Review: Vin of Venus

Beat to a Pulp * 99¢
Written by David Cranmer & Paul D. Brazill & Garnett Elliott


Vin, bereft of half his limbs and his memory, struggles between two worlds–the mist-shrouded, verdant hell of ancient Venus and the mean streets of modern Europe–battling both alien monstrosities and underworld villains on his quest to recover his identity. Along the way he is aided by an unlikely cast of allies, as well as the mysterious, ruby-encrusted bracelet that serves as the only link between his heroic past and grim present. Written in classic pulp-style, VIN OF VENUS mixes Hardboiled and Sword and Planet elements in a genre-bending series of action tales.


Chances are you’re not going to read anything quite like this novella: imagine if John Carter split his time between Mars and life as a thug in the modern world. Vin doesn’t quite know if the dreams he has are a life remembered or just a delusion. The harsh reality of his life — missing limbs and constantly the target of an endless line of mysterious people he sometimes half remembers — lends credence to the likelihood of the life on Venus being just an escape, but there’s the mysterious ruby bracelet that seems to be evidence of technology beyond this world. I think this starts out stronger than it finishes (such as it finishes — there is no resolution, it is a continuing yarn), but there’s a lot of fun along the way. I think I liked the Venus moments best when they were only snapshots, as in the start, but there’s some great adventure in the longer passages set there. I did like the giant insect riders! It would make a good action television series. A unique read and a good value for the price.

Review: Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled

Blurb: BEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled is a compilation of uncompromising, gritty tales following in the footsteps of the tough and violent fiction popularized by the legendary Black Mask magazine in its early days. This collection includes thirteen lean and mean stories from the fingertips of Garnett Elliott, Glenn Gray, John Hornor Jacobs, Patricia Abbott, Thomas Pluck, Brad Green, Ron Earl Phillips, Kent Gowran, Amy Grech, Benoit Lelievre, Kieran Shea, David Cranmer, and Wayne D. Dundee and a boiled down look at hardboiled fiction in an introduction by Ron Scheer. Edited by David Cranmer and Scott D. Parker.

Review: As advertised! What a nifty little collection and the price is right, too! Just 99¢ gets you a good read, chock full of tough guys and daunting dames with a whole lot of bullets flying. Names you know and those you don’t, no clunkers to be found. I have to say I especially enjoyed Pluck’s “Black Eyed Susan” which just hit a nerve, managing to be both funny and cringingly painful. Abbott’s “Ric with No K” reminded me in a way of Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” because it captured that kind of liminal space of those teenage years and the danger it often invites. Good stuff. Get it.