Author Archives: Andrew Nette

Pulp Friday: American Pulp – How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street

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I’ve always been fascinated by how relatively insignificant objects you’ve lost in the course of moving around in life can later come to hold important meaning. An example for me is a black and white photograph of my father on holiday in Queensland’s Surfers Paradise in the early 1960s. It was destroyed when my friend’s shed, in which I stored all my possessions while travelling overseas, burnt down. I find it hard to recall what else was lost, but I remember that photo. Dad is sitting in a chair on the beach, wearing dark sunglasses and reading a paperback by the prolific Australian pulp writer Carter Brown.

Two things gave me cause to think about this picture recently. The first was the hype around the Anzac Day centenary commemorations – I’ll explain that connection later. The second was reading US academic Paula Rabinowitz’s beautifully written, highly original work, American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street.

Most people view pulp as either exploitative lowbrow culture or highly collectable retro artefact. Yet pulp has a secret history which Rabinowitz’s book uncovers. Her central thesis is that cheap, mass-produced pulp novels not only provided entertainment and cheap titillating thrills, but also brought modernism to the American people, democratising reading and, in the process, furthering culture and social enlightenment.… Read more

Doctor who? Peter Cushing’s Dr Who and the Daleks turns 50

Dr Wo and the Daleks

With season nine of the new Doctor Who premiering on 19 September, it’s an ideal opportunity to revisit the one version of the character absent from the official Doctor Who pantheon: that played by Peter Cushing in Dr. Who and the Daleks, released 50 years ago on 23 August 1965.

Made by Amicus, a British production company best remembered for its low-to-medium budget horror films in the late 60s and early 70s, the film is widely derided by many fans and critics, unfairly in my opinion. I have a piece on the film on the British Film Institute site, which you can read in full here.

Small Town Noir: the possible book

Katie Payne Mug Shot

Vintage photographs are all the rage these days. Hell, vintage everything is big, it seems. There are some websites that do vintage images better than others. One site I stumbled accidentally across several years ago and which I have continued to visit on a regular basis is called Small Town Noir. It features old police mug shots from the former American industrial town of New Castle in Pennsylvania and the stories of behind them. What I like most about Small Town Noir is it’s just that. The person behind the site, a man called Diarmid Mogg, doesn’t post images of big time criminals in New York or Chicago. His subjects are ordinary people and he examines their hopes, dreams and frustrated plans, their small town crimes, and how these brought them to the attention of the police.

Now he’s trying to turn his website into a book and he needs people to pledge to buy it here. I reckon it’s a great idea and I’m going to support it. I thought other Pulp Curry readers might be interested in knowing more about Small Town Noir and when Diarmid asked whether I’d be prepared to help him publicise his project by doing an interview with him, I was more than happy to oblige.Read more

MIFF report back #5: Downriver

DOWNRIVER1170Grant Scicluna’s debut feaure, Downriver is a dark tale of secrets and redemption set in a small rural town. Although, I haven’t seen Scicluna stress the theme anywhere, it is also a film largely dominated by gay male relationships.

The film opens with eighteen-year-old James (Reef Ireland) being confronted upon his parole by the mother of a child whose death by drowning was the reason for his lengthy incarceration. The body of the boy has never been found, a fact that particularly haunts the mother. James suspects his childhood friend Anthony (Thom Green), who was also present when the child died, hid the body but he was never charged.

Once free, James is obsessed with finding the boy’s body. He defies his parole officer and his mother (Kerry Fox) and goes to stay at the caravan park near to the river where the death took place. James confronts Anthony, who claims to know nothing more than he has already told the police. He befriends Damien (Charles Grounds), an impressionable young man also staying at the caravan park, and who turns into an ally of sorts in James’ mission.

It becomes apparent very quickly that Anthony’s silence is bound up in a much larger and darker conspiracy involving the boy’s death and Anthony’s extremely dangerous family.… Read more

Gunshine State, my second novel, to be published in 2016

Been sitting on this news for a while and now I can finally make it public. My second novel, currently titled Gunshine State, has been picked by crime only publisher, 280 Steps. It will be released sometime in the second half of 2016.

Gunshine State is a dark, innovative heist story. The heist story is much neglected in Australian crime fiction and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at writing one that is hard boiled, intelligent and uniquely Australian. Gunshine State is my attempt to do this. The central character is Gary Chance, a former Australian army truck driver, who has featured in a number of my short stories.

If you want a better idea of what you are in for with Gunshine State, all I can say for now is think Richard Stark’s character Parker, Garry Disher’s Wyatt, and Criss Stone in the books by New Jersey writer, Wallace Stroby. Add a touch of Surfers Paradise sleaze and a lengthy and very dangerous stop over in Asia.

I have heard a lot about 280 Steps from quite a few people and it has all been good. I’m really looking forward to working with them on Gunshine State.