5 Books That Are Pulpy in All the Right Ways

It’s no secret that horror is making a comeback. But what about the pulp? The sensational and fantastical imagery that gives us nightmares as kids and can make even the toughest of adults squirm? That’s exactly what my co-author Darren Wearmouth and I tried to harness in our latest thriller, Don’t Move. Set in the woods of West Virginia, the story follows a church group from the Bronx on their annual camping trip. But this year, the group has made a fatal navigational error that’s left them stranded in an uninhabited portion of canyon untouched by humans for centuries. The only thing that has survived there all this time? A giant, terrifying prehistoric arachnid that’s desperate for a meal. The novel itself draws on inspiration from the classic 80s and 90s slasher movies that captured my attention as a young teen, and as the thriller genre matures and leans more towards the cerebral, that doesn’t mean a good romp around in the pulp isn’t welcomed.

So if you’re looking for a gory, creepy page-turner that still offers the best of modern storytelling, here are five books that are pulpy in all the right ways…

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Series: Five Books About…

The Vegetarian Vampire: Unpacking the Metaphor of Modern Vampire Stories

I don’t want to shock you, but Edward Cullen wasn’t the first Vegetarian Vampire to take a seat at the table. In fact, Edward comes from a long, storied line of ethically minded bros of the undead who all have one thing in common: while they might want to suck your blood, they’re really gonna try not to.

The Vegetarian Vampire, or leo lamia if you want to get fancy with it, is the one who either abstains from drinking human blood or finds alternative ways of getting it. And it turns out, they’re a staple of the Western Vampire Canon, a trope in their own right!

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Darth Vader Actor David Prowse, 1935-2020

When George Lucas worked to cast the role of his lead villain for Star Wars, he needed someone with an impressive physical presence on set, and turned to six-foot-eight English actor and bodybuilder David Prowse for the role. For the next three films, Prowse played the body of Darth Vader, terrifying generations of viewers.

Prowse died over the weekend at the age of 85 due to complications from COVID-19, leaving behind not only his legacy as one of cinema’s most iconic villains, but for promoting safety for millions of children.

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All of Tordotcom Publishing’s Books From 2020

In 2020, Tordotcom Publishing published over 30 novels, novellas, anthologies, and collections, including the first full-length novel entry in Martha Wells’s  Murderbot Diaries series, the New England Book Award-winning novella Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi, the mind-melting sequel to the necromantic space opera Gideon the Ninth (now with even more bones!) and so much more!

We are tremendously proud of our authors, illustrators, and editors for creating such wonderful works this year. We hope that you will nominate your favorites for the Hugos, Nebulas, and other upcoming awards which honor outstanding works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror—but most of all, we hope that you have enjoyed reading these stories as much as we have!

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Spock’s Legacy — Star Trek: Discovery‘s “Unification III”

I suspect that the events of this latest episode of Discovery are going to prompt a lot of discussion amongst Trek fans. There are two plots going on here. There’s an A-plot that picks up threads from season two of Discovery and season one of Picard, along with the title-implied references to the arc Spock went on starting in TNG‘s “Unificationtwo-parter through to the 2009 movie. And then a B-plot about the new acting first officer on Discovery.

[Oh, did I miss the cool “say yes” part?]

Gingerbread Bricks, Cherry-Stealing Cats, and Other Culinary Disasters

I’ve been asked if I cook as well as I write about cooking.

It’s a fair question: I’ve been cooking almost as long as I’ve been writing. Writing was something I fell into, much like Alice down the rabbit-hole, when I was fourteen. I sat down one day to write myself a story instead of reading one, and thirty-two pages later—pencil and lined paper tablet—I finished my tale and realized that my predictable world had expanded wildly, enormously, with endlessly diverging and intriguing paths running every which way into an unknown I suddenly knew existed. Having ended one story (which is locked away, guarded by dragons and evil-eyed basilisks, and will never see the light of day if I have anything to say about it), I wanted to start all over again on another.

When or why I decided I needed to inflict culinary disasters on my long-suffering family and others, I don’t remember.

[My most vivid cooking memory is setting my brother on fire with my Cherries Jubilee.]

Foolishness and Wickedness Mixed Up: Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (Part 5)

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we continue with Chapter 4 of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, first published in 1959. Spoilers ahead. TW for continued discussion of historical suicide.

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Series: Reading the Weird

6 Perfect Episodes of MST3K to Help You Really Just Relax

Imagine this: a person stuck inside, all alone with nothing to do but watch movies (while occasionally receiving confusing and misleading reports from the people who are ostensibly in charge). That might seem to describe most people in the world right now, but it’s actually about the future. The not-too-distant future, in fact…

It is, of course, the premise of the cult TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, the show in which robots Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo, and Crow T. Robot join a human host to make fun of terrible movies. Inspired by the 1972 Douglass Trumbull film Silent Running, series creator and original host Joel Hodgson created a joyful, scrappy celebration of humor and comedy in the face of loneliness and powerlessness. Even as the series changed channels, casts, and hosts over the years, that basic hopeful message remained consistent: Even in the direst situations, you can try to keep your sanity with the help of your (synthetic, if necessary) friends.

For that reason, MST3K is the ideal comfort watch for times such as these, when we’re all scared, stuck, and alone, together.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Rules of Accusation

Rules of Accusation
Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann
Publication Date: July 2016
Timeline: 2371, December 2385 (after The Missing, before Sacraments of Fire)

Progress: In a Prelude set in 2371, a Kalpazan forger and art collector by the name of Bartleby creates a duplicate of what we will soon figure out is the original Sacred Scroll containing the legendary Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, created by Gint ten thousand years ago. The identity of Bartleby’s client is not revealed.

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Netflix Settles Choose Your Own Adventure Lawsuit Over Black Mirror Film

Netflix and the company behind the Choose Your Own Adventure series has finally come to a settlement in an ongoing trademark lawsuit over the interactive nature of the Black Mirror film Bandersnatch.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the settlement comes after a lengthy and aggressive fight between it and Chooseco LLC. To find out more, turn to the next paragraph.

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