Saturday, May 27, 2017

Beware of the Light that Shows the Way

Mariel stood over the stunned toad. It was an indescribably ugly specimen, completely covered in large wart like growths. Next to the toad lay a lantern. The lantern was on a small carrying frame and wonderfully made from thin-cut rock crystal. Inside the lantern half a dozen fat fireflies buzzed, giving off a pale golden light.”

Marial of Redwall, Brian Jaques

Friday, May 26, 2017

Yo-Kai Watch Character Figures

When you talk about Yo-Kai Watch you could report on the many facets of this franchise. There is the Yo-Kai Watch which allows one to projects images from “coins”, there is the video game, cartoons and other animations, and there are the figures.

There are eight characters in this Yo-Kai Watch series. These figures are molded from vinyl, which produces a dense and hard surface. These figures come in different shapes and sizes. Most of these characters come from Japanese folklore.





Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Dreams of Harry Collins

Harry Collins is the main protagonist in Bloch's dystonian "This Crowded Earth" novel.

"In the nightmare Harry found himself looking down at the mistakes and the failures and he recognized them for what they were, and he knew then why the incinerators were kept busy and why the black smoke poured.

In the nightmare he saw the special units containing those which were not mistakes or failures, and in a way they were worse than the others. They were red and wriggling there beneath the glass, and on the glass surfaces hung the charts which gave the data. Then Harry saw the names, saw his own name repeated twice—once for Sue, once for Myrna. And he realized that he had contributed to the successful outcome or issue of the experiments (outcome? Issue? These horrors?) and that was why Manschoff must have chosen to take the risk of keeping him alive. Because he was one of the good guinea pigs, and he had spawned, spawned living, mewing abominations.

He had dreamed of these things, and now he saw that they were real, so that nightmare merged with now, and he could gaze down at it with open eyes and scream at last with open mouth.

Then, of course, an attendant came running (although he seemed to be moving ever so slowly, because everything moves so slowly in a dream) and Harry saw him coming and lifted a bell-glass and smashed it down over the man's head (slowly, ever so slowly) and then he heard the others coming and he climbed out of the window and ran.

The searchlights winked across the courtyards and the sirens vomited hysteria from metallic throats and the night was filled with shadows that pursued.

But Harry knew where to run. He ran straight through the nightmare, through all the fantastic but familiar convolutions of sight and sound, and then he came to the river and plunged in.

Now the nightmare was not sight or sound, but merely sensation. Icy cold and distilled darkness; ripples that ran, then raced and roiled and roared. But there had to be a way out of the nightmare and there had to be a way out of the canyon, and that way was the river.

Apparently no one else had thought of the river; perhaps they had considered it as a possible avenue of escape and then discarded the notion when they realized how it ripped and raged among the rocks as it finally plunged from the canyon's mouth. Obviously, no one could hope to combat that current and survive.

But strange things happen in nightmares. And you fight the numbness and the blackness and you claw and convulse and you twist and turn and toss and then you ride the crests of frenzy and plunge into the troughs of panic and despair and you sweep round and round and sink down into nothingness until you break through to the freedom which comes only with oblivion.

Somewhere beyond the canyon's moiling maw, Harry Collins found that freedom and that oblivion. He escaped from the nightmare, just as he escaped from the river.

The river itself roared on without him.

And the nightmare continued, too...."

This Crowded Earth, Robert Bloch

Monday, May 22, 2017

Life Like HO Gauge Diminutive People

These eight HO figures are manufactured by Life Like and are hand painted. They don’t look too bad in the packaging, but if you planning on placing them up front on your layout, I have found that most “hand-painted” figures in this scale will need some touch-up and added details.

THe figures are cast from sort of semi-rubbery like plastic.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Plant-A Solo RPG Game

The Plant is a one person RPG. The Plant’s premise is that your daughter is somewhere in an abandoned factory building and you need to find her. The game requires ten index cards that are numbered one to ten. Around the edges are printed the letters A-D. You will also need three index cards with “Down” written on them. The Down cards indicate that you are descending one level in the factory through the use of a ladder, stairs, or pipes, ETC.

You will also need to author ten situation cards. Sample situations are provided, but you can create your own, here are a few of the samples:

  • New Transformer doll
  • Unopened letter
  • Smell of baking cookies
  • Sound of a Jazz
  • Shadow in the shape of something
  • Glimpse of your daughter in distance

The game mechanic is through the use of the ten index cards you would have created and how they are laid out. Each laid card has a letter and each letter has a situation associated with that letter. Depending on the other letters on the card situations (the actions you are to complete) may have alternative situations that you will be told to go to.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

My Mid-Spring Reading List

Although I have already started to read through this list, here is my mid-spring reading list:

  • The Lani People, Jessie F. Bone
  • Armageddon-2419 A. D., Philip F. Nowlan
  • The Hour of the Dragon, Robert E. Howard
  • The Enchanted Island of Yew, L. Frank Baum
  • Dragons of the Air: An Account of Extinct Flying Reptiles, H. G. Seeley
  • Bat Wing, Sax Rohmer
  • Tales of Chinatown, Sax Rohmer
  • Marial of Redwall, Brian Jaques
  • Lord Tyger, Philip Jose Farmer

Friday, May 19, 2017

Freedom of Speech

With the current US political environment as it is, I couldn't help to think how timely my finding of this quote is and just how applicable it seems to be to our current affairs.

"And while the Vocational Apt. and the government, fervently upheld the principle of freedom of speech, they had to draw the line somewhere. As everyone knows, freedom of speech does not mean freedom to criticize."

This Crowded Earth, Robert Bloch

Will someone please bring dignity back to the oval office?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Strange Phenomena

By Warren, Ambrose William, 1781?-1856, engraver. [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

This another quote from Wells alternate historty novel The War in the Air.

"And that was only the beginning of a succession of strange phenomena in the heavens—cylinders, cones, pear-shaped monsters, even at last a thing of aluminium that glittered wonderfully."

The War in the Air, H. G. Wells

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Illustrated Robinson Crusoe Comic Book

Front Cover

Recently I found this this yellowing Classics Illustrated edition of Daniel Defoe’s Robison Crusoe. This edition was one of many such comic books published by this publisher on the classics. I didn’t find a date within the copy. The price of the comic book might give us some sort of clue as to its publishing date?

Front Page

The forty-nine page booklet, albeit an abridged version, portrays the full story with just a few changes to the plot of the story.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Host of Characters-Bert Smallways

"Bert Smallways was a vulgar little creature, the sort of pert, limited soul that the old civilization of the early twentieth century produced by the million in every country of the world. He had lived all his life in narrow streets, and between mean houses he could not look over, and in a narrow circle of ideas from which there was no escape. He thought the whole duty of man was to be smarter than his fellows, get his hands, as he put it, “on the dibs,” and have a good time. He was, in fact, the sort of man who had made England and America what they were. The luck had been against him so far, but that was by the way. He was a mere aggressive and acquisitive individual with no sense of the State, no habitual loyalty, no devotion, no code of honor, no code even of courage."

Chapter III, The Balloon, The War in The Air, H. G. Wells

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Attack on New York City

This is another post to my alternative history series, a series that I have neglected for some time. The Battle of Dorking, an interesting back-story to a board game by the same name that portrays an alternative historical event needs posting.

“The City of New York was in the year of the German attack the largest, richest, in many respects the most splendid, and in some, the wickedest city the world had ever seen. She was the supreme type of the City of the Scientific Commercial Age; she displayed its greatness, its power, its ruthless anarchic enterprise, and its social disorganization most strikingly and completely. She had long ousted London from her pride of place as the modern Babylon, she was the center of the world’s finance, the world’s trade, and the world’s pleasure; and men likened her to the apocalyptic cities of the ancient prophets. She sat drinking up the wealth of a continent as Rome once drank the wealth of the Mediterranean and Babylon the wealth of the east. In her streets one found the extremes of magnificence and misery, of civilization and disorder. In one quarter, palaces of marble, laced and, crowned with light and flame and flowers, towered up into her marvelous twilight beautiful, beyond description; in another, a black and sinister polyglot population sweltered in indescribable congestion in warrens, and excavations beyond the power and knowledge of government. Her vice, her crime, her law alike were inspired by a fierce and terrible energy, and like the great cities of medieval Italy, her ways were dark and adventurous with private war.”

Chapter VI, How War Came To New York. The War in the Air, H. G. Wells

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Old Time Water Tank

This 1/87-HO gauge kit is an International Hobby Corporations #3512. It is cast in tan polystyrene on three runners. There is nine-inch piece of fine brass chain as well. Although the cover depicts a water tank that looks highly detailed the model itself does not include too much in the way of cast in detail. Each part will need to be distressed a bit to make it look more like wood.

In addition to the physical distressing, once the kit is complete, it will receive some additional styrene details and a good detailed paint job to help bring out the appearance of old wood.

This is one of several International Hobby kits in my collection and although they may be still found on a shelf of some hobby store this kit is no longer available from the manufacturer.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Map to Terramort (in a rhyme)

“ ‘If I were fool of any sort,
I’d leave Redwall and travel forth,
For only fools seek Terramort,
Upon the pathway leading north.
This trail brings death with every pace;
Beware of dangers lurking there,
Sticklegs of the feathered race
And fins that in the ford do stir.
After the ford, one night one day,
Seek out the otter and his wife
Forsake the path, go west lands way,
Find the trail and lose your life.
When in the woods, this promise keep,
With senses sharp and open eyes,
‘My nose shall not send me to sleep’
For the buried ones will surely rise
Beat the hallow oak and shout,
‘We are creatures if Redwall!’
If a brave one is about,
He’ll save any fool at all.
Beware the light that shows the way,
Trust not the wart-skinned toad,
In his realm, no night no day.
Fool, stay to the road.
Where the sea meets with the shore,
There the final clue is hid;
Rocks stands sentinel evermore,
Find it as I did.
The swallow who cannot fly south,
The bird that only flies one way,
Lies deep beneath the monster’s mouth,
Keep him with you, night and day
His flight is straight, Norwest is true,
Your fool’s desire he’ll show to you.’ “

Mariel of Redwall, Brian Jacques

Monday, May 8, 2017

Alien Planet-Darwin IV

Here is another post for my Alien series. This 94-minute video features a dramatized flight to a planet with a unique eco-system and inhabited with some very strangely beautiful life forms.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Host of Characters: The Han Psyche

“Yet, did not even brilliant scientists frequently exhibit the same lack of logic back in the Twentieth Century? Did not the historians, the philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome show themselves to be the same shrewd observers as those of succeeding centuries, the same masters of the logical and slaves of the illogical?

After all, I reflected, man makes little progress within himself. Through succeeding generations he piles up those resources which he possesses outside of himself, the tools of his hands, and the warehouses of knowledge for his brain, whether they be parchment manuscripts, printed book, or electronorecordographs. For the rest he is born today, as in ancient Greece, with a blank brain, and struggles through to his grave, with a more or less beclouded understanding, and with distinct limitations to what we used to call his "think tank."

THIS particular reflection of mine proved unpopular with them, for it stabbed their vanity, and neither my prestige nor the novelty of the idea was sufficient salve. These Hans for centuries had believed and taught their children that they were a super-race, a race of destiny. Destined to Whom, for What, was not so clear to them; but nevertheless destined to "elevate" humanity to some sort of super-plane. Yet through these same centuries they had been busily engaged in the extermination of "weaklings," whom, by their very persecutions, they had turned into "super men," now rising in mighty wrath to destroy them; and in reducing themselves to the depths of softening vice and flabby moral fiber. Is it strange that they looked at me in amazed wonder when I laughed outright in the midst of some of their most serious speculations?”

The Airlords of Han, by Philip Francis Nowlan

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Host of Characters: The Han Physiology

"The Han looked little like the Mongolians of the Twentieth Century, except for their slant eyes and round heads. The characteristic of the high cheek bones appeared to have been bred out of them, as were those of the relatively short legs and the muddy yellow skin. To call them yellow was more figurative than literal. Their skins were whiter than those of our own weather-tanned forest men. Nevertheless, their pigmentation was peculiar, and what there was of it looked more like a pale orange tint than the ruddiness of the Caucasian. They were well formed, but rather undersized and soft-looking, small-muscled and smooth-skinned, like young girls. Their features were finely chiseled, eyes beady, and nose slightly aquiline.

They were uniformed, not in close-fitting green or other shades of protective coloring, such as the unobtrusive gray of the Jersey Beaches or the leadened russet of the autumn uniforms of our people. Instead they wore loose fitting jackets of some silky material, and loose knee pants. This particular command had been equipped with form-moulded boots of some soft material that reached above the knee under their pants. They wore circular hats with small crowns and wide rims. Their loose jackets were belted at the waist, and they carried for weapons each man a knife, a short double-edged sword and what I took to be a form of magazine rocket gun. It was a rather bulky affair, short-barrelled, and with a pistol grip. It was obviously intended to be fired either from the waist position or from some sort of support, like the old machine guns. It looked, in fact, like a rather small edition of the Twentieth Century arm.

And have I mentioned the color of their uniforms? Their circular hats and pants were a bright yellow; their coats a flaming scarlet. What targets they were."

The Airlords of Han, by Philip Francis Nowlan

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Han Ship

"This ship was not unlike the great dirigibles of the Twentieth Century in shape, except that it had no suspended control car nor gondolas, no propellers, and no rudders, aside from a permanently fixed double-fishtail stabilizer at the rear, and a number of "keels" so arranged as to make the most of the repeller ray airlift columns.

Its width was probably twice as great as its depth, and its length about twice its width. That is to say, it was about 100 feet from the main keel to the top-deck at their maximum distance from each other, about 200 feet wide amidship, and between 400 and 500 feet long. It had in addition to the top-deck, three interior decks. In its general curvature the ship was a compromise between a true streamline design and a flattened cylinder.

For a distance of probably 75 to 100 feet back of the nose there were no decks except that formed by the bottom of the hull. But from this point back the decks ran to within a few feet of the stern.

At various spots on the hull curvature in this great "hollow nose" were platforms from which the crews of the dis ray generators and the electronoscope and electronophone devices manipulated their apparatus.

Into this space from the forward end of the center deck, projected the control room. The walls, ceiling and floor of this compartment were simply the surfaces of viewplates. There were no windows or other openings."

The Airlords of Han, by Philip Francis Nowlan

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Airlords of Han

View plate and operator

I have been reading science fiction novels lately. My readings started off with The Misplaced Battleship, by Harry Harrison; Plaque Ship, Andre Norton; The Thing in the Attic, James Blish and I just completed The Airlords of Han, by Philip Francis Nowlan. All of these texts were originally found in Pulp magazines. As you know I have made multiple posts on SCIFI topics.

These stories will give me fodder when playing SCIFI RPG’s or board games. Please look through the posts and see if you can find anything that might help you out.

The Airlords of Han, by Philip Francis Nowlan; Illustrated by FRANK R. PAUL