Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Pulp Novel

There is a new pulp novel out, just published. With a pulp cover and everything. I had great hopes for it. It’s entitled The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont. I had high hopes that would be very entertaining. Especially when I read the cover blurbs and then read the first few pages. Walter Gibson (The Shadow) and Lester Dent (Doc Savage) are rivals arguing and a younger L. Ron Hubbard, then pulp writer who later became rather goofy with Dianetics and Scientology, is schmoozing with them. H. P. Lovecraft has been murdered while lying in the hospital. There is a writers’ meeting where other names of the time are dropped. Gibson takes his private car train to Lovecraft’s funeral and invites Hubbard along. When Chester, the black caretaker and porter of Gibson’s train car, I start shaking my head. Chester is certainly Himes. Meantime Dent takes his wife to dinner in Chinatown, they have a scare in an abandoned Chinese theater and the story begins to veer off. To China. At which point the story got far too wordy and disjointed. Paul Malmont apparently knows a lot about the pulps, the pulp era and its authors. And he wants to tell us every last detail. He seems to have forgotten that the pulp stories moved, had action, and dialogue was curt and moved the story. I’m sorry. Hopes dashed. I gave up after a hundred twenty pages. Other may enjoy it. Think I’ll go pick up a Doc Savage novel.


Blogger Bill said...

My sentiments, exactly, Frank. I really, really wanted to like this book, but you're right on the money about its various problems.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Andy J said...

Despite the two pans, I'm going to have to try this book. Even if I only read part of it maybe that will be enjoyment enough. By the way, do you have any idea of what the rules are regarding dragging a whole bunch of real life personalities into your fiction? Is it anything goes? Is there a distinction made between living and dead persons? I should know this but don't.

12:02 PM  

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