Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bonus FFB on Wednesday: The Best of Keith Laumer -- Keith Laumer

Adventure, humor, military SF, Keith Laumer could do just about anything and make it seem easy.  This collection is ample demonstration of that, even if not all the stories seem like "best of" material to me.  I'm thinking here of "Doorstep," which seems more like a joke than a story, and it turns out that the puzzling title isn't really a title, but sort of the punchline, since you have to get to the end of the story to figure it out.

For those of you who are fans of Laumer's work, there's one Bolo story ("A Relic of War"), but there are not Retief stories.  Apparently lots of people don't care for Retief, but I think the stories are hilarious.

My favorite in this collection is probably "The Planet Wreckers," which combines wild adventure and equally wild humor in what may be the ultimate comment on reality TV, although the story was published in 1967.  I like the Bolo stories, so I enjoyed that one, too, and "Cocoon" is a scary take on an early form of virtual reality.  "The Devil You Don't" is a funny take on the Devil and certain problems in Hell, and "Thunderhead" is a military story about duty and heroism.  Good stuff, and a good introduction to Laumer, although I prefer his novels, like World of the Imperium and A Trace of Memory.

Table of Contents:
Introduction · Barry N. Malzberg
The Planet Wreckers
The Body Builders
Cocoon
The Lawgiver
Thunderhead
Hybrid
The Devil You Don’t
Doorstep

A Relic of War

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Marsh McCall, R. I. P.

Marsh McCall Dead: 'Fuller House' Writer and Producer Was 52: He was one of the original scribes on 'Late Night With Conan O'Brien' and a mainstay on 'Just Shoot Me!'

Roger Moore’s best James Bond moments, film by film

Roger Moore’s best James Bond moments, film by film  

The first one is my all-time favorite.

Jeff Cohen on “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Girl”

Jeff Cohen on “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Girl” | Trace Evidence: Jeff Cohen is the author of the Aaron Tucker series, the Asperger’s Mystery series (as coauthored by E.J. Copperman), and three other series under the Copperman byline. He also pens the Double Feature series about Elliot Freed, to which his tale in the current AHMM belongs. Here, he talks about how that story came to be.

Song of the Day

Jerry Lee Lewis It Won't Happen With Me - YouTube:

15 Secrets of Forensic Artists

15 Secrets of Forensic Artists

Today's Vintage Ad


The Creepiest Thing About Stephen King Is His Acting Career

The Creepiest Thing About Stephen King Is His Acting Career

PaperBack



Frank Gruber, Broken Lance, Bantam, 1954

Roger Moore , R. I. P.

The Guardian: He was the epitome of the suave English gent, quipping sweatlessly in a bespoke three-piece suit, who enjoyed an acting career spanning eight decades. On Tuesday, Roger Moore’s children announced his death at the age of 89 in Switzerland, saying: “he passed away today ... after a short but brave battle with cancer”. Roger Moore: ‘Being eternally known as James Bond has no downside’ Read more Moore was best known for playing the third incarnation of James Bond as well as his roles in hit shows The Saint and The Persuaders. He also devoted a lot of his time to humanitarian work, becoming a Unicef goodwill ambassador in 1991.

12 fascinating facts about the Bee Gees

There's no jive talkin' in these 12 fascinating facts about the Bee Gees

I Miss the Old Days

30 Rare and Amazing Vintage Photos That Document Daily Life of Gypsy Rose Lee, America's Most Celebrated Stripper, in 1949

Overlooked Movies -- Return of the Lash

There's no trailer available for Return of the Lash, but the movie's short and you can watch the whole thing on YouTube if you look for it.  That's what I did.

When last we looked in on The Cheyenne Kid, played by Lash LaRue, he was an outlaw.  Even worse, at least for him, he was dead.  A little thing like that,  however, never stopped Hollywood, and the Cheyenne Kid later returned in several movies very much alive as a good guy. He was even a marshal in a few movies, although not in Return of the Lash.  In this one, the Kid and Fuzzy Q. Jones are called on to help their friend Tom Grant because Big Jim Kirby is trying to force them (and all the other ranchers) off their land.  Big Jim knows, as they don't, that the railroad is about to come through, so he wants all the land he can get his hands on.  

Not the most original plot, you might be thinking, but there are some twists.  One is that to get the dough to help the ranchers fight, the Kid catches a bunch of outlaws to get the reward money.  When Fuzzy picks it up from a nearby town, he's attacked by outlaws, falls off his horse, hits his head, and comes up with amnesia.  He doesn't know who attacked him, who he is, or where the money is.  Another twist is that Big Jim is working with . . . no, I can't say.  It's obvious in the movie long before we're told, but you should find out for yourself.

One disappointing thing is that the Kid uses his whip only sparingly and in situations that aren't suspenseful.  On the plus side, our friend Richard Moore's Uncle Bud Osborne shows up as a henchman.  He doesn't drive the stagecoach, which was a surprise, as driving the rigs was his specialty.

Return of the Lash is probably for hardcore B-Western fans only.  You know who you are.

Oh, and by the way, the rumor posted about me and James Reasoner on this website is absolutely true.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dina Merrill, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Dina Merrill, the actress and heiress to two fortunes who wintered at her family’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., as a child before becoming a leading lady in movies, most often in upper-class roles, died on Monday at her home in East Hampton, N.Y. She was 93.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

State bird improvements: What the State Birds Should Be  I

Hat tip to Toby O' Brien.

The True Stories Behind 11 Famous Sideshow Performers

The True Stories Behind 11 Famous Sideshow Performers

Song of the Day

ZZ Top - Tush - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Here's The Most Haunted Place In All 50 States

Today's Vintage Ad


Jane Yolen Interview

Grand Master Jane Yolen on Why It's Important to Just 'Write the Damn Book'

PaperBack



Clarence E. Mulford, Mesquite Jenkins, Tumbleweed, Popular Library, 1946

I Miss the Old Days

JFK's Presidency Was Custom Made for the Golden Age of Photojournalism

11 Movies That Almost Starred Nicolas Cage But Were Lame Instead

11 Movies That Almost Starred Nicolas Cage But Were Lame Instead

Forgotten Hits: May 22nd

Forgotten Hits: May 22nd: "Groovin'" by The Young Rascals holds on to the #1 spot for a second week as "Respect" by Aretha Franklin, "I Got Rhythm" by The Happenings and "Release Me" by Engelbert Humperdinck all creep up behind it in The Top Five.

SuperCharts survey included.

Don McLean talks ‘American Pie’ and Buddy Holly

Don McLean talks ‘American Pie’ and Buddy Holly