Friday, June 24, 2011

Random stuff from my bookshelf

Check out the killer cover painting by the legendary master Frank Frazetta.

There may been better Conan ripoffs during the Frazetta inspired Robert E. Howard Sword and Sorcery boom of the late 60's and 70's, but the Brak the Barbarian series was my favorite.

John Jakes could always be counted on to craft a well structured, seductively readable adventure with colorful action. I also read some his Kent Family Chronicles historical soap opera novels and few of his old science fiction pulps, Timgate was one if memory serves.

David Goodis was one of the old master hard boiled noir writers and his stuff might have been the bleakest of them all.

The entire Hard Case Crime series is terrific and feature new covers done in vintage pulp style of the masters.

This novel is a fascinating character study in bleakness. At the same time there is a  riveting, primal sexual tension simmering underneath every word.

Cover art is by Glen Orbik

I went on a Star Wars extended universe binge in the mid 90's and next to the outstanding X-Wing series by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston, the Bounty Hunter trilogy books are my favorite.

Many fans were put off by K.W. Jeter's emotionally distant, hard edged style. But the cyberpunk author is the perfect writer to flesh out the cult character Boba Fett and to tell what is essentially an old school hard-boiled gangster story set between the the events in Empire and Jedi.

Cover art by Steve Youll.

I have a voracious appetite for these sleazy paperback pulps of the 60's and their addictive covers, especially those published by Midwood .

The best ones are by Sloan Brittain (whose real name was Elaine Williams, a tragic figure and a brilliant writer), and Joan Ellis (Julie Ellis, who went on to be a huge success in mainstream romance and historical fiction).

Many of the books in this genre are very well  written, and always entertaining.

Cover art by Paul Radar.

J.G. Ballard's Crash is considered avante-guarde shock fiction, as is the hypnotic 1996 film adaption by David Cronenberg. But both are really visionary works of science fiction exploring the implications of technology and how it changes us, literally molding with our flesh. Eerie, edgy, fascinating, and  strangely erotic.

Fans of the author Chuck Palahniuk and filmmaker David Lynch might what to check out the works of Ballard.

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