Monday, November 8, 2010

More on 'Round One'

So I've had a few chances to read some more of the new Beat to a Pulp anthology.  I read the super short piece called "Boots on the Ground" by Matthew Quinn Martin.  I suppose this would be called flash fiction.  It's an effective story that sets its historical scene very well.

History, in fact, seems to be the theme of the stories I've chosen to read thus far.  "Studio Dick" takes place in the past as does the Paul S. Powers story, "The Strange Death of Ambrose Bierce."  I was curious about this one for a number of reasons.  It was touted as a 'lost' story from the glory days of the pulps, so I was eager to see how it read compared to all the modern pulp fiction surrounding it.  I'm also currently fascinated by Mexican history and Ambrose Bierce is one of my favorite writers.  A lot of ingredients for a good story.  Again, the placement in time and location is excellent.  Powers tips his hat to Bierce with an Owl Creek-type of construction.  What I noticed most about the story was the feel it had of having been written by someone who relied on his fiction to pay his bills.  I can't explain it, just felt it.

I also read the history of the pulps by Cullen Gallagher at the end of the book.  Very informative and well-researched.  I was glad to see Jim Thompson mentioned.  I was unaware that the pulps were considered dead by the 1940s.  I guess that explains why Thompson novels are easier to find than Thompson stories.

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