john carter frazetta diorama

Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Treasure from the Past for a Demasculinized World

Are you old enough to remember those glorious days of yore when you couldn’t turn around in the bookstore or walk past the bookrack at your local grocery store without seeing the latest edition of The Destroyer, or The Executioner, or Perry Rhodan #1,000,006? They still exist, but you rarely find them in public because the delicate eyes of decent people must be protected from them. To find them, you’ll usually have to go to the Internet (and thank God for Amazon and Print on Demand technology). Even so, some of the series seem to have fallen on hard times. The cover art on the latter-day Casca novels is cartoonish and hard to look at. Some of the more daring works have been suppressed, but that’s for another post.

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Others become popular, then fade into relative obscurity, only to be rediscovered by a new generation of readers later. The works of Edgar Rice Burroughs are among these. At times in the past his books were all over the shelves. At other times you were hard-pressed to find them. These books are among my perennial favorites. Enough so that I collect them. They have been around for a long, long time, and while they may wane in popularity at times, there is always a group of ERB fanatics in the background. Like many towering figures of the past, he is often denounced today, if he is mentioned at all. What was natural in his own time is now sexist, racist, and every other kind of –ist that offends the pseudo-enlightened of our time.

tarzanIf you’re like most people, the name Edgar Rice Burroughs won’t sound familiar. However, if you’re like most people, you’re very familiar with his work. ERB created the iconic Tarzan of the Apes character that simply refuses to die. Tarzan has been adapted to other media relentlessly over the last century, but none have ever matched the quality of the books. The 24 books of the Tarzan series would have been quite an achievement if he had stopped there, but he wrote dozens more in several different series as well as some stand-alone works.

The best known of these other series is the 11-book “John Carter of john-carter-of-mars-frazzettaMars” series. If that sounds familiar, it’s because of the ill-fated 2012 movie titled simply “John Carter”. The movie was made for the 100th anniversary of the 1912 story “A Princess of Mars”. The movie itself is good and faithful to Burroughs’s vision, but ineptly promoted. The inexplicable decision was made to change the original title, which let the reader know exactly what to expect, to “John Carter”, which sounded like it might be about an accountant. Other brilliant ideas included movie posters which were pure black with nothing other than the unexplained letters “JCM” on them.

If you can put yourself into the mindset of an early 20th Century reader, the books still hold up pretty well.

Book-carsonofnvenusAnother series is the “Carson of Venus” series. A 5-book series about an interplanetary Wrong Way Corrigan. The “Pellucidar” series is one of the earliest of the “hollow Earth” tales. The “Caspak” series gives us “lost world” stories, as in “Oh, my god! There’s dinosaurs here!” The “Moon Maid” series is pretty much what it sounds like. The “Mucker” series is straight up Westerns. There are jungle stories, historical novels, and other assorted odds and ends. These are fast and fun reads. None of them are long. Many are less than 200 pages. Even though they are slim books, I always felt like I got 500 pages worth of action and adventure. Some people have disparaged ERBs books as “brain candy”. Screw ‘em, candy is delicious. If you prefer for men to be men, women to be women, villains to be villains, and savages to be savages, you will probably like these books.

Trashing Baltimore

Here we thought the Ebola Virus was gonna spread over the continent and usher in the zombie apocalypse. Looks like it’s a riot epidemic that’s the real threat.

This video below, for some reason, ends with several minutes of a still image. But up until then, it’s educational.

What we know so far is that Freddie Gray has a rap sheet, and was arrested on weapons charges. He went into a police van healthy but came out with severe spinal cord damage, and later died in police custody.

I sound like a broken record even to myself, but the cops who did this to an unarmed, handcuffed man, regardless of his previous crimes, need to hang for this. Unless a really convincing piece of evidence  is revealed showing that the injury was some sort of freak accident through no fault of the Baltimore Police, that is.

However, these dirtbags attacking innocent bystanders and baseball fans don’t give a flying rat’s ass about Freddie Gray or his family. These entitled vermin have been waiting for an excuse to unleash their sanctioned racism, and strike a blow against “Whitey.” This gave them the opportunity.

I watched some video of these #Blacklivesmatter “activists,” and whatever sympathy I might have had for them is fading fast. I am so done with “white guilt.” The press; the Attorney General; the fraud in the White House and half the world is frantically piling on to make excuses for these “demonstrators” in places like Ferguson and Baltimore, but they take one look at my skin color and call me “privileged.”

If you visit a big city, and you are the wrong demographic, you would be wise to make some sort of preparations to defend yourself against mob violence. Police brutality is everywhere. Abuse of authority is the rule, not the exception, and something like this could break out at any time and catch you unawares.

Book Giveaway: Tier Zero

I’m gonna try this here giveaway thang one more time.

CLICK FOR PAPERBACK

Yes, “Tier Zero” is a play on words. The recently-popular terminology “tier one, tier two,” and so forth, refers to military units according to their respective budgets.  My fictional black ops units, then, would receive even more cashola than Delta or DEVGRU.

This is a sequel to Hell & Gone, for which I just finished another giveaway and shipped out paperback copies to 10 lucky winners. This giveaway will only last two weeks. You can read what it’s about on our Books page, and I’ll post some review excerpts from Amazon below:

It would be difficult to exaggerate how good this book is as an adventure tale, or how much fun it is to read it. – Jim Morris

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, HELL AND GONE. As good as it was, TIER ZERO is better in every way. The characterizations are deeper, the plot has more twists, and hard as it may be to believe, it has even more of the gritty, well-written action scenes at which Brown excels. I thought I knew where the story was going, but it takes a nice hard turn about halfway through that powers it on to the end of the book. – James Reasoner

Overall, it’s an excellent entry in the genre, and an improvement on his past work. I can’t recommend it highly enough. – Peter Nealen

Although I have no doubt legions of Men’s Adventure fans have tried to imitate the writings of their favorite authors over the years, in Henry’s case, the student has definitely become the master. – Jack Badelaire (Post Modern Pulps)

…Author Brown harkens back to the “men’s adventure” novels that were so popular in the 80s and early 90s. He does an exemplary job of carrying on that tradition and even adds some depth and background to his characterizations that increases their humanity, makes them seem more real — all without ever getting in the way of the balls-out, full throttle action. – Wayne Dundee

…Full of action, intrigue and Shock and Awe. Tier Zero is the best of both ages of Dude-Lit. – D.R. Tharp

Now, I know Brown likes to call his work an homage to the bygone mens’ pulp-fiction genre, but it surpasses that. Sure, he hits on the essentials–the attractive women, the brave, rugged fighting men, and the unmistakably evil bad guys–but he’s a master storyteller, too. – Nate Granzow

The author puts this story together so well I read it four times and got the same hair raising on my arms… – J.G. Scott

CLICK FOR AUDIBLE BOOK


Again, there are no strings attached in the giveaway, though part of the reason I’m doing it is to get more Amazon reviews (and therefore more visibility).

Also, by the time this giveaway is finished, the third novel in this continuity should be published.

 

Book Marketing Blues

The Goodreads giveaway of my debut novel Hell & Gone is finished. I just returned from the post office, where I sent out 10 paperbacks to the winners.

I didn’t realize until just before the giveaway ended that I could see the profiles of those who entered. I was rather disappointed that none of the folks I regularly interact with on Goodreads signed up, unless I missed them while skimming through the list. Oh well–my fiction certainly isn’t for everybody.

I would have been happy if only 10 people signed up, and all 10 won a paperback, if they were people  truly interested in reading this kind of book (and then would write an Amazon review afterwards). But 504 people signed up, before all was said and done, and the ones I browsed didn’t appear to particularly like military thrillers. That leads me to worry that they signed up merely to get free stuff, not really caring what the free stuff is.

Maybe they’ll get the book and it will just sit around collecting dust for years until they host a garage sale. Maybe they’ll give it to somebody for Christmas or a birthday. Or maybe they’ll turn around immediately and sell it on E-Bay. Or maybe I’ll actually get a review something along the lines of, “I normally don’t read this genre, but I got the book for free. So I tried to read it but there just weren’t enough strong female characters…”

Or maybe I’ll just get a drive-by one star review the SJWs are so fond of giving: “This sucks. Couldn’t even finish the first page.” Yes, those reviews happen, all over Amazon.

I now have a list of giveaway winners. Nine out of ten are female. That would be great if the genre was romance or chick-lit or lesbian vampire paranormal urban coming-of-age fiction. But Jack Silkstone called Hell & Gone “A man’s book through and through,” which is precisely what I wrote it to be.

Here’s some depressing details about the winners: three of them haven’t bothered to post a single review on anything at all. One of them has posted one review, and one has posted three.  Only four winners have reviews posted in the double digits and two of them are tied at 12.

Some of these folks haven’t added a single book to their shelf. It’s a little surprising they expended the energy to sign up for the giveaway.

This is building on my bad experience at Goodreads. Previously, in my ongoing quest for reviews, I offered free download codes for my audiobooks to anyone willing to post a review after listening. All those who volunteered took the free stuff and ran. Some even deleted their responses in the thread where they volunteered.

Ostensibly Goodreads is the perfect venue for finding reviewers, because everybody there allegedly likes to read. There are a couple strikes against me right away because…

  1. It’s mostly women (I write for men).
  2. It’s 90% left-leaning feminists.

I tried to counteract this by only advertising the giveaway in groups where my intended audience was likely to be. But alas, it would appear that none of those folks entered, while 500+ from the general Goodreads population did.

It’s beginning to look like this experiment is doomed to the same fate as every other marketing ploy I’ve tried.

Well, we’ll see. Maybe I’m not giving the winners enough credit, because I’ve been stung so much in the past. So far I still plan on a Goodreads giveaway for the sequel, Tier Zero. When it’s all over and the reviews come in (or don’t), we’ll have some data to determine whether Goodreads giveaways have any marketing value for an author.

An author who does not write lesbian vampire paranormal urban coming-of-age fiction, that is.

startrek

Why I Don’t Love Star Trek Anymore

I will love Star Trek no more, forever. It really pains me to say that. Like so many others I’ve spent ridiculous amounts of time parked in front of my television set watching Jim, Jean-Luc, and the others keep the Federation safe from tyranny. Unfortunately, if one grows and matures as he ages, the day comes when you realize that you’ve become part of the tyranny.

I can forgive the original series for its child-like naivety because it was a product of 1960s culture. But as the years went on and series followed series things didn’t change much. Even 90 some odd years beyond the Jim, Spock, and Bones era not only was 1960s liberalism still around, it had saved the Federation countless times and eventually was in the process of saving the galaxy. For those of us who are amazed that the country survived the 60s and 70s, it is a monumental gaffe that shatters our ability to suspend disbelief.

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Once you’ve become aware of the immortal nature of 60s-style liberalism you begin to notice things about all of the various series. The Federation is allowed to take no action that might impact another culture, even if that action is necessary to promote the interests of the Federation or save someone’s life. Even oppressive and genocidal regimes were sacrosanct under the Prime Directive. In fact, most of the best stories required the characters to violate the Prime Directive. I don’t know about you, but to me this seems to devalue not only human life, but the lives of other sentient beings as well.

Then there are the not-too-subtle digs at some of the groups that I belong to. I find it too much of a coincidence that the uber-baddies of the galaxy are the Borg. Awesome villains to be sure and narrow-minded above and beyond the call of evil duty, but they strike a little too close to home for me. For instance, why is that they are all white? Why is that even when dark-skinned races are assimilated they still turn white? How come the evil Borg are so concerned with assimilation? Is it just a coincidence that this all-white group of evil-doers runs roughshod over everyone in its pursuit of universal assimilation? Seeing as how many Americans, me included, are frustrated by some immigrants’ refusal to assimilate into mainstream society, I don’t think so. I think this is a backhanded way of pushing the multiculturism agenda.

Rumors are unconfirmed that the Borg was inspired by the Democrat voter base.
Rumors are unconfirmed that the Borg was inspired by the Democrat voter base.

Finally, why is it that the Ferengi get no respect? I know they’re hard to take sometimes, but after four decades of the smarmy, latter-day summer-of-love, pseudo-enlightened assortment of alien races in the Federation, they are a welcome breath of fresh air. In fact, they’ve become my favorite Star Trek species. I think they deserve a break. After all, they’ve been severely punished by Star Trek writers for being the uber-capitalists of the quadrant. For their superlative business and economic skills they have been condemned to be short, scrawny, hideous, and fang-toothed with grotesquely distorted facial features. They’re cowardly and untrustworthy, even with family. I’ve always wondered why the sleazoid race of the galaxy couldn’t be a bunch of extraterrestrial Marxists or Islamofascist-like religious bigots. The poor Ferengi are even gratuitously sexist and keep their women naked all the time. (OK, so they allowed them one good quality.)

I stand by my original point. If you’ve ever listened to a liberal talk about the United States, it all sounds vaguely familiar.

A New Addition to the Virtual Pulp Team

Virtual Pulp is happy to introduce our newest contributor, Don Strickland. Don is a science fiction author (his debut novel, Fringeman, is now linked on our Books page) and formerly the Blue Collar Intellectual.

Hello, my name is D. K. Strickland and I’ve been graciously invited to join Virtual Pulp, so let’s get acquainted.

I’m 54-years-old and currently reside in the Southwest. I’m an aspiring author and have one book in print titled “Fringeman”, available on Amazon, with more on the way. If you have a low opinion of overweening governments and elitist busybodies, you might like it.

While I’m waiting for my literary ship to come in, I have a day job in the mining industry. Despite my hardhat position in life I have a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology, plus graduate work in both Education and Technical Communication, as well as three teaching credentials. I’ve gone back to blue-collar work because it turns out the pay and benefits are better, and I get more time off.

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I like smokin’ lightnin’; heavy metal thunder…

I’ve been a dedicated rocker my whole life, leaning toward heavy metal. I’ve tried to outgrow this and listen to more appropriate music for my age, but I just can’t. I’m off on a symphonic metal kick right now.

I lean toward science fiction and fantasy for entertainment, but other genres as well. I find so-called literary fiction to be boring, pretentious, and pointless—on a good day.

I’m a lifelong Mopar guy, but appreciate all American Iron.

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This photo fits so well, we just had to use it again.

Moderates describe me as Far Right. Leftists describe me as the Devil. I bear no group ill-will (except for that one that flies planes into buildings and saws the heads off of 5-year-old girls), but neither will I tolerate mindless hostility to any of the various groups of which I’m a member. Now, let’s have some fun.

More on #Sadpuppies, Hitler, and now #Gamergate

These Hitler subtitle clips just don’t get old. This one doesn’t require pausing to read them and, since it was evidently put together by Vox Day himself, it focuses specifically on Scalzi and Hayden.

“Don’t worry–we’ve still got the Nebulas.” ROFLMAO!

This is evil genius.

Another sign of how polarized our culture has become is that the anti-puppies are able to publish such blatant, outright lies on the subject, easily proven false with minimal effort in research—and the lemmings on the left swallow it whole and rabidly defend it in the face of the facts.

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Ludicrous Seven

The Fast and the Furious franchise has been better known as “The Lame and the Ludicrous” from the very beginning by people who know anything at all about cars. The machinery on display has grown less and less lame, but the plots and stunts have grown more and more ludicrous.

Not that the audience at large seems to notice or care.

This latest instalment not only ramps up the stunts and special effects, but also the big name actors. Vin Diesel and the Rock are back, of course. Though Paul Walker died before completion, his brothers stood in for him in missing scenes and were digitally altered to fool the eye. And the cast grew with the addition of Jason Statham as the villain and Kurt Russel as a government agent.

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Here’s a plot summary of this film:

Bad guy shows up–angry brother of previous bad guy. He does ee-veel things.

The Rock needs Diesel to put together a crew to stop Statham’s ee-veel.

Race scenes; chase scenes. Diesel confronts Statham. They play chicken. Neither one chickens out. A beautiful car is destroyed. There is a desperate attempt at a memorable line of dialog.

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More chase scenes. Ludicrous stunts. More fine machines destroyed. Another desperate attempt at a memorable line.

The location changes. More chase scenes. Fight scenes. Even more ludicrous stunts. More fine machines destroyed. Another desperate attempt at a memorable line.

The location changes. More chase scenes. Fight scenes. Even more ludicrous stunts. More fine machines destroyed. Another desperate attempt at a memorable line.

dieselcharger

…And so on, until the bad guy is put in a Hulk-holding tank, and there’s a short tribute to Paul Walker.

Since the end of the first flick, it’s become increasingly in-your-face obvious that the normal Hollywood fetish for destroying fine automobiles is multiplied tenfold with the sickos behind this franchise. They destroy them in head-on collisions; they drive them over cliffs; they launch them out of skyscrapers; they throw them at helicopters; and of course, they destroy them in big fiery explosions.

I guess all those “memorable” lines make it worthwhile.

Drive On by Johnny Cash

I can’t believe I never heard this at Bragg…or anywhere else.

What really surprised me was how much of the jargon Cash picked up on.

By the time I came along, Military Creole hadn’t changed much from the Vietnam days. After (and during) Gulf War One we added to our vocabulary, but it was still essentially the same dialect. Since Gulf War Two, however…sheez, it’s so different now. (Everything’s different—not just the lingo.) I guess it takes a major deployment of some duration to cause a quantum leap forward in vernacular.

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Revolting Developments in Revolution

I mentioned recently that I’m on a TEOTWAWKI kick right now, in conjunction with trying to finish my third novel of Rocco’s Retreads–which is a genre bridge from military thriller (Hell & Gone) and men’s fiction/paramilitary adventure (Tier Zero) through dystopian SHTF speculative fiction (the new one), setting it up for a post-apocalyptic fourth novel, should I be inclined to write one. And if the world doesn’t end before I can.

So that’s the kind of audio books I’ve been listening to, and the kinds of movies/series I look for on Netflix as well. Trouble is, I think I’ve already seen (multiple times) everything that doesn’t suck. And more than enough that do suck.

But hope springs eternal, so this show called Revolution caught my eye on Netflix. It’s about some survivors trying to figure out why power grids around the world went down 15 years ago. (Nope, it wasn’t an EMP.) Civilization went back a few hundred years when the lights went out, to a sort of Planet of the Apes quality of life.

I previously reviewed The 100, and a lot of those criticisms apply to this series already by the 3rd episode.

Of course the protagonist is the obligatory Strong Independent Womyn. And, in a world where survival depends largely on strength, aggression and 24/7 toughness in a rough, unforgiving environment, women still sport vogue hairstyles; name brand shoes, prescription glasses, and store bought clothes are still evidently available; computer nerds have survived, maintaining their overweight couch potato physiques while failing to acquire a single survival skill; and despite reversion to survival of the fittest, our feminized culture is still perfectly intact.

Well, culture in this throwback world isn’t exactly like it is right now. It’s more like what the feministas pretend or wish it was like right now. So of course there are amazon superninjas. You just aren’t gonna get away from that idiotic trope in any action adventure from Hollywood. But you knew that already.

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And there’s also nothing original yet in the plot or subplots. One of them, in fact, was lifted directly from Jericho. Remember the black dude who had some mysterious government connection who had a laptop that somehow still worked, and he would lock himself in a basement and connect to the Internet that was somehow still functioning, to communicate with other mysterious people also online somehow? Favreau’s writers\directors didn’t even disguise the rip-off so much. They changed the black man to a black woman, changed the laptop to a desktop, and want us to believe that an amulet about the size of a key fob not only overcomes the miracle of physics that made electricity stop working around the world, but is also an adequate power source for computers, radios and other 110 volt household appliances, that doesn’t need silly little things like wires or other conductors to deliver power to a device.

It’s commonplace to show military and paramilitary units moving about in a gaggle when contact is possible, in a movie or TV show, blowing noise discipline all to blazes. But I’m developing a pet peeve about Hollywood depictions of hand/arm signals. Their technical advisors have evidently researched the subject by watching other Hollywood productions. I’m not sure exactly when it started, but originally some pogue civilian film maker saw hand/arm signals used somewhere, misinterpreted what they meant, and put them in a movie. Other pogue civilians decided it looked cool, and copied the misuse. I wouldn’t doubt that grunts have to un-learn all this crap when they go through infantry school nowadays.

Like every other TV show and most movies, there’s too much stupidity to document. Just a few random highlights to give you a taste:

  •  In the flashback to the world before the blackout, there are two characters stationed at Parris Island with haircuts even the Air Force wouldn’t let them get away with. (The same two guys who have a conversation in the clip above, BTW. Their hair isn’t that much longer here than when they were allegedly in the USMC.)
  • Ammo is scarce in the new world, so characters have become expert swordfighters. The series badass is in a swordfight with a bad guy and has a few opportunities to kill him after disarming him, knocking his sword out of the way, etc., but instead he allows the guy to recover–as if we’re watching Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, who is just too chivalrous not to give his opponent another sporting chance to get in a lucky stab or slash. Finally, he knocks the bad guy unconscious and THEN makes to kill him. But alas, at this point the Strong Independent Womyn appeals to his morals, because to kill a momentarily defenseless enemy would be sinking down to his level, blah blah blah.
  • A gang of bad guys move in to wipe out a resistance cell that’s inside a building. They don’t surround the building. They don’t blow it up. They don’t set it on fire. They don’t kick in the door and murder everyone inside BATF-style. They open fire at the brick wall of the building with small arms from about 150 meters out, having no idea how many are in the building, what the enemy configuration is, or even if they’re still in the building. And it works.

As can be expected, “militias” are the bad guys. What’s interesting, though, is that they have a Marxist attitude toward the right to bear arms, and consider items like the American flag to be contraband.