THE ENIGMA CLUB is a contemporary pulp adventure novel, currently being marketed by Wornom’s agent, Andrew Zack of The Zack Company. It’s the story of how the discovery of an obscure pulp magazine sends the novel’s hero in search of the Enigma Club, supposedly located on a forgotten island in the Gulf of Mexico.
What he discovers is a land forsaken by time–Cayo Arcana, an island forgotten by the world for more than sixty years–where the pulps are still alive. The Enigma Club is a haven for adventurers, explorers, heroes, starlets, scientists (mad and otherwise), warriors and spies, all members of a classic gentlemen’s club created by and for all the pulp archetypes from the Golden Age of Adventure.
THE ENIGMA CLUB recreates the pulp era of the ’20s and ’30s, and also makes an impossible tale and the impossible locale very real and almost interactive, integrating artifacts–photos, sidebars, excerpts from fictional books and pulps, telegrams, and even vintage postcards–to create a world that the reader feels could possibly exist.
Wornom’s original intent with THE ENIGMA CLUB was to include a sample pulp story for each of the Club’s charter members, as published between 1911 and 1953 in the Club’s pulp, The Enigma Club All-Adventure Magazine. However, the novel became too long, so he included only one story, “Sky-Gods of Ixtamal,” to represent the themes inherent with the pulp era: adventure, wonder, lost races, fantastic technologies, and everyday characters who embody the heroic ideal.
Two other stories were already finished, and the first of these, “In the Mountains of Frozen Fire,” is a tale of Commander Denis Cushing, Agent M4, whom he created as a cross between James Bond, Artemus Gordon and G-8. His inspiration for the story was a painting by Frank Frazetta, The Frost Giants, with a little Lovecraft and a lot of Robert E. Howard thrown in. Wornom’s goal was to tell a period story, using the tropes of Howard, Lovecraft and traditional spy fiction, while also serving up a dose of 21st Century humor–along the lines of Indiana Jones meets SNL.
“In the Mountains of Frozen Fire” will be published in the July/August 2013 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
The second completed story is “Hot Time at Bad Penny’s,” a tale of founding member Bucky Sniggles-Wooten—charmer, adventurer, and accomplished cad. It’s a saucy story of deadly gangsters, speakeasies, and super-science run amok. Wornom’s goal with this was to show today’s readers what the pulps’ saucy or spicy stories were all about, while also playing with some of the tropes of big city pulp stories (with a tip of the hat to ERB, Amazing Stories, and the classic Fleischer Superman cartoons). It is currently being considered for publication at F&SF.
ABOUT THE WRITER IN HIS OWN WORDS:
ERB and A Princess of Mars were my primary influences when I decided to become a writer.
Burroughs showed me that a writer is born in his heart, and that even a pencil sharpener salesman could tell stories of extraordinary people in extraordinary circumstances that could enthrall generations of readers. Once I read A Princess of Mars, I knew that I wanted to tell stories that could make people believe in worlds undreamed of.
Rusty is what my friends call me, but Harlan Ellison once yelled at me in a workshop, “Nobody’ll read anything by a guy named Rusty! It’s a kid’s name!” So Rus was born, even though my given name, Howard, was used when my novella, “Puppy Love Land,” was published in the April, 1996 Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The story was later nominated as Best Novella on the Preliminary Ballot for the Horror Writers of America awards. I was also the pseudonymous author of Spelljammer: The Ultimate Helm, Dungeon of Fear, and Castle of the Undead, all published by TSR Books way back in the dim, dark ‘90s. Spelljammer made the Waldenbooks bestseller list . . . for a month. Since 1983, I’ve been published in such magazines as Omni, Premiere, Gauntlet, and Storyboard, and in newspapers and regional magazines, and contributed to The Stephen King Companion. I’ve participated in writing workshops with Ellison, Brian Aldiss, Gene Wolfe, and Kate Wilhelm. A spec teleplay got me in the door at Star Trek: The Next Generation, where I pitched story ideas four times. I’ve also acted on the Discovery Channel in The New Detectives, although I was never credited. (Somehow, though, Buddy the Beagle got a credit.) I live in Virginia with my wife and a large, furry family.
TO CONTACT ME:
The Zack Company