Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Tales of the Shadowmen in Asimov's
In his review column for the September issue of Asimov's, Paul Di Filippo includes a capsule review on JM Lofficier's first Tales of the Shadowmen anthology, which included my story "Penumbra."
After publishing their monumental encylopedia, Shadowmen (2003) and Shadowmen 2 (2004), subtitled respectively "Heroes and Villains of French Pulp Fiction" and "Heroes and Villains of French Comics," Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier took the next logical creative leap and commissioned an original anthology featuring many of the classic characters whose biographies had been given. The result, Tales of the Shadowmen: The Modern Babylon," is a feast of retro-styled thrills. A varied troupe of authors, including such familiar names as Robert Sheckley (in what must sure be one of his last appearances), Brian Stableford, Chris Roberson, and Terrance Dicks, bring all their affection for the famous creations of other authors into a postmodern melange of adventure. As you read these pieces, you can play the game of identifying the more familiar figures--Maigret, Lupin, Dupin, Robur, Holmes--before turning to the handy key at the rear of the book that tallies the various appearances of lesser-known personages. The stories range from low-key homages to gonzo outings. It takes Roberson, for instance, some convolutions to get Batman's parents on the French scene, but he does so expertly. A second volume of this series is already scheduled for 2006. With a third installment of Alan Moore's allied League of Extraordinary Gentlemen coming up soon as well, we'll have a banner year for interbook, trans-author commingling.Lofficier's anthos have been loads of fun to work on. I've got a story in the second volume, as well, and will very shortly be working on my contribution to the third. For someone with my affection for the pulps, Francophone or otherwise, they're a blast. (Oh, and as for "Dr. and Mrs. Wayne" being the parents of a certain dark knight detective, I admit nothing...)