The Best of Adventure: Volume 1, 1910-1912

Because we are both fortunate and unfortunate enough not to have been born in the previous turn of the century, reprints help fill the void of what we missed (past lives excepted, if you believe in reincarnation). At BOOKGASM, that often means the pulps, and today, the ADVENTURE pulp in particular.

Has any fiction magazine been so simply and appropriately named? You now can given an educated answer, thanks to editor Doug Ellis compiling THE BEST OF ADVENTURE: VOLUME 1, 1910-1912. Through Black Dog Books, he’s rounded up the 24 best stories from its first 26 of 753 issues.

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A Red Herring Without Mustard

The irrepressible Flavia de Luce is back in Alan Bradley’s third novel featuring the 11-year-old girl detective, A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD. She and her two sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, and their absent-minded father live in a gigantic moldering estate house in a small English village that all comes right out of a MASTERPIECE THEATRE drama set in the 1950s.

Flavia is an endearing and precocious child, whose specialties include performing chemistry experiments in her homemade laboratory, taking revenge on her sisters, and often combining the two. In this installment, Flavia accidentally sets fire to a gypsy fortune teller’s tent at a local fair; out of remorse, the girl invites the lady to stay on the grounds of Buckshaw, the de Luces’ ancestral home.

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BOOK WHORE >> 8.30.11

book whoreShe’s back each Tuesday, pimpin’ out notable new releases to place on your radar, so let the tempting, publisher-provided plot descriptions begin!

THE POSTMORTAL by Drew Magary — John Farrell is about to get “The Cure.” Old age can never kill him now. The only problem is, everything else still can. Imagine a near future where a cure for aging is discovered and — after much political and moral debate — made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems, including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult and other horrors.

THE STRANGER YOU SEEK by Amanda Kyle Williams — In the sweltering heat of an Atlanta summer, a killer is pushing the city to its breaking point, preying on the unsuspecting, writing taunting letters to the media, promising more death. Desperate to stop the Wishbone Killer before another victim meets a shattering end, APD Lt. Aaron Rauser turns to the one person he knows can penetrate a deranged mind: ex–FBI profiler Keye Street. Keye was a rising young star at the Bureau until addiction derailed her career and her life. Now sober and fighting to stay so, Keye picks up jobs where she can get them: catching adulterers, serving subpoenas, chasing down bailjumpers and dodging the occasional bullet.

GRAVE EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens and Sherri Browning Erwin — Pip is a robust young whelp, an orphan born under a full moon. Between hunting escaped convicts alongside zombified soldiers, trying not to become one of the hunted himself, and hiding his hairy hands from the supernaturally beautiful and haughty Estella, whose devilish moods keep him chomping at the bit, Pip is sure he will die penniless or a convict like the rest of his commonly uncommon kind. But then a mysterious benefactor sends him to London for the finest werewolf education money can buy. In the company of other furry young gentlemen, Pip tempers his violent transformations and devours the secrets of his dark world.

JANE AND THE CANTERBURY TALE by Stephanie Barron — Three years after news of her scandalous husband’s death, Adelaide Fiske is at the altar again, her groom a soldier on the Marquis of Wellington’s staff. The prospects seem bright for one of the most notorious women in Kent, until Jane Austen discovers a corpse on the ancient Pilgrim’s Way that runs through her brother Edward’s estate. As First Magistrate for Canterbury, Edward is forced to investigate, with Jane as his reluctant assistant. But she rises to the challenge and leaves no stone unturned, discovering mysteries deeper than she could have anticipated.

DOWN TO THE BONE by Justina Robson — Lila Black is now a shape-shifting machine plugged into the Signal, the total dataset of all events in the known universe and all potential events: Zal, the elf rock star with a demon soul, is now a shadow form animated and given material actualization by firelight; Teazle the demon has taken up the swords of Death and is on the way to becoming an angel. To say this puts some pressure on their three-way marriage is an understatement. Meanwhile, the human world is seeing an inexplicable influx of the returning dead, and they’re not the only ones. Many old evils are returning to haunt the living following three harbingers of destruction created in the ancient past.

WHITE TIGER by Kylie Chan — Emma Donahoe has just started her new job as nanny to Simone, the daughter of John Chen, a very rich Hong Kong businessman. She understands that Simone may be a target for kidnappers but she does not expect to be drawn into a world of martial arts, magic and extreme danger, where both gods and demons can exist in the mortal domain. When John and his American bodyguard, Leo, teach Emma their particular style of martial arts, they begin to realize that Emma herself is more than she seems.

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Iron House

Is it possible for an author to have a “distinguished career” with only three published books? It is if you are John Hart, whose first three novels — THE KING OF LIES, DOWN RIVER and THE LAST CHILD — were all popular and critical successes, earning him an unprecedented best novel Edgar Award for consecutive books.

IRON HOUSE, his fourth thriller, is another triumph. This time, however, the theme of family — which occasionally appeared in his works — is emphasized more intensely than ever before.

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The Incal Classic Collection

If you love comics, reading THE INCAL is essential. Originally published in France between 1981 and 1989, this hardback volume collects the complete six-book sequence under one cover.

Conceived by the great prankster-provocateur Alejandro Jodorowsky, and visualized by the man who is to comics what Jimi Hendrix was to the electric guitar, Jean “Moebius” Giraud, this remains one of the greatest science-fiction graphic novels of all time.

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Your Weekend Flick Attack

What’s been going on at our sister site, Flick Attack, “hitting you with one random movie a day … whether you like it or not”? Here’s what you’ve missed:

• Poland’s FANTOM KILER, “the single most fucked-up movie I’ve ever seen.”
• The documentary THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION PART II: THE METAL YEARS, “about a bunch of shiftless douchebags who liked to wear makeup and get laid.”
• “Someone is killing off Italy’s hottest naked women” in THE BLACK BELLY OF THE TARANTULA.
• “Adding a baby into a successful series is usually a shark-jump,” unless you’re ANOTHER THIN MAN.
• STAGEFRIGHT, a slasher in which the baddie is “a man in a giant owl head.”
• The beauty pageant mockumentary DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, “the rare social satire that has managed to become even more culturally relevant.”
• THE RUNDOWN = “spinning Tarzan jujitsu.” ‘Nuff said.
• Hell is “graphically depicted with lots of red acrylic paint” in Japan’s JIGOKU.
• INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS, “a far better movie than any movie called INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS has any right to be.”
• QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL is “among that rarest breed of direct-to-video sequels: those not only actually good, but better than the original.”
• Eight ways in which FINAL DESTINATION 5 is exactly like TV’s THE OFFICE.
• An interview with TEKKEN director Dwight H. Little, in which the issue of Kathleen Kinmont’s breasts is brought up.

How many more reasons do you need?


Thomas Blackthorne’s EDGE is really a pure thriller clothed with some science-fiction finery. It’s the kind of book that doesn’t jump out at you as awesome, but you still frantically turn pages in order to find out what happens to characters you have come to like, and in search of a satisfying ending.

Josh Cumberland is your traditional thriller-hero archetype. Ex-military, ex-Ghost Force (the normal, super-secret, top-level military strike force that all our heroes must attend, apparently), Cumberland is a master programmer, an absolute killing machine, and smarter than your average bear. Too good to be true.

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Lyn St. James: An Incredible Journey

There have been plenty of truly talented women racing drivers at all levels and in all variants of the sport. When you see today’s Danica Patrick or Ashley Force, you have to think of the pioneers, those who came before them and faced even more hardships and discrimination in the blinkered days of the past. You have to think of the brilliance of someone like Pat Moss, the grit of Shirley Muldowney, the versatility of Janet Guthrie, and the competitiveness of Lyn St. James.

Guthrie’s 2005 autobiography, JANET GUTHRIE: A LIFE AT FULL THROTTLE, is one of the thrilling masterpieces of auto-racing books. It’s well-written and inspirational, and every race fan will love it. St. James’ autobio, LYN ST. JAMES: AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY, doesn’t quite measure up to that book, but it’s still a remarkable read.

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The Cut

It’s been a while — about six years and four stand-alone novels — since acclaimed crime writer George Pelecanos has taken on a series. Now, he introduces Spero Lucas in THE CUT, the first in a projected new cycle. If this debut is any indication, we can look forward to some truly compelling and memorable stories.

Spero Lucas, a former Marine who served in Iraq, works as an investigator for a defense attorney in Washington, D.C. As the novel opens, Lucas is compiling details that will lead to an acquittal for his boss’ young client arrested for stealing a car, then learns the client is actually the son of a notorious drug dealer currently in prison for a trafficking charge.

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Ready Player One

The mainstreaming of nerd culture has benefits and drawbacks to people who’ve been nerds their entire lives. On the one hand, you can buy Spider-Man or vintage video game T-shirts anywhere; on the other, most adults wearing them do so based because of some misplaced sense of irony — there’s no love, no appreciation there. This results in conversations such as:
Me: “Nice JOUST T-shirt, guy. Man, those pterodactyls are sons of bitches, am I right?”
Man in JOUST T-shirt: “JOUST is so lame! The graphics are so bad! I find it humorous that anybody would have any appreciation for such badly aged entertainments, bro!”
Me: “Oh. I like JOUST.”
MIJTS: “That makes you lame by association, bro!”
Me: (hangs head in shame)

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