A glorious age of storytelling, collected, revisited, and re-imagined.
By Paul Malmont
Returning to the fertile genre excavation that made The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril such a delight, Malmont mixes fact and fiction in this new Word War II-era yarn, which begins as the U.S. Government gathers together America’s finest science-fiction writers, including Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein. Their mission: aid the war effort and defeat Hitler’s hoardes by making such sci-fi staples as invisibility, force fields, and death rays into reality. This charge will take the assembled authors from the Philadelphia Naval Yard to the far reaches of the Pacific, with a cameo from L. Ron Hubbard along the way, in an adventure reminiscent of Alan Moore’s comic-book classic The League of Extraordinary Gentleman.
By Otto Penzler
Private eyes who don’t play by the rules, duplicitous dames, garrulous gangsters, corrupt cops, gunplay, knife fights, brass knuckles, and black eyes. All soaked in booze, stinking of cigarettes, and spattered with blood. This is the primordial ooze of pulp fiction, captured in more than a thousand pages of stories from such newstand stalwarts as Black Mask, Dime Detective, and Detective Fiction Weekly. You’ll find writing from the best hardboiled authors of the period, including Erle Stanley Gardner, Cornel Woolrich, and previously unpublished work from Dashiell Hammett. What you won’t find is a dull moment. And don’t miss The Big Book of Adventure Stories, also edited by Otto Penzler.
By Raymond Chandler
If Dashiell Hammett is the Plato of noir, then Chandler is his Aristotle, imbuing the whodunit with an unprecedented lyricism and wrestling with the moral quandaries that arise in the course of crime-solving. No character better exemplifies this elevation of form than Philip Marlowe, a modern knight errant who takes a punch better than he throws one, who uses his mouth and his mind more often than his gun. Funnily enough, Chandler didn’t begin writing until he lost his job as an oil exec at the age of 45, but then he created some of America’s most memorable detective fiction. Collected here are 25 of his stories set in L.A.’s seedy underside.
By Charles Ardai
Few publishers have done more to revitalize America’s fascination with pulp fiction than Charles Ardai and his line of Hard Case Crime novels. These slim volumes, denoted by the yellow ribbon with a pistol and a crown, fit perfectly in your back pocket, feature jaw-dropping covers that hearken back to the golden age of the genre, and contain electric stories both old and new. The imprint’s fiftieth publication is written by Edgar Award-winner Ardai, who pens a gripping tale of a pulp publisher who gets caught up in a heist at a Mob-run nightclub. Each of the fifty chapter titles is the title of a previous Hard Case book. But this isn’t just an exercise in meta-fiction; the story packs the wallop of straight whiskey.
By Frank M. Robinson and Lawrence Davidson
The prose of pulp fiction is undeniably appealing: hard-hitting, pared-down, propulsive like a slug from a twenty-two. But it was the cover artwork of these high-low masterpieces that first caught readers’ attention: lurid, four-color paintings featuring grimacing hoodlums and female forms of anatomical impossibility. This prismatic compilation collects the images that defined the era of guilty pleasure fiction, from streetlamp-lit detectives with upturned trench coat collars to ape-men and Martians and mobsters, oh my!