Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Injustice Anthology Review: Astounding Frontiers #1

Cower not, fierce reader! This day, we examine the first volume of what Superversive Press, and the movement are touting as a modern Pulp magazine. I'm going to go through the stories and serials, and look at them as I find them. And then I'll discus the magazine as a whole.

The Death Ride of Suns Joyeuse by Patrick S. Baker- This is a space milsf story. It's good, but I didn't feel like I was reading a pulp story. There's a bit much focused on minutiae here,  and that's not bad, but it slows down what should be a faster paced story. MilSF. Descended from pulp, but not pulp.

Riders of the Red Shift by Lou Antonelli- This is really intriguing. I dig it as a piece of future historical investigation. It almost feels like a glimpse at a pulp story, within something that approaches pulp. I might need to read more of his shorts, especially if he puts out a collection. Pulp like, with glimpses of pulp action, but none present.

According to Culture by Declan Finn- Declan gives us an sf story following a Ranger named Sean Patrick Ryan. Perhaps some distant descendant of Sean A. P. Ryan? Anyway, there's an explosion to start, and a good long fight for the climax, including a dragon. Pretty pulpy. The story moves.

Stopover on Monta Colony by Erin Lale- I'm not sure about this one. The flow is pretty fast, and there's plenty happening, but there's a problem, not a conflict. And the nature of how things are resolved feels off. I almost think this would fit SciPhi Journal better, with the food for thought section at the end of their stories. Kinda pulpy. 

Watson's Demon by Sarah Salviander- Ok, this story is really good. But, it isn't pulp. There's no action, no advancement of conflict, just some rather intriguing ideas. I think this would have been amazing for SciPhi Journal, talking about hubris and humility at the high levels of disciplines, and the nature of humor as a sign of intelligence. Not pulp, but very interesting.

 Nowhither by John C. Wright- First, I applaud the cooperation with Castalia House to basically prepublish the first half of the book(at least that's the percent I've been led to believe).  I know there are folks that found Somewhither very long; I didn't.  Anyway, there's a lengthy prologue that is a quick summary of book one, and the first chapter.  There's a lot of description, and a lot happening here, so I've no complaints. Pulpy. Of the longer nature.

In the Seraglio of the Sheik of Mars by Ben Wheeler- I hadn't read anything by Mr. Wheeler before, so this was a really nice surprise. There's romance, and an investigation into the truth of someone, but not as yet conflict. I suspect that shall begin soon, given some of the pieces in play. Pretty sure it's pulp.

Galactic Outlaws by Nick Cole and Jason Anspach- This is a selection from their second book in the series. I've already reviewed it, and if you haven't read the book, it's not out of place. Pulp or pulp descended, it might be a bit too milsf for some.

The Whole Magazine
Ok, I think it's clear I don't think this is yet really a pulp magazine. There's nothing that lines up with pulp fantasy at all here, and a couple pieces just didn't feel like they fit what was put forward as the focus of the book. As a collection, I find this to be a much better effort than Forbidden Thoughts was, even without having it's full focus yet.

Story selection: Why didn't the PulpRev guys get asked for anything, even just one or two of them? Some of these guys have a good number of short stories sitting around, and it's apparent they know pulp methods and stylings better than most of the Superversive crowd.

Serials: I am very much torn on this, given that I've read one already and had planned on reading another since I finished Somewhither over a year ago. I'd prefer seeing Mr. Wright's Superluminary get a broader audience than his Patreon, especially as I've heard of no further plans for it. There could even be three entries interspersed through the magazine, and you'd still have enough for twenty issues.  As to Galactic Outlaws, it's a loss for me, having read it previously. And given it's high sales, I don't see the benefit for them or this with its inclusion. Mr. Wheeler's serial is the one that intrigues me most, as I hadn't read him yet, and it's a very different in nature to the rest.

As an anthology: 8 of 10 fell deeds.
As a pulp anthology: 7 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

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