The Skinny...

READING: American Gods by Gaiman

WRITING: Still figuring that out.

Thursday, March 14, 2013



Written by Percival Constantine

The second book in the Myth Hunter series: Dragon Kings of the Orient does not disappoint. I liked the first one and was quite interested in the idea of Elisa Hill, a myth hunter, and her allies heading east. I dig mythology, I do enjoy my martial arts movies and the like so if one adds a capable writer like Mr. Constantine and characters I'm interested in and familiar with this seemed a safe bet.

We get some interaction with the Masons this time out, specifically, a man named Shroud. In fact with the unusual Asami, a Japanese shapeshifter (introduced in the first Myth Hunter book), and Shroud making up half the cast we only have one person who we're relatively certain is on Elisa's side. Fifty percent solidarity in the pack is not great when having to go up against Chinese gods, dragons and of course Sun Wukong: the Monkey King.

Have I mentioned how much I dig mythology? I don't know a lot bout the Monkey King myth from China but from what I do know Mr. Constantine did a good job on characterization. I really liked Sun Wukong. The fleshing of Hill's mentor Max Finch was cool as well. I found myself wanting to learn more about him from back in his own myth hunting days. Elisa Hill was turned up a notch in the daring and bold category. We got more fights, action and new Asian weapon to help her cut down her foes. She took a more physical role in this book and I liked that quite a bit. She certainly rose to the otherworldly challenges she had no choice but to overcome. She did so in spades, too.

I was impressed with the amount of mythology and far east geography that pops up in this story. It was clear to me that Mr. Constantine didn't just guess. He did the leg work and researched. That counts with me.

I would certainly recommend reading the Myth Hunter series to anyone looking for modern day mythology and action in their literary diet. The epilogue absolutely hooked me and I better not have to wait long to read book three. I am not a patient man.

New Pulp. It Satisfies.


Monday, March 4, 2013


SINBAD THE NEW VOYAGES (Airship27 Productions)

Lets start by quoting a press release from New Pulp:

Writers Nancy Hansen, I.A. Watson and Derrick Ferguson offer up three classic Sinbad tales to rival those of legend while adding a familiar sensibility from the cult favorite Sinbad movies of FX master, Ray Harryhausen.”

There is an important distinction there. Master Harryhausen's films are a big source of the tomes inspiration. I freakin' loved those films as a lad. To my pleasant surprise they still hold up today. I've never read Arabian Nights (1001 Nights) so this distinction was all I needed to know. I wanted to check out this book.

Admittedly I was reluctant to accept the idea of a supporting cast that had been cooked up to travel along with Sinbad: a female samurai, a viking berserker and an archer from Gaul. I think it must be the purist that bubbles up out of me periodically. I thought it was a horrible idea. I also thought Teenage Ninja Turtles was ridiculous and wouldn't go anywhere when it first broke. Even I can be wrong once or twice.

There are three tales woven in this book from names that are far from unknown to New Pulp audiences: Nancy Hansen, I.A. Watson and Derrick Ferguson. Each bring their 'A' game. I greatly enjoyed each and every story. I certainly wanted more after finishing the book. It was devoured, this collection! There is action a plenty, drama, the expected fantasy element with monsters to fight and magic deal with including a particularly wretched witch. I thought it was interesting that each writer told a different tale, but each had a voice that was unique and all were definitively Sinbad tales worthy to stand next to the Harryhausen films. Those three characters that joined Sinbad in all the tales were deftly handled and to me at least seemed to belong there. (I'd like a crack at writing solo tales for all three, frankly) It all worked quite well together and made for a wondrous read for this fantasy-adventure lover.

Not to be outdone by the tales is the impressive interior artwork handled by Ralf van der Hoeven with Bryan Fowler throwing down some cool cover art.

Props must go out to Ron Fortier for coming up with and organizing this idea into the finely polished treasure that pleased me to no end. I really can't wait for future volumes.

This is a Must-Have New Pulp Read!

C. William Russette