Saturday, September 23, 2023

The Mystery of the Missing Past

I was recently introduced to a specific series of YouTube videos by someone on Twitter (my mind slipped on who, I apologize) that introduced me to this channel of a reader talking about the differences between the original editions of the Hardy Boys books and the latter reprints that began in the late 1950s, barely even three decades from the time the original books were published in the 1920s.

This is quite interesting, because of what the Hardy Boys actually were and what they became known as being are two radically different things. The original editions beginning to fall into the public domain is going to make those differences more well known because they will be the ones more readily available for the first time in nearly 100 years. Dover books, for instance, has already begun re-releasing the originals, and the differences are sometimes very jarring.

I've said before that the industry post-1940 is incredibly different than the one before it, and what they ended up doing to things like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew might be the clearest example of this change. It would be like if publishers thought Treasure Island and Kidnapped! needed to be updated for modern standards to the point that the original intent is twisted and re-written for the suits in charge. Chances are, if you grew up with these books in the latter half of the 20th century, you never read the original versions of these books. In other words, you never actually read the original editions. And sometimes the originals are entirely different books.

It is strange that the anti-censorship crowd never brings this up, do they? It appears that censorship is only a problem if you do not contain "modern day sensibilities" in its pages.

To give you an example of what I mean, watch the video above. I can summarize the overall point, but I think the differences are more fascinating when they're outright spelled out for you. Essentially, if you read the 1950s re-writes and not the originals, you've never actually read the Hardy Boys. Amazing, isn't it?

The original Hardy Boys series began in 1926 and about 20 of the first 24 books (possibly 21 out of 26, it gets murky) were written by author Leslie McFarlane. He wrote the manuscripts while Edward Stratemeyer published and edited the original run of nine books and gave the general outline. After Stratemeyer died in 1930, his daughters Edna and Harriet were given control of his syndicate and gave the outlines to McFarlane instead.

Aside from a few books written by John Button in release cracks, the series appeared to be going well for over a decade. McFarlane's series was doing very well and making a good chunk of change, and even the syndicate did well by also putting out Nancy Drew not long after the Hardy Boys' initial success. Things went as they should.

All seemed to go business as usual, for a while. For a product of the 20th century it is amazing that it didn't rock the boat too hard. At least, on the surface, nothing appeared to change all that much. But things were bubbling under that wonderfully illustrated surface.

Then, like a lot of things in the literary world, things really seemed to change when the 1940s hit, a not too uncommon era in discussions around these parts. It was is if something was pumped into the drinking water back then.

But I digress. The Hardy Boys book series was not immune to the 20th century's god of progress and unending, and pointless, change. It held out for a good while, but Harriet Stratemeyer, someone who should have known better, would begin the process herself.

Taken from

When it seemed to really shift was in 1942 when Edna married and left complete control to Harriet. Starting with The Flickering Torch Mystery (the eventual revised version of this is an entirely different book, it should be mentioned) she more or less seized control over all operations. Book 24, The Short-Wave Mystery from 1945 ended up being the last book McFarlane would write (again, it is contested if he wrote book 26), and the series would have  revolving door of writers (including Harriet herself) until the original run completed with 58 books in 1979.

Now, nothing is out of the ordinary with any of this. Plenty of series went on forever, long after the original creative team departed, so there is nothing too bizarre here. The 20th century, after all, did this all the time.

However, there is a big difference between how Perry Rhodan is being written now, and what happened to the Hardy Boys. You can still buy the original edition of Perry Rhodan--for nearly half a century you could not buy the original Hardy Boys books unless you lucked out on finding an original copy or a rare limited edition release from the early 1990s. You simply could not read the original versions.

You see, starting in 1959, after Book 38, The Mystery at Devil's Paw, released, Harriet went on a quest to re-write the original 38 books to bring them up to "modern" standards and bring them in line with the new brand and cut down hard on page count. This is why most people who talk about old Hardy Boys tend to specify "the original 38" over what came later. She essentially revised them all into a whole different series.

If you want to know a more detailed version of what changed, I suggest checking out the above channel because the proprietor of it has decided to read the original and revised versions and point out just what has been altered in the revising process. It's actually quite surprising how much has been tweaked, to the point that the Hardy Boys' squeaky clean image they became known for is the opposite of what they were originally intended to be.

Taken from

You see, McFarlane wrote the Hardy Boys in the era of pulp. This meant close calls with danger, antagonistic authority figures, intense (but not explicit) language and prose, character-based comedy, and high adventure. The intent was to give kids the same sort of exciting stories their parents were reading in the pulps, just with characters more around their ages.

The revisions that began in 1959, in contrast, appeared to be designed to remove the male energy out of them, and turn the cast into bland cypher characters moving through outlined plots. Essentially, the plots were (sometimes) generally kept, but McFarlane's influence, and his contemporaries' as well, were stripped out and the shell left behind. It's a very strange process, but that's what was done, and seemed to be done specifically strip out the pulp influence that powered the series. It also changed the setting, euphemisms, and cultural landmarks to a vague "late 50s/early 60s milieu" that continued until the line's end. In other words, it turned into a brand. It was no longer about characters going through the stories.

It wasn't just the Hardy Boys, either. Nancy Drew began in 1930, and Mildred Wirt Benson wrote almost all of the original 30 books (Walter Karig wrote 3, a hodgepodge of others wrote 4) from 1930-1953. It continued on mostly under Harriet Stratemeyer's pen, but then in 1959, it also began the revision process that combed through the original 34 books to do the same thing they did to the Hardy Boys. The revisions stopped when they reached the bulk of books Harriet herself wrote, since she took over writing duties from Book 33, The Witch Tree Symbol, until the line's original end in 1979 with Book 56, The Thirteenth Pearl. In other words, the revisions more or less stopped the moment she took over the series. Like with the Hardy Boys, there is a good chance you've never read the original Nancy Drew, either. Mildred Wirt Benson's influence was scrubbed out of the series she basically built, much like Leslie McFarlane with the Hardy Boys.

Needless to say, when Nancy Drew goes public domain, just like the Hardy Boys has started to, it is those original versions that will become ubiquitous again, and that's definitely a good thing. This will be the first time in half a century that they will become more widely available than the revisions and therefore will replace them as the true versions in readers' eyes. As they should, because they are the true versions.

Let's be honest, by the time the public domain catches up to the revisions, it will be much too late for them to matter. Nobody is going to really be paying attention by the time that 38 Hardy Boys and 34 Nancy Drew books are easily accessible and widely available to readers. By that time, the originals will have reclaimed their position as the source material for the characters. 

At some point you have to ask: what is the purpose of the book you are writing? What is the intent of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew? You can say it is to make money, and you wouldn't be entirely wrong, but it has to have a point beyond that. Is it about enforcing cultural values on the youth? What does it then say that the 20th century is the first time in history we have deliberately altered our books (not just in verbiage or contested translations, but outright purposeful revisionism) to erase who we were? What kind of future can you build if you cannot accept your past?

We are seeing the result of that sort of thinking all the time now. It leads to nothing but self-destruction and self-hatred. Unless you accept the past for what it is, you are doomed to live in its shadow, and we are seeing many such examples of such a thing today.

So what does all this mean? What exactly can we learn from this whole situation?

Mainly that revisionism is not as easy as scraping away the soul of someone else's work and replacing it with your own. Eventually the truth comes out and you can see just how everything truly is. As it is with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and the same as it will be as more pulp era material becomes widely available again for all.

We might have missed out on a lot, but we always have ways of learning and adapting even when deceived. What is important is that we keep digging. There is plenty of buried treasure out there. All we have to do is never stopping searching for it.

That's all I've got this week! In case you didn't see the update on the Gemini Man Kickstarter, the last story is out at the editor and the cover for the omnibus has been commissioned. We're near the end, and I couldn't be more excited. It's been quite the year.

Also I have other news to announce, but I think I'll wait a bit longer. There's still quite a lot going on in the background.

Anyway, have a good weekend, and I'll see you next time!

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Bubble Burst

Welcome to the weekend! Progress in the word mines is going very well. First draft is finished and I'm now halfway through the first edit. The end is in sight! So today I would instead like to talk about something else.

I'm sure you've heard a lot about the recent kerfuffle going on in Hollywood involving the writers and studios. The actual nitty gritty details have been bandied about on social media endlessly, usually in one dimensional rhetoric, but there is one thing about it not being discussed at all. That would be exactly the problems that led to the entire situation in the first place. Check out the video above for a more detailed explanation on how complicated it actually is.

As it turns out a lot of the reason residuals in this current climate are next to impossible to be meted out comes from the fact that streaming as a medium makes it that way. There is essentially no way to pay anyone properly or negotiate because there is no way to track proper streaming numbers in a way that could be understandable to anyone involved. And what might be revealed would at best be vague estimates, and would not be all too impressive--and would also unveil the emperor has been naked the whole time. You would most likely learn what everyone has been saying for ages: streaming is not viable long term.

It also feeds into the current AI argument in how modern writers have been deliberately writing "down" and following a formula Hollywood has wanted them to do in order to make their product more streamlined and easily accessible. In other words, they have been fashioning writers to write automated product and trying to get the audiences used to it. They've been setting up the AI climate for a long time.

The issue is that there might not be any audience here in the first place. Hollywood is relying on perception that is entirely artificial, and the writer's strike might be forced to reveal those cards definitely to the whole world.

Despite all of that, it is clear what Hollywood wants, and it is not creativity. They have been training their dwindling audience to want endless an product beltline divorced from quality. Streaming is the best way to keep this going, whether it is actually successful or not.

What this means is that technology has surpassed the need for creativity or even quality and there is not only no incentive to improve, but no way to grow. Hollywood and the streaming model are fundamentally incompatible and the recent squabbles are showing you why that is. There is actually no way for them to come to an agreement because of how the entire system works and was constructed. To rephrase it: this current situation is an albatross around their neck they made themselves. And with their abandonment of physical media or outside monitoring of their success and failures, there is no way track anything internally. You are just supposed to Listen and Believe whatever they tell you. It's all a big hot mess without any option to clean it up.

And that's how they wanted it to be. They just didn't expect the current situation to arise and put them into a deadlock. There is no winning scenario for them here.

If you were wondering why this whole event hasn't been solved yet, when it is apparently so easy to fix, well now you know. It can't be actually solved so easily, despite what you are being told by every other pundit on social media. This crazy situation can't be resolved without throwing everything else around the industry into chaos.

In conclusion, Hollywood is in a serious pickle right now. They have no straightforward path out of this and the house of cards they've constructed around themselves is about to crumble. The next few months are going to be interesting.

As an aside, here is the earlier video referenced in the one above about AI. It's also quite an interesting watch.

This is why I've said that the independent spaces are the only serious option going forward. The old industries are rusting out and dying and there is only one place you can go to get pure art and entertainment free of the corporate coffin entombing the industry. The old era is over, and it's time for the new one.

This is all the proof you need that things are shifting, and in a decade you will see a much different climate for art and entertainment than the one we have now. That future will not lie in the above mess made by these people who hate you.

Times are changing. Better get ready! It's about to get real interesting . . .

Saturday, September 9, 2023

The Big Book Sale Returns!

Find it Here!

It's back!

Once again author Hans Schantz has gathered NewPub authors from across the wide space of the online world and created a sale specifically for you, the readers! Every book is either a buck or free, and there is no end of choice. I should also mention that I am in this one, with two books! Catch up if you've missed them.

That's right, it's time for the Based Book Sale!

Here is the description for the section my books are in:

These are some of the top offerings from previous book sales. Authors include both established and emerging talent:

James Alderdice, Tony Andarian, Jon del Arroz, Hawkings Austin, Leigh Brackett, Jonathan P. Brazee, Jim Breyfogle, Henry Brown, Rachel Fulton Brown and the Dragon Common Room, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Carlos Carrasco, Kit Sun Cheah, Paul Clayton, Warren Fahy, Declan Finn, Milo James Fowler, Peter Grant, Eric M. Hamilton, Paul Hair, Harry Harrison, Chris Haught, Julian Hawthorne, Frederick Gero Heimbach, C.S. Johnson, Becky Jones, Michael Kayser, Joseph L. Kellogg, Robert Kroese, Christopher Lansdown, Moe Lane, N. R. LaPoint, Frank B. Luke, Loretta Malakie, T.J. Marquis, Yakov Merkin, Michael McCloskey, BP McCoppin, Yakov Merkin, Morgon Newquist, Russell Newquist, Richard Nichols, Brian Niemeier, Andre Norton, Christopher G. Nuttall, Jonathan Oldenburg, Chance Paladin, Thomas Plutarch, Francis Porretto, Eric Postma, James Pyles, Justin Robinson, Denton Salle, Hans G. Schantz, Richard Sezov, David Skinner, R.H. Snow, Glen Sprigg, John Taloni, Kalkin Tivedi, Henry Vogel, David Weber, H.G. Wells, David J. West, Fenton Wood, Page Zaplendam.

And every title is either free or $0.99! Note: prices are set by the authors, so please confirm before you buy. And some of the offerings are short stories or novellas instead of full-length novels.

Here is the the main sale page!

For those who didn't see mine, both Grey Cat Blues and Brutal Dreams are included in this sale for a buck each.

Find it Here!

A Living Nightmare

After awakening in the woods, Christopher Archer finds himself trapped in a world outside of time.

Fog monsters, armed gangsters, and a legendary spear, all await his arrival.

But what about the fiancé who disappeared months ago?

As Archer explores this eternal midnight, he can only wonder—is this all just a dream, or is there something more hidden in the dark, watching his every move?

There is one choice.

He must traverse the nightmare and learn the truth.

Find it Here!

Siege on the Shadow Planet!

Ex-punk Two Tone is left for dead and his friend is taken. His assailants: men of mud from some place darker than Hell!

The inscrutable Sarpedon has slithered from the depths to rule a planet that has long abandoned hope for a better tomorrow. With no one to stop his spree of violence, it is only a matter of time before Two Tone’s world is overrun.

Old friends and a mysterious beauty gather by his side, but are they enough? Is it too late for this dying world? If all cats are grey in the dark, will anyone see the panther stalking its prey? Two Tone will find the answers the best way he knows how—through his fists!

Grey Cat Blues tells the tale of a distant planet at humanity’s end. In this place, a man must choose between love and hate. And where his choice leads him might not be where he expects . . .

Thanks again for all your support, and please look into the sale for yourself and share it with others you know. There are also plenty of new books to be found by NewPub authors both older and new! You can find the entire list for the works in the sale here.

As for me, it is time to return to the word mines. I am very close to the end of the first draft on my final Gemini Man story, and still need to finish it off. It's going to be wild!

Until next time!

Also out is the third book in the Gemini Man series! Learn what happens when perfect nothingness meets perfect eminence as Matthew and Jason find a home they can fight for!

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

New Release ~ Gemini Outsider is Out!

Find it Here!

You have no idea how excited I am to release this, the third book in the Gemini Man series today! It's been years trying to get these works out to readers and I am glad to say that all three are finally out. The third book, Gemini Outsider can be found here!

Kickstarter backers have already received this one, as well as the two previous books, but it can now be purchased by everyone who missed out on the campaign. As a reminder, unlike Gemini Warrior (and Gemini Drifter, to an extent), Gemini Outsider was completed post-Silver Empire after I was given back the final draft to be edited. This is the first time it has ever been properly available, and with a cover commissioned by me from the extremely talented Manuel Guzman.

It is nice to finally have this out there for all the readers to dig into.

Here is the description:


Matthew and Jason have finally escaped the forces on their tail. But all is not what it seems in the quaint town of Riverview. Hidden monsters and psycho killers emerge from the shadows to drag them back into the void. A madman closes in! But can they even fight back without their powers?

The final test begins for the Gemini Man in the third book in the Gemini Man Trilogy, Gemini Outsider! What does it mean to live in peace? Read on and find out!

Originally I had said this was the conclusion of the series, and it more or less still is. Book Three completes the story began in Gemini Warrior and continued through Gemini Drifter of Jason and Matthew finding a place for themselves. This is basically the end of their story, one of wanted to give to readers for ages.

However, as backers of the campaign know, two more short stories were commissioned due to the stretch goals. These are both novella length and do not star either Jason or Matthew, but do feature the same central conflict from the main series. This is because I wanted to give readers not just the end of their tale, but the conclusion of the overall conflict as well. With these two bonus stories (which will be released in a package once they are finished and edited) the Gemini Man will be completed and readers will have the final ending. Though that does not mean Gemini Outsider does not have a very satisfying conclusion of its own. It very much does, and it is my favorite overall book in the series. You'll have to read it to see what I mean.

Speaking of campaign backers, I have two chapters left to write in the second story before I give it the once over twice for editing. Then I will send it off to my editor who hopefully is not too busy. Once I complete the final edit, I will send them out to backers in both digital form and in place them in the omnibus for complete series backers. After which they will be put on Amazon for the public. Then I can finally bid the series goodbye as it will then be complete.

As it is, you can see the series page here on Amazon in case you missed anything or have yet to jump on. I would really appreciate more reviews. I've heard good word from backers and readers so I would be really appreciate if you could leave a review yourself. They really do help reach more readers and give the series more exposure. It's been quite the experience writing and putting the Gemini Man out. Thank you for reading!

Also, if you are hoping for a physical edition and didn't back the campaign, you will have to wait a bit longer. After finishing up the bonus stories, I will be focusing on the omnibus edition first and foremost and sending that out to backers. If you want the books individually, it will take quite some time. Until then, I thank you for your patience.

That's all for this time. I'm once again sorry activity on the blog has been so slow. I've been focusing on finishing this series more than anything else, and its taken up a lot of online time. When you consider the bonus stories, I'm basically putting out four books this year, double my previous record. It's not something I'll probably ever do again, but it's quite an experience either way. It isn't every day that your publisher unfortunately folds and leaves you with three books to put out on your own. Though I am grateful to have had the chance to work with them in the first place.

It is sad that Silver Empire is gone now, but if it wasn't for them I never would have written this to begin with. If anything, I hope this series helps contributes to their legacy as a publisher different from the rest. If you enjoyed the books, please check out other works they previously published. You won't be let down.

Thank you for reading and enjoying the Gemini Man series! Once again I would appreciate some reviews, even if it is a sentence or two long for potential readers to get an idea of what you felt when going through it. Art is connection, so showing what it meant to other readers helps us all out just a little more.

Again, thank you for giving the series a chance, and I will see you next time!

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Weekend Lounge ~ Ludicrous Edition

Not much to report on this week, unfortunately. I'm still in the word mines and dealing with real life stuff, so here is a short update to something fun.

The overlooked FPS classic Rise of the Triad has finally been re-released, and not only re-released but given a full head to toe remaster adding a bunch of new features and content that make the package extra enticing. Check the above video for the full report. This new edition is absolutely stacked with content and improvements.

The game is not for everyone, but it does scratch that itch of classic gameplay, somewhere between Doom and Wolfenstein 3D just before the genre made the full jump into 3D. Either way, it's quite a unique shooter.

In recent years, however, I've been finding myself more and more attracted to things like this. The new just doesn't thrill anymore. And I don't think I'm alone in that thought process. Products like this tend to sell very well for a very good reason.

There is a very good reason why in recent years more and more people have either been deliberately making new games built on old ones, or simply going back and discovering classics for the first time. As you can see from this video, good gameplay ages like fine wine. This is what makes video game an art form--the gameplay mixed with the audio and visuals to create a unique experience unlike what one would find in other mediums. And we are very quickly discovering what it is we've lost along the way to make the form "adult" or "mature" or whatever nonsense hack D-movie writers want to tell themselves.

Perhaps more mediums should realize that trying to cannibalize itself by slapping on other art forms to try and stick out is only devaluing the original medium to begin with. What we should all focus on is what makes each area unique in the first place. If our subcultures could regain that center again perhaps everything wouldn't have to be the same watered down mudgenre that becomes a subpar jack of all trades and not even competent at one.

Regardless, have a good weekend! Summer is almost over, and the fall chill is nearly here. There is still so much to do in the meantime.