Month: March 2012

Richard Knight Review

Nick Ahlhelm reviewed The New Adventures of Richard Knight for his Undercover Reviews column at New Pulp. Here’s what he said:

UNDERCOVER REVIEWS – Pulp Obscura: Richard Knight
Review By Nick Ahlhelm
(Full disclosure: I am a writer for other titles in Pro Se Press’ Pulp Obscura line.)
Outside of a few cover illustrations floating around the web, I was completely unfamiliar with Richard Knight when I started to read The New Adventures of Richard Knight.

The book opens with “Hell’s Hand” by Josh Reynolds. The story is a straight forward adventure tale set almost completely in the air. It’s a fun wild ride and a great way to start off any anthology.

Barry Reese’s “Richard Knight and the Stones of Heaven” feels the most like an old school pulp of the stories. It’s a big adventure that pits Knight against the creator of a death ray. “The Stones of Heaven” is a solid tale but it lacks punch as a follow-up to “Hell’s Hand”.

“The Bapet” by Terry Alexander is a strange little tale that throws Knight and company in to a fight with the namesake monster. The Bapet is basically an Indian variation of a vampire, albeit much more physically powerful. It is a bit of a strange story and seems a bit out of place in a book focused around a man that is basically an aviation hero.

I.A. Watson gives us “The Hostage Academy”, the strongest story in the book in this reviewer’s opinion. Knight’s love interest is apparently killed, but as the story unfolds we quickly learn far more is happening than a simple murder. Instead a dangerous madman is controlling powerful people through a cunning kidnapping plot and only Richard Knight can stop it. A great premise and solid storytelling make this a real standout in the pack.

“Fear From Above” by Frank Schildiner shows an obvious fandom of the classic comic character Airboy. Schildiner introduces a new villain called the Grandmaster, a character somewhat reminiscent of Airboy’s supernatural foe, Misery. The Grandmaster is an ancient, perhaps unkillable, monster that rampages across the airways. He proves to be a near impossible threat, but ultimately the heroic Richard Knight comes through in the end.

Adam Lance Garcia closes out the book with “Crimes of the Ancients”, sadly the weakest piece in the volume from one of its strongest authors. The story is a rather forgettable character piece that throws Knight in with a pair of uninteresting new allies/enemies. In the end it reads like a story that is trying to be a little too clever for what it is and falls flat on its face in the process.

Three great stories, two good ones and only one below average is a mark of a great anthology. The New Adventures of Richard Knight is well worth a buy by any pulp fan. Highly Recommended.

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Friday. Yes.

The new episode of Ubergeeks should be up sometime this morning — assuming the really slow wireless connection I’m on today will allow me to upload it. When it is available, you can access it by clicking on the link at the top of the blog.

Nothing much to report at present. Still writing (slowly) on the Lazarus Gray story and still waiting on the Origins artwork from Anthony Castrillo.

I’ll return with hopefully more interesting things to discuss tomorrow.

The art for today is an image of Will McKenzie from the upcoming re-release of The Rook Volume One. It’s taken from “Kingdom of Blood,” which was the second Rook story ever written! Art by George Sellas.

The Origins Project

I’m still waiting on the finished pieces for the Lazarus Gray ‘Origins’ project but for those of you who don’t remember, this is a 5-page comic-style introduction to Lazarus Gray and his companions. It was inspired by the origin strips that ran in the back of DC’s 52 limited series and it’s my hope that I’ll be use them for marketing purposes. They’ll also appear in the Lazarus Gray books, so you can read the 5 page strip and jump right into the story. Anthony Castrillo is the artist on them and he’s well-known to New Pulp fans for his many covers and interior works — in fact, he won the 2011 Pulp Ark Award for Best Interior Art for The Rook Volume Five.

Attached is the rough layout Anthony did for page one of the strip — featuring Lazarus Gray’s origin.

If I’m happy with the final results and the response is strong, I might look into doing something similar for The Rook. What do you think?

Fu Manchu and other stuff

So I’m reading The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu and so far it’s very enjoyable, though some of the language used to describe Asians makes me wince. If you’re a fan of old pulp literature, you often have to deal with ideas and prose that smacks of racism but given the nature of this one, there’s a lot of it. I try to just keep in mind the era when it was written and move on but there have been times when I’ve laughed and then immediately felt guilty for having read it.

It wouldn’t take much to update these for the modern day, removing some of the more overt racism (though I would never push for “edited” versions to be released — they should be kept in their original form). I definitely find the story entertaining enough for me to push on, though, and I hope to read the full set eventually. As a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, I find the writing style in this to be a nice Conan Doyle pastiche at times, only mixed in with some high adventure elements.

William Patrick Maynard has written an authorized new adventure (The Terror of Fu Manchu) — if I manage to finish reading the old stories, I might check it out. I’m curious to see how he handles such issues as the racial overtones of the series.

Still working on the Lazarus Gray novel. It’s going well, though slowly.

Please don’t forget to check out The New Adventures of Thunder Jim Wade. Early reviews are very positive and I have a kid to feed — so buy a couple of copies! Hahaha.

Anthony Castrillo says he’s scanning the Lazarus Gray “Origins” pages now so you might get a peek at them soon!

Thunder Jim Wade Review and Other Tuesday Morning Musings

Head on over to Proyecto Pulp, to see a lengthy Spanish-language look at my New Pulp work. My high school foreign language classes helped me understand most of it but I had to turn to babel fish online to help with the rest. It’s very complimentary and ends with a plea for some Hispanic publisher to get the foreign language rights to my books. Quite flattering!

Work continues on the Lazarus Gray novel — the working title is still The Devil’s Heart, but I think that will change at some point. It’s weird working so much on something that none of you will see for at least a year. Makes it hard to talk about the work since there are things in it that build off the second book, which you won’t even see until July 2012! Ugh.

Currently reading The Mystery of Fu Manchu and really loving it. The writing style is very Holmesian and I dig that kind of stuff. Highly recommended.

I had hoped to have some of the finished pages for the Lazarus Gray “origins” project but I’m still waiting. The deadline for that stuff was the end of February but some things have happened to slow that project. I had hoped to include those pages in Die Glocke but you might have to wait awhile longer. Sorry.

The busy “Doc Panic” has posted another review over on Amazon.com. This time around, he looks at The New Adventures of Thunder Jim Wade:

“This book is yet another great pulp book put out from the folks at Pro Se. Tommy Hancock has assembled yet another leading cast of writers and artist to put forth a really great book with action packed stories. Thunder Jim Wade was always tabbed as a Doc Savage Clone…I have no idea why. They are both great adventurers, but that is where the buck stops. Thunder Jim is a character unto himself and Pro Se provides six well written stories packed full of action and adventure. Andrew Salmon and Barry Reese top my favorites list, but there is no bad story to be found. I have not read something for Mr. Reese that I haven’t liked, which is a testament to the great mind the man has for pulse pounding pulp writing. The artwork is stunning also, the cover alone should stop you in your tracks. I could go on forever, but that would take time away from you reading this gem.”

Thanks so much for the kind words, Doc! I had a lot of fun writing that story — it was a bit of a revelation, since I had been unfamiliar with Thunder Jim Wade before signing on to the project. Reading the old stories really inspired me and I think “The Hellmouth” is one of my best pulp works. Thanks again!

 

 

New Pulp Best Seller List (Based on Amazon Sales Ranks 3/26/12)

It’s that time again! Before I unveil the Top Ten, let’s go over a few of the ground rules, shall we? Those of you who have been keeping up with the list for awhile will notice a few changes in how I’m doing the list!

1) This list only tracks sales through AMAZON. It does not keep track of sales through Barnes and Noble, face-to-face or anything else!
2) This list only tracks PRINT sales. We do not currently track e-books. Exactly how Amazon calculates those things is mostly a trade secret and they vary wildly from day to day. If I checked this tomorrow, the list could be very different. This list reflects sales ranks as of Monday morning March 26, 2012.
3) In order to keep the focus on new releases, eligible works must have been published within three months of the current date. So, since this list is being done in March 2012, I’m only looking at books published since December 2011. Please keep that in mind before complaining that Title X is not listed.
4) I am no longer tracking pre-release orders. Some publishers never actually release their books and when they do, it’s months after they were supposed to be released. Everything listed in the Top Ten is currently for sale.
5) I am human. I make mistakes. If you are aware of a title that should be listed below (keeping in mind all the rules above), please let me know and I will make sure to remedy the situation.
6) I get most of my information from All Pulp, New Pulp, the Pulp Factory mailing list and a few other sites. If you think I might miss your release, let me know in advance — drop me a line and tell me when it’s being released.

Without further ado, here’s the completely and totally unofficial New Pulp bestseller list as of right now (title, then publisher, then release date, then sales rank):

1) Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook by Various (Moonstone Books, March 2012) – 42,418
2)
Under the Moons of Mars by Various (Simon & Schuster, February 2012) – 52,730
3)
Sherlock Holmes: The Baron’s Revenge by Gary Lovisi (Airship 27, February 2012) – 68,347
4)
Doc Savage: Horror in Gold by Will Murray (Altus Press, December 2011) – 124,566
5) New Adventures of Thunder Jim Wade (Pro Se Press, March 2012) – 287,285
6) The Moon Man Volume One by Various (Airship 27, March 2012) – 591,926
7) Heroes of Mars by Various (Pulp Empire, February 2012) – 1,001,437
8 ) Pro Se Presents # 8 by Various (Pro Se Press, March 2012) – 1,178,142
9) Ruby Files Volume One by Various (Airship 27, March 2012) – 1,281,470
10) The Adventures of Dodge Dalton on the High Road to Oblivion by Sean Ellis (Seven Realms, January 2011) – 1,325,354

Just missing the list were: Tales of the Vagabond Bards by Nancy Hansen (Pro Se Press, January 2012) – 1,666,523, Pro Se Presents # 7 by Various (Pro Se Press, February 2012) – 1,779,474 and Split Decision: Fight Card by Eric Beetner (Fight Card Productions, December 2011) – 1,828,757.

Quite an interesting week for the list! The popularity of Holmes is very clear, as Moonstone snags the # 1 spot while Airship reaches a very strong # 3. The John Carter movie’s troubles don’t seem to be affecting Under the Moons of Mars, which continues to sell very well, even though it slips from the top spot this week — and check out # 7, where another Mars-related book is doing well. The Doc Savage novel, Horror in Gold, drops to # 4, the first time it’s been out of the top three in its run. Pro Se debuts the newest Pulp Obscura book at # 5 while the Ruby Files cracks the top ten at # 9.

Airship 27 leads the way with three books in the Top Ten (#s 3, 6 and 9), followed by Pro Se Press with two (#s 5 and 8).

Take it all with a grain of salt, folks.

Die Glocke

The sequel to The Adventures of Lazarus Gray is being pushed back from May 2012 to July 2012. Please excuse the delay – and to whet your appetite, let me inform you that the novel features a gorilla who smokes cigars.

See?

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