Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born into a rather wealthy New England family and enjoyed a comparably happy childhood. Comparably, because he was a sickly child, his health remained frail all his life and because his father died when he was five years old.
Lovecraft was also a prodigious child, capable of reciting short poems by 2 and able to read by 3 years of age.
This early ability to read later helped him to study on his own when illness prevented him from attending school for any length of time. His favorite book and main inspiration during his childhood was Arabian Nights, from which he would eventually draw the inspiration for one of his most famous characters: The mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, author of the dreaded Necronomicon.
Continue reading “Master of the Genre in Death: H.P. Lovecraft”
When one says that Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon is set in an alternate history Japan where the Taisho era (1912-26) has continued on into the 1930s, one might expect this alternate history setting to play heavily into the plot of the game. “How would Japan be different if the Taisho era had not given way to the strong militarism of the 1930s that foreshadowed Japan’s involvement in World War II?”
For better or worse, this is not the case. The story is, instead, highly reminiscent of detective novels of that era, such as the Kindaichi series written by Seishi Yokomizo, but with the addition of the standard theme of all Shin Megami Tensei games: demons, devils, and dark magic.
Continue reading “Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon”
The Wolfenstein series has been around since 1981 for the Apple II computer. Things have much changed since then, though, and the games have seen many incarnations across numerous platforms with ever different plots.
The latest is for the Playstation 3 and fits in with the more modern plotline of Wolfenstein’s canon (which builds on the 1990s game Wolfenstein 3D and the later sequel, Return to Castle Wolfenstein) and like them is a first-person shooter.
Continue reading “Wolfenstein”
Sam van Olffen is a talented dieselpunk artist from France whose work has been featured at exhibitions throughout the world. He kindly agreed to answer some questions about himself, his work and his thoughts about the genres his creations are associated with.
Continue reading “Interview with Sam van Olffen”
M (1931) is often named as one of the classics of cinema. It is high up there with the few other masterpieces and this reputation is well deserved, as I hope to make that clear in this review.
For the whole length of the film, director Fritz Lang plays masterfully with light, sound and shadow.
Continue reading “Fritz Lang’s M”
For the most part, steampunk is a versatile subgenre. The tropes and themes commonly associated with it, the trappings of era fiction and the wonders of industry, can be applied and reimagined in any number of settings. Today, literary steampunk can run the gamut from straightforward Neo-Victorian adventure to imaginative alternate history to the wildest flights of high fantasy.
However, there is always a risk of carrying things too far.
Continue reading “The Court of the Air”
It is difficult to describe the exact relationship between the 2001 anime Metropolis, directed by Rintaro, and Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent film of the same name without longwinded explanations or vague terms like “inspired by” or “loosely based upon.”
As a matter of fact, the anime is chiefly a filmic adaptation of a 1949 manga by Osamu Tezuka, best known as the creator of Astro Boy, which is purported to be “loosely inspired” by a few promotional images of the famous masterpiece of silent cinema.
Continue reading “Rintaro’s Metropolis”
The 1927 film Metropolis is a milestone in the cinematographic genre of science-fiction and many reviews have been written about it, so I shall concentrate on two particular aspects and hope I am not plagiarizing someone else’s ideas.
Continue reading “Future Lessons from the Past”
Peasants, widows and royalty all wanted to serve Mother Russia in the Great War. Some were nurses, others support troops, but on occasion women would put Mosin-Nagant rifle to shoulder and fight quietly as front line troops.
Cossacks and Siberian sniper units were reinforced by female recruits, but the concept of all-female infantry units was viewed with skepticism. Yet with the fall of the Tsar Nicholas II regime in the spring of 1917, and the war against Germany lingering, the Provisional Government needed fresh bodies to send to the frontlines.
And from the vast Russian multitudes a select number of women stepped forward to become soldiers in the 1st Women’s Battalion of Death. Hundreds of women, between the ages of 18 and 40, would turn out to be inspected by the tough commanding officer: Captain Maria Bochkareva. Yet few would pass muster.
Continue reading “Battalion of Death: Russia’s All-Female Fighting Force”
Gerry Canavan has assembled a great collection at his blog of depictions of New York’s Statue of Liberty in various states of decay. We spot vintage pulp covers and posters of modern-day films such as The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and Cloverfield (2007) as well as imagery from comics and video games like Red Alert 2 (2000).
Continue reading “Lady Liberty in Ruins”