Tuesday, November 15, 2005
New Adventure Review
"In the spirit of early-20th-century pulp magazines, Adventure is the debut volume of an annual anthology of original fiction that will feature, according to editor Chris Roberson, stories from all genres with the common thread of literary sophistication, pulse-pounding action, and unadulterated adventure. Featured in this collection's inaugural offering are 17 wide-ranging works by some of the biggest names in speculative fiction, including Michael Moorcock, Mike Resnick, Kage Baker, Paul Di Filippo, Neal Asher, and John Meaney.
Di Filippo's 'Eel Pie Stall' is an after-death adventure chronicling a dead woman's passage through the bardo -- a Tibetan term referring to the surreal realm that a soul inhabits between lives -- and her unlikely enlightenment. In 'The Island of Annoyed Souls,' Resnick continues the continent-hopping adventures of Right Reverend Honorable Doctor Lucifer Jones, this time in the perilous Amazon jungle. When the freewheeling Jones discovers an island inhabited by talking animals -- and the mad scientist who created them -- he must find a way to escape before he's forced into embracing his more primitive side. 'Prowl Unceasing' by Roberson pits the young Dutch physician Abraham Van Helsing against a nightmarish Southeast Asian legend. Chris Nakashima-Brown's 'Ghulistan Bust-Out' throws a TV producer filming on the treacherous Afghan frontier into a necromantic, demonic adventure worthy of Conan himself!
Featuring science fiction, fantasy, western, mystery, and horror stories, this diverse collection is first-rate all the way. From the consistently high quality of the stories throughout to the outstanding cover art by John Picacio, Adventure, Vol. 1 is easily one of the best -- and most memorable -- anthologies to come along in years."
In this same installment of Explorations Allen also reviews another new MonkeyBrain Books offering, the Win Scott Eckert-edited Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe :
Myths for the Modern Age is a nonfiction anthology that examines Philip José Farmer's vast Wold Newton family tree, a group of heroic and villainous literary figures -- Tarzan, Doc Savage, Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, Philip Marlowe, and James Bond, to name a few -- that Farmer saw as members of an extended generic family.
From the Wold Newton family tree's bizarre inception -- a fallen meteor near an English village in 1795 caused beneficial genetic mutations to residents, endowing them and their descendants with extremely high intelligence and strength -- to speculation about what literary figures are and are not possible descendants, Myths for the Modern Age includes almost 30 essays (many by Farmer himself) that will spur endless hours of lively discussion between genre fans. For example, in "D Is for Daughter, F Is for Father" by Mark K. Brown, he theoretically connects Sue Grafton's private investigator Kinsey Millhone with the "Farmerian Monomyth." Is she really part of the Wold Newton family tree?
Informative, witty, and endlessly fascinating, this anthology of post-Farmerian speculation should appeal to literary scholars, genre aficionados, and lay readers alike. Science fiction and pop culture fans who enjoy this kind of mind-expanding literature should also check out other nonfiction MonkeyBrain releases like The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana by Jess Nevins, Wizardry & Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy by Michael Moorcock, and Projections:Science Fiction in Literature and Film, edited by Lou Anders -- all invaluable resources for genre historians."