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Dead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire Hardcover – November 30, 2016
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From the Inside Flap
I was living in a pulp writer fury, a storm of imagination. So Joe R. Lansdale, award-winning author of more than twenty novels and two hundred short works, describes the birth of his desire to be a writer after encountering pulp storytelling as a kid in TV, comics, and books. Now Dead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire collects eight stories where Lansdale pays tribute to the rip-roaring tales of his youth.Dedicated to Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard, Under the Warrior Star finds hero Braxton Booker on another, battle-wracked planet, while Tarzan and the Land That Time Forgot was expressly permitted by the Burroughs estate. In Dead on the Bones, a Conjure Man facilitates a boxing match between the living and the dead, with a twist. The Gruesome Affair of the Electric Blue Lightning crosses Poe with horrors that could have walked straight out of Lovecraft. Meanwhile, in Naked Angel a cop discovers a dead woman encased in ice on the noir streets of Los Angeles, not realizing he shares a personal connection with her. Other stories here bring readers face to face with vampires and far stranger creatures, all in Lansdales signature, Texas Mojo style.Lansdale is rightly recognized as one of the most distinctive voices in modern fiction, pulp or otherwise. From Venus to vampires, Dead on the Bones is a fine, thoroughly enjoyable demonstration of why.
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This is a unique volume as the stories are written in the style and sometimes voices of other famous writers. This is a rather odd choice for a seasoned author—and truthfully I would rather read his own distinctive style than an imitation of others—but these stories are homages to the pulp tradition, and Lansdale’s own imagination shines through in all of them.
The Gruesome Affair of the Electric Blue Lightning—Features literature’s first detective, C. Auguste Dupin, created by Edgar Allan Poe. Lansdale does a remarkable job capturing the cadence and style of the old 19th century crime stories, especially at the beginning. Then he mixes in elements of the Frankenstein origin story and H. P. Lovecraft’s mythos.
The Redheaded Dead—A new Jebediah Mercer short story. Retains the gothic atmosphere of the rest of the series, while emulating the style of Robert E. Howard.
King of the Cheap Romance—After her father’s death, young Angela Fish must race across the polar ice caps to deliver a vaccine to a Martian colony. Inspired by the works of Robert Heinlein, this woman-vs-nature adventure tale is not set on the red lifeless desert Mars we know today, but rather a fantasy Mars that existed in 1950’s pop culture, a planet filled with ice sharks, gold-skinned aliens, bats as big as spaceships, and mysterious temple pyramids.
Naked Angel—A police officer investigates the murder of a prostitute whose body is found encased in a block of ice. This is the second time I have run across this story, and both times I found it thin and lacking. Seems to be a poor parody of Mickey Spillane or Raymond Chandler.
Dead on the Bones— A young boy sees an opportunity to take revenge on his evil uncle when a mysterious hoodoo man rolls into his Depression-era East Texas town. The juxtaposition of crime and horror echoes the great Robert Bloch.
Tarzan and the Land That Time Forgot—More than twenty years after Lansdale completed Edgar Rice Burroughs’ final novel, he returns to the world of Tarzan in this new story authorized by the author’s estate. This is a crossover tale in which the legendary ape man visits the Land that Time Forgot.
Under the Warrior Star—Lansdale rewrites an early adventure novel that he started when he was only eleven years old in the tradition of Burroughs and Howard.
The Wizard of the Trees—A final Burroughs-inspired tale in which a drowning passenger from the Titanic is inexplicably transported to Venus, a steamy jungle planet full of intrigue between warring savage tribes.
If you've ever longed to read a new, pulp-style adventure story - then this book is for you.
If you've ever wished someone would take up the mantle and write new adventures in the vein of Edgar Rice Burroughs or Robert E. Howard - then this book is for you.
This book is for me.
I've enjoyed the Joe R. Lansdale books that I've read previously and was excited to get something by him that looked a little different from what I've read before. And not just a little bit like those great Robert E. Howard Conan books I read back in the 1970's and 80's.
This book is a throw-back ... no ... this book is an <em>homage</em> to the great adventure pulp fiction of the 1920's, 30's and 40's. In his introduction, Lansdale writes about his appreciation for Burroughs, growing up on Tarzan and John Carter and Carson Napier, and Lansdale's fondness for these stories and this style is evident by the passion he puts forth in his own stories.
One of the best stories in the collection is the title story "Dead on the Bones" in which our pulp hero boxes with the dead.
"Tarzan and the Land that Time Forgot" is every bit a Tarzan story, as if Burroughs himself had written it and combined Tarzan with the afore-mentioned Carson of Venus and John Carter of Mars.
"The Redheaded Dead" reads much like a Frederic Brown story, though it's dedicated to Robert E. Howard.
I've tried going back and reading some of the old pulp fiction and have found much of it not nearly as exciting as I remembered it being. Lansdale manages to capture the feel of the genre and keeps it interesting to the modern reader as well.
This is highly recommended. It's a collection of short fiction, and it brilliantly captures the tone of the really great adventure heroes and their stories. It's an all-around winner.
Looking for a good book? <em>Dead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire</em> is a collection of short stories by Joe R. Lansdale that pays tribute to some of the greatest fictional heroes in adventure and fantasy literature while keeping the modern reader delightfully entertained.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Not a bad story in the bunch!
While the author does a great job of honoring the works of both Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard (two of his particular favorites), at times he also manages to bring to mind the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.
Reading the stories in this book will introduce the reader to a variety of characters and a multitude of strange beasts: A princess warrior of the planet Venus, a mysterious practioner of the dark arts known simply as Conjure Man, giants, bird-people, old west vampires, red-neck zombies, and Martian ice sharks. This book offers something for just about every taste in the classic pulp spectrum.
I would recommend Dead on the Bones to anyone who enjoys classic short fiction in the fantasy, pulp, or sci-fi genres.
***Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this title
Most recent customer reviews
Being in my thirties, the word pulp has always cast a positive shadow. For my life, pulp has been funny stories with monsters and luck.Read more