(pb; pulp fiction magazine/anthology: Spring 2015, Vol. 1 Issue 3)
The third issue of this beating-heart-of-pulpiness magazine is just as exciting as its first two issues. Many of the fiction pieces have a nasty crime and borderline psychopathic feel to them and there are some intriguing speculative fiction and horror-ish works. These works are rounded out by a few book reviews and one striking, excellent poem (see the "Standout pieces" section below).
If you're a fan of pulp, this is a worthwhile magazine to support. This issue can be purchased here.
1.) "Long Time Gone" - Chris Leek: An ex-con's bad timing complicates his relationship with his daughter and their freedom. Especially good tale that is pulp-interesting and emotional, without being bathetic about it.
2.) "People Bug Me" - Will Viharo: An on-the-lam reporter interviews a small town shrink for an article after the shrink has been attacked by one his patients -- a teenage "lycanthrope," according to the doctor. Then things get really weird. . . this quick-blast, fun and excellent story has a Fifties film feel, appropriate since two Fifties films inspired it: The Sweet Smell of Success and I Was a Teenage Werewolf (both were released in 1957). One of my favorite stories in this issue.
(This story was originally published in the fifth issue of Nightmare Illustrated magazine in March 2014.)
3.) "The Bounty Hunter" - J. David Osbourne: Carnal and memorable piece about a tracker who encounters a criminal whose bizarre predilections unsettle the tracker. Funny finish to this one.
4.) "Sinner's Holiday" - Mark Krajnak: No-words-wasted, boiled-to-its-pulpy-core versework about the elements of a losing situation. Excellent, perfect, one of my favorite pieces in this issue.
5.) "Family Matters" - Bruce Harris: Two ex-cons (one a pro, the other crime-dumb) take on a closer-to-home job to avenge a misdeed. Quick plot-pretzel, gains-acceleration-as-it-progresses work, with a nasty, satisfying ending.
6.) "Twice Dead" - Gabino Iglesias: A P.I. (Maschietti), hired by a wealthy, drug-cognizant zombie (Areola Armstrong), tracks down the mysterious murderer of her famous scientist father. This clever story hits most of the expected Chinatown-esque marks, but knowing Iglesias' references adds to the fun (in this instance).
7.) "The Last Blue Sky: Starflight" - J.J. Sinisi: Jet packs, Japanese demons and Nazis highlight this America-has-been-invaded speculative fiction tale. "Last" is a chock-full-of-action, imaginative read, with an open-to-a-sequel ending.
8.) "Man's Gotta Eat" - Warren Moore: Brutal stream-of-consciousness story about a low-life, interesting in an intense and morally void way.