Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Edited by Chris Roberson

This hefty compendium of adventure tales embraces everything from the corniest of old-time pulp (“Dogfight Donovan’s Day Off” by Michael Moorcock) to the weirdest New Weird (“Eel Pie Stall” by Paul di Filippo). It’s a bit dizzying, though there should be something here for almost any taste.

Some random highlights from this anthology:

  • “Ghulistan Bust Out” covers the classic ground of Talbot Mundy and Robert E. Howard’s El Borak tales. The style is post-modern, the mcguffin is cyber-punk, and the setting is GWOT. Let’s put Chris Nakashima-Brown in charge of Saving the Free World.
  • “The Island of Annoyed Souls” by Mike Resnick is a hilarious re-take of Dr. Moreau. Imagine that Mark Twain re-wrote H.G. Wells’s original.
  • “Richard Riddle: Boy Detective” by Kim Newman mixes a charmingly old-fashioned Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew story with a Victorian setting and some weird Lovecraftian horror. It’s delightful.
  • “Prowl Unceasing” by Chris Roberson, brings together Sir James Brooke (aka “The White Raja of Sarawak”), the last descendant of Tipoo Sultan, and Abraham van Helsing for a peculiar romp that truly deserves to be called Imperial Gothic.
  • “Acephalous Dreams” by Neal Asher is a bizarre space-opera about psychological archaeology that might unearth a power that could dominate the galaxy. Also some pretty horrific sexual abuse, not for the squeamish.
  • “Bridge of Teeth” by Mark Finn has carnivorous, boxing ghosts. Need I say more?

On the whole Adventure Vol. 1 divides pretty evenly between the New Weird and the Old Swashbuckling. My preference is for the latter, but such representatives of the former that show up are well executed. I must admit I’m looking forward to Adventure Vol. 2.
-Dave Hardy

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