's $10.00 in the Kindle edition, so go buy one. The print is broken into four volumes at about $25.00 apiece, so the e-book version is the best buy. Ravenwood the Complete Series - Interesting in that the detective has actual supernatural powers, albeit somewhat unreliable ones, but his investigations never really encounter the supernatural. Triplanetary - E.E. Doc Smith's start to the Lensman cycle. Pulpy, epic sci-fi at it's classic best.
  14. Kharis2000

    What "Pulp" have you read lately ?

    Finished the second volume of Super Detective Jim Anthony; The Complete Series. The first two stories weren't bad at all, but the third fell a bit flat. A little spicier than the run of the mill story of this type, but hardly a danger to the morals of anyone over the age of, oh, six. One of the stories had, what I thought was going to be a pretty cool artificially-generated undersea methane bubble generator to sink ships, but instead went with the (at the time) more fantastical and 'in' atomic power. In the last one, it took too long for Jim to figure out how the killer was killing people off, but I'll grant the the idea of an ice knife was a lot newer an idea then. Still not bad stories, although, the last one was, as I said, the weakest. Starting on the Halcyon Classics' collection of Craig Kennedy: Scientific Detective. Three stories in, it... well, honestly, it's painful. Episode one almost killed the collection for me with the solution being the difference between a Caucasian suspect's 'ape-like qualities of the blood' and a non-white suspect's 'gorilla-like qualities of the blood.' I've accepted that the genre does not share the modern sensibilities regarding race, gender, sexual orientation, or any number of other social issues, but this one ws bad enough that I had to walk away for a week before I was willing to try again. The next two were less awful in the toxic racism sense, but they were, well, sort of average. The Thinking Machine was a better read, as was Max Carrados (witht he exception of the one supernatural-themed episode).
  15. Kharis2000

    What "Pulp" have you read lately ?

    Working my way through 'When the Death Bat Flies' by Norvell Page. Best known for authoring the Spider pulp stories, Page turned out a lot of mystery stories as well. This is a collection of Page's detective stories from DETECTIVE TALES, THE SPIDER, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY and STRANGE DETECTIVE MYSTERIES.
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