Quest of the Spider by Kenneth Robenson
Setting the Wayback Machine to May 1933 for this chunk of crunchy pulp goodness. The third published Doc Savage adventure, and an important change in the series. After killing bad guys left and right in the first two books, Doc returns from his Fortress of Solitude (just where did you think Superman got the idea from?), and vowed not to take human life (directly) again. This is where he and his team start using the “mercy” bullets that just render people unconscious, the introduction of his “Crime College” in upstate New York for turning criminals into honest citizens. There is plenty of action, pulp style, and plenty of bad guys dying in horrible fashions. It’s just not Doc and his five companions dealing death directly anymore.
Code of Conduct by Brad Thor
Scott Harvath is back and the bad guys are even badder. Uber-rich eugenicists are out to trim the planetary population, especially those people they don’t think are genetically suited for continued life on the planet. Norseman takes names,and kills bad guys. It’s good solid adventure pulp, which is a good thing.
The Emperor in the Cities of Danger [The Amazing Adventures of the Emperor #4] by Charles Jackson Lee II
This book is actually collection of stories. All of which take place in different major cities. Seattle and San Francisco for example. The tales of the Emperor are delightful pulp stories with a light hearted touch. The hero, one Charles Jackson Lee, is an actual superhero, with super powers. He goes by “The Emperor”, but his “Empire” consists mostly of himself, which is enough. 🙂 He doesn’t go for costumes or secret identities. He prefers a suit and tie, and makes movies when he isn’t fighting crime. I find these stories fun to read, and I enjoy the other pulp genre references. This includes the time he ran into Spencer and Hawk while at a party in Boston. If they made movies of these stories, Job Bob would say check ’em out.
Doc Savage: The Sinister Shadow by Kenneth Robeson and Lester Dent
As my gentle readers may know, I’m a big pulp fan, especially of the Doc Savage novels. Most written by Lester Dent, under the house name of Kenneth Robeson. Will Murray proves himself as the modern master of the classic pulp with this mash up with Doc Savage and The Shadow. While I’m a huge Doc fan, I’ve read enough Shadow novels to do more than just hum the tune. Murray skillfully blends the styles of Walter Gibson and Lester Dent in this book. Stir in an over the top villain, who is completely and utterly ruthless, as an evil villain of the era should be, you have a story that Smith & Street would have proudly published.
The Evil in Pemberley House by Philip Jose Farmer and Win Scott Eckert
Win Scott Eckert finishes an unpublished Farmer novel set deep in Farmer’s Wold Newton settings. Half the fun of this book is spotting all the references. Some are obvious, others require a Farmerphile, such as myself, to spot. Overall, a nice bit of pulp set in the early 70s. Patricia Clarke Wildman, the daughter of the Pulp Hero known as “Doc Savage”, is in a rough emotional spot, after the death of her parents, and her recent husband. Then she discovers that she is inheriting an English estate, made famous in the Jane Austin novel, “Pride and Prejudice.” Of course there is a ghost involved, and some shady characters among the living up to no good. With only minor spoilers, let me say that good mystery and spot of adventure is just what Patricia needed to get her out of her funk. She is her father’s daughter after all. Mild warning about the sex scenes. Very risque by 1970’s standards, but not so much today. Milder than what you would find in John Ringo’s Ghost series. A good read for the Farmer fan, but perhaps a bit too much ‘inside baseball’ references for someone not familiar with Farmer’s body of work.
I read my first Doc Savage novel, The Land of Terror, somewhere between mid 1970 and mid 1972. I was living in Curundu at the time, and I remember buying it in Panama City. Since then I’ve read most of the original 181 novels, PJF’s Escape From Loki, and a number of the newer ones written by Will Murry. I have two well read copies of Farmer’s Doc Savage: His Apocalypic Life. I have comics from both the Marvel and DC series. I also own the George Pal “Man of Bronze” movie in glorious VHS.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to a well done Doc Savage movie. Shane Black, of Iron Man 3 fame, has obtained a green light for a Doc Savage movie. So, high hopes for a really cool movie here. Have to say, I’m more interested in who he is going to cast as Doc’s cousin Patrica than Doc at this point.
Update: According to IMDB, Chris Hemsworth is rumored to play Clark Savage, Jr. This would be fornicating awesome.
Update: IMDB now lists Dwayne Johnson as playing Doc Savage. Which is also fornicating awesome.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised about the amount of Dieselpunk on Pinterest.
It looks like the old FASA RPG Crimson Skies counts as Dieselpunk these days.
Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
The first in a new Steampunk action/adventure/romance series. Not a bad first outing for the writing team of Ballantine and Morris. Good solid formula adventure, the kind Lester Dent made a very nice living writing during the Golden Age of Pulp. That is a favorable comparison by the way. This novel, which takes place in the 1890’s, complete with airships, Analytic Engines, steam powered bar bots serving beer and a mystery filled “Ministry” protecting the British Empire. This series follows two agents of that Ministry, a studious “Archivist” aptly named “Books” and the uber-field agent, Ms. “Braun”, who wears a bullet proof corset (Ministry issue of course), is a crack shot with her two customer revolvers and has a fondness for explosives.
Stop groaning! The plot flows well and has enough twists and fight scenes to keep you engaged. In all a good, fun read. I’ll be looking forward to the next installment in this Steampunk series.
The Man of Bronze and The Land of Terror by Lester Dent.
The first two Doc Savage novels.
The first Doc Savage novel I read was The Land of Terror back in either 1971 or 1972. It was a Bantam reprint that I picked up at store in Panama City just outside the Balboa Gate. Since then, I have read over 160 of the original 181 Doc Savage novels, as well as several by Philip Jose Farmer (licensed or otherwise) and Will Murray. IMNSHO, Doc Savage was the greatest of the Pulp Era Heros.
Melody of Vengeance by Michael A. Black.
A rousing good pulp adventure that pays tribute to the two greatest pulp heros, Doc Savage and the Shadow!