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Episode 323: They Pecked the Anglo Saxons

December 14th, 2018 | Robin

Jet-lagged and full of pudding, we return from our latest trip to Dragonmeet to issue a Travel Advisory about the Anglo Saxon Kingdoms exhibit at the British Library.

In the Gaming Hut we pursue a request from Patreon backer Mikey Hamm to talk about chase rules.

If we were just in London, our hero must have come home with a metric oodle of tomes to share with you before he files them up on Ken’s Bookshelf.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.

 


Wish to introduce innocent children to the horror of the Mythos, while remaining on budget? Atlas Games is here to affordably twist young minds with a buy two, get one free deal on Ken’s Mini Mythos line of childrens’ book parodies: Where the Deep Ones Are, Goodnight Azathoth, Cliffourd the Big Red God, and Antarctic Express.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available in print or PDF or both from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agency hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

Just in time to save the world, though perhaps not your team of hardened covert agents, from the Mythos, the Delta Green Handlers Guide from Arc Dream Publishing is now in print and either at or headed to a game store near you. The slipcase print edition includes both the Handlers’ Guide and Agents’ Handbook, fitting snugly into your go bag along with your extra passports and list of weapons caches.

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Holy Forking Shirtballs Ken and Robin are Consuming Media

December 11th, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

The Good Place Season 3 (Television, US, Michael Schur, NBC, 2018) The breathless pacing of this premise-threat-philosophy-class comedy slows down a bit for time travel, life interventions, and making fun of Australia before resuming its roller-coaster switchbackery once Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) and friends again become interdimensional fugitives. –KH

The Good Place Season 3 (Television, US, Michael Schur, NBC, 2018) Michael (Ted Danson) breaks the cosmic rules to bring Eleanor and company back to life on Earth for a second shot at redemption. This season not only shifts the show’s premise yet again, but switches protagonists, moving Michael and Janet (D’arcy Carden) to the forefront and pushing Kristen Bell as Eleanor into the ensemble.—RDL

Killing Eve Season 1 (Television, UK, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, BBC America, 2018) Intelligence analyst (Sandra Oh) steps into the field in pursuit of an emotionally arrested, psychopathic assassin (Jodie Comer.) Semi-comic espionage thriller pits a grounded protagonist against a cartoonish antagonist. It’s hard to see how the premise sustains itself through an entire series, but that’s a problem for next year, I guess.—RDL

Let the Sunshine In (Film, France, Claire Denis, 2017) Emotionally unmoored artist (Juliette Binoche) careens through a series of unstable romantic relationships. Powerfully performed character study recalls Rohmer, but with intense feeling taking the place of Olympian detachment.—RDL

Good

The Irregular: A Different Class of Spy (Fiction, H.B. Lyle, 2017) What ever happened to Wiggins, the street-urchin head of Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars? According to Lyle’s novel, he became the first-ever agent of the British Secret Service in 1909, facing off against the historical anarchist Peter the Painter and other shadowy threats to the Empire. Far from flawlessly executed, but a fun thriller nonetheless. –KH

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1 (Television, US, Netflix, Amy Sherman-Palladino, 2017) When her husband ditches her for his shiksa secretary, achievement-obsessed Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) takes over his stand-up comedy dream. Glorious dive  into late 50s New York style falters only during the stand-up scenes, where the otherwise perfectly executed old-school presentational acting style precludes the comic timing that would have worked then, or now.—RDL

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Episode 322: The Cinnabon of the 17th Century

December 7th, 2018 | Robin

Not to spoil anything, but we open in the Gaming Hut as Patreon backer V Weather asks us what to do when it turns out you’ve already read the adventure your GM is running.

In How To Write Good, we examine the uses and abuses of ambiguity in RPG setting materials.

Then it’s off to the Tradecraft Hut, where earlier we promised a segment based on a random page from Christopher Andrew’s The Secret World: A History of Intelligence. The number generator has assigned Ken page 227, which means we’re talking about Cromwell’s spies.

Then our Belle Epoque occultism series again jaunts into the Eliptony Hut for a visit with astronomer, parapsychologist, spiritist and science fiction writer Camille Flammarion.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


If you dig clever, take-that game play and/or ironic Soviet robots, Atlas Games’ new card game Cogs and Commissars was made for you. Buy it at a brick-and-mortar game store and send a selfie to Atlas, to get a special Neon Botsky promo card.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available in print or PDF or both from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agency hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

Just in time to save the world, though perhaps not your team of hardened covert agents, from the Mythos, the Delta Green Handlers Guide from Arc Dream Publishing is now in print and either at or headed to a game store near you. The slipcase print edition includes both the Handlers’ Guide and Agents’ Handbook, fitting snugly into your go bag along with your extra passports and list of weapons caches.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Raise a Glass With Miike, To, and Soderbergh

December 5th, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis (Nonfiction, Kingsley Amis, 2009) This omnibus collects three Amis books on (mostly) spirits, the first two being themselves collections of essays and newspaper columns written between 1971 and 1984. Thus some repetition sets in, but Amis’ superb wordsmithing, charm, and jovial curmudgeonry keep you at the party. The last book is a long quiz, best considered as the “top with soda” portion of the cocktail. –KH

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable (Film, Japan, Takashi Miike, 20177) Sullen high schooler sporting  outlandish ducktail haircut discovers he is a Stand user, one of a class of metahumans who manifest super powers by conjuring freaky avatars. Manga adaptation heightens the comedy by treating its utterly kooky imagery with deadpan seriousness,—RDL

Today We Live (Film, US, Howard Hawks, 1933) Believing that her American bomber pilot beau (Gary Cooper) is dead, a British ambulance driver in WWI (Joan Crawford) marries a childhood friend (Robert Young), now serving on a torpedo boat. Wartime melodrama features gripping naval and aerial combat sequences and the group bonds and suppressed emotions synonymous with Hawks.—RDL

Unsane (Film, US, Steven Soderbergh, 2018) Insurance-scamming psychiatric facility lures a bank analyst (Claire Foy) into involuntary commitment, exposing her to a worse personal horror. Already alarming subject matter is rendered all the more achingly suspenseful by its commitment to queasy, blue-brown realism.—RDL

Vengeance (Film, Hong Kong/France, Johnnie To, 2009) When Triads kill his daughter’s family in Macau, former assassin Costello (a glacial-eyed Johnny Hallyday, playing Alain Delon) recruits a team of hit men (Anthony Wong, Lam Suet, Lam Ka-Tung) to hit them back. The first two acts run in a predictable rut, but halfway through To lights the afterburner and sends the film to the moon — or rather to a junkyard for a mindblowing shootout, and lands a stunning final act worthy of Sergio Leone. –KH

Walking With Cthulhu (Nonfiction, David Haden, 2011) The subtitle of this collection of essays says it all: “H.P. Lovecraft as Psychogeographer, New York 1924-1926.” Haden points out that Lovecraft’s habitual all-night walks prefigure the Surrealist flaneur and the Situationist dérive, and finds a productive new way to look at HPL’s art. He also finds a possible inspiration for R’lyeh in a forgotten Garrett Serviss novel, and intensively annotates “Nyarlathotep,” so step right up. –KH

Good

Craig Ferguson: Tickle Fight (Stand-up, US, Netflix, Craig Ferguson, 2017) Ferguson ambles through a lot of half-stories and engaging blather on the way to one disappointing joke: in short, classic Ferguson monologue but for an hour. Some of the stories gleam as perfect anecdotes, and some just let him mug engagingly. If you miss, miss, miss, miss Craig on the Late Late Show (as do all right-thinking people) it’s Recommended, but just because that hit feels so good. –KH

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Episode 321: Red Dawn Times

November 30th, 2018 | Robin

Get out your space calculators as we meet in the Gaming Hut to entertain a request from Patreon backer Robert Dean, who wants to hear more about the time Ken ran Traveller for accountants.

In the History Hut we fulfill the desire of backer Joe Littrell to learn the real reason behind Churchill’s wartime initiative to protect the apes of Gibraltar.

The other Consulting Occultist continues our Yellow King-inspired series on occultists of the Belle Epoque with a look at the original neo-Gnostic, Jules Doinel.

We close with our promised venture into the Cinema Hut to talk about Orson Welles’ new film, The Other Side of the Wind.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


If you dig clever, take-that game play and/or ironic Soviet robots, Atlas Games’ new card game Cogs and Commissars was made for you. Buy it at a brick-and-mortar game store and send a selfie to Atlas, to get a special Neon Botsky promo card.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available in print or PDF or both from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agency hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

Just in time to save the world, though perhaps not your team of hardened covert agents, from the Mythos, the Delta Green Handlers Guide from Arc Dream Publishing is now in print and either at or headed to a game store near you. The slipcase print edition includes both the Handlers’ Guide and Agents’ Handbook, fitting snugly into your go bag along with your extra passports and list of weapons caches.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Ricky Jay, Widows and Semiotic Conspiracy

November 27th, 2018 | Robin

 


Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Babylon Berlin Season 1 (Episodes 1-8) (Television, Germany, Tom Tykwer et al., ARD/Sky, 2017) In 1929 Berlin, shell-shocked vice squad detective Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch) and his typist Charlotte (Liv Lisa Fries) encounter a tangle of mysteries while he tries to recover a blackmail film. Once the series determines that Charlotte is the actual protagonist, momentum never flags; even while it’s finding its footing, its portrait of Weimar Berlin remains captivating. Note: Netflix lists both Seasons 1 and 2 as a single season. –KH

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Film, US, Joel & Ethan Coen, 2018) Anthology of six mordant short films joined by their Western setting (both physical and genre), by their nature as memento mori, by superb musical touches (both Carter Burwell’s score and the repeated use of Scots and Irish ballads) and by lovely, even bravura, cinematography. Unavoidable uneven-ness keeps it just shy of Pinnacle status for me, though perhaps not for thee. –KH

Life Without Principle (Film, Hong Kong, Johnnie To, 2011) The lives of pressured finance-instrument sales stringer Teresa (Denise Ho), stoic cop Cheung (Richie Jen), and Panther (Lau Ching-Wan) the honor-bound numbskull fixer for a failing Triad, overlap and interlock as the Greek financial crisis roils Hong Kong markets. More discourse on ethics than zingy financial thriller, To moves through his three plots as assuredly as his camera moves through the space around them. –KH

Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants (Film, US, David Mamet, 1996) This TV movie of Jay’s 1994 stage play needs nothing except Ricky Jay (RIP) and the titular deck of cards to captivate, although it also has cups-and-balls in a segment devoted to that illusion, and a zillion windup toys in one inspired bit. Jay blends historian, con man, and nonpareil card magician into a sui generis stage presence and  presentation impossible to duplicate or explain. –KH

The Seventh Function of Language (Fiction, Laurent Binet, 2015) Hard-nosed police superintendent teams with callow semiotics prof to investigate the eliptonic conspiracy behind the death of Roland Barthes, interviewing such witnesses as Michel Foucault, Umberto Eco, and Jacques Derrida. Satirical meta-thriller of figurative and literal academic violence rattles along like a cheeky cover version of Foucault’s Pendulum with samples of Fight Club. Get it in ebook format for easier reference look-up. “Eco listens with interest to the story of a lost manuscript for which people are being killed.” —RDL

Widows (Film, US/UK, Steve McQueen, 2018) When a robbery crew led by Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) dies in a fiery shootout with the Chicago PD, his widow Veronica (Viola Davis) assembles their widows (Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki) and a ringer (Cynthia Erivo) to pull off his next planned heist and get themselves out from under. McQueen assembles an astonishing ensemble cast, draws naturalistic performances from them in heightened scenes, and paints a mesmerizing picture of Chicago corruption and politics, all inside the beats of a heist film miraculously edited by Joe Walker. –KH

Good

Black Coal, Thin Ice (Film, China, Diao Yinan, 2014) In a bid to finally crack the dismemberment murder case that ended his career, an ex-cop gets close—too close—to a laundry clerk who may be more than a witness. Finds strong moments as it uneasily mixes the opposing styles of neo-noir and affectless naturalism.—RDL

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Film, US, Marielle Heller, 2018) Forgotten by the 1991 New York literary scene, biographer Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) teams up with hustler Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant) to peddle her forged letters by denizens of the Manhattan Golden Age. McCarthy plays wonderfully (even charmingly) internalized despisal, and the mechanics of forgery intrigue, but the film doesn’t know whether lying is noble or not, blurring the hue of both. –KH

Eli Roth’s History of Horror (Television, US, AMC, 2018) Clips and interviews conduct not a history so much as a thematic survey of screen horror, including looks at slashers, creatures, vampires, and ghosts. Collects a solid range of subjects to say smart things about key movies, with flashes of the more comprehensive series the makers probably wanted to make occasionally peeking around the corner.—RDL

November Night Tales (Fiction, Henry Chapman Mercer, 1928) The polymathic Mercer wrote these seven stories, which range from Gothic to urban horror to weird adventure and back again, toward the end of his life. Ghost-story fans won’t want to miss “The Dolls’ Castle,” and “The Wolf Book” should set off a strong Blackwood vibe for everyone; there’s not a dud per se in the batch, but they do mostly share the eccentric tone and recondite interests of their creator. –KH

Okay

The Kennel Murder Case (Film, US, Michael Curtiz, 1933) Philo Vance (William Powell) investigates a locked-room murder peripherally related to a dog show. Directed with the usual Curtiz briskness, this modest series entry warrants an upgrade to Recommended if you’re programming a retrospective of Curtiz, Powell, or mystery novel adaptations. At one point a character utters the line “I’m a doctor, not a magician!”—RDL

Not Recommended

The Boss (Film, Italy, Fernando di Leo, 1973) Amid the multi-level corruption of Sicilian society, an efficiently murderous mafia soldier (Henry Silva) betrays and is betrayed on his rise to the middle. Dispensing with the usual convention that creates sympathy in a gangster film, The Boss depicts its protagonist as just as big a scumbag as everyone else. This is both interesting and a problem, but not as fatal a problem as the fact that it stops on a “To Be Continued” chevron and was never continued.—RDL

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Episode 320: Ghost Rationing Policy

November 23rd, 2018 | Robin

 

This podcast never wastes your time, but what if you, as a GM, have to fill some space in your session? The Gaming Hut looks at ways to vamp for time.

In the drafty confines of the Architecture Hut, Patreon backer Darren Hennessy wants to know about Houska Castle in the Czech Republic, known for its Gothic origins, Renaissance modifications and, oh yes, gate to hell.

In Ken and/or Robin Talk to Someone Else, we talk to game designer Sarah Richardson about her new game Velvet Glove.

Our survey of Belle Epoque weirdness ducks into the Eliptony Hut with a profile of early parapsychologist Albert de Rochas.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


If you dig clever, take-that game play and/or ironic Soviet robots, Atlas Games’ new card game Cogs and Commissars was made for you. Buy it at a brick-and-mortar game store and send a selfie to Atlas, to get a special Neon Botsky promo card.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available in print or PDF or both from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agency hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

Just in time to save the world, though perhaps not your team of hardened covert agents, from the Mythos, the Delta Green Handlers Guide from Arc Dream Publishing is now in print and either at or headed to a game store near you. The slipcase print edition includes both the Handlers’ Guide and Agents’ Handbook, fitting snugly into your go bag along with your extra passports and list of weapons caches.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: New Coens, New Suspiria

November 20th, 2018 | Robin

 

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Film, US, Ethan and Joel Coen, 2018) In a series of mordant vignettes, doom and sudden reversals of fortune stalk the old West. Anthology film finds the Coens entering a sagebrush version of Bunuel territory, a Discreet Charm of the Cowbourgeoisie if you will “Well, I’m not an enemy of betterment.”.—RDL

Chimes at Midnight (Film, Spain/Switzerland, Orson Welles, 1965) A condensed version of Henry IV Parts 1 & II focuses on just the material you need to follow the Falstaff/Prince Hal arc. You know, the good bits. Welles composes every frame as a perfect shot, with choreographed movement within the frame and a fast, ragged editing style two to three decades ahead of its time.—RDL

Recommended

Breaking News (Film, Hong Kong, Johnnie To, 2004) Canny thief Yuen (Richie Jen) and ambitious police superintendent Rebecca Fong (Kelly Chen) compete to manipulate the media while the latter hunts and traps the former, complicated by maverick cop Cheung (Nick Cheung). To really unveils his command of space in this multi-layered policier, beginning with a bravura six-plus-minute single-take establishing shot-turned-gunfight. –KH

The Deuce Season 2 (Television, US, David Simon, HBO, 2018) Fortunes in New York’s red light district rise and fall as Eileen (Maggie Gyllenhaal) plans an ambitious XXX feature and the Martino brothers (James Franco) are drawn deeper into mob activity. With the socioeconomic tapestry established in the previous season, this outing packs in a ton of storytelling as it shifts decisively into crime drama.—RDL

Face to Face (Film, Italy, Sergio Sollima, 1967) History professor (Gian Maria Volonte) goes from feckless to ruthless after throwing in with noble bandido (Tomas Milian.) Political allegory in Spaghetti western form tackles the corrupting influence of the intellectual class on peoples’ movements.—RDL

Good

The Match King (Film, US, William Keighley & Howard Bretherton, 1932) Chicago con man (Warren William) returns to his native Sweden to leverage a match factory into a world-spanning, fraudulent empire. White collar companion piece to Warner’s pre-Code gangster films, based on real-life figure Ivar Kreuger, driven by the suave charisma of now-forgotten star William.—RDL

Suspiria (Film, US/Italy, Luca Guadagnino, 2018) In 1977, dancer Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) leaves her dying mother behind to join a Berlin modern dance troupe headed by Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton) but secretly run by witches. Each element in this thoroughly unnecessary remake of Dario Argento’s Pinnacle that works — the looming suspense, the modern-dance-as-witchcraft conceit and choreography, Tilda Swinton as artiste and witch — grinds against one that doesn’t — the lengthy detours, the tacked-on history and politics, Tilda Swinton as elderly male psychiatrist — to produce unease and final relief, which I suppose was the point, such as there was. –KH

Okay

Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Proxy War (Film, Japan, Kinji Fukasaku, 1973) In the fourth of a five-part series of hard-hitting crime docudramas, a paroled Hiroshima gangster (Bunta Sugawara) finds himself stuck between two equally feckless, narcissistic bosses. That yakuza life as Japan’s corporate era dawns has become an interminable chain of mind-numbing meetings in which the smart person fruitlessly tries to talk his idiot superiors out of their dumb ideas is both the point, and something of a slog. I strongly recommend the series in general even if this installment is basically the unrewarding, deck-clearing penultimate episode of a premium cable season.—RDL

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Episode 319: Eventually You Run Out of Zigs

November 16th, 2018 | Robin

Under the black stars of Carcosa, we celebrate the impending publication of Robin’s The Yellow King Roleplaying Game and the manuscript completion of Ken’s The King in Yellow Annotated Edition with an all-Pallid Mask edition of our decadent podcast.

In Among My Many Hats, Ken shares what he’s learned about Chambers and the Hyades while working on the aforementioned project.

Then in How to Write Good he lays out the steps involved in creating an annotated edition of an existing work.

The Food Hut explores what your Belle Epoque Yellow King characters might be eating and, more likely, drinking.

Finally the Consulting Occultist changes identities to embark on a series on the wizards and paranormalists you might encounter in 1890s Paris. First up: pioneering trickster Leo Taxil.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.

 


If you dig clever, take-that game play and/or ironic Soviet robots, Atlas Games’ new card game Cogs and Commissars was made for you. Buy it at a brick-and-mortar game store and send a selfie to Atlas, to get a special Neon Botsky promo card.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available in print or PDF or both from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agency hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

Just in time to save the world, though perhaps not your team of hardened covert agents, from the Mythos, the Delta Green Handlers Guide from Arc Dream Publishing is now in print and either at or headed to a game store near you. The slipcase print edition includes both the Handlers’ Guide and Agents’ Handbook, fitting snugly into your go bag along with your extra passports and list of weapons caches.

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Lies, Tyranny and Decadence

November 13th, 2018 | Robin

 

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

Tyrant Banderas (Fiction, Ramón del Valle-Inclán, 1926) A Latin American dictator’s capricious decision to punish an underling’s petty crime sends reverberations affecting lives high and low in his rebellious capital city. Written in a voice of omniscient, scathing mockery, featuring searing imagery and frequently protagonist switches. It’s not hard to see how this Spanish novel became a foundational work for the classic generation of Latin American writers.—RDL

Recommended

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are (Nonfiction, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, 2017) Researcher reveals the covert attitudes on race, gender, sexuality and more  Americans reveal through their Internet activity. A flow of fascinating facts on matters from race horse superiority to the crime reducing powers of violent hit movies. —RDL

The Land of Steady Habits (Film, US, Nicole Holofcener, 2018) Early retiree from the finance world (Ben Mendelsohn) discovers that divorce from his house-proud ex (Edie Falco) has left him just as rudderless as his ex-addict adult son (Thomas Mann.) Mordantly funny drama of exurban anomie, adapted from a novel by Ted Thompson, gives Mendelsohn space to score in a rare leading role.—RDL

Masques (Film, France, Claude Chabrol, 1978) Biographer stays at the country house of his subject, a pompous TV presenter (Philippe Noiret), bringing with him a hidden agenda and a pistol. Cozy, sun-dappled suspenser features a lovely heel turn from Noiret, who gradually reveals the sinister truth behind an overbearingly genial persona.—RDL

Mystery of the Wax Museum (Film, US, Michael Curtiz, 1933) Fast-talking reporter (Glenda Farrell) tracks a sketchy suicide to the wax museum of burned sculptor (Lionel Atwill.) The 30s Warner Brothers house style of wisecracking reporters and cynical cops drops into a world of Expressionistic horror, limned with Curtiz’s hallmark momentum and visual verve. In early two-strip Technicolor, with pre-Code innuendo and drug references. As a rare 30s fright flick that clearly takes place in that period, makes a fun reference point for Trail of Cthulhu GMs.—RDL

The Proud Rebel (Film, US, Michael Curtiz, 1958) An altercation with a sheep tycoon’s violent son (Harry Dean Stanton) forces a Civil War veteran (Alan Ladd) to pause his obsessive quest to cure his young son’s muteness to pay a debt to a stubbornly independent farmer (Olivia de Havilland.) By this point Curtiz is shooting in Scope, so he compensates for limited ability to move the camera with exquisite composition and staging. Features fine performances, including from the dog around whom much of the finely calibrated melodrama revolves.—RDL.

Good

H.P. Lovecraft: New England Decadent (Nonfiction, Barton Levi St. Armand, 1979) This early work of scholarship positions HPL’s writing as a tension between Aestheticism and Puritanism. Although it scants his actual pseudo-Decadent phase (e.g., “The Hound,” “Hypnos”) it remains an illuminating criticism. –KH

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Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
d8
Flying Clock
Robin
Film Cannister