If you've read this blog at all, you know what I tend to write is dude-lit. (I coined that expression--where's my trademark symbol?) Not that I want to exclude female readership; just that I want to lure men away from their videogames and big screen TVs back to some modicum of literacy. I write the kind of stuff I would like to read. And I'm a man. But sometimes I do worry that a female reader will have trouble "getting it." Even though Radical Times has a "romantic" scene and the plot kinda' pivots around that relationship.
Well, it was a delight to discover that Sheila Deeth "gets it." Not only that, she liked it. I don't know yet if she'll be able to post this review to Amazon, so I'm posting below and I'm grateful to her for a thoughtful, well-written review.
I’m not sure technically what pulp fiction means, but to me it suggests high adventure, epic battles trimmed down to the scale of a few good men (or women too), honor and tortuous ethics and noble souls—all of which I found in Henry Brown’s Virtual Pulp #1. In olden days I guess the tales were printed on sacrificed trees, but today, as the title suggests, the wood-pulp’s purely virtual. (The book is available as a paperback though.)
The stories in this collection are united by battle: mythic on the fantasy frontier (with shades of my old favorite Michael Moorcock); almost steampunk with mis-matched airplanes in a dystopian future; historical in the civil war; and fought with legend and chivalry in the heyday of royal England—plus the one at the end that’s unplaceable and gripping and odd. The characters are a pleasing blend of depth and surface detail, actions sketching in past or future or both with no unnecessary soul-searching. Events are bigger than the people involved, and people matter more—each tale wholly different and enjoyably satisfying.
In old Britain I found myself listening too closely to the choice of words—my English ear searching for mis-steps in my native history I suppose. And in civil-war America I enjoyed learning my adopted country’s tale. But each story ends with a truly fascinating description of where it came from. Henry Brown’s research is almost as interesting as his telling. He certainly knows history, legends, and the evolution of ideas. And he knows stories.
Some of these characters leave the reader eagerly asking for more, particularly after learning that the author meant them that way. Perhaps Virtual Pulp #2 will be released soon to satisfy curiosity, or perhaps there'll be a series of tales of the Honor Triad, Rebble Rouser or the very mysterious Zombies.