Every Friday I focus on a New Pulp work that I think merits your attention. Sometimes it will be something that’s brand new, other times I’ll look at something that’s a few years old. This week, I’m encouraging you to check out Cadavar Island by Kevin Rodgers.
Before we get too far into our discussion, let’s see how the publisher describes the book:
Pro Se Productions Proudly Presents CADAVER ISLAND, the debut novel from Author Kevin Rodgers! In the year 2212, long after the world has been reshaped by seismic cataclysms and polar shifts, Princess Angelique Bosc recovers from a terrible Hovercraft accident, which left her injured and near death. Her friend and physician, Dr. Laurent Stine, used his skills as a robotics engineer to replace her damaged organs with android components. Angelique realizes that her mechanical heart will require a fresh battery pack within 48 hours. However, a loathed and exiled warlock, Xavier Thames, steals all of the battery packs and transports them to his castle, Thames Keep, in order to build a time machine. Angelique, Dr. Stine, and their allies are forced to embark on a long, perilous journey to Thames Keep located on Cadaver Island. Can they reach Thames Keep and replace Angelique’s battery pack before she goes into cardiac arrest? Cadaver Island is the first installment of a trilogy by Author Kevin Rodgers, who introduces readers to a fractured, ruined world where forgotten, legendary creatures live and thrive in towering mountains, magical forests, and barren deserts. Angelique Bosc and her allies will traverse harsh, nightmarish landscapes to discover the secrets of the past, stabilize events in the present day, and unlock the mysteries of the future. Featuring stunning artwork by Adrianne Soares of Fitztown and mindblowing design and format by Sean Ali, Cadaver Island is a mind blowing futuristic horror thriller guaranteed to chill and amaze! From Pro Se Productions, a leader in Genre and New Pulp Fiction!
That’s quite a mouthful, eh? But I’m not sure you could have narrowed down this plot into anything shorter — there’s a lot going on here! The book clocks in at around 200 pages and there’s not a single one of them wasted — the author manages the difficult task of combining multiple horror and fantasy elements into a plot that seems wholly unique. The cover would indicate that this is simply another horror novel but the truth is much more. As the first book in a trilogy, not all the questions are answered but enough of them are that you can feel you’ve gotten a complete story.
The characters are briskly introduced and Rodgers has a gift that serves him well when writing New Pulp: he can give you characterization “on the run,” so to speak. There are no long-winded expository scenes over coffee here… there’s a timetable for our heroine and she’s not going to waste the 48 hours she has. I think that’s one of the real appeals of pulp fiction — you can still have depth, you can still have well-rounded characters and you can still deal with lofty concepts, but you’re going to be getting them while the story barrels along with constant momentum.
Let’s also touch on the cover for a moment… I’ve shown it to several people and it always evokes interest. It’s a good, spooky image — people seem to particularly like the rats! A different kind of cover than most New Pulp books have but it’s very professional and looks great.
I truly believe that Rodgers is one of the most exciting voices in New Pulp. Rather than falling upon the stereotypical masked hero conventions that so many of us do (I’m raising my own hand here), he’s decided to take elements of Lovecraft, Romero and others & blend them with ideas that are straight out of high fantasy. Ambitious? Yes. But carried off with aplomb.
If you like horror… if you like fantasy… if you like action-oriented pulp… you’ll love this book and be anxiously awaiting the sequels! Jump onto the Kevin Rodgers train before it leaves the station, people.