Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Quest for Pulp Speed

A little over a month from now, thousands of writers will once again attempt the NaNoWriMo challenge. Once again, many will fall.

NaNoWriMo is simple: write fifty thousand words in thirty days. An admirable goal, and a challenging one. For the past ten years, the success rate hovered between a high of 19% in 2009 and 2010 to just 8% last year. To put things in perspective, NaNoWriMo has the same attrition rate as selection for the US Navy SEALs, Air Force Pararescue, and Delta Force. NaNoWriMo winners are rightly considered among the writing elite.

But if fifty thousand words in thirty days sounds too easy to you, take on the Pulp Speed challenge.

Enemy at Blood River ~血の川にいる敵~ [Part I]

Previous: Woman Scorned ~怒妻大敵~
Next: Enemy at Blood River (Part II)

by Rawle Nyanzi

[Part I]

Kikuta Mai and Yonekura Sana walked a tough road as outlaws. They had killed samurai, and thus had to flee their home province of Bai-an, the most civilized and powerful of all the provinces in the land of Hinomoto. To evade bounty hunters, the outlaw women had to hop from village to village and inn to inn, living off of Sana's meager supply of gold coins.

Then the gold ran out, and Mai and Sana had nothing at all.

The two women trudged down a dirt road, seeking whatever shelter they could; they hoped soem farmer or merchant would take mercy on two young women without a home.

"Maybe I should sell my sword and my clothes," Mai said. Mai and Sana did not wear the kimono typical of Hinomoto; rather, they wore the dando, a garment of barbarian origin that fit closely around the chest and torso, but flared out at the waist to allow the legs free movement. Mai wore a maidservant's dando, black with white fimbriations and accompanied by a ruffled headband, long white socks, and soft black shoes. At her waist was a long thin sword, also of barbarian origin, known as a repiya, or "rapier" as Sana insisted it was pronounced. Sana wore a more elaborate green-and-blue dando with a white cloth about her shoulders -- the dando of a female scholar. Even in their current battered and wrinkled state, their dando and Mai's sword would fetch a very high price, more than enough for them to purchase more conventional clothing and weapons.

"I have thought about it, but if we're going to do that, I should only sell my clothes. Yours might find their way back to the daimyo," Sana said, referring to the daimyo of Bai-an.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Publishing Announcement: INVINCIBLE by Kit Sun Cheah

invincible final.png

In an Empire beset by internal rebellion and ferocious yaomo, the elite Shenwujun stands ready to defend human civilization. Among the Shenwujun there is none finer than Ensign Zhang Tianyou, who earned the nickname Zhang the Invincible. During a mission to quash a nascent rebellion, a detachment Shenwujun discover evidence that the Grand Union is supporting the rebels. Zhang is tasked to investigate and destroy this new threat.

But will Zhang the Invincible meet his match at the hands of the rebel called Han the Demon Sword?


INVINCIBLE is a novella running to 16700 words, and won an Honorable Mention at the Q1 2017 Writers of the Future contest. I am pleased to announce that I will be publishing it on Steemit, my blog and in a serial format. The first installment will go live on 1st October. At the conclusion of the story, it will be compiled as an ebook for sale on Smashwords, Amazon and other leading distributors.

If you would like more long-form SFF fiction from my Hugo and Dragon Award nominated alter ego, please check out NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS on Amazon.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Getting Started: No One Makes The Same Dish

Nick Cole and Jason Anspach are doing will with their not-Star Wars series right now. There are others--myself included--who also decided to fork George's revival of the pulp tradition, but I can already tell you that what they decided to emphasize and what I picked are not the same things. The result will be very different stories, even if you can see where we're coming from and building upon.

The point? Don't fear building off the same set of sources. You don't even have to see this in literature; a simple viewing of any given episode of Iron Chef will be plenty sufficient to demonstrate that point. Go ahead, write your own not-Star Wars. Show us what you've got. It's not going to be what Nick & Jason do, or what I do, or anyone else. Maybe you like focusing on the underworld, the rogues, and the bounty hunters. Maybe you love the romance, the fleet battles, knights and princesses. Maybe you want to get with the grunts, the fireteams, and the soldier-eye-view of things. Whatever it is, write it and bring it.

Don't worry about if it's as good as another's. You'll get better with practice; E.E. Smith didn't begin his writing career as the legend that wrote Galactic Patrol, and George did films before Star Wars, so don't sweat it. Next time that a Call For Submissions gets posted--here, or where one of our friends' post--read it and go for it. The worst that will happen is that they will pass, and everyone collections rejection slips early on; it comes with the territory.

Just do it. Just create. The audience is waiting for good, earnest storytelling. You'll get the help you need along the way, so just do it and don't worry about it.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Sword That Breaks Stone ~斬岩刀~

Download: PDF

By Rawle Nyanzi

Shirato Katsunori sought to regain his lost honor. After he failed his daimyo in a decisive battle, he ran away, choosing to live as a ronin rather than committing honorable suicide. For a year he wandered the land, offering his sword to anyone willing to give him a meal. The work satisfied him and kept him sharp, and every robber learned to fear his blade.

But when he heard of Zanganto, the sword that breaks stone, he quit the life of a sellsword and sought its wielder so that he may regain his place in the court of his former daimyo.

His quest brought him to the fishing village of Kawaguchi. Goro, the famed wielder of Zanganto, had made his home there, and Katsunori intended to steal the famed blade.

Monday, September 18, 2017

We're Bringing Wonder Back

The dust-filled wastelands of the dry sea beds of Barsoom. The menace emanating from every leaf in Arboria on Mongo. Hungry tigers in a still-dark African wilderness. The moon reflecting off the surface of the wine-dark sea at night during a full moon, and that same depth seen in the jet-black opal eyes of the sea siren now holding you as her prize aboard her ship.

Wonder and terror, too often too close together, but not often seen enough these days in the stories told to us in our media. Just as Romance and Escape are ruthlessly run down and then run through by the killjoys seeking to keep Mankind in a prison invisible, so too is Wonder. Terror, to a degree, is allowed only because it is useful to those John C. Wright correctly calls "Morlocks"- and once expended of use, it too shall be pitted and roasted to be consumed utterly by them.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Devil May Cry--Simple Virtues and Sincere Optimism

Some time ago I left a comment on the Castalia House blog about my love for the ending of Devil May Cry 4. Today I'm going to expand on that with a point-by-point analysis of the final scenes of Devil May Cry 4, from climax to denouement, and explain what it has that you will not see in western media today. Obviously, there are INTENSE SPOILERS henceforth.

The climax of the game is a confrontation between the young rebellious hero, Nero, and a powerful magician named Sanctus. Sanctus is the Arch-priest of a cult-ish “church” worshiping Sparda, a demon who supposedly rebelled against Hell in ancient times, and constituted himself the guardian of the human race, defending them from other demonic powers. Nero had served this cult as a sort of Knight-Templar demon-hunter, until demonic power begins to manifest in him, resulting in his arm warping into a grotesque luminous claw. A mysterious, seemingly immortal man attacks the church and Nero is sent to hunt him down, whereupon he discovers that the church is experimenting with the very demonic magic that it claims to abhor, and the man who attacked them is Dante, none other than the son of a human woman and Sparda himself. Dante is a rakish demon-hunter-for hire bent on destroying the cult. The church imprisons Nero and his beloved, Kyrie, inside a magical super-weapon, but Dante frees the former and sets him on the path to rescue his betrothed. Facing Sanctus before Kyrie's magical prison, Nero defeats him in single combat. Sanctus, wielding the Sword of Sparda, begs it to turn the tide:

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Can Steemit Revitalise Short Fiction?

A century ago, pulp magazines were the popular entertainment of the working class. Cheap and ubiquitous, the pulps brought exciting tales of action and adventure to the everyman. Fiction was no longer the pursuit of the leisure class; it was now within the reach of regular people. And the secret was length.

Friday, September 15, 2017

PulpRev Newsletter - It's Happening!

We're going to do this manually, no autoresponders, no code, just humans sharing information and helping everyone make real connections. Maybe at some point in the future necessity will change the process, but for now, the PulpRev newsletter will have a human touch at every point of contact. So if you want to be in on this, send an e-mail to scoop[-at-]pulprev[-dot-]com. Your email can say anything from "Hands up and give me your newsletters!" to "yo". Just put "newsletter" in the title so we know that's the reason you are reaching out. The newsletter will offer information and links to the newest releases from PulpRev authors, calls for submissions, and complimentary book offerings. Your email address will not be sold or shared with any outside parties.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

How to Slay a Bandit ~山賊を殺す方法~

Download: PDF

by Rawle Nyanzi

Hanazono Teruko kicked and screamed as a mountain bandit carried her away over his broad shoulder. The town burned all around her as the bandits' dragons ravaged every street. Everyone surrendered whatever valuables they had, and much rice found itself strapped to dragons' saddles.

Mighty Bai-an Province had felt the bite of flying raiders.

"You're a real beauty! I should come here more often," the bandit said as he slid his hands up and down Teruko's legs. Like many women of means in Bai-an Province, Teruko did not wear the kimono typical throughout the land. Instead, she wore a garment of barbarian origin that fit tightly on the upper body, yet flared out at the waist and gave the legs great room to maneuver. The people of Bai-an Province called this clothing the "dando."

"Put me back, you animal!" Teruko said. The bandit threw her to the ground, then bound her wrists and ankles.

"Shut your mouth. Bai-an's warriors tremble before our dragons. You belong to us now," the bandit said. He laid Teruko across the saddle of his dragon, then tied her to a pommel on the front. He mounted the great beast and signaled to his comrades to gather up their loot and follow him back to their mountain lair. Teruko screamed as the dragon took flight.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

ROCKTOBER and NaNoWriMo'17

September means only two months until NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a marathon event focusing on creative writing from November 1 to November 30. Traditionally, the goal is to write a 50,000-word novel in the timeframe. It's evolved to allow various goals (want to write 100,000-words instead? That's cool... or perhaps you'd like to try Pulp Speed One for a month? Awesome!)

As NaNoWriMo's site says,
"NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel."
So if you've thought about writing a novel (or for some of us, another one), why not set aside a month and go for it?

Yes, November seems far away, but it'll be here before you know it! The bonus of participating is having a bunch of other writers going through the process at the same time in a mad dash of festivity. It's usually pure heart and pure fun so it's a perfect fit for PulpRev!
One could say in this instance.... Pulp Revelry!

Writing Your Protagonist: The Thinking Man

The Fighting-Man is the default protagonist, but there are other archetypes. They arose out of defining themselves against the Fighting-Man, often in the form of a tradeoff: he's really good at (X) but terrible at (Y) because (Reasons). The first of these to arise was the man who succeeds in his challenges through his superior wisdom or cunning- he out-thinks his opposition. I'm making this simple and call it "The Thinking Man".

He's defined by not being a Man of Action. He's not the sort to throw down, and his chase performance pretty much relies on him not being on foot. He relies on something that represents his superior intellect, wisdom, or cunning to handle any situation that would get a Fighting-Man into displays of athletics or skill at arms. Here is your Wizard, your Shaman, your Gadgeteer- and your Trickster.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Dragons Ascendant!

DragonCon just concluded as of this post. Folks are checking out of their hotels and making their way home, even as I write this, and that means that the Dragon Awards for 2017 are now concluded and the awards handed out.

Go on, take a moment to go over there and look over that list. I bet that you recognize more than a few of the winning authors, and, well, I'll let Brian Niemeier fill you in on the rest here. You may like them, or not, but each of them does their best to please their audience and satisfied that firm demands for fantastic fiction filled with action, romance, thrills, chills, and all that good stuff that makes fiction fun to read.

This is a great morale booster for both we at PulpRev and our friends at SuperversiveSF, and a sound rejection of the killjoys that want to reduce everything to their wretched Pink Slime "fiction". Hell, even our gamer pals got a boost with Breath of the Wild winning its category.

See what I mean about keeping the spirits up? This is the payoff; when you and your guys look like you're having fun, then others will want to see what all the fun is about and--very often--want to join in on the shenanigans. People want to be with other people having fun! We're having a ball of a time here, even when we're at home doing the solitary stuff that's necessary to keep this party going.

Sure, there's work to be done- lots of it. But that work can be a joyful thing, a fun time in its own right, and that's how we're going to bring back what should never have gone away: by making the scene too much fun to ever want to turn away from it ever again.