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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