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Retro Pulp Tales by Joe R. Lansdale

Retro Pulp Tales

by Joe R. Lansdale

Other authors: F. Paul Wilson (Contributor)

Series: Retro Pulp Tales (1)

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Editor Joe R Lansdale writes in his introduction: "compelling stories, that's what people want, and that's what the writers in this book have given you." He told the writers to embrace the pulp tradition. Write something that is like it is before 1960 and that has the restrictions of those times. Part of me loves this book. Twelve writers and twelve stories have done some pretty good storytelling. Each story comes with an introduction by the writer that let's the reader know where the story is coming from. I was unfamiliar with many of the writers before reading this. They tend towards slightly creepy horror stories in various ways.

I won't detail each story; most of these are interesting and/or fun and I'll just mention a few. There are a couple of superior tales in the collection. Two of them open and close the anthology. A couple stories don't really stick to the editor's request, most notably "Alien Love at Zero Break" by Melissa Mia Hall which is a gushing Gidget book and movie love fest and it was one of the only two stories in the collection I disliked. The other story I didn't care for (and didn't even finish) was Kim Newman's "Clubland Heroes." I wasn't fond of the style of it, but the real problem for me was that the story was apparently from a series by the author and required a lot of background knowledge that I didn't have. These are otherwise fun stories to read and my rating gives them an extra 1/2 star just for that. They are fairly diverse.

"Devil Wings Over France" by James Reasoner opens the anthology and was a WWI Air Fighter story twined with some mild horror and evil German experiment stuff. This is not highbrow literature, but it IS good storytelling. Chet Williamson's piece "From The Back Pages" was real-life-this-can't-be-true creepy. F. Paul Wilson does a fabulous channeling of "Yellow Menace/Yellow Peril" pulp stories in "Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong" which gets my award for best title in the issue. It is a yarn set in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1938 and for me was one of the several standout stories and possibly my favorite of the collection. There are "guest" appearances in this story that add to the fun. "Summer" by Al Sarrantonio was a pretty good homage to Ray Bradbury at the start but sputtered out a bit. The final story by Norman Partridge, "Carrion" was another that vies for the "best in the collection" award. The author credits Robert E Howard for inspiration but this is really Partridge's gem.

When I finished this I wanted more. Not this very moment though. I read these stories over a couple weeks. Too much candy and boogeymen might rot my brain. There is a sequel to this anthology that I plan to read. For anyone into good pulp fiction this is worth a look. ( )
  RBeffa | Mar 18, 2014 |
WAM BANG! This is an exciting anthology of new short stories written in the Pulp Fiction Tradition. Editor Joe R. Lansdale has pulled together some wonderful stories, including:

"Dead Wings Over France" by James Reasoner
"From the Back Pages" by Chet Williamson
"Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong" by F. Paul Wilson
"New Game in Town" by Alex Irvine
"Alien Love at Zero Break" by Melissa Mia Hall
"The Body Lies" by Tim Lebbon
"'Zekial Saw the Wheel" by Bill Crider
"Summer" by Al Sarrantonio
"The Box" by Stephen Gallagher
"Clubland Heroes" by Kim Newman
"Incident on Hill 19" by Gary Phillips
"Carrion" by Norman Partridge

Subterranean Press edition includes evocative cover art by Timothy Truman ( )
  drobichaud | Nov 23, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joe R. Lansdaleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wilson, F. PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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