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

‘The Red Road to Shamballah’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, September 18, 2017 in Adventure Pulps, Reprints, Review, Thrilling
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘The Red Road to Shamballah’

'The Red Road to Shamballah'An interesting serialized novel I obtained is The Red Road to Shamballah by Perley Poore Sheehan (1875-1943) and published by Black Dog Books.

Serialized in Thrilling Adventures over 1932-33, this reads as what I would imagine a Talbot Mundy-style novel would be (never having read Mundy).

American Pelham Rutledge Shattuck has lived in Asia most of his life. He knows many languages and is able to move more or less freely. But politics of the times causes problems. The Russians are expanded their influence, as are the British. He sometimes finds himself unwelcome in some areas as different sides think he’s on the other.

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Talbot Mundy: Master of Adventure

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, September 11, 2017 in Adventure Pulps, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Talbot Mundy: Master of Adventure
Talbot Mundy

Talbot Mundy

A name that I would hear when I got into pulp fiction was that of Talbot Mundy. What little I recall was that he was an author of great adventure tales set in Asia, some with a mystic element.

While I have yet to read his works, I have been gathering information on him as I work to gather some of his works. His most well-known works are King of the Kyber Rifles, and his Tros of Samothrace and JimGrim series.

Talbot Mundy was what might be called a “rogue.” Born in England as William Lancaster Gribbon in 1879, he attended college but didn’t graduate. He went overseas, living and working in British India and East Africa. He did a variety of work, some a little on the shady side. He also at times took on other names, and apparently used them fraudulently. And he had several wives (though not at the same time). Talbot Mundy, the name he would legal change to, was based on one of these aliases, one he took to claim a connection to a noble family.

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Dare Devlin, a new Doc Savage pastiche

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2017 in Doc Savage, Fu Manchu, New Pulp, Pastiche, Review
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Dare Devlin, a new Doc Savage pastiche

'Dare Devlin: Supreme Adventurer'A new (kind of) Doc Savage pastiche is Dare Devlin: Supreme Adventurer by Dafydd Neal Dyar. His first appearance is in a new book from PULPlications, both hardback and paperback, along with a limited edition hardback with an extra story.

I say he is “kind of” new, as he’s based on Dyar’s prior pastiche work. Many years back he wrote a Doc pastiche who he named “Doc Wildman” (1978), using the “real” name of Doc as per Philip José Farmer. When he later did stories of this character, both in print and online, he decided to rename him “Doc Hazzard” (1988), based on the name of the obscure Doc pastiche Captain Hazzard. Now he has revamped his pastiche (and I believe reusing some of the original stories) as Dare Devlin. Not having read these earlier stories, I am not sure how the characters compare to each other.

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‘The Best of Farmerphile’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017 in Doc Savage, Non-fiction, Pastiche, Philip Jose Farmer, Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 1 minute

‘The Best of Farmerphile’

The Best of FarmerphileMeteor House‘s The Best of Farmerphile, as its title indicates, collects the best of the fiction and non-fiction that ran in the 15 issues of Farmerphile, published from 2005-09.

Focused on Philip José Farmer, it had non-fiction and previously unpublished fiction by Farmer, along with a variety of non-fiction works about Farmer and works by others.

And why should we care?

Because Farmer, as a pulp fan himself, wrote works (sometimes as pastiches) about or using pulp characters such as Tarzan, Doc Savage, Sherlock Holmes, and others. I’ve previously posted on Farmer’s work in this area, including the Wold Newton Family/Universe.

And several of the non-fiction works included here touch on several of those.

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‘The Man Behind Doc Savage’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, August 21, 2017 in Doc Savage, Lester Dent, Non-fiction, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘The Man Behind Doc Savage’

'The Man Behind Doc Savage: A Tribute to Lester Dent'In 1974, Robert Weinberg edited and published a short booklet (130 pages) titled The Man Behind Doc Savage: A Tribute to Lester Dent. For a while I just thought it was a bio of Lester Dent, but I recently obtained a copy of it and found it’s much more than just a bio, containing several short articles on Dent and his works, as well as two reprints.

First off is a short biography of Dent by Weinberg.  For those familiar with Dent’s life, nothing new here.  For unfamiliar, this may give you some insight.

Robert Sampson provides three articles. First off we learn more about Oscar Sail, Dent’s character from a pair of stories that ran in Black Mask. I really wish someone would reprint these two stories in some form. Then we get a look at the trio of works that ran in Argosy: “Hades,” “Hocus Pocus,” and Genius Jones. I’ve reviewed all three previously. While I have the reprint of “Hades” and “Hocus Pocus,” I wish these would be reprinted again for others to read. Finally we get a look at the later works of Dent, from the digest Docs to his last non-Doc novels. Again, I wonder why no one has reprinted these non-Doc novels?

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The underwater archaealogy thrillers of David Gibbins

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, August 16, 2017 in Review, Techno-Thriller
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The underwater archaealogy thrillers of David Gibbins

'Atlantis'A recent techno-thriller author I’ve discovered is David Gibbins. What sets him apart is that Gibbins is an actual underwater archaeologist! So he is using his professional background to base his works of fiction.

All his works feature fictional maritime archaeologist Jack Howard and his team. They are all contemporary thrillers and involve a plausible archaeological/historical backdrop. In fact, in the back of all the books is a section where Gibbins gives the factual background for the ideas.

The main character, Jack Howard, is head of the fictitious International Maritime University, an educational and research organization with the resources to have facilities around Europe and research vessels. His right-hand man is Costas Kazantzakis, a marine engineer (you almost have the Dirk Pitt/Al Giordino dynamic here, plus IMU kind of stands in for NUMA).

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‘Pulp Adventures’ #25

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, August 9, 2017 in Adventure Pulps, Comics, Fanzines, New Pulp, Pulps, Reprints, Review, Weird Fiction, Western Pulps
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Pulp Adventures’ #25

'Pulp Adventures' #25The 10th issue of the new Pulp Adventures — #25, Spring 2017 — is out.

This issue has a set of new and reprinted pulp fiction, all under a Norman Saunders cover (again). No non-fiction other than the information on the authors or pulps these appeared in, which I think added to things. I’d just like to see an occasional full article on some topic.

For pulp reprints, first up is one of Robert E. Howard‘s Sailor Steve Costigan stories, “Waterfront Fists” which appeared in Fight Stories. I was surprised to learn that this pulp, the first focused on a specific sport, ran for over two decades.

Next, we get some different Western stories. First is “Chicago Man” by E.K. Jarvis, which ran in Mammoth Western in 1946. From Will H. Thompson, we get “Tigre and Isola” that appeared in Adventure way back in 1911. And then a very short short story by Larry Latham: “Desert Rescue.” This one appeared in Thrilling Comics, due to postage regulations. Comics had to have two pages of text, so many ran short stories or later letter pages. I recall seeing this in many of the comics I got in the ’60s. Since many early comic-book publishers where connected to pulp publishers, they could get this done.

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