Just try searching the Internet (or your local bookstore) for the deliciously lean, page-turning science fiction novels that were so prevalent during the first half of the 20th century and you’ll find exactly that: the same titles from the 30s, 40s and 50s, some yellow and dog-eared; others reprints. You’re not likely to find too many new titles coming out in the sci-fi/pulp genre, but not for a lack of an audience … let me point you to “Hollywood,” if you don’t believe me. In the novel form, publishers largely stay clear of pulp because, I believe, most literary agents and major publishing companies don’t consider pulp an authentic genre. Google-search “pulp fiction publishers” and in between the returns concerning the Tarantino movie, you might find ONE house in Australia that publishes original titles. The reason for this scarcity is two-fold. First, the gatekeepers see pulp as too cheap, too low-brow, and too risky/risqué for the sophisticated tastes of their readerships. Second, “manning” the door of these agencies and publishing companies are recent college graduates with majors in English and little clue about what might excite a mainstream audience.
Well … you mainstream, sky-blue-collar (not professorly and not illiterate either) readers … welcome to the long-awaited revival of sci-fi/pulp fiction novels with their stylized, comic-book action heroes and smoking-hot, bare-fisted heroines on the covers. Yeah—it’s time to have some fucking fun again.
It all starts with the now-available “Non-Compliance: The Sector” by Paige Daniels, released by Kristell Ink in November 2012. “Non-Compliance” isn’t just an action-packed sci-fi thriller that lacks a point. It is a story of a woman named Shea Kelly who symbolizes the fight against conformity, who struggles to maintain her individuality and freewill in a society that commands its citizens to implant intrusive, tracking devices upon their persons. Those who refuse to comply are segregated to a reservation-like community ruled by mob bosses and their ruthless henchmen. But Shea is no ordinary woman. She can brawl with the best of them and is tech-savvy enough to eke out a living buying and selling black-market goods and secrets that just might empower her and her friends to outslug and outwit the bad guys.
Speaking of brawling, in May 2013, Kristell Ink will release my own sci-fi, pulp-thriller, “Space Games,” which features its own gorgeous heroine (well, anti-heroine). “Space Games,” too, goes beyond the meaningless pulp that some might expect by exploring just how “low” reality TV might sink in 20 years—and how mismanaged that space missions might become in the hands of ratings-focused entertainment moguls. Leading the charge is Hollywood producer Sheldon Zimmer with a new high-stakes show called “Space Games,” which pits sexy martial artist/spitfire Robin Miller against powerful Joe O’Donnell in a series of zero-gravity, gladiatorial events held aboard a cramped, but state-of-the-art space station. When the competition turns violent, even the legendary Zimmer may not be able to pull the plug on the show, which de-evolves into a horrifying study of primal man versus woman, squaring off in a deadly, live experiment.
So butter up your popcorn and then hit the sofa with a copy of “Non-Compliance,” and then “Space Games,” and let the animated, pulpish, yet intelligent fun roll across your retinas.
Oh, and don’t worry about getting those precious pages or touchscreens of “literature” greasy. It’s pulp… remember?