Sunday, August 26, 2012

Coming Soon - Vote for the next Clark Tyler Cover and win the book!



I am putting the finishing touches on the next Clark Tyler adventure - a massive revision of a story I originally wrote for the terrific Airship 27 Productions. The changes that include adding Clark Tyler to the story and changing out the other main character. It's a tale of old Hollywood...

However, here is my dilemma... I have 2 amazing Mike Fyles covers for this one and I can't decide which one is best - so that is where you come in.

Look at the two covers that are posted here and leave a vote in the comments. I will choose two people to win a free copy of the printed book when it is out (soonish). One of the winners will be chosen from those who voted for the final cover choice. The other winner will be chosen randomly from all of those voting. I will not necessarily choose the cover with the most votes...

Cover One - Action

Cover Two - Adventure

Please, add a comment to help me decide. I think they are both great. In two weeks I will name the winning cover and the winners!

8.28 - I took Andrew Salmon's suggestion and made the Jade Monk and Thug bigger in the Action version... 

8.28 later - M.D. Jackson had a different idea for the action cover so I have changed that, cause I like it better than the original...



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tannhäuser - GenCon 2012 news

The great news site Table Top Gaming News has been posting pictures from Gencon and here is a bit of Tannhäuser news... If you look carefully, you can see the second Tannhäuser Novel, Operation Night Eagle, for sale on the rack shown here!

This is at the FFG booth...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pulp of the Week - Death Troopers



Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber

Death Troopers is the first Star War novel I was drawn to since Timothy Zahn's original Thrawn Trilogy. Zombies in the Star Wars Universe? I'm in. As it happens, this book takes place shortly before the events of A New Hope.

Schreiber's novel follows two teen-age brothers, Kale and Trig Longo, survivors and grifters that are prisoners aboard the Imperial Prison Barge, Purge. They are headed for some remote prison planet. Their father died earlier in the journey. The boys survive alone.

When the huge engines come to a stop, the routine is broken, and Zahara Cody, the chief medical officer of the ship, has no idea how important her role is about to become. The ship drops out of hyperspace and needs repairs. Fortunately, there is an Imperial Star Destroyer in range. The Purge docks with it and that's when the trouble starts. Zombies. Lots of them.

Somehow Zahara and the Longo brothers get to the Star Destroyer and find help from an unlikely source, although one that has been known to have to deal with Imperial entanglements.

There is a lot of death, carnage and gore with a shipload of Imperial Storm Troopers and the zombie virus spreading fast. Can the Longo boys escape the duel ship death trap and the Death Troopers?
That would be telling.

I will say that the novel is full of surprises and that the writer, Joe Schreiber, keeps the pace deadly and the tension relentless. I would recommend this book to Star Wars fans, zombie fans, and horror fans. There. Did I leave anybody out?

I'll give Death Troopers and 8.5 out of 10. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tannhäuser Tuesday - Edison Revealed



So, as it turns out, Thomas Edison's son can kick some ass. James Curtis Edison is probably the last official Union Hero and as Miah pointed out in his preview, Edison is a monster and a master of flexibility.

When playing with James Curtis Edison on your team you may play with the following configurations of soldiers:
3 Heroes, 2 Troopers
3 Heroes, 1 Trooper (each turn choose 1 of the following - get +5 to initiative or +1 Command Point)
2 Heroes, 4 Troopers
2 Heroes, 3 Troopers (each turn choose 1 of the following - get +5 to initiative or +1 Command Point)

There are also some a number of tokens with rules for the use of his Menlo gun.

Combat Pack
Ilirium Ignighter - This shoots a ball of energy that after the initial attack does additional damage the next time that character is activated.

Gibson Shells - You choose a circle within 6 circles of Edison and all characters on that circle or within 2 circles of it take 2 automatic damage.

Tri-Lens Goggles - These allow James to re-roll dice in addition to ignoring smoke effects.

Stamina Pack
Biotech Residue - dial up Edison or an adjacent character by two rows.

BG-450 - All wounds to Edison can be negated if he rolls any Natural 10s on his shock roll.

Cyprus Cylinders - target rolls 2 less dice on shock roll.

Command Pack
Ilirium Walljack - a mine that you can leave on any circle on your path. Later, you can set off the mine at any time, even interrupting a character's activation. Follows grenade rules.

IL-273 Repressor Field - Overwatch characters can't attack you.

America's Favorite Son - If there is a friendly Trooper on your path, they can take a hit aimed at Edison.

Well, here is the last official Union Hero and while that is sad, he is cool and maybe there will be future developments if the novels are wildly popular or if someone at FFG just decides that more needs to be done with the path- finding system.

Our friend and hero, Miah, will continue his coverage of the game and his blog is the best source for news and new custom tokens and characters for Tannhäuser.

There is still one more Reich Hero to come and then one more
novel will follow after that.

I don't know what my Tannhäuser output will be, but there are other shiny object that will catch my eye and I will continue to provide game related content on this site in addition to Pulp and book reviews.

I am looking forward to Frankenstahl and I will report back then!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pulp of the Week - Doc Savage #33

Warning - unlike my usual reviews, this one is spoilerific!



Murder Melody is another great science-fiction Doc Savage super-saga, and another hidden civilization story. We first find Doc and his men confounded by earthquakes where there shouldn't be any, and then by men with technology that doesn't yet exist. This is my kind of stuff. This novel is the first in the series to be written by Lawrence Donovan, Donovan also penned stories about the Skipper and the Whisperer.

The tale opens with a series of strange earthquakes. One in Provincetown, Massachusetts and one in Vancouver, British Columbia. Strange men with flying tube-like ships that float in the air seem to be behind them. These men have a kind of power over gravity.

Doc gets involved and the fabulous five are along for the tale; no pets, hazah. During a fight, Monk exhibits a rare bit of racism from our heroes. It is explained that the labor force in Vancouver (still a part of the British Empire) is formed of many people from India. Monk calls one a "greasy Indian." The bulk of the text calls them Indian or Hindu.

This tale, from 1935, is also the oldest story that I have read that uses the term, "smog," for that lovely combination of smoke and fog popularized by the air of many cities in the 1970s. There is a whale rendering plant in Gray's Harbor, Washington as well. That is certainly not there any longer. We also get the first (I think) use of "Mercy Pistol" for Doc's super-firer pistols loaded with anesthetic rounds. This is a far cry from the savage Doc of The Man of Bronze.

Also of note are Monk's ear that we are reminded (several times) has a finger sized bullet hole through the lobe and Ham has a signet ring with a hidden blade in it. 

Doc is a bit more more super in this story.  Twice he climbs with virtually no hand holds. First, he climbs up the inside of a ship using only the steel rivets holding it together, and later he climbs a tower in the underworld. As the book said, "The human eye showed the tower of gold and mica to be as evenly surfaced as tranquil water. Vision indicated no hold whatever. But the cabled wrists of the bronze man made steel-like claws of his fingers. The gold and mica sank under their pressure." Now that is strong.

Other items of techological wonders include powering ocean going ships to travel at thousands of miles an hour and devices with a "gravity button" that allows men and machines to float weightlessly. There are also ships that travel though the strata of the earth. This trip sends Johnny into heaven as the ship travels through the geological eras and then deep down through the earth to the hollow core where a great civilization, the Kingdom of Subterranae, flourishes. The Earth is not as Johnny has known it with a molten core. The Earth's crust is only 200 miles thick and is hollow (shades of Burroughs). The residents of the inner world have lived in harmony for eons - until now. One of their own, Zoro, has gone rogue and escaped banishment to the Land of Beyond. He stole some of Subterranae's ships and has come to the surface to get what he needs to destroy his enemies. Doc isn't going to let that happen.

Then there is Princess Lanta, who has taken a shine to Monk which of course makes Ham crazy. In the end, the hidden civilization remains just that, and so it stays unti this day.

The pulp cover is by Walter Baumhofer and the Bantam paperback is by James Bama. I read my bantam paperback for this review and I'll give Murder Melody an 8.5 out of 10. The middle is a bit slow, but once we get headed to the inner world the story freight trains along.



Monday, August 6, 2012

Pulp of the Week - Kim Oh 1: Real Dangerous Girl


Back from vacation and ready to go...

Author K.W. Jeter is giving away the first novel in his Kim Oh series. You can find it on his blog linked here - just scroll down to the July 14th post. This first book was a fun read and left me wanting more. I will certainly be picking up the next book.

In this first story we follow Kim Oh, a young accountant who works for a less than legit operation. Her biggest thrill is when she gets to chat with a charming hitman.  Kim is a mousy young woman that takes care of her invalid brother and walks through her boring life. Her boss tells her that big changes are coming. Well, as things turn out, the big changes come and Kim isn't at all happy.

Kim takes a few rash actions and her life changes forever. To say more would be spoilerific, but what Jeter does is a fast fun action piece written first person from Kim's POV. My only grouse is that it ends too soon. That's not an expression. The book ended before I was ready to stop reading and before the big ending. I'm guessing these are a serial story, with parts 1 - 3 being the first story. That's fine because you can check out all of part 1 now for free on Kindle.

K.W. Jeter has written a number of books that I love like Glass Hammer, Death Arms, Farewell Horizontal, Dr. Adder and the Bladerunner sequel novel.

Well, K.W. is back and and writing the stories that he wants to write and publishing them himself through kindle and nook and he has been putting his fantastic back catalog up as well. Jeter is perhaps best known today as the man who coined the phrase, "Steampunk" for the kind of books that he, Tim Powers and James Blaylock were writing at the time.

I'll give Kim Oh 1 a 7 out of 10, but really just because it isn't a complete story. I suspect I'll rate the trilogy higher when I finish it.