Category Archives: Science fiction and fantasy

Book Review: We Are the Mutants – The Battle for Hollywood from Rosemary’s Baby to Lethal Weapon

Is there anything new left to say about the period of American film production from the late 1960s to the early 1980s?

This is the period that began with the so-called ‘New Hollywood’ and continued with its collapse under the weight of its own cinematic hubris and excess, bumped along considerably by the 1977 release of Star Wars, after which the blockbuster franchise, with its lucrative pre-sold merchandising deals, evolved into the majority of what now passes for the American film industry. Of course, this is just one facet of the story. Influencing this trajectory was Vietnam, the rise and fall of the counterculture, the election of Ronald Reagan and the rise of neoliberalism.

To say something different about all of this is a tough task. But it is is precisely the aim of We are the Mutants: The Battle for Hollywood from Rosemary’s Baby to Lethal Weapon. That the book largely succeeds in its mission is due to a quality I initially found hard to define until I hit on a way to do so by way of a comparison. The book reminds me of the work of British documentary maker Adam Curtis, particularly his most recent effort, I Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World.… Read more

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

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

Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction & the Rise of the Australian Paperback

I know that this site has not been getting quite as much attention from me as usual over the last year. This is largely because I have been so busy with various book projects. A quick update on these might be in order.

First up is my academic monograph, Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction & the Rise of the Australian Paperback. Out via the Anthem Press Studies in Australian Literature and Culture series in early July, it now has a cover and is available for pre-order. It is in hardcover, with a price that reflects the fact that it is being targeted at institutions and, in particular, libraries, in the first instance, but I have negotiated with Anthem for a much cheaper paperback version of the book will be released by Anthem next year.

Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction & the Rise of the Australian Paperback originated in a PhD I took at Sydney’s Macquarie University and turning it into a monograph has taken a considerable amount of my time over the last year. Regular readers will no doubt be familiar with Horwitz, as the publisher of many of the paperback covers that I post on this site. My study is the first book length examination of Australian pulp and one of the few detailed studies I am aware of a specific pulp publisher to appear anywhere.… Read more

Sessions from two-day City Lights symposium on Dangerous Visions & New Worlds book now available to watch

If you were unable to catch the two day on-line symposium on the recently released book co-edited by Iain McIntyre and myself, Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction 1950-1985, organised by the iconic San Francisco bookshop City Lights in late February, fear not. All the sessions were recorded and are now available to view free on the City Lights Youtube channel at this link. This includes the interviews with new wave SF luminaries Samuel Delany and Michael Moorcock, and my session with Marge Piercy and US SF writer Terry Bisson, ‘The Forever War: Vietnam’s impact on sci-fi’. A huge thanks to the folks at PM Press, the events manager at City Lights Peter Maravelis, and all the writers who appeared as panel members or moderators over the two days. Read more