Sunday, August 30, 2009


There's a new webzine dedicated to Sword & Sorcery in town. It's Kings of the Night, a mix of fiction, art, and genre history from the talented G.W. Thomas.

There's this marvelous cover art by M.D. Jackson:

To go along with the Frazetta-worthy art is superb Sword & Sorcery action:

Jack Mackenzie's Mark of Gennesh. Sirtago & the Poet undertake a dangerous mission that must balance the driving urge to save a loved one with a red-lust for revenge!

G.W Thomas' The Fount. Torel the Hunter finds a lost baby in this mythic quest for treasure.

An my own The Huntsman's Pack. Varronia and Morvran Tegd flee the fury of Saxon pirates only to find more deadly dangers lurk in Britain's haunted forests.

Take a look and let me know what you think!

-Dave Hardy

Saturday, August 22, 2009


By Jack Williamson

After the monumental scope of The Humanoids what more could be said about the star-spanning empire of robotic benevolence? Quite a bit actually. In The Humanoid Touch the focus is less on the Humanoids than their looming threat.

If the original novel was a parable of ‘50s America under the cloud of Nuclear Armageddon, then the sequel takes a hard look at the world of the ‘80s. The protagonist lives in a society founded on equality yet riven by class. They proclaim freedom, yet ruthlessly exploit their less-developed neighboring planet. Williamson tackles the Reagan era, neo-colonialism, and environmental degradation. While Williamson wears his New Deal liberalism on his sleeve, he avoids being overly preachy. Like the original, there is no easy escape from the trap humanity finds itself in. man may aspire to free his society, but freeing himself is much harder.

-Dave Hardy

Sunday, August 09, 2009


Directed by Ulu Gosbard

Back in the ‘70s, before his apotheosis, Dustin Hoffman was just a damn good actor. In Straight Time he plays the lead role of Max Dembo, an ex-con just out of prison. He tries to obey the rules, but he’s a stiff-necked and proud man. The bureaucratically bland arrogance of his parole officer (M. Emmet Walsh) leads him straight into a violent explosion and the life of crime he thought he could leave behind.

The film is based on No Beast So Fierce, by Eddie Bunker, an ex-con who took to writing to get out of his life as a criminal and ward of the state. Bunker also co-wrote the screenplay and tutored Hoffman in the life of parolees. It’s a gritty film, with taut and suspenseful robberies that have the feel of something you might see on a security camera, not Hollywood’s lens. Viewers of Reservoir Dogs will remember Bunker as Mr. Blue (he has a part in Straight Time as well). Quentin Tarantino has made no secret of his admiration of Bunker’s work and many little touches in Straight Time are echoed in Reservoir Dogs.

Ultimately viewers will have to decide to what degree they sympathize with Max Dembo. It would be easy to see him as just a victim. But that is to entirely miss the point. Dembo’s character creates his surroundings as much as his surroundings create him. Bunker’s and Hoffman’s genius was to show Dembo from both angles.

-Dave Hardy