Sunday, July 21, 2013



The seven tales in SLAMMIN’ PULP HERO STORIES cover a range of settings and
characters.  In all of them, I wanted to replicate the energy of old-style pulp adventure, stripped down to the basic formula of the modern action film: Keep things moving and keep it noisy.  Did I succeed?  I’ll leave the final judgment to the reader.

“Gunpoint,” in a slightly different form, first appeared in BEAT TO A PULP.  The
setting is a West Virginia coal camp in the early 1900s, where fact and fiction
converge.  Five characters are based on historical figures, and there really was a saloon war involving two sons of the feuding Hatfield family.  The two lead characters, gunslingers-for-hire Ringo & Horn, are fictitious.  In
“Bulletpoint,” the grandsons of Ringo & Horn operate in modern-day West
Virginia, in the area where I grew up along the Kanawha Valley.  I have to give credit to my friend Bill Davis, who pointed me in this direction years ago; any sins of execution are mine.

“Trail of the Curly Wolf” and “Skirmish at Cattail Creek” feature the Tomahawk
Men, the frontier traders who extended the westernmost borders of English
America in 1710.  I had in mind Louis L’Amour’s historical Western adventures of the early Sackett and Chantry families.  These two short tales, which perhaps more properly should be called vignettes, originally appeared in somewhat different form in OWLHOOT, the quarterly APA-zine of the Old West Literary Heritage Organization of Old Timers, ramrodded by Cap’n Bob Napier.  I have a novel about the Tomahawk Men in the wings.

“The City of Nightmare Fear,” featuring a masked vigilante, Commander Manta, and “Hero’s Helper,” with G-Man Gila, are patterned on 1930s hero pulp.  “The Night of Satan’s Murder Syndicate” unites the modern-day Ringo & Horn and the descendants of the Tomahawk Men, Manta, and Gila to foil a terrorist plot.  My model here was Jack Higgins with a touch of old-school pulp and the Transporter.

I hadn’t seriously considered self-publishing until my friend John Whalen
ventured into Amazon’s CreateSpace to publish his novella SAMURAI BLADE, one of a series of Weird Westerns featuring his monster-hunter character Mordecai
Slate.  When John did that, I started thinking: I’ve got these stories sitting in my computer, collecting dust or whatever you collect inside a Mac hard drive. 
Why not throw ‘em out on Kindle and see if anyone is interested.  The book
concludes with three short articles about Lester Dent, John D. MacDonald, and Dashiell Hammett, preserving material that I’d previously published in small-circulation journals in somewhat different form years ago.

By the time I started reading genre fiction as a kid in the early 1960s, the real pulp era had ended.  Nevertheless, the spinning racks of paperbacks in every drug store, newsstand, and bus station were filled with titles that either reprinted classic pulp fiction or updated the formula for a modern generation of
(mostly male) readers.  Today, to find this style of stripped-down, bullet-fast fiction, you mostly have to go to e-books and POD publishers.   I hope readers like SLAMMIN‘ PULP HERO STORIES. 


No comments: