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Pulp Adventures #16 Paperback – January 17, 2015
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
ARTHUR J. BURKS: Burks began writing in 1920. After being stationed in the Caribbean and inspired by the native voodoo rituals, Burks began to write stories of the supernatural that he sold to the magazine Weird Tales. In 1928 he resigned from the Marine Corps and began writing full-time. He became one of the "million-word-a-year" men in the pulps by virtue of his tremendous output. He wrote in the neighborhood of 800 stories for the pulps. He was well known for being able to take any household object that someone would suggest to him on a dare, and instantly generate a plot based around it. His byline was commonplace on pulp covers. He wrote primarily in the genres of aviation, detective, adventure and weird menace. Throughout the '60s, he wrote many works on metaphysics and the paranormal. In his later years, he lectured on paranormal activities and gave readings. -- Wikipedia JOHNSTON McCULLEY (1883–1958) was the author of hundreds of stories, fifty novels, numerous screenplays for film and television, and the creator of the character Zorro. Aside from Zorro, McCulley created many other pulp characters, including Black Star, The Spider, The Mongoose, and Thubway Tham. Many of McCulley's characters—The Green Ghost, The Thunderbolt, and The Crimson Clown—were inspirations for the masked heroes that have appeared in popular culture from McCulley's time to the present day. -- from Wikipedia
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The highlight of the issue is a reprinting of a pair of stories by Arthur J. Burks. Burks was, during his time, a very prolific author who is mostly overlooked today. I think this is due to his working in a wide range of genres (fantasy, sf, aviation, weird menace, horror, and adventure), but few continuing stories or anything that really took off, though he seems to have been very popular at the time. He did write the interesting Dorus Noel series, reprinted as "Grottos of Chinatown"
The two novels by Burks reprinted here are “Survival” and “Exodus.” These appeared in "Marvel Science Stories" in 1938 (the August and November issues). We also get an interesting introduction to these stories that gives some background on their creation that ties to L. Ron Hubbard. I won’t give anything way.
The setup of the novels is interesting, and I have to wonder how many other stories were written with a similar storyline at the time. The United States has been invaded by Mongols and most of the population wiped out! This occurs about two years prior to the start of this story, apparently set in the 1930s when it was published. What few remain take refuge under the Rocky Mountains. Yes, they burrow under and setup a new civilization, the United States of Sanctuary. And that’s just the beginning of “Survival.” The survivors, under the leadership of David Haslup and his descendants, will survive for many generations, until the 12th descendant of David Haslup, also named David Haslup, works to lead his people back to the surface at the end of “Survival” about 500 years later.
“Exodus” continues the storyline with the re-conquest of America thanks to the new super-science of the Sanctuarians. However, that is not the only thing that sets these stories apart. They also focus on the survival of man through several generations, and their experiences through war, struggling for survival, and new religions, especially in the first story.
Filling out the volume are three short stories. We get a Thubway Tham story from Johnston McCulley. This was a popular series character of a lisping pickpocket who mainly targeted those who deserve it. We get a science fiction tale from Charles E. Fritch and semi-spicy story from L.H. Hayum.
Overall, this is a great volume, with another Norman Saunders cover.
(Another pair of Arthur J. Burks stories that may be of interest are “Manape the Mighty” and “The Mind Master” which tell of hero Lee Bentley going up against mad scientist Caleb Barter. Wildside Press has reprinted the pair in one volume.)
The next volume of Pulp Adventures is planned for May 2015. I hope it’s up to the same standards as the last two. I look forward to it.