Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: Argosy, June 17, 1933

Nothing says "pulp" to me quite as much as ARGOSY. If it weren't for all those dang serials, it would be just about the perfect adventure pulp magazine! Take this issue, for example. You've got a colorful, dramatic cover by Paul Stahr, and inside are stories by Erle Stanley Gardner (a Whispering Sands yarn), Talbot Mundy, Theodore Roscoe, Donald Barr Chidsey (with his series character Nick Fisher), George F. Worts (part of a Peter the Brazen serial as by Loring Brent), Fred MacIsaac, Ralph Milne Farley, Cliff Farrell, and Armand Brigaud. To say that's an impressive line-up is quite an understatement! And ARGOSY did that week after week. Truly an iconic pulp. 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday Morning Western Pulp: Thrilling Ranch Stories, July 1948

One of the things I really like about Western pulp covers is that while there are plenty of "damsel in distress" type covers, there are also a lot that feature women who are just as tough and competent as the men. This cover by Sam Cherry from the July 1948 issue of THRILLING RANCH STORIES is a good example. There's not even a guy in sight, other than the hand of the one holding the gun, and that blonde is about to make him wish their trails had never crossed. Inside this issue are stories by some fine writers: L.P. Holmes, Giles A. Lutz, Stephen Payne, Samuel Mines, Joe Archibald, Cliff Walters, and Gladwell Richardson. The so-called Western romance pulps had plenty to like for traditional Western readers.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Forgotten Books: John Severin's Billy the Kid, Western Outlaw, Volume 1 - Joe Gill and John Severin

I never read too many comics published by Charlton when I was a kid. I started reading mostly Dell comics, discovered DC and then Marvel, so the smaller publishers didn’t get much of my allowance money, plus they weren’t distributed very well around here. However, I do remember reading some issues of BILLY THE KID, WESTERN OUTLAW when I was very young. Too young to know anything about artists, for sure.

But in later years, John Severin became one of my favorite comic book artists during his long run on SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS, a title I read faithfully and always enjoyed. Severin’s art was a big part of that, and when I came across his work in other places, I continued to enjoy it. He did quite a bit for Charlton in the early Sixties, including the Billy the Kid stories in this volume, which reprints ten stories from BILLY THE KID, WESTERN OUTLAW #20-23.

These are very short stories, running six or seven pages each, and journeyman writer Joe Gill’s scripts are pretty simplistic, as you’d expect at that length. There’s no attempt to make the Billy the Kid anything like his actual historical counterpart. He’s only vaguely regarded as an outlaw. Mostly he’s just a drifting do-gooder seemingly loved by common people and lawmen alike, whose only real goal in life is to fight rustlers, bank robbers, and bullies. The writing is serviceable, but no more than that.

Severin’s art makes these stories worth reading, though. It’s not overly detailed but always has a gritty air of Old West authenticity about it. He does a good job with guns, horses, Western landscape, etc., and his action scenes are dynamic. He’s just a good comic book artist in the classic style, with a strong storytelling sense. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection.

You can read these stories for free on-line, but I thought this inexpensive collection, which also includes some photos and biographical material on Severin, was worthwhile. I plan to seek out more of his Billy the Kid stories.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Overlooked Movies: Stan & Ollie (2018)

I’ve been a Laurel & Hardy fan about as far back as I can remember. I didn’t like them as much as the Three Stooges or Abbott & Costello, but I watched many of their movies on TV and always enjoyed them. So I was a pretty good target audience for STAN & OLLIE, a biopic from last year that focuses on the final year of their performing career.

This movie actually combines a couple of different European tours made by Laurel & Hardy into one storyline, but it works and is fairly accurate in other respects, as far as I know. (I’m a fan but not an expert on the duo, by any means.) Steve Coogan plays Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly is Oliver “Babe” Hardy. Reilly is an odd bit of casting, but again it works well. It’s kind of a sad film, as both men are aging, nowhere near the stars they once were, and Hardy is plagued by health problems. All of that is portrayed well, and the production values are high.

Ah, but when they start doing classic Laurel & Hardy bits, the comedy kicks in and I start to grin. No, they’re not as good at it as the real thing, but the bits are still funny. I also appreciated the fact that the script makes it clear how much of the writing and directing of their films was done by Stan Laurel, whether he received any credit for it or not. They were both really talented guys, and STAN & OLLIE does a good job of showing that.

By the way, I also really like Oliver Hardy as John Wayne’s sidekick in THE FIGHTING KENTUCKIAN and wish he had done more roles along those lines.

Anyway, I didn’t even know STAN & OLLIE existed until we watched it recently, but I’m glad we did. If you’re a fan of classic movie comedies and watched them all the time on TV while you were growing up, as I did, you might like it, too.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Reign of Terror - Paul Bedford

Frontiersman Jared Tucker has brought his family to a ranch on the Brazos River for a new start in Texas, unaware that roving bands of Comanche, frustrated by their defeat at the Battle of Adobe Walls, are looking for just such isolated ranches where they can vent their anger against the white settlers. An attack on his home leaves a grieving Tucker searching for his 13-year-old daughter, the only survivor of the massacre, who has been carried off by the renegades.

Tucker falls in with buffalo hunter Woodrow Clayton, who has faced the Comanches before at Adobe Walls. Together, the two men join forces with a cavalry column led by Colonel Ranald Mackenzie, bound for a showdown with Chief Quanah Parker’s forces at a place called Palo Duro Canyon. Tucker, along with Clayton, hopes to find and rescue his daughter before it’s too late . . .

I read another historically based Western novel by Paul Bedford not long ago and enjoyed it, and REIGN OF TERROR is even better. He does a fine job of mixing history and fiction and presents an accurate portrayal of the Battles of Adobe Walls and Palo Duro Canyon and the leaders on both sides, Quanah Parker and Ranald Mackenzie, all the while spinning a compelling fictional yarn as well. The search among the Indians for a white captive is a very traditional Western plot, so the execution becomes even more important. Bedford pulls it off, even more impressive considering that he’s an English author and REIGN OF TERROR is part of the Black Horse Western line, soon to be published in England but available for pre-order in the U.S. as well. I plan to read more by Paul Bedford, and if you’re a fan of traditional Westerns, I recommend his books.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: Ten Detective Aces, February 1935

I don't know much about Emery Clarke, who did the cover on this issue of TEN DETECTIVE ACES, except that he was pretty active as a pulp cover artist from the mid-Thirties to the mid-Forties, including doing the covers for a number of issues of DOC SAVAGE. The guy on this one looks kind of dumb with his hand spread out like that as he reaches for his gun, but that's a fine-looking blonde beside him. Inside is the usual strong line-up for this pulp, including a Moon Man story by Frederick C. Davis and other yarns by G.T. Fleming-Roberts, Emile C. Tepperman, Philip Ketchum writing as Carl McK. Saunders, Joe Archibald, and J. Lane Linklater.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Saturday Morning Western Pulp: 10 Story Western Magazine, April 1947

And thus another Old West poker game comes to a violent end. Not only that, but look at the bullet hole in the guy's hat brim. Injury to a Hat Alert! I love this cover, which I'm pretty sure is by Robert Stanley. It's the little details that really make it work, like the two matches tucked in the cowboy's hat band and the royal flush laid out on the table. A lesser artist might not have even thought of those things. 10 STORY WESTERN MAGAZINE always had a good group of authors, and this issue is no exception: Tom W. Blackburn, Joseph Chadwick, Gunnison Steele (Bennie Gardner), Carl McK. Saunders (Philip Ketchum; "Saunders" is a pseudonym he used mostly for mystery and detective yarns), John Jo Carpenter (John Reese), Rod Patterson, Richard Brister, and Harrison Colt, a name I've always thought must be a pseudonym, but I don't know if it really was. Plus the familiar, instantly recognizable yellow-and-red color scheme. I'm a big fan of 10 STORY WESTERN and this looks like an excellent issue.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Forgotten Novelettes: Wreckers of the Star Patrol - Malcolm Jameson

A down-on-his-luck ship’s captain winds up taking a job as first mate on a tramp steamer carrying a valuable cargo, only to find himself involved in a scheme to wreck the ship for the insurance money . . .

Wait a minute. That’s the sort of nautical adventure yarn H. Bedford-Jones would have written for ARGOSY or SHORT STORIES. “Wreckers of the Star Patrol” by Malcolm Jameson, a novelette that appeared originally in the August 1942 issue of SUPER SCIENCE STORIES, is completely different. It’s about a down-on-his-luck spaceship captain who winds up taking a job as first mate on a tramp spaceship carrying a valuable cargo, only to find himself involved in a scheme to wreck the spaceship for the insurance money.

I’m sorry. I’m being too snarky here, and “Wreckers of the Star Patrol” doesn’t deserve it because I actually did enjoy this pulp science fiction yarn. The Bedford-Jones-like plot only takes up about the first half of it. Then it becomes a Space Western for a while, as the hero becomes a cowboy of sorts herding native fauna on another planet, riding a sort of small, winged dinosaur instead of a horse. And then, suddenly (here comes the kitchen sink), evil aliens invade! This gives the hero the chance to meet up again with the villains responsible for his previous dilemma and get his revenge on them.

Honestly, “Wreckers of the Star Patrol” isn’t very good. For one thing, there’s no Star Patrol in it, not even a mention. It’s a collection of standard pulp adventure elements dressed up with science fiction trappings. Characterization is almost non-existent. But, as I said above, I did enjoy it, mostly for the head-long pace and some good action scenes and dialogue. This is the first thing I’ve read by Malcolm Jameson. He sold quite a few stories to John W. Campbell for ASTOUNDING and UNKNOWN and I’m inclined to try some of them because he clearly wasn’t without talent. I think this one is just a reject sold to a salvage market, and even at that, I would have loved it when I was ten years old. I have no trouble putting myself in that mindset, and if you can do the same, you might like it, too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Last Stage to Hell Junction - Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins

First of all, is that a great title or what? LAST STAGE TO HELL JUNCTION. I can see it on the cover of a Popular Publications Western pulp or a Gold Medal paperback. In fact . . .

But more on that later. What you need to know is that this is the fourth Caleb York novel by Max Allan Collins based on the character created by Mickey Spillane. Former Wells Fargo detective/gunfighter Caleb York is still the sheriff of the small town of Trinidad, New Mexico Territory, and as usual, trouble’s not long in cropping up. York is also still juggling on-again, off-again romantic relationships with two women, beautiful blond ranch owner Willa Cullen and beautiful brunette saloon owner Rita Filley. The two women find themselves on the same stage bound for the neighboring town of Las Vegas, where there’s a railroad spur that will take them to Denver for shopping trips. Also on the stage is the most successful businessman in Trinidad, who owns banks and other enterprises throughout the Southwest.

The stagecoach hasn’t gone very far before it’s jumped by an outlaw gang led by a charismatic former actor gone bad. Their target is the businessman, who they kidnap to hold for ransom. They take the two women along with them as well, and everybody holes up in the ghost town of Hale Junction, which some wag has renamed Hell Junction on the sign at the edge of town. When Caleb York finds out about this, he sets out to rescue the hostages and deal with the outlaws, of course, but doing that without getting his friends killed proves to be a tricky job.

As always, Collins’ prose is just as smooth and fast-flowing as can be, and his characters are interesting, including the villains. I’m particularly fond of York’s deputy, reformed drunk and desert rat Jonathan Tulley. He’s a fine sidekick. I don’t know how the author sees him, but in my head he’s always Al “Fuzzy” St. John. Collins does an excellent job of making things worse and worse for his protagonist, until you really do start to wonder how York will be able to sort things out.

Now, as for that Gold Medal connection . . . I realized as I was reading this book that the series reminds me of the Amos Flagg novels written by Clifton Adams under the name Clay Randall in the Sixties. Flagg and York are very different characters, of course, but the books are the same sort of tough, fast-moving Western yarns with colorful casts and plenty of action. The York books could have almost been written and published then. If you’re looking for good, solid traditional Westerns with a hardboiled edge, I highly recommend LAST STAGE TO HELL JUNCTION and the other Caleb York novels.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Overlooked Movies: The Catcher Was a Spy (2018)

THE CATCHER WAS A SPY is about 90% a very good movie. The other 10% is just annoying.

Some of you probably know just from the title that this movie is about Moe Berg, a journeyman major league baseball catcher during the 1920s and ’30s. He was an interesting character, having attended Princeton, learned numerous languages, and deliberately cultivated a mysterious air about himself. Not surprisingly, his nickname was “Professor”. He even became a minor celebrity for appearing on a radio quiz show.

And at some point—we’re not sure when, possibly even before World War II—he went to work for Wild Bill Donovan at the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the C.I.A. His primary mission, on which he worked with several other agents, was finding out how close Germany was to developing a working atomic bomb, and eventually he was assigned to assassinate Werner Heisenberg, the scientist in charge of the German effort, if he deemed it necessary.

All this is a matter of history, and the movie does an excellent job of playing out that part of the story. The pace is leisurely but never boring, and the cast, led by the always likable Paul Rudd as Moe Berg, is top-notch. Production values are high. All that is the 90% that works.

The 10% that doesn’t occurs when the director and screenwriter, out of the blue, decide that Moe Berg must have been gay, something that none of his biographers or the director of a documentary about him, give any credence to whatsoever. It’s like they sat down and said, “Oh, he never got married and he was kind of secretive about his life . . . so he must have been gay! Yeah, let’s go with that!” And so we get a few scenes clumsily shoehorned into the movie that almost feel like they came from a diffferent film. Rudd doesn’t even come across like he believes those scenes. In those moments his performance seems like he’s saying to the audience, “Yeah, I’m only doing this because these guys told me to. I don’t buy it, either.”

I realize this is more of a rant than I normally post. Despite the reservations, I enjoyed THE CATCHER IS A SPY. Sometimes it’s nice to watch a movie that’s not all CGI and explosions (although there are some of those in the World War II sequences, which are very well done).

Monday, July 08, 2019

Robert E. Howard: A Literary Biography - David C. Smith

I met David C. Smith at the very first Howard Days get-together I attended, back in 1996. Back then it was more like Howard Day, since all the activities—what few of them there were—took place on Saturday. The big appeal was just being able to visit the Howard House and talk to fellow fans. I had a great time and have been back many times since.

Dave and I met again face to face at the most recent REH Days last month, where he was the guest of honor, and once again it was great to be able to talk with him. For those of you not familiar with his work, he co-wrote the Red Sonja series of paperbacks published by Ace and wrote Black Vulmea and Bran Mak Morn novels for Zebra during the Howard Boom, as well as authoring numerous sword-and-sorcery novels featuring his own characters. He’s a really fine writer, a great guy, and very well qualified to write a book that I’ve had for a while and was prompted by our visit to go ahead and read—ROBERT E. HOWARD: A LITERARY BIOGRAPHY.

The wording of that title is important. While Smith includes plenty of biographical details, his focus is on Howard’s writing career and how it developed, both commercially and creatively. I’ve always been very interested in the way Howard conducted his writing career since I feel a certain kinship with him (small town Texas, not knowing any other actual professional writers, etc.). Howard’s success was an inspiration to me when I was trying to break in, and it’s always nice to read about how he accomplished that.

Smith also examines a number of Howard’s stories in depth to show how his writing became richer and more polished as he went along. Because of this, there are a number of spoilers, as well, so this is more of a volume for readers who are well acquainted with Howard’s fiction. However, if you’ve read the stories, Smith’s analysis of them is very rewarding. The first time I read the Conan stories was in the old Lancer editions, where they were arranged in the “chronology” imposed on them by L. Sprague de Camp. Reading them in the order in which Howard wrote them, which I did about ten years ago, is a much different and, to me, more interesting and enjoyable experience. ROBERT E. HOWARD: A LITERARY BIOGRAPHY applies this technique to Howard’s entire output and proves to be fascinating.

This might not be the best book for someone who’s new to Howard, but for long-time fans such as myself, it’s a real treat. Well-written and insightful, ROBERT E. HOWARD: A LITERARY BIOGRAPHY is one of the best books I’ve read this year and gets a very high recommendation for me.

A Middle of the Night Music Post: Blue Rondo a la Turk - The Dave Brubeck Quartet

"Take Five" will always be my favorite Dave Brubeck song--and one of my all-time favorites, period--but this one is mighty good, too. And this performance really takes me back to that era.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: Speed Adventure Stories, July 1945

I think if I had been around during the Thirties and Forties, I would have been writing for the Spicy and Speed line of pulps. This issue of SPEED ADVENTURE STORIES features three authors better known for their Westerns: L.P. Holmes, Giff Cheshire, and Frank Bonham. Also on hand are the legendary E. Hoffmann Price and Spicy/Speed stalwarts Victor Rousseau (writing under his own name for a change, instead of Lew Merrill, Hugh Speer, or Clive Trent) and Edwin Truett Long, writing under the very transparent pseudonym of Edwin Truett. I've enjoyed stories by all these authors and know I would enjoy the yarns they've contributed here, too.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Saturday Morning Western Pulp: Action-Packed Western, December 1938

Based on the cover by A. Leslie Ross, this probably is an action-packed issue of ACTION-PACKED WESTERN. As usual with this publisher, Chesterfield Publications (later Columbia), we get some stories by house-name authors Cliff Campbell and Mat Rand, but the prolific Ed Earl Repp (or one of his ghosts) and S. Omar Barker are on hand, too, so I'll bet there's some good reading to be had here. Heck, I've liked most of the stuff I've read by "Campbell" and "Rand".

Friday, July 05, 2019

Forgotten Books: The Ranger Way - Eugene Cunningham

Eugene Cunningham's books are always worth reading, and THE RANGER WAY is no exception. You can see the plot in the back cover copy above, and the style is Cunningham's usual distinctive, hardboiled prose. However, THE RANGER WAY is a little on the mild side for a Cunningham novel. I believe there are only ten deaths in the entire book, and nine of those take place in the second half, two of them off-screen. Cunningham is notorious for the amount of powder burned and blood spilled in his yarns, so if you've never read his work, this one might not be the best place to start. But if you're already a Cunningham fan, it's quite enjoyable, if not in the top rank of his books.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

The Digest Enthusiast, Book Ten - Richard Krauss, ed.

I've been waiting to have a copy of this book in my hands before posting about it, and now I do. THE DIGEST ENTHUSIAST is just about the best magazine out there, and the new issue, Book Ten, features the longest, most extensive interview I've ever done, with lots of cover reproductions and at least one photo of me that I'm pretty sure has never been published anywhere else. Doing this interview with editor Richard Krauss was a lot of fun and brought back many great memories of the early days of my career.

Of course, there's a lot more to THE DIGEST ENTHUSIAST, BOOK TEN, than just my ramblings. You can also read about the Creature from the Black Lagoon, a small publisher I'd never heard of called Bronze Books, and articles on wonderful digests such as MANHUNT, AMAZING STORIES, STARTLING MYSTERY STORIES, ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, and a great article on the short-lived CHARLIE CHAN MYSTERY MAGAZINE by Richard Krauss. That's just a ton of great reading, and as always, I give THE DIGEST ENTHUSIAST a very high recommendation.

Blog Anniversary

Today is the 15th anniversary of this blog. As I've mentioned before (and did so in my very first post, in fact), I only started to blog because my best friends in the writing business, Bill Crider and Ed Gorman, had started blogs and I thought it sounded like fun. It probably never occurred to me at the time that I'd still be at it 15 years later. Early on, the blog was very much a diary, full of not only what I was writing and reading but also comments about the weather and my day-to-day life. It's evolved into whatever it is now, mostly just occasional posts about old books and movies. But I'm still enjoying it, and even though social media has moved and blogs are sort of dinosaurs, I intend to keep at it as long as I'm able, just like I plan to continue the WesternPulps email group (an even more prehistoric venue) as long as a platform exists for it.

Looking back at that first post, I notice that I'd just finished my 165th novel. I'm working on #375, so that's 210 novels in 15 years, or an average of 14 books a year. No wonder my brain is tired.

Also, the day I started the blog, our Nigerian dwarf goat Sugarfoot died. Sugarfoot was about the size of a regular goat, so he was a lot bigger than a regular dwarf goat. He was allergic to regular hay and could only eat alfalfa hay, otherwise he would roll onto his back, wave all four legs in the air, and bleat. I am not making this up. We told the vet about it, but he didn't believe us until he saw it happen for himself. He thought it was the weirdest thing he'd ever seen, and it was pretty bizarre, no doubt about that. I don't believe I've ever told that story here on the blog before, so see, there are still new things to discover even after 15 years.

Many thanks to all of you out there, whether you've been reading Rough Edges from the first or have just started it. I appreciate each and every one of you and hope that you enjoy what I'm doing here.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Overlooked Movies: Bleeding Steel (2017)

I’m not sure what to say about this 2017 Chinese/Australian science fiction thriller. BLEEDING STEEL stars Jackie Chan, and it’s almost impossible not to like Chan’s screen persona, even though from what I’ve read he’s kind of a jerk in real life. The movie is very stylishly filmed, with lots of colorful, fast-moving action scenes, including an epic fight atop the Sydney Opera House, but pretty as those scenes are to look at, they’re kind of hard to follow at times. Chan is effective as a veteran cop tormented by the death of his young daughter from leukemia during a prologue that sets up the rest of the action 13 years later.

As for the rest of the story, you’ve got a mad scientist who’s come up with a way to create biologically enhanced super-soldiers, a murderous albino arms dealer, a Goth female mercenary who looks like she’s trying to imitate Kate Beckinsale in those UNDERWORLD movies, a sinister fortune teller with an even more sinister dwarf assistant, a sleazy novelist with a dangerous secret, a hustling young conman/martial artist, and a young female student who has bad guys and good guys alike after her for some unknown reason.

In other words, the script for BLEEDING STEEL is a herky-jerky mess full of dead ends and unresolved questions. By the end, it kind of makes sense, if you squint and hold your mouth right, but only with the clumsy shoehorning of a few lines of dialogue to account for some of the plot holes.

Despite all that, Chan is good most of the time, the action scenes are fun to watch, and the flashy cinematography works more often than not. BLEEDING STEEL is not necessarily a good movie, but in the end, I enjoyed watching it and give it a qualified recommendation. If you’re a Jackie Chan fan, you’d probably enjoy it, too, even though he’s getting to be a shadow of his former self.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Trail of the Shark - David Hardy

David Hardy is one of the best current authors of historical fiction, spinning yarns that are well-researched and exciting, as well as fast-moving with more than a touch of pulp influence. In his latest short novel, TRAIL OF THE SHARK, Tom Pepper is a Yankee sailer—a Quaker, to be precise—who has a berth on a Portuguese trading ship that plies the waters along the south China coast in the early Nineteenth Century.

The ship encounters pirates led by the notorious cutthroat known as Meng the Shark, and Pepper’s fiance, the daughter of the ship’s owner who happens to be on board, is kidnapped by the brigands while Pepper is left for dead. He’s not dead, though, and so, accompanied by one of his shipmates who also survived the attack, he sets out after the pirates in the hope of rescuing his fiance.

Unfortunately, he soon discovers that she threw herself overboard from the pirate ship and drowned rather than remain in captivity. This changes Pepper’s motivation—he’s after vengeance now—but not his quest to track down the Shark and settle accounts with him.

This turns out to be a long trail that Pepper has to follow. Along the way, he sets aside his Quaker beliefs and becomes a dangerous, bloody-handed adventurer himself, getting involved with a civil war, various untrustworthy politicians, and a mysterious warrior/monk. You know that eventually Pepper is going to get his showdown with Meng the Shark, and when that finally comes about, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Like many of the pulp authors he admires, Hardy manages to work a great deal of plot into a relatively short length. He creates a fine protagonist in Tom Pepper, too, and the supporting characters are colorful and interesting, as well. TRAIL OF THE SHARK is well-written and great fun, and if you’re a fan of fine historical adventure yarns, you definitely should check it out.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Halfway Point

I don't normally do middle-of-the-year updates, but this year has seen some changes in both my writing and my reading so I thought I'd mention them.

Halfway through the year, I'm on a pace to write about 900,000 words in 2019. If that holds, my million-words-a-year streak will end at 14. I'm actually all right with that, since I never intended to continue it for this long, anyway. I've already started talking with my editor about my contracts for next year, and it looks like I'll have about 750,000 words to write. Maybe a little more. I maintained that pace for years before I started hitting a million, and I'm confident I can continue at that rate for a good while yet. That's still pretty productive.

Now, it's possible I'll have a good second half and get the million words for this year anyway. We'll see. As long as I'm having fun and turning out good books, I don't care either way, but I'll admit, I've enjoyed being a million-word-a-year guy like the old pulpsters.

In 1980, I started keeping a list of every book I read each year. All those lists from before 2008 were lost in the fire, but I still remember my high and low totals. The most books I read in a year was 184. The fewest, 106. As of right now, I've read 50 books this year. So again, I'm right there in that area where I might not meet an established standard. Or maybe I will. I'd like to read at least 100 books, even if I can't get to 106.

All this is entirely arbitrary and trivial, of course. Utterly meaningless. Probably just a sympton of low-level OCD. But I like lists and keeping track of stuff.

This has been an unusual year in real life, what with Sammy's medical problems (he's doing quite well, by the way), the roof damage, the hassles with the insurance company, finally getting the new roof on, and numerous other time-sucks. But in the past couple of months, my writing seems to be back on track for the most part. Dealing with real life is just part of, well, life.

I have plans for the next year and a half that I'm looking forward to. We'll see what happens.

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: Dime Mystery Magazine, June 1934

A Norman Saunders cover yesterday, a Walter Baumhofer cover today. That's an all-star weekend as far as cover artists go. And some all-star authors in this issue of DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, too, including Hugh B. Cave, Wyatt Blassingame, William B. Rainey (who was also Wyatt Blassingame), Arthur Leo Zagat, G.T. Fleming-Roberts, and John H. Knox. I love lurid but eye-catching covers like this. Where else but on a Weird Menace pulp are you going to find a hunchback with an eyepatch? 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Saturday Morning Western Pulp: Western Trails, July 1942

This issue of WESTERN TRAILS has a fine Norman Saunders cover and an excellent line-up of authors: L.P. Holmes, Wayne D. Overholser, Stephen Payne, Bennie Gardner (as both Gunnison Steele, his regular pseudonym, and Barry Gardner, his son's name), and Lee Bond. I'd sure read an issue like that. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Forgotten Novellas: Squadron of the Damned - David Wright O'Brien

David Wright O’Brien’s novella “Squadron of the Damned” appeared in the July 1942 issue of AMAZING STORIES, the same issue that included “Blitzkrieg in the Past”, also written by O’Brien under his John York Cabot pseudonym. Over the years I’ve read numerous comments about how some early science fiction stories are just Westerns transplanted into space. Well, “Squadron of the Damned” is very much a French Foreign Legion yarn set in space. Which didn’t lessen my enjoyment of it one bit.

The protagonist, Ricky Werts, joins the Outer Space Patrol Legion in order to track down his missing brother, who was supposedly killed in a spaceship wreck while fleeing a murder charge. Ricky believes his brother Clark is not only innocent, he’s also still alive, and Ricky thinks it’s likely Clark has tried to disappear into the ranks of the Legion, which is engaged in a war with invaders from outside the solar system.

This story also has a lot in common with some of the military SF being published today. We get some training scenes, some camaraderie between Ricky and his fellow Legionnaires (as well as making some enemies among them), and several big space battles, along with the resolution of Ricky’s quest to find his brother and clear his name. The difference is that O’Brien takes around 20,000 words to do this, while a book with the same plot today could run to 150,000 words, easily.

I think I prefer O’Brien’s version. The science may be pretty iffy in places, even for 1942, but he keeps things moving along very nicely and has an enjoyable style. I find it interesting that the space fighters used by the Legion are described much like American B-17 bombers. I don’t know exactly when O’Brien enlisted in the Army Air Corps, but I wonder if he already had some familiarity with B-17s at the time he wrote this story. (He was a crewman in a B-17 when he was killed in a bombing raid over Berlin in 1944.)

“Squadron of the Damned” is a good pulp adventure yarn, not a classic of the SF genre by any means but still a very entertaining story. I’ll definitely be reading more by O’Brien.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: 10-Story Detective Magazine, May 1943

I love the way this cover by Jerome Rozen jumps out at you, as well as the way the guy is carrying the skull like a football and stiff-arming the other guy. That's a pose right off one of the sports pulps, but I don't remember ever seeing any of those that involve skulls. Inside this issue of 10-STORY DETECTIVE MAGAZINE are stories by some fine pulpsters including W.T. Ballard, Norman A. Daniels (once as himself and once as by David M. Norman), Joe Archibald, and Lee E. Wells. With that cover and those authors, I'd read that one.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Saturday Morning Western Pulp: Pete Rice Magazine, June 1934

That's a dynamic Walter Baumhofer cover (but I repeat myself) on this issue of PETE RICE MAGAZINE. The other notable thing about this issue for me is the title of the lead novel: "Wolves of Wexford Manor". Somehow I never expected to see the name "Wexford Manor" in the title of a Western pulp novel. Sounds more like some eccentric amateur detective should be gathering the suspects in a picturesque English country house to reveal who really killed Aunt Henrietta. There are two back-up stories in this issue, both by Harold A. Davis, one under the pseudonym Rand Allison. I've read only one Pete Rice novel and wasn't impressed with it, but the magazine had very good covers.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Forgotten Books: Blood Trail - Gardner F. Fox

As you can see from the back cover copy above, BLOOD TRAIL by Gardner F. Fox (originally published in paperback by Belmont in 1979) is a revenge Western, a very common plot in the genre. Fox doesn't really bring anything new to the table in the story he tells in this book (on the trail of the three men who bushwhacked him and left him for dead, the protagonist finds himself in the middle of a range war), but it's the execution that really matters in a book like this, not the plot. And in that respect, Fox does a superb job.

Not only is Abel Kinniston, the gunman/protagonist, a fully fleshed-out character, Fox give us really good portraits of his supporting characters, too, especially the villains. The description of the New Mexico Territory setting is excellent, and the action scenes and pacing are top-notch, as you'd expect from an old pulpster and comic book scripter like Fox. If you're a fan of traditional Westerns, this is a very good one and well worth reading.

I read the e-book edition that's currently available, but I also have an old, beat-to-hell paperback edition that served as the source for the scans at the top of this post. I couldn't find any other cover images of BLOOD TRAIL on-line, so I decided to post this one even though the book is in bad shape. I did take off the rubber band that's holding the pages together when I scanned it, though.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Death in the Nations - Terry Alexander

I generally don’t mind when historical characters are used as the protagonists in fictional stories, as long as the author at least makes an attempt at staying fairly close to history. Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves, a black man who rode after outlaws in Indian Territory for Judge Isaac Parker in Fort Smith, has been featured in a number of stories and novels over the past few years. Reeves probably came to prominence in the world of fiction not only because he’s a pretty interesting character in his own right, plenty tough and capable of doing the hard, dangerous job of running down lawbreakers on the frontier, but because of some claims (since thoroughly debunked) that he was the inspiration for the creation of The Lone Ranger. (Yes, that’s a pet peeve of mine. It’s impossible to prove a negative, of course, but I’m completely convinced George W. Trendle and Fran Striker never heard of Bass Reeves.)

Anyway . . . For the past few years, the excellent New Pulp publisher Airship 27 has been putting out an annual anthology of Western novellas featuring Bass Reeves, written by top-notch authors such as Mel Odom, Derrick Ferguson, and Gary Phillips. One of Odom’s stories won the Peacemaker Award from Western Fictioneers for Best Short Fiction last year. As a Peacemaker submission this year, I read “Death in the Nations” by Terry Alexander, from BASS REEVES, FRONTIER MARSHAL, VOLUME 3. It finds Reeves heading into Indian Territory again, this time on the trail of a murderer. The father and brothers of the man who was killed are going to take the law into their own hands and go after the murderer themselves unless Bass can catch him and bring him back to Fort Smith first. Bass’s only lead is that the fugitive has a cousin who heads up an outlaw gang in the Nations, and that’s where he figures the man will head.

Naturally, things don’t go smoothly in Bass’s quest to capture the killer, and Alexander does a fine job of placing obstacle after obstacle in his path. There’s plenty of action, and I especially enjoyed the way Alexander has Bass use his brain to accomplish his goal as much as he uses his guns and fists. This is a good story, and I liked it enough that it prompted me to buy the latest volume so I can read the stories by Mel Odom and R.A. Jones, as well. There’s plenty of good Bass Reeves-based fiction out there. If you enjoy Western action yarns, you should give them a try.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Western Union - Paul Bedford

WESTERN UNION is another book submitted for the Peacemaker Awards. As I’m writing and scheduling this, I have no idea how it fared in the competition, but I liked it. It’s by Paul Bedford and was published as part of the Black Horse Westerns line in England.

Ransom Thatcher is a young man who works for Western Union in 1861, when the company is trying to complete a transcontinental telegraph line at the same time as the Civil War breaks out. Thatcher is teamed with a tough, laconic former Texas Ranger named Kirby and assigned to find out who is responsible for tearing down the part of the telegraph line that’s already been completed in Nebraska. At the same time, a wagon train full of immigrants who want to avoid the bloody conflict back east sets out from Omaha, headed for the Pacific Northwest. The fate of these settlers will wind up entwined with the mission Thatcher and Kirby have to complete.

Paul Bedford spins this yarn with quite a bit of skill, juggling several different plotlines and sets of characters and bringing them together in ways both expected and unexpected. There’s plenty of action as well. One of the challenges for any British writer of Westerns is to sound authentic, and Bedford does a pretty good job of that. There are a few words and turns of phrase that don’t ring true, but probably less than would crop up if I were to attempt to write a book set in England.

WESTERN UNION is the first novel by Paul Bedford that I’ve read, and I enjoyed it enough that I’m glad I have several more by him on hand. I’ll be reading them, too.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Scarred One - Tyler Boone (Charles Gramlich)

Trenton Banning arrives in the mining boomtown of Sun Falls, Wyoming, on the trail of the man he blames for the fire that killed his parents when he was a child and left Banning badly scarred. Banning is convinced that mining and hotel tycoon Jonathan Hunsinger is responsible for that blaze, and Hunsinger is now in Sun Falls engaged in building a hotel and operating a mine. However, Banning isn’t in town long before he discovers a couple of things: Hunsinger has a beautiful daughter, Elizabeth, and something sinister is going on in Sun Falls. In short order, the one friend Banning makes, a burly mountain man, is attacked and badly injured. Then Banning is framed for the murder of a saloon girl, and the local lawmen won’t be any help since they seem to want Banning dead just as much as everybody else in Sun Falls.

THE SCARRED ONE is the first full-length Western novel by Charles Gramlich, writing under the pseudonym Tyler Boone. It’s an excellent debut that features top-notch handling of the traditional Western elements while at the same time giving the reader plenty of well-developed characters and some unexpected plot twists. Trenton Banning is a fine protagonist, tough enough to handle himself when trouble crops up but not a superman. The budding attraction between him and Elizabeth Hunsinger is particularly well done, and the novel’s climax is a satisfying one.

Gramlich has done very good work over the years in the horror, fantasy, and science fiction genres, and THE SCARRED ONE proves that he’s equally capable of delivering an excellent Western novel. I recommend this one and look forward to many more.

(Note: As the awards chair for Western Fictioneers’ Peacemaker Awards, I receive a number of novels every year, many of which I’d like to read. I don’t have anything to do with the actual judging for the awards—my job is strictly keeping track of the entries and counting the votes at the end of the competition—but I’ve always felt like it wouldn’t be proper for me to review any of these books while the competition is still going on, just to avoid the appearance of any undue influence. So this year I’ve decided to go ahead and read and review the ones I want to, but I’ve scheduled the posts to run after the awards have been announced. That’s why you’re seeing this in June, rather than in January when I wrote it. Look for more Peacemaker reviews to come.)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: Action Stories, January 1927

ACTION STORIES published a lot of Westerns, and the covers reflected that, especially from about 1930 on. But it also published all the other genres of adventure fiction and that can be seen on some of the early covers such as this one by H.C. Murphy. The stories in the January 1927 issue include the cover-featured Alaskan yarn by Chart Pitt, an author I'd managed never to hear of until now, despite the fact that he had a 30-year career in the pulps, plus a jungle tale by Frederick Nebel, a historical by A. deHerries Smith, and nautical adventures by Albert Richard Wetjen and Bob Du Soe. That's a pretty good mix of exciting stories.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Saturday Morning Western Pulp: New Western, September 1952

I don't recall seeing a railroad handcar on a Western pulp cover before, but I'm sure there were others besides the one on this issue of NEW WESTERN. As always with a Popular Publications Western pulp, this looks like a solid issue with stories by E.B. Mann (a reprint from a 1934 issue of STAR WESTERN), George C. Appell, James B. Hendryx (a Black John yarn), Hascal Giles, Robert L. Trimnell, and Clark Gray.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Forgotten Books: Tall, Dark and Dead - Kermit Jaediker

Tina Van Lube is being blackmailed by a disreputable ex-lover, so she hires detective Lou Lait to get her incriminating love letters back. All in a day's work for Lait. Except for one small detail--the disreputable ex-lover, columnist Erskine Spalding, is found dead with a knife in his back. Suspects abound: Tina's husband Jan, disfigured war hero; Tina's hot-headed brother, Stanislaus; Coates, the recently-fired butler; plain-but-dedicated secretary, Prescott; the gun-running Colonel; the social-climbing Durkins...even Lolita, the dancer. They all had their reasons for quieting the nasty gossip columnist. Lait's making it his job to find out who did the deed.

This novel was published originally in hardback in 1947, then reprinted in paperback in 1951 by Lion Books. It's included in the latest Trio of Lions volume from Stark House, coming out later this month. It's a really entertaining private eye novel that's considerably different from Kermit Jaediker's other novel HERO'S LUST, also reprinted by Stark House. The style in this one is more breezy and lighthearted, with a wise-cracking protagonist and a cast of eccentric characters. And yet there are also some pretty violent scenes and one particularly harrowing one where the private eye has to escape when some of the villains have captured him and intend to torture him. All in all, this hits the marks very nicely and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Both of Jaediker's novels are excellent, and it's a shame he didn't write more.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: Thrilling Adventures, January 1935

Here's another pulp featuring a Robert E. Howard story, and he made the cover this time. The story is "The Treasures of Tartary", a desert adventure featuring his character Kirby O'Donnell. There's a particularly strong line-up of authors in this issue with REH, Arthur J. Burks, Ray Cummings, Johnston McCulley, Wayne Rogers, and house-names Sam Brant and Kerry McRoberts. This looks like a really fine issue.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Saturday Morning Western Pulp: Cowboy Stories, June 1936

Since Robert E. Howard Days is going on in Cross Plains, Texas, this weekend, here's a pulp featuring one of his stories. As I understand it, the dates on pulp magazines were actually off-sale dates, not on-sale dates, so this issue of COWBOY STORIES would have been on the newsstands before Howard's death on June 11 and unsold copies would have been pulled a few days before that. Howard's name isn't on the cover, but inside is his story "A Man-Eating Jeopard", featuring his character Buckner Jeopardy Grimes. This issue also features a novella by Luke Short and stores by S. Omar Barker, Archie Joscelyn, Hapsburg Leibe, and Alfred L. Garry.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Forgotten Books: El Cazador - Chuck Dixon and Steve Epting

I always enjoy a good pirate yarn, and here’s one I completely missed. EL CAZADOR was a six-issue comic book written by Chuck Dixon with art by Steve Epting, published by CrossGen Comics. It came out in 2003 and 2004, when I was reading hardly any comics at all, so I wasn’t even aware of its existence until recently. Thankfully, all six issues were reprinted in a trade paperback collection, because it’s a really good tale.

As pirate stories often do, this one opens with a battle at sea, as the pirate ship captained by the villainous Blackjack Tom captures a Spanish vessel, kills the crew, and takes a couple of aristocratic passengers to hold for ransom. But unknown to the pirates, one of the passengers has managed to hide from them, a young woman named Cinzia Elena Marie Esperanza Diego-Luis Hidalgo. She does more than just hide, though. When Blackjack Tom leaves a skeleton crew on the Spanish ship to sail it into port, Cinzia (who was taught to use a sword by her father) kills the man in charge, takes over the ship, convinces the crew to swear loyalty to her, and sets off after Blackjack Tom to get vengeance and free the prisoners, who are her mother and younger brother. She renames the ship El Cazador (which means “The Hunter”) and instead of using her long real name, the crew dubs her Lady Sin.

The rest of the story involves the pursuit of Blackjack Tom, a mutiny, clashes with other pirates, etc. And what’s frustrating is that because of the bankruptcy and collapse of CrossGen Comics, the tale never reaches an ending. “To Be Continued”, it says on the final page, but unfortunately, it never was.

What we have, though, is wonderful stuff, with a fine, hardboiled, and historically accurate script by Dixon, one of the all-time great comics scripters, complemented by excellent art from Steve Epting, one of the best modern-day comics artists. It’s a shame the story was never finished, but what’s there can be read with great enjoyment by comics fans, pirate fans, and really, anybody who likes top-notch historical fiction. EL CAZADOR gets a high recommendation from me.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Overlooked Movies: And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003)

Given my interest in most things Western, and also my interest in the early days of the movie-making business, how in the world did I not know this movie even existed until recently? No matter, because now I’ve seen AND STARRING PANCHO VILLA AS HIMSELF and really enjoyed it.

Made for HBO in 2003, this is a fictionalization of historical incidents in which a producer and cameramen from the Mutual Film Company went to Mexico during the revolution and traveled with Pancho Villa’s army in order to get footage of actual battles and then make a movie about Villa’s life. The producer, Frank Thayer (played by an actor I’m not familiar with, Eion Bailey) is the protagonist, and the movie is kind of a coming-of-age story as well as a portrait of the developing friendship between the young man from New Jersey and the flamboyant, charismatic revolutionary. Plenty of historical figures show up in the story, from director Christy Cabanne to Raoul Walsh, the actor who plays the young Villa, to journalist John Reed and muckraking newspaperman William Randolph Hearst. Mixed in with them are fictional characters such as the Jewish mercenary machine-gunner who’s part of Villa’s army, played by Alan Arkin.

This is a really handsome production with a good cast, epic sweep, and lots of well-done action, but it’s dominated by the scenery-chewing of Antonio Banderas as Pancho Villa. I say that in a good way, because an over-the-top historical character such as Villa deserves an over-the-top portrayal. Like most good historical dramas, AND STARRING PANCHO VILLA AS HIMSELF leaves you thinking, well, maybe not everything in there happened exactly the way they show it—but it should have. I liked this one a lot and am glad I came across it.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: The Masked Detective, Spring 1942

I know I read the lead novel from this issue of THE MASKED DETECTIVE many years ago in a reprint edition, but I couldn't tell you anything about it except that I remember enjoying it. The Masked Detective is really crime reporter Rex Parker. Norman A. Daniels wrote more of his exploits under the house-name Robert Wallace than anyone else, but my old editor and mentor Sam Merwin Jr. wrote several of them, including this one (although I didn't know that at the time I read it). This issue also features a short story by Fredric Brown. I like the cover and wouldn't mind reading more Masked Detective yarns. Maybe one of these days.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Saturday Morning Western Pulp: Six-Gun Western, April 1949

This cover looks like it should have been used on an issue of SPICY WESTERN, but as far as I can tell, it never was. So I think there was a chance it was a left-over painting from the magazine that finally got used on this issue of SIX-GUN WESTERN, also from Trojan Magazines, Inc. Inside are stories by the legendarily prolific E. Hoffmann Price and Larry A. Harris, another stalwart of the Western pulps. The other authors are either house-names or guys I've never heard of. I suspect it's an entertaining issue anyway.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Forgotten Books: Run the Wild River - D.L. Champion

Sometimes you come across little gems in unexpected places. I’ve been reading D.L. Champion’s pulp work for decades, since he created one of my favorite characters, the Phantom Detective, and wrote many of the early novels in the pulp of that name. Until recently, though, I was unaware that he’d also written a hardboiled crime novel, RUN THE WILD RIVER, originally published in paperback by Lion Books in 1952, with a cover by Mort Kunstler. It’s being reprinted soon by Stark House Press as part of a triple volume of Lion Books.

The plot of a heel’s rise to power in some criminal enterprise is a common one in hardboiled and noir fiction, and that’s what you get in RUN THE WILD RIVER. The narrator, Bill Ackroyd, is a heel, no doubt about that. A young grifter, he gets kicked out of both El Paso and Juarez and finds himself stranded in a small, seedy town on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. But Bill is the kind of guy who always figures out a way to land on his feet, so before you know it he becomes a cog in a local smuggling network that takes Mexican laborers across the river and sells them into virtual slavery in Texas. Bill has his sights set on being more than a henchman, though—no matter who he has to double-cross or even kill to accomplish that goal. He even succeeds . . . but then a beautiful blonde shows up and brings with her the potential to wreck everything, as beautiful blondes usually do.

Champion’s many years of writing for the pulps taught him how to pace a story, that’s for sure. RUN THE WILD RIVER really races along, and Champion accomplishes the difficult task of making the reader care about, even root for, his protagonist, no matter how awful a person that protagonist is—and Bill Ackroyd’s pretty bad. The other characters also border on stereotypes, but Champion makes all of them interesting, too, and he does a fine job with the squalid settings.

I have to admit, I saw the big twist in the story coming as soon as Champion introduced it, and I also felt like the plot could have used yet one more twist at the end. But neither of those things detracted much from my enjoyment of this novel. I really enjoyed reading RUN THE WILD RIVER, and I sure wish Champion had continued writing books like this. However, this is the only one we’ve got, so if you’re a fan of hardboiled and noir crime fiction, I give it a high recommendation.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Overlooked Movies: The Fighting 69th (1940)

With yesterday being Memorial Day, Livia and I watched something appropriate to the occasion: THE FIGHTING 69TH, a 1940 film about the 69th Infantry Regiment during World War I. Neither of us had ever seen it before, a little surprising considering how many times it ran on TV when we were growing up. It’s a mixture of history and fiction and has a great cast of Warner Brothers stalwarts. James Cagney plays Jerry Plunkett, a wise-cracking tough guy from Brooklyn who’s befriended by the unit’s chaplain, Father Francis Duffy (Pat O’Brien), one of the actual historical figures in the story. The 69th is commanded by Major William “Wild Bill” Donovan (George Brent), who during World War II commanded the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA. Another historical figure who shows up is Sergeant Joyce Kilmer, the well-known poet. Then there are the other fictional characters such as the blustering but good-hearted sergeant (Alan Hale), the comic relief who’s always mooching cigarettes (Frank McHugh), the Jewish soldier who pretends to be Irish because he wants to be part of the 69th (Sammy Cohen), and various other dogfaces played by Dennis Morgan, Dick Foran, William Lundigan, William Hopper, George Reeves, and the great Guinn “Big Boy” Williams.

Not surprisingly, we get a fairly lengthy boot camp sequence to introduce us to the characters before they go overseas, and then it’s off to France for action in the trenches, and the movie really excels in those scenes. It’s brutal and terrifying, not at all the light-hearted, glory-seeking lark that some of the soldiers expected, and as it turns out, Cagney’s character can’t handle it and commits several acts of cowardice that result in the deaths of other soldiers. He’s courtmartialed and sentenced to death, but circumstances provide him with an opportunity to redeem himself. Which we all knew was coming, of course, but honestly, would we have it any other way?

THE FIGHTING 69TH is episodic but very well-made, with a great cast and some really harrowing battle scenes. Many modern viewers probably consider movies like this hokey, but I’ll watch ’em all day and enjoy them.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: Mystery Book Magazine, Winter 1948

For some reason, I like this cover. The colors are eye-catching, the couple seem so suave and sophisticated, and yet there's the element of action with the bullet shattering the glass. I guess that's three reasons I like it, isn't it? Inside there's a Saint story by Leslie Charteris (one of my favorite series and authors), as well as stories by Q. Patrick (the guys who also wrote as Patrick Quentin, usually pretty good), Will Oursler (whose name is familiar to me, but I don't know why), O.B. Myers (who I think of as an aviation pulp author), and Leslie Gordon Barnard (who I never heard of). I'd read this issue just for the Saint story.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Saturday Morning Western Pulp: Ace-High Western Magazine, January 1937

There's the Angry, Gun-Totin' Redhead we all know and love, not surprisingly on a cover painted by Tom Lovell. ACE-HIGH WESTERN MAGAZINE typically had very good covers and fine authors, and this issue is no exception. Inside are stories by Walt Coburn, Harry F. Olmsted, Cliff Farrell, Gunnison Steele, Robert E. Mahaffey, John G. Pearsol, and house-name Bart Cassidy. Those are all top-notch Western pulpsters.