Welcome to a new Friday feature! Every Friday, I’m going to be focusing on a New Pulp book that I think all of you should give a look at. Sometimes, they’ll be brand-new releases, sometimes they’ll be a little older — but all will fall into the nebulous category of “New Pulp,” meaning you won’t see me recommending any Shadow novels here — not unless somebody starts writing new ones! These recommendations won’t be in the form of a straight review. I’ll be doing overviews of the books, explaining why I think it’s worth your time to look into it, which is slightly different.
This week we’re focusing on The Hounds of Hell by Ron Fortier and Gordon Linzner. Originally published by Wild Cat Books in 2005, this title was later reprinted by Airship 27 in 2008. Here’s how the publisher describes the title:
When Pulp Worlds Collide! The Moon Man and Doctor Satan, hero and villain of their own pulp magazines, meet here for the first time ever in the cross-over that will leave you spellbound and begging for more. Illustrated by Rob Davis and Bradley Walton, with an eye-popping wrap-around cover by Tom Floyd. This edition also includes 2 short stories by Ron Fortier: “Lady Arcane – Mistress of Magic” and “Angel In His Sights” as bonus pieces in this pulp fiction masterpiece.
Pulp fiction masterpiece? That’s strong words — but in this case, they’re well deserved. The Hounds of Hell was the first “New Pulp” book I read. I’d grown up on the classics, of course, and I was reading lots of stuff that could be described as pulpy back in 2006… but when I stumbled upon The Hounds of Hell, I was blown away. This was straight-on pulp that called itself that. It featured two classic pulp characters (The Moon Man & Doctor Satan) in a crossover clash. It was pure cool. I had already been working on my first pulp novel (Conquerors of Shadow, reprinted by Pro Se in The Family Grace) but this was the book that cemented in my mind that I could do more of this… I could do the kind of pulp that I really loved, the masked vigilante stuff. Without this book, I wouldn’t have kept writing my own pulp stories — so you wouldn’t have seen The Rook or Lazarus Gray. Now, that may not be a good thing if you don’t like my work but it’s true nonetheless! The impact on my own work can be seen in the way I’ve used The Moon Man (in The Rook Volume One), Ascott Keane (in The Rook and Rabbit Heart) and Doctor Satan (in The Rook and, soon, Lazarus Gray).
Anyway, what Ron and Gordon do here is take two different characters and throw them together in a really fun way, emphasizing each supporting cast to the fullest. The villains are dastardly and the heroes are inspirational. It’s all that good pulp should be! The interior art Rob Davis is perfectly suited to the story and was a great reminder of the days when pulps contained interior art. Again, this is one reason why I usually insist on having art in my books!
Obviously, considering how much this work has inspired me, I’d heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a good time. Is it High Art? Well, no. It’s a fun romp, full of escapist pleasure. Embrace it.