PULP THIS

Use Slugline 2

I’ve used Final Draft since 2003, and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, it’s chock-full of features I don’t use and has become so bloated as to complicate the use of features that I do. Then about a month ago, Henry called and told me I had to start using Slugline 2. Henry is a […]

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Rules For Radicals

Paul Carson called Saul Alinsky, Satan, which naturally compelled me to read Rules For Radicals (1970), a nuts and bolts handbook for revolution, defined as the transferring of power from the powerful to the powerless. In other words, the dialectical opposite of Machiavelli’s The Prince, which describes how those with power can best hold on […]

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A Head Full of Ghosts

Is fourteen year-old Marjorie crazy or is she possessed? It’s a familiar setup, and Tremblay’s novel drags us through the first half of the novel with a lot of hand-wringing, family dinners, and vomiting before the inevitable exorcism. (Given how fond demons seem to be of possessing fourteen year-old girls, I’d give possession good odds). […]

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Trigger Mortis

TRIGGER MORTIS by Anthony Horowitz takes place in 1956 and immediately follows the events in Ian Fleming’s novel, Goldfinger. Horowitz does a remarkable job conjuring Fleming’s voice without dipping into pastiche. At the outset, we’re brought into the world of Grand Prix racing. Horowitz has poured a lot of research into the task, and the result kicks off […]

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Honeymoon in Hell

Fredric Brown’s novels, short stories, and short-shorts have found their way into many film and tv shows over the years, with and without attribution. What sets Brown apart from (and above) most science fiction writers of the dubiously named “Golden Age” of science fiction is his use of irony and humor. Such is not to […]

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The Charlie Hardie Trilogy

Step into a boilerplate Hollywood noir, then hold on, because you’re about to take a jump off a very steep cliff. If you’ve never read Duane Swierczynski, there are many places to start. All of them good. However, the Charlie Hardie trilogy is a masterwork in world-building as well as Swierczynski’s trademark humor and savagery.

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The Grifters

When I was fifteen, I picked up a copy of Jim Thompson’s Recoil, quite by accident, and his voice immediately caught me in its thrall. Like much of Thompson’s work, The Grifters is psychodrama thinly disguised as a pulpy, fast-paced crime thriller. It’s the story of a son and mother who, despite her best efforts, […]

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The Demolished Man

Like many pulp novels I’ve read, I found Bester’s The Demolished Man lying around in a used bookshop and fell in love with the title and cover, not realizing I’d stumbled onto a masterpiece.

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Dracula

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a parable of a sociopath. The eponymous antagonist feeds off the life-force of everyone with whom he is intimate, bringing nothing but tragedy, sorrow, and violence to everyone unfortunate enough to fall within his orbit. Despite Mr. Francis Coppolla’s romantic notions about the vampire, there is no final act of self-sacrifice for love […]

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