Ty Johnston: life on the written page

Home to fantasy, horror and literary fiction author Ty Johnston

Friday, January 20, 2017

Books read in 2017: No. 3 -- Echoes of Valor II

edited by Karl Edward Wagner

Started: Jan. 5
Finished: Jan. 20

Notes: Continuing my recent Sword & Sorcery readings, I now turn to this 1989 KEW collection of reprints. Included are notes about and these stories by Robert E. Howard, C.L. Moore, Manly Wade Wellman, Ray Bradbury, and Leigh Brackett.

Mini review: This was a fun mix of stories, though I don't consider all of them winners. One fault, in my opinion, was starting off the book with a couple of Howard tales, as Howard's writing is so strong many of the others fall short in comparison. So, I would have put the Howard tales at the end. Wellman's story of Hok in the Stone Age (or possibly even earlier) was probably my next favorite of the lot here, though I didn't care much for Bradbury and Brackett's work on "Lorelei of the Red Mist." To add, not all these tales were Sword & Sorcery, with a few being Sword & Planet or a mixture of sub-genres.

At Nerdarchy.com: Wheat pennies

Nerds come in all types. Some of them even collect coins. Which is why today's Nerdarchy article takes a look at the basics of collecting wheat pennies.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Books read in 2017: No. 2 -- Conan the Mercenary

by Andrew J. Offutt

Started: Jan. 2
Finished: Jan. 5

Notes: After just finishing "Red Nails," I felt like reading some more of Conan the Cimmerian. Looking around my to-be-read pile, I stumbled upon this, forgetting I had it (probably for years). While Offutt was rarely a strong writer, he did have a certain lovable goofiness to his prose, and occasionally there were sparks of mild genius; I tend to think he was a better short story writer than novelists, but that's just my opinion.

Mini review: Offutt's writing was more subdued in this one, but it read more like an extended short story than a true novel. In this one, an 18-year-old Conan hires on with a noble and then discovers a plot of treachery within the royal palace. Not a great book, but not awful. Still, only Offutt or Conan fans need apply.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Books read in 2016: No. 66, Books read in 2017: No. 1 -- Red Nails

by Robert E. Howard

Started: Dec. 26, 2016
Finished: Jan. 1, 2017

Notes: For too long have I not been reading enough speculative genre fiction, and for too long have I not read any Howard, so I was thrilled to see this tale from the author available for free on Amazon. I've read this one several times over the decades, but it's always enjoyable to come back to Howard every once in a while.

Mini review: What with the holidays, I didn't have much reading time lately, but it was nice to drop back into Howard's writing. As always, his prose here was excellent. The story I've always found a bit predictable, but I suppose it would seem so after one has read so much Sword & Sorcery over the years. Anyway, a solid read worth the time of any fantasy fan.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

At Nerdarchy.com: Celebrity deaths 2016

It seemed 2016 had more than its share of celebrity deaths, and in my most recent Nerdarchy article I take a look back at some that affected the science fiction, fantasy, and Nerd community.