Yes, it’s that time again! The Master’s Review is running their Winter Short Story Contest and the deadline is January 31st.
The Winter Short Story Award, a prize that recognizes the best fiction from today’s emerging writers, closes in less than a month. The winning story will be judged by Aimee Bender and awarded $3000 and publication online. All winning stories and any notable honorable mentions will receive agency review. Continue reading
BE AWARE THAT SOME OF THEM HAVE ENTRY FEES OF $20.00. Enter your submission(s) in the eleven contests below: Continue reading
It’s that time again!
IN SEARCH OF THE UNKNOWN (1904) by Robert W Chambers. Previously Balladeer’s Blog examined Chambers’ underrated horror classic The King in Yellow. The work we’re looking at this time around is a collection of short stories about Gilland the Zoologist. Gilland was a forerunner of the real-life Frank “Bring ’em Back Alive” Buck and the fictional Indiana Jones.
Our daring hero worked for the Bronx Zoological Gardens and was frequently dispatched by Professor Farrago to try to bring in dangerous crypto-zoological specimens or disprove their existence if they were hoaxes. The stories in this volume:
I. THE HARBOR MASTER – Gilland is sent north to Hudson Bay where a Harbor Master has reported capturing a pair of Great Auks, flightless birds which went extinct in the mid-1800s. The two-fisted scholar finds the Great Auks are for real but the Harbor Master harbors (see what I did there) a sinister secret.
This story also features the Harbor Master’s beautiful secretary, who naturally catches Gilland’s eye, and a gilled merman (shades of Creature From The Black Lagoon), who wants to mate with the lovely lady himself. Gilland’s not having it, of course, and must do battle with the creature.
II. IN QUEST OF THE DINGUE – The Graham Glacier melts, unleashing a number of animals from species that were long thought extinct. Among the crowd of academics converging on the unexplored area are Gilland and Professor Smawl. The Professor is a sexy, strong-willed female scholar that our hero has been forced to accompany into the region.
The battle of the sexes bickering flies like shrapnel as the pair encounter Woolly Mammoths and other creatures, find a primitive bell called a dingue and run afoul of a gigantic super-powered woman who calls herself the Spirit of the North. Continue reading
Per reader requests Balladeer’s Blog presents another neglected superhero.
Secret Identity: Tom Kenny, farm hand
Origin: While working the fields on a farm in the mid-western United States, Tom Kenny was scooped up and carried aloft by a freak cyclone. After several hours of exposure to the elemental windstorm the man finally dropped into a town he did not recognize.
In addition to granting Tom superpowers the mysterious storm caused him to lose much of his memory outside of his first name. He could not recall where he was from or who his relatives were or if he had known anything about the odd cyclone. Adopting the last name Kenny the amnesiac wandered from town to town and city to city trying to learn about his past.
During his quest he would battle any evils that he came across under the superhero name Tornado Tom.
First Appearance: Cyclone Comics #1 (June, 1940). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1941.
Powers: Continue reading
A THOUSAND DEATHS (1899) – This story was the first published work by Jack London and it definitely shows, but it still has certain merits. The protagonist – who is never named – is the scion of a wealthy British family. Feeling stifled by his rigid upbringing he ran off in his teens to roam the world. He’s fallen into various shady professions over the years and now at age 30 he’s begun having regrets.
His latest misadventure involved diving off a ship he regretted signing onto as soon as he sobered up and as soon as the vessel left San Francisco Harbor. Our hero miscalculated the distance back to shore, however, and now faces the prospect of drowning.
He seems to feel himself going under but then wakes up after an indeterminate time on board a luxurious yacht. The man has various tubes and wires connected to his body and soon learns that he has been saved from drowning by the crew of … his estranged father. That father (who also goes unnamed – it’s early Jack London all right) fails to recognize his son because of the changes the younger man’s rough life has inflicted on him.
Our protagonist (If that IS his real name – I’m kidding.) uses a phony name to hide his identity from his father. And Jack London apparently felt that even that alias was none of our damn business so don’t ask. The undercover son learns from his oblivious father that he really HAD died from drowning, but his father – a mad scientist – used the machines he’s strapped to, to literally bring him back from the dead. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s “Script Doctoring” of Marvel’s Foolkiller continues with Part Three. FOR PART ONE OF THIS ARTICLE CLICK HERE
DEFENDERS Vol 1: Number 77 – WAITING FOR THE END OF THE WORLD (Nov 1979)
A. Synopsis of the “real” story – The Defenders (Valkyrie, Hellcat, Moondragon and the Wasp), still puzzled about how Omega’s dead form and James Michael Starling’s live form switched places, arrive in Las Vegas.
James Michael escapes from the supervillainess Ruby before she can experiment on him. The Defenders encounter him shortly after his escape, but the pursuing Ruby and her monstrous creation Dibbuk arrive on Starling’s trail. A battle breaks out between the Defenders and the Ruby/Dubbuk pair in the heart of Las Vegas.
This fight becomes a three-way battle with the arrival of the Protarians in another squadron of spaceships. In all the resulting chaos Ruby and Dibbuk are defeated while Moondragon’s mind powers at last fill in all the blanks on Omega and James Michael Starling. Continue reading