Thursday, May 24, 2007

"The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril"- a review

Hi, friends. Don here with my first book review for The Pulp Collective. I barely got the book out of the Miskatonic University Library archives with my life intact, and between the security guards, their dogs, and that... thing they sent after me, I'm lucky to be writing this.

In his first novel, "The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril", Paul Malmont weaves together an interesting tapestry of pulp-fact and pulp-fiction. The novel throws a huge handful of pulp writers into a firestorm of a plot involving Chinatown tong wars, biological weapons, a vengeful Chinese warlord, and a shambling, undead H.P. Lovecraft.

It really is (to use a horrible cliche) a roller-coaster of a novel.
It begins with a bet, a story-telling competition between bitter rivals Walter Gibson (writer of The Shadow) and Lester Dent (writer of Doc Savage). Along the way, it snowballs to draw in the writers' significant others, along with a handful of other pulpsters: a mysterious Robert Heinlein, a cocky young L. Ron Hubbard (who, surprisingly, was my favorite character), E.E. "Doc" Smith (and his doughnuts), and a gun-slingin' Louis L'Amour. The book's relentless pace and ever-expanding cast leaves the reader a bit breathless, but always wanting to read "just one more chapter."

Many pulp-fans have complained that many of the "facts" in the book were changed or invented. I'm not one of those complaining fans, although the fabrications do stick out like a sore thumb if the reader is "in the know." C'mon, though: it's a really fun ride, and a true pulp fan should be able to set aside those fabrications and just enjoy it. I give this book my highest recommendation.

(PS: The book just came out in it's paperback form, so you can pick it up for cheap. Also, I've exchanged a few emails with the writer, and he's indicated there may be a sequel in the works! Stay tuned...)

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