Friday, June 24, 2011

Pulp Fever

It’s a recurring disease that hits me every summer. Suddenly, the thought of reading “legitimate” fiction is repulsive. I need grotesque and heinous villains, larger than life heroes, mayhem and hot lead.

I have no choice. I have to read pulp fiction.

Over the next couple of months I’ll read a few escapades of Doc Savage, several Spider thrillers, a couple of Phantom Detectives, A G-8 WWI adventure, maybe an Avenger or a Secret Agent X or Captain Future, supplemented with a couple of Candid Camera Kid tales and a Suicide Squad adventure.

When summer rolls around pulp becomes my crack.

I also have to write pulp fiction.

Yes, I love reading and writing horror, but the 12-year-old that still lives inside me occasionally must have his way. And he wants more pulp from my keyboard.

I hope to write a big chunk of Donovan Pike and The City of the Gods in the next few weeks.

I also have two other big pulp projects in the work, one set in the anything-can-happen blood and thunder 1930s and the other in World War 2.

I’m not sure yet where they’ll show up. Perhaps over at Pulp Nocturne, or maybe I’ll self-publish. Take it from me, nobody is getting rich from pulp fiction. At least not the writers. You write it because you have to.

By the way, new pulp fiction is becoming quite the cottage industry. There’s some good stuff being published by the next generation of pulp writers. At the same time, some of the stuff is simply awful. But that’s the way of most things.

(Quick aside: the fandom that has sprung up over the new pulp fiction is a little schizophrenic. On one hand it’s great to see a lot of enthusiasm over something I’ve loved since I was 9 years old. At the same time, the territorial fiefdom of fandom can be a little confusing. A few years ago I was invited to join a blog for pulp writers. This was about the time that a publisher (not associated with the members of the blog) was beginning a series of pulp facsimile reprints of Doc Savage and Shadow novels. I made a post about the topic on said blog, only to see the post deleted because I had violated the unstated rule of talking about a pulp project that wasn’t originated by a blog member. Later, I was asked to leave the blog because I wasn’t posting enough.

The other day I dropped in on the blog and discovered a post heralding the new series of original Doc Savage novels.

The unstated rules have apparently been rewritten.)

Anyway, the pulp fever rages and Tylenol can’t touch it. Time to dig through the boxes of moldering paper. There’s a dirigible and a tommy gun waiting for me.

Paperback of the Day

Classic Comic Cover of the Day

Pulp O' the Day

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Man of Bronze Is Back

Altus Press has just announced a series of new Doc Savage novels to begin in July.

For those who don’t know, Doc Savage was an adventure magazine published by Street and Smith in the golden age of pulps, the 30s and 40s.

In the 1960s, Bantam Books began reprinting the pulp novels, covered by striking paintings by James Bama. Eventually, Bantam reprinted the entire series, included an unpublished novel from the pulp era. Afterwards new Doc books appeared, first from science fiction legend and uber-Doc fan Philip Jose Farmer, then several books written by pulp historian Will Murray, based on unpublished work by primary Doc Savage writer Lester Dent.

Apparently, this new series by Murray, titled The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage (which makes me think Doc is teaming up with Austin Powers; Yeah, baby!), will also be based upon Dent’s unpublished notes, outlines and fragments.

As a Doc fan since my uncle gave me three of the paperbacks in the late 60s*, I am excited to have the chance to read new Doc novels and I hope the series is a massive success.

However, some of the Savage novels Murray wrote in the 1990s suffered from excessive length. Doc works best as a short, lightning fast adventure tale. Frankly, a couple of the 90s novels were a trudge through the mud. Whether the word count was imposed by the publisher or was the author’s choice, I hope the new series gets back to the sleek, rocket ride that made up the best of Dent’s pulp yarns.

I’ll definitely be there when the first one rolls off the press next month.

*For those completest out there, my first three Doc novels were Dust of Death, The Flaming Falcons and The Other World.

It's Been A While

Two weeks ago today my wife Norma Kay had heart surgery. Discussing her health online makes her just a tad uncomfortable, so let me just say that she is improving and, in my opinion, her recovery is ahead of schedule. As I’ve said elsewhere, my wife is the kindest, gentlest and most unselfish person I’ve ever known, and the world is a better place with her in it.

We both appreciate the unbelievable outpouring of support, prayers, well-wishes, visits and calls. We have amazing friends and family, and we are humbled by your response.

Hopefully, you’ll understand if I’m late in responding to emails or other correspondence. I’m working to catch up now.

I’m also endeavoring to make up for lost time on writing assignments. I just sent off my latest installment of the next Dead Earth novel to Dave Wilbanks. I have the final Dead Sheriff edits to do this week and a short story to write.

The past three weeks have been dizzying and, at times, terrifying, but I think both of us will end up being stronger (and healthier) because of it.

Thanks for your continued support.

Pulp O' the Day