Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by the fantasy author Seth Skorkowsky.
Seth Skorkowsky is the author of the Valducan urban fantasy series (Dämoren and Hounacier) and the Black Raven fantasy series (Mountain of Daggers and Sea of Quills).
Click here to visit the author's official website.
GUEST POST: Pulp Heroes - Why We Love Them
The term pulp heroes evokes names from long ago: John Carter, Conan, Fafhrd and Gray Mouser. Classic characters and dime-store stories full of so many tropes and cliché's that remind us of a time when fantasy wasn't so serious. While we loved their adventures, we never actually doubt that our heroes will survive. They posses that "sitcom security" that at the end of each installment they will have learned a lesson, overcome their obstacles, and essentially be where they were before the story began. I've read comments and heard people say that those type of adventure stories and characters no longer appeal to today's more discerning fantasy reader. And while people may think that they no longer want those lighter action adventures, James Bond continues to be one of the biggest pulp heroes of our time.
That right, James Bond is a pulp hero.
When we walk into a Bond movie, we come in with several expectations. We will have brightly-colored opening credits involving the female form and guns. We will have gadgets, beautiful women (usually 3), alcohol, a chase (usually in a cool car), witty dialogue, awesome stunts, Bond will be captured, and none of his injuries will in any way prevent him from continuing the series. We also want, but don't always require tuxedos, Walther pistols, snow skiing, scuba diving, and speedboats. James Bond is composed of so many tropes that they have become just as much a part of the character as the character himself. And even after 20+ films, movie-goers will be enraged if those pulp trademarks are ignored. After all, we came to see Bond, if we wanted something else, we'd watch Bourne or Jack Ryan.
However, it can be argued that Bond is not fantasy, and since his adventures date back fifty years, he's a time-capsule of bygone days when we could still have new pulp heroes. Bond is the last of his breed.
I suppose pulp superstar Indiana Jones would disagree.
Pulp heroes entertain us. They give us excitement, sex, exotic locales, and make no apologies about who and what they are. You could pick up almost any pulp story, having read nothing of a hero's previous adventures, and immediately know who they are and what's going on as you're whisked away to adventure.
My Black Raven adventures are written as my own addition to those classic tales and heroes. Ahren is a master thief and burglar, and while he excels in the criminal world, he's (almost) always a good man. His adventures, enemies, escapes, femme fatales, and dangerous treasures are my love letter to those pulp stories that inspired my younger years and continue to this day. Ahren's purpose is to excite, and stir the imagination.