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Gary Phillips. The Unvarnished (Three Rooms Press, $17.00).
Award-winning author, screenwriter, and editor Gary Phillips gathers his most thrilling, outlandish, and madcap pulp fiction in an 17-story collection that straddles the line between bizarro, science fiction, noir, and superhero classics.
Aztec vampires, astral projecting killers, oxygen stealing bombs, undercover space rangers, aliens occupying Los Angeles, right wing specters haunting the ’hood, masked vigilantes, and mad scientists in their underground lairs plotting world domination populate the stories in this rip-snorting collection. In these pages grindhouse melds with blaxploitation along with strong doses of B movie hardcore drive-in fare.
Phillips, editor of the Anthony Award-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, and author of One-Shot Harry and Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem, said this about pulp. “The most common definition of pulp is it’s fast-paced, a story containing out there characters and a wild plot. There is that. But certainly, as we’ve now arrived at the era of retro-pulp, these stories have elements of characterization: not just action, but a glimpse behind the steely eyes of these doers of incredible deeds.” As an added bonus, Phillips resurrects Phantasmo, a Golden Age comics character created by Black artist-writer E.C. Stoner in an all-new outing of ethereal doings (includes 4 original illustrations by cover artist Adam Shaw).
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