Action & Adventure – Issue # 5
Edited by Bryce Beattie
Baby Katie Media LLC
As you’ll never see this on any magazine wrack, we hesitate to call such. Rather it is a pulp anthology in the guise of old fashion monthly. It features nine new stories by talented writers and the subject matter is as far reaching as those old golden age titles. So a tip of the pulp fedora to Editor Bryce Beattie. This is a handsomely designed package with a terrific cover by Zefanya Maega and nine interior illustrations by seven other skilled artists.
“The Last Word” by H.A. Titus opens the book with a bang. A private eye actioner in a world of magic and wizards and orcs. It’s fun and we liked it a great deal.
“The Singer’s Tale” by Jon Mollison is a touch of noire with a sultry femme fatale who’s charm pack an extra magic wallop. The ending was a nice surprise.
“The Lair of the Old Ones” by Stanley W. Wagenaar is nothing less than a rip-roaring, broadsword wielding Conan-like adventure that moves at hyper-speed. Wagenaar’s flair for head-on action sequences is terrific and we hope to lots more of his work in the future.
“Acme Denton – Out of Time” by Michael Hayes is the story of a luckless private eye with too many bills and a wife a small child to support. When he’s thrown into the Wild West past of Arizona, things start to get crazy. This looks to be the first installment of a proposed series.
“The Last Contract” by Dominka Lein is an old fashion space opera with a futuristic assassin and his alien girlfriend taking on assignment that might prove to be their own undoing. It was well done, though the pseudo technical jargon was overused a wee bit much.
“Makani and the Vulture God” by Paul R. McNamee was set on a South Sea island and centered around a downhill surfing-like contest between the men of the tribe. When an evil Vulture god becomes involved, it is left to the local ka-man, Makani, to save the day.
“Night of a Thousand Eyes” by Deborah L. Davitt has a downloaded detective investigating the disappearance of fellow agents on a manufacturing world. He’s aided by a sassy AI and the chemistry Davitt infuses these characters with is much fun.
“Black Dog Bend” by JD Cowan is a nice little time-travel ghost story skillfully delivered.
“Swimming with the Devil” by William Eckman has the dubious distinction of being the last story in the book and thus the one that will tend to influence your average reader as the reads the last page. Often times a great deal depends on one’s exist as well as one’s entrance. In this case it is a real gem. Whereas the story revolves around a Persian pearl diver, pun totally intended. We enjoyed the way the story was presented in a relaxed, informal style and the ending innovative and charming. Easily one of the top two entries in this wonderful collection.
Final thoughts. Come next year’s nominating for the Pulp Factory Awards, we can see ourselves offering up “Storyhack # 5” in the Best Anthology/Collection category, while several of the stories will most likely get nods in the Short Story category. Yes, my friends, it’s that good.