Three More Examples of Today’s New Pulp

Hopefully you will have read my previous article where I presented three examples of what I consider to be prime examples of New Pulp in today’s popular media. You didn’t? Pfui. Don’t worry. I gotcha. Go here and check it out. I’ll go get myself a sandwich and a Coke while you do that.

You done? Cool. I can continue then. My purpose with these articles is to hopefully show  that the Pulp tradition never really went away and is alive and well. It’s just that the tropes of Pulp have been conscripted by Action Adventure, Horror, Science Fiction and many other genres. But there’s New Pulp aplenty all around. You just have to look for it:

CONGO: This is one of the most spectacular examples of New Pulp. And when I say spectacular I’m talking about the sheer audacity of the story which is primarily a jungle adventure with a diverse and eccentric band of explorers looking for The Lost City of Zinj and the diamond mines located there. It’s a strictly 1930’s plot successfully transplanted to the 1990’s and enhanced with modern day technology.

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The movie is directed by Frank Marshall, who frequently collaborated with Steven Spielberg and written by John Patrick Shanley. It’s based on the novel by Michael Crichton but take it from me, the movie is way better than the novel. Which is the case with most of Crichton’s novels. Probably because Crichton really wasn’t interested in characterization. Crichton was more interested in the technology and the effects of science going wrong. But CONGO is the stuff of Saturday afternoon cliffhangers way more than most of his other stuff and that’s what Marshall and Shanley wisely decided to focus on. ‘Cause trust me, this movie moves. There’s enough fights, captures, escapes, close shaves with death and breathtaking action to give Lester Dent on his best day a run for his money.

That’s not to say they throw out the technology entirely. One of Our Heroes is Dr. Peter Elliott (Dylan Walsh) a primatologist who has taught a gorilla named Amy how to speak using sign language. Her sign language is translated into digital speech by means of a special backpack and glove. Peter decides to return her to Africa and is funded in this endeavor by Herkermer Homolka (Tim Curry) a shady character who has led unsuccessful expeditions to Zinj in the past and thinks that Amy may be the key to this one being successful.

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Also joining the expedition is Dr. Karen Ross (Laura Linney) a communications expert who needs to get to the Congo to find her fiancé (Bruce Campbell) who was looking for a rare blue diamond that can only be found near volcanoes. Guess where the Lost City of Zinj just happens to be in the neighborhood of?

Along with The Great White Hunter Munro Kelly (Ernie Hudson) And yes, I do know he’s black. But that’s how he always introduces himself and it leads to one of the movie’s funniest lines later on, they set off to find the Lost City of Zinj which is guarded by killer gorillas.

There’s no adequate way I can tell you just how much sheer fun CONGO is. Just let me say that if you don’t want to see a movie where Laura Linney is blasting away with a laser at killer gorillas while fleeing from an exploding volcano, then we obviously have nothing in common.

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DIRK PITT: Described by his creator, Clive Cussler as a modern day homage to Doc Savage, I’ve always admired Cussler’s unashamed love of Classic Pulp and his enthusiasm for it. A good case could be made that Cussler was writing New Pulp long before the title was ever coined. He’s certainly the most successful at it and the character of Dirk Pitt is by now as well-known as Doc Savage and James Bond, another fictional grandfather of Pitt’s.

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So far there have been 25 Dirk Pitt novels written. The last 8 Cussler co-wrote with his son Dirk. No mystery there who he was named after.

When it comes to branding Dirk Pitt as New Pulp one has only to check out a few of the novels to see that he comes by that legitimately. Despite working as marine engineer for the National Underwater and Marine Agency, in every novel Pitt finds himself battling megalomaniacal supervillains with world conquering schemes that would wring gasps of envy from Fu Manchu or Ernst Stavro Blofeld. In the course of his adventures Pitt has recovered Captain Nemo’s ‘Nautilus’, raised the ‘Titanic’, discovers the existence of a secret base on the moon, finds Atlantis, stops a plot by a race of genetic supermen to destroy civilization and create a Nazi empire… need I go on?

Dirk Pitt hasn’t had much success outside of the novels. He’s been in two movies so far. He was played by Richard Jordan in 1980’s RAISE THE TITANIC! which you should avoid as if it were Ebola.

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But 2005’s SAHARA with Matthew McConaughey as Pitt and Steve Zahn as his sidekick Al Giordino is way better and even though Cussler was very unhappy with the movie I think it’s a lot of fun and great Saturday afternoon entertainment. Only thing I can complain about it is that McConaughey and Penelope Cruz have zero chemistry together on screen.

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THE SIMPSONS Episode #150: “RAGING ABE SIMPSON AND HIS GRUMBLING GRANDSON IN ‘THE CURSE OF THE FLYING HELLFISH’”

Written by Jonathan Collier and directed by Jeffrey Lynch this is not only an hilarious SIMPSONS episode but an outstanding pulp action adventure story as well. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you saw an episode of an animated show where the plot hinged on Nazi art treasures and a tontine?

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We find out in this episode that Abraham J. Simpson was the commanding officer of “The Flying Hellfish”, a gung-ho infantry squad in WWII whose members included the fathers of Chief Clancy Wiggum, Seymour Skinner and Barney Gumble. The laziest and most cowardly member of the squad is Corporal Montgomery Burns.

During the final days of WWII, The Flying Hellfish take a German castle and discover it’s full of priceless artwork. Through quick talking, Burns convinces the others to enter into a tontine. Upon the death of the others, the treasure, now called The Hellfish Bonanza goes to the last survivor.

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Burns and Abe Simpson are the last two survivors and Burns hires Fernando Vidal, the world’s most devious assassin to kill Abe. Naturally pissed off by this, Abe, with the help of his grandson Bartholomew J. Simpson determines to go get the Hellfish Bonanza before Burns gets his hands on it.

From start to finish this is a delightful episode that plays out like a miniature summer action movie. And it’s downright touching how Bart and Abe bond together while on this wild treasure hunt and see Bart gain a new found respect for his grandfather who he had previously only thought to be a nutty old coot.

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That’s three more examples of New Pulp for you and I hope you enjoyed them. If any more occur to me, you’ll be the first to know. Peace!

Did I Hear Somebody Say…Crossover?

The following was planned to be the prolog of a Dillon novel.  However, given that the characters used in this are all firmly under copyright I quickly realized the impracticality of using such a scene in my story.  However I felt it didn’t deserve to never be seen and since we’re all friends here and I don’t think anybody will turn me in to the Copyright Police….enjoy

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An Island Off The Coast of Spain

            The explosions destroying the massive underground complex shook the very bedrock of the small island some fifty miles off the coast of Spain.  The explosions were not as bone-jangling as the earlier ones had been, but the cache of weapons and other nerve gases and other more exotic and even more lethal instruments of death that had been secreted in vaults underneath the extensive complex absolutely had to be destroyed and none of the people who had participated in the exhaustive and horrendous battle of the previous night could take the chance that any would be left to be used against the innocents of the world.

            A man stood on a high hill overlooking the sight of an ancient castle burning to the ground.  An average sized man, he was garbed all in gunmetal gray with a holster strapped to his right thigh that held his only weapons: a long barreled .22 revolver and a slim, sharp stiletto.  The man’s face was very pale and strangely immobile as if it were not a face of flesh, but of wonderfully carven marble.  And while his hair was thick and virile, it was also the color of the purest snow.  Even standing in quiet repose as he was doing now, he had an aura of quiet, controlled power.

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            He did not turn as he heard another man come up behind him. The man in gray could identify people by their very step as easily as could by looking at their face and he knew this was a friend and not a foe.  This man was a foot and a half taller, dressed in khaki pants, shirt and a battered, dusty leather jacket with a worn brown fedora pushed back on his head, allowing a cowlick of straight brown hair to fall over his forehead. A three-day stubble of beard covered the lower half of his ruggedly handsome face and he looked as if he’d been fighting in a pit full of alligators.  Considering the horrors he had been fighting the past night, a pit of alligators would have been welcome.  A holstered Webley .455 revolver and a well-used ten-foot long bullwhip dangled from his belt.

            “Benson!”

            The man in gray turned.  “How did the final sweep of the island go, Dr. Jones?’

            “We’re good.  Your people have rounded up the last of the Society’s grunt troops and they’ve secured the boats and planes.  Savage’s crew is setting the last of the explosive charges and handling the extra transport to take them to the States.”  Indiana Jones adjusted his fedora as he stood next to the man in gray.  “One hell of a night, I’ll tell you.”

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            “So much death and destruction,” the man in gray murmured.  His pale lips barely moved as yet another explosion collapsed the south wall of the castle and it crashed into rubble, throwing a huge plume of belching flame into the dawning sky.

            “Had to be done, Benson,” Indiana grunted, removing something from the leather satchel he had slung over a shoulder.  He held it up to the light and it glittered and glowed in the light of the flames.  “If The Society Of Seven had went ahead with the plans they had for THIS…well, who knows how much hell they would have caused on Earth…and this poor world has had enough the past eight years…we’re just coming out of a World War…the last thing anybody needs in a bunch of lunatics running around trying to manipulate governments.”

            The object the archeologist held was a necklace of a thousand tear shaped rubies interwoven in a delicate web of gold, silver and platinum threads.  The light reflected from the rubies was breathtaking in its loveliness.  The rubies were of various sizes with the smallest being no larger than a fingernail and the largest maybe an inch in diameter.  “I know how you feel about killing, Benson, but there was no way we could have let The Society Of Seven keep The Tears Of Blood and they weren’t about to give it up without a fight to the death.  They called they terms of this war.  We didn’t.”

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 “Dr. Jones is right, Richard.”  Another man strode up the hill to join them.  He was the most physically impressive of the trio.  Standing an easy six foot six, his skin was tanned a golden bronze by tropical suns.  His eyes were a piercing gold that radiated intelligence.  He was dressed in riding jodhpurs and his khaki shirt was ripped to shreds, displaying an incredible musculature that bordered on the superhuman.  Just looking at him inspired a sense of awe because he gave off an air of command and power that few men on earth possessed.  His golden hair was cut short and came to a widow’s peak in the middle of his high forehead.  But his face was wrinkled and lined with an age beyond his actual years.  He was a man who had fought the forces of evil far longer than both of his companions.  He had looked into the very mouth of Hell during his long campaign to vanquish evil.  And while his resolve to continue the fight had not withered one iota, even he had been shaken by the monstrous plans of the organization he and his companions had smashed this night.

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            The bronze man continued speaking in a vibrant, resonant voice; “We’ve all had dealings with The Society of Seven on a individual basis.  Dr. Jones first encountered them in Malaysia back in 1935.  You battled them in New York in the same year.  I’ve dealt with several of their agents even though I was not aware of the existence of the organization until I ran up against John Sunlight and even The Society disavowed him once they realized how truly mad he was.  And as for The Shadow—“

            “I have known of The Society of Seven for more years than you can know, Dr. Savage.”

            The voice that interrupted Clark Savage, Jr. was low and throbbing.  It was the voice of a fanatic.  A voice that carried power and purpose and it belonged to the last of this strange grouping.  A man who suddenly seemed to just…appear next to Indiana Jones, making the archeologist reach for his holstered revolver before he realized whom it was and relaxed.

            “That’s a helluva good way for you to get yourself killed, spooky,” Indianagrowled.

            The new arrival laughed and each of his three companions involuntarily shivered.  They were all brave men and had faced more of their share of danger and evil…but that LAUGH…it was a laugh that could only belong to The Shadow and each of the three men had come to realize something during this mission…while they were each unique in their own way, The Shadow was something beyond human.

            His midnight black ankle length coat flapped in the sudden wind that sprung up, seemingly with his arrival. A blood red scarf covered the lower half of his face and all that could be seen was his hawkish nose and the pair of piercing, colorless eyes that glittered with inhuman will and purpose.  A midnight black broad brimmed slouch hat was pulled low over his forehead.  A large pair of .45 automatics were held in his gloved fists, still smoking from his night’s grim and bloody work.

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            “We have done well, gentlemen,” The Shadow said in that tombstone voice of his…a voice that seemed to come from the bowels of a dark and deadly soul.  “The Society Of Seven has at last been crushed.  Save for a few strays that I shall meet vengeance to shortly.”

            “No you won’t.”

            The Shadow turned his glittering eyes on the man in gray.  “The weed of crime must not be allowed to take fresh root, Benson.  Trust me when I say that if we do not eradicate every last member of The Society Of Seven, they will rise again.  And they will flourish.”

            Richard Henry Benson turned to look at The Shadow, his pale, icy eyes burning with a fire that easily matched The Shadow’s.  “We all agreed to this partnership because we realized that we were accomplishing nothing fighting The Society on its own terms.  We were only eliminating its arms and never the brains.  We’ve even put aside some of our most cherished morals to accomplish this. But we’ve done our job.  It’s time to say enough.”

            The Shadow chuckled.  “And you call yourself The Avenger?”

            “And I have avenged.  And it is enough.”

            The bronze man stepped between The Shadow and The Avenger.  “Richard is right, Shadow.  We’ve broken the back of The Society of Seven.  We’ve got nearly five hundred of their agents and soldiers that I’ll be more than happy to send to my college for rehabilitation.  We have The Tears of Blood.  This is over.”

            The Shadow fixed Indiana Jones with his basilisk stare.  “And your opinion, Dr. Jones?”

            Indiana held up The Tears of Blood.  “I’ve got what I came for and I’ve helped save the world.  I’m satisfied.  You guys are the do-gooders.  Do what you want.  I’m done.”

            The Shadow’s voice was low and dangerous as he rasped, “Surely you do not think that we will allow you to retain possession of The Tears of Blood so that they will fall into some other evil hands?”

            Indiana’s hand dropped to his bullwhip.  “I’ve seen you do a few things, spooky.  But I’ve got a couple of tricks up my sleeve as well.  And I came along with you on this with the firm understanding that I was acting as an agent of the United States government to secure The Tears of Blood for scientific and archeological study and research.  You agreed to that.  Try and change the rules in the middle of the game and you’re gonna see just how spooky I can get.”

            “You’ve got your agreement, Dr. Jones and The Shadow will honor it.  Or he’ll have to deal with me.”  Doc Savage said with finality staring at The Shadow.  Colorless eyes locked with golden eyes for a long minute.

            The Shadow raised his .45’s.

            And thrust them into the oiled holsters under his armpits.  “You are honorable men and worthy allies.  I have trusted each of you with my life this past night and I would do so again.  I will trust you on this.”

            Doc Savage nodded and turned back to Indiana.  “You’ll be coming with my aides and me, Dr. Jones.  We’ll make sure you get to Washington with The Tears of Blood.  Shadow—“

            The Shadow was gone.

            Indiana shook his head.  “Damned if I can figure out how he does that.  I never took my eyes off him.”

            The Avenger shrugged.  “I’m of the opinion that he was never really here.”

            The three men watched as the last of The Society of Seven’s stronghold burned to the ground.

            “What have we really accomplished here tonight, Clark?”  Benson asked quietly.  “The lives that were lost…all this destruction…will it mean anything if The Society of Seven comes back?”

            Doc Savage laid a hand on The Avenger’s shoulder as he said; “And if they do, there will be other men who will take up our struggle and do their part, Richard.  They will fight and struggle and yes, they will die if necessary to make this a peaceful world.  And that is all we can hope for.”

            “Amen to that, brother,” Indiana Jones said feelingly and the three of them watched as the stronghold of The Society of Seven burned to the ground.

From The “Making An Impression” File by Sean E. Ali

So, FINALLY, Tommy Hancock over at Pro Se has done his reveal of three author imprints where I got to do the initial logo designs…

The plan was to reveal them over the weekend at the convention that hosts the annual Pulp Factory Awards in Chicago.

Not that I’ve ever been, but I’ve won one to my complete surprise.

So the three authors involved with this part of the reveal were Kimberly RichardsonFrank Schildiner and my good friend and partner-in-virtual crime Derrick Ferguson. All three are authors in something called “New Pulp” but really that’s kind of a narrow definition of their particular brands of storytelling. All three are well regarded, they’re unique in their own rights, they all have their followings who eagerly await their latest projects and all of them have happened to be offered a chance to exercise their prodigious imaginations under their own brands with Pro Se.

And lucky me, I get to contribute by building the first part of that brand with these imprint logos…

So, though you’re probably not asking, how does that work? Well I’m glad you didn’t ask, let me tell you the intricate planning that went into each one of these and the meticulous work we in the independent publishing game go through to make our talent shine…

Last weekend, Tommy hits me up on Facebook with no warning whatsoever and says he needs some author imprint logos for this show in Chicago: “can you do it?” I ask for details because obviously I’m just getting to a party already in progress, and he kicks out the rough ideas for Kimberly and Frank…

…which, BTW, for a guy so full of ideas and stories and plans was woefully light on details just generalities, and he turns me loose after I inform him I’ll talk to Derrick who had already contacted me. Derrick and I do all our stuff more like a couple of guys shooting the breeze on the front stoop on a Sunday afternoon. Yeah we work, it’s just more of a relaxed thing where we kick back and chat and at some point we, usually accidentally, hit on the right thing. I love our process because when we do chop it up, I never fail to end our conversation without a smile at the end and at least two good belly laughs from the soul.

Which is pretty much how his brand POWER PLAY! was done. I, in the course of our discussion run an idea of what I’d like to use as his look and he shows me the very thing I had in mind, which in an odd bit of coincidence was sitting on his desk: a gold clenched fist with that 1960s/70s Soul Brother/grindhouse film vibe as the logo. In my head, what you see as the POWER PLAY! logo was a black light velveteen poster stuck to a ceiling between some mirror tiles with a fish net full of fake starfish.

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It was the 70s, you had to be there.

So he was easy and POWER PLAY! was done in one. There are colored variants and, as a last minute thing, I added the tag line “Old School New Pulp” which is what Derrick does. He’s got an updated Men’s Adventure/Action Hero/Thriller feel to a lot of his projects, so it felt right.

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Now Kimberly’s came with the most detail from Tommy. Crossed guns, gothic mansion, emboss this, something something that…

So I did that first and like an old “Men On Film” sketch: “Hated it!” It didn’t matter how many ways I crossed the 20 pistols I put together, none of them looked right. So instead I went to work on the manor house bit and abandoned the guns. Nice… but generic. The house was sitting on a cliff, so I pulled the cliff, threw in a really basic shield, colored it all black… better, but still needed something. I uncrossed the guns, used them as a frame and was there.

But then I wanted to make it hers. Any schmuck could build a lady a house but it needs to be HER house. So I took a look at the lady I was building the house for since I’ve never had the pleasure IRL or online of getting to know her. First thing I noticed, which is the first thing I notice about a lot of women in photos, were her eyes…

…that, kids was the hook, she’s got great eyes. I stared at those eyes and attempted to be as accurate as I could be despite simplifying them for an illustration. Stared at them for so long, I think I owe her dinner and one failed rom-com running through the airport scene. I tossed an oversized moon in the background added the eyes and I was in love…

…with the final product.

So PULP GOTHIC gave me the Lady of the House, a touch of Stephen King in the mansion, got the guns in and it all was an echo of the old paperbacks that used to come with the mapback covers telling you about the location of the story.

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Last, but not least, came Frank Schildiner. His was done first, I really didn’t like it but I took Tommy’s rough idea too literal. Frank and I aren’t online running buddies, but he and I enjoy decent fight techniques, he’s a martial artist and instructor (in addition to being an author) and I’m immensely impressed by his focus and skill. Unfortunately the logo I came up with didn’t really reflect Frank or his work. It was sort of a hero shot that reminded me of a rejected logo for the old fitness guru Jack LaLanne. It was passable, but it wasn’t Frank. As Friday rolled around I still wasn’t happy with it and it’s hard to put out something I’m not in love with as I send it out. Tommy’s looking for logos and I’m one short. But it was also something Tommy said that sparked an image early on: “Frank’s work goes everywhere.” The image that invoked was pure Jack “The King” Kirby. If you don’t know Jack and his work in changing the face of comics as we know them with Stan Lee…

…move out of that cave so I can get you some help.

So the image I came up with was a complete re-do which is inspired by guys like Kirby and the late Darwyn Cooke and we had something worthy of Frank in particular and his work in general.

And I FINALLY learned how to DIY the famous “Kirby Krackle”…

…yeah, whatever, it’s a big deal to me.

So SCHILDINER’S WORLDS final look is probably more due to Tommy’s summation of Frank’s work than anything else. I had the image in my head, but thought I had to do the other thing based on his explanation of what he said the look should be.

So I did what he said over what he asked.

I submitted both though, as I did with the manor only version of PULP GOTHIC, because you should give a guy options…

I’m glad he chose the ones he did.

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Bet you’re wondering where that planning aspect went that I mentioned at the start, right?

Tommy and I refer to this as the “Butch and Sundance”…

If you’ve ever seen how BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID ends for them, you’ll get it.

Sometimes we just have to take a leap, man…

So, if you follow these folks and missed Tommy’s press releases…

…big things are coming from some of your favorite folks…

Get ready to have your minds blown.

The rest of you, as you were…

…and move out of that cave so I can get you help.

Be good to yourselves and each other.

Dispatches From Windy City #4: A Last Series of Images

And actually that title is downright misleading because I’ve been back from Windy City for a week already. So this dispatch isn’t coming to you from Windy City but from the good old Ferguson Ponderosa in Brooklyn.

But this is the first time I’ve had to sit down at my desktop computer since I’ve been back (don’t ask…it’s a long story) since I had to unceremoniously flee from Chicago due to a freak snowstorm on Sunday morning. Which meant I had to miss a panel I was to sit on and for that I apologize to one and all. If I can make it up to you, please let me know.

But I wanted to cap off my Wind City adventure with some final images of the good time I had and share them with you good folks. So please enjoy and as always, thank you for your kind indulgence and support.

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Dispatches From Windy City #2

Tumbling through a thousand centuries

You don’t know where you’ll land

It’s so dark in mythology

Treasures of history to be found

Near the legends of time

All the handiworks remain there

Only a dream away

Those are lyrics from “Dream Away” The theme song to TIME BANDITS, one of my favorite movies of all time and they occurred to me because of the conversation I had this morning over breakfast with Ron Fortier and Rob Davis.

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Oh, we talked of many things. Of family, of our craft, of movies…and if you ever invite Rob Davis to your house, please watch YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN with him, okay? I’ll let him tell you why.

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But then we started talking about the art and craft of storytelling. And I told Ron and Rob my theory that if aliens ever did visit us it would be because they would be fascinated by the fact that we humans are a Race of Storytellers.

Think about it. You come home at the end of a long hard day from work or school or whatever. You sit down to dinner with your family and you say to them; “Tell me about your day.”

And then they tell you a story.

Because it is now a story because they have had time to think about it, to process it through their emotional and intellectual matrixes. It isn’t events as it actually happened.

It is A STORY.

And if there is any gift that we have as The Human Race is that we know how to tell A STORY.

Which is what a lot of today was about. I had breakfast with Ron and Rob and we told stories. Then we went to the venue and met up with Tommy Hancock and Aubrey Stephens and we told more stories. Then I met Gordon Dymowski and even more stories were shared. Gordon and I had a really good conversation about how much the subconscious plays in the creative process. Don’t sleep on this guy. I learned a LOT speaking to him in just fifteen minutes than I do in three hours with other folks.

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We’re having a good time and I hope you are as well. Tonight, it’s dinner at Fuddruckers, the New Pulp Awards and then the drinking and whoring.

Wait…scratch that last part.

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And here’s a picture of Aubry Stephens along with a link to the video of Blues Traveler singing “Hook” for no other reason than every time I see Aubry, this song plays in my Personal Soundtrack:

 

 

Dispatches From Windy City #1

Whenever I’ve talked about trips I’ve taken in the past (especially to Florida) you’ve usually heard me talk about driving down there. And driving is usually how I do travel. I’ve driven down to Florida and back to Brooklyn at least a dozen times. Which has led some people to think that I don’t like to fly or am scared to fly. Actually, I’m not. I’ve flown many times in the past. Flying’s cool. I just prefer driving because I like to take my time to get to where I’m going and I like to run on my own schedule. I start taking planes and bam! everything is out of my hands. I gotta be here at this time and I gotta do this and I gotta do that. All of a sudden, it’s as if all the fun has gone out of travelling because now it’s more about meeting schedules that others have set for me rather than me just jumping in my car and going wherever I please and doing whatever I want.

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So why did I jump on a plane and come to Chicago for the 2019 Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention?

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Simple. I thought it would be fun and there were people here I hadn’t seen in awhile and I wanted to see again.

Such as Ron Fortier and Rob Davis, the Captain and Chief Engineer of Airship 27. I haven’t seen these cats since the first Pulp Ark many moons ago and it was high time I hung out with them again.

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And I never pass up a chance to harass Tommy Hancock. I’ve been doing it for twenty years. Why should I stop now?

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And doubtless there are many more people I will resume an acquaintance with here and those I will meet for the first time. And that’s really what it’s about, isn’t it? Or at least it should be. It most certainly is for me. Making connections. Meeting new people. Renewing friendships with fellow writers, colleagues and enthusiasts of Pulp, be it Classic or New.  Talking about the things we love in Pulp and how we can make it better and how we can expand the audience and share it with the world.

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I’ll be here in Chicago at the Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention this weekend so get used to seeing these dispatches for the next couple of days. Like those war correspondents you see in those old Black & White WWII movies who went out on the front lines during the day and then at night filed stories about what they had heard and seen? Yeah, this will be kinda like that. You guys know how I be.

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Tommy and I have already talked about major Dillon and Fortune McCall stuff. Ron and Tommy are going to be making major announcements tomorrow as Friday is the actual day this shindig starts. We just got here early because there’s a whole LOT of stuff that has to go on behind the scenes before the jump-off jumps off. I may even do a Facebook Live from the floor of the convention. Anything to show you guys how much fun we’re having.

We haven’t even really gotten started yet and we’re already having a ball.

Watch this space.

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The Sword and Soul Must Read List Courtesy of Milton Davis, The Godson of Sword and Soul

Kind of a grandiose title, right? And Milton would probably be the first one to knock me upside my head for bestowing that title upon him but I can’t help it. Whenever I think of Sword and Soul I first think of Charles Saunders, that remarkably talented founder of the genre and the man who I consider to be The Godfather of Sword and Soul. At its simplest Sword and Soul is African inspired Heroic Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery . That’s the thumbnail version. For a more in depth and comprehensive overview of the genre I point you in the direction of an article written by Balogun Ojetade who is himself no stranger to the genre:

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Sword and Soul: Much needed new genre? Or Simply something old with a new coat of paint? By Balogun Ojetade

And Milton Davis is the second name I think of when it comes to Sword and Sword because he’s had  considerable influence in revitalizing and reinvigorating the genre, spreading knowledge of it and inspiring a whole generation of brand new writers who have embraced Sword and Soul with a burning passion, elevating and evolving it in exciting and fascinating new directions. That’s why I call him The Godson of Sword and Soul.

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“Okay, Derrick,” you say. “I’m sufficiently intrigued to want to know more. But where do I begin? Who should I be reading? What books and writers do I start with?”

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I’m glad you asked because Milton Davis has been good enough to compile a list of Sword and Soul books that you can start with. And here it is:

  1. IMARO by Charles Saunders
  2. DOSSOUYE by Charles Saunders
  3. MEJI by Milton Davis
  4. GRIOTS Edited by Milton Davis and Charles Saunders
  5. GRIOTS: SISTERS OF THE SPEAR Edited by Charles Saunders and Milton Davis
  6. ONCE UPON A TIME IN AFRICA by Balogun Ojetade
  7. THE CONSTANT TOWER by Carole McDonnell
  8. ABENGONI: FIRST CALLING by Charles Saunders
  9. SONGS OF THE SUNYA: TALES FROM THE SANDS OF TIME by Mansa Myrie
  10. CHANGA’S SAFARI by Milton Davis
  11. WHEN NIGHT FALLS by Gerald L. Coleman

Many of these I have read myself and heartily recommend and as for those I haven’t read, I trust Milton’s recommendation as to their quality and entertainment value so don’t be wary of diving in and discovering the magic and majesty of Sword and Soul for yourself. Enjoy!

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