Friday, May 24, 2019

The Pulp Classics Reading Club




We like to talk about the pulps and revolutions, but how many of our readers know what we're talking about? To the modern reader, the pulps are obscure, something something about barbarians and detectives and Star Wars.

The Pulp Revolution requires new stories, to be sure. But we also need both authors and readers who have reconnected with our lost history.

At the very least, PulpRev authors need readers who can laugh at our obscure inside jokes!

The first Conan story appeared in 1932, 87 years ago. Sam Spade debuted in 1930. Those characters took on a life of their own thanks to the power of their portrayal and have been kept alive by more recent movies.

Most folks, if they recognize those names at all, will likely think of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Humphrey Bogart rather than Robert E. Howard and Dashiell Hammett.

These are powerful cultural touchstones, saved from the wreck of 20th century publishing. But even they are fading.

We're sitting at an interesting place in history.

30 years ago, you had to work to find an original Conan story. You had to wear out shoe leather searching libraries and used book stores.

Today, you just have to trawl through Project Gutenberg or Wikisource.

But in either case, you have to know that Conan exists before you can search for him.

30 years ago, we had Arnold to remind us.

Today, Arnold is just the aging former governor of California.

Conan is a comedian.

Nobody except film buffs watch Bogart movies.

And nobody's heard of First Lensman Virgil Samms or Eric John Stark, Man Without a Tribe.

They're there for the reading, but who's going to read about them without first knowing they're worth reading about?

Don't worry though, I've got a plan.

I'm starting something I'm calling The Pulp Classics Reading Club. It's pretty simple: a free mailing list. Sign up and you'll get a classic short story in your inbox every Friday.

Each short story is a gateway to discovering a new author.

My goal is to reintroduce readers to the breadth, the depth, the excitement, and the fun of the pulps. One author at a time.

So if someone asks you, "What the heck is this Pulp thing you keep gabbing about?"

Send them my way. I'll show them.

The Making of DUNGEON SAMURAI

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DUNGEON SAMURAI was an experiment.
In 2018, I enjoyed a moderate degree of success on Steemit. After earning a hefty chunk of change from publishing short fiction online, I decided I would take the plunge and publish a full-length fiction piece. A web serial, a modern-day incarnation of the serial pulp novels of the 1930s.
I set myself several stringent criteria. Each chapter must be reasonably short, no more than 3000 words apiece without justification. Relentless forward momentum. Realistic combat and military strategy. A fairly popular genre that would attract a lot of readers.
Meeting the last criterion came easy. Isekai stories, stories in which a Japanese character (usually a male high schooler) is transported to a parallel world of fantasy and adventure, were, and are, extremely popular. But I find them to be utterly unrealistic, overly focused on fanservice and pretty special effects than tactics or characters or even storytelling.
I wanted to write my own isekai story. A story of a young man transported to a horrific death world and forced to fight through a terrifying dungeon populated with endless hordes of monsters, utilising classical Japanese martial arts.
And thus, DUNGEON SAMURAI was born.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

DUNGEON SAMURAI VOL. 1: KAMIKAZE is available for preorder!

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Yamada Yuuki is an ordinary college student with an extraordinary hobby: the classical martial art of Kukishin-ryu. Until one fateful day when a demon rips through the fabric of space-time, abducts everyone in his dojo, and transports them to another world.

To return home, Yamada and his friends must join forces with other displaced humans to conquer the dungeon that runs through the heart of the world. Standing in their way are endless hordes of bloodthirsty monsters and countless traps. Armed only with steel, faith and guts, they must battle their way through the winding catacombs to confront the demon waiting at the bottom floor.
Yamada was once a student. Now he must become a samurai.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Book Unreview: 9th of August

One of the signatures of PulpRev is our cheerful disdain of conventional genre boundaries. Where traditional publishers see a dividing line between fantasy, science fiction, romance and other genres, we draw on the older traditions that blended various aesthetics to create exciting tales. We do not box ourselves in by arbitrary genre distinctions; we embrace the freedom to create the most awesome tales possible.
But sometimes, genre-blending goes too far.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Isekai is not Japanese Europe in a Video Game

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Isekai stories are a staple of modern Japanese fiction. Featuring humans from modern-day Japan transported to another world, it seems there's a new isekai story published every month. Today, isekai stories are extremely popular.
And they are becoming extremely ridiculous.
The discerning reader will find much to complain about. Fanservice in place of character development. Main characters denser than neutron stars. Plot holes barely smoothed over by huge tracts of land. Coveniently overpowered magic, cliched societies, plot developments, over-reliance on gaming mechanics, the list goes on.
Most damning of all, in many isekai stories, after the protagonist is transported to his new world, his backstory no longer matters. His experiences, knowledge and culture are rendered either utterly irrelevant or pop up only to justify OP magic or technology.
That's not the point of isekai.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Way of the Pulps

A few days ago, I had the privilege of reading the synopsis of a trilogy being written by a fellow Singaporean. It was an honest-to-goodness Sword and Planet story, like Star Wars crossed with Final Fantasy. Holy warrior maidens, mind-altering magics, political intrigue, interstellar travel and warfare, it was like reading a revival of an old school pulp story. It had incredible potential.
Which is why it will never be published in Singapore.
I'm not exaggerating. The writer had shopped the first book in his trilogy to several Singaporean publishers. Only one responded, and he said that there was no market for science fiction in Singapore.
His tale affirms my stance: the Way of the Pulps is the only way for me.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

A Thirst for Beauty

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For a published writer, I realize I don't read a lot of fiction.
Between my work and my other responsibilities, I don't have a lot of spare time. A not-insignificant fraction of that time is usually spent chasing down avenues of research related to my current story. What little reading time I do have left is stolen from train rides, mindless chores, the odd half hour before bed.
Reading time is extremely precious to me. And I won't waste it reading trash.