‘Tales of the Shadowmen #13: Sang Froid’
Posted by Michael at 10:00 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017 in Doctor Omega, Foreign Pulps, French pulp, Harry Dickson, Pastiche, Review, Roulatabille, Sar Dubnotal, The Black Coats, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
There’s another volume of Tales of the Shadowmen out. The Black Coat Press series is now up to 13 volumes. This one is subtitled “Sang Froid,” which means “cold blood.” For me, I think of a murder mystery where someone is “murdered in cold blood,” but here it’s about the ability to stay calm in difficult or even dangerous situations — which many of these character have in spads.
As noted, this annual series makes use of Philip José Farmer‘s “Wold Newton” concept, mixing in a variety of literary characters, with a focus on the various pulp and pulpish characters of France and Europe, such as Arsene Lupin, Fantômas, The Nyctalope, Rouletabille, and many others, as well as those from other countries.
This year’s volume gives us:
• Jason Scott Aiken: The story “Galazi in the Enchanted City” mixes in Galazi (from H. Rider Haggard) with Queen Toulommia and her “enchanted city” (from a novel of the same name by Eugene Hennebert, a contemporary of Haggard and recently published by Black Coat Press). We also see vignettes of a variety of characters related to Haggard’s.
• Matthew Baugh: “A Dollar’s Worth of Fists,” a villain from Wild Wild West, with the backing of Monsieur Ming and The Black Coats, has built an airship to take over the western U.S. But he isn’t content with a group of western heroes (including a few from the east) stopping him.
• Adam Mudman Bezecny: Harry Dickson, the American Sherlock Holmes returns to the United States where he meets Doctor Ox (from a short Jules Verne story) in “Harry’s Homecoming” and gets pulled into a strange affair by him.
• Nicholas Boving: In “The Aquila Curse” we have an interesting story that mixes in the characters from the movie Ladyhawk with the characters and storyline of Ivanhoe.
• Nathan Cabaniss: “From Paris with Hate” has Fantômas (at least the ’60s spyfi movie version of him) terrorizing Paris. OSS 117 (a ’50s spyfi character, maybe more known from the two recent movies) dealing with him by recruiting Diabolik and Kriminal.
• Matthew Dennion: A short interlude, “A Purpose in Life,” shows the influence of The Black Coats on Michael Myers (from Halloween).
• Brian Gallagher: Returns with his fourth story using the Russian Captain Vampire (from the novel of the same name, translated by Black Coat Press), and also tied to The Vampire City (also from BCP). Set in the 1950s, he now works for the KGB under the direction of Von Bork (the German spy defeated by Holmes). Here he deals with “The Berlin Vampire” in occupied Berlin.
• Martin Gately: Gale is also back with another Rouletabille tale, this one placing him on the “horror express” from the movie of the same name in “Rouletabille Rides the Horror Express.”
• Micah Harris: “The Goat of Saint Elster” makes use of characters and ideas from Jean Rey‘s (the main writer of Harry Dickson) occult work, Malpertius, mixing in ideas from others like H.P. Lovecraft.
• Travis Hiltz: In “The Island of Exodus” the aerochalet from the novel Chalet in the Sky (published by BCP) have an encounter with the lizard people at the North Pole (from the novel The People of the Pole, also published by BCP).
• Paul Hugli: A short story, “As Easy as 1, 2, 3…,” includes John Carter and Dejah Thoris along with Nikola Tesla and The Nyctalope.
• Rick Lai: “Eve of Destruction” shows the interconnections between The Black Coats, Fantômas, the Fantômas of Berlin (a separate character in a novel by the creators of Fantômas), and Dr. Mabuse (the evil German hypnotist from the novel and movies). And also ties in the foes that Judex faced in his second book and serial.
• Nigel Malcolm: Malcolm gives us a team up of M. Lecoq (an early French detective who pre-dates Holmes) and Dr. Watson during the time when Holmes was thought dead. In “Maximum Speed,” they solve a murder that bring in several unusual characters.
• Christofer Nigro: In “Bad Alchemy,” Nigro makes use of the Frankenstein Monster — or monsters. And actually isn’t basing them on Mary Shelley‘s novel, but early play and film versions of that story that changes the monster into an alchemical homunculus.
• John Peel: Bob Morane (a ’50s and ’60s French adventurer that I wish BCP could bring into English) looks into a locked room mystery in “Time to Kill.” Thankfully Doctor Omega (an original French sf character who is similar to the First Doctor) shows up to help him out.
• Frank Schildiner: Schildiner has another short story of Gouroull (a French take on the Frankenstein Monster), “The Taking of Frankenstein.” Here the Monster encounters the Mysterious Wu Fang, but it doesn’t go well. Be sure to also check out Schildiner’s two novels of Gouroull from Black Coat Press as well!
• Sam Shook: “Bringer of the Outer Dark” is the second of a two-parter with a group of occult detectives and adventurers (Sar Dubnotal, Chandu, El Borak, and Hareton Ironcastle) working to stop Dracula from getting to the Lost City of Z.
• Michel Stéphan: “One Summer Night at Holy Cross” has Bob Morane in L.A. and joing Harry Callahan at a party, where he’s pulled into a weird event.
• David L. Vineyard: “The Moon of the White Wolf” is an Arsène Lupin story. Here, set later in his career when he operated under his Don Luis Perenna identity, he, along with John Silence and Bulldog Drummond, deals with the Wolfman (from the Universal movie). Or is there a wolfman?
• Jared Welch: “Styrian Rhapsody” is a sequel to Welch’s story of the “Piano Maidens” from the previous volume, with Eugenie Danglars (a daughter of one of the Count of Monte Cristo‘s enemies) and her lesbian lover confronting a vampire.
As always, it’s a great collection. Next up will be volume 14: “Coup de grace”!