Saturday, March 15, 2008

Space Opera Returns

We abandon Startling Stories for a while to look at a new novel that will appeal to pulp fans.

Space Vulture is a new novel by long-time friends Gary K. Wolf and Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark. As young boys growing up in Illinois they were introduced to Science Fiction by a pulpy adventure novel called Space Hawk. Years later they decided to create their own pulp adventure for modern readers. Gary K. Wolf is most famous for creating the character Roger Rabbit, and his co-author is most certainly know for other endeavors altogether. Archbishop Myers provides a title rarely (if ever) seen gracing the cover of a Science Fiction novel, so the reader is intrigued even before opening the book.
The cast of the new novel includes Space Vulture, the most feared and deadly criminal in the galaxy; Galactic Marshal Victor Corsaire, the galaxy's most famous crime fighter; Gil Terry, minor criminal and conman; Cali Russell, administrator of a small colony; and Eliot and Regin Russell, her sons.
The book's three main characters leap out of the pages of pulps long-gone. Space Vulture could hold his own with Ming the Merciless and Blackie DuQuesne in a bragging contest, and Victor Corsaire would fit right in with Captain Future. Unfortunately we also have the bane of Science Fiction, terminally cute and super intelligent moppetts. The kids aren't as bad as they could be, but they can be a bit much. It could be the "Wesley Crusher Syndrome" where a kid is pretty much smarter than the adults he has to contend with.
The author's writing styles are smoothly blended throughout the book which makes for easy reading. The book could stand to be a little shorter, but it doesn't drag. The authors provide enough representatives of different alien races to create a goodly variety of action figures if someone was so inclined to put them out. I found the Lizardo especially fun and would enjoy seeing more of them. And don't forget the zombies.
The plot speeds along as characters are captured, escape, get recaptured and turn the tables on their opponents. The authors do not claim they are writing "Deep Thoughts" of the type to bog down an otherwise good story, but instead they deliver a fun adventure novel with plenty of action and pulp cliches. There are enough escapes, chases, fights and plot twists to make a 12-chapter for Republic in their glory days of the Forties. The authors also leave things open for a possible sequal and I would be more than willing to read it.
Check out Space Vulture. It's a fun Book.

Space Vulture, by Gary K. Wolf and Archbishop John J. Myers, a Sci Fi Essential Book, a Tom Doherty Associates Book, published by Tor, New York, March, 2008. Hardcover, $24.95. Cover illustration by Glen Orbik.


Blogger JRSM said...

Hi: Is that an original cover, or an artfully modified old pulp cover, do you know?

6:40 PM  
Blogger John D. said...

It's original artwork by Glen Orbik

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Stu Shiffman said...

It was an interesting read, but some of the moral and ethical comment seemed right out of the Archbishop's playbook and less out of classic pulp (although most similar pulp heroes of the period were pure Nick Jutjaw with the Lone Ranger's ethics).

Still, pretty fun, great new cover, and it was good to see something new from the creator of Roger Rabbit!

5:54 PM  

Post a Comment