Book Review: Australian crime anthology and First Nations science fiction

Is it just me or is there definitely a renewed local interest in short story collections? There seems to be a few more of them being published than is normally the case and I am particularly interested in two that have come across my radar: Dark Deeds Down Under, an anthology of crime fiction edited by Craig Sisterson and This All Come Back Now, a new anthology of first nations speculative fiction, edited by Mykaela Saunders.

First up, Dark Deeds Down Under. The interesting selling point of this book is that it contains 19 crime fiction stories from Australian and New Zealand authors, some well-known, others not so much. As is the case with every anthology not every tale did it for me but there were far more hits than misses, which is unusual. I just want to briefly note the highlights in the collection for me.

Aoife Clifford’s ‘Summer of the Seventeenth Poll’ felt very much in the spirit of TV shows such as In the Thick of It, in its depiction of a political spinner who job sees them stumble across a murder, and the story has a real sting in the tail. No surprises that ‘The Cook’ by possibly my favourite Australian crime writer, David Whish-Wilson, was a terrific yarn about an ex-con speed cook and the troubled relationship he has with his son.… Read more

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Pulp on the big screen

This month sees the 50th anniversary of the Mike Hodges film, Pulp.

I feel like Pulp, which I reviewed on this site here back in 2016, does not get a lot of love from people, but I am a fan of its bizarre, at times almost campy noir vibe. Most of all, I like the fact that it is an ode to the era of mass produced literature and to a time when pulp, in all its forms, could still be dangerous.

The lead character is a sleazy expat British expat pulp writer called Mickey King, played by Michael Caine, a nod to the prolific writer Earl Stanley Gardner. King’s dialogue drips with sleazy pulp cadence and the film is full of images of pulp in its many forms.

Ever since watching this film, I have been on the look-out for signs of pulp in the movies. As a 50th anniversary tribute to the Hodges film, below are the screenshots of what I have managed to find so far. I am sure there are many others and I would love readers to alert me to ones I have missed or to help me identify the ones below that I have not been able to identify.

Sella Davis (1937)
I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
The Killer Who Stalked New York (1950)
The Blue Gardenia (1953)
The Bad and the Beautiful (1953)
The Hundred Eyes of Dr Mabuse (1960)
The Hundred Eyes of Dr Mabuse (1960)
The League of Gentlemen (1960)
The League of Gentlemen (1960)
The Evil Eye (1963)
The Naked Kiss (1964)
Hud (1964)
Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)
Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)
Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)
A Quiet Place in the Country (1968)
French edition of Woolrich’s Waltz into Darkness in Stolen Kisses (1968)
The Lost Continent (1968)
Orgasmo (1969)
Hi Mom (1970)
Brotherhood of Satan (1971)
Get Carter (1971)
Get Carter (1971)
Paper Moon (1973)
Identikit (1974)
Farewell My Lovely (1975)
Rosie Dixon – Night Nurse (1978)
Hammett (1982)
Killers Kiss (1998)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Johnny Gaddaar (2007)
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September events: Australian pulp fiction and Dangerous Visions & New Worlds

September is shaping up to be a busy month for me, with three events that Pulp Curry readers might be interested in.

September 2nd to 4th is the inaugural Port Fairy Literary Weekend, which is being organised by the Wonderful Blarney Books and Art. The entire program, which looks great, can be viewed on-line here. I will be taking part in a panel titled ‘Dangerous Visions’ on the Saturday afternoon of the festivities. ABC journalist Matt Neal will be interviewing me about the book I co-edited with Iain McIntyre, Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950-1985, along with Mykaela Saunders and Jack Latimore, two writers who are part of a new anthology of First Nations science fiction, This All Come Back Now. I have a copy of This All Come Back Now and am looking forward to reading it before the event.

I will also have the remaining stock of my science fiction book, as well as copies of the first two in the series, Girl Gangs, Biker Boys and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture 1950-1980 and Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and popular Fiction 1950-1980, for sale at the festival. Tickets for the event can be purchased via the website here.… Read more

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10 underappreciated American neo-noirs of the early 1970s

The domestic blowback of the Vietnam War. The sleaze and corruption of Watergate. The incipient rollback of the counterculture and many gains of the 1960s. Economic recession. The upheaval and uncertainty in the 1970s may have been tough on America’s collective psyche, but it resulted in some incredibly good crime cinema, particularly prior to Jaws in 1975, which helped to usher in the culture of the cinematic blockbuster.

And while I will happily admit to being a due paying member of the First-half-of-the-1970s-was-a-great-period-of-American-crime-cinema-fan-club, it does strike me that we tend to focus on the same handful of films from this period over and over. Yes, The French Connection and Shaft (1971), The Godfather (1972), The Friends of Eddie Coyle and The Long Goodbye (1973), and Chinatown (1974), are all masterful neo noirs that in some way enlarged the culture’s notion of what crime cinema could be.

But the wellspring of American neo noir on the screen in the first half of the decade runs very deep, and it pays major viewing dividends to explore it more widely. My latest piece for the US site CrimeReads looks at ten underappreciated neo noirs from the first half of the seventies that are worth your time. You can read the piece in full on the CrimeReads site via this link.Read more

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Spaces available in my online clinic for emerging crime writers

There are a few places remaining in the Writers Victoria online clinic that I am running for emerging crime writers in the second half of 2022, which starts next week.

If you’re keen to start a writing crime novel or short stories but you are unsure where to start, or if you are part-way through a manuscript and need help to finish or polish it, this online clinic will provide deadlines and support as you do so, pushing through blockages and problem passages. Participants will receive individualized feedback, including on structure, setting, pace, character and dialogue. This online course actively encourages sharing of your work with your cohort as well as with the tutor.

This is a completely safe space for you to submit drafts and have commented on by me, and/or to ask those burning questions you may have that you have never been able to get answered.

There is discount for members of Writers Victoria and other state writers organisations in Australia, but because the course is online you do not have to be in Melbourne – indeed, you don’t even have to be in Australia – to take part.

You can find all the information you need by going to this link at the Writers Victoria site here.Read more

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