Thursday, October 28, 2010

Captain's bLog 1028.10

Hey, Star Kids.Yeah, I know. It's been a while. All I can say is that I've been occupied elsewhere, and will get back to regular posting here as soon as possible.

•  Right now, I'm looking for some information. I know that there was a series of Flash Gordon paperback novels published in the 80s with cover paintings by Boris Vallejo (such as the one on the left, which, as Space: 1970 reader Jason Shepherd pointed out when he sent me the scan, has Flash in virtually the exact same pose as Buck Rogers in the Vallejo piece I posted a couple weeks ago). I would like to track these books down, but I don't know any of the titles, nor the author(s).

Can anyone provide or direct me to that information? For that matter, anyone know if they're any good?

• I've just received a copy of the new Dark Star: Hyperdrive Edition DVD from VCI Home Entertainment, and while I'll be posting a detailed review over on my DVD Late Show website in the next few days, I can say here that this new two-disc release is a marked improvement over the company's previous edition in almost every way, with a notably better transfer and a slew of supplemental materials.

It's not perfect - the lack of participation by director John Carpenter is disappointing - but it's pretty damned good. If you're a fan of the film, the new DVD is highly recommended.

You can order it here: Dark Star - The Hyper-Drive Edition

• Although the show doesn't really fall under the chronological purview of this blog, U.S. Gerry Anderson fans who may not have already heard, may be interested to know that his 1994-95 series Space Precinct, starring Ted Shackleford, is due out on Region 1 DVD from Image Entertainment on November 23rd.

I only saw two episodes of this when it aired late at night in my South Florida market, and I also read a novelization of the pilot episode, but I thought it was pretty interesting. I can understand why U.S. broadcasters were confused by it, though. It kinda looked like a kid's show, but the stories (at least the ones I saw) were rather serious and adult.

Anyway, I hope to review it for my Late Show site before it comes out, but if you're an Anderson completist and would like to pre-order the 5-disc set, you can do so here: Space Precinct: The Complete Series


  1. Heya Christopher:

    If you are looking for the series that includes that particular cover you posted, you'll find them here:

    Look down in the Flash Gordon series on his page. There are six novels listed there. I have at least 2 of them that I recall:

    Book 1: Massacre in the 22nd Century (1980)
    Book 2: War of the Citadels (1980)

    I always keep my eyes open for the others, but I haven't run across them locally in the used book shops.

    Additionally, I have NOT read either of them yet. Doh! I just have way too many books in piles waiting for me. I'm not the speediest reader... but I'll get around to them.

    If I pick one up and actually read it anytime soon, I'll be sure to let you know what I thought of it.

    Good luck in your search, and as always, thanks for a GREAT blog. I totally DIG your *groovy* posts!

  2. The Flash Gordon piece was #4 in a 1980-81 series by David Hagberg from Ace/Tempo which bore little relation to any previous version of the character.
    (IMHO the 1970s Avon Books series is far superior)
    Covers of literally ALL Flash Gordon books (novels & comic compilations) are here...

  3. From Wikipedia's entry on Flash Gordon:

    "In 1980, Tempo books released a series: Massacre in the 22nd Century, War of the Citadels, Crisis on Citadel II, Forces from the Federation, Citadels under Attack and Citadels on Earth. Except for the names of the hero and his co-stars of Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov, this series had little to do with any other version of Flash Gordon."

    I only read one of these, Citadels on Earth. The whole series is set in the 22nd Century -- Flash is a security officer assigned to help Dr. Zarkov and his niece Dale on their investigation of a missing ship, which leads to an alien invasion of Earth. It was a decent sci-fi adventure, but had nothing to do with traditional Flash Gordon.

  4. There are six Flash Gordon books in the series you mention: MASSACRE IN THE 22ND CENTURY; WAR OF THE CITADELS; CRISIS ON CITADEL II; FORCES FROM THE FEDERATION; CITADELS UNDER ATTACK and CITADELS ON EARTH. There's no by-line on the first book, but I understand they were written by a David Hagberg, who writes mostly thrillers today. I read the first one a long time ago. As the title suggests, it has about as much to do with the original as the Syfy series did, but, hey, I've read worse.

  5. Thanks, guys! I knew I could count on you. I saw these books back in the day, but I was on a hardboiled crime fiction kick then, and didn't pick 'em up.

    I'm trying to slowly fill in my collection of the 70s Avon books (I have two) and as I've been intrigued by the Boris cover on the 80s books, thought I should try hunting those down as well. I just didn't know anything about them. ;)

    Thanks again!

  6. "...Except for the names of the hero and his co-stars of Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov, this series had little to do with any other version of Flash Gordon."

    On the contrary. The books seem to be based more on the b&w TV series from 1954, starring Steve Holland (of later pulp reprint cover art fame.)

    (wishing there was a complete set of this TV series, and still looking for books 4 and 5)

  7. Tex;

    I was thinking that as I read the descriptions above. It *does* sound a lot like the 50s TV series.

    I am definitely going to start hunting these down.

  8. I remember these; read the whole set, back in the day. No author was listed on the covers, and for the longest time--i.e. until reading this entry--I thought for some reason that they had been written by Ron Goulart.

    They are very (very!) widescreen space opera. Flash and company eventually come into possession of an ancient, ludicrously-gigantic space warship; no dinky little rocketships here!

  9. Well, I just ordered the first two books from Alibris. We'll see how I like 'em....