April 9, 2012

Pulp Fiction, 21st Century Style

Gradually, I've been introducing myself to the vast world of pulp literature that exists - much of it is due to the fact that my reading has focused primarily on non-fiction; my comic reading has declined severely (due to lack of funds) and my fiction consists of catching up on books purchased at Borders before they went out of business).

However, thankfully Radio Archives has taken the charge in not only presenting some really good pulp audiobooks, but also providing some ebooks at a very affordable price.

I've written about my love of The Spider, Master of Men in a previous blog post, so I was surprised that one of their initial audiobook offerings was a story entitled Prince of the Red Looters. (It's also available as an ebook, but more on that a little later). Downloading the Zip file, extracting the mp3s and loading them onto my phone, what I expected to be a casual listen while commuting back and forth downtown turned into a marathon weekend listening session - Nick Santa Maria does a great job not only giving the narrative the appropriate drive, but adopting a variety of voices and dialects. (Thankfully, Robin Riker provides voices for various female characters in the book). It's a pretty smart story - the Spider meets his nemesis, the Fly - and it begins in the middle of a sword duel. If this audiobook demonstrates anything, it's that Norvell Page's writing sounds as exciting and as dramatic as it reads.

Cut to a month later, and two weeks ago - the small webcomic studio in Brazil asked me if I would write an eight page story featuring the old pulp character The Black Bat. Now, I could order one of Moonstone's many works featuring the character, but wanted to avoid accidentally plagiarizing another's work. So I went back to Radio Archives and purchased their ebook version of Brand of the Black Bat

With the e-book editions, you get a zip file containing three versions of the book - one on PDF (for PCs/laptops), one for Kindles, and one for iPads/Nooks/other readers. The book itself is a great origin story (which, given that the character was created around the same time as Batman, has a lot of uncomfortable similarities). It's a brisk read (a little over 100 pages), and quite honestly, should be on anyone's pulp fiction reading list.

Just received an e-mail confirming that I was selected to be a proofreader for future e-book selections. (And if you don't find that ironic, you should troll through past entries on this blog). But if Radio Archives' continues the high quality of work that it's done so far, this is a resource well worth checking out.

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