We are six weeks out from my trip to Mars (Barsoom), Pennsylvania, for PulpFest and FarmerCon. This year, my homestretch is weighted towards hero stories, lost races & worlds, and authors whom I’m actually likely to meet:
Print or eBooks
The Squeaking Goblin by Kenneth Robeson (aka Lester Dent) (UPDATE: finished 6/20/17) — Art Sippo told me I should get some more Doc novels under my belt before reading His Apocalyptic Life. This one is about Doc Savage and his crew traveling to Kentucky to fight a hillbilly ghost. Equal parts Johnny Quest and Scooby-Doo (with anti-Appalachian bias standing in for Scrappy Doo).
The Fortress of Solitude by Kenneth Robeson (aka Lester Dent) — Doc Savage novel about a favorite concept you may recognize from the Superman canon.
The Brand of the Werewolf by Kenneth Robeson (aka Lester Dent) — Novel introducing Doc Savage’s attractive cousin Pat Savage.
The Stone Man by Kenneth Robeson (aka Lester Dent) — Doc Savage and co “discover a lost race and a strange mist that transforms men into stone.”
Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life by Philip José Farmer — The above reading is largely background to read this book. Reading the Doc novels I’ve been reading and having read A Feast Unknown last year, I get the sense PJF will have a great take on Doc’s neuroses.
The Evil at Pemberley House by Philip José Farmer and Win Scott Eckert — Original PJF Wold Newton novel put together and completed by my friend Win after PJF retired. It crosses Doc Savage over with Tarzan and Pride and Prejudice as Doc’s daughter Patricia Wildman comes into a large British estate. Part of the reason I have not read this one before is that I felt I lacked the Doc background.
The Enchanted City by Eugene Hennebert (trans. Brian Stableford) — French “pulp” lost race story from 1885. I’m reading this in part because my friend Jason Aiken has a crossover between this text and Nada the Lily in the most recent volume of Tales of the Shadowmen.
Monkey Station by Ron Fortier and Ardath Mayhar — I picked up this battered mass market paperback at a used bookstore because Mr. Fortier is a leading figure in the New Pulp movement. The plot apparently involved having to make macaques intelligent and self-aware in order to enlist their help in fighting a horrible disease.
Tarzan: Return to Pal-ul-Don by Will Murray — I feel like this one was in the vanguard of the “Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs” new Tarzan novels that have been coming out over the past few years. We’ll see how I like Mr. Murray’s take on Lord Greystoke. I really liked Michael A. Sanford’s book in this series.
(Alternates: Congo by Michael Crichton; and Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle by Edgar Rice Burroughs | Stretch: Finished by H. Rider Haggard)
When the World Shook by H. Rider Haggard (finished 6/12/17) — Late Haggard, South Seas novel where good-hearted English gentlemen have misadventures with South Seas natives and then meet sleeping people with god-like powers from a 250,000 year old civilization. This book reminded me how much influence Christianity, theosophy and spiritualism had on Haggard and his contemporaries. She and Allan by H. Rider Haggard (UPDATE: finished 6/22/17, some reflections here.) — The ultimate HRH crossover. Narrated on LibriVox by a soft-spoken Scandinavian. After finishing When the World Shook, I tried listening to Walter Gibson and Lin Carter but found myself drawn back to Haggard.
Under the Andes by Rex Stout — Lost World-Lost Race joint by the famous crime novelist.
Journey to the Underground World by Lin Carter (UPDATE: finished 6/26/17) — I’m less than two hours from being finished with this and keep finding myself listening to other books instead. There’s pastiche and then there’s imitation. Further, Eric Carstairs soft Men’s Adventure ethos is somehow less charming than the ethos of the imperialist gentlemen of yore. (UPDATED commentary: The third act picked up. If I had been in the right mindset, I probably could have been pretty into this book). Partners in Peril by Maxwell Grant (aka Walter Gibson) (UPDATE: finished 6/25/17) — My first Shadow novel. The full-cast recording and sound effects on this new RadioArchives.org edition give the book an atmospheric quality that I think Gibson would have appreciated.
Reign of the Death Fiddler by Grant Stockbridge (aka Norvell Page) — The Spider versus the Death Fiddler, “a master of the grotesque” who at 11:30pm each Thursday conducts “his unholy orchestra in a symphony of murder that sounded the doom of some marked victim.”
The Vril Agenda by Derrick Ferguson and Josh Reynolds — New Pulp mash up where Derrick Ferguson’s Dillon–a Black hero fresh from studying martial arts in the far east–and classic pulp hero Jim Anthony Super-Detective team up to take on Nazi-era German pulp star Sun Koh, an Aryan superman from Atlantis. I’ve been wanting to check out both these authors.
Empire State by Adam Christopher — “Decopunk” superhero pastiche by a guy I follow on Twitter.
Doc Savage: The Jade Ogre by Will Murray and Lester Dent — 90s Doc Savage revival, yellow peril novel. “Long dead, Quon has returned from the grave to. . .subjugate mankind. From San Francisco’s Chinatown, across the vast Pacific to the spidery jungle ruins of Cambodia, Doc Savage and his resourceful crew battle a seemingly-unbeatable foe whose deadly reach knows no barriers. . . .”
(Alternates: Doc Savage: Skull Island by Will Murray and Lester Dent; The Green Odyssey by Philip José Farmer; and Allan’s Wife by H. Rider Haggard | Stretch: The Gods of Riverworld by Philip José Farmer)