My co-authors and I of the Atomic Age of Heroes anthology were interviewed by the wonderful Art Sippo. Check out the podcast here.
Authors Thomas Fortenberry, Robert H. Hudson Jr, Edward Lee Love, Mark Marderosian, and Jeff Deischer are all guests in this show to describe their contributions to the anthology Once More into the Breach: Atomic Gods and Monsters, Volume 2. This is a collection of stories from different genres using public domain comic characters from the early 1950s. It is an entertaining mix of tales with roots in the superhero, action, pulp, and horror worlds with a 1950s flavor. This is part of an on going anthology series with new volumes published every quarter. There is something for almost everybody in this series. Check it out!
Once More Into the Breach (Atomic Gods and Monsters, Volume 2):
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I was rereading Hercule Poirot mysteries over the holidays–decided to just focus on the short stories this time, because I was still toying with my SF cozy mystery concept. Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories is a wonderful collection by the way.
A few things to note–but for later as I want to cover these topics in other essays: I love the easybreeziness of Agatha Christie’s prose. I love the fresh nowness, even while being pieces of a specific period. They read like overheard snatches of conversation. I also feel, deeply, for M. Poirot. There is a great sadness in these tales, often shown via his tiredness at the foibles of humanity, his disgust at the immorality and the inevitable pettiness of his fellow Mankind. Poirot is often seeking rest or escape from the rabble when it comes rushing at him again–as with the poignant scene atop the Mount of the Prophet in “Triangle at Rhodes,” when his serenity is broken by the jealous madness of the masses and, of course, murder.
But here I wish to only make a brief note of the great detective’s favorite drink, the Sirop de Cassis. It is a black currant liqueur–Poirot corrects, not a liqueur–that would probably be the white wine version popularized in Dijon, France by Felix Kir in the 1940s. However, these were all written before that time and Poirot favored the syrup of the berries or chocolate from the ‘Teens on up. So, then we get back to the original modern version which arose in 1841 Burgundy. In what form did he drink his elixir? We know he smacked his lips and ahhhed with pleasure as he sipped it. Was it pure currant syrup or a mixture of some kind? Why did he love it so? Was it simply a sweet delight or something much more? Because, this habit made me wonder, as black currants have hallucinogenic properties and were illegal in the United States for most of last century after a 1911 ban, if perchance Poirot drank black currant juice because of this additional, cerebral property?
Just a passing thought, but a whole new view of Poirot might open up in these little gray cells of mine.
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Because people ask for proof. Here is a picture from my days on the comic book convention circuit (circa 1990). Back then I had long hair–actually had hair– and was not only clean shaven, but sans glasses as well. I now look like the professor who should be teaching my old self.
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Since Mirrormaze has officially released, I thought I would note a few things about Sharlokh and Dr. Watt-ZENN, whose tale “The Dragon’s Nest” appears in the anthology.
Sharlokh and Dr. Watt-ZENN are an obvious SF-version of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. They are the intersection of my interest in mysteries and SH, and my own SF universe. Decades ago I had written another mystery series set in this universe which was much more action-adventure themed and superheroic. I wanted this one to be more true to its SH roots, plus more street-level, noir, and grittier than the other.
This series takes place on Carnon, which is a human-settled but independent world in the Imran Cluster. It is a large planet which is a melting pot of alien races, as it lies on the fringes of Humanspace and serves as a port and trading center to other stellar civilizations. Sharlokh and Dr. Watt-ZENN run an independent detective agency in the city of Vanceville and help solve crimes that often involve humans and aliens, which thus fall in the gray areas outside the jurisdiction of the various human and alien police agencies.
Sharlokh is Koror, an alien reptilian race which is the most powerful in the Milky Way Galaxy. The Koror were once enemies of humanity and we even had a massive Galactic War with them, but eventually a peace was reached, and now Humans and Koror work together in a mutually beneficial, albeit uneasy, peace. This series takes place during that peace, and both Sharlokh and Dr. Watt-ZENN are veterans of the Galactic War. Sharlokh is a former military police detective who has continued his work after leaving military service.
Dr. Watt-ZENN is human, a former military surgeon who was grievously injured during the Galactic War. He became a cyborg with a rare AI-brain interface. The ZENN device, which occupies half of his head, stands for Zygopleural Encephalopathic Neural Net– a supercomputer that allows him to record and access data from almost any form of computer system. This has proved a very useful tool in his detective work with Sharlokh.
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