Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pulp Modern: Issue #2

"It is a genial, festive season, and we love to muse upon graves, and dead bodies, and murders, and blood." -- Jerome K. Jerome

A fitting quote for the Christmas issue of Pulp Modern. (And don't you just love that cover?)

A lot of fantastic fiction in these pages, including a hilarious ghost story from Mr. Jerome, a British writer who worked in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. As with the first issue, there's a solid blend of crime, fantasy, horror, and western.

William Dylan Powell is writing consistently excellent stories, and he's got a nasty, straight-forward crime tale with "Ball and Chain." Shannon Price is enslaved to her asshole biker boyfriend, a fact she's determined to change. But change always comes at a price, doesn't it?

"Punishment and Crime" by Leland Neville is refreshingly different and (if you didn't already get this from the title...) turns the genre on its head. I'd never heard of Neville before, but I'll definitely be looking for his work in the future. This is a darkly funny story about an unlikely criminal that you won't soon forget.

JC Hemphill has a sharp fantasy/horror story with "The Void." Kirby and his frat boy friends wake up to discover a seemingly bottomless hole in the cement floor of the garage. Of course, the hole likes to eat people, but the real story is about Kirby and his disaster of a life.

I don't really know what to say about David James Keaton's "Three Ways Without Water (Or, The Day Roadkill, Drunk Driving, and the Electric Chair Were Invented)," other than that it's an apocalyptic western and you should read it. A truly strange and dizzying ride.

Many other very strong stories in here. John Kenyon has a trippy ride through the Southwest in "Gusano Gigante." Patti Abbott is masterful as ever with "Tidy," the story of a doctor with a bad habit who gets in way over his head. Overall, a great issue that you can check out at Amazon and CreateSpace.


  1. Thanks for the great review, Chris. David James Keaton's story is actually called "Three Ways Without Water." I screwed up the title and will have to run a correction in the next issue. As for the story itself, I think it's an example of surrealism, something I'd like to see more of in Pulp Modern (hint hint to writers out there reading this). I can imagine this being the sort of story Peckinpah might have adapted for screen somewhere in the early 1970s.

  2. On my list for sure. The cover reminds me of some of the old EC Comics covers.

  3. Yeah, I dig that surrealism.

    You'll enjoy it very much, Mr. Hayes.

  4. Thanks for the great review. Yes, I have Peckinpah coming out my ears, which is just as horrifying as it sounds. Pat Garrett, Alfredo Garcia, and Cable Hogue are on constant shuffle.

  5. What a great year for story collections. I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite one. The consistency in all of them has been astounding.

  6. aj-- When I was discussing the cover with Jeremy Selzer, one of the things I brought up was the famous EC comic cover with the guy holding a decapitated head in one hand and an axe in the other.