Editor, Audrey Parente
Featuring a never-before published cover by Norman Saunders, the King of the Pulp Artists!
Pulp Adventures pushes the envelope again with a mash-up of horror, western, mystery, and romance!
From the classic pulp fiction side of the tracks:
Charles Boeckman, the jazz musician turned pulp author of Strictly Poison and Other Stories, delivers a tale of music and hatred with "Murder, Maestro, Please!" This story originally appeared in Famous Detective Stories, just as the publication's style was changing with the times. The fiction was becoming increasingly hardboiled, but also dwelt on characters' psychological problems, rather than blood 'n thunder action. Boeckman's stories of sad losers attempting to elevate their lot in life was perfect for this transition -- in the 1950s, he was a frequent contributor to digest fiction magazines like Manhunt, Justice! and Homicide.
David Wright O'Brien penned many fantastic tales under his own name, but he also used pseudonyms like John York Cabot and Duncan Farnsworth (an homage to his uncle, Farnsworth Wright, editor of Weird Tales), sometimes in collaboration with other writers. Pulp Adventures presents a four-faceted look at David Wright O'Brien -- first a biographical piece by Audrey Parente, second a facetious essay by Wright himself from the March 1942 Amazing Stories, and two stories (written under his pseudonyms) from the same pulp magazine. "The Fantastic Twins" is a farce about an ad-copy writer given a special gift, while "Afraid to Live" takes a more serious tone with the reporter protagonist racing against time to save potential suicide victims.
Additional pulp classics include "Killer Wanted — First Class" by Geoffrey North from Private Detective Stories, and "The Word Wranglers" by Stephen Payne from the March 1949 issue of West.
"Murder, Maestro, Please!" by Charles Boeckman
"My Stripper Past" by Michael Bracken
"Killer Wanted — First Class" by Geoffrey North
"The Doom That Came to Al Capone" by David Bernard
"Benny the Beezer" by John E. Petty
"Janeck’s Death" by Dan McCarthy
"Woolworth’s ... For All Your Defensive Needs" by C.J. Henderson
"The Word Wranglers" by Stephen Payne
"The Fantastic Twins" by John York Cabot (David Wright O’Brien)
"Afraid to Live" by Duncan Farnsworth (David Wright O’Brien)
"Monkey Men" by Johnny Strike
Editorial by Audrey Parente
"The Absurd Tale of a Real Writer: David Wright O'Brien" by Audrey Parente
"Meet the Author" by David Wright O’Brien
"Anatomy of a Cover" by Rich Harvey
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Bold Venture Press is back with another new issue of Pulp Adventures, #28 for Winter 2018. We get not just another Norman Saunders cover, but a previously never published cover! With it we also get to see some of the preliminary sketches he did and what the original plans for it were. As always, a mix of old and new pulp in a wide range of genres: mystery, western, horror, adventure, pulp hero and more. We even get two stories from the same author, but they were published under two different pseudonyms in the same pulp magazine! From classic pulp we get the following: • “Murder, Maestro, Please!” by Charles Boeckman, which I thought fit well with the cover artwork. It appeared in Famous Detective Stories in the ’50s (though this isn’t noted in the issue). It focuses on sad lovers trying to improve their lives, and is more psychological than the usual fast-action pulp story. Bold Venture has put out some collections of Boeckman’s works, along with an autobiography. • “Killer Wanted — First Class” by Geoffrey North comes from Private Detective Stories. Here a PI is on the trail of the killer of a sheriff, at the request of the sheriff’s nephew. • “The Word Wranglers” by Stephen Payne comes from the March 1949 issue of West. Both these pulp reprints include the original illustrations. • David Wright O’Brien, like many pulp authors, wrote tales under his own name and several other names, such as John York Cabot and Duncan Farnsworth (this as an homage to his uncle, Farnsworth Wright, editor of Weird Tales), as well as collaborating with other writers. He wrote over a hundred stories, most in the fantasy/sf field, but his career (and life) was cut short when he was killed in action in WWII. For this we get an article about him by Audrey Parente. Then we get a humorous essay on himself from the March 1942 issue of Amazing Stories, and two stories under two different pseudonyms he used: “The Fantastic Twins” by Cabot and “Afraid to Live” by Duncan Farnsworth. Both have the original interior artwork by the same artist. “Fantastic Twins” is a humorous tale of an ad-copy writer given a special gift. “Afraid to Live” is more serious, about a report trying to save potential suicides. For new fiction we get: • “My Stripper Past” by Michael Bracken is an interesting first-person story of, well, a former stripper. • Two stories: “The Doom That Came to Al Capone” by David Bernard and “Benny the Beezer” by John E. Petty are more or less in the style of H.P. Lovecraft. • “Janeck’s Death” by Dan McCarthy is a bit of a crime tale. • “Woolworth’s … For All Your Defensive Needs” by C.J. Henderson, which is one of his PI Jack Hagee stories. Bold Venture has put out four volumes of stories with this character. • “Monkey Men” by Johnny Strike is an interesting little story, to say more will give too much away. As always, a great collection of stories. If I had any complaint it is that in this issue the sources for the reprinted stories aren’t told in the issue itself. I hope that was just an oversight.