Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan

‘Vic Challenger #6: Event’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, December 13, 2017 in Edgar Rice Burroughs, New Pulp, Pulps, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Vic Challenger #6: Event’

'Vic Challenger #6: Event'I have previously posted about the Vic Challenger series, in particular numbers 1, 2, and 5. Set in the 1920s, the series stars young Victoria Custer who discovers she is the reincarnation of a cave girl, Nat-ul, born and died 100,000 years ago.

Using the name “Vic Challenger,” she works as a travel writer (and adventurer) while looking for her soul mate from 100,000 years ago whom she thinks is also reincarnated. But in her travels, she gets into various dangers, and her past life as a cave girl warrior helps her out.

The character actually comes from Edgar Rice BurroughsThe Eternal Lover (later renamed The Eternal Savage). As the Burroughs novel is in the public domain, I am sure calling the character “Vic Challenger” makes it easier to copyright this different take on the character.

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Meet the first Spider

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, December 11, 2017 in Johnston McCulley, Pulps, Villain Pulps
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Meet the first Spider
'Detective Story Magazine' (Oct. 22, 1918)

Detective Story Magazine (Oct. 22, 1918)

Mention the name The Spider and most pulp fans will recall the popular and long-running hero pulp published by Popular Publications. But while the most popular character in the pulps to use the name, he is not the first.

That honor goes to Johnston McCulley‘s early pulp villain who appeared over a year in Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine in 1918-19. He is McCulley’s second serial character, following Black Star, also a villain, and soon followed by the pickpocket Thubway Tham.

After that McCulley would go with heroes as serial characters, either “vengeance heroes” (going after a group of villains who have done wrong to the hero) or Robin Hood-like “bent heroes” (who steal from bad guys and give to others).

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Review: ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 7’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017 in Lazarus Gray, New Pulp, Pro Se Press, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Review: ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 7’

'The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 7'I finally got the most recent Lazarus Gray book, volume seven, from Barry Reese. Unlike past books, this one is a novel. And it’s a big event, as it brings together all the members of Assistance Unlimited to deal with a persistent foe.

Lazarus Gray is a New Pulp character from writer Reese (The Peregrine, Gravedigger, and other works). Gray is sort of inspired by the classic pulp hero The Avenger.

Gray has setup a group similar to The Avenger’s called Assistance Unlimited. He is located in a fictional town called Sovereign City (created by Pro Se Press publisher Tommy Hancock), and is part of the larger Sovereign City Project. He is also set in the same universe as Barry’s other characters, so has crossed over with them.

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Burroughs’ Moon trilogy

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, November 27, 2017 in Edgar Rice Burroughs, Pulps, Science Fiction Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Burroughs’ Moon trilogy
Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs is best known for Tarzan, and probably also his Mars novels with John Carter and others. But he set stories in a variety of locations including the hollow earth, Venus, and even the Moon.

The Moon series, usually referred to as the “Moon Trilogy,” consists of “The Moon Maid” (1923), “The Moon Men (1925), and “The Red Hawk” (1925). This trilogy first ran in Argosy All-Story, and may be available in one or two volumes (the last two stories are usually published as one volume). Bison Books has a single volume version of it, but I believe the most accurate collection is available from ERBville Press, which contains the original magazine appearances.

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John Taine’s ‘The Purple Sapphire’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, November 13, 2017 in Pulps, Science Fiction Pulps
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

John Taine’s ‘The Purple Sapphire’

'Famous Fantastic Mysteries" (August 1948)Scientists writing science fiction has been going on so since the genre started. But in the early years, some chose to use pseudonyms. One of the first was mathematician Eric Temple Bell (1883-1960) whose fiction appeared under the name John Taine.

His first novel was The Purple Sapphire, a lost-race novel from 1927. It was later reprinted in Famous Fantastic Mysteries in 1948. I got the recent paperback edition from Armchair Fiction, which has this as number six in their “Lost World-Lost Race Classics” series, and used the cover from FFM, as well as interior artwork by Virgil Finley.

An interesting tale, it’s about the search for an English general’s daughter who had been kidnapped 12 years prior in India. She was 8-years-old at the time, and the general’s servant Singh seems the likely candidate. He was a somewhat mysterious figure who seems very knowledgeable in certain subjects. Very strange for a native servant. But years of searching by the British Secret Service turn up nothing about Evelyn.

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The last of Gees

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, November 6, 2017 in English Pulp, Occult Detective, Review
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The last of Gees

'Her Ways Are Death'I have previously posted on a new (to me) occult detective I discovered: Gees, real name Gregory George Gordon Green. Created by British author and editor Charles Henry Cannell (1882-1947) who may be better known by one of his pseudonyms, E. Charles Vivian, these novels appeared under his Jack Mann pseudonym.

There are eight novels in the series, and I have read and reviewed the first five. Recently I got the last three: The Ninth Life, The Glass Too Many, and Her Ways Are Death. All originally appeared, so I am told, in 1939 and ’40. All eight are available from Ramble House in paperback, but you need to look on both Amazon and Lulu. For those wanting a pulp connection, The Ninth Life was serialized in The Argosy in 1939, then reprinted in A. Merritt’s Fantasy Magazine in 1950. Her Ways Are Death was reprinted (and cover featured) in an issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries in 1952.

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The return of Jack West Jr.

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, November 1, 2017 in Review, Techno-Thriller
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The return of Jack West Jr.

"The Six Sacred Stones"I have previously posted on the techno-thriller heroes of Australian author Matthew Reilly: Jack West Jr. and Shane Schofield (aka Scarecrow). I had hoped to see a new novel with one of them, and now we have a new Jack West Jr. novel.

Reilly’s works are marked by two elements: dialing up the action to level 11 at times, and having the hero and associates navigating an area that is similar to a “platform” computer game.

Jack is an former Australian soldier now teamed up with a diverse group trying to stop ancient threats to the world. Jack has a cybernetic hand, replacing one he lost saving the life of a young girl, Lily, who is vital to their missions. The hand was built by Jack’s mentor, Professor Maximilian Epper, “Wizard.”

Against them are various rogue elements of certain powerful nations. Their foes include his own father, a U.S. general, and several world leaders who expect to come out on top once the threats are over. His father is a real piece of work, as is his stepbrother who is allied with his father.

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