Saturday, June 16, 2012

What Have I Been Reading?

Ah, what? --Richard A. Lupoff's fascinating work, Master of Adventure: the Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Marblehead, a work of fiction in which Nazis try to recruit H. P. Lovecraft (do they succeed? Read it and find out!), followed by Tarzan of the Apes (Tarzan 3, Apes 0 but I haven't got to the final innings yet). Marblehead very gracefully weaves between pulp and fact; I would recommend it to any HPL fan.

Next, most of Dianne Day's "Fremont Jones" books, light detective fiction with a female protagonist set in turn-of-the-century San Francisco -- 19th turning to 20th, that is. I suspect her of occasional mild anachronism (very difficult to avoid, given the rate of change both technological and social) and would like it if the detecting were a bit harder-edged, but in a sub-sub genre so thoroughly dominated by Amelia Peabody* (a creation of Elizabeth Peters), Fremont manages to hold her own.

--And yet more detective fiction: a couple of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books. I enjoyed the television series and while the fellow in the TV set is not quite the same Harry Dresden met in the books (as is so often the case), the in-print original is better drawn; very much the hard-boiled type...who just happens to be a wizard. I'll keep an eye open for these, which are a nice fit with the work and worlds of F. Paul Wilson (Repairman Jack) and Larry Correia (Monster Hunter, Hard Magic). Good stuff.

Paul Malmont's sequel to The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril (which followed a group of well-known pulp writers in the process of Averting Disaster) is The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown, which picks up a bit after the previous book. The first one was fast-paced and fun and he has only gotten better. There is some overlap in characters but you'll know this batch from Campbell-era science fiction and most readers will recognize the time and place. Malmont quite deftly weaves in real events and locations -- and para-real ones -- to take the reader on, you'll forgive me, a Thrilling Adventure. He did his homework and it shows, but he never allows the story to falter over it. Highly recommended!

On the subject of hard-boiled detection and Astounding Thrilling Wonder Amazing Stories of Adventure, I chanced on mention of Ron Goulart's work documenting pulps, specifically Cheap Thrills!, a lavishly illustrated and lovingly written history of the pulps. I've enjoyed his often-zany fiction for years but had not realized his interest in and writings on the history of pulps and comics. Cheap Thrills! is good stuff.

...Plus a lot of items from the 99-cent bin at the Kindle store, which is putting many of the pulp-era writers back into print. There's quite a lot of Murray Leinster out there, much of it very enjoyable. (For example: Space Station and Space Tug, early 1950s YA novels, introduce large-scale MIM and heavy cargo launch via piloted, air-breathing jet engine first-stage boosters plus strap-on solid-fuel second stages -- and a ground-launched fully-assembled space station! Plot and characterization is a bit weak and pulpy, but it's good fun.)

As ever, if any of this appeals, try the Amazon link at Tam's -- helps her pay the rent and costs you not a cent more.
* Although it strains series canon significantly, I strongly recommend her H. Rider Haggard-esque The Last Camel Died At Noon, as over-the-top a Victorian adventure fantasy as you will ever read. Amelia herself is-- for me, reading those books is like spending time with Mom and her sisters; I barely knew my maternal grandmother but she must have had many traits in common with the fictional character.


Farmgirl said...

If you're enjoying the Dresden files books and listen to audiobooks at all I highly recommend the audio versions as well. All but the latest are read by James Marsters and he does an excellent job.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Leinster was nothing if not pulpy :)

John A said...

Mystery+Magic I've enjoyed Lord Darcy -

Roberta X said...

Fuzzy: Yes, but he had a head start -- and his best work (First Contact springs to mind) transcends pulp.

Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy is a wonderful character! I wish he had written more.

Zendo Deb said...

The later Dresden novels really need to be read in order. The first 5 or so, not so much.

And don't read all of "Side Jobs" before you finish "Changes." Spoilers....

They aren't all good, but none of them are horrible. They are all fun, easy reads. And a wizard named Harry who lives in Chicago, can't be all bad. (Though I wish Butcher got his geography a bit closer to reality.)

Ygolonac said...

Oooh, a sequel to The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril? Gimme!

Now, if only we could beat someone into getting George O. Smith's The Complete Venus Equilateral epub'd - I've been wanting to reread it for a while, but my copies are buried deep enough to require a major expedition. (sigh)

Roberta X said...

Zendo, there is something terribly...wrong...with Chicago. Vide:

Not just Harry Dreseden --
Special Unit Two
Kolchak: The Night Stalker
There's at least one other TV series and an X-Files episode or two.

There's a hole in reality in Chicago! I think it's caused by all the dead people voting.

Roberta X said...

Yg, that's a pretty easy book to find in print. I'll send you a copy next time I find one.