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Episode 301: Thanks For Knowing We Were Right

July 13th, 2018 | Robin

 

The Gaming Hut lies at the end of a ten foot corridor this week as Patreon backer Elias Helfer asks us, as paragons of story-driven RPGs, to explain why we think dungeons are awesome.

In Fun With Science we extrapolate a future with affordable carbon reclamation.

With the Over the Edge Kickstarter now in progress, we dig into our vault of interviews from last year’s Gen Con to chat with Jonathan Tweet in Ken and/or Robin Talk To Someone Else.

If someone tells you their favorite esoteric writer is Julius Evola, you just heard your cue to back away slowly. The Consulting Occultist is here to tell you why.

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.


The island of Al Amarja may have moved from its classic 1990s location, but don’t be fooled. Over the Edge is indeed back, with Jonathan Tweet updating his classic and influential game design. Get ready to duck New Age cultists, baboon-wielding gangsters, twisted assassins when the roleplaying game of weird modern danger is Kickstarting now!

 

 

 

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent 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: Incredibles, Ant-Man and Southern Werewolves

July 10th, 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

Incredibles 2 (Film, US, Brad Bird, 2018) Elasti-Girl (Holly Hunter) and Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) switch domestic roles when she becomes the face of a tech mogul’s (Bob Odenkirk) attempt to restore the public image of superheroes. Literally everything works here, from Bird’s writing to the beyond-state-of-the-art action sequences, but special kudos to Michael Giacchino’s score, which perfectly homages spy-fi soundtracks of yore while kicking the animation into over-overdrive. Maybe it doesn’t aim super-high, but replicating a Pinnacle fourteen years later remains pretty incredible. –KH

Recommended

Ant-Man and the Wasp (Film, US, Peyton Reed, 2017) With hours left in his house arrest, Scott (Paul Rudd) agrees to help erstwhile partner Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and ever-truculent quasi-mentor Hank (Michael Douglas) recover her mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the quantum zone. The comic banter between the engaging cast of this warm and generous romp is so deceptively loose and fun—which is to say, precisely and painstakingly timed—that it’s almost a drag when the plot galumphs in to interrupt it.—RDL

The Endless (Film, US, Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, 2018) Two brothers (Benson and Moorhead) who escaped from a “UFO death cult” a decade ago return to it after receiving a mysterious videotape. Slow (but never easy) burn starts with family drama, escalates to weirdness, and achieves cosmic horror by the end, ably abetted by Jimmy Lavalle’s creepy electronic score. –KH

GLOW Season 2 (Television, US, Netflix, Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, 2018) Ruth’s eagerness to add her input to the show bruises her friendship with Sam; Debbie channels divorce rage into her new role as producer. Nary a sophomore season slackening in sight as the the writing swerves around obvious choices as expands its always-sympathetic attention to the rich cast of supporting characters.—RDL

The King and the Chorus Girl (Film, US, Mervyn LeRoy, 1937) The aunt (Mary Nash) and chief aristocratic attendant (Edward Everett Horton) to a young deposed king encourage an American showgirl (Joan Blondell) to rouse him from his alcoholic despond by resisting his romantic overtures. Charming light romantic comedy gains extra crackle from a script by Norman Krasna and Groucho Marx.—RDL

Mongrels (Fiction, Stephen Graham Jones, 2016) Teen grows up on the run in the hardscrabble rural south, protected by his impulsive uncle and survival-hardened aunt, both werewolves. Rich, evocative family story told with the structures and techniques of literary fiction in which an extensively extrapolated set of lycanthrope rules becomes part of the realist texture .—RDL

Good

Archer: Danger Island (Television, US, FXX, Adam Reed, 2018) The latest run of Archer seasons swaps in multi-episode story arcs for the procedural nonsense that marked earlier years, to the general detriment of comedic density: time spent advancing a plot is time not spent making drunken sex jokes. This season sets the show’s cast, suitably rejiggered, in a 1938 Pacific air adventure serial that shows Reed’s love for the material, but again shorts the rapid-fire comedy. –KH

Okay

Legion Season 2 (Television, US, FX, Noah Hawley, 2018) As David Haller (Dan Stevens) sort-of races the Shadow King (Navid Negahban) to the latter’s body, he questions everything about his quest. If anything the shots this season are more gorgeously inventive than ever, so it’s a shame Hawley lards the season with story side trails and literally sophomoric explorations into pop cogsci and pop ethics. Maybe “we know nothing” isn’t the best spine for a series narrative, especially when almost nobody can act well enough to earn viewer sympathy. The show quotes The Who a lot, so I will, too: “Why should I care?” –KH

Not Recommended

RocknRolla (Film, UK, Guy Ritchie, 2008) Betrayals, scams and side hustles ripple outward from a crooked real estate deal brokered by a bullying thug (Tom Wilkinson.) Without a throughline a screenplay is just a series of incidents, in this case not especially compelling ones. Kudos to the casting director; you sure couldn’t assemble this cast on crime flick budget today.—RDL

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Episode 300: LIGHTNING RO-O-O-O-O-O-OUND

July 6th, 2018 | Robin

 

It’s been 300 installments, just a smidge shy of six years, and longtime listeners and backers know what that means. Time for another episode-length Lightning Round, as we provide uncharacteristically snappy As to Qs about games, beverages, monsters, bees and the ever-proverbial so much more.

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.


The island of Al Amarja may have moved from its classic 1990s location, but don’t be fooled. Over the Edge is indeed back, with Jonathan Tweet updating his classic and influential game design. Get ready to duck New Age cultists, baboon-wielding gangsters, twisted assassins when the roleplaying game of weird modern danger hits Kickstarter on July 10th.

 

 

 

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent 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: With Cate You Only Need Eight

July 3rd, 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 Big Clock (Fiction, Kenneth Fearing, 1946) Considerably darker than the film version (q.v.), and as a result more believable in its plot action. Multiple viewpoints slow tension but also provide verisimilitude. Fearing’s weird digressions jazz up the novel like his ever-chiming “big clock” metaphor mostly doesn’t. –KH

The Newburgh Sting (Film, US, David Heilbroner and Kate Davis, 2014) Documentary unwinds a 2009 case in which an FBI informant recruited four small-time criminals from a poverty-wracked African-American community into a terror plot for the government to triumphantly bust. Interweaves interviews with government surveillance footage to clarify a complex story. For those doing the math, yep, the FBI head who appears for a celebratory victory lap before a Congressional committee is none other than Robert Mueller.—RDL

Ocean’s 8 (Film, US, Gary Ross, 2018) Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) gets out of prison, reunites with her sidekick Lou (Cate Blanchett) and recruits a crew for an impossible heist during which many things seem to go wrong but either they didn’t or the crew fixes them on the fly. Yep, it’s an Ocean’s movie! (Minus the editing, which is a little slack, leading to a more toothless feel.) Daniel Pemberton does a great job shifting David Holmes’ cool jazz toward funk, and everyone is fun to watch, especially Anne Hathaway as the biggest Anne Hathaway ever. –KH

The Villainess (Film, Jeong Byeong-Gil, South Korea, 2017) A shadowy government agency retrains an already bad-ass assassin, but a complex web of bloody betrayals still waits to ensnare her. Wild, hyper-violent action sequences bookend a twisty, chronologically fractured narrative.—RDL

Good

The Big Clock (Film, US, John Farrow, 1948) Crime editor George Stroud (Ray Milland) winds up the intended patsy for a murder committed by his tyrannical publisher Earl Janoth (Charles Laughton), who unwittingly assigns Stroud to track himself down. After the idiot plot maneuvers Stroud into position, the tense self-manhunt propels the last two thirds of the film, juiced by Laughton’s delightful mannered cruelty and a screwball turn by Elsa Lanchester as an eccentric painter. –KH

Chains (Film, Italy, Raffaello Matarazzo, 1949) Garage owner’s wife conceals from her husband the efforts of her ex-fiancee, now a caddish car thief, to win her back. Noir-tinged melodrama loses steam when its third act turn switches to a less compelling conflict.—RDL

Legion Season 2 (Television, FX, Noah Hawley, 2018) Now working for the anti-mutant agency he used to fight, David loses his grip on reality and his moral bearings as he pursues the Shadow King. The most visually inventive season of TV ever shot burrows so deeply into subjective reality—not to mention time travel and alternate realities—that it’s often impossible not just to know what is happening, but what one wants to see happen.—RDL

The Powder Barrel (Fiction, William Haggard, 1965) Colonel Russell of the Security Executive must deal with a too-independent Chinese agent trying to kill the Foreign Secretary and destabilize a fragile British oil protectorate. Like the best Haggard thrillers, this one turns on personalities, but Haggard’s normally tight control of the plot seems a little stop-and-start in this one. –KH

Not Recommended

Historical Atlas of Ancient Mesopotamia (Nonfiction, Norman Bancroft Hunt, 2004) Although the mix of maps and archaeological plans scants historical continuity in favor of snapshot cultural views, I would be inclined to call it Okay or even Good if the text didn’t contain several considerable errors of fact. Most notably to our listeners, Hunt confuses Mithridates II of Parthia with Mithridates VI of Pontus. –KH

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Episode 299: Mostly Claw Dudes

June 29th, 2018 | Robin

 

The Gaming Hut has a bunch of vampires in the shop for adjustments as we look at the process of adapting creatures between systems.

In Ken and/or Robin Talk To Someone Else, Ken talks to Rich Ranallo about the new edition of Velvet Generation, now on Kickstarter. Listen close and you’ll hear Ken’s lightning bolt face makeup.

As a milestone beckons, Ask Ken and Robin finds us in the mood for a meta-question. Thank goodness Patreon backer Ian Carlsen is here to request a glimpse behind the KARTAS scenes.

Finally, Leprejuan beckons us into the Eliptony Hut to ponder the Mad Gasser of Mattoon.

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.


Join the intrigue of the Cursed Court, the award-festooned, quick-playing, gorgeous new board game from Atlas Games. Anticipate the moves of the King, Queen, Priestess and Assassin in the game Bruno Faidutti calls “an unexpected masterwork.” Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent 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: Hollywood’s Greatest Suave Weasel

June 26th, 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

Danger Signal (Film, US, Robert Florey, 1945) Pulp writer who makes his real living swindling and murdering women (Zachary Scott) sets his sights on a staid stenographer (Faye Emerson)—until her prettier, vivacious younger sister, who receives an inheritance when she marries, shows up. Scott, Hollywood’s quintessential suave weasel, gets plenty of room to do his thing as an homme fatale who tempts the female protagonist to moral ruin.—RDL

Kedi (Film, Turkey, Ceyda Torun, 2017) I love a good sense-of-place movie that meanders down or pinwheels above the streets and byways of a great city, and Istanbul ably holds the screen alongside dozens of its feral and semi-domesticated cats. This documentary follows seven cats on their patrols and takes time to talk to the humans who feed, care for, and love them. Kira Fontana’s nimble score perfectly captures the grace and lightness of the subjects, weaving together the perfect chill-out film for cat lovers. –KH

The King is Dead: Studies in the Near Eastern Resistance to Hellenism 334-31 B.C. (Nonfiction, S.K. Eddy, 1961) Even given the paucity of source material and the philhellenic tendencies of the academy, you’d think there would be a more recent postcolonialist study of Alexander’s Successors in the East, but this remains the state of the field. Eddy does a remarkable job weaving the evidence into narrative, using the structure of religious resistance (best typified by the Maccabean Revolt) as his weft. –KH

Little Sister (Fiction, Barbara Gowdy, 2017) Rep cinema owner reacts with alarm when thunderstorms cause her consciousness to project itself, as a passive spectator, into the body of an editor engaged in an affair with a colleague. Contemporary litfic uses its magic realist premise as an entry point into the lives and histories of its characters.—RDL

Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing (Nonfiction, Ben Blatt, 2017) Statistical analysis delves into the texts of English literature’s canonical classics and today’s litfic and best-sellers. In addition to showing how algorithms can identify authorship based on the placement of simple words alone, breaks down favored words by gender, the trend toward simpler reading levels, and post-fame word count bloat.—RDL

They Remain (Film, US, Philip Gelatt, 2018) At the behest of a shadowy corporation, field scientists (William Jackson Harper, Rebecca Henderson) investigate animal behavior anomalies in the forested site of a notorious cult massacre. Slow burn reality horror anchored by the groundedness of Harper’s performance. Based on a Laird Barron novella.—RDL

Veep Season 6 (Television, HBO, David Mandel, 2017) Defeated, with half her team scattered, and facing the horrible prospect of grandmotherhood, Selina struggles to fund her presidential library. With lowered stakes comes ever more vicious satire—yet oddly, a nostalgia for an era when high velocity profanity and backstabbing careerism seemed as bad as DC could get.—RDL

Good

Operation Mekong (Film, China, Dante Lam, 2016) Hard-charging cop (Zhang Hanyu) his new undercover partner (Eddie Peng) lead an expert team to capture the Golden Triangle drug smugglers who massacred Chinese citizens. It’s not just the wild action that’s head-spinning here, but also the demonstration of how seamlessly Hollywood tropes and drug war imagery export themselves to a putatively different propaganda context.—RDL

The Void (Film, Canada, Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie, 2016) Cultists trap two cops, a smattering of civilians, and the skeleton staff inside a nearly defunct hospital as Lovecraftian/Barkeresque horrors brew up. Practical effects and a commitment to full-throttle fright acceleration hearken back to 80s horror in this effective film; sketchily drawn characters and a somewhat muddled ending likewise. –KH

Okay

Now You See Me (Film, US, Louis Leterrier, 2013) Four down-and-out magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and Isla Fisher) follow mysterious instructions to rob from the rich and give to the poor-ish as unshaven FBI agent Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) fumes impotently in their wake. Brian Tyler’s score and a terrific mano-a-magic fight scene aside, this movie has little to recommend it: Leterrier directs like a Michael Bay wannabe, not the Luc Besson disciple he was, and if a script promises in so many words to outsmart you it shouldn’t be nearly this dumb. That said, a great high concept wasted remains a great high concept. –KH

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Episode 298: Now We’re Just Gygaxing

June 22nd, 2018 | Robin

Having both recently moved big projects off our plates and into post-production, we convene in the Gaming Hut to look at lessons and surprises from our design work on Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition and The Yellow King Roleplaying Game.

In the Horror Hut, we respond to the wish of Patreon backer Stephen Perpitch-Harvey to talk about jinn.

Among My Many Hats has Robin donning the headgear of an ancient horse clan to talk about Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind, the new iOS game follow-up to King of Dragon Pass, featuring nine novels worth of his writing.  Send your Swords and Bows to the pre-order now.

Finally the Consulting Occultist opens a perilous tome to tell us about Reginald Scot and The Discoverie of Witchcraft.

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.


Join the intrigue of the Cursed Court, the award-festooned, quick-playing, gorgeous new board game from Atlas Games. Anticipate the moves of the King, Queen, Priestess and Assassin in the game Bruno Faidutti calls “an unexpected masterwork.” Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent 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 maybe not your team of hardened covert agents) from the Cthulhu 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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Episode 297: Walrus Revenge

June 15th, 2018 | Robin

Do gamers like choice more than ordinary humans? We raised the question several episodes back, and now it’s all grown up into its very own Gaming Hut segment.

In the Tradecraft Hut we look at the espionage allegations leveled against the Chinese telecom giant ZTE.

Then the time comes for a brand new segment, the T-Shirt Justification Hut, in which we prepare you for the wearable terror of Walrus Revenge. Grab the shirt here!

Finally the Eliptony Hut augments its customary tinfoil hat with a bell-bottoms and platform shoes as Patreon backer Stacy Forsythe wants to know why the 70s was such a high water mark for weirdness studies.

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.


Join the intrigue of the Cursed Court, the award-festooned, quick-playing, gorgeous new board game from Atlas Games. Anticipate the moves of the King, Queen, Priestess and Assassin in the game Bruno Faidutti calls “an unexpected masterwork.”

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent 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.

With your Handlers Guide already at your side, it’s time to assemble some operations to spiral your Delta Green operatives into paranoia and Mythos horror. Delta Green: A Night at the Opera features six terrifying adventures from the conspiratorial minds of Dennis Detwiller, Shane Ivey, and Greg Stolze. Preorder before it’s desperately too late!

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Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: Grim, Gritty Crime and the Cat in the Hat

June 12th, 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

13 Tzameti (Film, France, Géla Babluani, 2005) Young roofer stiffed by the death of a junkie client takes over the man’s mysterious mission, leading him to a deadly game. B&W photography, loosely paced first act, and motifs of alienation and solitary danger hearken back to the indie aesthetic of the mid-80s.—RDL

American Animals (Film, US, Bart Layton, 2018) Based on the true story of a 2004 rare book theft from Transylvania University in Kentucky, Layton interweaves talking-head commentary by the real thieves into his engaging — then riveting — heist film. (Anne Nikitin’s score drives the rivets home.) The resulting deliberate metafictions point up all manner of contrasts: between art and life, memory and truth, and yes wrong and right. Kudos to Layton for risking ruining a good movie to make a pretty great one. –KH

The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats (Nonfiction, Philip Nel, 2007) Thoroughly annotated edition of The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Came Back provides deeper insight into Dr. Seuss’ process, children’s publishing in the 1950s, and the nature of Voom. –KH

Atomic Blonde (Film, US, David Leitch, 2017) M16 badass Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) sent to courier a list of enemy agents from late 80s Berlin fights her way through a tangle of betrayals centered around rogue agent David Percival (James McAvoy.) Combines hard fight choreography with neon-saturated grit and paranoia. Kudos for staging its defining action set piece in mid-film.—RDL

Good

Borrowed Time (Fiction, Jack Campbell, 2016) A collection of competent to fine time-travel stories, some of them sharing a linked “T.I.” universe and some merely serving as excuses to talk history to SF readers. (NTTAWTT) I liked “Betty Knox and Dictionary Jones in the Mystery of the Missing Teenage Anachronisms” beyond its merits, I suspect, but the high camp adventure of “These Are the Times” and “Working on Borrowed Time” is nigh irresistible. –KH

Dark of the Moon (Fiction, John Dickson Carr, 1967) In his last appearance, Dr. Gideon Fell must unravel the impossible murder of a mathematician amidst the emotionally charged atmosphere of his South Carolina house. Carr occasionally disguises a murder mystery as a door-slamming farce, and he returns to those rhythms here in Dr. Fell’s familiar Gothic register. Carr’s dialogue, always somewhat theatrical, seems borderline ridiculous here, but plot and tension do their work well. –KH

Okay

Papa Là-Bas (Fiction, John Dickson Carr, 1968) Future Confederate Secretary of State Judah Benjamin solves a Voodoo-soaked impossible murder in 1858 New Orleans. Generally considered Carr’s worst book, its sole strength is period research; even his reliable plot propeller scrapes bottom in this one. The characters solely exist to shout at each other, burst through doors suddenly, and interrupt the detective-ing when they’re not soft-pedaling slavery. –KH

What Price Hollywood? (Film, US, George Cukor, 1932) Actress (Constance Bennett) rises to movie stardom as the director who discovered her (Lowell Sherman) spirals into alcoholism. Full of great early Hollywood atmosphere, though the extremely charming Bennett is stronger in the lighter early acts than when the melodrama kicks in. The ‘37, ‘54, ‘76 and upcoming ‘18 versions of A Star is Born are all uncredited remakes of this—the fifties Garland one also directed by Cukor. See Neil Hamilton, Commissioner Gordon from the 60s Batman show, in his dashing leading man phase as Bennett’s husband.—RDL

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Episode 296: Build a Crummy Robot and Call It Gnostic

June 8th, 2018 | Robin

 

Not by chance do we start in the Gaming Hut, for a look at the role of coincidence in various mystery genres.

Then at the behest of Patreon backer Stewart Robertson we duck into the secret recesses of the Mythology Hut for a 101 on Gnosticism.

In Ask Ken and Robin, backer Aaron Galen White wants Robin to tell him more about Don DeLillo’s Zero K, and the treatment of genre tropes in literary fiction.

Then Ken’s Time Machine revs up to see, at the request of backer Jacob Boersma, what a timeline without the Chernobyl disaster would look like.

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.


Join the intrigue of the Cursed Court, the award-festooned, quick-playing, gorgeous new board game from Atlas Games. Anticipate the moves of the King, Queen, Priestess and Assassin in the game Bruno Faidutti calls “an unexpected masterwork.”

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available for preorder from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agent 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.

With your Handlers Guide already at your side, it’s time to assemble some operations to spiral your Delta Green operatives into paranoia and Mythos horror. Delta Green: A Night at the Opera features six terrifying adventures from the conspiratorial minds of Dennis Detwiller, Shane Ivey, and Greg Stolze. Preorder before it’s desperately too late!

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Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
d8
Flying Clock
Robin
Film Cannister