A Ki-Gor Review

James Elfers posted a review of The New Adventures of Ki-Gor on Amazon. He gave the book 3 out of 5 stars and titled his review “Just OK Pastiches”. Here’s his review in full:

Despite the author’s contention, he doesn’t really get or understand Ki-Gor. First off, these stories are way too short, without the depth of character and plot of the originals. Secondly and most importantly, he really doesn’t appreciate Helene and does not come close to emulating the sensuousness of the original tales. Helene is not just an exceptionally beautiful and capable woman, she is also a free spirit who got naked regularly in the original stories. Here, she swims with her leopard skin shorts on! Seriously? In the stories, Helene got naked or was rendered naked all the time. Among her adventures in the pulp stories were being stripped and her skin dyed brown by a miscreant to hide her from Ki-Gor and try to pass her off as a native. In another, she was imprisoned naked while an evil villainess donned her leopard skin bikini to impersonate Helene and lay a trap for Ki-Gor. You get the idea. The author comes nowhere near emulating the eroticism of the original adventures. The Ivory Goddess of the first tale should be a lot more sultry. Ki-Gor, despite being a one-woman man, certainly could appreciate female forms that weren’t Helene Vaughn’s. Often, the scheming women Ki-Gor encountered appealed to his ape-man desires, even though he never faltered and fell off the fidelity wagon. The villains in the second story are little more than cardboard cutouts. Yes, they are stereotypes, but a competent author can breathe life into even the hoariest of cliches. This guy either can’t or won’t put in the effort. Are these stories worth reading? Hard to answer. If you have read the best of the original Ki-Gor adventures, these will feel like shallow, by the numbers exercises. If you have not read Ki-Gor and want to get a sense of what the character was all about, these stories are an adequate and just adequate fix. If they make readers seek out the original stories, then this collection has real value. Otherwise, they are simply an amusing, if predictable, time filler.

Sorry you didn’t enjoy the stories to the fullest, James. I’m actually a big fan of Ki-Gor and have read many of the originals. As always with reviving older characters, it’s a measure of trying to emulate what worked in the old stories while blending in my own style. My attempts at doing so worked better for some readers than others. I appreciate the feedback.

A Lazarus Gray Review

Over on Amazon.com, a reader from Canada has posted a review of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Nine. Alphonse Dupuis gave the book 5 stars and said the following:

In the ninth instalment of the “new pulp” hero series “Lazarus Gray”, Barry Reese continues the storyline set up in the previous novel and concludes it with an action packed smash to the senses!

It’s Assistance Unlimited vs Murder Unlimited! The adventure may begin in Sovereign City but shifts to the mythological realm of Asgard, culminating in a final battle deep within the hollow earth with the existence of the entire world at stake!

In addition to the Black Terror & The Golden Amazon, Reese has introduced another public domain hero to the team (which I hope will return in future volumes). It would be great to see this  character’s unbreakable patriotism lending itself to the upcoming battles against fascist forces during WW2.

Reese always does his homework when introducing mythological tales and characters to his stories. The addition and handling of ancient Norse gods in this volume was well done and hints are left that we may see them return in future adventures.

Unlike Volume eight, this novel consists of one main story told throughout the book compared to a series of short stories with one central theme linking all of them together. Reese is able do both “story styles” successfully and consistently gives the reader an enjoyable pulp-style adventure.

As a fan of the Reese Unlimited imprint, I really like the mixing of original characters with public domain/pastiche characters. In saying that having Lazarus Gray joining forces with The Revenant & Ki-Gor in a Hollow Earth tale would be awesome. An uneasy Darkling/Leonid Kaslov alliance vs the evil Warlike Manchu would be a just what the doctor ordered!

Looking forward to future installments!

Thanks for the kind words, Alphonse! I’m glad you enjoyed book nine, which was one of my favorites to write. I agree that the Norse elements seemed to fit right in with the rest of the series. I like your idea for a Darkling/Kaslov team-up, as well. Definite shades of the Shadow and Doc Savage in that one! We’ll see if I can fit such a thing into my schedule.