Tag Archives: book reviews

MARCH 2017’s BEST

I’m very, very ill today so here’s just a look at the Best of March here at Balladeer’s Blog.

bill-paxtonNUMBER ONE – With the passing of eccentric actor Bill Paxton I wanted to do an appropriately weird movie of his to give him an authentic Balladeer’s Blog sendoff.

The movie I decided on was Paxton’s often forgotten flick TAKING TIGER MOUNTAIN (1983).

The link to that film review is right HERE

sjws-always-lieNUMBER TWO – SJW’s are among the saddest and most pathetic people alive.

Though they are nothing more than petty informants whose only power comes from the higher authorities they run sniveling to, they laughably consider themselves to be “activists.”

To read SJW’s: LOSERS OR JUST FOOLS? click HERE 

TrainNUMBER THREE – In March I reviewed the 1888 novel A MEXICAN MYSTERY.

That work of Ancient Science Fiction was ahead of its time and dealt with a train engine so well-designed it achieved sentience and began attacking, killing and even feeding on human beings to fuel itself.

Long before Skynet, there was “the Engine.” Click HERE 

Mascot with demo and repub headsNUMBER FOUR – Just as Balladeer’s Blog features Liberals moving on from that outdated label I also feature Conservatives moving on from THAT outdated label.

Here’s a self-described Conservative fed up with the likes of Karl “Miss Piggy” Rove, Kevin Williamson, George Will, Bill Kristol and the repulsive Bush family. Click HERE

TNTNUMBER FIVE – Superheroes are everywhere these days.

Among Balladeer’s Blog’s most popular posts in recent years have been the ones dealing with neglected superheroes and superheroines.

For a look at the neglected CENTAUR COMICS SUPERHERO PANTHEON click HERE

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FEBRUARY 2017’s BEST

Here’s Balladeer’s Blog’s best from February.

EisenhowerNUMBER ONE – Since President’s Day weekend is in February it’s no surprise that the top post that month was my look at PRESIDENTS FROM EISENHOWER TO TRUMP.

I offered quick, light-hearted and critical shots at each one of those presidents. As regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know, I despise both the Democrats (DemCorp) and the Republicans (RepubCorp) so be ready. CLICK HERE 

bruce-boxleitner-as-frank-buck-3NUMBER TWO – One of my Ancient Science Fiction items came in second for the month of February, IN SEARCH OF THE UNKNOWN (1904).

This blog post looked at the series of short stories about Gilland the Zoologist. “If Indiana Jones Was A Zoologist” is a glib description of this collection of tales. The heroic Gilland encounters humanoid amphibians, woolly mammoths, dinosaurs which hatch from preserved eggs and go on a rampage, plus more. CLICK HERE   

Trumbo

 

NUMBER THREE – My review of TRUMBO energized people on all sides of the issues as I examined the cosmic-level hypocrisy of the film.

The political left feels that Blacklisting people and ruining careers is okay when THEY do it, but reprehensible when anyone else does it. CLICK HERE

man-in-the-black-cloak-4NUMBER FOUR – From the 1886 story THE MAN IN THE BLACK CLOAK I examined the title figure – a neglected forerunner of Pulp heroes like Judex and the Shadow.

For this forgotten serial from Boys of New York magazine CLICK HERE 

teresa-mullNUMBER FIVE – Coming in in fifth place for February was this item about a female research fellow and her courageous examination of viewpoint harassment and discrimination on American college campuses by Faculty Lounge Fascists.

To read that blog post CLICK HERE

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2017’s BEST: JANUARY

December is the month for retrospectives of the calendar year. Here’s a look at Balladeer’s Blog’s Best from January.

nyctalope-2NUMBER ONE – It wasn’t even close! Far and away the most popular blog post from January was my examination of Jean de la Hire’s neglected Pulp Hero, the Nyctalope (“Nightwalker”). This cyborg hero debuted very early in the 20th Century – as in before World War One!

Years before Doc Savage and others, the Nyctalope (Leo Saint-Clair) battled world-conquering supervillains, alien menaces, lost Amazon civilizations, Far Eastern Blood Cults and much, much more! From Earth to Mars to Earth’s non-existent second moon called Rhea follow this criminally overlooked figure into action! CLICK HERE 

asra-nomani-3NUMBER TWO – The ladies in the Real-Life League of Extraordinary Women always get a big reaction from readers and this entry was no exception!

The heroic Asra Nomani dove into the fray unafraid, confounding those Left-Wing Archie Bunkers who feel that ONLY Muslims who hate the Western World are “authentic.” For the blog post on this remarkable lady CLICK HERE 

no-survivors-please-2NUMBER THREE – Balladeer’s Blog’s reviews of bad and/or obscure movies are among my favorite pieces to write. For January the film review that stood out to you readers was this one:

No Survivors Please (1964) – A black & white sci fi curiosity from West Germany. The film dealt with an alien invasion but was – to say the least – different from virtually any other alien invasion flick. At least in presentation, if not in ideas. For the actual review CLICK HERE 

Apollo 17 patchNUMBER FOUR – Legendary Apollo Astronaut Eugene Cernan passed away in January of 2017.

In memory of this space pioneer Balladeer’s Blog ran a synopsis of Cernan’s Apollo 17 mission – the last Apollo  flight to visit the moon.

As a bonus I examined five OTHER Apollo missions, too.

For all that moon-madness CLICK HERE 

NUMBER FIVE – PAT CONDELL needs no introduction, and on Inauguration Day back in January I re-ran Pat’s Election Day 2016 monologue about how it HAD to be Trump. This post was very popular but I can’t take credit for any of it – it is ALL Pat’s material. BUT HE NAILED IT! CLICK BELOW TO HEAR HIM:

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THE ZEBRA: ODDBALL SUPERHERO

With superheroes dominating popular culture right now Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at another odd Golden Age figure: the Zebra.

The ZebraTHE ZEBRA

Secret Identity: John Doyle, Attorney

Origin: John Doyle was framed for murder by corrupt politicians who wanted him out of the way. Just two days before his scheduled execution Doyle escaped from prison, lost the pursuing authorities and set out to clear himself.

Using his striped prison outfit as the basis for a costume, John added a mask, gloves, boots, a cape and a “Z” belt buckle to complete his ensemble. After proving his innocence, John Doyle resolved to continue fighting crime under the nom de guerre Zebra.  

First Appearance: Pocket Comics #1 (April 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1946.  

Powers: The Zebra was in peak human condition, excelled at unarmed combat and was more agile than an Olympic athlete. As an interesting twist for Golden Age superheroes the Zebra’s specialty was French Kick-Boxing aka Savate. 

Those “Zebra Kicks” helped justify this unusual hero’s handle. It was sometimes implied that the Zebra’s legs were in such incredible shape from Kickboxing that he could run faster than most ordinary men, too.    

Comment: Created by artist Pierce Rice and an unknown writer working under the alias “Ellery King,” the Zebra was one of the Golden Age superheroes published by Harvey Comics.

STORIES: Continue reading

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THE TERRIBLE SUBMARINE (1901): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

1901 SubmarineTHE TERRIBLE SUBMARINE (1901) – Written by THE Archibald Williams. The Teredo, a souped-up, futuristic submarine is roaming the high seas preying on the world’s shipping at will. The speed and weaponry of the vessel and its anonymous Captain outclass anything that anyone else has in use.

Marcus Hammersley, a young British inventor, designs and oversees the construction of the Otter, a super-submarine of his own. The Otter is outfitted with the inventor’s innovative sensor equipment – including what we would today call sonar. Hammersley believes his vessel’s engines can propel the Otter faster than the mysterious Teredo once his sensors help him locate the pirate sub.    Continue reading

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INUIT MYTHS: ILAGANIQ

Balladeer’s Blog has already examined all the major gods and goddesses of the Inuit so here is a look at another one of their mythical heroes. For my initial list of Inuit deities click HERE 

Bering SeaILAGANIQ – The Inuit hero Ilaganiq was born in the village of Imitchaq, which was famous for being right near the edge of a cliff overlooking the Bering Sea. Ever since he was very young Ilaganiq and his brothers were subjected to extensive physical conditioning by their father.

Ilaganiq’s father Aapaang hoped that one of his sons would be the hero to destroy the Amikuk, or “the Skin Octopus” a monster which terrorized the region. The creature was called the Skin Octopus because of its flat body, like a seal-skin stretched and drying in the sun.

Despite its flat body the beast had tentacles like a traditional octopus and it had caused much loss of life as well as many sunken kayaks and umiaks. Aapaang’s youngest son Ilaganiq had been born with webbed hands and feet, making him the fastest swimmer of the family. Continue reading

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I AM SCROOGE – A ZOMBIE STORY FOR CHRISTMAS (2009)

Balladeer’s Blog’s Eighth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues! Since we’re not even into December yet this is the ideal time to look at this dark-humored version of A Christmas Carol that was done in the style of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

I Am ScroogeI AM SCROOGE – A ZOMBIE STORY FOR CHRISTMAS (2009) – Written by Adam Roberts. This book was a gift from a friend a few years ago and it’s pretty entertaining. Think of The Dead Next Door set at Christmas.

Roberts plays with various aspects of the narrative, even joking about superogatory “o’s” in Marley’s moan of “Scrooooge.” He peppers in a lot of similar jokes all the way through the book. The schtick is exactly what you would expect – the title is a joking reference to I Am Legend followed by Dickens’ qualification of A Christmas Carol as “A Ghost Story For Christmas.” Continue reading

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