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Archive for June, 2009


Brand of the Werewolf (Doc Savage #5)

According to one source, Brand of the Werewolf brandwerewolfdocis the best selling Doc Savage Bantam reprint,selling over 185,000 copies. In the Bantam series, this book marks the  first appearance of Pat Savage, Doc’s cousin, as Doc travels to Canada with his team for some R&R, only to learn of the death and possible murder of his uncle Alex. They encounter El Rabanos, Senor Oveja and his daughter, who believe Doc Savage attempted to kill them. A strange gas knocks some of Doc’s crew out, accompanied by the mark of a werewolf.

Doc and his team follow the trail, which leads to Alex Savage’s land on the coast in Western Canada. In the meantime his cousin Pat Savage and her servant have been captured, with one servant killed. The captors are looking for an ivory cube, that Pat’s father had found and hidden. The cube turns out to have a map of where an old Spanish Galleon, fleeing Panama with treasure and searching for the Northwest Passage,  is buried. (more…)


The Red Spider (Doc Savage #95)

The Red Spider stands out in the long list of Dog Savage books for several reasons:redspiderdocsavage1

  • It was purchased for Doc Savage magazine in 1948, but was not published until this Bantam book in 1979;
  • It depicts Savage and his team as working for the U.S. Government, a rarity in the collection of stories;
  • There is no clear villain, with the plot mainly being one of espionage and the U.S. vs. Soviet Russia, vs. the normal good vs. evil tone of the other books;
  • It contains an excellent Afterword by Doc Savage writer Will Murray, who was responsible for finding this manuscript; the afterword walks through each of the editors that oversaw the Doc Savage magazine, and their influence on the types of stories.

Doc Savage sneaks into Russia, where Monk and Ham have been for several months building their identity and gathering information. They are looking for “the Red Spider”, the one man in the Communist government who Stalin trusts with all of his secrets, and the only man who knows whether Soviet Russia has joined the US as the only power with an atomic bomb. They successfully get the information, but then get in between two different factions of the Soviet government – the one in power, and the one that wants to be by exposing the existence of the Red Spider and turning the rest of the Soviet leadership against Stalin for keeping this secret. Doc, Monk and Ham must escape Russia to get the information back to the United Nations. (more…)

Doc Savage 023 - Fortress of Solitude

Fortress of Solitude (Doc Savage #23)

Superman’s Arctic hideout of the same name may be more wellDoc Savage 023 - Fortress of Solitude-known; but The Man of Bronze, Doc Savage, has a similar blue domed research facility in the Arctic that predates Superman by 25 years.

In this 23rd book in the Bantam series (other numbering schemes below), John Sunlight (the only Savage nemesis to appear in two novels) stumbles across Doc’s Fortress after escaping from a Russian Siberian labor camp. The Fortress is where Doc Savage would disappear to for weeks, only to return with a new cure or invention. Once John Sunlight figures out how to get into it (by watching the Eskimos who live near it that are trying to protect it for Doc) he finds inside Doc’s labs, and many of the inventions Doc has captured from the villains around the world. (more…)

Iraq’s impact on Iran

With many people in our democracy cheering the Iranians and their marching in the streets to ensure that their last election was indeed fair and democratic, I cannot help but wonder how much influence the fact that Iraq is  holding apparently fair and successful elections right next door has had on the Iranians and their thoughts about their own rights. I certainly do not claim to be an expert in the region or its politics, but Iraq and Iran, long nemesises, have seen a recent thawing out in their relationship and one would assume the Iranians (both the government and its people) are watching the democracy next door with interest.

Not much has been said about this probably because the U.S. and the media (and frankly most of us voters) are in a “Bush hating mentality” at the moment, and don’t want to acknowledge that a change that he and his administration inflicted is having an impact upon the world that many support.  No matter the methods (and a couple of decades ago, few people would have batted an eye if the CIA had taken out a dictator), Iraq now has democracy, certainly supported by the U.S. but still one of the few democracies in the region and the only one who has had recent bloodshed with Iran. (more…)

Echoes of Glory by Robert Flynn

Echoes of Glory by Robert Flynn

Bob Flynn is an award winning author of novels and stories about Texas and Vietnam, two places and cultures that he is well acquainted with through personal experience. In his new novel, Echoes of Glory, he blends both the culture of small town Texas with the remembrances and misunderstandings of war, into an excellent, interesting and well-paced story on the search for ethics and right.

Sheriff Timpson Smith (Timp) is the reluctant Korean war hero for the small town of Five Mills, the only survivor of the Second Platoon made up mostly of young men from Five Mills. The town has glorified the Platoon, built a statue of Timp, and made him Sheriff; he, in return, has told the town what they needed/wanted to hear about what happened in Korea (after he tried to tell them the truth). (more…)

Ong Bak 2 with Tony Jaa

Ong Bak 2 with Tony Jaa

A good martial arts movie doesn’t need subtitles or bad English dubbing to be enjoyed!

Martial arts movies can be campy or classy, too much wire or too much blood, short on story and long on boring fights. But we (the royal we, i.e., my son and I) watch Tony Jaa just to see what he will do next. He does not appear to use wires, and in his first films (Ong Bak and The Protector, using the American titles), his Muay Thai and athletic skills were entertaining enough to drown out meager stories.

I received a copy of Ong Bak 2 from my friend in Thailand (thanks Mark); (more…)

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo


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