From Paul,Reviews

REVIEW :: A- from the AV Club! “…the very definition of a page-turner.”07 Jul

Here’s the link to the review!

How to attain literary popularity: First, take an artistic form beloved by geeks. Second, add a liberal dose of historical and pseudo-historical figures who helped create and define that form. Third—the most difficult step—send your genre-based characters on an adventure that reflexively fits their form. The result, ideally, is a critically acclaimed, popular novel that addresses comic books like The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay, or magicians like Carter Beats The Devil. Or it could be The Astounding, The Amazing, And The Unknown, a fast-paced, pulpy novel channeling Golden Age science-fiction authors.

There is some historical basis for the events of the book. Robert Heinlein did, in fact, recruit L. Sprague de Camp and Isaac Asimov to join his research unit in Philadelphia during World War II. The purpose of that, according to The Astounding, was to engage in a rollicking adventure, tracking down Nikola Tesla’s greatest experiment, a corporate conspiracy, and possibly a Nazi fleet of superbombers threatening the entire Eastern Seaboard.

The Astounding is the very definition of a page-turner, as dozens of chapters fly by in a single sitting. Does having famous science-fiction authors and editors on these adventures make the book better? Maybe not, but they probably were necessary to get the book published. The book’s use of familiar names can be impressive, as with Asimov’s difficulties in understanding people leading him to sympathize with robots. Sometimes it’s cutesy—Heinlein meets Albert Einstein and berates himself for not having a single, simple word to describe Einstein’s deep understanding of the universe, a word Heinlein later invented for Stranger In A Strange Land. And sometimes it’s a little disturbing, as when Asimov and his wife argue about his desire for fellatio and her resistance.

Still, in spite of its somewhat odd relationship with real persons—some only recently deceased—The Astounding, The Amazing, And The Unknown is undeniably effective entertainment, and a gateway into the history of science-fiction pulps. It may not be great literature itself, but it’s great fun, and as with the pulps it describes, who’s to say the former can’t come from the latter?

 

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From Paul,Reviews

REVIEW :: SHELF AWARENESS29 Jun

From Shelf Awareness:

We know some things to be true: Robert A. Heinlein recruited fellow science fiction writer Isaac Asimov to work in a research lab at the Philadelphia Navy Yard during the Second World War. There is a persistent rumor associated with the Navy Yard–the alleged disappearance and reappearance of the USS Eldridge in the “Philadelphia Experiment” of October 1943. Earlier that year, L. Ron Hubbard was relieved of his U.S. Navy command after a shooting incident in Mexican territorial waters, and there are conflicting stories of what he did for the rest of the war. Hubbard was also involved with Jack Parsons, who was simultaneously a pioneering member of the American space race program and one of the nation’s highest-ranking occultists. And the publication of “Deadline,” a short story written by Cleve Cartmill at the urging of Astounding Science Fiction editor John W. Campbell, led to a federal investigation into the possibility that science fiction writers were leaking atomic secrets to the enemy.
From Shelf Awareness:

Paul Malmont takes all these historical tidbits–along with some of the legends about Nikola Tesla–and bundles them into a rollicking novel in which pulp fiction writers become real-life adventurers. (The Astounding, The Amazing, and the Unknown invokes the titles of three of the most prominent science fiction magazines.) There is also a bunch more real-life figures who make cameo appearances, whose identities will remain concealed to preserve the surprise for readers. Sure, the story tweaks the historical record in a few places; “Deadline,” for example, wasn’t actually published until the spring of 1944. It’s clear readers aren’t meant to take all of this too seriously, though, as the plot becomes increasingly baroque, with more than a few ingenious twists along the way.

Malmont’s rich characterizations do much to obscure any questions of accuracy. In the midst of a hunt for a super weapon to defeat the Nazis, Heinlein and Asimov are distracted by the fissures in their marriages; Hubbard, frustrated by his failed efforts to be a war hero, takes some of his first steps towards the formulation of Scientology. (Malmont plays this straight down the middle: Hubbard is opportunistic and self-aggrandizing, but not a scheming mastermind–more like a guy who’s tired of being a hapless victim of circumstance). And just about every writer in the story is obsessed with the business of writing, whether it’s about hanging on to their status at the top of the pulp market, trying to sell more stories to better magazines, or even getting out of the pulps completely and writing “real” books. It’s because this re-creation of the literary and fan communities that emerged during the science fiction boom feels so accurate that all the other stuff seems, even if only for a few moments, utterly plausible… and remains entertaining even after disbelief returns. –Ron Hogan

Shelf Talker: Malmont inserts some callbacks to his first novel, The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril (2007), which took a similar approach to pulp stars of the 1930s, but readers can enjoy this new story with or without that one under their belts.

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From Paul,Reviews

KIRKUS REVIEW: “…As much a comedy of brainy errors as it is an adventure.”07 Jun

From Kirkus Reviews.

Not actual Kirkus critics!

THE ASTOUNDING, THE AMAZING, AND THE UNKNOWN
Author: Malmont, Paul

Review Date: June 15, 2011
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Pages: 400
Price ( Hardcover ): $26.00
Publication Date: July 5, 2011
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-4391-6893-6
Category: Fiction

In 1943, alerted to German scientific advances that could turn the tide of World War II, the U.S. government calls upon a group of noted young science-fiction writers to halt the Nazi threat by making imagined phenomena real.

Malmont, whose Chinatown Death Cloud Peril (2006) turned noted science-fiction and pulp writers of the past into intellectual action heroes, returns with a lively tale involving “death rays,” secret underground crypts, vanishing objects and mysterious boxes. The writers, led by Robert Heinlein, include L. Ron Hubbard, Isaac Asimov, Walter Gibson and Sprague de Camp. When their personalities and egos aren’t clashing, they bond together to investigate secret experiments by the late Nikola Tesla, legendary competitor of Thomas Edison in the so-called War of the Currents. Tesla was testing the long-distance transference of energy when he succeeded in zapping millions of trees in Siberia from the U.S. The writers’ pursuits take them from city to city and ultimately to a ship in the North Pacific where things have a way of suddenly disappearing. This book, the title of which was taken from the names of pulp journals, is as much a comedy of brainy errors as it is an adventure. Heinlein, whose tuberculosis ended his Navy career, must contend with the self-fixated Hubbard, who hadn’t yet entered his Scientology phase, and the insecure Asimov, who hadn’t yet written the first of hundreds of novels. The men all have women problems, Heinlein with his open marriage back in California, and Asimov with his lonely wife in Philadelphia. As close to parody as the novel gets, Malmont maintains a love for science fiction and its ability to bridge “what is known and what is about to be possible.” Like his role models, he never sells his story short.

A larkish imagining of sci-fi greats becoming part of one narrative they can’t control. A fun novel, and an informative one in tracing the origins of the genre.

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From Paul,Reviews

REVIEW: Booklist24 May

5/15

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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From Paul,Reviews

STAR REVIEW :: LIBRARY JOURNAL, “It’s so much fun that…”13 Apr

Gene Krants and the boys at Mission Control like the review.

From Library Journal:

In 1908, did the mad genius Nikola Tesla, who beat out Edison in the Battle of the Currents (which should it be, AC or DC?), invent but then hide a death ray, a weapon that could blow a fleet of enemy bombers out of the sky in one instant? By 1943, it looks like the Germans have some very nasty tricks up their sleeves. So writer Robert Heinlein, in charge of the “Kamikaze Group,” a think tank composed mainly of his fellow science fiction writers—Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague de Camp, and L. Ron Hubbard are among them—sets out to find the truth. If a death ray exists, they’re determined to locate it and make it work—for America’s side!

Time and again, you’ll think there couldn’t possibly be any more new plot twists in this madcap adventure by the author of The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril and Jack London in Paradise, but five pages later a new one will hit you on the head. VERDICT Anyone who loves the science fiction of the 1930s and 1940s will want to read this delightful romp. It’s so much fun that it virtually defines what light fiction should be. [See Prepub Alert, 1/24/11.]—David Keymer, Modesto, CA

 

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From Paul,Reviews

REVIEW :: PUBLISHERS WEEKLY29 Mar

"He shouldn't have jumped. The show wasn't that bad!"

From Publishers Weekly (3/28): Malmont returns to the pulp magazine-inspired territory of The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, this time assembling a clutch of science fiction writers to defeat the Germans in WWII. Based at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the crew’s task is to use their science backgrounds and lively imaginations to tackle such projects as weather control, force fields, and invisibility. Under the leadership of Robert Heinlein and counting Isaac Asimov and L. Sprague de Camp among its members, the Kamikaze Group has few results to show its Navy hosts–until a German spy washes ashore near Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Tower, prompting the government to suspect Nazi interest in Tesla’s research. Heinlein and company head out to investigate, picking up L. Ron Hubbard on the way, and what they find leads them on a wild trip toward what might be the ultimate weapon needed to win the war. Malmont lovingly embraces the fact-fiction synthesis employed by the writers he brings to life, and while the narrative is erratically paced and overstuffed with digressions about which character wrote what, it’s all lovingly done, and fans of the original pulps will surely enjoy the ride. (July)

 

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From Paul,Podcasts,Reviews

ALL PULP interviews best-selling author and DOC scribe Paul Malmont!03 Feb

Read the interview here…

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Reviews

REVIEW: Comic Book Resource on Doc Savage #115 Apr

“Paul Malmont’s script is constantly pushing forward, giving the issue a real energetic and dynamic feeling…”

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REVIEW :: The Honolulu Advertiser23 Feb

“Perfectly detailed and well researched, the novel offers entry to a complete and irresistible dream where following one’s passion delivers the world.”

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REVIEW :: The Barnes & Noble Review23 Feb

<!– /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:”"; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –> “Malmont does an excellent job of capturing America’s fascination with both London and Hawaii and the eventual exhaustion that so much attention brings. Moreover, he treats Hawaii with care and love — the moist, warm Hawaiian air is nearly tangible, and the native Hawaiians posses a mystery both Malmont and his hero seem to take pleasure in unraveling.”

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REVIEW :: Big Island Weekly20 Feb

Jack London in Paradise is a good read
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 10:44 AM HST
It’s always a pleasure to read a new book that is well written, historically accurate, interesting and engaging. Jack London in Paradise, by Paul Malmont (Simon and Schuster, 2008), fills the bill in all of these categories.”
Read the full review here.
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REVIEW :: American Way Magazine13 Feb

“His second effort — with its impressive research, richly imagined scenes, compelling prose, and attention-grabbing protagonist — is poised to break him out.”

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REVIEW :: St. Louis Post-Dispatch02 Feb

Some of the best-known historical novelists are E.L. Doctorow (“Ragtime,” among other books), Gore Vidal (“Lincoln,” etc.) and James Michener (“Alaska,” one of many geographic locales used as his settings for combining history with fiction).   Paul Malmont has not joined their ranks yet, but he might if he decides to continue writing historical fiction as fascinating as “Jack London in Paradise.”

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REVIEW :: Bookgasm09 Jan

“PARADISE is Malmont’s second novel, following 2006’s acclaimed THE CHINATOWN DEATH CLOUD PERIL. Although this sophomore effort is another pas de deux between two real-life creative figures, it’s written in a different style, eschewing the tropes of pulp for those of London’s literary adventures. That’s not to say CHINATOWN’s many admirers won’t also enjoy this; they should, more often than not, provided they don’t expect a stylistic dupe. It may not have CHINATOWN’s resonance, but it carries its class.”

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REVIEW :: San Francisco Chronicle03 Jan

“Malmont’s sense of drama is nearly perfect. He knows how to pace his story and to build suspense step by step. Biographical facts ground his tale of adventure in actuality and enable him to soar majestically when he wants to. The scenes in the waters of Hawaii are breathtakingly beautiful and reminiscent of London’s inspired writing in “Martin Eden.” Charmian London might have tried to squelch Malmont’s bold, psychological novel, but Jack would have recognized its beauty, and its big, terrible truths.”

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