Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Roaring Rockets and Ray Guns

I just finished reading the new novel Space Vulture by Gary K. Wolf and Archbishop John J. Myers, a deliberately retro space opera of the sort that used to be serialized in pulp magazines like Planet Stories back in the day.

The writing is intentionally unsophisticated and more than a little corny. The simple story pits sterling, square-jawed space marshall Victor Corsaire against the galaxy's greatest villain, a criminal genius and space pirate who goes by the name Space Vulture. There's also a small-time crook with an alien eye and arm, a couple of precocious kids, and an army of mind-controlled "zombies."

While the plot is slight and episodic, it keeps moving and is an entertaining, low calorie diversion. I enjoyed it.

Apparently Wolf (who created Roger Rabbit) and his collaborator the Archbishop, grew up together and shared a fondness for lurid sci-fi pulps. Space Vulture is their homage to the stories they loved as kids, and it certainly reads that way. The eye-catching cover art by Glen Orbik (above, right), who also paints a lot of covers for the guys at Hard Case Crime, is particularly nice, perfectly capturing the old school pulp vibe.

If you like 30's and 40's space adventures in the vein of E.E. "Doc" Smith, you might get a kick out of this. It's not earth-shatteringly good, but it's fun and it's damned cool that it exists at all.


mella said...


Charles Gramlich said...

That's cool. I did enjoy Doc Smith when I was young, although a recent attempt to read one of his tales was not very successful. I like the cover here and like the idea that publishers might be bringing some of this kidn of stuff back. The Taleran books hark to this as well, so maybe it's good news for me.

Anonymous said...

OMG ( as the kids say) that is so up my alley. Ah the good old pulps where men were men and women were helpless babes.