Tag Archives: Ancient Science fiction

MY COUSIN’S AIRSHIP (1902): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Thank you to all of you who have expressed condolences over recent family events. You people are the greatest! 

My Cousin's AirshipMY COUSIN’S AIRSHIP, A TALE OF 1950 (1902) – Written by W.F. Alexander. Though written in 1902 this story is set in a fictional 1950 which has seen incredible scientific advances.

The action begins in England, where our narrator lives with his true love Margaret. His cousin Stephen Rankin – a former rival for Margaret’s affections – is a nasty mean-spirited mad scientist figure.

Stephen has invented a new type of aerocar which can travel 45 miles per hour, which we readers are told makes it the fastest aircraft of 1950. (!) As a peace-making gesture the inventor invites our narrator along for a joyride in the airship. Continue reading

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BEST OF 2020: SEPTEMBER

Balladeer’s Blog’s end of year retrospective resumes with this look at September’s best:

DuneAMERICA: PART OF THE DUNE FRANCHISE – America’s equivalents of the Harkonnens and other Houses. Click HERE.

TWENTY MORE SENSATIONAL FAILED PREDICTIONS – The latest list of predictions which failed big-time. Click HERE.

DEMOCRAT SLOGANS – A humorous look at the attitudes and policies of Democrats. Click HERE.

THE FIRST TWENTY HULK STORIES FROM THE 1960s – The Hulk takes on the Leader, the Gargoyle, the Circus of Crime and more. Click HERE.

FOOL KILLER: JULY 1911 – The Fool Killer whacks bloated rich pigs like J.P. Morgan, William A Clark, astrologers and others. Click HERE.

DEMOCRATS AND CORPORATE FASCISM – A look at the Democrats and their embrace of corporate fascism. Click HERE.

Blue Bolt coverSUPERHERO PANTHEON OF NOVELTY PRESS – Forgotten 1940s superheroes like the White Streak, Twister, Sub-Zero Man and the Green Sorceress. Click HERE.

CIVIL RIGHTS ICON CLARENCE HENDERSON SAYS TRUMP DID MORE FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR IN FOUR YEARS THAN BIDEN DID IN NEARLY FIFTY. The title says it all. Click HERE.

VENUS IN FURS: AN OPERA VERSION OF THE 1870 NOVEL – Another look at an opera adaptation of an unexpected work. Click HERE. Continue reading

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BEST OF 2020: JUNE

Balladeer’s Blog’s end of year retrospective continues with this look at June’s best:

Five Hundred CaratsINSPECTOR LIPINZKI: RIVALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1973) – The best episode of Season Two involved this detective investigating the spectacular theft of a huge diamond. Click HERE.

DEMOCRATS HAVE A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE … WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT – It often seems like in America you’re only as free as the most intolerant Democrat allows you to be. Click HERE

THE ARTIFICIAL MAN (1884): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION – The tale of an artificially designed human being. Click HERE.

Captain America OneTHE FIRST TWENTY CAPTAIN AMERICA STORIES OF THE 1940s – The Golden Age adventures of the red white and blue superhero. Click HERE.

JOURNALISTS AGREE THAT DEMOCRAT BIAS HAS KILLED THEIR PROFESSION’S CREDIBILITY – The title says it all. Click HERE.

PRIZE COMICS SUPERHERO PANTHEON – Another 1940s group of superheroes who are all but forgotten. Click HERE.

riots cartoonVICTIMS OF THE DEMOCRAT RIOTERS SPEAK OUT – The victims of color who suffered through the Democrat riots this year were ignored by the Democrats’ media outlets. Click HERE.

FOOL KILLER: MAY 1911 – James Larkin Pearson’s version of the Fool Killer continues his career. Click HERE.

DEMOCRAT VOTE FRAUD SCANDALS IN NEW JERSEY AND WISCONSIN – Yes, even in June more and more Democrat vote fraud scandals were making the news. Click HERE.

DEFECTIVE DETECTIVES (1971) – A BBC show with Max Carrados the blind detective and others. Click HERE. Continue reading

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BEST OF 2020: MAY

Balladeer’s Blog’s year-end retrospective continues with this look at May’s best:

Lady MollyLADY MOLLY: DETECTIVE – Baroness Orczy’s female detective from 1910, solving a murder mystery involving a woman in a “big hat.” Click HERE.

TWENTY MORE “ANCIENT” SCIENCE FICTION STORIES – From hundreds of years ago onward, here are tales about genetically modified humanoid giants stalking the land, machines in the 1800s rebelling against humanity and so much more! Click HERE.

TRANSGRESS WITH ME: MAY FOURTH – Another daring and iconoclastic look at ideas which threaten the powers that be. Click HERE.

SUPERHERO PANTHEON OF FOX FEATURES – A look at forgotten superheroes of long ago. Click HERE.

Magical world of AniaTWIN PEAKS IN POLAND: THE MAGICAL WORLD OF ANIA – The disappearance of a troubled young woman leads to a series of nightmarish goings-on. Click HERE.

JAWBREAKERS: GRAND BIZARRE – The latest volume of the mercenary superhero team created by independent comics legend Richard C Meyer. Click HERE.

TWENTY COLD WAR ATTACKS ON U.S. AIRCRAFT – Plenty of violent encounters during the Cold War. Click HERE.

Consolations in TravelCONSOLATIONS IN TRAVEL (1830) ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION – A trip to assorted planets in our solar system. Click HERE.

SATANIC PANIC 2: ANTI-TRUMP HYSTERIA – The absurd overreactions to everything Trump ever did and said will likely be remembered in the same spirit as the bogus Satanic Panic of the 1980s or the periodic Red Scares. Click HERE.

THE DEATH TRAP (1908): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION – A creature feature type of battle with a monster in the Chicago sewer system. Click HERE. Continue reading

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BEST OF 2020: APRIL

Balladeer’s Blog’s end of year retrospective continues with this look at April’s best:

mars menMARS MEN (1976) MOVIE REVIEW – My review of the Thailand/ Japan/ Taiwan monster movie mashup. Click HERE.

THE HISTORY OF AN EXTINCT PLANET (1884): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION – Plenty of brilliant concepts in this neglected sci-fi gem. Click HERE.

THE GUARDIAN’S MELANIE PHILLIPS: WHY I LEFT THE LEFT – She speaks for so many of us. Click HERE

STALKER (1976-1976): SWORD AND SORCERY SERIES – For this look at a combination Witcher, Conan and Game of Thrones click HERE.

THE INVISIBLE MAN (1984) – Forgotten British television adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic. Click HERE.

GeorgesGEORGES (1843): Alexandre Dumas’ novel about a swashbuckling swordsman fighting slavery. Click HERE.

DAYBREAK (1896): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION – The moon hits the Earth, plus Mars’ equivalent of Jesus? Click HERE.

APRIL FOOL’S DAY WITH THE FOOL KILLER – A quick guide to the original Fool Killer Letters of the 1800s and beyond. Click HERE.

ToomorrowTOOMORROW (1970) – My movie review of Olivia Newton John’s deep dark secret. Click HERE.

TRUMP’S PAYROLL PROTECTION PROGRAM FURTHERS HIS FDR IMAGE – As I’ve said before, de facto Third Party President Donald Trump has been the best president of my lifetime when it comes to his aid for the working class and the poor. Click HERE.

A PLUNGE INTO SPACE (1890): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION – A Steampunk journey to Mars. Click HERE.

TOP MOVIES OF SHINYA TSUKAMOTO – Balladeer’s Blog looks at the director’s best HERE.

rivals of sherlockDOCTOR THORNDYKE – A rival of Sherlock Holmes in a great mystery adapted for television. Click HERE.

THE AMERICAN GIRLS (1978): FORGOTTEN TELEVISION – Female reporters as the new Charlie’s Angels? Click HERE. Continue reading

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BEST OF 2020: MARCH

Balladeer’s Blog’s end of year retrospective continues with this look at March’s best:

mandy posterMANDY (2018): NICOLAS CAGE IN THE ROLE HE WAS BORN TO PLAY – Cage always brings the crazy and this wild, hyper-stylized and ultra-violent horror film showcases him at his psychotic best. Click HERE.

A STORY OF THE YEAR 2236 (1900): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION – Neglected Space Opera about humanity’s rise to an interstellar empire followed by a cataclysmic war with an alien race. Click HERE.

DEMOCRATS BLOCK CORONAVIRUS AID PACKAGE – More callous playing with lives by the combined Nazis and Mafia of our time. Click HERE.

TWENTY DJANGO MOVIES – The 20 best Django movies from before Quentin Tarantino’s reboot. Click HERE.

SHAKEM AKHET: DEMOCRATS DO NOTHING FOR BLACK VOTERS – A Martin Luther King Person of Courage praises de facto Third Party President Trump and his accomplishments for communities of color. Click HERE.

Robert Ludlum expanded universeROBERT LUDLUM EXPANDED UNIVERSE – Television series like Beowulf Agate, Operation: Medusa and one set in the dystopian future from the end of The Holcroft Covenant. Click HERE.  

THE STRANGER (1991-1995) – Colin Baker’s science fiction series in which he was the Doc – I mean the Stranger … yeah, that’s it … the Stranger. Click HERE.

FINAL FOUR AND ELITE EIGHT BASKETBALL – At least a few college divisions got to play their national tournaments this year. Click HERE.

TWENTY BOOKS ABOUT THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY’S SCANDALS AND FAILURES – Only imbeciles would believe that ANY presidential administration was “scandal free” (LMAO). Click HERE.

James Garner 2TWENTY JAMES GARNER MOVIES: Some of the underrated actor’s best work: movies 1-10 and movies 11-20.

ALL THAT GLITTERS (1977) – A long-forgotten soap opera set on a parallel Earth where women were in charge and men were the sex objects. Click HERE.

A ROUND TRIP TO THE YEAR 2000 (1903): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION – Long before Doc Brown and Marty McFly came this science fiction tale of time travel via a souped-up automobile. Click HERE. Continue reading

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BEST OF 2020: FEBRUARY

Balladeer’s Blog’s end of year retrospective continues with this look at February’s best:

Up in the air ...UP IN THE AIR AND DOWN IN THE SEA (1863): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION – Scientific experimenter Victor Volans devises a passenger balloon which lets him explore two Lost Worlds on islands in the Pacific Ocean. Next he devises underwater exploration techniques which let him recover sunken treasures off Australia and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) while fighting off deep sea monsters. Click HERE.

DEMOCTRAT PRIMARY SEASON PREVIEWED THE RIGGED 2020 ELECTION – With hindsight, the many, many irregularities and “technical glitches” in the Democrats’ primaries and caucuses – which conveniently robbed Bernie Sanders again – proved to be a dry run for the vote fraud in the actual November election. Democrats apparently used the chaos of those primaries to work out the bugs in their “Computer-programmable election results” method. Click HERE.

TWENTY BEST SILVER JOHN PULP STORIES – Manly Wade Wellman’s hero Silver John’s 20 best adventures against supernatural menaces in the Appalachians. Click HERE.

JACK BREWER CALLS TRUMP “THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT” – All that and more about Trump’s accomplishments for communities of color. Click HERE.

CasablancaCASABLANCA: A Valentine’s Day review of the classic movie from Balladeer’s Blog. Click HERE.

ROLLING STONE’S MATT TAIBBI ON THE DEMOCRAT RIGGING OF THEIR PRIMARY PROCESS – His article argued that “Democrats are doomed elites and dumb crooks.” Click HERE.

TWENTY MORE COOL-NAMED NJCAA COLLEGE TEAMS – Click HERE.

DEMOCRAT ANDREW YANG ON HOW DEMOCRATS HAVE BETRAYED THE WORKING CLASS – The title says it all. Click HERE

THE FINALE TO DON MCGREGOR’S KILLRAVEN SAGA – For the full review of Let It Die Like It’s The Fourth Of July, the final chapter, click HERE. Continue reading

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BEST OF 2020: JANUARY

As always, December is the ideal time for retrospectives of the past 12 months:

2020 texas gladiators poster2020 TEXAS GLADIATORS – January 1st of this year saw the publication of the movie review I’d been planning since I started Balladeer’s Blog back in 2010! My favorite bad/ weird post-apocalypse movie reviewed on New Year’s Day of the year in which it was set. How close to reality were its predictions for the future? Nowhere NEAR close but that’s part of the fun of course.

This Italian ripoff of Mad Max delivers futuristic Texas Rangers, mutants, evil villains, deadly mercenaries and Italian extras as fake Native Americans who live in absurd post-nuke teepees. It’s ideal if you love legendarily bad movies. HERE.

TWENTY GREAT ITEMS FOR THE POOR AND WORKING CLASS – A score of terrific news items for the poor and the working class to kick off 2020. HERE.

Sabre 1978KILLRAVEN, SABRE AND THE SLOW FADE OF AN ENDANGERED SPECIES – My review of the post-apocalyptic adventures of Killraven and Sabre in the year 2020 as told from the 1970s.

I also examined the way writer Don McGregor incorporated unused elements of his canceled Killraven series into his independent Sabre graphic novel. Killraven fought for freedom from Earth’s alien conquerors. Sabre fought for freedom from a human dictatorship which arose in the aftermath of disasters involving poverty, disease, terrorist attacks and nuclear catastrophes. Read it HERE.  

TWENTY MORE FAILED PREDICTIONS FROM PSYCHICS – Remember when the Battle of Armageddon was fought in the year 2000? Or the way a woman was elected U.S. President in 1990? Or the way we eliminated air pollution? You don’t? Well that’s because none of those things happened. To laugh at similar predictions click HERE.

log of the flying fishTHE LOG OF THE FLYING FISH (1887): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION – My review of the 1887 novel about The Flying Fish, a craft capable of flying and serving as a submarine.

The vessel’s inventor and crew have adventures around the world including discovering a prehistoric oasis at the North Pole, hunting unicorns and a variety of other escapades. Click HERE Continue reading

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REVIEW OF GULLIVAR JONES ON MARS (1905): PART TWO

GULLIVAR JONES ON MARS (1905) – Written by Edwin L Arnold. In Part One of this review I explored this novel’s alternate titles and its cult reputation, plus the controversy which used to rage over whether or not Edgar Rice Burroughs may have read this work and gained inspiration for certain elements of his John Carter of Mars series. I also dealt with the end of that controversy when it became better known that BOTH Arnold and Burroughs may have been inspired by Gustavus Pope’s 1894 novel Journey to Mars.

Here in Part Two is the review proper, including revisions I would have made to Edwin Arnold’s incredibly flawed story. 

Gullivar and woman he with back to usGullivar Jones on Mars starts out in the late 1860s or early 1870s with U.S. Navy Lieutenant Gullivar Jones, a veteran of the Union forces in the Civil War, in New York City on shore leave. He comes into possession of a Turkish rug with unexplained mystical powers. While standing on the unrolled rug he wishes he was on Mars and the flying carpet transports him there. (?)

REVISION: I would keep all of Gullivar Jones’ background info the same, but instead of the Turkish rug I would have him be one of many New Yorkers drawn to a strange spacecraft which lands near the docks. The daring Jones would climb into the remote-controlled vessel, which would trap him inside, sedate him with gas and then fly off back to Mars. Continue reading

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GULLIVAR JONES ON MARS (1905) – ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Gulliver Jones on MarsGULLIVAR JONES ON MARS (1905) – Written by Edwin L Arnold, this novel was originally published under the title Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation. Years later, with the spelling of the lead character’s first name altered, it was published as Gulliver of Mars. Over the years it was revived under a variety of titles. I’m using the title that I prefer – Gullivar Jones On Mars.   

This will be a simultaneous review and a running tally of the revisions I would have made to the story. This very oddly written novel BEGS to be rewritten because of the long line of self-defeating creative choices that Edwin L Arnold made throughout the tale.

Gullivar Jones black and whiteIf Arnold had written this story decades later it could have been said that he was intentionally subverting the tropes of heroic sword & science epics. Unfortunately, this novel instead seems to be the victim of ineptitude on the author’s part.

Like when you’re watching a bad movie, a reader’s jaw drops at the way Arnold never failed to let a brilliant concept die on the vine, or the way he repeatedly sets up potentially action-packed or highly dramatic story developments only to let them culminate in unsatisfying cul de sacs or peter out into lame anticlimax. There’s almost a perverse genius to the way that the narrative constantly works against itself. Continue reading

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