Pulp Appeal: Econoclash Review #2

Econoclash Review #Two

Edited by J.D. Graves

Available via Amazon

 

Econoclash Review continues to impress with a grab bag of stories by some of the hottest indie talent around. To be sure, some of the stories were more miss than hit for me, but there’s enough in this slim digest to appease even the most discerning of pulp connoisseurs. That said, the tagline isn’t Quality Cheap Thrills for nothing, and these stories seek to entertain first and foremost and that they most assuredly do. But what exactly do you get you’re your money? Well…

“The Girl” by Victoria Dalpe- This is the story that I was most impressed by, which ends up being a double-edged sword. Yeah, it’s a great noir piece that works in some Scottish folklore, and the description and pacing is spot on. But it sets up an expectation that not all of the stories following it quite lived up to.

“Desert Wind” by DJ Tyrer is a solid Weird Western, with a European monster hunter in the Old West. That said, I felt hunting vampires was a bit… pedestrian. Given the abundance of monsters native to the Americas, I hoped the monster would be more exotic than it ended up being.

“The Assimilation of Bruce Gleason” by Preston Lang. A humorous tale told between two perspectives: a conspiracy theorist/UFO hunter on the one hand, and a simple researcher on the other. The twist at the end doesn’t quite work for me, given how earnest the preceding passages were, but it’s the kind of story that would feel right at home in THE TWILIGHT ZONE.

“Trappe’s Rest” by G.A. Miller is a well-done horror piece in the same kind of vein as PSYCHO. A man on the run stops by a run-down motel, hoping to lay low for a while. But things aren’t all as they seem, and there are some places that just won’t let you leave.

“Useful Things” by Alec Cizak is billed under the story as “weird” and I cannot help but agree. A man touches a strange bit of goo as he dumpster dives on his wife’s behalf, and what follows is nothing short of body horror. The biggest drawback for me? Almost everything happens to the main character and there isn’t enough of what he does. Everything is happenstance and bad luck without much impetus except for the inciting act. I hoped for a bit more, but damn if the descriptions didn’t make me wince.

“Short Cut” by Olin Wish. You ever cut across a graveyard late at night? Ever wonder if you were disturbing the rest of those that lay below a few feet of dirt? This is one of those stories that contains more atmosphere than story, and the ending had me scratching my head a bit at the end. It is definitely a fitting story for late fall and early winter.

“The Thing from Hell World” by James Harper. What if there is other life in the solar system? What if it was possible that it could arrive here through some volcanic event, albeit thousands of years after it was discharged from its original home? What if… what if it was it virulent, caustic, and unstoppable?

“The Scornful” by Brandon Alexander. A series of journal entries by a Nazi scientist on the Eastern front as he falls into a downward spiral of insanity. What steps will be taken when the food runs out, when the cold sets in, and the dead refuse to be quiet?

“Shifting Sands” by Beatrix M.G. Nielsen. A woman crosses a desert after stealing an expensive piece of artwork, hoping to set her and her sister if not for life, then at least for a while. The desert has different ideas, however, and it is reluctant to let anyone leave once they fall into its confines.

“Bad Ice” by Tom Miller. A heist of caviar goes sideways in the worst kind of way for band of hijackers. Sure, they did their homework, but they didn’t count on the lady of the house. This was a thoroughly engaging, if over the top, action heist where its all shades of grey.

“Walk of Fame” by Joshua Hill. A woman falls in love with the idea of a man, but after she spends a night with him discovers the disconnect between her dream and reality. But when the star of her attraction is faced with certain harsh realities of his own, will there be a happy ever after? A great piece that gets into the nature of fame and the pitfalls of love and lust.

“Zombie Apocalypse Prevention Society” by Robert Peyto. A woman hires a private investigator to prove that her husband was killed by a zombie. But… why? What follows is a twisting piece of noir dealing with high powered executives, secretive societies, and slick lawyers. A reminder that the wealthy play by their own rules, and the best a private detective can hope for is to get paid and justice rarely plays into it.

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