Tag: Pulp Revolution

Book Review: Neon Harvest by Jon Mollison

What an excellent cover!

Digger, a private investigator fresh off a failed case and down on his luck gets a last chance at a paycheck from an old friend. But like in all noir tales the job isn’t what it seems and he gets thrown in the middle of a nefarious plot involving megacorporations, murder, rape, and government corruption set against a retrofuture techno-noir background.

Neon Harvest does something different, something cool. It’s not a true sci-fi nor a true cyberpunk. Jon takes the technological baseline of the early 80’s and stagnates it. It’s a pre-digital cyber-thriller. The heroes still use pay-phones, newspapers are still on paper, and cash is still used. Yet, colony ships take off, planets are terraformed, and the internet used to exist. I don’t want to spoil anything, because the whole concept is really cool.

Mollison excels at writing crime violence and the seedy techno-noir setting allows him to go all out with several exciting set pieces. Once scene involving a para-glider through skyscrapers was epic, an excellent action sequence where Jon showed his chops.

Another highlight was one of the villains, an disgusting billionaire rapist that was equal parts Harvey Weinstein and Baron Harkonnen, truly repulsive.

Mollison travels in the same writing circles as Alexander Helene and a lot of the PulpRev crowd and I have to say that with each new release the quality of work increases exponentially. Which brings me to my only real complaint about Neon Harvest, which is almost the same as my complaint about The Last Ancestor by Helene. I want more depth. Mollison writes ass-kicking action, the pace is quick, and the prose is pulpy goodness. But, there’s a lot of stuff in there that I wish was expanded upon, a lot of philosophical points that could of been the center of a much deeper and darker novel.

Neon Harvest is an action-packed retro scifi noir asskicker. I read it in two sittings, the second round kept me up until 2 am. Pick it up, put on some wired headphones, and throw on one of the many retrowave playlists on yotube because this one is a blast.

Cirsova #5 More Than Just a Magazine

Cirsova #5 finally came out this weekend and I devoured this fantastic issue. If you follow me at all you have no doubt read about my enthusiastic discovery of Cirsova which led to me taking up the banner of the Pulp Revolution and rekindling my faltering love for Fantasy. I enjoyed issue #3 of Cirsova so much I bought the back issues and Kickstarted  #5 and #6. Cirsova

Cirsova isn’t just another SFF magazine. It’s a herald of a movement that will change Science Fiction and Fantasy, a romantic revolution that will bring back the magic, wonder, and adventure drained by the cancerous ghouls of litfic-fantasy.

Cirsova is part magazine, part mission statement. It’s an artistic collaboration akin to a digital Montparnasse in the 1920s, where the outcast artists and writers built and borrowed from each other, constantly innovating without a care for the giants of the industry.

The format of Issue #5 collaborates my thesis by being a themed issue. Almost every story is centered on the shared Misha Burnett created Eldritch Earth setting, with a goal of “telling Burroughsian stories in a Lovecraftian setting.”

All six of the collaborations succeed, giving a glimpse of a unique alien world and it’s inhabitants. Misha Burnette’s piece, In the Gloaming O My Darling, is one of the standouts. A grotesquely chilling piece that mixed Lovecraftian pulp horror with a modern grimdark style that really worked for me.

The highlight of the issue and a story I think illustrates the absolute badassery and potential of the Pulp Revolution writers, is Schuyler Hernstrom’s* novella, The Fist American. A piece of dark science-fantasy filled with savage barbarians, time-traveling astronauts, lizardmen, genetic mutations, flying saucers, and dinosaur riding. Schuyler crammed so much fucking awesome into one story that it should require a trigger warning for readers who haven’t been awakened to the Pulp Revolution, their poor litfic-fantasy weakened minds might shatter from exposure to so much action and excitement.

But of course not everything is perfect, and I think the magazine still has a lot of room for growth and improvement. For example, compared to past issues I don’t really dig the cover art. It doesn’t really capture the theme and mood of the pieces within. I much prefer the art found in past issues, which was a unique painterly fantasy style that stood out from the other hyperrealistic covered magazines. I also thought that the issues would have been tighter if it didn’t include the non-themed pieces, for example, The Bears of 1812, was a good historical-fantasy, but it felt out of place compared to everything else.

What Cirsova lacks in polish it makes up for with clear editorial purpose and passion. Reading these stories you can’t help but notice that the authors have an undisputed love for adventurous and heroic fantasy. It’s clear Cirsova isn’t one of those award chasing magazines filled with pseudo-lit stories that hit every current trendy sociopolitical theme yet fail to tell anything that resembles a compelling story. No, Cirsova is rough and raw, but unceasingly real.

Pick up issue #5, join the revolution, you won’t be disappointed.

*Schuyler Hernstrom has a great short story collection called Thune’s Vision.

Writing Update: March 2017

I just finished the first draft of my latest story, An Eye for Eligos. A dark musket and magic tale set during the American Revolution, where I attempted to channel the darker aspects of Howard’s writing. Violence, black magic, sinister monstrosities, all of the pulpy stuff I enjoy.

I did a quick editing pass, then read it to my wife. She usually mercilessly tears my stuff apart so her input is priceless. She liked it but pointed out that it was darker, a whole lot darker,  than my usual stuff.

Tomorrow I’m going to run a few more in-depth passes, let it sit, then send it to WotF. The contest right now is a bit of a placeholder, I don’t particularly feel that this piece will place, mostly due to its horror vibe and the higher level of violence. But that’s ok because I wrote it for my planned story collection that will have a dark sorcerous pulp theme.

I also intended to knock out something for the Baen contest but I don’t think I will make the deadline. I might dig through my digital closet and pull out some old story, spiff it up real quick, and hope it magically impresses.

This weekend I will begin on something for the 21st Action Pulp anthology I posted earlier. Something about Mexico, tequila, cartels, Santa Muerte, and mustaches.  When that’s done I’m planning on moving on to space babes, sentient techno-bears, and space mutants, something I believe will be sent to Cirsova if it opens up.

In between all of this I will try to squeeze in some blog posts. I devoured a bunch of Leiber, read Vance’s Lyonesse, and have Cirsova 5 loaded on my Kindle. Posts need to be written and discussions need to be started

Writing Goals

The last couple of weeks I have been writing on and off, working my way through some short stories. I have two pieces out for submission right now that I am excited about and hope to get back this week. Most importantly my writing and my outlook on short fiction are revitalized. I am 100% into the pulp revolution and digging deep into old Fantasy fiction. The community inspired by Jeffro’s Appendix N, the discussions, the debates, and the reading recommendations, is hands down some of the best writing inspiration I have ever come across. I’m excited to take all this inspiration and put it down on paper, bringing my own ideas and concepts to the table.

Mura
My spirit animal. 

 

Right now I’m aiming for some fast and heavy writing. My short term goal is to submit to Writers of the Future and The Baen Fantasy Adventure Award. Both contests have an April 1st deadline. That means I need to sit down and knock out up to 25,000 words in the next two weeks. An achievable goal, but one that will be tough with my work schedule.

My mid-term goal, one that I want to accomplish by the end of the year is the indy release of a short story collection. I want to put out a 40,000 to 60,000-word collection, of my pulpiest fantasy stories. I want to do it indy and punk rock garage band style. I’m already putting together some outlines, picking my favorite topics, and coming up with some crazy crap. The pulp rev guys have inspired me, especially reading Hernstrom’s Thune’s Vison. A badass, indy published collection of fantastic stories.

I plan on having a productive spring and summer.

 

Cirsova, supporting indy publishing.

cover-in-progress-2-jabari-weathers-art-png-for-pdfI’m a huge fan of short stories, huge fan of short story magazines, and a huge fan of pulp fantasy. So out of all the awesome things I came across last year Cirsova magazine was towards the top of my list. Hands down my favorite short story magazine out there.

So, when given the chance I backed the 2017 edition on Kickstarter for ONE freeking dollar. One dollar gets you two digital issues and helps the indy magazine fund next year. So if you support indy writing, pulp fiction support the kickstarter by throwing at least one dollar and also go grab yourself a back issue on amazon. You won’t be dissapointed.