TITLE: THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF PULP HEROES 2
PUBLISHER: THE ALCHEMY PRESS (http://alchemypress.wordpress.com)
A free copy of this anthology was provided by Peter Coleborn, the publisher and editor-in-chief. He asked me to review three upcoming collections. The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes 2 is the third and final one. I uploaded the PDF he sent me to my kobo.
BLURB FROM THE COVER
“From the arid plains of Mars to the canyons of Manhattan; the foetid jungle to the naked jungle. Demented criminals versus dark heroes with sinister powers. The flash of steel in the palaces of long-forgotten civilizations or along the sterile corridors of impossible spacecraft. Swords against sorcery or sword and planet.”
Following the critical acclaim for 2012’s Pulp Heroes, editor Mike Chinn and The Alchemy Press presents The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes 2.
When they finally cornered her, blood to her elbows and smeared over her face; it took four of them to bind her, and she killed one of the adepts before they could manage it.
(PANDORA’S BOX BY CHICO KIDD)
I enjoyed The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes 2 the least of three collections I’ve read and reviewed for the publisher. I really didn’t get on with it at all. I was surprised because when I agreed to review the collections I thought I would enjoy this the most. I guess you never can tell.
There are only a handful of stories I enjoyed in The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes 2. I thought the opening story, Pandora’ Box by Chico Kidd was really good. I thought Night Hunter by Pauline E Dungate was a great little story. The direction the story took really surprised me. I liked the way Dungate used shape-shifting. I enjoyed Dragon’s Breath by Anne Nicholls. I also thought The Law of Mars by Robert William Iveniuk was very well-written and original. This was my favourite story in the whole collection.
I thought The Monster of Gorgon by Ian Hunter was awful, just awful. I feel bad about being so critical when I’ve been asked to review the book by the publisher but I’m always honest with my reviews and that’s not about to change. This story was clumsy and confusing. Hunter felt the need to put the thoughts of the one dimensional characters in italics. That smacks of bad writing. Hunter felt the need to explain everything in great detail including the physical positions of his characters. I cringed when The Wraith and his band of halfwits travelled across The East Nuked of Fife through Killerdyke and Cruell. Oh, and they visit Aberdoom at one point. I assume Hunter means The East Neuk of Fife, Cellardyke, Crail and Aberdeen? I don’t know if Hunter was trying to be funny but it just made me cringe.
The rest of the stories were just mediocre. They weren’t good or bad and not even okay. They were just forgettable. There’s nothing worse than reading a collection of stories where you have literally nothing to say about most of them. I have re-read Dark Matters by Megan Kerr from Astrologica: Stories of the Zodiac several times and still love it. I still think about Fish Bowl by Zen Cho from The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic. I won’t remember any stories from The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes 2 and would not re-read any of them. I didn’t think any story in this collection stood out.
I didn’t think the theme linking the stories in The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes 2 worked well at all. The submissions page for this collection (http://alchemypress.blogspot.co.uk/p/pulp-heroes-2_1.html) makes it sound almost like a collection of super hero stories maybe with a little noir twist. I thought they might be a little satirical as well. I really didn’t find this in most of the stories.
The Alchemy Press of Pulp Heroes 2 was an overall weak collection of stories. I was disappointed because it really didn’t live up to my expectations. I really enjoyed the other two collections, Astrologica: Stories of the Zodiac and The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic. I had high hopes for The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes 2. It just wasn’t my thing at all.
PostApoc by Liz Worth. Liz approached me herself and asked me to review her novel. A free PDF was provided that I will be reading on my kobo.
Black Dahlia & White Rose: Stories by Joyce Carol Oates