Pigeons from Hell

Howardian Horror

January 9, 2019 Bushi 14

I was recently gifted The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while, perhaps since Alex of Barbarian Book Club wrote about it. I’m not sure if the copy he’s got features that sweet illustration of a guy fighting a sea monster, but […]

Broken Sword

An Introduction to the Epic Poul Anderson

December 14, 2018 Bushi 16

The illustrious Poul Anderson is another one of those scifi/fantasy grandmasters who you’ve probably never heard of if you were born after 1980. Although he was writing until his death in 2001, he seems to have fallen into obscurity in the later decades of his career, which is a damn […]

Conan

The Lost Virtue of Lean Prose

December 12, 2018 Bushi 20

As much as I talk about older scifi and fantasy, I like some contemporary fiction. I’m a fan of the Witcher stories. I like Harry Potter (is that contemporary anymore?). Hell, I was even on the Game of Thrones bandwagon back before HBO picked it up. But looking at a lot […]

Gandalf

The Cost of Magic

November 30, 2018 Bushi 21

I’ve been thinking lately about magic. In fiction, its treatment varies widely, but I feel like there are a few generalizations I can make. First, I don’t agree with Gita (or Orson Scott Card) that magic must have a price or else be rendered uninteresting. Of course magic should have limitations. […]

goblin king

Friggin Fairies

October 26, 2018 Bushi 2

Fairies used to be bad, you know. As I said, elves used to be part of this basket, too. All that fey nonsense. I guess it’s been happening for a while, though. Modernity seems to subjectivize and gray out everything. Most fairies today are meant for kids, and they’re cute […]

Excalibur

The Cool Cutter Caliburn

October 23, 2018 Bushi 0

As I progress through James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice, I’m encountering  many interesting references to legend, myth, and antiquity. Many seem to be fancified, embellished, or otherwise altered to serve the story, which of course is just fine. One reference that I came across, not immediately knowing whether […]

Elf2

Infernal Elves

October 18, 2018 Bushi 6

There was a bit of a discussion yesterday on Twitter, about elves. Specifically, Alex of Cirsova was musing about the D&D alignment systems and how traditionally, under a three-point system (Good-Neutral-Evil), Evil and Chaotic would be pretty much the same thing. "Evil" acts would tend to be chaotic because they […]

Prometheus

The Original Greek Superhero: Prometheus

October 10, 2018 Bushi 5

It’s been observed that Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter was an early inspiration for the modern superhero. I believe he was actually a direct inspiration for the genesis of Superman. But what if we go further back? The Greek heroes like Hercules and Perseus and Achilles are no-brainers, but what […]

Hawkmen

The Hawkmen cometh

October 9, 2018 Bushi 3

Hawkman, the comic book superhero, was apparently created in 1940 by Gardner Fox of Appendix N fame. This post wasn’t originally intended to include him beyond a cursory note, but I found it quite interesting and coincidental that Fox should come up in this context, given my preoccupation in recent […]

Cactus

Trees get all the glory (lamentations for cacti)

October 5, 2018 Bushi 9

This is probably going to sound kind of unhinged, but has anyone else noticed that trees get all the vegetational glory in SFF tales? Mirkwood and Lothlorien and Fangorn Forest and the ents, wood nymphs, Hogwart’s Forbidden Forest, Sherwood, the Great Woods of Narnia, even the Hundred Acre Wood – […]