Vintage Pulp Aug 15 2019
ANT MISBEHAVIN'
I'm down to my last few bullets! Throw those egg salad sandwiches we brought for lunch! Maybe those will slow them down!


When we first saw Eric North's 1955 sci-fi thriller The Ant Men the first thought we had— Well, actually, the second thought. The first thought was: “Oh, this is a must read.” Our second thought was: “Highly centralized, conscienceless, conformist hordes seeking to overrun everything in sight? Hmm, wonder what that's a paranoid metaphor for?” But the book doesn't really have the anti-commie thing. It's sci-fi played straight about six unfortunate people who stumble upon a city of giant ants in the dead heart of Australia. To make matters worse, there are more than just ants out there. It's reasonably fun at first, but North slowly drives his own narrative south with an impossibly annoying Aussie bush guide character who exclaims, “Mamma mamma!” probably fifty times. Five would have gotten the idea across. Before long we were hoping the ants would rip him to pieces and drag his sections down a hole to their queen. The fact that they don't is the book's biggest flaw. Aside from that it's decent, but certainly not among the better sci-fi novels of the period. This MacFadden-Bartell edition has art by Jack Faragasso.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 24 2011
VALUABLE CARGO
What the heck is an Argosy anyway?

You know we’re fond of anniversaries around here, so today we have an Argosy that was published seventy-one years ago today, in February 1940. The cover has Rudolph Belarski art, and inside is a slate of pure escapist fiction, from Eric North’s tale of Australian mysticism and adventure “The Green Flame,” to Charles Marquis Warren’s tale “Then I’ll Remember,” set aboard Noah’s Ark. And speaking of arks, in case you’ve wondered, an argosy is a merchant ship laden with an abundantly rich cargo. So it’s a fitting, if obscure, name for a magazine that publishes adventure fiction. As with all our recent Argosys, this one comes from National Road Books, and if you visit their website you’ll find that they’re laden with an abundantly rich cargo as well. Thanks again guys. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 21 2011
SWINGING DICK
I’m gonna make it! I’m gonna make it! I’m... shit!—not gonna make it!

Above, a July 1940 issue of Argosy with a Rudolph Belarski cover and fiction from Eric North, Stookie Allen, Jim Kjelgaard and Frank Richardson Pierce. Find this and other issues of Argosy here

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 28
1953—Watson and Crick Unravel DNA
American biologists James D. Watson and Francis Crick tell their friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA. The formal announcement takes place in April following publication in Nature magazine. In 1968, Watson writes The Double Helix, a non-fiction account of not only the discovery of the structure of DNA, but the personalities, conflicts and controversy surrounding the work.
February 27
1922—Challenge to Women's Voting Rights Rebuffed
In the United States, a conservative legal challenge to the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishing voting rights for women is rebuffed by the Supreme Court in Leser v. Garnett. The challenge was based partly on the idea of individual "states rights" to self determination. The failure of such reasoning as it applied to basic human rights created a framework for later states rights losses involving the denial of voting rights to African-Americans.
February 26
1917—First Jazz Record Is Made
In New Orleans, The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York. The band was frequently billed as the "Creators of Jazz", but in reality all the members had previously played in the Papa Jack Laine bands, a group of racially mixed performers who helped form the basis of Dixieland while playing under bandleader George Laine.
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