Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Robert Price on Joe Pulver

Breaking review on Joe's new book.

I have been a fan or Mr. Pulver's writing for many years, having had the treat of reading his novel Nightmare's Disciple in manuscript, whereupon I immediately contacted my colleagues at Chaosium to insist they publish it. They did. It was a remarkable work, simultaneously destroying and exploiting many cliches one often encounters in Cthulhu Mythos (and/or Lovecraftian) fiction. I often paused to reflect that Pulver's competitors would never dare try a certain trick again, since Pulver's performance was an act impossible to follow, and/or since they'd wonder why it never occurred to them to do it this well. I can only ascribe the occasional bad reviews of Nightmare's Disciple to a misguided distaste (almost theological in nature) for the genre which Pulver fulfilled and transformed. But even these critics seem to have caught up with me in my celebration of this author's talents on display in his new short story collection, Blood Will Have Its Season.

From the earlier book I already recognized Pulver's genius in his ability to shape-shift stylistically between Raymond Chandler and Thomas Ligotti--without your even noticing! Like the gospel demon, his name ought to be Legion, since he assumes a new voice and persona as every particular chapter or sequence requires. In the new book, Pulver's polyphonic gifts mutate to a new and even more powerful pitch. The short scope of these many works allows him to write less leisurely, more rapid-fire. The author possesses another unique gift. The only way I know to describe it is to say that he combines the headlong, violent pace and savage sensibilities of Robert E. Howard with the refined and baleful mood of Robert W. Chambers and Tom Ligotti, and all this in an intricate, almost blank verse poetic diction. There is nothing like it! It sounds, indeed reads, like a living contradiction in terms! The result is a deep dark forest of wonders, containing both monsters and molesters, both angels and devils.

From the amazon review. Click.

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