Copyright 1982.

Red Sonja is serving as a mercenary in a garrison at the Zamoran border. One night the captain is murdered and the real murderer accuses Sonja of the crime. So she is forced to flee into the desert. Sonja comes on a small city-state called Elkad. Right away the place gives off a bad vibe what with the corpses of young women hanging from the gate. Seems this city makes regular sacrifices of young maidens to appease the Earth-folk. Soon the newly promoted Captain Kelkum the real murderer arrives with troops. He desires Sonja and has become obsessed with possessing her. Soon Sonja flees into the desert and meets the mysterious sorcerer Saureb. She finds out that Elkad will soon pay for its crimes as the stars are aligning and the Earth-folk will come to destroy the city.

So the second book in the series is another strong entry. Once again a strong supernatural presence with sorcery. Only this time the sorcerer turns out to be a good guy. There is plenty of action as the various factions in the city and the newly arrived Zamorans fight it out. It ends with a big epic destruction of Elkad. Smith and Tierney show that they have an understanding of the character and can write some engaging stories. These are true gems of sword and sorcery.



Copyright 1981.

Sonja is in Koth at a tavern enjoying some ale when a young man comes in looking for mercenaries. His Lord Olin needs to retake his city-state of Suthad from the wizard Asroth. She decide the gold is good and signs up. She finds herself in the army of Lord Olin and soon into the fight against sorcery. First its a horde of flying demons. Then they reach Suthad and find it devastated and have to fight tentacles that come out of the ground. At Suthad Sonja finds what the wizard Asroth was looking for The Ring of Ikribu. A ring that was created by the dark god Ikribu and could give the wizard power to rule the world. So she continues on in Olin’s army and fights zombies, the cult of Ikribu which wants the ring to stop Asroth and Duke Pelides. The mysterious Pelides once was a servant of Asroth until he failed him and was cursed with a deformed face. Now he seeks revenge and will crush anyone who gets in his way. Along the way Sonja falls in love with Olin which ends tragically. It ends with a final confrontation at Asroth’s castle.

So this is the first of six books that were written about Red Sonja. There is a forward by Roy Thomas the creator of the character. An obscure character from a historical story by Robert E. Howard, Thomas adopted it into the Hyborian age to give Conan a strong female companion to encounter for adventures. She managed to move on to her own series which you can read about on my comic blog.

So the book is an excellent read. The story is full of interesting characters that you come to care for. The writers stay true to the character created in the comics. It has plenty of sorcery and action. I read that the authors created a screenplay hoping it would be used for the upcoming movie that was planned. You couldn’t go wrong in using it. If they used it for the movie that was made it probably would have been better remembered. I still hear talk of a new movie in development. They might want to consider seeking out this script.



So its that time of year for another Rifftrax Live. This time the 2017 sci-fi adventure Star Raiders The Adventures of Saber Raine. First though we were treated to an educational short from the sixties or seventies called Values: Telling the Truth. In it a school teacher talks to her class about telling the truth. He tells the story of three boys who were the best of friends. One day while out playing they come on a cement mixer. This fascinates them to no end. The guy putting in a decorative slab with small rocks in it offers the boys the left over rocks. They scoop them up into their pockets like they were gems. Then they go around and throw them at things like trees and fire hydrants. They come on a towel innocently hanging there and throw. Unfortunately the rocks go through the kitchen window and into some old bitty’s soup. She comes running out and catches the one that just stands there and berates him. The end. Not really sure what the moral of the story was supposed to be. Don’t hang around and get caught was what it told me.

Our heroes.

So it starts with a blue reptile woman being chased by some ships. Saber Raine comes and inserts himself between them so the reptile can escape but earns the wrath of his own people. So years later we find him slumming on some planet.

Hot chick and her father and uncle.

Some girl with red eyes and two men in their cosplay Punisher costumes with a half a sunglass are being attacked by zombie mutants. Saber decides to insert himself at the last minute. Seems these guys are there to rescue a kidnapped prince and princess from the evil Sinjin. A guy who had such a big zit that it literally popped off the top of his skull.

Man this guy was too late with the Clearasil.

Anyway we later find out he is in league with the princess Calliope. This leaves the prince who looks like K.D. Lang as the good guy. Well there is a whole convoluted plot with them traveling this planet and fighting off the various alien minions. They eventually rescue the prince and return him to his homeworld. At the end there is a hint of a sequel as Calliope and Sinjin arrive on a planet with giant robots to further their universe conquest plans.

I eat flies.

Well they sure picked a winner with this one. The plot was incomprehensible and convoluted as hell. The dialogue was atrocious and the acting as wooden as a redwood. Still this is my type of movie. It reminds me of the ones I rented back in the eighties and nineties.

Can’t get this app to work.

There is a charm to it. Some auteur who gets some local talent and friends together. Dusts off the old Commodore 64 for some special effects and has enough money to hire Casper Van Dien the friendliest of the Diens. Oh and they had some for a very brief cameo by Cynthia Rothrock who was in many martial arts films from the eighties and nineties. Yes this was definitely an enjoyable film and worthy of riffing on.

Evil princess with evil aliens.

So an encore presentation will play this Tuesday.

And in August the final movie of the year. The Giant Spider Invasion.



Copyright 1986.

In this future dystopian world society is highly chaste based. There are the professionals or those with technical skills and live in enclaves and the untouchables which are the vast poor. Both sides have one thing in common the Arena. In this future professional wrestlers compete in gladiatorial games. Games that are fought with a variety of weird weapons and to the death. Lately there have been a growing number of desertions from the military. A group known as Aiki or in Japaneses spiritual harmony has been spreading.

Into this comes Capitan who is a monitor in the group and runs a dojo in Brooklyn. His involvement eventually gets him involved with the Arena. The main champion Mantis who started the blood sports and wants to fight Capitan. A novel filled with deep mystical eastern philosophy of good and evil battle for the future.

So this book is one that by mom found in the dollar bin at Walgreens and thought I would like. She said it reminded her of the movie The Running Man which we had just recently seen. Yes there are some similarities with a future of gladiator death sports televised. I remember that when I read this a new game show called American Gladiators had come out. No to the death fights on it but got me wondering if that was the future down the road. It still does since a decaying society does turn to more extreme bread and circuses.

Now this was a book I would have never bought on my own. The title doesn’t engage me and the cover was also not that exciting. Which is probably why it was in the dollar bin at Walgreens. I found this to be an enjoyable read. A future where the government had infiltrated the martial arts to coop them. There was a sort of hubris to how the death sports in the Arena came about. Mantis at a match in Tokyo asked the audience for a thumbs up or down. When they gave the thumbs down he obliged. Then argued in court that it was hypocritical for the government to allow lethal weapons in the Arena that did at times result in death but condemn him when he follows the will of the audience. A somewhat believable outcome for a society in decay.

Capitan and Mantis are the personification of good and evil. There is a lot of deep mysticism to the story. I found that reading this the future it envisioned didn’t seem that dated after all these years. Sure there are some things like a Soviet Union still around and they use land lines. Otherwise the future was still believable. This was John Gilbert’s first and to my knowledge only novel. A nice little happy accident thanks to my mom.