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.


  1. I own the trade paperback. You can borrow anytime.
    And what the hell? Are you writing from a twitter or something?

  2. Mike Sheeter's piece rocked so hard. His always do.

  3. Jed, Sheeter was a nice surprise.
    BTW, the ending of your story, man... I couldn't decide whether to laugh my ass off or feel sick to my stomach. One of those things that stays with you for a while...

  4. Thanks, man. Making someone sick to their stomach is a badge of honor.

  5. Hi gents,

    I have BTAP Round One and what a cracking looking book it is. I’m dipping in and out, reading stories here and there; the standard is terrific.

    After Heath’s comments I decided to spend half an hour in a coffee shop this afternoon reading Jed’s tale...

    What can I say? My latte went cold and the sting in the tail left me with a similar mixture of feelings, but it was so darned good! My hat is doffed to you, Jed but you owe me a coffee!

    Mike Sheeter and Andy Henion’s efforts are next on my list.

    Best, Alan.

  6. Thanks, Alan. I sent you a coffee, but it may arrive cold.

  7. Thanks for the review, Heath. Gracious as always.

  8. Nice review. This is a superior collection. So many excellent stories in a very well-produced package.

  9. Thanks, Heath! I'm glad you liked ROUND ONE and appreciate the review.

  10. Heath, thank you so much for these kind words. Every bit helps in the promotion and publicity of a project such as this. I think of each story as my "baby," adopted with love, and it's wonderful to hear individuals single a few out as their favorites. Since everyone has different favorites, each "baby" gets a turn in the limelight. Thanks so much for your review.
    Elaine Ash

  11. Heath,
    Much gratitude to you for singling out All Weather Phantom for special notice. It's an honor to have made the cut in the company with writers like Jed Ayers and Andy Henion, and I have to say, David Cranmer and Elaine Ash were a real joy to work with.
    I'm digging the your stories quite a lot, too. I hope you'll be posting more of them soon. And I'll be diving into your essays too. They sound great Thanks again!

  12. Thanks, folks!
    And Mike, where can I read more of your stuff?

  13. Good review. I think the BTAP anthology sits right up there with Ellison's Dangerous Minds and the Dark Forces horror anthology published in the late 70s/ early 80s. The list of writers and quality of work surpasses anything I've seen from mainstream publishers.