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Archive for August, 2022

Episode 509: Charismatic Megafauna of Food

August 12th, 2022 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut we demonstrate how to dovetail player-created character hooks into your scenario, as Ken proposes a Freaking Weird Moment for his This is Normal Now character and Robin weaves it into a trio of mystery premises.

The Culture Hut uncovers a Dreamhound of Chicago, 30s surrealist painter Gertrude Abercrombie.

Then we duck into the Food Hut to make a list of defunct food products we might just use Ken’s Time Machine to stock up on.

Our final stop takes us to the Eliptony Hut, as we review the contents of a ghost hunter’s kit, starting with the copious suggestions in Peter Underwood’s Ghost Hunters Guide.

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

Our Patreon-backed Letterboxd list of all films mentioned on the show is now up and running.

Also check out the Goodreads list of books mentioned on the show.

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Get ready to solve your Christmas present problems early as Atlas Games brings the kid-friendly social deduction game Weird Little Elf to Kickstarter, until August 11th.

Score a blood-drenched special bonus from Pelgrane Press when you order the print edition Night’s Black Agents Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook or any of its associated bundles. A new 50-page Cuttings PDF of deleted scenes and horrors that didn’t fit is now available for a limited time with the voucher code VAMP2021.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Delta Green Iconoclasts, a campaign of horrors modern and ancient, brings a team of Agents to a scene of horrors all too real: Mosul in 2016, held by the self-styled Islamic State in a reign of depraved brutality. From a small base at the Kirkuk airfield, the Agents must research the horrors to come and prepare for a harrowing infiltration. Terrors and new supplementary material await, now in PDF, hardback now in preorder.

Episode 508: KARTAS A-Z

August 5th, 2022 | Robin

On August 2, 2012, the first installment of Ken and Robin Talks About Stuff debuted to a waiting gaming world.

For our recent 500th episode celebration, we held the traditional Lightning Round. For this extra special anniversary, we take a look back at the show, its topics and its origins with an A to Z of KARTAS.

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

Our Patreon-backed Letterboxd list of all films mentioned on the show is now up and running.

Also check out the Goodreads list of books mentioned on the show.

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Get ready to solve your Christmas present problems early as Atlas Games brings the kid-friendly social deduction game Weird Little Elf to Kickstarter, until August 11th.

Score a blood-drenched special bonus from Pelgrane Press when you order the print edition Night’s Black Agents Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook or any of its associated bundles. A new 50-page Cuttings PDF of deleted scenes and horrors that didn’t fit is now available for a limited time with the voucher code VAMP2021.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Delta Green Iconoclasts, a campaign of horrors modern and ancient, brings a team of Agents to a scene of horrors all too real: Mosul in 2016, held by the self-styled Islamic State in a reign of depraved brutality. From a small base at the Kirkuk airfield, the Agents must research the horrors to come and prepare for a harrowing infiltration. Terrors and new supplementary material await, now in PDF, hardback now in preorder.

Ken and Robin Consume Media: The Princess, The Gray Man and Philo Vance

August 2nd, 2022 | 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

Hollywood’s Eve (Nonfiction, Lili Anolik, 2019) Biography of L.A. writer, scenester and sexual adventuress Eve Babitz alludes to her unconventional approach to prose and structure without pastiching it, thank goodness. Dives deeper than the copious spicy anecdotes to find the pathos in a figure who did her best to elude it.—RDL

House (Film, Japan, Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977) Seven schoolgirls impulsively decide to vacation in the remote house of an aunt (Yoko Minamida), unaware of the supernatural peril therein. The film careens wildly between cheesy-seeming set pieces of giddy child-fantasy and giallo-ish grand guignol. Not always successful even on its own terms but never boring or predictable, not least because Obayashi faithfully transcribes his pre-teen daughter’s fears onto film. –KH

The Moai Island Puzzle (Fiction, Alice Arisugawa, 1989) Three collegiate mystery fans come to a remote island to find a hidden treasure in diamonds – but find murder as well. After a slow-ish introductory act, this seminal shin honkaku mystery builds and braids its puzzles and relationships while maintaining a creepy neo-Gothic tone throughout. The bravura solution comes a bit out of the blue, but Christie would have happily used it. –KH

The Princess (Film, US, Lee Van-Kiet, 2022) Determined princess (Joey King) uses her secret fighting skills to battle her way out of captivity and marriage to a loathsome would-be usurper (Dominic Cooper.) The spirit of 80s Hong Kong lives, courtesy of Van-Kiet, who cut his teeth in the Vietnamese action flick scene and makes a credible, acrobatic action hero and ultra-violent Disney princess out of King.—RDL

Good

The Gray Man (Film, US, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, 2022) Deniable CIA killer Sierra Six (Ryan Gosling) must evade sociopathic “contractor” Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans), tasked by the CIA to kill him. Gosling’s charming channeling of Alain Delon, and three remarkable action set pieces (of five) excitingly filmed in part by drones, drag this extremely, aggressively stupid cliché charcuterie over the line into Good. Not the least of its stupidities: mostly wasting Ana de Armas, who already proved she could more than hold her own in spy action as by far the least-bad thing in the latest Bond. –KH

The Greene Murder Case (Fiction, S.S. Van Dine, 1928) Forced to cohabitate in their ancestral New York mansion by the patriarch’s will, the Greene family falls victim to a series of murders. After a good deal of persiflage and dramatics, Philo Vance solves the case. In 1945, John Dickson Carr ranked this as among the ten best mystery novels. Even in 1945 that was probably a stretch, but the solution (while not strictly fair-play) is tremendously ingenious. –KH

Okay

The Bishop Murder Case and The Scarab Murder Case (Fiction, S.S. Van Dine, 1929 and 1930) A nursery-rhyme-minded serial killer stalks a pair of households on Riverside Drive, and a statue of Sekhmet seemingly kills the millionaire patron of an Egyptologist’s museum. In both cases, Philo Vance solves the crimes after far too much arch fiddle-faddle and showing off: as Ogden Nash wrote, “Philo Vance / Needs a kick in the pance.” The Scarab Murder Case adds oblivious racism to its other failings, but both novels contain arresting scenes when Van Dine lets the action speak for itself without overheated narration. –KH

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