Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Reading Report

My reading reports have been getting a little slim lately. Not because of any lapse in interest I can assure you, but rather due to lack of anything good to read. Times are tough just now in the mystery and sword & sorcery genres. I've been pruning my list of mystery writers for the last couple of years now, and it's reached a point where I'm having trouble finding new authors to replace the ones I've culled. Perhaps I'm just jaded. Seems like I've seen it all before.
On the S&S front, as I've noted before, no one is really writing much new sword & sorcery fiction and I've read and re-read most of what's out there. Believe it or not, there is still some Robert E. Howard material I haven't read, but most of that falls into the category of his humorous fiction, which doesn't interest me much. I have found a few of his historical adventure yarns lately that I never got around to, which are pretty much sword & sorcery without the sorcery. Read a couple of those this weekend. Black Vulmea's Vengeance is a rollicking good pirate yarn, one that could easily be made into a Conan tale with a little de Camp style editing. In fact the Conan story The Black Stranger was re-written at one point as a Black Vulmea story after it failed to sell. The King of the Forgotten People is sort of an odd cross between Lost Horizon and a mad scientist story. Not one of REH's best. I'll probably read some of his Kirby O'Donnell stories next.
I re-read Philip Jose Farmer's pulp parody Greatheart Silver from the 1970s anthology Weird Heroes. Still funny over thirty years later. Also read an interview with Fritz Lieber, some short stories from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and a couple of comics which I'll talk more about later.
Not a lot of non-fiction in this rambling report. I'm between obsessions. I did re-read Atlanta:The Gate City, which is a slim book about Atlanta in the year 1890, with many nifty photographs of a world long vanished. Good grist for a time travel story, actually.
Anyway, that's the report for the weekend.

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