Archive for January, 2012

New Year’s Resolution Scorecard — Week 04

Reading: I discovered the Doc Savage story “The Green Master” at the local used book store, as I was perusing the stacks in preparation for jury duty the following week (which never happened.) It was a relatively quick read, a much shorter story than the other Doc Savage stories in the collection.

Research: This week I give credit to passive research. I monitor a blog entitled Dr. Hermes Retro-Scans (now in its second incarnation, with More Retro-Scans). The author of the blog periodically reviews pulp era fiction, particularly the stories of the Shadow, the Avenger, Doc Savage, the Green Lama, among others. This is where I am discovering a number of Doc Savage stories that feature hypnosis-related material beyond the couple of stories that I was originally aware of. One of those is “The Green Master” which is the subject of this week’s regular blog posting.

The Green Master” by Kenneth Robeson

In a secret fortress high in the Andes, Doc and his crew are enslaved by a race of extrasensory super-blondes who worship a green stone with a life of its own!

In this Doc Savage novel, Doc and his aides Ham and Monk face a race of beings with the power to influence anyone they meet, and who are in New York with a mission that brings them into conflict the the Man of Bronze!

⇒ Continue reading “The Green Master” by Kenneth Robeson”

New Year’s Resolution Scorecard — Week 03

Reading: I discovered a novel in the SF section of the local bookstore with the provocative name “Trance” which did indeed involve a character with trance-inducing powers. I was a little disappointed with some the details of the story but there was enough additional material to include it with the Collection. (You can read more about it in the regular posting this week.)

Writing: Three entries this week! Granted, two were pretty short but even that is better than I’ve been doing. Plus there is another short entry in the works for release soon.

Research: Only a minor bit on a rather long blog entry regarding a major super-villain, as I asked the advice of another comics fan regarding one of my propositions about the individual. (For what it is worth, he agreed with my proposition.)

Trance” by Kelly Meding

[amtap book:isbn=1451620926]

Fifteen years ago, Teresa “Trance” West was a skilled telepath and a proud member of the Ranger Corps. But ever since the Rangers were inexplicably rendered powerless at the climax of the devastating Meta War, she’s bounced from one dead-end job to another. Now her powers have reappeared just as mysteriously as they vanished— only they’re completely transformed and more potent than ever. And they’re threatening to destroy her.

It was a battle decades in making: the Ranger Corps, government sponsored Metas (people with super-powers) battling the Banes (anyone else with similar powers.) It all came down to a running battle in downtown Manhattan, as the more numerous Banes slew the Rangers, reducing their numbers until only the youngest members remained, which included Trance, ‘ten-going-on-eleven’ with the power to hypnotize people by looking into their eyes, which wasn’t much help during the running firefight. It was all reaching the end, their comrades and family down, nothing left to protect and defend them.

And then it was over. All the Metas lost their powers at once. The government stepped in to remove the remaining underaged Rangers and try to return them to society, leaving the Banes to stay on the ruined island. And the world went on with its business.

But it wasn’t over. Somehow, the mysterious process that caused the Metas to lose their powers stopped several years later. The battle, left on hold for so many years, was back on again. Their old enemy, Spectre, was already targeting them before they can re-unite.

Commentary: Alas, the only scene seen with Trance using her hypnotic powers is in the first few pages, so the potential of the book’s title was essentially wasted, but it still is worthy of being an entry in the Collection because of the powers of the opponent, Spectre, which are telepathic and telekinetic control, which he uses to control innocent victims and force them to attack the Meta heroes.

History: I saw this title at the bookstore last week and felt tempted to get it, if only for the possibility that the ‘trance’ as described involved some form of hypnotic control. I was not disappointed when I discovered this line within the first few pages:

My ability to hypnotize people and alter their thoughts worked only if I looked them in the eye.

Therefore I was disappointed when at the end of the first chapter, every one of the Metas lost their powers, and later, when they got them back, Trance got her grandmother’s energy control powers instead. Such a waste …

And I did have my doubts about the book, because it had the (external) hallmarks of being part of the ‘paranormal romance’ genre, but I found that this wasn’t the case. There is a strong romantic element to it, but its not as strong as the genre I mentioned would indicate. For my part, I see the ‘paranormal romance’ genre consisting of hot chicks with paranormal backgrounds (vampires, demons, werewolves, etc.) involved equally with hot&heavy sex and violence. This wasn’t the case here, as the sex was pretty non-existent and the romance angle as a rational part of the character development.

Recommendation: I can’t really recommend it for the hypnotic angle but it was a fairly good read.

This Week in Comics — 2012/01/18

Birds of Prey #5

Mind Control … and Murder!

The team (Black Canary, Poison Ivy, Katana and Starling, plus guest Batgirl) discover they are missing the time they confronted the mysterious voice, yet they all have different memories of what memories were missing. Plus Batgirl herself is missing. Against that kind of control their opponent seems to have, can they confront him? Well, they think they can.

It takes a day for things start coming back together: Batgirl rejoins the group as Black Canary makes a discovery:

I think Choke’s made ordinary citizens into sleeper agents. We already know he can turn people into walking bombs and transmitting devices, so why not full-on soldiers?

If we find one of them, we can follow the trail back to Choke, and then pound some answers out of him.

There’s just one problem: Starling is missing. She (apparently) got the same location for the meeting but the place she reads is not the same place as before. And she’s been set up. Not Good.

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