REVIEW: Booklist


Pulp-fiction aficionado Malmont, who writes today’s Doc Savage comics, pays tribute to his pulp idols in his effervescent, fact-drenched, comedic thrillers, beginning with The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril (2006).

His latest adventure-homage is dedicated to the pioneering sf writers whose work initially appeared in such pulps as The Astounding, The Amazing, and The Unknown. The world is at war, and the military has mobilized the country’s most imaginative thinkers to beat Hitler in the race to build a superweapon. Suave yet bedeviled Robert Heinlein is in charge of the clandestine Kamikaze Group, which includes patrician Sprague de Camp, who is cool under pressure; slimy and untrustworthy Ron Hubbard;and the heart-stealing Isaac Asimov, a young, nervous newlywed.

Heinlein and company end up boldly, if chaotically, tracking down the secret creations of inventor Nikola Tesla, barely surviving escapades beneath the Empire State Building, on a Pacific island, and in Tesla’s mysterious New Jersey tower. With cameos by Einstein, Vonnegut, and Bradbury, Malmont’s funny, zesty, brain-teasing love letter to sf heroes affirms the glory of creativity and science, sacrifice and courage.

— Donna Seaman

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