The Diesel Punk e-Book showcase is a fantastical collection of four stories rooted in the gritty reality of the pulp tradition.
Drawing inspiration from the hard-boiled suspense tales of that era, these sagas mix a retro flavor with depictions of dystopian societies mirroring our own turbulent present. As art imitates life, and as history repeats itself, so does pulp rise again to titillate our darker natures with graphic depictions of vice and graft, not from the dime novels of yesteryear, but from the depths of the internet.
In the first offering in the showcase, "Tales of the Aether Age", the USA has disintegrated into rival factions, the Union is broken, Prohibition is fueling gangsterism, and wise guys everywhere are looking to score. Jaded and world-weary, but looking to make a name for themselves, two crooks take on a big job. They are guarded street toughs, and constantly challenged to think three steps ahead of the game to sift through the layered hierarchies of allegiances and machinations of power.
"Pandora Driver" harkens back to a pre-WW2 America populated by colorful immigrants chasing the American dream. One unlucky shopkeep draws the attention of a ruthless gangster looking to muscle his way into some prime real-estate, only to draw the ire of a idealistic vigilante bent on protecting the powerless from exploitation. With her strange car, stunning physical prowess and commitment to dispensing street justice as she sees fit, Pandora Driver is a pulp heroine with a dark side of her own.
The waters of justice are further muddied in the third offering, "The Troubleshooter". Neo-feudalism produces a brand of slippery characters known as "Troubleshooters" after the disintegration of society in a great Cataclysm. Operating outside the law, the torch from one to the next is about to be passed, but not without some twists and ambiguity. Gritty noir and futuristic technology drive the tale of Mick Trubble through this tale of shaky allegiances and pliable morality.
In the "World of Manana" stark power play and spiritual psychedelics are just part of the amalgam of swirling archetypes and juxtaposed cultural constructs. Part Aurthurian grandeur, part Castenadian psycho-spiritual intrigue, this genre bending tale pans the landscape of human experience. Yearning for a purpose higher than himself, a young man searches for his place in dystopia. From the subjectivity of family to the intertwined yin-yang of good and evil, "Manana" has something to scratch every pulp itch.
[5 of 5 Stars!]