In this week’s episode, in honor of Clark Ashton Smith’s birthday (January 13, 1893), I’ll be discussing “The Dark Eidolon.” It first appeared in the January 1935 issue of Weird Tales, and is probably the Zothique story that carries the most name recognition.
It tells of Namirrha, a powerful sorcerer who returns to his home city in order to exact revenge on its ruler for a boyhood transgression.
In this week’s episode I’ll be discussing Swords and Deviltry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser Book 1) by Fritz Leiber. It’s a fantastic collection of three high quality, award nominated sword and sorcery novellas. The most prominent being Ill Met in Lankhmar, which won the 1971 Hugo and 1971 Nebula awards for Best Novella. It’s a sword and sorcery classic.
Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s episode of Pulp Crazy. I’m your host, Jason Aiken. In this week’s episode I’m going to be discussing Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. This film was released nationwide in the United States on December 17, 2015. I will devote this last Pulp Crazy episode of 2015 to reviewing and discussing the film. I figured it would be appropriate for Pulp Crazy because George Lucas didn’t create Star Wars in a vacuum. The pulp science fantasy works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, E. E. ’Doc’ Smith, and Leigh Brackett are without a doubt in the D.N.A. of Star Wars. SPOILERS AHOY! I can’t critique this movie honestly without mentioning a few things about it. So you’ve been warned, I wouldn’t watch this until after you’ve seen the film, unless you don’t care about spoilers.
Today, December 13, 2015 is the 220th anniversary of the Wold Newton event. On December 13, 1795, a meteorite struck outside the hamlet of Wold Newton in Yorkshire, England. According to Philip José Farmer, when the meteorite crashed into the countryside, two carriages were passing by. The drivers and passengers, who were already of heroic stock, were exposed to the ionization of the meteorite and were further enhanced by it.
These passengers include Sir Percy Blakeny, the Scarlet Pimpernel as well as Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. Ancestors of Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Doc Savage, the Avenger, the Shadow, the Spider, and others were present as well. The passengers included several married couples, with some of the women already being pregnant at the time. Their children would later marry each other, thus the enriched genes would not become recessive. Due to the families becoming interconnected, they are referred to as one family, the Wold Newton Family.
Today also marks the day of the launch of WOLDNEWTONFAMILY.COM. A website devoted to the canonical Wold Newton Family works by Philip José Farmer and authorized continuations. Be sure to take some time and give it a peek on Wold Newton Day, it has several articles, and is a great introduction and resource to Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Family.
In this week’s episode, I look at a seminal Wold Newton tale, “The Adventure of the Peerless Peer” by Philip José Farmer himself. This story features Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson, and Tarzan, with several cameos by other pulp heroes.
I (Jason Aiken) was a guest on the Lovecraft eZine videochat and podcast along with Frank Schildiner. We talked with Mike Davis, Pete Rawlik, and Rick Lai about Lovecraft and Wold Newton (Philip José Farmer in particualr) related topics. We also talked about our recent writing projects. You can watch it on YouTube or listen via the podcast.
In this week’s episode I’ll be discussing “The Doom that Came to Sarnath” by H. P. Lovecraft. It’s a fantasy short story that made its first pulp magazine appearance in the pages of the March-April 1935 issue of Marvel Tales of Science and Fantasy. It would later appear in the June 1938 issue of Weird Tales. It was first published in the June 1920 issue of the Scot, an amateur journal.
The story chronicles the rise and fall of the city of Sarnath, which is located on the shore of a vast still lake in the land of Mnar. The story takes place roughly from 9,081 B. C. to 8,081 B. C. in a lost age akin to Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age and Clark Ashton Smith’s Hyperborea.
Pulp Crazy got a chance to sit down with author Christopher Paul Carey to discuss the upcoming standalone release of The Song of Kwasin, the conclusion to Philip José Farmer’s original Khokarsa/Ancient Opar trilogy. This is the first time the novel will be available as a standalone edition; it’s the perfect time to pick this up if you’ve been wondering what happens after Hadon of Ancient Opar and Flight to Opar.
The first novel of the series stars Hadon of Opar and his wayward adventures after the power-hungry King Minruth cheats him out of winning the throne of Khokarsa by sending him on a fool’s errand into the Wild Lands beyond the empire. Here Hadon runs across his giant, half-mad cousin Kwasin, who has been exiled for his crimes against a priestess of the Great Mother Goddess Kho. After succeeding in his quest, Hadon returns back to the capital with Kwasin and their companions, only to find the empire torn asunder by a civil war. We last see Kwasin in the prow of a boat, swinging his mighty ax of meteoritic iron against Minruth’s overwhelming forces while Hadon and the others escape. In the second novel of the series, a prophecy of the oracle hurls Hadon back to his home city of Opar, but we hear nothing of Kwasin except that he has somehow become king of Dythbeth, a city on the island of Khokarsa that’s at war with Minruth and his armies. The Song of Kwasin picks up right after the events of Hadon of Ancient Opar, and is the story of how Kwasin tries to clear his name and take the fight to Minruth against insurmountable odds. So The Song of Kwasin actually takes place concurrently with many of the events in Flight to Opar.
How did you come to coauthor The Song of Kwasin with Philip José Farmer?
I was serving as coeditor of Farmerphile, a periodical dedicated to publishing Philip José Farmer’s rare and previously unpublished writing, when the original outline and partial manuscript of The Song of Kwasin was found in Phil’s files in 2005. When Farmerphile’s publisher, Michael Croteau, sent me photocopies of the outline and manuscript so we could see whether we wanted to use them in the magazine, I could hardly believe what I was seeing—Kwasin’s epic tale and the entire arc of the war against King Minruth spelled out in full. I knew immediately that the story had to be written, so I wrote up a pitch and sent it to Phil, who at that time had retired from writing. Much to my surprise, he accepted it. I think the fact that we both had a mutual love of anthropology and the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard—all inspirations for the series—had a lot to do with his decision. I also believe he was excited by the idea of seeing the main arc of the trilogy finally completed. He’d been considering completing the third volume of the series as late as 1999, but he retired shortly after that and then had a number of health setbacks in the years that followed. In 2005, I was in the middle of a graduate study program in writing. Phil and his wife Bette both agreed that I should complete my studies before I began writing the novel, which I did. Though I completed The Song of Kwasin in early 2008, novel wasn’t published until 2012 due to other Farmer projects in the pipes with the publisher. But Phil, who passed in February 2009, was able to see the completed novel, which Bette read aloud to him. And for that I’m glad. I think it meant a lot to Phil to know the novel he’d long planned was at last finished.
What did Philip José Farmer think of the completed novel?
Bette Farmer told me it brought a big smile to Phil’s face to hear Kwasin’s adventures, and that they both really enjoyed it.
Did Mr. Farmer give you any direction while you were working on the novel?
Yes. Early on he told me how he wanted the novel to end. I was able to ask him some questions about alternative courses he’d left open in the outline, and he told me to disregard those and how he wanted the novel to wrap up now that it was to be positioned as the climax of a trilogy. That was all extremely helpful. Later on he was too ill to give me much input, but by then I was already writing the novel and we’d worked out where the story was headed. I’ll always be grateful to Phil for his generosity and encouragement.
The Song of Kwasin was previously available only as part of an omnibus. Could you discuss the bonus materials that will appear in the new standalone edition of The Song of Kwasin, which is due out from Meteor House in December 2015?
First up, there’s a stellar introduction by Paul Di Filippo. That’s a huge honor and treat for me because I admire his writing so much. Then I’ve written a preface to the new edition, giving a lot of background on how the book came to be written. Following the novel comes “Kwasin and the Bear God,” a 20,000-word novella based on Philip José Farmer’s outline that relates a lost adventure set between the first two chapters of The Song of Kwasin. The new edition also includes a “Guide to Khokarsa,” rare articles by Farmer, reproductions of some of his notes on the series, the original and alternate outlines to The Song of Kwasin, and previously unpublished correspondence by Farmer with Frank J. Brueckel and John Harwood, authors of “Heritage of the Flaming God,” the monumental essay that inspired the Khokarsa series.
You mentioned that The Song of Kwasin was the climax of a trilogy. Has the series been completed or is there more coming?
If you read The Song of Kwasin, you’ll understand why I say it’s the end of the main story arc of a trilogy. But there’s still a lot left to tell of the saga of Khokarsa. At one time, Phil said he planned to write twelve books in the series. Using Phil’s notes on where the story was headed, I wrote Hadon, King of Opar, which should be considered the fourth volume in the Khokarsa series. Its sequel, Blood of Ancient Opar, is slated to be published in 2016. After that, I have plans for a trilogy about Hadon’s son, Kohr. I’m also toying with the idea of someday returning to the character Lupoeth, the priestess-heroine of Exiles of Kho, my novella about the origin of the city of Opar. But we’ll see. Right now I’m committed to writing Blood of Ancient Opar and the new trilogy about Kohr. Only Kho and the golden tablets from the lost cities of Opar and Kôr know what happens after that!
The Song of Kwasin releases in December 2015 and can be preordered here.
Christopher Paul Carey is the coauthor with Philip José Farmer of The Song of Kwasin, and the author of Exiles of Kho and Hadon, King of Opar. His short fiction may be found in anthologies such as Ghost in the Cogs, Tales of the Shadowmen, The Worlds of Philip José Farmer, Tales of the Wold Newton Universe, and The Avenger: The Justice, Inc. Files. He is a senior editor at Paizo on the award-winning Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and has edited numerous collections, anthologies, and novels. He holds a master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Visit him online at http://cpcarey.com.
Pulp Crazy: Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview, Douglas. Your name is a familiar one to pulp fans, and it’s an honor to interview you on Pulp Crazy. As someone who owns a number of the Moonstone anthologies your covers adorn, I love your illustrations of pulp characters. How did you first get interested in the pulps?
Douglas Klauba: Thank you so much! I started getting into pulp art at an early age, early teens while collecting comic books, monster magazines, and paperbacks. And because I was a Steranko fan, I collected his Shadow and other paperbacks that he did covers for, like Weird Heroes. Eventually, Steranko’s Chandler was released and it made a huge impression upon me as a young artist. I was then picking up the comic book versions of The Shadow, The Avenger, Doc Savage, Conan, and John Carter of Mars. It all started to click with me that these new interpretations came from an original source, aside from old time radio… and I ended up becoming a bigger fan of pulp heroes over comic book heroes.
Pulp Crazy: Who are some of your favorite pulp artists? Do any particular pulp covers stand out in your mind?
Douglas Klauba: J. Allen St. John, Rudolph Belarski, Walter Baumhofer, Norm Saunders, Virgil Finlay, Edward Cartier, George Rozen, Rafael DeSoto, and Hubert Rogers. I don’t think I could pick a favorite cover… way too hard: maybe a Rozen cover of The Shadow or a Doc Savage. I do love many Astounding covers by Hubert Rogers.
Pulp Crazy: Has classic pulp art influenced your style? If yes, how so?
Douglas Klauba: Very much so. From figurative, colors, lighting, and composition. I also enjoy working in a black and white pulp influenced style.
Pulp Crazy: What is your favorite genre to draw? Do you find yourself more at home with the hero pulps, science fiction, fantasy, crime, or some other genre within the greater realm of the pulps?
Douglas Klauba: I really do love all that you’ve mentioned. I’ve been fortunate to have been hired by Moonstone for many of their pulp hero books. I like developing paintings with science fiction woman with plenty of retro ray guns and space ships. I’m also a huge fan of the hard boiled private eyes and detectives. I plan on continuing a personal series of paintings in that genre.
Pulp Crazy: What pulp character do you enjoy drawing the most? Is this your favorite pulp character?
Douglas Klauba: While I’m a huge fan of The Shadow, and Doc Savage, as well as The Spider – I really like illustrating crime / detective images. I think I enjoy all the characters equally. I’ve never illustrated The Shadow in color but hope to in the next couple of weeks, after I finish my current painting I’m working on of John Carter, Dejah Thoris, and Tars Tarkas.
Pulp Crazy: Do you have a particular pulp series or character you enjoy reading?
Douglas Klauba: I really enjoy the John Carter books. Some days I like to read The Shadow, while other days I’m in the mood for The Spider.
Pulp Crazy: Outside of pulp characters, what other types of illustrations do you like to create?
Douglas Klauba: Anything to do with movies! I recently completed a commemorative poster for the Clive Barker film, Lord of Illusions. I’m also working on an original pulp inspired adventure graphic novel, that I hope to finish one day….
Douglas Klauba: I really owe it all to my friend, Bob Garcia. We were discussing projects one day, probably at the Windy City Pulp and Paperback Show, and he really got the ball rolling. I wanted to put some of these pulp themed images in a collection of some sort. Bob ended up presenting a calendar design that blew me away, and then he redesigned it – and it blew me away even more. He also helped me decide on which images.
Bob and I have worked on many book covers and poster projects together. I love his art direction, I trust his judgement, and we work really well together. After his successful, and beautiful The Collectors Book Of Virgil Finlay on Kickstarter, he thought that I could publish this with his guidance. I’ve been pleasantly surprised finding out that there are art fans, and pulp art fans that want to hang my work up every month. So, here we are days away of knowing if the Adventure Calendar will be fully funded or not.
Pulp Crazy: Do you have any other pulp related projects in the works that you can talk about?
Douglas Klauba: Well, as I mentioned, I’m working on a black and white pulp inspired graphic novel. I have a few commissions lined up that need to be taken care of. There are a couple of other projects that are too early to discuss, but I’d be thrilled to announce once they begin.
Pulp Crazy: Thanks again for agreeing to the interview, Douglas. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the 2016 calendar and future pulp related books featuring your artwork.
Douglas Klauba: Thank you, Jason! I can’t wait to get it into your hands and onto your wall as well!