Friday, February 11, 2011
Beat to a Pulp: Round One
So I know I’m behind the curve on reviewing this book, since it came out months ago and has already been praised and lauded by readers more on the ball than me. But I’m gonna toss my two coins in the pot (to mix three or four metaphors there) and just say it anyway: Beat to a Pulp is a terrific anthology and you need to read it right away.
Mostly culled from the website of the same name (but with a few original to this collection), Beat to a Pulp, edited by David Crammer and Elaine Ash, delivers a wide array of pulpy goodness, from the hard-boiled to science-fiction to outright horror… there’s even a couple of pirate stories, for god’s sake.
Many of the writers gracing its pages were familiar to me already, and they didn’t disappoint. Charles Ardai, Hilary Davidson, Ed Gorman, Patricia Abbott, and Jedidiah Ayres all turn in stories every bit as good as you’d expect from writers of their caliber.
But there were others that I didn’t know as well that had me jotting their names down to look up more by them. I was particularly impressed by Mike Sheeter (“The All-Weather Phantom”) and Andy Henion (“Anarchy Among Friends: a Love Story”)—writers after my own black and twisted little heart.
The coup de grace of this terrific collection, however, is the closing essay by noir/pulp historian Cullen Gallagher. In less than sixteen pages he gives us a concise and entertaining history of Pulp, both as a commercial venture and as an artistic endeavor. I came away with a much better understanding of the genre my work springs from, and I’m grateful for that.
And I’m grateful to Crammer and Ash for putting out this superior collection.