It was nice to see Tishomingo resident and fellow writer Tom Morrow stop here at the newspaper office the other day bearing copies of his recently released second novel, Yesterday’s Gone – The Senior Class of ‘61.
Yesterday’s Gone is a follow-up to Tom’s first novel, Dust In The Wind, which followed the adventures of 17-year-old Dave White as he leaves his home in Oklahoma for a job harvesting wheat in the summer of 1960. The new book begins with Dave returning home, and follows him through the experiences that make up his senior year of high school; I’ve only just started reading the book, but I can tell you that it is proving every bit as enjoyable as the first book was.
Tom tells me that he has more such stories in mind for the future, and I for one am looking forward to them.
The arrival of Tom’s book proved the perfect capper to my summer reading schedule. I’ve admitted more than once in the past to being a lifelong bookworm, and there are few things I like better during the summer months than to spend whatever free time I may be fortunate enough to enjoy with my nose stuck between the pages of the latest addition to my personal library.
For a variety of reasons this summer proved a little more hectic than I might have liked, but I still managed to work in some quality reading time. This was made possible in part by my previously discussed trip to the annual PulpFest convention in Ohio, where I was fortunate enough to find several books I’d been seeking for some time.
Among the books I picked up at PulpFest were a pair of fairly recent novels featuring the return of one of literature’s best known villains. The Terror of Fu Manchu and The Destiny of Fu Manchu are the first two books in a new series which continues the saga the character's creator, Sax Rohmer, started back in 1913. Author William Patrick Maynard – who I was fortunate enough to meet and talk with at PulpFest – is a fine writer in the grand old pulp tradition, and the tales he spins in these two books I feel would have definitely made Rohmer proud. These are “must-read” books for any fan of that popular brand of mystery and adventure.
Another favorite read that I picked up at PulpFest is Captain Action: Riddle Of The Glowing Men by Jim Beard. The hero of this action-adventure tale, Captain Action, was first introduced as a boy’s action figure in the late 1960s (he was created by the same toy designer that gave the world G.I. Joe). I got one of the original figures for Christmas back in 1967; in recent years the toy line has been reintroduced and supplemented by a popular series of comic books. Riddle of the Glowing Men – the first prose novel to feature the character – is a clever mix of the James Bond and Indiana Jones genres and is sure to appeal to readers who still have a touch of the little kid living inside their hearts.
Among the books I picked up elsewhere during the summer, one of my absolute favorites is William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope. Penned by Ian Doeschler, this book presents (in glorious iambic pentameter!) the story of the original 1977 film as it might have been written by the Bard of Avon.
On the one hand the book is a lovely spoof, and is peppered with plenty of humor that fans of both Shakespeare and George Lucas should appreciate. But on the other hand Doeschler’s work is a veritable Master’s thesis on mythology, proving yet again Joseph Campbell's thesis that there are common threads to be found in all manner of classics - even those separated by several centuries of time and a galaxy of imagination. frankly, this is a book that deserves to be taught in high school and college literature classes.
Another favorite that I picked up this summer was first published back in 1975, even though I somehow managed to miss hearing of it until now.
The title alone was enough to intrigue me: The Science Fiction of Jack London. I had long been a fan of such adventure yarns as Call of The Wild and The Sea Wolf, but I didn’t realize that London had also penned a number of stories that were on a par with H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. The stories in this volume greatly enhance London’s reputation as one of America’s greatest authors.
But of all the books I’ve had the opportunity to read during the summer of 2013, the one I enjoyed the most was Win Scott Eckert’s The Scarlet Jaguar. Published by Meteor House, this novella is a sequel to 2009’s The Evil In Pemberly House, which Eckert co-authored with the late Philip José Farmer.
The book opens with the heroine of both novels, adventuress and crimefighter Patricia Wildman, having set down new roots at her ancestral home in England. After receiving a visit from the daughter of a kidnapped British diplomat, Pat sets out on a globetrotting adventure that ultimately takes her to South America and...
To say more would spoil the fun. The Scarlet Jaguar is an old fashioned adventure with a modern twist, and is well worth seeking out. So do so. (It's available at meteorhousepress.com; it and most of the others I've mentioned here are also available at Amazon.com.) You can thank me later.
In : Pop Culture