Tagged: Titan Books

FORTIER PLAYS A REVIEW DOUBLE HEADER WITH HARD CASE CRIME!

ALL PULP REVIEWS-Reviews by Ron Fortier

GETTING OFF
By Lawrence Block
(Writing as Jill Emerson)
Hard Case Crime
335 pages
Release Date 20 Sept 2011

One of the classic traits of a noire crime story is the protagonist being an unsympathetic character. The history of American literature took a sharp left turn when this new genre came into its own, evolving from the hardcore crime pulps of the 1930s. Till then, the majority of books generally portrayed the central figures as worthy of the readers’ admiration when the behaved in true heroic style, or sympathetic when they did not. But either way, one was able to identify with the characters.

Noire changed all that and GETTING OFF is a truly fitting example of the genre as the lead character is a female sociopath without a conscience. Early in the tale we learn that Kit Tolliver was sexually abused by her father from a very young age. But whether that abuse caused her unrelenting psychosis is not argued in the slightest, as her personal response to it is to coldly murder total strangers. Block does make it clear that Kit is in some bizarre mentally deranged way killing her father over and over again with each new man she sleeps with. What he does not do his judge her for it and therein lies the perspective that is truly unsettling.

At times the book’s heavy handedness slips into black comedy territory and the prevailing humor is twisted in its perversity. Along Kit’s journey of life, and death-dealing, she logically encounters partners who are just as sick as she is. In those scenes it is all too easy to start rooting for her as if she is somehow more worthy of survival then the other monsters she has crossed paths with. The last noire thriller to have bothered me this much was Jim Thompson’s classic THE KILLER INSIDE ME. And like that book, this one is not for the faint of heart.

In the end, GETTING OFF is a cautionary tale about the sexual mores of our times and the dangerous waters singles, and cheaters, swim in. Let them read GETTING OFF and I guarantee you they will think twice about their next plunge into those dark depths where the toothy sharks prowl.

QUARRY’S EX
By Max Allan Collins
Hard Case Crime
211 pages

Available 20 Sept.2011

Review by Ron Fortier

Max Allan Collins started writing his Quarry books back in 1976 with The Broker. It was the first time we were introduced to the Vietnam vet turned paid assassin. In that tale, we learned how Quarry, not his real name of course, came home to find his wife in bed with another man. He murders the guy by dropping a car on him and then, because of his service record as a war hero, is acquitted by jury. Shortly thereafter he is recruited by a man known only as the Broker to become a professional killer.

In the books that have appeared since that stellar debut, that opening scenario has often been retold many times to bring the new readers up to speed. Recently, since becoming affiliated with Hard Case Crime, Collins has begun filling in specific details of Quarry’s life, each more compelling than the last. In this particular book, we are told what happened to Quarry’s ex-wife after they divorced and parted. But Quarry’s personal life is, as always case, only the subplot of the story.

Quarry has come to a small Arizona town where a movie studio is shooting an action B movie. When he discovers that the director of the film is the target of a hit, Quarry approaches the man and offers his own lethal services to both eliminate the threat and discover who put out the contract in the first place. It is this neat little twist combination of mystery and crime thriller that makes this series so original and fun. Quarry is no knight-in-shining armor private eye out to save the world. He’s a killer who makes a good living taking out other killers.

Once the first part of his contract has been efficiently resolved, Quarry is a master of death-dealing, he then becomes a detective chasing down the person who put out the contract on the moviemaker. As always, there are plenty of juicy suspects from the mob boss who is financing the project to the director’s wife who inherits all if he dies. The problem is the woman is Quarry’s ex-wife. The second he lays eyes on her, old familiar feelings he thought long dead begin to resurface, complicating an already precarious situation.

Paying homage to the potboilers of the 40s and 50s, Collins laces his tale with the most outrageous sexual encounters; all done with a sly, sharp wit that is ingratiating. At the same time he balances that adult humor with explosive violence that is as mesmerizing as it is ugly. His prose falls into place with the deft touch of a contemporary poet, each line awakening a new possibility in how we see the world. Reading Quarry is an education in human psychology taught from the barrel of a silenced automatic.

(Postscript – This review was written and posted last year when the book was first published by Dorchester Press. Shortly thereafter Hard Case Crime parted company with that firm and this new edition is now being released by their new British publisher, Titan Books.)

NOTED PULP AUTHOR/HISTORIAN ON FARMER CON/PULPFEST!

From Win Scott Eckert-

FarmerCon VI and PulpFest 2011!

From the PulpFest site:

PulpFest 2011 is pleased to announce that FarmerCon VI will be held concurrently at our convention. An annual gathering for fans of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer, FarmerCon is rooted in Peoria, Illinois, the late author’s home town.

It all started soon after Phil had won the Grand Master award at the 2001 Nebula Awards ceremony. To honor the event, the Peoria Public Library staged a Living Legend Reception for the author. Farmer enthusiast Michael Croteau spread the word about the event through his website, The Official Philip José Farmer Home Page, resulting in fans coming to Peoria from across the country.    

In 2006, no longer able to travel to science fiction conventions as they had done in the past, Farmer and his wife Bette decided it was time for the mountain to come to Mohammed. Thus FarmerCon was originally conceived to be a gathering of fans in Peoria, figuratively, and literally, right outside Phil’s back door. With programs, speeches, panels, dinners, and picnics at the author’s house, the convention quickly became a great success. After the passing of Phil and Bette Farmer in 2009, it was decided to take FarmerCon on the road, giving fans of the author an opportunity to meet other Farmer devotees unable to travel to Peoria. And by holding FarmerCon alongside events like PulpFest, Farmer fans get a weekend full of programming (including several Farmer-related presentations on Friday, July 29th) and a room full of pulp and book dealers to enjoy. It also keeps Philip José Farmer’s name in the public eye, reminding fans of his long and amazing body of work.

Please welcome FarmerCon VI to PulpFest 2011. We hope they’ll be back again and again.”

In conjunction, Meteor House will have a table in the PulpFest Dealer’s Room, and I’ll be helping man the table, along with my friend, fellow FarmerCon organizer, and Meteor House cohort, Mike Croteau. As one of the organizers and participants in FarmerCon, I’d like to thanks the fine folks at PulpFest for agreeing to co-host us this year. This will be our 6th annual gathering, and the second since Phil Farmer and Bette Farmer passed away.
We will have some cool Farmer/Pulp/Wold Newton presentations for the programming, and we’ll have a selection of books still available from Phil Farmer’s estate, as well as some copies of the latest Farmer books for sale (last summer’s THE WORLDS OF PHILIP JOSE FARMER 1: PROTEAN DIMENSIONS, Meteor House), and the forthcoming THE WORLDS OF PHILIP JOSE FARMER 2: OF DUST AND SOUL, featuring new works from Phil’s files, non-fic essays about his work, new authorized fiction set in his various worlds, and cover art by Laura Givens.
Of course, I’ll also bring copies of my latest non-Farmerian books and will be selling those at our table as well. Fingers crossed I’ll have the forthcoming THE GREEN HORNET CASEFILES on hand, as well as THE AVENGER: THE JUSTICE INC. FILES. CROSSOVERS 2 was not out in time for last year’s FarmerCon, so that’s also something to keep in mind.
I’ll be discussing Phil’s pulp universe/timeline, known as the Wold Newton Universe, and hopefully I’ll have copies on hand of Titan Books’ reissue of Phil’s Sherlock Holmes-Lord Greystoke mashup novel, THE PEERLESS PEER, to which I’ve contributed a new afterword.
Some other regular FarmerCon attendees who I know will be there are my pals Art
Sippo, John Small, and Doc Savage/Shadow chronologist Rick Lai. Some other online pals who I’m looking forward to meeting in person are writer Greg Gick and All Pulp’s Tommy Hancock.
Meteor House is also running a Book Bonanza for authors:

“If you are an author coming to FarmerCon VI, here is your chance to tell the rest of us which books of yours you have available. Then fellow attendees may request that you bring copies of certain books for them to purchase directly from you.”

Follow The Official Philip Jose Farmer Home Page, Meteor House, BookTour.com, and this site for more details.
We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there!

NYCC 2009: Day 3, late

NYCC 2009: Day 3, late

Yowza! Another con comes to a close, and a lot of hi’s from the usual gang of idiots, renewals of acquanitances (hi Cooch!), the continuted con conversations– you know, the ones which you pick up again as soon as you see the person you haven’t seen since the last convention, and so on.

We’ll have a lot of detailed reports from our Mix of folks soon, but here are my fast general impressions:

* Very successful, on a number of levels. The con has worked out all the problems related to size, and even though this is the biggest yet, they seem to have knocked out the bugs and ran very smoothly. There were no particular problems that aren’t encountered by any other con its size and location (the usual like convention center food, bad wi-fi, nothing within easy walking distance, etc.). Sellout crowds, very well attended panels, yet still movable for the most part.

* Most of the publishers and vendors I talked to were very happy with their traffic and sales. Scott Kurtz sold out of everything by the end of Saturday. Everything. One can only imaging what Sunday would have brought with a kid filled crowd.

* Lots of costumes, which is a sign of a certain level of growth and maturity for a con, if not necessarily for the con-goers. We’ll have photos up this week.

* Paper and digital continue to share their uneasy alliance. Most publishers realize they now can’t survive without both components, and are trying to figure out how to make that work.

* I expected the entire con to be nothing but Watchmen, and was happy to be proven wrong. On the other hand, the crowd for Dave Gibbons at Titan Books at the end of the con was nothing short of insane, as you can see from the picture above– the line was five deep, as you can see in the photo. There are a lot of people eager for this movie, and not from places you might expect.

Hopefully, over the next few days, I’ll be ahead of the curve enough to get some real analysis done. On the other hand, since I still haven’t gotten around to doing my 2009 preview… oh well. Hope springs eternal– which, come to think of it, seems to be the overall theme of the convention.

No Shortage of “Watchmen” Books Planned For January

No Shortage of “Watchmen” Books Planned For January

With the much-anticipated release date of the Watchmen feature film still 7 months away, there’s still plenty of time for everyone to cash in on the buzz. ICv2 reports that Titan Books will have not one, not two, but four books hitting shelves between now and the film’s March 9 release next year.

Among the books scheduled for January release are Watchmen: The Art of the Film, a hardcover collection of images from conceptual and pre-production periods of the project, and Watchmen: The Official Film Companion, a collection of exclusive interviews with various members of the cast and crew discussing the project and story from which it’s adapted.

However, with all of the amazing visual elements we’ve been shown thus far, it was the third January-scheduled release that caught my eye:

Watchmen: The Film Portraits, a hardcover, will feature the b/w photos of Clay Enos, the official photographer on the set of Watchmen. Enos spent some of his time on the set shooting black and white portrait photographs of the lead and supporting characters, and even extras from the crowd.

Titan will also be publishing original Watchmen artist and co-creator Dave Gibbons’ reflections on the project, Watching the Watchmen, in October.